America's Next Top Model is winding down once again; this week's episode has only four girls left. It might seem too late to get in on the fun, since you may not have seen all the back story leading up until now. But fear not! I'll explain what's going on.
I'm watching the re-run of last week's episode, and writing a synopsis as I watch it. Here's my version of the events. It's long, but then it is an hour-long episode. Lots of typing.
This episode starts out boring. Each week, they have some competition where they do a stupid task or game of some sort, and the winner gets a prize. It's really just a way to fill up time in the episode, since the contests usually have nothing to do with modeling and the girls usually don't even get their pictures taken. In the past, they've had to see how fast they could put makeup on, or who can dance, or something stupid. (The photo session comes later in each episode, and those are the main things they get judged on.) This week's contest is a perfect example of the irrelevance: they have to pose like statues while they're painted grey as if they're stone. And from off-screen, some production person is throwing pigeons at them, to make the birds land on them. The girl who keeps the most still and statue-like is the winner. Nicole freaks out and screams because she's scared of birds, Nik poses the best, Nik wins a shopping spree, and she gets to bring two other girls. Big deal.
But then it gets real juicy. Later, they're SOOOOOO TIRED after their day of hard-core statue modeling, they flop into bed. But Bree has the munchies, so she goes to look for some food she asked for. But what what what do we find? Her granola bars have already been opened! Sacre' bleu! And she just KNOWS Nicole did it, because Nicole has been gettin' on her nerves all day.
So she's all, Don't touch my food! Which is totally not the issue, obviously, because it's just some granola bars--AND, sidenote, when we asked for food on MTV Challenges, we didn't have to pay for it, the money came out of the "craft services" budget and they sent a P.A. (that's TV lingo for Production Assistant, an employee somewhere on the social totem pole between "illegal immigrant fruit picker" and "guy with leprosy") so Bree probably didn't even pay for the stupid fucking granola bars, she's just mad based on principle. And she can't let it go. "I've been disrespected but this is just too much," she says Whatever. But maybe they did have to pay for it, which would be totally ridiculous and lame of UPN. But even if that's the case, how much to granola bars cost? Puh-lease. Either way--it's not about the granola bars. Bree is really just letting the competition get to her, and she's starting to crack. So what does she do? She decides she's going to get even, because she KNOWS Nicole did it even though she could have just asked Nicole if she did it, but no no no. She's ready to fight. So what does she do to get even? She takes Nicole's Red Bulls and empties them down the drain. Boo-ya!
But that meddler Kim happens to walk in the room on her way to el bano and interrupt Bree in the act, and Bree, like, totally flips the fuck out and tackles her--which is no small feat, as Kim is a totally tough-ass lesbian and clearly can stand her ground. But Kim isn't fighting back or anything, she's just confused why this ghetto bitch is all up in her grill all of the sudden, and she wants to know what's the dilly-o, yo? And Bree won't spill the beans. And she's saying "Do what I say. Go back to your room. I'll tell you later." But Kim knows SOMETHING is going on, so she's all like "No, tell me now!" And Nik is, like, all bug-eyed and freaked out, because it's never any fun being in the room with someone who is obviously losing his/her shit, which Bree obviously is. Poor Nik. Nik seems nice.
The next day, Nicole sees her energy drinks are gone (dum dum DUUUUUUUUM) and she's all, like, Whatever, I'm so much prettier than Bree, I'll kick her ass. Which way to the cameras?
Cut to: Nik is on her shopping spree, with Bree and Jayla. The shopping is a cleansing experience for Bree. Snore.
Cut to: On the set for their photo shoot. Jay Manuel is wearing a t-shirt airbrushed like he has big boobs. And he thinks it's funny, but really the girls all look at him with expressions on their faces like We're not surprised by this at all, he wears more make-up than any of us. And Jay says for the photo shoot for the day, they have to pose like famous works of art, but with updated looks. Think Mona Lisa, Whistler's Mother, etc. They make Nik pose facing straight-on just to challenge her, since she usually turns her head to the side to show off her cheekbones and reduce her big lips; they wrap Jayla's head in a scarf to cover up her abnormally large ears.
But before the shoot, Kim the Meddler goes up to Bree and says "You're going to replace Nicole's drinks, right?" and Bree is like "You just need to mind yo' bizness!" and now Bree is all pissed at Kim and is ready to cut her. And Nicole is all mad because she says she told Kim to stay out of it. But Nicole has that pathetic, helpless vibe going for her, so anyone is going to feel the need to stick up for her and take care of her. And that's what Kim does; she was just trying to help Nicole out. Kim knows she can take that Bree bitch down if push comes to shove. Kim will kick your ass too, you better watch out.
So the photo shoot is also a chance to plug Olay Body Quench Lotion, which they smear all over the girls for some reason and it makes no difference in the way they look...but they probably paid $1000,000 for the plug so UPN had to put it in the show somewhere. The girls all pose, they all do alright; Nicole makes a point of keeping her cool and Jay notices she doesn't let Bree shake her up. But Nicole gets upset after the shoot when she finally confronts Bree, and Bree basically tells her where she can put her Red Bulls. It was mean. Nicole informs Bree that she is just a mean person. Which is probably true. God help Cover Girl if Bree wins this show and becomes their spokesperson.
The judging of their photo session comes around, and all the pictures are good--but wouldn't you know it, the best picture is Bree's? Damn. Too bad that during Bree's critique session, she looks really pissed off, so the judges ask her what's up--and the whole GranolaGate scandal comes out! So Tyra tells some story about how when she was living in a model apartment, and another model yelled at her and said Tyra stole her alarm clock. Which kinda relates to the issue, but then...not really. It's just a story about Tyra. The whole show is all about Tyra.
But back to Bree: she gets mad that she's getting called out in front of the judges. And the judges think she looks like a brat. Sucks to be Bree. And Nicole looks like a star, because she's the first one to admit the whole issue is totally stupid, being that all this fighting is over a few granola bars and some cans of Red Bull. Points for Nicole. When they go into the waiting room to wait for the results of the judging, Bree is all embarrassed, and she starts freaking out and TOTALLY reads Kim to filth, even trying to drag Nik into the fracas to side with her. But Nik just sits there looking sad. Nik seems nice.
When giving the results, Tyra puts the photos of all the girls into a pile, in descending order of success. When she gets down to only one photo, there are two girls left; the girl whose photo isn't in the pile at all has to leave, she's out. It's all very dramatic. So this time, the "final two" are, surprise surprise, Kim and Bree--and they're both, like, totally crying and trying to hold themselves together. Tyra tells Kim the judges love her, but week to week she's just not that consistent. This week, her photo just isn't that great. Tyra says Bree's photo is the best, but her personality sucks; and Tyra looks her in the eye and snarls "Bree, you wanna go home?" Bree shakes her head and says no. The music plays. The drama builds. And Tyra pulls out Bree's picture, letting her stay. Which means Kim needs to go home. And Nicole is totally wrecked because she and Kim are friends. Cue to TV viewing audience to feel angst and sadness, too. Can you believe Bree is in it another round? Mon dieu.
In Kim's final interview, they flash her pictures, and she really is hot. I met Kim at the Out 100 party, and she seemed perfectly nice--and she is also quite beautiful. So best of luck to Kim. She'll be a TV reporter or a host on some show on Logo or something.
Hello, and welcome to your Monday. I hope your Monday is a pleasant experience, reasonably lacking in negative influences and annoying people. I, for one, am finally wallowing in the benefits of living in Texas--after a summer of 105 degree afternoons, now in these final days of November it is in the low 80's. Please come visit sometime soon, I know of some good restaurants.
Things we need to discuss before you take your next breath of air:
1) Focus On The Family is running ads on Oprah and Dr. Phil. FOF is the #1 anti-gay organization in the US, pouring zillions of dollars into lobbying the government to enact every gay-people-are-the-devil law out there. They're really mean. And they've been around for years. Since when do Oprah and Dr. Phil endorse hate groups?
Fuck you, Oprah. Hope you like the money you made from them. Dr. Phil, I'm not surprised; coming from a fat guy who writes diet books and tells people they "must like being fat" if they are overweight, well...I never agreed you were smart.
Speaking of smart people: I'm smart right now! Tidbit of info for you today, for those of you who don't know:
"Lobbyists" are people who go to Washington, D.C. and chase down politicans to persuade them into doing certain things that will benefit a particular group. I.e, agriculture has lobbyists, the National Rifle Association has lobbyists, the petroleum industry has a LOT of lobbyists. The term was created back in the 1800's, when these people would wait in the lobby of the Willard Hotel in D.C., and try to grab politicans' attention when they were on their way to the Willard's bar after long legislation sessions.
2) Last night I saw Rent. Of me and my two friends, I liked it the most; my friends grew weary of the heavy-handed artsy drama. But I thought it worked...it was a pretty good movie. I have never seen the stage version, but apparently it follows that script pretty closely. And it is very sad... it left me emotionally unstable and a little needy. So I went home, turned on the TV, and upon scanning the guide screen I noticed Titanic was playing. I had never seen Titanic, perhaps making me the only person in America who had not seen Titanic; so in keeping with the "new experiences" theme of the evening I decided to give it a shot. Three hours and twenty minutes of death and destruction later, my emotions were in shreds. I haven't been right all day.
3) If I want to learn how to design web sites for small businesses, what class do I need to take? I don't think Microsoft Front Page will cut the mustard.
4) Anyone have a cool talent they want to show on a talk show? I might be a guest host again. The weirder, the better.
--Is that what Naima said? What were the exact words?
In the spirit of America's Next Top Model, and to live out my dreams of being a Cover Girl spokesperson, I give you my old modeling beauty trick of the day week month year whatever: If your hair is dirty, but you either (a) like they style, or (b) don't have time to wash it because you're on your way out the door, rub some talcum powder in your hands and then run your hands through your hair. Then shake the powder out, although most of it won't come out again. The powder absorbs the grease, and your hair looks clean and not-stringy once again.
Baby powder words too, if you don't mind smelling like fresh baby butt all day long.
Although I don't think I'd want to be a Cover Girl spokesperson, if it means I'd have to accost Japanese tourists at the Union Square Coffee Shop and make them try my products. Never mind, I don't want to be one after all.
You know how McDonald's establishments are, like, beautiful restaurants in Europe and Asia, while in America they're pretty much crap? I used to be jealous of that.
In America, you go to an H&M clothing store and you feel like you've hit the motherload of fashion-forward fabulousness. In Europe, H&M stores are dirtier than your average K-Mart.
After traveling these past three weeks over three continents, I encountered many cultural differences which often caused me to pause. But social customs, table manners, social status of women versus men--these issues may take effort to accept, but they are not to be questioned simply because one is an American. We must embrace all the differences that allow us all to live lives unique, and allow others to find the paths that are right for them.
Except there is one cultural phenomenon I simply cannot grasp:
For those of you unfamiliar with the bidet, it is the entity on the right of the photo, next to the toilet which appears on the left. I have a camera full of pictures of bidets, simply because they fascinate me. It's not a toilet, it's not a sink; it's a place to squat down and stick your nether-regions out into the open and achieve contact with water, for the purpose of making yourself clean. A nice idea? I guess so. Pratical to implement? Not at all whatsoever. I tried.
Click on the picture to enlarge the image, and take a closer look at this bidet. Most of them, as is the case with this one, feature a spigot from which a gentle stream of water flows. However, when positioning yourself over the bidet, you have to squat down straddling the thing--thereby placing anything that needs to be washed towards the center of the bidet bowl. The stream of water is not strong enough to shoot all the way over and hit your targets, especially with the rest of your body in the way. And if you try to turn around for a more comfortable angle, facing the spigot, when you squat you bang your knees against the wall. A fountain from the center of the bowl would prove practical in this position; but as with this bidet (and most others), that's not what you get. And I must ask, why not? I don't get it.
So are you supposed to use your hands, and flick the water where it needs to go? I don't see how. When you do, you get water everywhere and drip it on your clothes. And no one wants bidet water on their pants. Nor are there EVER towels or toilet paper or anything within reach (notice, in this picture, the lack of drying implements!), so you have to shuffle over to the sink with your pants around your ankles. And then you trip and kill yourself. All because you wanted to see how the bidet works.
Always forward-thinking, the Asian solution appears to solve all these implementation problems:
Thank God I had my camera in my pocket, because as soon as I entered the bathroom I freaked out with excitement and took this picture. Simpler and space-saving, there isn't a separate unit for the bidet-ing; this model is merely a user-friendly hose attached to the toilet itself. The nozzle has a little lever on it, which you press to get a stream of water. Seems easy, right? Of course, I just had to try it, only because it was there begging to be tried.
Sadly, when I pressed the lever, a jet of water screamed forth from the hose with such force, the nozzle flew out of my hand. Instead of a gentle cleansing, I just shot myself in the head. I would have taken a picture of my face and hair dripping wet, but I was just too upset. This, of course, commenced at a formal dinner where I couldn't really explain that I was wet because I am flummoxed by the presence of bidets yet have no idea how to use them.
I loved the cultural exchange of being abroad. I loved the food. I loved an excuse to brush my teeth with Evian lest I accidentally ingest the local water. THAT made me feel fancy. But the bidet, I can do without. I see no point. And I refuse to believe anyone actually uses them, anyway. I think they are just there to fool the foreigners.
Hello, and welcome to your Monday. I hope your Monday is filled with sunny skies and gentle breezes, even if you find yourself in the gray doldrums of encroaching winteriness. It's all about perception. Find the sun, it's out there somewhere.
Things you need to know before you can take your next breath of life:
1) If you haven't seen Harry Potter...it's, like, 2 1/2 hours long, so beware. And too much was cut from the original story and yes people always say that about books-to-movies but I think this time it mattered. I.e., the big international quiddich match at the beginning, and then how the bad guys blow up the camps? So much dialogue was obviously cut through the various editing processes, you don't really fully grasp what is happening. The freaky maze in the Triwizard Tournament? They cut all the stuff that happens inside, and the only thing they face is some man-eating bushes. Big effing deal. But blame the movie makers, I do not; these books are way too long and involved to make into movies. They're just going to have to Kill Bill the next movies, and split each story into two parts. As they are right now, they just don't work.
Although this movie was often very funny. So it's worth seeing, if you can sit still that long and you haven't read the books so you don't care that the best parts of the stories are cut.
The silver lining: apparently, when casting the Bulgarian students, they raided the ranks of the Bel Ami eastern European pornography-superstars. Smokin'. And was I the only one who noticed Viktor's EXTRA-LARGE, CURVED WAND? Hmm. Freud called, he needs to talk to you, Mr. Movie Director. Too bad he had only one line, and he delivered it with the presence of a brick. Not that I cared. Those lips! Mmm.
Is it weird I appreciated a Harry Potter movie for its sex appeal? I'm a dirty bird.
2) You KNOW I'm the one doing the story onProject Runway for the Post. I do the interviews this week. Don't be jealous. I'll share it all when I have it written. Yum.
3) Like eating fresh veggies dipped in ranch dressing? Delicious. But you might as well dip them in butter, that stuff is so artery-clogging. Try dipping them in dijon mustard. Just as tasty. My favorite? Carrots.
4) If you go to Paris, visit the Hemingway Bar in The Ritz. Order the Robertini: vodka, Cointreau, fresh mashed orange, a splash of cranberry, all shaken with sprigs of mint. Holy deliciousness, Batman. Screw the French wine.
That is all. I otherwise slept all day. This is all I got. So via con dios. Be nice to your neighbors, don't steal anyone's lunch money, help an old lady across the street.
I've posted several times about places I'm preparing to visit, and asked for suggestions of what to do/where to go/etc. All sorts of recommendations have been posted to the comments of this blog, for cities like New York, Paris, glamourous and fun and interesting locales. The suggestions have proven insightful and quite valuable. Thanks to all those who contribute.
This week I am going to Shreveport, Louisiana.
Any suggestions on how to occupy my time while I am there? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
I hate the guy on the plane who sat next to me, with his perfectly-combed haircut, reading his Barron's newspaper. He looked so smug. His wife sat across the aisle with a squirming toddler whose shreiks matched the pitch of the silly kiddie movie playing at full-volume on their portable DVD player. Which is worse: the wailing kid, or the bells and whistles of the movie? Seriously, it's a tough call. Both were horrid. And you know Dad always makes Mom sit with the kid. He never offers to take the kid first. Because he has a job, so he should get to relax, right? Jerk. Moms like her need to learn to stick up for themselves more effectively. It's a cultural problem.
Although after three hours of flying, Mom reached her limit and insisted on switching seats, so Dad could hold the kid while she read a Star Magazine. She just stared at the pictures on the page and rubbed her forehead. I feel bad for women like her, who read those papparazzi-based stupid trash magazines, so they may revel in gossipy stories of misfortune befalling the rich and famous and not feel so lonely in the bland horror of their own lives. Reading that magazine, all about the latest chapter in the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Anniston chronicles, she looked defeated, frazzled, and very bored. Not that her cracker-jack husband looked like any fun at all, either. Poor lady.
And she's pregnant.
As soon as I figure out how to get the pictures off the camera, I will post them. I have 252 photos, minus a few nudies that SHALL NOT be published unless I want some publicity and pretend the camera was stolen and they mysteriously find their way to the internet. Perhaps I'll figure it all out while I am in Shreveport doing...whatever it is you do while you are there. One can only guess.
Or maybe I'll do it tonight. I wish I could sleep.
Hello, and welcome to your Monday. I hope your Monday is filled with bright shiny faces smiling upon you, presuming being surrounded by all those happy people wouldn't freak you out a little bit. 'Cause it might, you never know.
I would like to send a special warm greeting to Dan Savage, who wrote "The Commitment," a book all about his relationship with his lover/spouse/significant other/whatever label floats your boat. Thank you, Mr. Savage, for writing this book, all about the intricacies of surviving quasi-marital entanglements--because now I am dating someone who just started reading this book of yours, and cannot make it through an entire page without putting the book down and glaring at me, saying something to the effect of "Oh, you so totally do that," or "Oh, we're going to need to talk about this one later," etc. I'm becoming a nervous wreck. And I thought we were perfectly happy, until your book entered into our lives and informed us we weren't.
Next time you write a book, include your phone number so we can call you mid-"discussion" and ask you to mediate. Wouldn't that be fun?
Hugs, people. I'm going to be traveling through Europe for the next week or two so sit tight if I don't post often. I promise to take lots of pictures.