Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My annual Halloween Rant about Slutty Costumes

On the way into work each morning, I pass all kind of little mom-and-pop retail establishments – the number of which only increases as I move west into less affluent neighborhoods. On the way in this morning, I happened to notice a clothing store at one of the corners that was showing a bunch of new styles of dresses. Typically, this wouldn’t be of much note, except that all the mannequins were sporting hemlines that ended well above the knee – in some cases as much as six inches so.

Now, I’m (obviously) no fashion expert. As much as I try to understand women’s style choices there are always moments where I am confused. It’s like just when I start to feel like I understand it – they pull something like this and I get all befuddled again. No doubt, this is all part of the plan.

So here’s my confusion. It’s nearly November…in Chicago…last weekend it got down to the mid 30’s overnight. Why would a woman want to wear something so short that even sitting down would be a risky endeavor? And why would a store want to offer nothing *but* that as an option? Is this just a continuation of the “slutty [insert profession here]” costume trend* – only now it’s extending into real life? The only explanation I can guess stems from the visit to the party store that the GF and I took last night. We had to get some decorations but while I was there I saw a full line of “frilly underwear” style women’s undergarments**. How slutty were the models on the packaging? They were basically turned around and lifting their skirts to show off the frills of the underwear inside said packaging!

My friends, we have truly come to a turning point where costumes are being designed so sluttily that there are now “special Halloween costume panties”*** on the shelf designed purely to take advantage of that fact.

* This year’s most ridiculous one? “Slutty Dorothy” from the Wizard of Oz – picture the dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie, now remove about 2 feet of hem and drop the d├ęcolletage down about 4”.
** Remember, this was in a card and party store, not Fredricks of Hollywood
***In multiple styles, mind you…

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Moderation - it's not just for booze anymore

Riding the el this weekend I found myself in a pretty full train, heading out towards O’Hare. In situations like this, it’s nearly impossible not to peoplewatch. And in due time soon I found myself fascinated by this one guy who boarded the train and sat across the aisle from where I was standing. He was notable for one main reason – he had very recently applied some sort of lip balm.

By itself, this would not typically be something I picked up on. I mean I recognize that men sometimes apply chapstick like everyone else. Myself, I rarely go anywhere without my tube of Neutrogena lip stuff*. But I found myself unable to look away from this guy because not only had he applied the lip stuff to his lips, but he had very obviously, applied it to the entire area around his mouth too. His jowls featured a “ring of gloss” around his lips which reflected any light that passed near it, particularly so considering it was about 1:30 and the sun was positioned “just right”. At moments, it was blinding.

So parents - remind your children that lip balm is for the lips, and is not intended for use as a general facial moisturizer. If you don’t, they’ll end up on a train someday looking like a leech in search of its next victim and people will stare.

* This post sponsored by Neutrogena: “If you put stuff on your body and it’s not Neutrogena, you’re probably going to give yourself mange!”

Friday, October 19, 2007


Obviously, things haven't been working out as well as I'd like with respect to my week-daily witticisms here. Honestly, it's been a combination of a lot of things including (but not limited to):
  • A level of crazy-business at work that borders on mad-stupid
  • A lot of TTC-related stuff as we kick off the new season (adding a fourth show - woot!)
  • A plethora of weekend guests lately
  • Having to do my own laundry after needing to cancel my cleaning lady the last two times* due to scheduling conflicts
  • In general, there's not much interesting going in in my life lately

Even if I were to blog, my entries would be mostly along the lines of "Today I woke up and went to work until late. Then I had a meeting. Then I had some cereal for dinner. Don't feel bad, you're not missing much.

So I guess I'm saying I'm taking the next week off just to get through this latest gig playing host and try to get my life organized again. After next weekend I'll have all sorts of adventures to share from the getawway that I'm taking the GF on, so at least I'll have material.

* Which I think is irritating her, understandibly

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quickie - Five of these things are not like the others...

Not a lot of time today (obviously) but I needed to pass along a neat game I found over the weekend. I can't make it past the "park sign" level. Anyone?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pretty + Rich = Happiness, right?

By now, many of you have already heard about the Craigslist posting from a woman in NYC requesting information about how to find rich men to date. And you may have heard about the hullabaloo that her posting created. All over the internet this posting was repeated to much ridicule. Pretty much everyone decried this woman as a gold-digging idiot. And as you can see in the link above, there were a number of responses to the posting where various "witty" men replied how there was little "business sense" in making such an arrangement. Obviously, the woman pulled her posting down, but it was too late. Caught up in the internet version of a "b*tchhunt", the woman's story got passed around on Digg, Reddit, etc until it became a 'net legend.

The way I see it, the woman made just one main mistake: she posted her inquiry on a site full of nerds. Sure, Craigslist has become a pretty commonplace site these days, but it's still full of regular people - the ones who were awkward in high school, who were afraid of talking to the pretty girl, who went to prom - but maybe not with the girl they spent four years dreaming about. Maybe *that* girl was cruel and snobby, maybe she just ignored him. So when this woman made her posting, describing herself as "beautiful" (but acting incredibly shallow) it was like throwing chum into shark-infested waters. Suddenly, all the nerds (who, in true nerd form had been successful post-high school) couldn't wait to get back at her, with predictable results.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I've been fascinated by how visceral the response was to this woman, who had done nothing more than honestly describe what society knew anyway - there are some women out there who are attracted to rich men. It's not like this is some terrible secret, after all. But her only mistake was in doing it so openly in a space that is largely considered public. She would have been much better off (and had much better results) had she done this in a more selective space. For example, consider this link, which I saw an actual ad for on some news site I was reading. When I first saw the ad, I was pretty sure it was a joke - a comic parody of some of the sites out there that claim to be dating sites, but are really just hook-up, escort, or outright hooker sites*. But looking around, as ridiculous as it appears, it's also kind of disturbing. But at least that site claims to be a dating site. If you look up at the corner, you'll see a "sister site" which is basically a site for young attractive women to find rich men who will just give them money becaus they are hot. The amounts vary, but range up to "over $20,000 monthly". Because even shallow girls, apparently, have standards.

In the end, that is what makes the whole thing with the Craigslist posting so interesting for me. Because that girl did nothing wrong other than apparently picking the wrong website to start her search. If she had just found one of these other two sites first, she'd probably be pulling down $20k per month for nothing other than being a "personal secretary"! Sweet deal huh?

* I'm looking at you, And no, I'm not going to link to you, who knows where you've been?

Friday, October 12, 2007

I wore out those old boots by now...

On the way into work this morning, I heard a story on the plight of corn farmers in Illinois on my local public radio station. It was all about how tough things are because everybody think’s they’re rakin in cash hand-over-fist due to the ethanol boom. And while some have done well this year, next year all their suppliers are hiking prices to try and get a piece of the action.

What struck me about the story was how the reporter mentioned that the farmer who was being interviewed was “having trouble with his GPS system”. Now, I understand that some of these farms can get pretty big, but really? A GPS system? Is it that hard to navigate from one row to the next? Sure, it might be harder to figure out whether a portion of soybeans had been harvester already, but corn’s pretty easy to figure out whether it’s been done already – either the stalks are 8 feet tall, or they are stubble. The whole thing seems kind of excessive to me.

Speaking of travels, because I’ve been doing so much for work lately that I’ve been slowly whittling down my “unvisited states map” that I did a few years back. Thanks to work, I can add most of New England and Nevada to my list. Delaware and Virginia were side trips taken during work, but I think they totally count, even if I was just driving through them. Here’s the new map! Woot!

Better yet is that I’ve already got trips coming up to Utah and Rhode Island in the next few months! Of course, my world map is still pretty vacant, but still – I’m pleased with my progress.

Quickie - More than meets the eye...sorta

No real time for a real entry today, again. But here's something neat to make up for my lack of an interesting life.

Note: It's not *actually* a transformer, as it doesn't transform into a giant robot heck-bent on world domination/saving our human asses. But it's still neat-o!

Unbelievable! Paper Toy Transformer ... - Click here for another funny movie.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fell off the blogwagon for a while...

Among the many things I missed about my trip to Europe upon my return to the states was the amount of time I had to blog while I was there. After being gone from work for two weeks, I naturally returned to find two weeks worth of work sitting in my in-tray. Plus, I had to write up all my findings from the show and visits, and publish said report to the company intranet while also getting back up to speed on the strategic planning project I’m heading up for TTC* and the board meeting we had earlier this week. Oh, and my dad and stepmom dropped in for a *super* fun visit this past weekend, which somewhat limited by available time for blogging then too.

All things taken into consideration, I’m feeling like a *total* blog-slacker the last couple weeks because I’ve been so busy that my life has had little to nothing happening that would even remotely be blogworthy. I’ve been so busy that I’ve even failed to email people my usual “Happy birthday” wishes – and that’s bad for me because I’ve got a lot of friends with birthdays in September**. Nor have I been visiting my usual blogroll of friends to stay up to date on everyone. But this weekend I had a business trip get cancelled, so I’ll hopefully be able to catch up this weekend. Yay!

Now, back to work. On the bright side, at least I’m not as bad off as these guys in China:

* The Theater Company. I figure it’s just easier to call it this, so NEW BLOGTERM ALERT everyone!
** Including J.Po. Happy very belated birthday dear friend!!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back to business

Arriving home over the weekend was tough. Not in the “Oh, I miss Europe” sort of way, but rather in the dealing with jet lag sort of way. It took me two days to adjust when I got there, and three days to adjust once I got back. And considering how I was pretty much over jet lag in a single day the last time I went to Europe, I am pretty sure this is another sign I’m getting older.

When I arrived one of the first things I did was to get caught up on all my pop culture news. Shockingly enough, BBC doesn’t carry a lot of coverage of the entertainment scene in the US – I didn’t see a single episode of American reality television. Not that I really minded. But I was excited to see that the new Wes Anderson movie was getting ready to come out. I was even more excited to see that he had made a short film called “Hotel Chevalier” involving one of the characters from The Darjeeling Limited (played by Jason Schwartzman) and Natalie Portman and that it was free on iTunes. Even more intriguing was when I read that Natalie Portman got nekkid in the first few minutes of the movie!

Being a fan of Ms. Portman’s body of work, as well as all things Wes Anderson, I immediately headed over to iTunes to download it. It took a while* but once I watched it, a few things came to mind:

  • I still really like Wes Anderson. Sure, it’s not his greatest work ever (for me, that is The Royal Tennebaums) but it’s better than Bottle Rocket.
  • It’s kind of short. Only a scene or two’s worth of material and there’s a lot of backstory that is (probably intentionally) left out.
  • The nekkidness barely qualifies. Yes, she does take her clothes off, but you never really see anything. It’s “artful” nudity, which actually helps make Natalie Portman that much more attractive – she doesn’t need to flash anyone to show she’s got mad acting skills.
  • Speaking of which, something tells me because the nekkidness was so disappointing that the whole thing was a publicity ploy for Darjeeling Limited. “Visit the website to see Natalie Portman’s first nude scene in film**!”. Judging from the buzz I heard I suspect it’ll work. I mean, it got me, right?

It just goes to show the lengths to which studios will go to build buzz. I’m still a little suspicious about the Hotel Chevalier thing though. Maybe Natalie and Wes really hit it off, maybe they offered her a wad o’cash***, I don’t know. But at the end of that short I found myself thinking “She took her pants off for *that*?” I mean, were *I* Natalie Portman, I don’t think I would have taken the role purely based on the script.

I think I’ll deal with it by simply believing that she really wanted to get into the exclusive “Wes Anderson Movie Regular Cast” clique, and this is what they make pledges do as part of the hazing. I can only thank God that they didn’t publish Bill Murray’s initiation on iTunes.

* It’s a 150MB file, after all.
** Technically, I don’t think that is accurate either, because I know there were some scenes in “Goya’s Ghosts” where she’s not clothed in the asylum, but again – tasteful nudity. And I never actually saw the film, so those scenes may have been cut from the final edit.
*** What with her being so short of cash at the moment only making 2-3 films a year and the residuals from the Star Wars prequels probably only being in the mid-six figures…

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