Sunday, April 27, 2008


Epiphanies tend to come in strange places and at unexpected times: Mine came yesterday in the parking lot of the Towson Town Center mall.

I did what I always do. Entered on Joppa Road, which pours me right onto level C4. This is strategic on my part. Level C4 is one of two levels (the other one is C2) that go straight to the mall—no stairs or elevators required. It’s also the level of my two favorite mall destinations—Anthropologie and Nordstrom. Hell to the yes.

Suffice it to say that on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, level C4 was a fustercluck. Cars everywhere. People faking you out by putting bags in trunks, shrugging apologetically, and going back into the mall. Cars going the wrong way down one-way aisles. Several horrible tableaus involving one person slowly backing their enormous SUV out of a spot, as another person blocks all comers, their turn signal blinking defiantly.

I maneuvered. I found an aisle that seemed less crowded. No luck. I thought I saw a free spot but it was just a compact car. I got stuck in a rolling roadblock. My blood pressure boiled.

And then I did something I never do. Seriously, NEVER. I went up to level C5. Level C5 was about half full. There was no backup, no mall rage, no moving violations. Hell, I think I saw a bluebird sweep in and sing a happy song. I parked and made the horrible trek 25 steps into the mall.

So here’s the question: Why the hell is parking on the mall level so important to me? (And to others, apparently.) Are we all so addicted to convenience that we can’t even walk those extra 25 steps? And don’t we realize that it’s actually a lot more convenient to park on C5? (And presumably C3, though I haven’t confirmed that theory.) Or is something else at work here, some sense of triumph, of superiority—an unflagging belief that getting a better parking spot actually makes me a better person?

All I know is, I’m a C5 girl from now on. You can have your rock star parking, I’ll take my regular chick parking and my peace of mind.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So blonde: The ANTM recap

I learned two very valuable lessons last night during America’s Next Top Model.
For starters, if the slightly pudgy guy with the Eurotrash accent and the blunt cut starts hitting on you at the bar, don’t ignore him. He just might be international super designer Gai Mattiolo.
Also, apparently I’m rooting for Whitney. If you had asked me who my favorite was before last night, I would’ve confidently said Katarzyna. (Well, okay, I would’ve confidently said, “Kat.”) And, indeed, I still think she’s the prettiest of all the girls. And I like her cat walk. (And those awesome, taupe, knee-high boots she was rockin’. . .but I digress.)
But Whitney is such a sweetie. And no dummy, either. After last week’s knowing-what-a-latke-is triumph, this week she clearly identified the Segway. Also, she’s still embracing her inner brunette. “So blonde,” she rolled her eyes over Anya, after Anya misinterpreted Tyra Mail for the zillionth time and face-planted (in a touching tribute to her fallen comrade Claire?) upon arrival in Rome.
So when it was down to Hunchy McLauren, who had clearly just flat-out given up, and Whitney as the Final Two for elimination, I was in a bit of a panic.
To be honest, I didn’t even know why Whitney was in the Bottom Two. Yeah, she was a little over-the-top and cheesy in her Cover Girl commercial. But at least she nailed the Italian, moved ably from one mark to the next, and actually projected a little enthusiasm.
Compared to Dominique, who looked like she was auditioning for a Chiquita Banana commercial, she was money.
But suddenly, at judges’ table, there’s Nigel saying, “Lauren has consistently taken better pictures.” Rut-ro. Wasn’t this arbitrary “body of work” rule what saved Fatima last week?
Thank goodness, Empress Tyra was on Whitney’s side. “I thought she did pretty well,” she shrugged. Game. Set. Match.
So Lauren is back to Brooklyn, where, to be honest, she’s about as “punk rock” as Hannah Montana.
And now the real question: Does anyone else think we’re on a collision course to a Fatima/Anya finale? I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m on Team Whitney and Team Katarzyna. (For the record, I’m also on Team What the Hell is Dominique Still Doing Here.) We shall see.

(An aside: Did Miss J look especially like an Oompa Loompa at judging panel, or is it just me?).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thanks a Latke! The ANTM recap

Let’s get this out of the way first: Whitney knows what a potato latke is? Whitney? That little shiksa from Florida? What’s next? A little kugel with Fatima? Some kreplach with Dominique? A touch of kipper with Lauren? Color me impressed.
Okay, onto the show.
Ah, poor Stacey-Ann. As she stood there, on the hangar-turned-make-shift judging room, I felt for her.
First of all, she had recently discovered that being a social dynamo required more than marching up to people and blurting out “I’m from Miami!”
Second, she’s a pretty girl, but she looks nothing like any actual model I’ve ever seen (except for maybe a little bit like Saleisha around the eyes, but does that really count?). And there she is, standing next to gorgeous Fatima, who looks, well, like a lot like models I have seen before, specifically one who is married to David Bowie and whose name rhymes with “Scream on.”
And finally, in her lengthy pre-reveal preamble, Tyra practically spelled out how Stacey-Ann was going to lose, coming this close to saying, “And then I will reveal the blank photograph, indicating that Fatima is going overseas.”
Oh well.
The whole travels document drama was so totally contrived, don’t ya think? All of a sudden, on the very week that the girls embark on their trip “overseas” it suddenly dawns on Fatima that she needs her traveling documents? And the only time she can meet with the consulate just happens to conflict with the photo shoot, creating lots of 24-style clock ticking drama? Hmmm, Jack Bauer and I are both skeptical.
Other noteworthy tidbits:
•Will every one of Anya’s challenge wins require her to be completely nude?
•Did Dominique really just say “Jay Georgio” instead of “Jay Godfrey”? That was so random.
•Loved Anya’s dress.
•Whitney’s dress looked like a slutty Hefty bag.
•Agreed that Katarzyna needs to develop a personality. (Even a bad one—hey it works for Dominique.) But damn, the girl looks like a star.
•Drippy Lauren won CGoTW? Really, teenage America? (But that was genuinely instructive to see the difference between Lauren on the set—all fierce—and Lauren in the hangar—all knock-kneed and hunchy. What is UP with that chick?)
Show highlight? The whole “we’re flying in a private jet but you’re flying coach, bitches” moment from Tyra. Now THAT’s the Tyra I know and love.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Idol Thoughts

My girl Kate Amara is guest blogging on American Idol today. Enjoy.

Do we really want to see Simon’s Chihuahuas?


We don’t.

Thank you, American Idol camera crew, for ignoring Ryan’s request to zoom in for a “tight shot.”

Other things I picked up on tonight:

1) Did you know there are two mirrors on an iPhone? There’s the shiny little apple on the back for snapping self portraits…and now, thanks to reflection-loving-finalists like Syesha, we learned the blank touch screen is another great way to gaze into your own eyes!

2) Why do the judges insist on ripping apart my gal from Ireland? Sure, I wore her outfit to the mall in my Madonna “the early years” phase…but man – she can sing!

3) It is not a compliment to have Paula Abdul compare your singing voice to a dog. As in, “the high notes that you hit…I think my chihuahuas are gonna come join you on stage.” Not a compliment. Even if you are as hot as Michael Johns. P.S. was he rockin’ a mini version of the Jessica Alba scarf trend?

4) I LOOOOVVVVEEEE the song “Angels”! I can’t wait to hear how the teen sensation pulls it off.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Um…I could have done without the dry ice.

But David A. will get a few texts from me, and as Simon says, “sail through to the next round.” Dang you David – I’m not going to be able to get that song out of my head all week. But DOUBLE-DANG YOU BROOKE! I like that Carole King song even more. Brooke is oddly unsettling in, but she and Jason Castro are the only two finalists who’s music I would download.

5) Open letter to Kristy Lee Cook: Paula’s Chihuahuas already like how you sound, you don’t need to trick them into thinking you’re taking them out for a walk by marching in place while you sing.

6) Watch out. I was hypnotized when Jason Castro looked into the camera with those big eyes and fluttered his lashes at me. After snapping out of it, I noticed I had texted 23 “votes” to 5703.

Do you think that’s enough?


Are you there?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Slightly Less Frankenstein: The ANTM recap

Talk about a reversal of fortune. On the same week that Claire is unseated as the Cover Girl of the Week, she also gets kicked off the show and hurts her neck. (But besides that, how’d you like the episode, Claire?)

Oh well, such is the fickle finger of ANTM fate. Also fickle? The editing strategy. I was pretty sure that Whitney was a goner, since the show started with random talk of her plus size struggles. If not Whitney, then surely Lauren, who demonstrated that “punk rock temper” means “acting like a raving lunatic.”

This episode, they mixed things up a bit by having the go-sees a few weeks earlier than usual. Apparently, Sprint could not wait any longer to have that GPS product placement.
So the girls got into two teams and went on go-sees.
Things went vaguely Keystone Kop-ish, until Anya discovered the remarkable power of teamwork.
“Lauren answered the phone. Kat wrote down the address and I typed it into the Sprint phone!” she gushed, as though they had all just collaborated on the Manhattan Project.

Of course, go-see day pretty much exists to crush the spirit of the plus-sized model. And I have to say this, of all the plus- sized models they’ve ever had on the show, Whitney is the most genuinely confident. She knows she’s hot and she also knows the truth—that 9 out of 10 guys would find her more sexy and appealing than her stick figure rivals. Still, it can’t be pleasant when Pamella Roland is telling you that you’re a fat pig (okay, not in those exact words.)
So Stacey-Ann wins the go-see challenge, which is good for her, because I sometimes forget she is there. (Speaking of which, what happened to Fatima? She was definitely Princess Mean Girl in the early episodes, with Dom as Queen Bee. Lately, her personality has been disappearing as quickly as her waistline.)

Next, they have some crazy avant-garde theater challenge, hereafter known as the “bug on the windshield” challenge, where the models had to slither on this giant wet Slip ‘n Slide suspended in mid air.
The best moment? Seeing Mr. Jay doing his creepy aerial Running Man impression with Anya noting, “He looked like a silver robot.” Yes, even more so than usual.
Overly exuberant Claire decided the best way to tackle this challenge was face-first, so she face planted and knocked her neck out of whack. Yikes.
Next up? Dominique, who did a good job with this challenge, just as she did with last week’s folk music challenge. This is getting alarming.

Here is the problem with Dominique, as I see it: She is smart, she is focused, she is determined. She does well in challenges. But she’s just not that pretty! I mean, yeah, she has an "interesting" look. And when she’s not sporting Something About Mary hair and slutty tube dresses, she can actually be quite striking. But that Elite casting agent said it best: she looks nothing like a model. Nothing! I defy you to find a single model that even vaguely resembles her. And yet she keeps excelling. How can she be stopped?
Anyway, I hated this challenge, which may have yielded some interesting photos, but had nothing to do with modeling.

They did give Kat the haircut, and, although it wasn't as short as the cool emo wig they gave her, it did allow her to “lose that Eastern European tackiness,” according to Paulina Porizkova (apparently, Eastern Europe is the Staten Island of that continent.)
Panel was interesting, with Tyra continuing to speak in random British accents (watch out girl, they institutionalized Britney for that shit) and hurling a few pointed insults at Nigel (she suggested that he wasn’t enamored with Fatima because “she might not be as attracted to you as the other girls are.” Ha.) Also, Paulina said that Lauren’s walk was “slightly less Frankenstein” than usual. (Not exactly one for the resume.)

So it was Claire’s time to go. They totally sabotaged her with that alien haircut, for sure. But she was something of a one-trick pony, anyway. And lately, she'd been showing a certain amount of “bitchassness” (thank you, P Diddy) that was unbecoming.
Still, she did kinda win me over in the very end when she said, “I left my baby and my husband. . .and my dog.”
Awww. Is it too late to do a recount on Cover Girl of the Week?