Friday, June 5, 2009

Design for the masses

I was watching the Fashion Show last night. It’s the Bravo replacement after Project Runway scarpered. I find it kind of meh. But it’s okay to watch while doing laundry. Anyhoo. The designers’ challenge last night was to design for “real” people. Meaning, not models. Frankly, if I was a model, I might take offense at that little swipe, but again, anyhoo.

You wouldn’t believe the pissing and moaning. Wah-wah-wah. I believe most of the comments can be summed up thusly:
  • I avoid real people.
  • I’m not inspired by real people.
  • People should be walking clothes hangers.

Well, me and my fat ass beg your pardon. And boy, were they fixated on fat asses. “48 inches!” one of them shrieked. And it just reinforces my opinion that most designers don’t really have the chops these days. Or they’re too lazy to deal with the amount of construction it takes to deal with real hips, real boobs and real thighs. And the fashion industry has engaged in so much under-fed belly button gazing they get all bunny in the headlights when confronted with middle-America.

And one mean little man started whingeing on about how his designs shouldn’t be dictated by the needs of people who wear the clothes. His inspiration should come from inside himself. Uh-huh. This echoes another comment I heard from a playwright who said that his work shouldn’t be dictated by when the buses stop running or how much it costs to pay a babysitter. This after he dropped a 6 HOUR PLAY. Oh, per-lease.

I get it. You’re an ARTIST. But you chose the métier. And a clothing designer’s métier is the human body (and a playwright’s is the scope of the human bladder – if your work requires more than one potty break, I’m out). If you want to be a starving artist who designs for the genetic freaks who are actually built like stick figures, bless you, I wish you much joy, and good luck finding a rich boyfriend to support you. But if you want to go on a TV show that is looking for a ready-to-wear designer you’d better be prepared to deal with all the curves that an average human body can throw at you. Because if you want to make money? There are a lot more of us than there are of them. A good designer can make clothes fit for a beautiful woman. A great designer can make clothes that fit any woman beautifully.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Text and the single girl

Well, looks like long threatening has come to pass. I may actually have to pony up for a text message plan on my phone. I've avoided it up until now. I don't really initiate texts. Because of my ladylike demeanor, I wouldn't be so forwarded as to approach someone in a textual manner. Actually, that's a load of crap. I'm just too cheap to fall into the money pit that is texting.

Of course, a few people will text me. My boss will text the "can u wk on Sun" kind of questions. Or my sister will text that Bea Arthur died (whaaaaa!). But for the most part I've been able to dodge it, by this crazy thing called "phoning", where I can convey information "verbally". I know. I'm a whacky, anachronistic, Luddite gal.

But now my Pops has text messaging - dun-dun-duuuuhn! This is going to be the toy of all toys. He's going to have a ton of fun sending my random messages - "just parked the RV", "do you know what a 40 is?", "how are you?". Great. Yes. Love you to, Daddy. And since I refuse to on-line chat with him, I'm probably going to have to give on this one. Reluctantly, I step into the 21st Century.

Whoa those summer nights

My overall policy is: If you bitch about the cold in the winter (which I do), you should not whine about the heat in the summer. And generally, I’m successful. I actually like heat. I find the occasional good sweat to be very detoxifying.

But I’m just not ready for summer yet this year. I’m cringing at the thought of 100 and humid. I don’t want to have to run the air conditioner. I don’t want to put on sun block and a hat. I’m just not ready for it.

And for once, Texas weather is playing nice. We’re still getting regular rains and days that don’t go over 90. That’s a real reprieve for this area. There have been years when June has been full bore, Schwetty balls to the wall summer already. Mother Nature is being sweet this year.

But it’s coming. I know it’s coming. The cool nights won’t last. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not just your average joe

Okay. Topless coffee shop, I get. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that the waitresses are topless is pretty much irrelevant and immaterial. If the coffee's good, I couldn't care less if the person pouring it is tatas out. Though I'm kind of surprised that their OSHA representative doesn't have something to say about it. I'd think an unsupported bazoom and a hot pot would be a workman's comp claim waiting to happen. But, whatevs.

My question is - how do you turn a coffee shop into something "more like a strip club"? I mean are guys who are hopped up on java as good a tippers as somebody who's been drinking $8 light beers? And speaking of jacked up drinks, what kind of incremental revenue can you expect on cup of espresso?And would Chris Rock have to change his routine to "There is no sex in the Double Iced Peppermint Mocha Latte Room"? Of course, then again, you probably wouldn't need to hire as many bouncers. And the coffee theme does lend itself well to stripper names - "Gentlemen, please welcome to the main stage - Kona Machiato and Jamaica Blue!"

Who, when, where, why

I’ve really started to notice the trouble we as a society are having with commitment. And I don’t mean relationship commitment, though that’s a part of it. I mean commitment to our lives. We’ve got millions of distractions that we run through in overlapping cycles. Multi-tasking our days away. Going to the movies and texting all the way through. Driving and talking on the phone. Watching TV and playing on the internet. Moving in with somebody but having 2 or 3 people on the side. Talking to a friend at a bar, but having the baseball game grab your attention over their shoulder (guilty). Rarely paying full attention to who we are, when we are, where we are and why we are.

We’re so used to keeping so many balls in the air, it feels strange just to be doing one thing. Try this. When was the last time you sat down to just listen to music? Not listen to music while you’re driving. Not while you’re reading a book, or knitting, or doing the dishes. I can’t think of when I did that. Probably the last time I went to the symphony. I love music. But to actually sit down and just concentrate on the music without anything else going on? Really concentrate on it? It just doesn’t happen much any more.

Because I’m as guilty as everybody else. Feeling like I have to do several things at once to get it all done. But on some things, I’m not sure how well I’m doing it, experiencing it. That who, when, where and why all play in at different levels. When is pretty easy. Where is a little harder because you have to open up all your senses and take in all the sights, smells and sounds. Why is a lot tougher. Am I doing this because I enjoy it? Will it make me a better person? Is it just something I have to do? And who’s the big daddy of all questions. Integrating everything you are, it makes those other questions easier. I’m here for this reason, feeling these things, in this very moment.

Hard to do if your cell phone is ringing.

You can’t do that stuff all the time. Well, maybe you can if you’re a hermit. But most of us have a world of choices of and there’s really nothing to stop you from choosing to do several of them at the same time. In fact, you’re encouraged to spin 5 plates at once. And maybe this is why I like going to the theater so much. It’s a socially sanctioned time to sit down, shut off the phone and just do this one thing. Or at least most people try to just enjoy the show. Overlapping is even creeping in there.

But I think I need to start focusing on just doing one thing more often. Shut off the all the distractions. Commit to the moment. Be fully there. At least for the important things.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

you'd have to look twice to see him the first time

Have you noticed how skinny famous guys are getting? I saw a picture of Eminem from the MTV Movie Awards, and the boy looked boney. It could just be Slim Shady getting his sober on. But I was probably more sensitive too it because I’ve noticed it so much lately. Take a look at all the lead actors on USA Network’s originals. Nearly every one of them is running boarder line too thin. Jeff Goldblum is as skinny as I’ve ever seen him. The guy on that society doctor show used to be heavier, but he’s almost down to the Gwyneth Paltrow-marshmallow-on-a-toothpick size. Jeffrey Donovan on Burn Notice is vegan svelte. Frederick Weller is a bean pole. Not that any of them look bad per se. Except Marshmallow Head. He could use a few pounds.

And it’s not a bad thing for me, necessarily. I have two basic types: Cowboy Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Tall, skinny, with legs up to the armpits. Or built like a triangle with arms and legs. I’m not really complaining.

I just kind of hope that the boys aren’t getting caught up in the weight wars. I’ve spent far too many years suffering from body angst to wish it on anyone else. And if all the sudden men are going to get bombarded with unrealistic body images too, they could go down the same stupid road women have. If I gauged my body against Gabrielle Anwar on Burn notice, I’d spend some might miserable moments. And let’s be realistic. I do gauge my body against her to some extent. It’s human nature. Or my nature, if I’m going to just speak for myself. And I won’t be that skinny again until after I’ve been dead 6 weeks.

Then again, maybe guys aren’t as susceptible to this kind of nonsense as women. But just for the record, I’ll say it to all men the same thing I’d say to any of my sisters: eat healthy, get exercise, be yourself. And don’t let anybody make you feel bad for the way you’re shaped. Be happy with the way you are. It would be nice if somebody could take that advice.

A pain in the seat

This is a fine point of mass-transit etiquette that I haven’t yet figured out. How old does someone need to be before you offer them your seat?

Okay, if somebody looks like an applehead doll, and is swaying on their orthopedic clad feet while clutching their walker, I got it. Please, allow me. That’s easy.

But there’s a whole age range in their where once upon a time, people would claim the droit de senior. They’ve been on the planet, and dang it, get your smooth bottom up and surrender the seat. But now, people are touchy about their age. They’d rather get carded (which bears no real tangible benefit) than offered the senior discount (hellz yeah, 15% discount). And now that I’m kind of, if not within spitting distance of AARP, then at least at a point where I can imagine that happening, it might seem a little smarmy to be the one to get up. Like I think I’m some kind of sweet young thing. But the real sweet young things rarely seem to be aware that this is something they are supposed to do.

And men and women are kind of different on this issue. For a woman, I’m implying that I suspect that she’s “old” if I offer my seat. Bitch. We women can be really touchy about this. And for men, it’s not so much the age per se. It’s more that you’re implying that he’s feeble. Not big strong man. That kind of pinches.

I’ve kind of decided that the 60 to 65 zone is the hardest. They may be just standing there, minding their own business, not even thinking that they should be offered a seat. And then I come along “Here you go, granny. Take a load off.” One second they’re vibrant and middle-aged. The next they’re little, old people. OR they could be standing there deploring the raggedy manners of people today. And thinking, “You bet your ass you should be getting up for me.” Regardless of whether they feel like they “need” to sit down or not.

Maybe they should start wearing buttons. It would be a whole lot easier to be polite if I knew who I needed to be polite to.


I’ve complained elsewhere about the Quizno’s commercial that depicts a sandwich shop worker and the love that dare not speak its name that he shares with a burly toaster oven. Frankly, you don’t need to be a strict Freudian to get that commercial. And I don’t even want to think about that sort of thing going on near my turkey and Swiss. Get a room, you two.

But last night, I saw one more in a trend of commercials that I don’t think even qualifies as naughty. Naughty implies something being snuck past you. This commercial is like an elephant tiptoeing. The ad depicts a man at a drive through requesting 99 Jack-in-the-Box tacos for 2 cents. Ha, ha. How droll. Strike that and reverse it, Mr. Wonka. The commercial makes sense when you see the guy isn’t half baked – he’s fully baked. Flambéed. Toastier than Quizno’s buns. Not subtle.

And hey. I get it. I’ve always said that if the DEA wanted to wipe out pot usage in the US they’d just have to set up a checkpoint sweep outside the late night drive thru at Jack-in-the-Crack. You got tacos? Pull over, mister. The only reason you’d want Jack tacos is if you’ve been blowing a cloud. Nasty stuff those tacos. At 99 for 2 pennies, they would be radically over-priced. But the munchies want what the munchies want. And potheads aren’t exactly known for their Cordon Bleu level standards.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a little sly humor. But this isn’t double entendre. It’s a quarter entendre with a two-footed landing at best. I’m just saying, step it up, people. I’m old. And if I’m getting the sex and drug jokes, you are behind the times. How are the young folks supposed to enjoy the counter-culture riff if people their parents ages are getting it? Come on. Try harder. Do it for the kids.

TIME: Quotes of the Day