The 30th Annual VMAs: A Quick Wrap Up

Winner of the Night?

Miley Cyrus. Whether you loved or hated her performance, she’s stole every headline away from music’s biggest stars despite loosing in every category for which she was nominated. Is it slut shamming or self expression? Who cares. It’s publicity.

Loser of the Night?

Katy Perry. She got no screen time during the show and when it was time for her performance most people had already shut off the tv. It’s not her fault, the closing act is always a tough slot. As soon as the final envelope is opened we’re all ready to run. Perry gave a good performance but it wasn’t flashy enough to overcome the other artists or the shitty time slot. It also doesn’t help that she hit the red carpet in a gown already worn by model Coco Rocha at the Met Gala.

The Most Grateful?

Ben Affleck. Talk of the VMAs diverted the public’s attention away from their hatred over him as Batman. (For the records, I don’t get why everyone is so angry)

Honorable Mention:

Lady Gaga. She was the perfect mix of crazy and fun to make it a great. Plus, the opening act is the best slot of the night. Everyone is excited to see the show and there’s need to out-do previous acts. (Learn from this Katy)

Macklemore + Ryan Lewis. The Same Love performance was too simple to grab attention yet still very good. Side note: Where did JHud come from?

I Wanted More Of:

N’Sync. I’ll be honest, I got a little bored during JT’s performance and was hoping for much more than the 30 seconds he gave his former band mates. Plus, of all the N’Sync hits…. why did they chose Girlfriend??

Laughable Loss of Street Credit:

2 Chainz. Nothing kills thug-street-cred like showing up to an awards show wearing the same thing as someone else. Oh… did I mention he was wearing the same thing as a female singer Grimes.. and the ‘thing’ in question were silk pants…. Yeah Really. 

All in all I think it was a good show. Everyone stuck true to their image. If you were a fan of the artist performing you probably loved their performance. If you hated the whole show and bitched about it on Facebook, you’re our generation’s version of a crotchety old complainer: Although you may have some good points, your over all anger says more about you than the actual subject you’re complaining about.

P.S. The real loser of the night? Kanye. I bet you already forgot he was even there.

90’s Flashback: Columbia House

Remember Columbia House? The mail order CD delivery company was all the rage in the mid 90’s.  How could we resist… sign up and get 10 free discs! Lets enjoys some 90’s tunes with songs from my 10 free CD’s:

Ace of Base- The Sign

Counting Crows-August and Everything After

Pearl Jam- Ten

Green Day- Dookie

Crystal Waters- 100% Pure Love

Rage Against The Machine- Evil Empire

Nirvana- Nevermind

Hole- Live Through This

Reality Bites- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

En Vogue-Born To Sing


6 Degrees of Education

At work my department is split pretty evenly between older veterans and young newcomers. A couple years ago they did a huge overhaul of the job description which caused a couple retirements and layoffs. (The old job description still included type writers) I benefited from from the overhaul because it opened the position I was later hired for. As a group we work together extremely well despite being at opposite ends of the spectrum. Recently someone was promoted and so a job posting went up. A veteran coworker and I were chatting and she said her older friend who would be perfect for the job but they would never hire her because she lacked a college degree. She went on to say that when she was young, no one went to college especially for clerical positions. She is correct, one of the minimum standards for my job and company is college experience.

Let me give you some background information: I work in the claim operations department for a large insurance company. It’s a lot of behind the scenes claim work. For example, I spend all day requesting medical bills and records from hospitals. My department is also designed to be a feeder for the rest of the claim organization. Meaning, management like to promote ops folks into higher positions and therefore they want to hire people who want a future in insurance claims. That’s why they feel a college degree is needed.

What my coworker said really stuck with me. One day I’ll be the older veteran. I have a bachelors degree but will that always be enough? In 10 or 20 years will a masters degree be the new baseline? I am not looking to advance or get promoted but should I think about an advanced degree simply to maintain my position down the road? I don’t really have an answer nor have I formed a firm opinion on a masters degree. It’s simply an idea that is rattling around in my head. I don’t want to world to evolve past me and one day be left behind. There are also many other factors involved such as budget, motivation, future career path, and debt. Did I mention money? Future decision makers could also surprise me and look less to education. I’ve toyed with the idea of taking classes little by little toward a master’s degree. (When I say little by little, I mean over the next 10 years or so) It’s not going to happen any time soon, but something to consider as society evolves.

Post Script: I can hear people having passionate rebuttals from both sides. For you let me say this:

Education can be a touchy subject depending on what side of the coin you’re on. I think being a generally well rounded educated person in important. However, good education doesn’t always need to come from a college or university. When it comes to advanced degrees, I would say they are very necessary depending on the field you’re in. For example, my sister is a teacher. It is a requirement for her job that she have a masters degree. Not surprisingly, those working in education value education. On the flip side, a masters is not required for a career as a fire fighter. There is no right or wrong way to achieve success. I have a friend who has several advanced degrees and is successful in the pharmaceutical industry while another friend was an entrepreneur at an early age and skipped college to opened his own very successful business. (I’d also guess that both are in the same income bracket) I always laugh when I think about all the interviews I’ve ever had and only 1% of the interviewers have ever asked about my education. I also must concede that my education has probably silently opened doors that I didn’t realize where closed for other people.

Bullshit vs Feminism

In case you haven’t heard, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry both release new song this week. Applause and Roar respectively. The releases were originally supposed to be more staggered but that changed when early leaks of both songs got out. I have my own opinions about each song but that’s not the focus of this article.  What really got my attention and pissed me off was the media’s reaction to releases. Almost instantly the headline was Gaga vs Perry: Who will win? Who will you chose? Why can’t it be both? Apparently you’re only allowed to like one or the other. God forbid both be successful. The two pop mega stars were pitted against each other the same way women have been for years. Female artist, and females in general for that matter, are always put in competition with one another in a way that men are not. Obviously because the two songs came out so close together there was bound to be a comparison made. But a comparison and a battle are different things. Think of it this way, no one put Daft Punk against Robin Thicke despite the fact that Get Lucky and Blurred Lines are almost the exact same song! Both are a smooth retro 70’s style song about getting laid with a guest spot by Pharrell. Even more so, why isn’t it Justin Timberlake vs Bruno Mars? They have as much is common musically as Gaga and Perry. There is a common acceptance that two men can be successful in the same field and one’s success has no baring on the others. Yet the illusion that all women are in competition with each other is so common that the public accepts it as fact and women themselves are forced to act the part. I myself have been guilty of it in past posts as well.
Why can’t the headline be “Women rule the music charts” or “Great new music in August.”  The fact that in the last couple years women have all but totally dominated the music scene has been all but ignored. One could argue that the Top 5 Most famous musicians right now are Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Rihanna. (The only person Rihanna’s battling is Chris Brown, but that’s a whole other post) It’s sad that female success doesn’t grab attention unless it’s at the expense of someone else. 

So to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, I say congratulations on your new songs and all your amazing success. Speaking for the fans, we support you both. I mean… let’s be honest, it’s pretty much the same fan base for both ladies: gay men and teen girls.

On a side note, I thought this would be a good time for a mini pop culture history lesson. Woman vs woman is nothing new. Gaga and Perry are just another example in a long history of examples where one female singer is pitted against another. Let’s take a stroll back through the headlines.

Brandy vs Monica:

Mariah vs Whitney:

Gaga vs Katy Perry:

Britney vs Christina:

Nicki Minaj vs Lil Kim:

Taylor Swift vs Carrie Underwood:

Madonna vs (everyone) Cyndi Lauper, Janet Jackson, Kylie, Beyonce (Super Bowl Halftime show ratings):


Phone Wars

Apple is set to announce the iPhone 5s in early September. Insiders are expecting a finger print security censor along with updated software and hardware. There is also talk that a low price ‘economy” model might appear. Whatever happens I doubt it will be earth shattering. I love my iPhone and have no issue with it. Apple has been the leader for a long time but now Droids have caught up. There are not a lot of major differences among smart phones these days. If you want an extra big screen go for the GalaxyS4 and if you want a personal assistant named Siri pick up an iPhone. Its now down to the minor details. Either way you’re getting a good devise.

I’ve stuck with the iPhone for a couple reasons. First, just the act of switching over to a new devise is so unappealing that I’ll have an iPhone for a long time. Also there has never been a Droid different or special enough to make me overcome that hurdle. Second, I like Apple’s operating system much better then Droid’s. The Droid system seems like a clunky wanna-be sister to iOS. The Jan Brady to her prettier sister Marsha. I have nothing against Droids but my general feeling has always been “Yes they are nice, but my iPhone is pretty much the same so I’ll just stick with what I’ve got.”

Then there are those bizarre Windows phones. I’ve always heard very mixed reviews about the Windows smartphone. Many of the complaints center around the phones lack of apps because Windows phones are not part of the Apple or Droid networks. It also doesn’t help that the icons are in the style of old school clip art. If Droids are Jan Brady, then the Windows phones are Alice the maid. Now with the Nokia Lumia, Alice the maid ha gotten a makeover complete with a tit job and some botox. Windows made a bold step forward and released a phone with a 41 megapixel camera. 41! That’s a huge deal. The current iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 have an 8 and 13 megapixel camera respectively. With a camera that’s more than triple its nearest competitor I took notice. I’m not saying I want to switch but I think it’s worth making note of. Over the next couple years, if Windows catches up with apps and operating systems they could be a real competitor in the smartphone race. If nothing else, they deserve the ‘One to Watch‘ Award.

One last note about Apple: Apple is at a pivitol point. Now that their competition has caught up to them, Apple needs to pull out the big guns. Don’t hold back, stop edging and blow your big thick load! You don’t have the luxury of pacing yourself anymore. I doubt anything earth shattering will come from the 5s but with the 6 there is a genuine opportunity to reveal the next industry changing idea. Or will history repeat itself and see Apple slide into another sales slump much like it did in the early 90s? We’ll just have to wait and see.

7 Steps for a Good #Selfie

I decided to share some tips and tricks for taking good selfies. In case you’re unaware, the term selfie refers to pictures taken of you by you. This may come naturally to some of you and for that I say congratulations. Other may find it a bit harder and therefore might opt out all together. This is a huge generalization but for the most part it seems like the younger you are the better you are at it. Mature men are not winning the selfie competition. Of course there are exceptions, Wooferstl is older than me and he takes the greatest selfies I’ve ever seen, It honestly looks like he brings an entire photo crew with him wherever he goes. If you don’t follow him on Instagram or Tumblr, I highly recommend it. He puts us all to shame. For those of us who are less talented, here is a guide to getting the best selfie possible.

1. Look at the camera! (not yourself) It can feel awkward not to look at the screen but force yourself. Remember you want to be looking at the little round lens at the top of your phone. 

 No                                         Yes

2. Smize Everyone laughed when Tyra coined the ridiculous word but she was telling the truth. You might focused on what to do with your mouth or the best angle but don’t forget about your eyes. Dead eyes never help a picture. If you look at the pictures below, from the nose down there really isn’t much of a difference in my facial expression. It’s all in the eyes.

Dead                               Smizeyed

 3. Look Behind You. Be aware of whats in the background of your picture. A messy room or dirty dishes can ruin cuteness. Along those lines, when you’re taking the ever popular ‘bathroom selfie’ pay attention to the shit on your counter. Clear it off or crop it out.

Background Fail                     Foreground Fail

4. Work with yourself not against yourself. I’ve got a lazy eye that becomes very pronounced the wider my smile gets. I have to be extra careful that my smile is not too broad to make my eyes none existent. Conversely if I over do it and try and open my eyes too wide I’ve got a solid case of crazy eyes. Solution? Work with what you’ve got = Put on sunglasses.

Right side squint                    Cool and covered

5. Be a poser.  Learn what angles and poses work best for you. Sitting usually makes you look chubbier while standing can thin you out. Depending on what look you’re going for, work your poses. What to eliminate a double chin? Hold your phone above your head so you have to look up. What to look beefier? Pull your belt extra tight and puff up those shoulder. Poses, lighting, and angles can make you look like a totally different person. Tip: when looking at Growlr pics, beware of picture where a guy is lying down. That’s a very deceptive angle and who knows how everything will distribute once he stands up.

Small belly                          Medium belly

Large belly

6. Get a timer. Its super easy to download one of the many camera timer apps. I got a simple one for free and it works great. It gives you many more posing options beyond head up and arm stretched out.

Old school                               New Wave

8. Filters are your friends. I like Instagram’s filters best but there are any number of apps that have the feature. (Even FB now has filters) Instagram turned provided the main picture for this post.

Beginning                         Ending

7. TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES! If you get nothing else from this lesson at least remember that the best way to get a good picture is to take a lot of them. Trust me. When they’re are shooting the cover of Vogue do think they walk in, take one picture and then call it a day. There are thousands taken to be narrowed down to a tiny few. Sorry but you’re not better the Naomi Campbell. You need those extra frames. We all do. I took every picture above today. To get those usable ones I took almost 50 pictures total.

The out takes

One final note: Along the lines of #3. If you’re not happy with the way you look or can’t find an angle that works for you. Take the first/main picture as an inspiration. Everyone looks better in pretty surroundings. Dump the boring beige wall for an outdoor pool and flowering tree. Trust me, it helps.

*This post is dedicated to my wonderful boyfriend. The ultimate master of the perfect selfie.