Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mission Statement

I had a shitty day yesterday, and was feeling like, you know, screw this. I don't want to keep letting people get in and hurt me. But one of my friends gave me a quote from Mother Teresa that really hit home, and I think I'm going to try and let that be my motto. Here it is:
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.

Easier said than done, right? But I can try.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

In Defense of Marcel

I admit it, I am reality TV's bitch. In particular, I seem to get roped into the Bravo! network shows. Project Runway is easily one of my favorite shows, though I could have done with a lot less meanness and bullshit drama (Jeffrey and Keith, I'm looking at you). Now, while Top Chef is not as entertaining to me, it’s still a really good show, and I really enjoy watching it. But this season has been absolutely dreadful. The drama had very little to do with the competition, and the competitors just seem to be douche bags.

I get that it's a competition, and I don't necessarily expect everyone to love each other and be friends, particularly if different people have grating personalities. Tiffani last season is a good example: as a person, I couldn't stand her, but she was a good chef and that was largely what made her good TV. Sure, Dave couldn't stop crying, and Stephen was obnoxious with his sommelier crap, but still, that was all competition, and it frankly made for a good show.

When this season started, I was looking for Marcel to be this season's Stephen: probably quite talented as a cook, but an obnoxious git. But unless the editors aren't giving him a fair edit because he ultimately wins, he hasn't been that bad. Yes, he is a gigantic dork; his rapping on the roof is as much evidence of that as his bouffant hairdo. But what strikes me as so odd is that everyone else is constantly bitching about how irritating he is, and last night Elia went so far as to say he "cheated" in previous challenges, and we have seen absolutely zero evidence of that. Okay, his personality may be grating in person, but let's take a look at what he's being accused of:

  1. Being disrespectful in the kitchen: Okay, when? Because what we have been consistently shown is that he tries almost without fail to be extremely respectful in the kitchen. He offered to help Betty more than once even though Betty was a complete ass to him. He asked repeatedly for people to keep the refrigerator door closed, which affected them all and was very inconsiderate of who was not doing it. And every team challenge it seemed, Marcel seemed to take whatever course was left over instead of being a bitch and fighting over it. On the other hand, we've got Ilan, who yelled at Marcel for "snapping" at Betty when Marcel really didn't, and the rest of the chefs all refusing to help him until he had apologized. We've got Ilan blatantly insulting Marcel by trying to foam Italian dressing in one of the quickfire challenges just to mock him. And all of the chefs seemed to insist on shunning and bitching about Marcel, both to his face and behind his back.
  2. Cheating: This is such crap. Prove it. Show one instance in which Marcel cheated. Did he accidentally "steal" a case of lychee? No. Did he alter his recipe in the dietetic challenge? No (Betty). He didn't even take a discount he was most likely entitled to because he didn't know if it was allowed. So, sorry, I'm not biting. There were cameras up your ass at all times. You're telling me you can't find one instance of him doing something underhanded? Oh, he moved your pot Elia? When your burner wasn't even on? After he announced he was moving it? How awful for you. Suck it the hell up.
  3. He's irritating: Granted. His personality could very easily come off as irritating. Anyone that you live with is irritating at least some of the time. I didn't see them treating Betty like shit, and she was irritating. Mikey could be horribly irritating, and everyone loved him. All it ended up looking like was "the cool kids" picking on the kid they decided was the enemy. And the funny thing is if they hadn't done it, I probably wouldn't be rooting for Marcel, because he does have personality ticks that bug, and (far more importantly) his food isn't necessarily the first in line I'd like to taste. But that doesn't give these people the right to try and smear him through the mud, physically assault him (Cliff), slam him on personal things and generally be giant dicks.

It'll be interesting to see if we find out stuff in the inevitable reunion special that shines some light on why Marcel was so reviled. I seriously doubt these people can find a way to justify their deplorable behavior, but I have to believe something was going on that we weren't being shown. In any case, when TC3 starts airing, I seriously hope the drama comes on the side or not at all.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So Weird

People, Kelly Kapowski turned 33 today. Between that and Screech making porn I feel like the fabric of the universe is coming undone. Seriously, I want my blankie.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sweet, sweet victory

So the Colts are going to the Superbowl. And they're playing the Chicago Bears. Honestly, I like the Bears enough that if they win I won't cry myself to sleep. However, if we beat them, I very much would like to call the ex-boyfriend (who is from Chicagoland) and tell him to suck it. Would that be immature, or delicious justice? I can't decide.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Musical Note

Scrubs was a musical episode last night. Why are musical episodes always better? Granted, Scrubs is a stellar show, and I wouldn't miss it no matter what, but as a musical? Even funnier. It was like that episode of Buffy, "Once More with Feeling." I have never seen another episode of Buffy in my life, but that one was really good. (A friend loaned me the first season. I really need to get around to watching it.) Or the episode of Project Runway where Santino sang his "It's Just Fashion" song, or the Daniel Franco song. Or the time on America's Next Top Model where the whole panel burst into song, which was also awesome. Singing just seems to improve things.

All by way of saying if you didn't watch Scrubs last night, see if you can find it on YouTube. It was hilarious, in particular the song about pooing, and the "Guy Love" duet. Solid gold.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Review: Stranger Than Fiction

When I saw that Will Ferrell was doing a movie with Emma Thompson that was pretty much structured around literary allusions, here was my verbatim response: "Oh God, please don't let it suck." I really wanted it to be good. It's not that I don't like Will Ferrell, because I do. But his movies tend to be a bit much. It's that Jim Carrey sweet-jeebus-calm-down vibe that's great... in small doses and when you're in the right mood, and the premise of the movie sounded so witty that I really wanted it to be good. And I adore Emma Thompson, so I was desperately not wanting Will Ferrell to ruin a movie with her in it. (Granted, Junior wasn't really a winner, but it was the early nineties, Thompson was charming in it (and I really didn't know who she was yet), and Schwarzenegger was "acting" instead of "governing," so that was nice.)

Fortunately, I can say without impunity that this movie was really good, even better than expected. For an English major/giant nerd such as myself, all of the literary in-jokes were a total turn-on. (Case in point: Ferrell keeping track of events in his life to try and determine if he is in a comedy or a tragedy.) The writing was witty and warm, and the plot, though not completely unpredictable, was well-structured and moved well.

As for the performances, they were great all-around. Ferrell was very likable, and toned down in a way that reminded me of Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another excellent flick. He let the situation and two of the other characters be the zaniness and focused on building a character that was easy to root for and believe in. Maggie Gyllenhall was absolutely adorable; her character radiated vivacity and wit and a very believable kindness and charm. She's already a very beautiful woman, and the way she played her character only seemed to magnify that. I was falling in love with her, for pity's sake. And the chemistry between her and Ferrell was very easy to buy into. There are two moments in particular, one involving flour and one involving a piece of advice, that just made me root for the two of them so much. It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

As for the secondary characters, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, they were such enhancements for the film. Hoffman plays a helpful, eccentric English professor. He's such a dynamic lead, but he's so darn fun as these crazy side characters, like he was in I Heart Huckabees. Emma Thompson plays the author of Will Ferrell's book, and is a more sarcastic, harder character than she usually plays, and she is a delight. The little crush that she and Hoffman's characters have on each other is completely delightful as well.

The only off-note for me was Queen Latifah's role as Thompson's assistant. Something seems to be missing there, specifically her overall point in the film. I get it, she's the person who's supposed to be helping spur the book along, but there just didn't seem to be any real point to her presence. Which sucks, because I love Queen Latifah and I think she adds a lot to things (see also: Last Holiday, a movie that for all intents and purposes should have been rote and trite but was actually extremely entertaining) and it didn't seem to be there in this film. I'm wondering if there was more of a subplot with her that got edited out, and I hope that if there was it shows up on the DVD.

In any case, Stranger Than Fiction totally did not disappoint. Engaging plot, charming actors with good performances and a movie that treats the audience like it has a brain made the movie a really good experience for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Idol Worship

Here's the problem with American Idol: The audition phase is kind of the best part, because it's before you hear someone kill a song you love, and it's fun to hear people for the first time. But in two hours last night, I think they showed six good singers. In a singing talent show. They showed at least 5 times as many crap ones. It's ridiculous! No one is that into schaedenfraude, are they? I know we like to see things that make us feel better about ourselves, but would we feel so much worse if we actually had to watch people with talent on a talent show? And there's so much making fun just to make fun. It's awful. I guess people like to see that kind of stuff, but what kind of assholes are we that we want to see people get butchered for doing something that we supposedly love? Also, please tell me that it's not possible that so many people are so deluded about where their talents lie. These are people who just want to be on television, right? Not people who actually think they can sing? And their families really don't hate them that much? Because you'd have to hate someone a lot to hear them sound like a goat in a blender and encourage them to audition. So even though I sort of love AI, I think it's making me losing my faith in humanity.

Sub-problem: Ryan Seacrest. He's a robot, right? I mean, no one's really that tan and plasticine, right? I'm afraid.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The interesting thing about breaking up with someone is the number of firsts that come with it. When you first start dating someone, there are all these firsts: first date, first kiss, first time you sleep together, first fight, first “I love you”. And you want to remember them all because they seem so precious and amazing, and like they’re all going to be so important, and that there will be an infinite number of them. And I don’t really think you run out of them so much as I think there comes a point when you don’t notice them as much. Comfort sets in over the adrenaline of the new. And that consistency is just as wonderful as the new because there’s a lot to be said for the expected. Knowing how late someone generally sleeps in on Sundays and what kind of breakfast they like when they get up. Knowing the kinds of jokes that will make them laugh and being able to guess what will be on the TV when you walk into the room just based on what time it is. And all of that begins to feel so permanent even as you know somewhere in your mind that it’s precarious that you just assume that it’s going to keep being there even when you’re wondering if you should be getting out.

And then the split happens, and you’re back to the firsts: first full day of not calling him, then the first week. First time something excellent happens and you can’t tell him about it. First time something shitty happens and you can’t tell him about it. First holidays apart, first trips to a restaurant you both loved (I haven’t been brave enough to do too many of those yet). First time watching movies you watched together. First phone calls to friends that went different ways in the break-up. First time you hear about the dates he’s going on, or you run across his profile on a dating site. And what still surprises me is almost seven months out I’m still running into firsts around every corner, just when I think I’m starting to run out of them and can settle into the comfortable period. And right now I can’t help but wonder, when’s the first day that I don’t still miss him going to be?


Dear Canker Sore,

Hello there. I've noticed that you moved into my lower lip about a week ago. I appreciate that you find me to be a hospitable host, and hope you've enjoyed yourself.


You are roughly the size of a pea. You hurt. Excessively. You don't seem to be getting better so much as you seem to be getting more comfortable. Normally, I'm able to ignore this sort of thing and let bygones be bygones until you go away, but you're making chewing hurt. You make licking my lips hurt, which is unfortunate, because when I have a cold, I lick my lips approximately three hundred times an hour, and I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm getting over a cold. So I could do without your aggravation. So if you wouldn't mind, I don't know, buggering off, that would be great.



You'll notice that the title of this blog is C.R.A.P. That's not because my intention here is to write crap. I got bored at work one day and created the Committee for Random Activities and Play, basically so we could watch Office Space during lunch. Sometimes at work I send around C.R.A.P. emails with dumb fun facts and stuff. I felt like it would be good to have another place to do that. Plus, I read a lot of blogs religiously, and even though I do keep an online journal, this seemed like a better way to have a place to be silly and random. Hence me now having my very own blog. So now that I've done the needless description for the no one who will read this, I guess we can get on with the show!