Tag Archives: entertainment

Time for Creativity. Time for Pause. Time for Solitude.

One of my great regrets of all time, that is all time leading up to today, is my lack of proper time dedicated to reading. While I’ve wasted countless hours of my life transfixed in Jezebel articles, Facebook posts about hilarious dogs and babies being successful or unsuccessful babies, and magazine articles sunk into overflowing bathtubs with their wet pages stuck together before completion, the number of full-fledged novels I’ve read in my life – is something I regrettably can count on my own two hands.

Yet language and writing has always been a passion of mine, more than the drawing and painting my parents had pushed my talents towards. While as a child I stayed up late at night to read trashy childhood series such as Sweet Valley Twins and The Babysitters Club: Little Sister editions, I refused to read actual serious books. Why? I’m not sure where my rebellion of all things “adult” and “responsible” came from, but it sure started early. My father, with his stern aggression and judgement around my own interests, made me hate authority and turn against it at all costs. Although my father was a man of physics textbooks and oft right-wing historical non-fiction and editorials, for some reason literature got mixed up into the world of authority, my arch nemesis, the land of academia and maturity, of all the things we should do with our time when we have it in between hours staring at the second hand of the clock hung above the school door and the darkness that is our daily rest.

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Julie & Julia — A Lesson on Loving Your Work

On my Continental flight home for the holidays, I spent $6 to watch Direct TV and movies… maybe not the best use of $6, but it was worth it. They were playing a movie I had wanted to see for a while and haven’t got around to it — Julie & Julia.

Wow, I loved the movie! As a blogger, of course I could relate to the main character who wrote about her life every day. For Julie, her blog was all about trying to complete the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook. The real-life Julie actually did start out as a blogger, then got a book deal, and then a movie deal. Such things do happen, apparently.

I always dream about getting a book deal off this blog. I don’t know if I’d have enough interesting things to write at this point, but by the time I’m in my 30s I hope I know enough to write a book about personal finance. It’s certainly inspiring to watch a movie about how for some people, blogging about what you love can go somewhere beyond just putting writing out there into cyberspace. The movie was all about turning 30, and while I’m not quite there yet, I’m getting closer. I’m 26, I’m really close.

One thing that really spoke to me about the movie was how it’s all about following your passion. For both Julia and Julie, they went against the odds and took a risk to dedicate much of their time to cooking. Cooking is not my passion, but there are plenty of things that are — writing about personal finance, painting (which I haven’t done in way too long), and, well, really I don’t need more than two passions. One is enough.

I’d really like to get back into painting next year. I have paints and just need to buy a canvas and I’m ready to go. Maybe I’ll even blog about it.

By the way, here’s Julie Powell’s current blog… where she writes about her life post the Julia Child Project. Awesomeness.

Millionaires, Boobs, Big Houses, and Reality TV

Forget the talent portion, these days reality TV stars can make a career out of being – themselves, without any talent besides perky tits, an itty-bitty waistline, and the ability to convince an television audience that they’re a money-hungry dumb slut. But hey, they’re making way more money than I am and probably having a lot more fun doing it, so who am I to judge?

In our culture, we reward people for being as superficial as possible. The latest news from the world of Reality TV is that Megan Hauserman, the big-breasted bombshell of Beauty & the Geek, Rock of Love 2, Charm School, and I Love Money is starring in her own gold-digging reality series.

In case you’re a millionaire who wants to broadcast your quest for a trophy wife on TV (instead of just hiring a high-priced call girl like a good, normal millionaire), Megan, the accounting major from Florida, wants you. That is, she wants your money. And you. As much as any star on a reality TV dating show could actually want another person who needs reality TV to set them up.

She announced the casting search on her MySpace page earlier this month… are you “Looking for the ultimate TROPHY WIFE?” Not only would your prize come complete with a life’s worth of obnoxious and bank-account draining spending habits, you’ll also win, uh, the right to one hellova pre-nup if you decide to actually seal the deal.

Granted, I’m guilty for watching these TV shows. I can’t get enough of gold diggers and the wealthy, and their drama. It makes me somehow be able to accept and take pride in my middle class status. It also makes me terribly jealous of women who are hot enough to qualify for a television show where they are offered on a silver platter as a Trophy Wife.

Another show all about money, from a bit more normal perspective, is Bravo’s “Real Housewives of…” I’ve caught a few episodes of their various series – Orange County, New York, and Atlanta… and I must say, I’m more jealous of these women than I am of Ms. Trophy Wife Hauserman. Then again, most of them were that hot when they were in their 20s and 30s (most are still that hot, just in the 40+ year old sense… I don’t think you can be a Trophy Wife once you hit a certain age, then you’re just a wife.)

Still, these women are… real people. Their psychology is a bit different than that of say, a normal working person with no means of reaching the upper echelons of society, and they expect a bit more out of their shopping sprees… but even with all that money, they’re still real people. I watched an episode recently where two couples went to Sonoma’s wine country and felt awkward in a ritzy restaurant that served a bagillion mini courses and offered a snobs dream menu. It’s fun to watch the rich feel silly being what rich is supposed to be.

Another reality TV series I couldn’t help but watch lately is Paris Hilton’s: My New BFF. The series ended a few weeks back, but I remember the episodes clearly. And in the end, I still don’t understand what the contestents were competing for, and how this supposed friendship would work. It makes for riviting TV (on the reality TV show spectrum, on MTV) for sure, but why compete to be a best friend? Friendships, like relationships, are supposed to be equal. You can’t compete for a best friend and then expect a relationship to be normal. Paris bought her BFF contestents expensive gifts throughout the competition — they shared lavish days at the spa, gold-plated $1000 sundaes in NY, and shopping sprees where Paris announced “it’s on me, whatever you want.” I doubt that’s how the “friendship” would work once the show concluded.

If anything, the show was interesting because what Paris was really looking for was a business partner. With Nicole Richie out of the picture, who would be her assistant (I mean, partner) in crime? She needs someone who looks cute, takes a good photo, and can help her continue to brand… herself. The show didn’t mention any sort of pay this best friend would be getting, but how would her new bestie afford to be Paris’ friend without some compensation? The show should have really been called Paris Hilton’s: My New VP

I do applaud MTV for their series Exiled, where they take super spoiled teens (who appeared on My Super Sweet Sixteen) and send them to third world countries, where they’re forced to spend a week living in the shoes of people with far less than them. They have to do things even I wouldn’t do – like build houses with cow poop. Ew. It’s a good show in teaching these young, spoiled children about the rest of the world before they’re too old and spoiled to care.

Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and the Destruction of America

When I was little, and when I was not so little, all I dreamed about was being a celebrity. It was the end all of success. As a celebrity, you’d be praised for being unique (albeit slightly unique), and everyone would love you.

Fast forward to a reality check… those celebs that find themselves on the covers of the gossip rags often once were the same ones that I’d envy, except their lives and careers had spilled sour.

Poor Britney Spears. She certainly has some kind of mental condition, and it’s obvious that it’s not helped by being smothered by Paparazzi everywhere she goes. Her family (that is, parents and sibling) are apparently not the most stable bunch, but Britney made it big with some spunk and rock hard abs. Could she sing? Well, not really. She could hit the right notes and had a voice that you couldn’t forget, for better or worse. But Britney had what we all wanted… innocence with a serving of sex appeal. Even if we hated her music, we wanted to be Britney… or like Britney. Same goes for Lindsey Lohan. We saw both of these girls when they actually were young and innocent (well, so they’d like us to believe). And then… well, they’ve grown up in the spotlight, and it seems that spotlight was just a bit too bright.

It’s unfortunate, but I think we need celebrities like that to use for public floggings, as otherwise the rest of us minions would think that their lives were perfect because they were rich. Apparently, money doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes it’s pouring fuel on an already painful flame.

I feel for Britney and Lindsey. They feel like it’s part of their job and their image to go out and party. To be a young celebrity in Hollywood. Only when drugs enter into the picture, you lose control. I’ve seen friends get eaten up by drugs, and it certainly is just as much a problem in Hollywood… where celebrities have enough money to overdose daily on the most gourmet offerings of the latest designer drug batch.

But who could blame them for needing that rush? If as Americans we hold celebrities on the top of the totem pole of what we wish we could be (which I assume is the case for other people too, since celebrities are still featured on the covers of magazines, and talking about celebrities has made stars of once-Internet-nobodies like Perez Hilton, those GoFugYourself girls, etc) then once you’ve made it to stardom… what’s left? Better party it up when the going’s good.

Not all celebrities turn into psychotic drug addicts, of course, but those that do surely get the most press. Is it good for their careers? If they can make a sober comeback, possibly. Everyone wants to root for the fallen celebrity, despite how much he or she may make fun of this person. If a celebrity truly falls from their divine status and cannot return, then that pops the fantasy of flawed perfection.

Truth is… Britney, Lindsey… they’re just human. Sure they happened to have been born with extra lovely looks, and with some luck and being in the right place at the right time, they guaranteed themselves a future in show business.

It’s funny how easy it is to forget that what they do is their JOB. Sure it’s a pretty awesome job that pays well, but so is being the CEO of your own corporation, or a successful venture capitalist. The job comes with a lot of negatives as well. Privacy? Forget it. You’re working around the clock as a celebrity. From the moment you leave your house to the second you shut the door and close the curtains.

Accepting this changes my extreme, almost obsessive desire to become famous. Or, now I’d like to become famous for writing something brilliant… doing something interesting… but I don’t know if I’d want to be so (un)fortunate to be one of Hollywood’s young actresses. If you’ve got one life to live, there’s not perfect way to live it. If you’re rich, you have nothing to work for. You’ve been raised on attention, so you need to work for the attention. Look at Paris Hilton. She doesn’t need to work, but she does because without work she’d be just like any other NY socialite.

A few months ago I spent some time with my grandmother who lives in Las Vegas. At breakfast one morning, she spent some time complaining about Hollywood today, saying that everyone these days is ugly. I went through a list of celebrities and she said they’re all ugly (except she liked Halle Berry for some reason). Anyway, I know the idea of “beauty” has changed over time, because a lot of these actor and actresses she found ugly happened to be my personal idea of aesthetic perfection. Still, I get her point — beauty is no longer about health and youth exactly. Sometimes people admire the beauty of those who do lots of coke because Kate Moss chic is unbearably still in.

And all of that makes us, the American public, especially the female half of that, spend oodles of money trying to make ourselves look like these people who have lots of money. It’s a vicious cycle of consumerism that is at the heart of America. Capitalism would still exist without celebrity, but what would it look like?

I’m not sure of the answer. In college, I took a class called the “sociology of celebrity” and it was by far the best class in my four years at school. Dissecting celebrity culture, both from the side of the everyman and the celebrity, is understanding America.

I actually read the entire textbook from cover to cover…