a really cute dress…

August 17th, 2009

I had a vision while I was in a dressing room at a thrift store earlier today.  The dress I was trying on for size fit …per say.  It was small around the arms, but everywhere else it was adorable!  However, I knew there was going to be trouble on the way back out of the damn thing when I was squeezing my arms into the proper position to make the look work.  You don’t understand, it was a very cute dress.   Anyway, I got the dress on easily enough (just a hint of what was to come had been seen).  I took it out for a turn on the catwalk that is the dressing room hallway and got unanimous approval of how good an idea it was that I had picked this dress up.  By unanimous, I mean myself and my fella.  I have a great deal of trust when it comes to fashion opinions regarding both of these people.

I strut back to the fitting room happy with the selection.  The arms don’t look or feel bad when adjusted in place, the dress actually feels great.  It’s as if Florence Henderson had a dress that could actually breath because it wasn’t synthetic.  Here comes the real test.  I have the disadvantage of having a hat on my head due to a rather unfortunate hair day that has to come off.  I proceed to raise my arms up over my head for the pull-it-straight-off approach.  This is not done as thoroughly or gracefully as it should have, for my left arm is still sore and bulky in a brace.

There I stand …my hair in Buckwheat disarray …arms crookedly struggling to reach in a straight line …swinging my torso from side to side.  I think I figured it would give a little more in the awkwardly restrictive shoulder area as I wiggle out of this, um, very cute dress.  I won’t even get into the panicky complications by the fact that I consumed way too much water beforehand.  This is when the vision occurred to me.  I all of a sudden slowed down my struggles and thought about worst case scenarios getting out of this dress so that I could find a bathroom and go home.  I all of a sudden saw myself getting cut out of the dress with scissors by one of the sales girls in the fitting room and then having to pay for the two halves of a really cute dress.  The very best part being that immediately I would go down in that store’s history as a customer urban legend.  “Oh my God, I just had to go in the fitting room with a pair of scissors and literally cut this girl out of one of our dresses …she had unhinged hair, was reaching for the sky like it was a stick up …and I think she was performing a pee-pee dance….you had to be there…seriously…” **laughter ensues as they call over their manager and re-tell the story and have another laugh**  Then a new-hire hears about it in a month’s time and the story lives on.  You think I’m exaggerating, I’ve worked customer service since I could get a job.  These things happen, and the employees live to laugh and re-tell it …and laugh again.  Hell, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself in the midst of all this squirming.  I really like this shop for all of my bargain hunting needs, it would have been a great inconvenience to have mortified myself there.  Seriously, there’s no way to really make more of a joke out of something like that.  When someone is cutting you out of a dress in such a state …do you shrug and go ” ha ha… I’m stuck!  Could you do me a solid and not mock me to my death so I can come here without too much hassle to my self esteem?  …So how’s your weekend?”  No, because I wasn’t in the position to shrug …the shoulders being the problem area and all.  Luckily, the whole thing remained an amusing scenario in my head for those few nerve wracking minutes in the fitting room.  Once I relaxed and took it slow, the dress slid off.   I proceeded to get dressed and put my hat back in its rightful position on my head.  Crisis averted.

Oh, and I got the dress.  It’s really cute.

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Ponyo Ponyo Ponyo, it’s a fish kid in red

August 16th, 2009

ponyo

I would like to recommend a film that I saw last night.  I would like to recommend it to EVERYONE.  It is distributed by Disney, so it may come off a bit fluffy at first glance.  Make no mistake, it should be regarded as a work of art.  I am referring to “Ponyo” from the genius that is Hayao Miyazaki.  If you aren’t familiar with Miyazaki let me just introduce him to you by saying that he is one of the most respected men in the industry.  John Lasseter (one of the main guys at Pixar) bows down to him any chance he can get… in fact he gets behind Miyazaki as an executive producer.  So yeah, my point simply put is this:  Miyazaki is an undisputed gifted visionary in the world of animated tales.  Even if you are of the small pool of people that don’t enjoy animated stories, you will enjoy his.

This is Miyazaki’s eighth film for Studio Ghibli.  Studio Ghibli is responsible for converting me into an anime fan.  It is a studio that delivers.  Each film Miyazaki puts out shares some similar traits.  They are all based in beautiful enchanted environments.  The characters and stories (often environmentally based) are developed in a way that makes the audience really care and get immersed in the world.

As I was saying before, I would tell anyone to go see “Ponyo.”  It is the most child friendly of the Ghibli films since “My Neighbor Totoro.”  It’s a charming mellow ride where the conflict is not scary and easily resolved.  If that sounds boring to any of you, it isn’t.  The animation is so creative and stunning to the eye and, consistent with all of Miyazaki’s previous films, the story takes you on a ride.   I love when I leave a movie and its tone stays with me long after I leave the theater.  “Ponyo” is that kind of film.

I don’t want to give away much of the story.   I went into it with no idea about  it other than water, a goldfish/girl creature and a little boy who develops a relationship with her.  It’s fun to watch it with a blank canvas and just enjoy the unfolding process.  Miyazaki wrote it inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” (not to REMOTELY be mistaken with the Disney version).  This isn’t to say it’s an adaptation, but there are qualities and story aspects that tie in to the Andersen tale.  I totally called it while I was watching it (she says smugly).

I would stress even further that you should go while it is playing on the big screen.  The upside to having Disney dollars under your belt is the strong budget to back up the surreal visions with the necessary tools to bring them to life.  These visions are best seen on as large a platform as possible.  It brings an added sense of exhilaration to the experience.  The music is a gorgeous series of orchestrations (another consistent perk to all Miyazaki films) …so you are going to want that pro sound system you’ll only get at the theater.

Unfortunately the movie was placed in one of the shoe box sized theaters on opening weekend.  As a result, when I walked in to the theater every single seat was occupied but those oh-so coveted spots two feet from the screen.  As happy as I was the movie was drawing a crowd, I would have walked out and gone to a later showing …but I already had my popcorn and cherry coke in hand.  I was extremely frustrated for the first twenty minutes or so.  This is no fault of the film.  In fact, from the very start, this film has so much to behold it isn’t possible to take it all in with your forehead pressed against the screen.  Eventually I got wrapped up in the story enough so that I adjusted to the seats and just enjoyed.  I look forward to going again.  Only next time I will take twenty giant steps back, thus allowing myself to appreciate every aspect of this bewitching treasure.

Just in case I haven’t made it clear, I suggest you do the same.

Use the url provided below to see the preview.  It will give you an ambiguous but fair sense of the awe that is to come if you get your ticket…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BfNtYF94cQ

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Does this leotard make my ass look fat?

August 14th, 2009

lady-gaga-ass

I am going to be Lady Gaga for Halloween this year.  Yes, I start thinking up my costumes starting November 1st for the following year.  I figured I had better do Gaga now for a few reasons.  First, I adore her.  It took a minute for her to grow on me, but I just adore her as far as fun pop figures go.  It is a newly appointed life dream to go to The Abbey on a Saturday night and dance around to a Lady Gaga marathon with her true appreciators.  I don’t think they actually hold Gaga marathons, not even at gay bars, she doesn’t have enough of a catalog yet …someday …someday.

Another reason I need to emulate her now is because she has popular culture relevance right now. I firmly believe she is better than your average pop performer in every way.  She writes not only for herself but for some other notable little starlets who have zero ability to come up with anything on their own.  She can sing, play instruments, is hungry for her work and most obviously…. the woman is fierce.  She will keep her image intriguing to keep people interested in her ditties.  However, one can never tell and I like her enough as a character to make sure I get my chance to play her for a day.  I don’t want to go in a  year or two and have people think I am Gwen Stefani circa 2007 or just a hum drum drag queen.  Lastly, it’s important that I go as Gaga while I can still pull it off physically.  This woman does not often hide behind, uh, clothing.

She is known for her crazy wardrobe, but she is also known for not wearing the pants.  I don’t like bothering with pants myself, but I generally wander around in my underoos in the privacy of my own home.  But I need to do this properly.  I have started  browsing around for the wardrobe.  I am planning to rock the makeup big time, throw on a blonde wig, fingerless gloves…but there needs to be the all important center piece of the look.  I discovered that by looking on ebay under “80s workout gear” or even more specifically “80s leotards” I hit a plethora of choices that would work.  I found the perfect one.  Actually, I think it’s a strange one-piece bathing suit.  Come time to put the costume together, all that matters is that it achieves the desired effect.  I recieved the central part of my “outfit” today in the mail.  Obviously, the first thing I did was try it on.  It is a gutsy decision to select this particular costume idea when you are haven’t shown your body at so much as a beach in a year.  I had to see if I should even dare do this before I proceeded any further.  Well, I am going to proceed.  It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s not horrific either.  Hey, Lady Gaga has some curves herself (hallelujah! how refreshing!)

I have been wanting to feel in shape again for a while now.  My most recent injuries have been getting in the way of really getting back on track, but starting now I need to at least get in some squats and lunges.  My biggest concern is the rear section.  I will have the benefit of wearing ankle boot heels.  Ladies, we all know heels do wonders for the bum and the legs in terms of flattery …but they ain’t magical.  My arse is doing some strange things with the cut of this leotard and I want my legs a little leaner.  That’s managable.  A Halloween costume is as good a motivator as any to pull it together and exercise.

Vanity/ health…toe-may-toe/toe-maw-toe.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out her epic cinematic video for “Paparazzi” …you really ought to.  If you hate her, fine, I won’t hold it against you.  She’s not for everyone.  It will give you a full scale idea of what I am trying to pull off.  This video is neat cool inspired alien astronomical!!!!  You have to give it a second to get going because it is like a short film (just short of 8 minutes), but damn, fun times.

PS the photo above is what I am using as my Macbook’s wallpaper until Halloween to motivate me to get up and going running.  It’s pretty effective.

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Barrel Fever

August 14th, 2009

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I am proud to say that I have read all the books that David Sedaris has published.  He and Augusten Burroughs are amongst my literary heroes who have an excellent track record for taking any subject and making it engaging and laugh out loud funny.  They are New Yorks Times best selling authors, but that doesn’t mean anything.  Lauren Conrad is a New York Times best selling author.  This only proves how idiotic most of the population is.  What is the point of reading a book if that is the chosen work?  They’d be better off saving their time and cut right to the chase of brain cell reduction by flipping on “The Hills.”

I digress.  I’m sorry.  A majority of reality television just  makes me so mad.  It is the epitome of a culture in its great decline.

Back to my point.

I have no doubt Sedaris is popular due to his intelligence and hilarity… so why then was his book of collective stories and essays “Barrel Fever” so bad?  Okay, “bad” is a crude choice of words.  Sedaris’ worst work is still better than a lot of people’s best efforts.  I have to say though, I’m disappointed.  It has just left me feeling flat.  I’ll credit part of this to the fact that it is one of his earlier works (he’s also published in magazines and speaks on NPR).  In fact, it’s the first of his books.  This guy grows better with age.  I looked into it, and the book in question came out in 1995.  Next came “Naked” and “Me Talk Pretty One Day” …both good books, but it doesn’t get really good until “Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim.”  If you have not read that, just cut to the chase and read this book before all others.  Some would argue with me, but his newest release “When You Are Engulfed In Flames” is excellent as well.  It has a few stale areas, but you don’t get better than when he starts describing the difficulty of male accessorizing and his use of a padded ass to fill his pants in nicely and the “stadium buddy.”  I won’t give it away for you.

I’ve been trying to spend my time (when not fake farming, of course) reading as much as I can.  I thought “Barrell Fever” would be an easy delight.  The best he had to offer was a tongue and cheek holiday newsletter, but I had already ready it in his collection of holiday stories “Holidays On Ice.”  Nothing new here.  I have made it half way through the book.  Each chapter is a completely different story or essay, so I keep waiting to see if something will stand out.  I’m about ready to give up and move on to either “Popism” which is a book Andy Warhol wrote or Wally Lamb’s “The Hour I First Believed.”  Wally Lamb has written the likes of “She’s Come Undone” and “I Know This Much Is True.”  Both excellent reads.  I love Sedaris’ ability to document his life in such an articulate biting fashion.  On the other hand, Lamb writes wonder intricate works of fiction.  Something for everyone!  If anyone has any good suggestions for me, please, feel free to throw them out there.  Mom, you suggested those works from the gal of Newport Beach.  I’m going to get there.  As of right now though, I am the gal of Newport Beach.  I don’t want to hear anything more of this place other than what I already deal with daily.

So my point is this: go pick up some David Sedaris and enjoy, but don’t pick up “Barrel Fever” because it is the dullest of the bunch.  I have suffered on your behalf.  Hey, patience can be considered a form of suffering …or a virtue, whatever.

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Hi. My name is Ariel, and I’m a Farm Townaholic.

August 14th, 2009

farm_town_sleepy_piggy_t_shirt-p235459829736461436u2o7_400

It’s true.  I need help.  It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I close down in the evening and in the middle of the day I harvest around my plans (I suppose it’s better than planning my day around my harvests).  “What is Farm Town?” you ask?  Don’t act like you don’t know… I bet half of you have a little fake farm all your own.  BUT, for those of you who aren’t in the know…it’s exactly what it sounds like.  You create a little avatar who tends the farm to your commands.  You are given a plot of land to which you can do anything you want.  At first, it’s all about buying what little seeds you can to grow and sell and you go about visiting your “neighbors” to work their farms (ie; your friends who are also addicted to their faux farm) to gain experience points which promotes you to the next level, unlocking further seeds and goodies to decorate the land.  You can also expand your land as you go, given you have enough experience points and money saved up of course. When you have more land, you have more space to buy more stuff to plant and decorate with.

There is a mystique to whatever the great appeal is to this game.  It bleeds dry your free time that could spend reading a good book, drawing a picture, doing something…ANYTHING else that you could should be doing.  I could argue that the built in instant messaging system has brought me closer to my friends who also play, we talk while we farm …and we do it often, because we’re all hooked on making sure all our crops are in good shape or just staring at the land seeing how we can re arrange it from a landscaping perspective, adding our newly unlocked items that we purchased with all the riches we have earned.  I suppose I could just as easily argue that these friends I am in touch with through fake farming could be called and spoken to like the old days.  If we did that though, who’d be tending the farm?!

The game is cleverly designed to keep you coming back.  You want that gazebo for the new house you just bought, you need to gain access to the pineapple seeds because they make a ton of money when they harvest, and once you sell the pineapples off you can finally buy the fencing to make your barn animals a nice little pen.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I have a theory that people turn to Farm Town because it is so far from real life.  Who doesn’t need a good trip away from everyday living?  On your farm, you have complete control.  Well, except for when it freezes, boots you off or plants things where you didn’t ask it to because it is a beta version (and yet we STILL go back for more regardless of the annoyances it brings, many still find it to be their “tranquil place”).  It is a place where you can do soothing repetitious activities and routines that you know will bear pixilated fruit.  Can real life give you such a promise?  You have the sense of accomplishment when you see your beautiful sprawling property you created, when you reach another level, when you get a huge payout from your work and you get that false sense you are a smashing success.  Only by the game’s standards, you are a smashing success …and that counts for something.  It takes the times when you were a kid and would gaze at all your earnings in Monopoly and go “Gee, I wish this was REAL money!” to the next  degree.  Then again, there are people who just like playing a game.  I might be reading too much into it.  However, from what I can tell from my talks with other addicts, I’m not too far off the mark.

After much developing, climbing and “laboring” on my friends’ farms, I have reached level 30 or rather “Awe Inspiring.”  Yes.  Each level dubs you with a title.  A very flattering title.  Who doesn’t like to have their ego inflated being told how awesome they are …if even from a computer game?  If I make it a few more levels I will be a “Green Wizard.”  I will have officially earned my nerd status.  I’ll have found a way to illustrate that I’ve spent literally hours working a digital farm to achieve the rank of…Gandalf.  Worst part?  I would love to be called a wizard!  Dumbledore is a wizard, and he’s a bonafied bad-ass!

Hmm, that’s a conversation of shameless geekdom for another time.

Once I reached level 30, I found that I had pretty much simulated purchasing and building everything I would have wanted for my little home away from home.  I’ve had to find ways to keep things interesting for myself.  The high wasn’t as strong.  I could actually quit the game and go back to doing things that better myself, you know, productive activities …but that’s beside the point.  I found a way, for now, to entertain myself so it’s still a relevant way to spend my down time.  I was playing with the “appearance” section of my profile and discovered that the darkest skin provided looks more like oompa loompa orange than dark skin.  Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was “Huh.  She kinda looks like Lindsay Lohan.”  So next came the huge orange hair, you can assume most of that is as fake as her spray on skin.  Then, I added some glazed over green eyes.  For a finishing touch, she was given a mouth that hangs open like a drooping O.  She has the accurate appearance of a gal who had a bit too much recreational time in the bathroom at any given venue on Sunset.  The farm’s name has been changed to “Lohan Rehab Ranch.”  Every time I see her, I crack up.  The expression is that funny.  In reality, Lindsay Lohan makes me sad.  She is another product of child stardom and not having anyone to look out for her.  We are all watching her downward spiral, and there is not a thing we can do about it.  However, this isn’t reality, this is Farm Town …and in Farm Town, Lindsay Lohan is pretty funny.  It only makes sense to have rehab barn on a such an enslaving game.

The best, is when I can’t find my little avatar so I go scanning around my farm and then there she is!  Little Lindsay is wedged between some shrubs peeking out with her mouth hanging open gazing at nothing in particular and a cow is alternating chomping grass and sniffing her (it is a rehab ranch after all).  It’s like a more screwy version of E.T. hiding in the stuffed animals.

I apologize to those of you who don’t find this subject interesting.  I will move on after this little rant.  It’s just too big a part of my time right now to not acknowledge.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?  I am actually getting to the point where I could stop any time I want, pretty soon… I will.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check if my grapes need harvesting…

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