Friday, June 15, 2007

The End Of My Sentence

Today is my last day here at the office. I have to admit, I never expected a ridiculously repetitive, mind numbing job to be so enjoyable. Who am I kidding really? It was all down-hill after Kev left. I think I'll miss the Green Tea, and 3pm milk and cookie breaks the most. A solid four and a half months have passed though and it allowed me to fully recharge after the agony of my restaurant burn-out. It served me well in studying for the LSAT too, though only time will tell exactly how well.

Now I am on the edge of my summer vacation, staring down into a gorge of opportunity and just waiting for that last nudge. I have a few projects in mind for the next two weeks before I head to the Easy Coast and Vegas, but if the Vancouver weather stays rainy like it is supposed to this weekend, I might end up being more productive than I would like. Tanning will fall considerably down the priority list unfortunately.

I really need to wash my car, start an eBay account, research law schools and application requirements, play at least one round of golf, finish reading 'The God of Small Things' (amazing so far, by the way), write more myself, organize volunteer opportunities, and then eventually find a night job once I get back into Vancouver, whereupon the summer sizzle had better be in full effect. Other than that I can do pretty much anything I want to, which is nice, although impending Law School tuition will require some budgeting over the next year or so, but that can start in September, right, or maybe Halloween?

It will be interesting to see how blogging fits into my new schedule starting Monday, or if it does. I do want to continue waking up at a decent morning hour. Hopefully, I can start going to the gym before noon and leave a lot of day for other stuff. That would be ideal. All of this being said, I'll probably be pretty bored by Tuesday, but it could just be my Seasonal Affective Disorder acting up again. I need my Vitamin D! Deep breaths.

Well, so long to the office, only 7 hours left. Then I can get back into real life where people aren't intravenously hooked up to the Internet 9 hours a day. I think I'll be okay.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Walk or Die!

Since Derek and Hansel’s infamous, David Bowie judged, walk-off/underwear escape, it has been very obvious to me that walking is the most important part of being a successful model. Most of us walk almost every day, with differing levels of success of course, but the truly talented walkers in the industry have been known to wear runways thin with their continuous marching. That might not be true, but if I were getting paid to look good and walk better, I’d be mixing in a little extra practice.

The girls are struggling with Jacqueline’s departure, because she was such a nice girl. If any of the contestants had done their homework, or even ever heard of Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss, they’d know that nice doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m pretty sure the nicest, most trusting water buffalo are the first to get chomped in the neck by Mr. Crocodile. Anyhow, the mood around the house is brightened when they receive digital cameras as gifts from Jay. The next few hours are what a Jpop concert must be like, and the walls are soon plastered with pics.

Jay Mail leads to an early morning arrival at an ice rink. As the girls line up, they are greeted by a team of hockey players, who skate around in circles like Peacocks spreading fantastic feathers. Not surprisingly, the girls appreciate the testosterone boost, but wait, in order to counteract that Testosterone, here she comes… Lights, Camera, Action! Miss Jay arrives. What a spectacle. The girls are delighted, but they should be afraid. Miss Jay takes walking very seriously. I mean as seriously as a stiletto wearing, thin calved, 6’2” gay, black man can I guess.

Soon the girls are paired up with the boys, skating a wee bit, falling a lot (in Mo’s case) and posing it up in a brief moment of fun. Then, the gloves come off. It’s runway time, where the girls walk without any instruction for the first time:

Steff is okay, but by now everyone knows her days are numbered.

Tia bops her booty around more than necessary.

Mo is surprisingly bad, taking little steps and not much better on ground than ice.

So… Rebecca has scoliosis. Extreme spine curvature in modeling is not an advantage, and that kind of signature walk is not what we were aiming for.

Sinead comes out and does pretty well for someone who has no experience; a few of her poses at the runway’s end were amateurishly cute though.

Cori starts to walk and then starts to cry and can’t stop crying because she had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is also the girl whose boyfriend, grandma, and dog died close together. Okay, she gets a pass, but her body parts don’t seem to communicate well. Miss Jay makes her scream and then, not to be outdone, screams like a near-death diva, breaking the tension a little.
Gina is up next and looks good, but the emphasis is always on her wobbly bits, which bounce and bobble a little more than they should.

Finally Tara walks the walk, and as a more experienced contestant, she of the numerous Calgary fashion shows (really?) sets herself up as the one to beat.

Stacey McKenzie shows up following the walking tutorial and takes the girls to Much Music for a little Much On Demand runway show. The girls are coated in Pepto-Bismol and equipped with household items as props before being sent out. The pink body suits are embarrassingly unflattering but most of the girls actually improved quite a bit. Not surprisingly Tara wins the challenge and receives a diamond Baume & Mercier watch. CNTM keeps bringing out legitimate prizes, I’m impressed.

Back at the house it becomes clear that no one is stoked Tara won. She likes to brag about it and is already rubbing most girls the wrong way. Gina is also lumped with Tara as ‘those girls’ but I think she gets a bad rap because she doesn’t want to partake in the teenage drama sphere. Either way, Tara doesn’t want to take part in an impromptu photo collage and is replaced in the line by a shot of Tia’s bum. Funny and apt in my opinion.

The next morning the girls show up for their big day, and are greeted by Nole Marin who giddily tells them they will be doing a commercial for Venus razorblades. Wow, if there is one thing these Canadian gals have shown is that beauty has nothing to do with voice quality. Tara and Rebecca are freaked because they both know the sounds that come out of their mouths are less than melodious; in fact Toads with Tonsillitis come to mind.

Gina does well but looks more like an actress than a model.

Mo’s accent doesn’t come off very well.

Cori had great energy but her eyebrows dance like nobody’s business. She actually looks a lot like Mischa Barton on camera, which is interesting.

Rebecca comes off like a medicated zombie. Not good.

Sinead is amazing (this might become a theme).

Steff sucks (also a theme), even though she has been acting since she was 8.

Tia is dyslexic, so she struggles a little, but her energy is solid and being okay is like being in the top 3 this week.

Tara is last and least, Nole says she sounds constipated, and I have to admit she might have one of the worst voices I have ever heard. There might not be a person alive hot enough to pull it off, let’s just put it out there.

No one is excited for judging, except maybe Mr. Jay, who gets to hang out with Miss Jay again and relive some great ANTM memories like when… well you know what I mean.

Just to annoy the girls a little more, they are asked to walk in super restrictive pencil skirts and all have a great deal of trouble navigating the stairs and subsequent runway. Of course, Miss Jay shows them how to do it on tiptoe while wearing chunky skate shoes. Classic.

Individual criticism is pretty standard; no one shines across the board. Sinead gets the best feedback, but even her walk was pretty boring in the judge’s eyes. Mo, Tara, and Rebecca get lit up to varying degrees because of their terrible commercials.

The final two standing are Steff and Gina. Pretty picture vs. personality. Well, pretty pictures and modeling are almost the same thing. Oh wait, they are the same thing. See ya Steff. Steff says, ‘Three strikes you’re out’ and takes her walking papers. If you’re so consistently in the bottom two, it just isn’t much of a surprise when the time comes.

This week was a learning experience for the girls and did a lot to humble some egos. When you come right down to it, who expected these contestants to make walking and talking look so difficult? I mean they didn’t even have to do it at the same time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The LSAT

Yesterday I took the LSAT. Today I am relieved, but also dismayed that I now have to wait until July 2nd to get the results. Geez, like I'm not an anxious enough person already.

I really think it went well. I mean, if you aren't prepared after doing every practice test since June 2002, then something is wrong.

The Logic Games section was first in my test booklet which was good and bad. After a few seconds, which seemed like minutes of initial shock, I managed to wrap my head around it. Things were looking up. Then I ran into a logical reasoning section and reading comprehension section which both went pretty well.

After a quick break where I unceremoniously scarfed down a sandwich to fuel my brain, there was another logical reasoning section and then a final reading comprehension section which means that one of the reading comp sections was the experimental section. If the experimental section was the final, slightly more difficult group of passages, things are definitely looking up. Time was never an issue, although there was a second on the final section where I missed a question and was confused when I went to fill in 24 D and found 23 empty. Catastrophe successfully averted.

Most people seemed pretty confident, but I got a little boost after hearing a few people put their anticipated max score at somewhere around my minimum. Either way, I have three weeks to wait, and until then it's the 95th percentile (I'm guessing 166-171) or bust. Once scaled scores get over 160, the percentile rank gets up there pretty fast, considering that 8 extra questions right can translate into 12-15 percentile points. Now I'm just rambling, so I'll leave you with the exciting news that you'll probably only have to hear about the LSAT one more time, unless I do really well, whereupon I will get my score tattooed on an easily visible part of my body.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Countdown

I take the LSAT in three days and am finished my contract here at the office in seven! I'm excited/anxious/confident/freaked out/stressed in varying percentages throughout the day.

I have some review and one complete practice test to do before the big day, with the plan being to relax and ensure a good night's sleep on Sunday. I tend to over think in the wee hours and stare at the ceiling, similar to that little kid in the Disney commercial who is 'too excited to sleep'.

Then the focus shifts to a little East Coast Major League Baseball/World Series of Poker in Las Vegas Holiday. After that though, man I don't have a clue. Vancouver, sun, some form of gainful employment, volunteer/intern experience, and then applying to schools. Baby steps, let's just get through Monday and take it from there shall we?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Makeover Day CNTM Style

This week’s episode of Canada’s Next Top Model really did a lot to redeem this plummeting franchise. Mika was tossed last week in a decision that no disturbed no one, and this episode started with the girl’s getting a hot tub as a gift for both the housemates and the viewing audience I must say. Good idea team!

As Jay mail arrives early the next morning, everyone knows what time it is: Makeover Time! The most fantastic day of this or any other year unless you happen to lose the beauty enhancing lottery and get A) a painful weave, or B) all of your locks chopped off against your will.

At the Salon, Nole and Jay tell the girls what they have in store for each of them. For some reason I feel more comfortable with Jay and Nole making these decisions than with Tyra saying, “Hmm, maybe we’ll shave your head except for the two patches around your ears, and then dye them fuchsia. Fuchsia is big right now, very editorial.” Okay, understandable perhaps, but editorial isn’t going to pay for the psychiatrist after the disfigured girl is bumped from the show and loses her job at Tim Horton’s because she scares the elderly.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each girl’s change:

Steff gets a dynamic wedge hair cut.

Tara is going from cat hairball to long wavy weave.

Rebecca will be going from edgy to edge of sanity with a short fir engine red cut.

Jacqueline’s lion’s mane is getting a little dye job but no huge change; they’re going for a Rachel Hunter look.

Tia gets coppery extensions. Can they weave in a muzzle?

Mo is going to go to a chocolate brown and stay pretty short.

Cori is being turned into a Gisele Bundchen style Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Gina is going dark, and her hair is being cut to shoulder length.

Finally, Sinead, like her namesake and Patron Irish Saint of short hair, Sinead O’Conner, is going Natalie Portman pixie.

Wait, did they just show a picture of Natalie Portman on Canada’s Next Top Model? It’s like they’re designing this show for me alone! Maybe they can read my mind, or maybe it’s the endless barrage of episode ‘suggestions’ I send in weekly, just kidding. Kind of.

Other than a special gift/commercial from Covergirl, the makeovers are fairly non-eventful. Gina isn’t super stoked about losing her locks, and Sinead is upset, but only because she is reminded of her sister’s battle with a brain tumor. Tara, weave inserted, might become more cranky than usual, which does not bode well for the roommates. Rebecca takes her new hair the hardest and thinks she looks like a freak. But seriously, will folks back at the slaughterhouse really mind?

After the makeovers each girl jumped into a photo shoot to show off the new look, and this shoot doubled as the episode’s challenge. During blatant LG phone commercials Nole is sending pics to Jay who is no doubt getting an oil change across the street. He comes in after the melee and anoints Sinead as the challenge winner and gives her a $5000 Visa Card to go shopping. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with such a decent prize from CNTM, considering ANTM only rocked the expensive jewelry in nearer the final rounds.

Once back home, things mellow out a little, the girls enjoy the Hot Tub and Gina pulls away a bit, needing a break from the incessant mewling of a few young ladies, namely Tia, who can’t shut up for more than an inhalation at a time. Tara is also getting a little cocky and it becomes apparent that she will become the incumbent ‘bitch’ of this season.
After another puzzling Jay Mail, makeover day is done.

At the Photo shoot, the next day, the girl’s meet their newest co-stars, and they are smaller but equally as slimy as the boys from the nude shoot. They include, sea snails, a crab, a crayfish, an octopus, eels, fish, seaweed, and a lobster.

Steff, who has a phobia of octopi (really?), is the only girl who freaks out. And the photo shoots begin. Sinead rocks her pic, Tia does well, as do most of the girls, although Gina seems to struggle and Nole tells Steff that getting a good shot from her is like fishing in the Sahara. That is a confidence booster for sure.

Sinead leaves for her shopping excursion and comes back with a plethora of pink Holt Renfrew bags. The other girls are excited/super jealous until Sinead/Mother Teresa reveals a present for each of them. Wow, chalk one point up for Sinead.

When they get home the girls find they each received a little black dress and will be expected to modify it in their personal way for judging. The next few hours are mayhem of model inspired arts and crafts.

At judging the next day, the girls truly look like models in their little black dresses. After a mini accessorizing challenge, each girl is reviewed and most of the ocean-inspired beauty shots are great. Sinead, Rebecca and Tara are probably the top three, while Mo, Gina, and Steff, no surprise leave the judges wanting more.

Oh yeah, in the middle there somewhere Sinead collapses; apparently she’s not content hogging the episode with the drastic makeover and challenge win. She also must drop it like it’s hot. Whatever, Sinead can do no wrong in anyone’s mind at this point.

As the judges deliberate, Paul Alexander expresses that he wishes there was a ‘swamp donkey’ in the bunch to make elimination easier. Wow, that was pretty unexpected. Can you imagine Nigel of Twiggy saying that? I also immediately thought about how many ‘swamp donkeys’ we have seen come and go in the many cycles who obviously had no chance of winning. Oh wait, what with Jaslene’s recent win and those twins success, the swamp donkey population has recently demonstrated itself as thriving.

In a fairly surprising move, Jacqueline and Steff are the bottom two. In this case it became obvious that Jacqueline wasn’t model material, although no one doubted that she gave good face. Steff can’t last very long however, since the rumor is that being photogenic is an important part of modeling. You don’t say?

So far I have to admit that CNTM is really upping the ante. Even the production quality seemed better on this episode than the last; maybe someone is finally taking my suggestions to heart. In that case, I would suggest that the next challenge Sinead should face is a photo shoot on the seawall outside of my apartment, with Natalie Portman as a guest judge. A guy can dream right?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Managerial Meltdowns

Baseball is a great sport for so many reasons, including kosher hot dogs and walk off homeruns.

Another great thing about baseball is that it’s the only sport where the managers wear the same uniform as the players. This stems from early on in baseball history when players doubled as managers as teams traveled around playing one another.

In modern times, the baseball manager wearing a full uniform is sometimes a silly sight, especially when filled out by a jolly, rotund fellow like Tommy Lasorda, or a geriatric like Sparky Andersen. But can you imagine a football coach in full pads on the sidelines, or Jeff Van Gundy rocking a basketball jersey on the bench?

Either way, when a grown man pitches a fit like these following videos, you can’t help but think of a little leaguer throwing a tantrum. Hey guys, it’s just a game! But I guess if you’re already being tossed, you might as well make it memorable.

These are three of the most memorable managerial meltdowns in recent history, including base throwing, dirt kicking, and even rosin bag grenade heaving!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAY0aLtScus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8CcJXjbL9Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjNZdy1ZNMs

In related baseball news, I just booked my flight for this year’s East Coast Baseball Adventure where we’ll watch games in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Boston, and New York, including a game at Yankee Stadium on the 4th of July. Heaven on earth.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Some Offensive Gold From Sarah Silverman

If any of you missed Sarah Silverman hosting the MTV Movie Awards last night, have no fear because I'm sure it will be played continuously for the next three months on MTV Canada. You can also watch the entire program on MTV.ca is you really want to, which is convenient because it's spliced into mini episodes so you can skip the annoying parts involving John Travolta or some no name accepting an award, and jump straight to shots of Jessica Biel.

Other than Biel's perfectly sculpted arms, Sarah Silverman was the star of the night, pulling no punches while absolutely roasting young Hollywood. For your viewing enjoyment, here's a link to the best parts of Sarah's opening monologue where Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Tobey Maguire are brutalized. It's the perfect mixture of pleasure and pain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUJ2rSPXScc

And I almost forgot, Biel and Silverman shared this moment... someone at MTV should get a raise:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7qpNPdaCA

Friday, June 1, 2007

Weekend Quotes

Here are some quotes about the weekend for your enjoyment. Maybe you can drop one of these the next time you're partaking in patio beverages and impress everyone with your sparkling intelligence. There's a first time for everything after all. You can thank me later.

The only reason why we ask other people how their weekend was is so we can tell them about our own weekend.

-Chuck Palahniuk

On a lazy Saturday morning when you're lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come.

-Lynn Johnston

Life is a wretched gray Saturday, but it has to be lived through.

-Anthony Burgess

Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.

-Woody Allen

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

-Susan Ertz

The majority of people perform well in a crisis and when the spotlight is on them; it's on the Sunday afternoons of this life, when the nobody is looking, that the spirit falters.

-Alan Bennett

I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell?

-Matt Groening

In the late 19th century Evanston, Illinois, nicknamed "Heavenston" by Frances Willard, was a Methodist-minded town, so pious that the town fathers, resenting the dissipating influence of the soda fountain, passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of ice cream sodas on Sunday. Some ingenious confectioners, obeying the law, served ice cream with syrup but no soda. This sodaless soda was the Sunday soda, and became so popular that orders for "Sundays" crossed the counter everyday of the week. When objection was raised to christening the dish after the Sabbath, the spelling was changed to Sundae, and so developed one of America's most characteristic dishes.

-William Lyon Phelps

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Canada's Next Top Model

I’m a little hesitant to begin CNTM blogs. This last cycle of ANTM really left me with a bad taste in my mouth, probably similar to that of licking the alleyway asphalt outside of Cha Cha Diva’s house in Chicago. Luckily, a Tyra-less show appeals to me because I feel a little overexposed to her fantastic five head. This year’s host/Executive producer, Jay Manuel, is taking over for Tricia Helfer and seems to be up to the challenge so far.

The show’s opening previewed a montage of audition tapes, which were fairly standard except for the one girl who, while dressed in her underwear, jumps on the bed and smokes her head on the ceiling light. Injuries received while re-enacting classic ‘Man-Show’ episodes are always embarrassing.

Soon after, a group of 10 contestants arrive at Citytv headquarters in Toronto in a fleet of white SUVs each having just heard the good news from Mr. Jay Manuel himself.

I have to admit that I was a little shocked when they only ten girls showed up, and so were the contestants. I attributed the lack of a cut down to the top ten as a budget issue, but was soon reassured by the parting of a large wall and the sight of 10 more contestants.

To find the top ten, Jay, Stacey (what planet is she from?), and Nole talk to the girls one on one and watch them walk a little bit. Elle is a girl from Abbotsford who had no chance to make the top ten, but did not lack confidence, to say the least. That confidence will serve her well as she returns to work at the Abbotsford Red Robin.

One girl (who obviously doesn’t make the top ten) manages to offend the room by suggesting Tyra is a washed up model. Ouch. I half expected Jay to immediately hit her with a throwing star to the forehead, but alas, it never happened.

A sweet, if perhaps slightly slow girl, Cori, is the token bringer of tragedy to the competition. You know these shows love to bring in the baggage. Cori’s boyfriend died, then her dog died, then her grandma died. Rough, and I mean country-song rough, but the casting directors were really stretching to up the drama here. I wonder if any secret illnesses are in our future!

Rebecca is a mod model wannabe who works in a meat-packing plant. That’s pretty much the story there.

Another girl, Tia, claims to be a huge fan of fashion and photography (obvious lie) and she’s totally called on it and draws a blank when asked to name a fashion photographer. The pained look on her face was priceless!

Soon the judges deliberated and the top ten was unveiled one by: Tara, Steff, Jaqueline, Mo, Cori, Gina, Rebecca, Tia, Sinead, and Mika.

The finalists are whisked away to a pretty nice house, which I assume lays in the Toronto suburbs somewhere, complete with a runway for those spontaneous walk-offs. I think that practice strip may get worn out this year because most of the girls have a serious case of mall-fashion-show-walkitis.

Mika stands out as the loner right away, spending most of the time in her bed or smoking like a cool kid on the patio. She also tells us that her father is a rich businessman and disowned her for joining the show. Can I mention that telling someone about how rich you are is excruciatingly tacky? Could someone let her know for me?

Before the girls tuck in for the night, the first ever Jay Mail arrives and the girls know the game is on.

The game is on, but the clothes are off! The first challenge is a nude photo shoot, and, not to be outdone by ANTM, they also have to pose with two seriously creepy male models. Ewww. The girls are not impressed, and most shiver/shake their way through the shoot, which also has them styled as gothic pinups with black lips and nails, etc. There was too much going on here for me. A scandalous start to be certain, but the nude shoots don’t cause the same type of uproar if there isn’t a Southern Belle Bible-Belter in the group.

The best performers are probably Cori, Tara, and Jacqueline. Steff and Mo are pretty bad but Mo is really the bottom of the barrel, lacking any discernible knowledge about modeling. Oh, Mika sucks too.

The girls head home a prepare a huge meal, and then are reminded that this will be the last supper for one of them, as judging is imminent.

Judging brings a few awkward conversations, mostly as a result of Jeanne Becker, who talks on TV almost every day, but puts her foot in her mouth repeatedly. She insinuates that one girl has done nude shots before and then manages to call Jacqueline fat while trying really hard not to call her fat and suggest that they are looking for healthy models. It was a massacre.

The judges also casually pointed out that Gina’s boots were ugly and Steff was a man in drag. Ouch.

Not surprisingly, the bottom two are Steff and Mika, and Steff is already crying as Jay does his best Tyra Show monologue in telling each girl that she lacks what the other one possesses, blah blah blah. Shakespeare it is not, but as host, fashion robot Jay holds his own and actually manages to look prettier than the contestants in a few strange instances. He is certainly wearing more make-up.

Altogether it was an interesting, if not completely original episode. I had high hopes for this cycle of Canadian Model Wannabes. Some expectations were met, some missed. But I’m sure they will try to make up for their obvious budget shortcomings with a stream of ridiculous drama-inducing challenges and photo shoots. We can only hope one involves swimming with piranhas, or more lasers, or piranhas with lasers of course, which are always a good idea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Punny Joke

A piece of rope walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a beer.
"Aren't you a piece of rope?" asks the bartender.
"Well, yes I am," admits the piece of rope.
"We don't serve pieces of rope here, sorry," says the bartender and turns away.

A few minutes later the piece of rope waits until the unfriendly bartender walks away and then approaches a female bartender.
"Can I have a beer?" he asks.
"Sorry fella, we don't serve pieces of rope here," she replies.

Frustrated and thirsty, the piece of rope goes into the bathroom and stares at the mirror, wondering how he can get a drink in this place. Suddenly, he gets an idea. He messes up his hair, twists himself around, and heads back to the bar.

"Can I have a beer?" he asks.
The unfriendly bartender looks at him suspiciously, "Aren't you that piece of rope from a few minutes ago?"
The piece of rope shakes his head, "Nope, I'm a frayed knot."