this is depressing. skip to around 1:46 to see JoJo of the r&b group Jodeci collapse in an apparently alcohol/drug addled stupor while performing a show in australia. a) performing? b) australia?
according to his brother/bandmate K-Ci, JoJo was just exhausted and has epilepsy, but that’s hard to believe. read about it on Dlisted, which explains it better than i ever could.
this is sad because Jodeci was one of my favs in junior high. not only did i love “all my life”, which they are playing when the train wreck begins on this video, but their version of “lately” is really beautiful, and was one of my all time songs to get emo over.
then, at the eighth grade dance, it played, and i asked my friend michael to dance with me to it. he said no and was a total jerk about it, until i grabbed his arm and made him. that was my first slow dance. sad.
years later, he would become a dear friend and a HUGE FLAMING GAY, which makes me feel a little better. but just a little.
my weekend was kind of like a delicious “skins” sandwich. friday i crawled around online like and obsessed 17 year-old fangirl looking up info and new stuff on the show. then, on sunday, i watched it as it made its us television premier. as you may know, i have already watched series one and two, which have already aired in the uk, but now that the powers that be (british people?) have brought “skins” to american shores officially via BBC America (which ps has the best programming! this evening i also watched a show called “my big breasts and me” and it was really fascinating), i am newly obsessed with the amazingness that is “skins.”
1) the kids: living in a world, country, city, obsessed with youth culture is hard. i, for one, am completely tired of boring tv programming shoving wealthy, blonde, beach-going teens down my throat and informing me that this is the lifestyle i surely missed out on in my youth. i mean, i am all for re-capturing the good (awful) times, but i can never relate to any of these characters. i don’t think i have related to a teen character since jessie spano on saved by the bell, and that was mostly because we are both feminists. well, “skins” is written in a way that somehow makes the characters entirely relatable, accessible, and even true-to-life, while still creating a fantasy world that, at least speaking as an adult, feels sensationalized, voyeuristic, shocking… all of the above. it feels like all the things i was and wasn’t is represented somehow in each character. also, because they have british accents, they sound significantly less young and dumb, which is refreshing.
2) the slang: what kind of wannabe fancy american would i be if i didn’t love english slang words? the title of the show does not solely refer, in fact, to all the skin that is shown (and it definitely has it’s moments!), nor the often painful shedding of one’s youthful skin while squirming towards adulthood, but the word “skin” is also a slang term for the paper used to roll a joint. my personal fav, which i tried in my mind unsuccessfully to justify using aloud, is “safe” as a replacement for “cool.” some of the words (such as “safe”) even have multiple meanings. luckily there is a glossary guide on the show’s page at the BBC America website. even more fortunate is the fact that the good people at BBCA have elected to add subtitles to certain parts of the show. it is absolutely necessary, at least in the first few episodes while you are getting used to the accents. this matter of convenience almost makes up for the censorship, though thus far i only noticed them editing out the word “fuck” and some nudity, not too bad.
3) cassie: i’ll admit, i do tend to have a weakness for the dippy blonde in a bunch, but the character cassie on “skins” is so much more than that. the part is well-written and acted so brilliantly by hannah murray. she is certainly one of the more outwardly fucked-up of the group, as she suffers from anorexia and other severe self-image issues, but she is anything but heavy. any cassie screen time for me has been like magic faerie time and, as cheesy as that sounds, because of the writing and acting, it doesn’t feel the least bit contrived. the second episode of series one, which first aired last night (they showed two episodes to kick off the show) is the first in-depth introduction to cassie. it will air again on sunday august 24th at 9 p.m., with another new episode right after at 10.
4) the music: one of the first things i noticed while watching “skins” the first time was how they effectively used music from the past and current popular and indie music as well. it gave the show a more artistic feel, kind of like a movie, as opposed to the distinct feeling of product placement i get from the soundtracks on most shows these days, although truthfully, you will want to hunt down any manifestation of a soundtrack to this show. it’s that good. i believe there is an iMix on itunes, but check out some of the fansites for more comprehensive songlistings. the remix to the gossip song “standing in the way of control” can be heard on the show as well as in certain promotional items i have seen, which is awesome to see. go brits for making the gossip the huge stars over there that they should have been here long ago!
5)diversity: it’s a bit more difficult for me to assess the success of an english show in being truly diverse. much like most american shows with an ensemble cast, “skins” consists of primarily straight, white kids. there is a certain sense of token-ism, then, when you throw the gay kid, the muslim kid, and the black kid into the mix. the show avoids the pitfall of being overly-patronizing though, again, because of the quality of the writing. it’s definitely interesting, as an american, to watch a show in which one is learning about another culture (english) while also learning about other cultures within that culture, such as the experience of being an english muslim as opposed to a muslim-american. the show certainly centers around the friendship between the members of the group and isn’t exactly a huge political or cultural statement, but i obviously think it is important for different groups of people to be represented in popular media, and a show like this brings that to the table. one of the things i liked was the fact that the gay storyline does not center on the gay character maxxie’s coming out or something oft-depicted like that. there are definitely gay issues and issues of adversity that are tackled, but it is more about maxxie’s life and experience in that particular time, with his particular friends that takes center stage, and his being gay is simply a part of who he is. i like that because i can relate to it, as that was my experience as an out teenager.
i really hope you all will tune in to “skins” on BBC America. you can visit the official website for fun content, pictures, videos, and the schedule.
here is a version of the trailer that calls the show “a better gossip girl.” i couldn’t agree more. that’s why i’m posting about it. i hope that people will watch it to show that americans are interested in watching shows from other parts of the world. a well-written, well-acted show should be able to translate from culture to culture, and i think that “skins” definitely does.
okay, okay, i just officially pulled an all-nighter. i am going on vacation today with my family and joe and will be offline (GASP!) until wednesday. i can’t imagine that i will be posting anything before thursday night, but if i do, you will for sure be the first to know… since this is my blog… and you read it religiously… yeah.
but i am sleepy and in the arms of the one i love.
here are some lists in no particular order.
current top five things i hate most:
1) price of gas (not lowering fast enough!)
2) katy perry (constipated, airheaded, contemporary christian crapfest)
3) people who aren’t funny or interesting. either one of the two even would be fine…
4) being totally no joke broke (bank balance = $.67)
5) not having health insurance (i need yasmin fast before my 10 day periods cause me to hurt someone)
current top five things i love (not counting joseph):
1) water aerobics (reason for living, truthfully)
2) sia (makes me laugh and cry)
3) the olympics (duh)
4) hansen’s diet pomegranate soda (so fruity, so sweet, so splenda!)
5) when i can write something decent
top five songs:
1) sia “lentil” (so beautiful. apparently it is about a dog, which killed it a little for me meaning-wise, but still, gorgeous.)
2) stevie nicks “stand back” (especially after watching this performance to it at mustache mondays last month. so hot!)
3) the game feat. lil wayne “my life”
4) sia “day too soon” (i know, OBSESSED.)
5) kate bush “babooshka” (this video could basically be actual footage of my brain activity. bonus: joe hates this song and freaks out every time it comes on my ipod. comedy gold.)
top five things i watch:
1) olympics (duh x2)
2) project runway (yes, this season’s contestants are weak, esp considering last season was one of the best, but it’s still entertaining. and i WILL meet tim gunn before i die if it kills me.)
3) re-watching skins (absolutely brilliant british tv show. you can watch series one and two without too much headache here, but also if you want to do it the old fashioned way, series one begins airing on BBC America this sunday @ 9 pm)
4) shear genius (why do i watch this crap? i can honestly say i have had the privilege of working with mostly talented AND smart hairstylists in my own short-lived hair career, but i do believe they may be rare. that fact may be changing, but this show is no reflection of that. AND I LOVE IT. sad, but i can’t stop. if i had seen this before i went to beauty school, it would have scared me right back into college. oh well.)
5) oprah (i need a job and some zoloft, stat.)
well, i guess that takes care of that. in other news, i am getting my hair cut on friday and i don’t know if i will get a trim or get the chop. i hate having long hair and it’s hard to tell if i’m really balding with my hair being so long. i MUST know for sure before i start spending every waking minute obsessing about it, thereby inadvertently stressing the last remaining strands right off my skull, but the length makes it hard to judge the density. also, it’s fucking hot in l.a. right now. then, i think of how long it took to grow it and how it will be winter in no time (aka 60 degrees in january). i just don’t know what to do, but even if i keep it long, i definitely need a trim, as i am living deep in ponytail country.
my life is so interesting. thank god i have a blog.
wow, i just filled out the longest job application ever of all time. thank god it was online. the best part was how it renewed my confidence in my ability to bullshit. the second best part was how i bullshitted like an old pro in the free form section and then at the VERY end there were three simple yes/no experience-related questions which will undoubtedly determine whose applications they will and will not read. my answer to each was no.
today, as i rode to water aerobics class alongside my mother in her silvery grey VW Passat, i realized that if it weren’t for water aerobics, i would almost never leave the house before 9 p.m., if at all. in fact, i am fairly certain that if not for water aerobics and all the internet research i have been doing on past olympic heroes, my body and brain would have completely atrophied by now. as i sat there, uncomfortably close to the woman whose hopes and dreams for me i have disappointed time and again, it occurred to me that if i don’t figure out what to do soon, i might have to actually commit suicide. not because i am particularly melancholy at the moment, but because it is just starting to sound like one of the most viable options. at this point, i can’t even imagine myself at a regular job. i can barely imagine myself getting out of my nightgown or looking at the sun, if you want to know the truth.
i know this all sounds fairly abysmal, but fear not, dear friendly readers, for i have since then come to the conclusion that attempting to take my own life is out of the question, if only because i currently have no health insurance and, let’s face it, truly lack any real sense of follow-through. therefore, the likelihood is i will simply find myself again in the emergency room of san gabriel hospital, only this time having caused my mother hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills. that is certainly no way to re-earn her trust in my abilities. no way!
for this you can thank the re-run i watched, in my nightgown, of course, of an episode of oprah on the u.s. healthcare crisis.
for the record, my nightgown is very short, sassy, and sexy. i was getting nervous that it is probably starting to infuriate my mom to come home to me on the couch in my nightgown (although to be fair, looking for jobs on craigslist), so yesterday i put a shirt over it and pretended it was a skirt. today i changed into my bathing suit before she even got home, as to tip her off to my eagerness to join the living world in the great out of doors.
you may be wondering why i am spending so much time at my mother’s in the first place. first of all there is the price of gas. i don’t have the funds (duh) to be gallivanting around the city. secondly, well, i don’t know if you know this, but joe and i don’t technically live together. we periodically try to spend more time apart so that when that glorious day comes, it will be all the sweeter, however we tend to fail miserably at that. i think this time will be the charm though, because honestly i am not doing so well and it’s not good for a new-ish couple when a man regularly comes home from a hard day in the print lab to find his beloved wifey despondent and chain-smoking tear-stained parliament lights, with both feet dangling menacingly over an inadequately lofty balcony.
what i need is to take control of my own destiny. i need to apply myself to seriously looking for a second job and selling myself, limited skills but stellar personality, to prospective employers. i need to apply what i have learned about myself in the last two years to actively changing patterns i have followed my entire life. i need to apply some goddamned mascara, throw open the front door and say, “look world, i know you have given me many chances, and i took a terrified shit on every single one, but i’m here now, and i’m ready to start creating the life i want to be in!”
shortly after that, it will occur to me that i am deep in the suburbs of san gabriel, where people actually work during the day, and no one probably heard me, or cared, but somehow that won’t matter, because i have had the right audience time and time again, but this time i will have finally found the voice.
sorry guys, i’ll try to write more later today if i get a chance, but i’m exhausted.
here is a video i found on youtube with a montage of changes in the uneven bars in gymnastics over the years. i found it while looking for videos of soviet gymnast larissa latynina, the first and (so far) only woman to ever win 9 gold medals, and is also, i think, the most decorated olympian of all time with 18 medals total. as i was watching videos of her i noticed first how her body was so much more “womanly” than those of gymnasts today. i used that term within quotations because i am well-aware that women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, but the difference in their appearance is striking. sure, she is still thin, but she isn’t as small or muscular as they seem to be today. it seems like back then it was a little more about grace and style. it is the natural evolution of a sport, of course, and it is wonderful to see the female gymnasts of today exhibiting such strength, it just makes me uneasy that they look, and are, so very very young.
you will also note the use of tori amos’ “little earthquakes”. how emo!
i promised myself i wouldn’t let it happen this time. i avoided the tv, avoided checking up on it on the internets… but alas, i have caught OLYMPIC FEVER!!! it cannot be stopped.
four years ago my ex took me on vacation to vegas and i swear to god, we spent nearly the entire trip glued to the television watching gymnastics. it was fun and all, but i still think about how kind of lame that was, especially since i have weirdly decent luck in vegas and probably could have won some shrimp cocktail money on the penny slots. damn.
like anyone who doesn’t understand sports with balls and stuff, my favorites to watch are any race-type sport, particularly swimming, and like anyone who dreams of being a cute flying tiny, i also love to watch gymnastics. the problem with those two sports are that when i picture the people that get into doing them, at least in the usa, i think of white kids with rich parents having the time and money to do whatever they want. that’s all fine and good, and certainly no one could deny or diminish their athletic talent, but it’s not nearly as fun as a crazy story about rising up from nothing to win gold and the love and respect of your entire country. because of this, and i tend to root for whatever athlete/country has the most interesting story and/or is the underdog. sometimes that happens to be the usa, such as in the SUPER-AMAZING men’s freestyle relay i watched tonight. man, that was good. i also watched cuba CRUSH the usa 3-0 in women’s volleyball, which was awesome. okay, so cuba wasn’t the underdog in that game, but what can i say?
now i am watching the chinese women (can you even call them that? there is even some controversy this year with people saying some of them are not the required age of 16, and it certainly looks to be true, although the olympics committee says it isn’t.) do floor exercise. floor exercise kind of bores me sometimes and so does the chinese team. they are a bit robotic, and i like a little drama. the announcers are talking about how the romanian team sucks now and aren’t as rigid and hard on the girls as they used to be. they are talking about how the girls used to focus only on their routines back in the day and now they actually talk to each other and when one does bad the coach still hugs them, whereas before he would just walk away. um, okay, this is awful. i don’t know why i love watching gymnastics so much, it is a terrible sport! a bunch of ripped mini-ladies with amenorrhea and ponytails so tight it is probably killing their brain cells. plus, the american team looks so boring this year. i need to research them, but on looks and outward-shining personality alone, none of them looks special. i bet they are all named “staci.” are they? they are, right? i’m gonna google it.
who am i kidding, though. I LOVE IT I LOVE IT! still, no one will ever be svetlana khorkina to me. she is a goddess! i always liked the russians. dunno why. anyway, if it comes down to usa vs. china, i will definitely be cheering for my countrywomen. there is some kind of mini-crisis re: injuries going on just now making them seem much more appealing to me. also, one of them, nastia liukin, is apparently russian and there is another girl with giant boobies and gay face. okay, done, i’m totally on board.
anyway, swimming is still my favorite, it’s so exciting! i also like to watch diving. in fact, i like to think of the aquatic sports as “my” sports, because as you may know, i am taking water aerobics now. yeah, i really know my way around a pool, i gotta say.
water aerobics is really fun and, with the right teacher, actually an awesome workout. there are things about it that make me a little uneasy, like how everyone else walking by the pool kind of looks at us funny, which is not helped by the interesting music the teachers sometimes play. yesterday i walked into the pool just as a mega-mix of hanson’s “MmmBop” was ripping through the crisp sunday morning peace. i was also nervous at first about being in my bathing suit and exercising. luckily my fears were put to rest on day one when i was greeted with at least 30 women who were about 30-40 pounds heavier than me and mostly much older. there are a few skinny women, but everyone is really nice and being under the cover of the water is truly a blessing. although, i shudder to think of what the view from an underwater lens would be like. yikes! all in all, though, i am into it. i’m not into how the bottom of the pool is making me have sandpaper-feet, though, so i am getting pair of water socks. i know that’s super-gay, but luckily so am i.
wow, this is totally becoming a sports blog! i think i am going to go out and buy a tracksuit! and by “tracksuit”, i mean “ice cream cake.”
lately i had begun to think that none of my dreams would ever come true. oh, sorry, i think i am using the term “dreams” rather loosely. i don’t really have any of those kind that begin with “someday i’ll be…” or “i want to achieve success in the field of…” i just wasn’t built that way.
it was revisiting this thought, that most of the dreams i dream are rather small, that finally cheered me up a bit this weekend, as it also brought me to the realization that i have actually been living out many of my dreams left and right! first off, i now own and love a vixen bandit dildo (which i promise to review later this week), started taking a water aerobics class (more on that in another post), and finally made it into the basement of the staples center!
but let me start at the beginning. it was friday, august 1st, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. joseph and i were headed to the X-Games 14 women’s street skate finals, which were being held on a large course built on a parking lot just outside the staples center in downtown l.a. we were going there to watch my friends amy caron, vanessa torres, sophie poppe, and evelien bouilliart compete. i was also looking forward to watching marisa dal santo, as i had never seen her skate in person, and leticia bufoni, whom i had seen the weekend before at the S3 Supergirl competition in huntington beach. leticia is a 15 year-old brazilian tiny who skates like a maniac. look, i don’t know anything about skating and i won’t pretend to, but i know what i like to watch. it’s fun to watch them when they have serious tenacity and keep going after a trick until they get it, or make it look easy (i think that’s called “style”). anyway, i love watching little leticia almost as much as i like watching my good friends skate. marisa (who won the silver medal that day) was fucking awesome to watch too, as well as (obviously) the day’s gold medal winner elissa steamer. but my most favorite skater EVER, partly because she’s awesome at skating, partly because she is really funny, and partly because last summer she looked-after my black-out drunken ass in ways i may never know, is amy caron, and i am so proud of her for winning the bronze medal!
the competition was set up in three jams of seven minutes each on different parts of the course. sophie hooked joe and i up with her friends and family passes, so the view was great to watch the comp, but not so great for taking pics because i couldn’t actually get on the course. everyone was skating really well, but it seemed by the third jam, which was on a rail, that leticia bufoni and rachel reinhard were duking it out for third place, at least that’s what the announcers were saying. it did seem like they were both hitting the pavement hard trying to complete some fancy kickflips over the stairs, and according to what the girls said later, that part of the course was really gnarly, which i assume means steep. it’s hard to get that perspective when you are standing beside it, but i guess it looks much more daunting standing at the top staring down at the pavement below, or rather careening toward it on a piece of wood with wheels on it
anyway, as i said, amy had been skating well, but i don’t think she felt like she was in medal contention, or at least that’s what i was getting from her body language after the third jam. when she heard that she was currently in fourth place just before the final jam began, though, it was really on. the crowd watched her kick it into overdrive, and it was an amazing thing to see. if i remember correctly, she was the only person to skate the ledge, and the trick she did was beautiful. it is called a 5-0 and please don’t ask me why that is, but here is what it looked like. after this part there was a perfect landing and a lot of cheering. it was awesome.
the rest, as they say, is history. amy won the bronze medal at X-Games for the second year in a row and it was time to celebrate. the first thing we did was head down to the athlete’s lounge at the staples center to hang out and wait for her to be done with interviews and stuff. the passes we had enabled us to go down there, but we needed to have another special pass to actually WALK down there. it was kind of ridiculous, but it made me feel very special and VIP when we finally found someone to escort us down. okay, so i never realized i had always dreamed of walking into the bowels of the staples center until i was doing it, but it was just sort of exhilarating! almost as exciting as the actual athlete’s lounge, which was stocked with all manner of free non-alcoholic beverages, a catering station, baskets and baskets of powerbar products, a free photobooth, massage therapist, flat screen tv, leather couches, and a unisex bathroom! i felt like kobe bryant himself! i’m pretty sure i opened one of each of every free drink in the place just to taste it. unfortunately i am a moron who was in the direct sun for four hours that day and i lost my head, so the only two pictures i have of the experience are one of half of sophie’s face and marisa and evelien eating free sandwiches and one of amy texting really gay-ly. BEST DAY EVER.
now, i know this coverage isn’t exactly in-depth, as i obviously know nothing about the technical aspects of skateboarding, but i wanted to share my day with you. i was super-disappointed when i went to the X-Games blog and was met with this post about the women’s event, which is lackluster at best, and downright offensive at worst. i guess it is supposed to be flip and funny in the classic skateboarder way, but i didn’t find it amusing and a lot of the information was wrong. one would think that in a sports world that lives outside of the norm, that women wouldn’t have to work extra hard to be considered legit, but i guess some things are universal.
anyway, here is the video of the highlights they posted, thankfully.
on the up-side, i had a great time hanging out with all the girls at once. sophie and evelien were visiting from belgium, vanessa was down from northern california, marisa says funny stuff and is from chicago, and meeting leticia was really cool, even though there is a language barrier. these women have the ultimate respect for each other, as athletes and as people, and they drive each other, which makes the sport even better.
*the picture of amy’s 5-0 trick was taken by ashley brennan (click to make photos larger). you can see a few more of my pics from the competition and the ensuing madness on my Flickr page.
well, i guess the title tells it all. that’s hard-hitting journalism. there ya go.
just kidding, i will be posting all about my X-Games adventures later today or tomorrow when caron forks over some pics. i was in a sweet spot for watching the competition, but my pictures during were kind of weak because i didn’t have a full-access pass and also i was enjoying watching everyone so much!