Oscars 2012

The best moments of the 2012 Oscars:
Billy Crystal was a total bore and proved that he is old and out of touch. He wasn’t horrible but he wasn’t good either. Luckily the presenters carried the show for him. My suggestion for a host next year: Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.

*Fun Fact: this year’s show brought an average of 34 million viewers as opposed to last year’s 1.5 million viewers.

I genuinely laughed out loud during Emma Stone’s Oscar presentation. I ADORE her. Thank god she was so hilarious because that made up for her [mistaken?] knock off of Nicki Kidman’s 2007 Balenciaga gown.

Angelina Jolie brought her big bag of crazy to the Oscars this year! As she presented Best Screenplay, she posed like she was Tyra on Top Model. I LOVED IT! Ms. Crazy showed up in a velvet comforter and stuck that leg out like she was telling the whole world “I’m Fucking Angelina Joli and I can do whatever the hell I want!” Boom.

Angie presented the award and the winner Jim Rash geniusly struck that pose with Jolie only steps away. Rock On!

I couldn’t be happier that Meryl Streep won Best Actress. Although… I kinda wish she got up on stage and just said “I’m Meryl Fucking Streep Bitch” and walked off.

Elementary Refresher

Sometimes I feel that since I’ve left school my brain has gone soft. That’s why I love documentaries and historical dramas; I’m able to be entertained and learn something at the same time. When I started this blog I wanted to try and write about topics that would do the same thing, entertain and educate. I hope at some point reading my blog you’ve said “That’s interesting, I didn’t know that.” With that in mind, I decided to refresh our memories on some of the subjects we learned in elementary school. We all learned it, but most of us (myself included) don’t remember it.
First up: The British Monarchy.

This all started Friday night. I was home alone with the pugs when The Young Victoria came on. I’m a fan of other British monarchy movies including Elizabeth, The Other Boleyn Girl, and The Queen so I decided to give this one a try. My problem with British history is that I can never get the order and timeline correct. As I watched the movie, I spent 2 hours on the official British Monarchy website.  The site is very helpful, ignore the drop down box and go to the left side where it says History of the Monarchy and click English Monarchs. It lists in order every monarch and a bio page. To save you the time and effort I’ll give you the breakdown of British [movie] history:
I’ll start with King Henry 8th. He’s the King who left the Catholic church so he could divorce his 1st wife Catherine of Aragon, for Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn was played by Natalie Portman is the Other Boleyn Girl. Henry had one son who succeeded him but he died five years after his father. That’s when Queen Mary 1st became the first female ruler. She was the daughter of Henry 8 and his first wife. This is where the movie Elizabeth (starring Kate Blanchet) picks up. As you remember in the beginning the of the movie, old and ugly Queen Mary is trying to get pregnant. She arrests Elizabeth and so on and so on. Again, health was an issue and Mary dies 5 years into her reign. Elizabeth becomes queen even though her cousin Mary Queen of Scotts also had a claim to the throne. MQS never gets to the throne but when Elizabeth dies her son James does. There are no movies about him (that I know of) but he was responsible for a new translation of the bible. [the King James Bible]. Fast forward through centuries to King George 3rd the subject of the Madness of King George and responsible for loosing the American Revolution. His granddaughter was Queen Victoria played by Emily Blunt who became queen at the age of 18 and became the longest ruling monarch in British history.
So there you have it. Now you’ve gotten a little refresher course in British history and you’ll score if there is ever a category on Jeopardy. 
***Look for the next refresher course: the US Government. Coming Soon.


What’s It Worth?

I’m going shopping tomorrow at one of my favorite shopping destinations, the Clinton Outlets. They’re nice outlets and they have all the key stores I like to frequent. Although the biggest reason I like shopping there is the discounted prices especially at J. Crew. The discounts aren’t TREMENDOUS but good enough to keep me coming back. As I was thinking about what I needed to buy for vacation next month, I came across a stack of receipts. I’ve been saving them whenever I buy cloths. Truth be told, I only remember about half the time. You’ll laugh, but the reason I save them is for insurance. Since I’ve started working in the insurance biz I’ve noticed that when people have burglaries or fires they are always asked for receipts to prove value for what they’re claiming to have owned. I don’t own anything of major value so every little bit counts. The most expensive single item I own is my mattress (which I don’t have a receipt for) Everything else consists of Ikea furniture, Target home accessories, and a cheep 7 year old television. I realized that if I ever lost my belongings in a fire the only proof of ownership I’d have is a swelling Visa bill. I’d probably get money for my bed and maybe a $100-$200 for the tv and knick-knacks combined. But all the cloths I would have to replace would more then double any reimbursement I would receive.
Finding those receipts also prompted me to start adding up the amount of money I spend on cloths. After about a 1/2 hour I was able to get a grand total from looking back at my receipts and online credit statements. I was pleasantly surprised because in the last 6 months (since August 2011) I’ve spent just under $600 on clothing. I was worried it’d be thousands. My sister brought up a good point when she asked if I buy more cloths in the winter or summer. To be honest I’m not sure how much it fluctuates but I’ll have to check back in the fall and compare numbers.

The Semi Precious Weapons said it best: “I can’t pay my bills but I look gorgeous!”
On an interesting side note, this key chain is the most expensive clothing & accessory item I own. A lot of people assume I buy nothing but expensive cloths but in fact $100 is my max. The only clothing (& accessories) I own above $100 is a coat and this key chain. Even my favorite Alexander McQueen t-shirt was on sale for $99.

Move It or Loose It

I think I’m ready to leave. Leave Connecticut that is. Recently I’ve started to feel like I’m in a rut. Connecticut is a charming quiet state where couples come to settle down. I could complain about the lack of variety in weekend activities, but that wouldn’t be fair. It would be true… but not fair. The problem is me. Have you ever felt like you’ve done all there is to do and seen all there is to see? That’s how I feel about CT. I can confidently check it off my list and leave knowing that I left no stone unturned. It’s time to spread my wings and see what other parts of the country have to offer. In addition, I’ve made strong enough friendships here that can withstand a little distance.

Now the big question…Where do I go? The front runner so far is Boston Massachusetts. The green giant is alluring because it’s far enough away yet still within a reasonable drive to my friends and family. In addition I know a handful of people in the area so I wouldn’t be totally alone in a new city. My biggest hesitation about moving there is the weather. I hate winter and if I’m going to move it would be smart to go south to a better climate. Going north just seems counter productive.
The other option is to make a BIG move. Maryland, Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas are all options. How realistic an option is yet to be determined. Texas and Florida are options because my employer has offices there and I could in theory keep the same job and just move locations. Maryland (and the greater DC area) is listed because it has an ideal climate and a plethora of job opportunities. I only mention the Carolinas because they often have cities ranked in the top ten best places to live. That and the whole warm weather thing.
With the whole country to choose from there are some notable destinations not on my list. California, Chicago, and New York City are all on the No list. Chicago is instantly eliminated because it can get more snow then Boston and honestly I don’t love Oprah enough to deal with that. California and New York seem to expensive and to impersonal. However, much to my dismay, I may have to reconsider them because they are the capitols of the fashion industry that I love. (Le Sigh)
Nothing is definite yet and my apartment lease isn’t up until August so the earliest I would probably move would be Summer or Fall. The other major factor is work. If a job opens up in my company I may not have the luxury of time and planning that I’d like. Conversely I don’t want to move without a job. If I find a dream job it may also bring me to a part of the country that I haven’t considered yet. For example, I applied for a job as a Men’s Allocator (a step toward being a Buyer) in Pittsburgh. Gasp!

Past Tense

My past has been bubbling up a lot lately. Several days ago in I was invited into the Facebook group 2 in 20 Floor Alumni. To give you some background, I went to college at UMass Amherst. While I was there I lived on the 2 in 20 Floor which was a dorm floor set up specifically for GLBT students. (another famous alumni of the floor is JuJubee from Rupaul’s Drag Race who lived across the hall from me) It’s nice to see pictures and memories from the past but it’s also strange to see people I had forgotten about. We all have a main circle of friends with whom we spend most of our time. But there is also a specific group of peripheral people whom are in our lives usually for a very short time. She’s the girl who sat behind you in homeroom or he’s your freshman year roommate who dropped out after the first semester. All those other people that Facebook has not recognized as ‘someone you may know.’ It’s been fun scrolling through and thinking “Oh wow, I remember him…” I have enough curiosity to check out their Facebook walls but no enough to actual send them a friend request.
I had another twist of fate last night. If you read my post ‘The Breakup,’ you’ll remember I mentioned a falling out with a college friend. If you can believe it,  I saw him last night at a bar in Providence. I was in town with friends for a bear event when he walked in. It’s been 8 years since the last time I saw him and he still looks exactly the same. I decided not to go over and say hello because I really don’t know how he feels about me. He may be one of the few people from my past that truly HATES me and I can tell you that being on the receiving end of an ambush at a bar is not fun. I didn’t want to potentially ruin his night. Years ago I apologized for my bad behavior when our friendship ended but I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me. (even though he’s never apologized to me) I got that hint when he never accepted my friend request on FB last year. I wish him well and I’m curious to see if our paths continue to cross at local bear events.

Oscar Update

The Oscars are in less than two weeks away and here is a recap of the races so far. Let’s get one thing out of the way, the Oscars are going to be boring this year. Headline: Jean Dujardin might steel the Best actor prize from George Clooney. Snooze… No one cares! While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about The Artist and it’s march toward Best Picture. I haven’t watched the film and I’m sure it deserves all the praise it’s received. The problem is that the audience has no emotional attachment to the movie. It will be added to the forgettable Oscar list along side The English Patient, No Country For Old Men, and Million Dollar Baby.  All were wonderful movies, but after you see them once you’ll never feel the need to watch them ever again.

The Artist isn’t the only reason for a lack luster Oscar year. Everyone is very safe, very polite, and very user friendly. George Clooney, who already has an Oscar statue, is one of the favorites for Best Actor. Am I the only one who is board to tears with Clooney? He shows up to every award show in a perfectly fitting tux and gives his witty yet non offensive speech. The only thing slightly amusing is his carousel girlfriends. I’d love Brad Pitt to win because he’s a much better actor then people give him credit for. However, his performance in Moneyball is not Oscar worthy. Best Actress comes down to front runner Meryl Streep and SAG winner Viola Davis. (the two were both previously nominated for Doubt) I’m glad Davis won at the SAG awards because I wanted her to win something this season so she could have her moment to shine. With that said, I’m really rooting for Meryl. It’s been about 30 years since she won Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice. She’s the most nominated actress in history and she deserves another statue.
Altogether though there’s nothing to exciting this year. Did I mention Billy Chrystal is hosting? Yawn. Thank God for Octavia Spencer, in the lead for best supporting actress. She’s one of the only people that I’m really behind. Go Octavia! Other then the female acting categories, I really don’t care who wins. Hopefully the Academy will pull some major upsets in those other categories to keep the show interesting.

Grammy Recap

Adele was crowned queen last night at the Grammy Awards. She was the big winner of the evening and she deserved every award she got. She proved that true talent can compete with costumes and over production. In her first major appearance since having throat surgery she looked healthy with lighter colored hair and fresh makeup. Then she belted out Rolling in the Deep proving her voice is better the ever. When Dave Grohl was asked about the Foo Fighter’s chances of winning Album of the Year he was honest, “We had a great album but it’s hard in a year when Adele released one of the greatest albums ever.”
Best New Artist went to Bon Iver continuing the Grammy’s run of giving the award to a very talented yet publicly unknown artist who’ll probably never be heard from again. Do you remember last year’s winner Esperanza Spalding? No of course you don’t.
I was rooting for Nicki Manaj for Best New Artist. That was until I saw her Grammy performance. Oh Nicki… Oh no. No No No No No.  Let’s break it down: First she shows up in a red cloak, a la Red Ridding Hood, arm in arm with a Pope look-a-like. I didn’t mind the red cloak but the huge Versace logo on the front killed it for me. The ‘Pope’ wasn’t needed either. The first thing I thought was ‘Is channeling Sinead O’Connor?’ Nicki, leave the red carpet antics to Lady Gaga. (she does it a lot better) Then she performed her new single Roman Holiday. Ehh… again I was left thinking… ‘Didn’t Madonna do this on her Blond Ambition tour?’ (the horrible song didn’t help either) The whole thing felt forced and worse like something I’ve seen before.

Anyone who saw me Saturday night knows I had one prediction: They are going to call Jennifer Hudson and have her sing a tribute to Whitney Houston. Slam dunk I was right! How did I know? Simple logic, JHud is one of the very few with the vocal talent and range to do justice for Whitney. Second, she’s got the talent and nothing else to do. You know she was probably in town for the Grammys anyway and it’s not like she’s got anything else to do. I may be a cynic but I’ve got to give her credit, when she came out and sang I Will Always Love You it made me cry.
Now to Whitney Houston. She was a legend and an icon. Pure and simple. I’d never had a true emotional reaction to a celebrity’s death before. But as I was driving and heard that she drowned in a bath tub it really caught me off guard. It put a damper on my whole night. Seeing her in concert had always been on my Bucket List. It’s public knowledge that Houston was fighting a loosing battle with drugs and they no doubt played a part in her early death. I thought the Grammys handled her death receptively without making the whole show about her.

My only other observation from the Grammys:
-I didn’t get what Katy Perry’s space age (and ugly) outfit had to do with her song or performance?
-Who was that Russian bitch with the machine gun on her arm?
-Was it me or did they only hand out about 5 awards the whole night? More awards less performances please.
-Rhianna looked amazing. Robyn looked like a Swedish lesbian club kid from 1994.
-I’d still have sex with LL Cool J

The Breakup

Who were your close friends 10 years ago and who are your close friends now? I bet the two lists look very different. It’s a natural part of life that most friendships won’t last for a lifetime. For every person who I’ve known for 20 years, there are 10 more people who I’ve lost touch with. Many times a friendship has a natural end due to life events such as moving, getting a new job, getting sober, or getting married. Even Paris and Nicole couldn’t make it last through 5 seasons of the Simple Life. (Can you believe that shit show lasted for 5 seasons?!?)

College is a perfect example of a friendship that can expire. For example, during my sophomore year at UMass I was very close friend with a guy named Jeff and we spent almost everyday together. We kept in touch over the summer but when we returned to school the next fall I discovered I had been replaced. He now had a new best friend with whom he spent all of his time with and I barely heard from him. Her name was Anne and she was a heavily tattooed Australian lesbian. She was the new “It Girl’ in his life. [yes he’s gay] To be fair, there was no malicious intent on Jeff’s part, he had just simply moved on. Feeling very badly about the breakup, I went to see a psychologist. She gave me some very good advice. She said that every relationship takes a natural course and therefore can have a natural end without anyone being at fault. This really helped me get past feeling I was replaceable. I loved UMass and I had wonderful friends there but after graduation we all went in different directions. Once you no longer have a common bond it can be surprising how little you have in common with each other. Only one friendship has lasted since my years in Amherst but luckily with Facebook I can still keep in touch with everyone else.
Unfortunately there are also times when you end a friendship on purpose. My older friend Stephanie (from highschool) comes to mind. She was my best friend for years but we started to loose touch once she got married and had a baby. It’s was a common situation where we just ‘lost touch’ over time. However about a year ago we reconnected [via Facebook] and she gave me a call. We talked for over an hour just like we used to do back in highschool. As we talked I remembered why we lost touch. The first 45 minutes of the conversation consisted of her complaining about her job. That was followed by another 45 minutes of lamenting about her mother’s crazy antics. After hanging up, I realized that such a negative person maybe better left in the past and I made a conscious decision not to call her back as I said I would.

If you’ve ever said to yourself We used to be so close, maybe it’s because you’re an asshole or maybe it’s because life moved on and took you in different directions. I hope in your case the later is more often the case. Either way, just because it didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.