Live Blogging the Emmys (194th new thing).

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Note: I know the timing of this post is not really all that relevant, but lets all step back a month or two and pretend that it’s fresh. Or we could just reminisce.

I watched the Emmys on Day One Hundred Ninety-Four, which I may or may not have done before in my life. I feel like I could have possibly tuned in and out throughout the evening should nothing else be on TV as I was vegging out. Just to be safe, I planned on watching the entire ceremony, and live blogging/tweeting about it. At least for a short while.

I decided to test out my live blogging skills on Gawker. I loaded up the page and continually refreshed to check out the new comments. And then I worked up the courage to write one of my own. Well, actually it was only a reply. “Here, here!” to be exact. It was the first thing that come to my mind after reading a commenter’s words that perfectly illustrated what I was thinking. If you were watching the pre-show on FOX, it was when the two British interviewers were singing to Steve Buschemi.

And then I posted about Heidi Klum’s dress and how it was cool that she wore Christian Siriano (a previous Project Runway winner) and I liked it. I’m glad it wasn’t approved in a timely manner because the commentators started ripping on the gown. I’m a boring dresser, what do I know? I watch Project Runway for the drama.

I also tried my hand at a few tweets, but between checking between the two websites (Gawker and Twitter) and two channels (FOX and E!) , I missed some of the actual content.

I decided to hang up my social media commentary and just watch the awards show, all the way through. I’ll leave the reviews to those with better multi-tasking skills. Or at least an app that sends their comments to all of their social networking accounts.




Details (193rd new thing).

October 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I bought a Groupon-like deal for a car detailing months ago and finally redeemed it on Day One Hundred Ninety-Three. I headed over to Fairway Carwash, just down the street from work, and handed over my car, but not before first riding through the automated car wash. I forget how much FUN those are. It’s like a theme park ride, being sloshed about from behind the protection of sealed windows and doors. I wanted a second go round afterwards. Could I use the excuse that my car was extra dirty?

I passed along my Civic to the waiting attendants and headed inside to “pay.” The interior of the building was comfortable, with complimentary water bottles embossed with the company’s logo along the label. Don’t mind if I do. After I settled up, adding tip on my credit card, I headed outdoors to the rows of rocking chairs where customers sit and watch from afar as their vehicles are polished to a shiny glow.

Besides rolling through the automated car wash, sitting in a rocking chair is another past-time I enjoy immensely. As I sipped my bottle of water, I was really beginning to enjoy the whole car detailing experience.

I watched as my car sat among the Lexuses and BMWs and two men got to work scrubbing the exterior, vacuuming the inside, and polishing everything. It took about a half hour before they pulled Lucy (my car’s name which I hardly ever use) up to the waiting area. She really looked even better than when I first bought her, and much better than my own wash job back on Day 42. I thanked the guys wiping down the car, tempted to explain that I left a tip on my card inside, and hopped in before I had a moment to take a picture of the shimmering Honda.

It was like a whole new car, and I could definitely get used to this detailing thing. Although I would probably wait for another half-off deal. I love my car, but it’s not an $80/month kind of admiration.

Very Pinteresting (192nd new thing).

October 25, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had heard of this new social media sharing website Pinterest several times before actually joining on Day One Hundred Ninety-Two. It sounded cool, a unique new idea for sharing your likes, interests, and inspiration. I can’t count the ways I have bookmarked different stories and ideas, storing them away for a later date of revisiting. Stars on my reader, likes on Stumble Upon, old bookmarks folder in whatever browser I was using at the time, and even the old copy and pasting of the url into an email or document. Pinterest could be another method of storage.

I started by creating a book list, to add books I was reading or had read recently, in conjunction with the list on the sidebar of this site. I then added a category called “things I’ve done,” bookmarking past blog posts with images I liked. I then made an inspiration board, but only added one link, something my friend Kristin had shared on Facebook. It was a beautiful scene of a floating outdoor bed. Having a screened-in porch, I found the idea of napping on a full sized bed outside within the confines of a lake-house looking porch pretty awesome.

And I haven’t added too much since. The main problem is that the easiest way to mark something is with a widget on my laptop’s browser. Unfortunately, I surf the web on a number of different other devices, and without having that key piece of ease and simplicity on my phone or work computer, “pinning” something is more difficult. So I revert back to copying and pasting the link and emailing it to myself or adding it to my notes folder on my phone.

I do, however, love the email notifications when another Pinterst users “repins” my stuff. It’s almost worth having the boards purely for the validation it provides.

That and seeing a bunch of book covers in a cute little box on my screen is symmetrically beautiful all by itself.

Instant with milk and sugar (191st new thing).

October 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

I was on camera at work and noticed an interesting looking cylindrical packet of something next to me on the table. I asked the host what it was, with its Korean writing all over the plastic encasement. “Korean Instant Coffee,” he explained. “Want to try it?” Of course I did. A little pixie stick looking parcel that when added to hot water made a cup of joe, cream and sugar included? Hello, Day One Hundred Ninety-First new thing.

I headed to the breakroom and made my self a little pre-mixed cup. And it was tasty, the right amount of sweetness and creamer. Korean Coffee: 1, Sludge in the pot: 0.

Pattern Hell (190th new thing).

October 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Earlier this year, after my camera/iPod case sewing experiment, I had bought a “Sew Simple: One Easy Project” skirt pattern to save for a rainy day. While it was reasonably sunny on Day One Hundred Ninety, I decide to take a stab at following a sewing pattern before it became too cold to wear a skirt in the summery patterned fabric I had purchased.  This process is best described in 25 easy steps.

Step 1: Open package with pattern and instructions and briefly glance through it all.

Step 2: Follow the measuring directions included with the pattern to determine that you are a size 16. The largest possible size of the pattern. Twice what the stores may say, but perhaps sewing patterns are just different like that.

Step 3: Pin roughly cut pattern pieces to the fabric laid out on the floor. Cut around the dotted lines to create weird shaped fabric scraps with a perfectly shaped tissue pinned on.

Step 4: Upon realizing that the numbers on the tissue paper pattern are meant as quantity and not order, sigh in exasperation and repeat Step 3 until the appropriate number of pieces are in hand.

Step 5: Check the instructions for the next activity. Stare at the instructions for five minutes trying to figure out how to replicate the image of pleating next to the word, “Fold fabric on hash marks in pleats.”

Step 6: Mark the top of the fabric in a similar manner to the image on the instructions. Fold fabric over and iron in place. Think hard for five minutes about what “basting” is and then look it up online.

Step 7: Realize that your pleats are not correct. Refold the fabric in a different manner and re-iron.

Step 8: Come to the conclusion that you did indeed have the pleats folded correctly and revert to that manner.

Step 9: Forget what basting means, and just kind of run the pleats through the sewing machine, getting the fabric stuck twice.

Step 10: Look at the fabric cut out for pockets and decide that your skirt really doesn’t need pockets. Throw the offending pockets into the corner of the room.

Step 11: Stare at the instructions in a confused state of mind until you come to the conclusion that your skirt doesn’t really need instructions either. Crumble up the instructions, pattern, and any other distracting piece of material and with a loud scream of frustration, hurl them into the corner with the pockets.

Step 12: Realize this is quite possibly the most frustrating activity you have attempted and that you can never get back the three hours of your life that was spent on steps 1 through 12, mostly spent on figuring out pleating.

Step 13: Sew the front and back panel of the skirt together on one side. Wipe away the tears beginning to form at the corners of  your eyes. Something finally went easily.

Step 14: Pick up the crumbled instructions from the corner of the room and attempt to decipher how to turn two long thin pieces of fabric and a yard of elastic into a waistband.

Step 15: Decide that you are too smart for this shit and return the instruction paper back to its rightful home in the corner of the room.

Step 16: Fold over the fabric that will soon be a waist for your skirt and iron it. Repeat with the second strip.

Step 17: Attach the waistband to the skirt material by creating an assortment of temporary creases which can, at any moment, become completely uncreased and make you realize that all that careful ironing you did for twenty minutes was for nothing. So work fast.

Step 18: Once you’ve sewn a waistband onto the skirt, begin trying to thread the 3/4 inch elastic through the seemingly 1/2 inch opening. Revert to all manner of tools and doodads found in the house including a bamboo skewer, wire coat hanger, and even a few clothespins.

Step 19: At this point, you should have threaded the elastic through the waist of the skirt. A tight fit, but it’s in there. Now don’t let go of the two ends of elastic or…oh, you let go. And now the elastic is stuck somewhere around the belly button should you be wearing the garment. Repeat Step 18.

Step 20: Now comes the point where you try on the skirt, holding the ends of elastic, ends of the fabric waistband, and unhemmed bottom of the skirt in position. Remember in Step 2 when you measured yourself and found out you were a size 16? You were wrong. But since you have made it all the way to Step 20, maybe having a skirt that hangs around your knees is a new fashion.

Step 21: Now that you’ve gotten this far, all that remains is to stitch the skirt together along one final seam, to close the loop. Run the two ends of fabric through the sewing machine, making sure to sew the waistband and its elastic several times over, clogging the machine with thread in the process.

Step 22: Clear the stray threads from the machine by opening up the bottom compartment and taking everything out. Refer to the manual that came with the machine for instructions on putting it all back in. But we know how instructions go, and they tell you nothing. Plug in the “Intro to Sewing” DVD that came with the instructions. Pause several times as you try to decipher the order in which the small parts return to their home. Look carefully in the background of the shot, behind the model’s fingers which are clearly showing you something completely different. After about half an hour, everything should be back to working.

Step 23: Repeat Step 21, and then Step 22 until the seams of the skirt are sewn together.

Step 24: Hem the bottom of the skit, eyeballing the length for consistency. You’re almost finished

Step 25: Congratulations, you’ve sewn a skirt from a pattern! Sort of. Model the skirt and take a picture. Promptly toss the garment in the recess of your closet, never to be seen again. Unless, of course, you gain a lot of weight and need to wear a size 16. Open a bottle of wine in celebration of a task accomplished.

Steve Harvey’s Family Feud (189th new thing).

October 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

When the Game Show Network first came on the air in the mid nineties, it quickly became my go-to channel for mindless time-wasting. My favorite show was Match Game, a seventies original which featured a panel of possibly drunk pseudo-celebrities including Richard Dawson. Dawson later hosted the spin-off show, Family Feud, and was infamous for his amorous greetings of female contestants. The Richard Dawson-hosted version of this long running game show is still one of those shows that I will flip to if I find it airing.

After the Dawson years, Family Feud started back up with Ray Combs as the host. Between then and now the show has been hosted by Louie Anderson, Richard Karn from Home Improvement, John O’Hurley from Seinfeld, and now Steve Harvey. Harvey is in his second year of hosting and this year moved the show from Orlando to Atlanta, to the Atlanta Civic Center. On Day One Hundred Eighty-Nine I dragged Patrick along to a taping.

We arrived at the Civic Center by 3:30PM, just as my contact who guest-listed us had instructed me to do. We had to leave our cell phones in and cameras in the car (it was really that secretive) and were told to sit in a row of chairs already occupied by about a dozen people. And then we sat and waited, and waited, and sat some more while a loop of past episodes played on a TV just out of our line of vision.

We waited for two hours before we were even ready to walk into the studio, built above the stage and first several rows of seats in the theater. Without his smartphone, Patrick was in a ripe mood of annoyance. Perhaps he wasn’t the best companion for this activity.

Once we walked into the studio, much to Patrick’s displeasure, we were placed in the front row. The woman who had been sitting next to us in the row of waiting chairs outside exclaimed how lucky we were as she confided in us that she had been to multiple tapings over the summer. She waved and called out hello to a production assistant walking quickly down the line of people, but the girl seemed to be rushing purposefully by. Fan lady let us into the secret that once you get to know some of the staff they call you back a lot. It was all very uncomfortable.

The warm up MC came out once everyone was crowded into their chairs, and he gave us the rundown. We practiced clapping to the beat, at which point I began intentionally clapping to the off-beat. I stepped back in line quickly as MC Man looked glaringly at Patrick, who was visibly unnerved. The guy went through the rules of talking to Steve Harvey during the commercial breaks (don’t ask him for a job, or to support your child at his camp) and ran through the list of when to cheer, make an “Awww” sound, and clap. We practiced them all.

And that was all before the show even began.

The show itself was another experience altogether. The two families were ushered out, one a bevy of mostly pregnant Arizona blondes, and the other a local family led by a model sister who Harvey seemed to enjoy chatting up “for his son.” Frankly, it was creepy.

It was even more uncomfortable when the host talked about how moms are supposed to be full-figured and buxom, right in front of the skinny pregnant ladies. He also brought up the book The Secret at any available moment during commercials, preaching about the power of Christianity and making ourselves better. Though I wasn’t particularly impressed with the comedian’s proselytizing, he had plenty of followers in the audience that nodded and applauded their agreement.

But the most uncomfortable parts of the afternoon were the game show’s questions. “What would be in a man’s pocket on a first date?” Answers: “Wallet.” “Cell Phone.” “A Pitched Tent.”

“What kind of woman ‘works hard for her money’?” “Waitress.” “Stripper.” “A ‘Ho.”

Steve Harvey’s Family Feud is a far cry from the early Richard Dawson days I remember watching growing up. And I could never imagine Louie Anderson hamming it up with his big white teeth and shiny suits that way Harvey did at all of the show’s below the belt attempts at humor.

I will try to remember to check out this season and see if Patrick or I made it on the small screen in a brief audience flash, but please forgive me if I forget. I think GSN may be airing Match Game reruns.

Batting Practice Experience (188th new thing).

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t think it’s any secret that Patrick and I are Atlanta Braves fans. On Day One Hundred Eighty-Eight we had the opportunity to see some of our favorite players up close and personal, and not in the say-hello-as-you-run by-them way of Day 178.

We participated in the Braves “Batting Practice Experience.”

In preparation for our on field up-close look at MLB players hitting practice balls, I grabbed a spare ball Glenn Hubbard had tossed to us at a Pittsburgh game last year and a sharpie. I was going to get signatures, and lots of them, and then maybe even sell the signed ball on ebay or something.

Patrick squashed that dream when he firmly informed me that autographs were not allowed. It said so right there on the ticket. I kind of wondered what the point was if not to get something signed by your favorite player. I mean, people actually pay seventy bucks for this opportunity. If they don’t get any player interaction, why bother? Sitting in the stands and watching batting practice before the game is free (if you have a ticket).

Fortunately, Patrick was wrong. Unfortunately, I had listened to him and left my ball and pen at home. So for us, it was mostly watching the players swing their bats from twenty feet away, behind a temporary barrier and batting cage.

We didn’t even talk to any of the players. I was afraid of saying something dumb and I think Patrick was kind of nervous. We realized it was Freddie Freeman’s birthday after he had come and gone (perfect opener to asking him if he remembered me jogging by and saying hello a couple weeks earlier).  And then we were going to have whoever was on the cover of the game day guide sign it with a borrowed pen, but Hinske had already batted and left, heartily exclaiming how good his practice felt.

We may not have fully taken advantage of this opportunity, but it was still pretty cool. I mean, how else would I have come to the realization that MLB players generally have really big butts?

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