Friday, September 30, 2011

Chillin' with Kovacs (from Bachelor Pad)

Okay, okay, I know it's the off-season for The Bachelor and I'm supposed to be giving you a break from all my Bachelor-related drivel. But if I got to hang out with someone from the show, that would be drivel-worthy, right? Because, I totally did...

Hey, look at that! It's me... with Jesse Kovacs from Jillian's season of The Bachelorette and from the first season of Bachelor Pad.

The radio station I've been doing Bachelor recaps for hosted a Girls' Night Out event and he was the special guest. Before the event, they hosted a VIP party with Jesse. And apparently I'm a VIP!  (Shut up. It does not stand for "Very Irritating Person".)

I really didn't know what to expect. For as much as I'm willing to share on my blog... or the fact that I have zero fear of public speaking... when I actually have to interact with three-dimensional humans, I get a little nervous. Fine, a lot nervous. Which either results in me saying nothing at all... or saying something completely outside the realm of social convention. Luckily, Savannah agreed to go with me. Whew! Because otherwise I probably would have sat in my car for a half hour trying to work up the courage to go in alone.

Except Savannah's kids got pneumonia and, because she's done such a good job of teaching them to share, she got it too.

So, an hour before the VIP party, I was dateless and dangerously close to just going home. But, I'd bought a new jeans. And, after a considerable amount of begging on my part, my friend Brittney graciously moved a couple of things around in her schedule and was able to meet me and make sure I didn't cower in the corner the whole time. She couldn't get there right at the beginning though, so that's why I sat in my car for a half hour trying to work up the courage to go in alone.

Luckily, it was a pretty small gathering. Like, 20 people. And Jesse? Seemingly regular.

I know, I know. "But Audreya... you spent his whole season of the Bachelor Pad saying he was part of the Douchebag Triumvirate..."  Well, yes, I did. But mostly because he's skinnier than me. Yeah, let's go with that.
Brittney with Jesse

Anyway, I did expect him to be rather cocky or "too cool" for the whole thing. I just imagine most of the people who go on this show are all "Of course you want to meet me. I was on The Bachelor!" I was only around the dude for an hour, so -who knows- maybe he is like that... but he didn't come off that way. Just seemed like a cool enough guy. Not shy but not "in your face" either.

Everyone at the party got a chance to ask him a question in a Chris Harrison "sit across from each other and tell me your deepest, darkest secrets" format. I don't remember all the questions, but the one that stuck out to me was why he went on the show. Answer: He was approached to be on the show, he didn't apply. That's the case with almost all the men -and a lot of the women- who are on the show. A talent agent or someone from the production company sees them out and about, thinks they have the right look and don't seem like a dud, so the agent asks if they'd be interested. He thought it would be something fun to do.

Super awesome side note: Brittney was approached when she lived in Austin. She went through the casting process and was getting ready to fly to LA to be on Brad's (first) season. But she met a guy right before she left, she had that "feeling" about him, so she backed out of The Bachelor. Good thing, since she married that guy a few months ago! Nevertheless, she and Jesse had fun chatting about how Brad is a douche. Jesse's words, not mine. Except, after Brad's second season, I totally believe it. He's still incredibly hot, but...

Anyway, of course I used my question to ask about the behind-the-scenes stuff. As I've said before, there are two kinds of people who watch The Bachelor: the hopeless romantics who want to watch a love story and tend to believe most of what they are see on the show... and the people who like a good train wreck and watch for entertainment value more than anything else. Obviously I'm the latter. Plus, I enjoy seeing what they spliced together, skewed a certain way, etc. I'm under no delusions that reality TV is real. Jesse confirmed that.

I asked him how much of it was a producer saying "Go here, say this..." or "Ask so and so about this..." He said a huge part of it was. That, from the first night, there was a guy on set with a laptop, crafting each cast member's "story line" as different things played out. And that they were constantly being told "Hey, you and Dave should go over here and talk to Jillian..." and that sort of thing. Again, all stuff I already knew, but just nice to hear it from someone who lived it.

I was blinking, not sleeping... I promise

More likely...
He also said that, on The Bachelorette, he kind of frustrated the producers because he wouldn't admit to having feelings for Jillian. He said he knew pretty quickly that she was a nice girl, but the kind of girl you grab a beer and watch a ballgame with, not someone he was interested in romantically. They were always asking him if he was developing feeling for her and he was like "I've known her a week. So, no..."  Of course, none of that aired. In general, he felt he was pretty aware of the fact that anything he said could be portrayed any which way, so he was pretty cautious what he said. On Bachelor Pad, however, he said he just wasn't as worried about it because the format was different and there was money on the line. Also, he was approached to come back and do Bachelor Pad 2, but he has had a girlfriend for nearly a year now, so he didn't.

Okay, you've made it this far. Admit it, you want the rest of the dirt on what he said about other castmates, right? Yeah, me too. He said that he's made a few good friends from the show(s)... really good people he's glad to know. But that the vast majority really are just there to promote something, get famous, etc. Remember the Weatherman? That squirmy, nerdy dude? Yep. He really is a squirmy, nerdy dude. About Kasey and Vienna, he said he does get along with them and they are nice people, but that they really, really like to be on camera. His crazy partner, Elizabeth, from Bachelor Pad? He was careful to avoid words like "totally insane", but did gently suggest she might benefit from medication. And Jake? He declared him a flat out douche to end all douches.

Oh, and when one of the women at the party used her question to ask if he would take off his shirt, he politely declined. And said his brother told him he wasn't allowed to do that anymore.

All in all, really nice to meet him. He's still making wine and he and his girlfriend have just opened a new business, combining his wine interest and her clothing business into a wine bar / high-end clothing boutique... which, if I lived in California and drank wine and bought fancy clothes, would totally be something I would visit. But, alas... (He did bring some of his wine to the event. I didn't try any though. Because I don't drink wine, so I figured when I made some horrible face, it might be viewed as offensive. But I did take pictures of the bottles, because I think wine bottles are pretty.)

Best part? I almost didn't have any really awkward moments. Almost. The host from the radio station introduced me to Jesse and said I was their "Bachelor expert" and did recaps for them. He asked me how one became a Bachelor expert. I said "I've just watched it forever and been blogging about it for quite a while. I guess that makes me qualified. You don't read my blog, right? Then I've never said anything bad about you or made fun of you in any way. Also, I'm lying."

Good sport, that Jesse Kovacs. And easy on the eyes. In a too-skinny kind of way.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Luca Brasi

So, this guy lives at our house now. Yeah, I don't know either...
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Monday, September 19, 2011

I have a new coat. It might lead to a new career.

I get home from work about 5:10 every day. By 5:12, I'm in yoga pants and a t-shirt. It would be 5:11 but I usually stop to pet the pups for a minute. Anyway, I'm not what you would call high fashion. I mean, remember some of those awful clothes I found the last time I realized how unfashionable I was?

But, somewhere along the way, I decided that the Burberry trench coat was the single greatest piece of fashion ever invented. I really don't know why. Maybe because it could cover whatever other crap I was wearing? No matter though... it's not like I would ever be able to afford one. Plus, even if I did skip a house payment and buy one, I'm sure I would sit on a freshly-painted park bench the very next day or something. The fact that I never go to a park and I'm pretty sure people only sit on freshly-painted park benches on TV shows is irrelevant. It would happen.

Nevertheless, I've always wanted to be the girl in the fabulous trench coat. Maybe I would never have a Burberry trench, but I could at least have a good trench, right? Not a Walmart trench. I mean, I'm fine with Walmart clothes (see: yoga pants) but not for this.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law and I were in Chicago. We took an afternoon and went out to a big outlet mall. The Michael Kors outlet had an awesome trench. It was just over $100, which was well within my "Reasonable range for something I've always wanted" range, but it exceeded my "I can't logically buy this since I've already spent a crap ton of money on vacation" threshold. Plus, it was a tiny bit snug. So I walked away.

And I've thought of it at least 100 times since. Anytime SIL and I talk shopping, once of us brings up that coat.

Fast-forward to this weekend. A dear friend and I met for dinner and a little shopping. She dresses much better than me, so she wanted to swing by Ann Taylor. I didn't expect to buy anything. Because Ann Taylor doesn't sell yoga pants. But then I saw it...

Since I've lost a pretty good amount of weight recently, I've been setting aside money whenever I can knowing I'd have to get some new clothes for fall / winter. I'd already spent some of it and the coat would eat up every last bit. But then I realized that everything in the store was 40% off, which would make just over what that coat from 3 years ago cost. I asked the sales associate if everything really meant everything. Because, you know, sometimes everything means "except jewelry, shoes, and amazing trench coats."  She assured me it meant every single thing.

I put on the coat. My friends gasped "You HAVE TO buy that!" "I just don't know," I muttered. Then I thought of the last trench coat I walked away from and am still haunted by. But then I thought of the fact that I don't usually spend much on clothes. Even outerwear. I know those of you with a wardrobe full of "investment pieces" are shaking your head right now, but when the average piece of clothing in your wardrobe costs under $20, it's kind of a big deal. So I walked around some more.

"If you apply for a credit card, you get another 15% off," the sales girl said.

"My credit isn't that great. I'm working on it, but you know..." I sheepishly admitted.

"Even if you apply and are declined, we'll give you the 15%. You have to have that coat," the manager said.

So I applied. And it was approved. And, don't worry, I have the money in hand and am paying it off immediately. I'm sure I'll pay online. But I'm also sure I'll be sitting in front of my computer while wearing my new coat.

And the best part? All the new career choices I have. I can be a detective. Or a news reporter from the 1950s. Or, of course, a flasher.

I'm really leaning towards flasher. Because I live in the same vicinity as the Toad Suck Toe Sucker. Obviously the detectives and the news reporters are already out in full-force and still haven't caught the guy. So I'm thinking I can drive him back underground by outdoing him. And "Fatty Flasher" seems like it would do the trick!!

You're welcome.

The girl in the fabulous trench coat... and maybe nothing else.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bachelor Pad 2: The Finale

At long last, the Bachelor Pad finale is here! As much as I love the trainwreckery that is the Bachelor franchise, it will be nice to have my Monday nights back for a bit. I mean, yeah, I'll spend them pretty much the same way... plopped in front of the TV... but I'll be watching Castle and How I Met Your Mother and stuff like that. It's totally different, I swear. Plus, between now and January (when the new season begins), I might even blog about other things! You're welcome.

Okay, onto last night. With the finale, I always think I can wrap it up more quickly, but that never works out. Nevertheless, I'll try. And fail. But whatever.

Chris greets the 4 remaining couples and tells them they are headed to Vegas for their final challenge. Ella whoops and hollers. Kasey is the first to annoyingly say "Vegas, baby!". There's some cheesy travel video of them in a bus, I think. Anyway, they get to Vegas and head straight to the MGM Grand's theater. Everyone is all "Wow! What a big theater." These people are easily impressed. They speculate what might go on here. Um, a show. Duh. Oh, but more specifically, it's Cirque du Soleil's KA. (This is a good chance to point out that I extra-super-major-ridiculously love Cirque du Soleil. So, while you are welcome to make fun of the contestants' lame attempts to perform the routine, do NOT make fun of legit Cirque performers or I'll punch you in the face. Okay, I can't reach your face. And I would never actually punch you. But I will furrow my brow and growl at you.)

Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. The gang doesn't even know they are performing yet. I bet Chris Harrison will walk casually onto the floor and tell them. I mean, surely he won't do some overly-dramatic "appear on stage in a cloud of smoke" thing, right?

Chris, seriously, dude?! And why does he always stand like that? Ugh. But yeah, the teams are going to participate in a Cirque challenge. Fortunately, unlike during Bachelor / Bachelorette, the audience won't be subjected to this madness. For real... I spend a good portion of my time on Bachelor-related matters, but if I went to Vegas and bought a ticket to a Cirque show (because those tickets aren't cheap, yo) and had to endure part of it being "performed" by the cast of The Bachelor, I would probably throw things at the stage. Now, if the tickets were free, that would be entirely fine. So, Cirque du Soleil, if you want to give me free tickets (hint, hint), let whomever you want hijack part of the show. Also, if you want to give me free tickets (hint, hint), I really want to see Love. The Beatles AND Cirque?! Yes, please!

What were we talking about? Oh, the group doing part of a Cirque routine. KA features a 100 foot wall that performers "run" up and down while suspended from a harness. So, you know, they are horizontal and stuff. It actually looks cool when the pros do it. But, I'm not expecting it will look the same when our friends here give it a try. Most of the teams freak out over fear of heights and whatnot.  Ella is certain she will plummet to her death and orphan her son. Kasey, on the other hand, says he picks things up fast and is smart and witty. Vienna explains that Kasey is not very graceful. Kasey thinks Vienna can't win without him. This should go well. Oh, and their routine will be 60 seconds... 10 of which the team has to come up with their own moves.

Kasey suggests he and Vienna form a heart with their bodies. Vienna thinks this is dumb. In fact, she tells their trainer about his heart idea using air quotes around "heart idea". I never, ever, ever, ever advocate domestic abuse. Ever. But if your significant other air quotes you -not in a funny way, but in an actual mocking way- and your hand happens to have a spasm and flail wildly at that moment, well, never mind. Air quotes... hilarious when used in the right, sarcastic-but-not-too-much way. Super condescending when used like Vienna. But at least she looked like an idiot while doing it.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Where'd ya go, Mojo?

My blogging mojo often waxes and wanes. Right now, it's waning. I think. Is waning the one that means having less of something? (Okay, so maybe it's not just related to my blog but part of a larger waning issue affecting my overall brainpower. Or is it "effecting"? See what I mean?)

My point? Oh, right. I'm kind of meh lately. It's probably because the Pumpkin Spice Latte has been back on the market for almost a week and I've yet to have one. I better take care of the immediately.

In the meantime, rather than forcing you to read my lame attempts at stringing sentences together, read this instead:

*very minor language, but in case you're sensitive to that sort of thing...*

Even in my mojo-less state, this made me a cheer. Yes! I want to wake up full of awesome!! (Although, lately, waking up kind of not sucky would be an improvement. As would waking up on time. Seriously, I have got to start getting more sleep. But awesome. Awesome is going to be my goal.)

And, thanks to Amy for posting this link of Facebook. It helped me snap out of my morning funk a little sooner.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bachelor Pad 2, Week 5: Perfect, ridiculous dentist teeth

Temperatures outside might be cooling down, but things are really heating up at the Bachelor Pad!! Okay, not really, but I've always wondered if cheesy teaser lines like they use on TV could transfer into real life. And now I know that the answer is "Um, no." I am, however, super stoked that I have been able to walk outside for the last few days with almost no fear of bursting into flames. Yay, fall!! And isn't today Pumpkin Spice Latte Day? It's a High Holiday in my world. Plus, football started and - wait, what were we talking about? Oh, right - Bachelor Pad!

Show of hands, who thought "Hurricane / Tornado / Typhoon / Mt. Saint Helen's / Melissa is gone now. I bet things will start to look up for Blake now!"  No one? Good. Because they don't. This week picks up right where last week left off as the gang discusses Melissa's elimination. Now that she's gone, knives and other objects that could be used as a weapon are returned to the kitchen. People can remove their body armor. Blake can finally breathe a sigh of relief, right? Of course not.

Chris Harrison comes in immediately and informs everyone that the game has changed. Again. (This is starting to feel like an iPhone commercial. Again.) Everyone is to find a partner. From here on out, everything will happen in partners. They'll compete as partners, win as partners, or get voted out as partners. Not a big deal for most people, as they have already partnered up. Blake, however, is partnerless since his most recent partner -Melissa - has recently been taken away by the men in white coats voted out. Holly would love to partner with Blake, but she's already promised Michael that they would be partners. So, who does that leave for Blake? *Dum, dum, dum*...


Blake dons his typical "deer in the headlights" look. Erica, on the other hand, tells us all that being her partner will be the best thing that ever happened to Blake. After all, she's smarter than Holly, and -in her opinion - prettier.

And everyone in America drinking a beverage while she said this just choked a little, huh? You know, if Erica didn't bring up people's physical appearance ALL.THE.TIME, I would probably refrain from making any comments about hers, but... well, let's just say that she's not prettier than Holly. Or anyone else in the house. Or most people I know. As looks go, she's - at best - average. Without the overdone hair and makeup and the large chest region, I doubt she'd get a second look. Unless it was "Uh. I thought she was maybe cute. But not so much."

In fact, I watched the first part of the show with a few friends. One of the guys, Tommy, said "Hey, I know that girl!" I said "I thought you didn't watch The Bachelor or Bachelor Pad." He was like "I don't. But she's been on something else. I'm sure of it."  So, I checked her IMDb page and read off her other credits. One was a show called "You're Cut Off". Tommy shouted "YES!! I loved that show. And I knew I'd seen her before. Trust me. You DO NOT forget a face like that!" And, trust me, he didn't mean it in an Audrey Hepburn kind of way.

Bottom line: I'm not particularly hung up on looks. I think people should aim to look pulled together... like clean clothes, hair under control, etc. But otherwise, whatever. Different strokes for different folks. However, if you're going to obsess about looks, you probably shouldn't look like Erica while doing it.

Anyway... Blake and his egomaniacal partner -as well as everyone else- spend the evening getting to know one another, per Chris Harrison's instructions. Assuming there will be some kind of trivia contest about each other, the teams attempt to cram knowledge about one another into their brains.

Except Kasey and Vienna. They brag that they've been together soooo long and they know everything about each other. Vienna even declares that it will be impossible for them to lose. So they go to sleep.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

You're not dumb... but your Facebook status might be

Lately it seems like all my posts are either recaps of Bachelor episodes or gripes about Facebook. So, since last night wasn't Monday and nothing Bachelor-related was on TV, you don't need high-level reasoning skills to deduce that Facebook has irritated me again.

Well, not Facebook, exactly. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like Facebook. I spend a lot of time on it. (Or with it open, glancing at it while I do other things.) Facebook itself is neither good nor bad. It's just a tool. (In the "useful apparatus" sense of the word "tool". Not in the "some people are real tools" sense of the word... which is actually where this post is headed.) It's a way to keep up with far-flung friends and relatives, as well as to connect with the day-to-day people in your life, plan events, bounce ideas off one another, etc. It's also a good way to lighten the mood and break up the monotony. I'm all for jokes and funny pictures. If you want to play games, go for it. (Just please don't auto-post notifications.) But then there are the status memes...

First of all, what kind of calendar do many Facebookers operate off of? I mean, why would you schedule Special Education Week, Daughters' Week, Sons' Week, Support the Troops Week, and - I don't know - Chocolate Covered Pretzel Awareness Week all on the same week? And why repeat them every month?

Yeah, that's my way of saying that I hate copy-and-paste status updates.

The "official" term for this is slacktivism. (It's in Wikipedia. That makes it official, right?) Basically, you care about a cause... but only enough to right-click your mouse and copy someone else's thoughts on the matter. Look, I'm not judging anyone else's activity - or lack of - when it comes to worthy causes. I'm as guilty as anyone of not using my time and talents to benefit others like I should. I need to work on that. But I don't think posting a Facebook status counts as work. And I'm sure there are some people who are actually involved in financial and/or hands-on support of things and post statuses reflecting that. I applaud those people. I just think they are a huge minority.

Still, I've become so used to seeing the copy-and-paste hoopla enough that it alone wouldn't prompt me to write a post. Instead, it's the latest incarnation of the "vague, misleading status that is somehow supposed to support breast cancer awareness" craze.

First, it was a message in our inboxes encouraging us to post the color of our bra... and just that. No explanation. So, eleventy-thousand statuses simply said "Red" or "Black". I never saw the connection... other than the fact that breasts go inside of bras. And we're not supposed to say what we're supporting but somehow that will raise awareness? I don't follow. But whatever, right?
Then, it was "I like it on _____" and put the location of your purse. Okay, now I'm really confused. Obviously, the idea was to make people think you liked to engage in "relations" in that location. Um, the connection to breast cancer is???

And don't get me started on the "list your shoe size + 'inches'". That's just absurd and clearly has nothing to do with breast cancer. At least say this one was for testicular cancer or something.

But the latest one? WORST ONE YET.

The list provided in the email correlated your birth month to a number of weeks... and your birth date to a kind of candy you were to be craving. According to the directions, my status would have read "I'm 8 weeks and craving Starburst".

The person who thought of this is an idiot. Period. Now, I'm not saying you're an idiot if you participated. I mean, it's Facebook. It's for fun. Big whoop, right?

But, if you did post it, did you get a bunch of comments like "WHAT?!" or "CONGRATULATIONS!!!"? Almost everyone I saw did. The problem with that? For me, it would have meant my mother-in-law calling in a fit of joy .04 seconds after it was posted, only for me to say "No, no. It was a joke. One of those status things to support breast cancer." Even then, she would have been like "Well, that's not very funny..." and we would have moved on. But what about my friends who have been battling infertility for years? Or just suffered a miscarriage? I wonder if it would be so easy for them to brush off it off.

I'm not one to take thing on Facebook too seriously. And I'm not prone to political correctness. And I'm the first to say "Not everything is about you. Don't take things so personally!" But this one just felt like a line-crosser to me.

The biggest kicker I see is that it's kind of a slap in the face to the very cause it's supposed to be "supporting". How many women have gone through chemo and radiation for breast (or other) cancer and lost their fertility as a result? It's a pretty common side effect. I can't imagine a woman experiencing this would feel very encouraged by a status implying someone is pregnant when she isn't. You know what might encourage her? If you shared useful information about her disease with others, or donated to organizations that provide resources to patients or search for cures, or if you just sent her a message to let her know you're thinking about her as she battles her illness.

Am I saying you're a bad person if you participated in this? OF COURSE NOT. Just, in the future, before you copy-and-paste or post a seemingly random status to "raise awareness", ask yourself if there is something more tangible you could do instead.

But, if you just can't sleep at night without knowing... my bra color is "boring", I keep my purse wherever it happens to land, my shoe size is 8 1/2, and -while I'm not any weeks anything - I do enjoy Starbursts.
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