Can He Make You Thin?

I’ll confess that I’m hooked thus far on the short term TLC show, I Can Make You Thin. We watched the first episode last week, and it all seemed like good, rational, common sense advice to me. The guy’s name is Paul McKenna, and he’s a Brit who claims he can help you to lose weight without dieting. I’m suspicious of people who say no diets, and then proceed to put you on a diet, ever since Dr. Phil said he was anti-diet, and then put out a whole money making line of products to make money off of people dieting. I don’t like that AT ALL. And this guy is clearly in the whole thing to make a buck. But I liked when McKenna said that the #1 WORST thing people do to their metabolisms is to diet. That’s right, dieting makes you fat. Sounds familiar to me. Anyway, here’s what McKenna came up with.

First, pay attention to your body. Pay attention to your hunger.

See the red areas there? Don’t go there. Never get yourself to the point where you’re feeling like you’re starving. I suspect many dieters feel virtuous when they get that far along, as do many anorexics or others with eating disorders, but it’s not a good place to be. At the same time, try to listen to your body and stop when you’re full, so you never have those uncomfortable feelings of being stuffed, bloated, or nauseous. Sounds good, huh? Especially since he’s not saying that you need to eat different foods based on your blood type, or skip out on carbs, or anything like that. Quite the contrary. His four rules of thin people are:

1. Eat when you’re hungry.
This one seems like ‘duh’, of course. But I think a lot of people wait until they’re VERY hungry to eat, and then they end up eating more than they want. (Notice that I didn’t say “should”, I said “want”. There’s a difference, and yet, people even eat more than they want.) So when you are physically hungry, not emotionally hungry, eat something.

2. Eat what you want, not what you think you should.
I’ve seen this one before in my mom’s attempts to overcome her yo-yo dieting. You eat what you want, when you want, it’s there. There are no taboos. And at first, you may binge on donuts or something, but eventually, the majority of what people eat will be healthy food. I wonder about that when I see kids who eat nothing but mac & cheese and chocolate, but I’ll go with it for now. But overall, I think it’s best not to fetishize food, and eating what you want and moving on is the best thing. Not feeling guilty or virtuous for your choices. And you can’t have it both ways. You can’t feel virtuous about eating salad and not feel guilty for eating chips. So give them both up, and eat what you want.

3. Eat consciously, and enjoy every mouthful.
When I had lunch with Michelle in Anchorage, she said that was her sister’s way of eating. If she orders a sandwich and French fries, and the fries aren’t delicious, she won’t bother with them. How many times have we all overeaten because we’ve gotten something that we didn’t really like, and yet eaten it anyway? I mean, you have two choices, and I think they’re equally fine. First, you can send the food back and try for better results. The fries suck, and you really wanted good fries? Send them back and get more fries. Hell, it’s YOUR money. So get what you’re paying for. Second, you can skip them. If you don’t REALLY want them, they just came with the meal that you did want, then forget about them and enjoy your sandwich. Hell, I think you can have it both ways if you want. Eat your sandwich, and if you’re still actually hungry, if you still want the fries, THEN send them back, and if you’re still hungry when you get the new order, eat them. If you’ve lost interest, don’t. Who cares what the people at the restaurant think. He suggested a couple of things that I’ve heard before. Chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing. Put down your fork between bites. When I see people putting their fork down between bites, though, I tend to think that they’re paying TOO much attention to their food, and not really enjoying their food. Just my thought. But I’m a fast eater. I didn’t used to be a fast eater, and I’m trying to get back in touch with the J who ate slowly. We’ll see if I can find her.

4. When you think you are full, STOP eating.
This one was interesting to me. He blindfolded people and put them in front of a plate of food, and had them eat as much as they wanted. Comfort foods like mac & cheese, ‘healthy’ foods like sandwiches, whatever. When they were blindfolded, they weren’t paying attention to how much was left on their plate, and were more able to enjoy what they were eating. You know what? They all left at least SOMETHING on their plate. Some of them discovered that by eating more slowly, they were able to be satisfied sooner, and the food wasn’t as good as they thought, and they ended up eating a lot less. Others were physically hungrier, and ate almost everything on the plate. But they all felt better about it, and none of them ate to the point of feeling stuffed or in pain, which they all had done before.

The second episode is about emotional eating, and came across as a lot more strange. McKenna’s technique is to try to lower peoples need to eat emotionally by tapping on acupressure points in order to lower their stress, so they don’t eat for emotional reasons.

In order to figure this out, he wants you to ask yourself, Am I really hungry, or do I want to change the way I feel? If you’re not sure, try the tapping technique. If you’re sure, and it’s not hunger, try the tapping technique. If you’re sure, and you’re hungry, then eat, and eat what you want. Enjoy it. And stop when you’re full.

So, ask yourself…Am I really hungry, or do I want to change the way I feel? From his website:

If it turns out that what you actually want is a change in the way that you feel, no amount of food will work as well as applying the two simple techniques we are about to do.

First try this technique, if the uncomfortable feeling doesn’t disappear then simply do the tapping technique video:

1. Clarify the emotion that you are finding uncomfortable. Don’t be distracted by thinking about WHY you are feeling it – just focus on the feeling itself. Where in your body do you feel it? Are there certain situations, times, places, or people with whom it tends to arise?
2. Next, ask yourself what the feeling is about – what message does it have for you? If you’re not sure, it’s OK to guess – whatever you guess will inevitably come directly from your intuitive self.

3. Whatever the message, let your unconscious mind know you’ve received it. If there is any action to be taken, promise yourself you will take it as soon as possible – ideally within the next 24 hours.

4. You’ll know you’ve correctly identified the emotion and its message when the uncomfortable feeling begins to dissolve into the background and your natural, confident sense of ease and well-being returns to the fore.

Here are two techniques to help you to overcome emotional hunger forever. Watch the videos now and I will show you how feel good now, or read through the instructions if you would like to go through them first…

I’m not sure about this. The tapping technique is strange, and I hate to see people obsessing about this stuff, and it seems like maybe it exacerbates that problem. But you know what? I’m going to give it a try in this next week. If I’m craving something, but I realize that I’m not physically hungry, I’m going to try this. I know I don’t eat more under stress. When I was in Anchorage with my mom, I think I lost a few pounds, and I know my eating habits didn’t change MUCH. Where they changed was the snacking. I still snacked a bit in the evening, watching TV with some cheese its and wine, but no snacking during the day made a difference. So for this week, instead of snacking while I’m working, I’ll try these techniques, and I’ll let you know what I come up with, OK?

And believe me, I do know that being a “Gielsen” family, I shouldn’t be watching TLC as much as I do. At least, not without some kind of payola from them. 😉

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

If nothing else, I learned from Spider-Man that power comes at a price. And the price to be paid depends on the power given. So, we’ve been given the power of acting as a target TV family. (They asked us not to tell folks that we are doing this, because they don’t want us to be plied by network people trying to get us to watch their shows, so I’m not using the name of the company, but it rhymes with “Gielson”) They have installed a little device on our TV, which records all of the shows we watch, and categorizes them demographically. (There are separate buttons for me, for Py, and for Maya, so they can figure out who watches what and when.)

Here’s the nice man with our TV all torn up. Sad, huh?
Here’s the finished product…you can see that I’m watching Curtis (I’m the middle light there, the green one), and that Ted and Maya are not (they’re the red lights on either side of my green).
If you look at the top of the device, you can see that there is room for guests as well. So if friends or family come over to watch TV with us, we can tell it their genders and ages. We don’t have any family or friends over 99 years old, so we’re OK. If you’re over 100, though, there’s no way to tell it that, because the device only has room for two digits.
Look at the mess of equipment hiding behind our TV. Good thing we don’t have one of those fancy plasma flat screens installed into our wall, where there’s no room for the wires.
The first night we watched, it worked for awhile, then just up and quit on me. I wasn’t sure what had happened, so I called the guy and told him. He said he would send someone out the following day. Then, a few hours later, I was looking at it, and I realized that the device was plugged into the outlet that attaches to a light switch…and that light switch was off. Easy fix.

So now I’m enjoying the thought that we could somehow influence television for the better, just by the choices that we make over the next two years. That if I eschew American Idol, and instead watch Frontline, someone will notice and care. Pretty heady stuff. But here’s the rub. Some of the shows we really like? We don’t watch on TV. We end up watching them at our leisure, via the computer. So though Nance requested that we watch The Office, to keep it on the air…we do watch it, but almost never when it’s actually on. Same for one of Ted and Maya’s favorites, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. This is a two year gig, so does this mean that for 2 whole years we should alter our viewing habits to make sure we watch shows on TV rather than via Internet, to make sure they get counted? I guess not…I guess someone is tallying those downloads as well, so they’re being counted. So no worries there. But should we watch them in BOTH places, to give them more weight? And what about shows that we don’t actually watch, but I kinda want to count anyway? My mom is in love with the show, The Big Bang Theory. I watched it this week, and taped it for her, since she’s in the hospital and not guaranteed to be free and awake when it’s on. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I would like to count it for her, to do my part to keep it on the air. I kinda wish they still had the little diaries they used to hand out, so I could include the shows we watch, or wish we watched, even if it’s not on regular TV. I guess that’s what they’re trying to avoid with the box, huh? They think of everything. Sigh.

Salmon in Potato Case

Did anyone else catch this wonderful series when it was on PBS, Jacques and Julia, Cooking at Home? I saw several episodes, and I must have contributed to our local station, because I have the beautiful cookbook. One recipe I especially enjoy making is Jacques’ recipe for Salmon in Potato Case. It’s basically a piece of salmon, seasoned with salt, pepper, and dill, between two layers of crispy fried potato slices. Mmmm. Salmon may well be my favorite fish, though I love good tuna as well. And potatoes, fried in butter and olive oil, with a touch of dill to set them off? What’s not to love about that? Yummy. So, when I asked Ted what he would like for dinner the other day, and he said, “how about fish?”, I’m glad that I remembered this recipe and cooked it that night. Now you too can enjoy this delicious treat. This recipe makes enough for 1 serving, so if you’re cooking for more than just you, you’re going to want to double, triple, whatever.

Salmon in Potato Case

One 2-inch-wide salmon fillet – center cut (about 5 oz)
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 large russet potato
2 tsp chopped dill
2 tsp butter
2 tsp vegetable oil
Tomato Coulis (recipe following)
1 or 2 sprigs fresh dill, as garnish

1st, butterfly the salmon fillet, stopping just short of slicing through entirely. Open the two sides up like a book and flatten the piece out. The butterflied piece should be about 1/2 inch thick. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.

Peel the potato, and, using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, cut very thin lengthwise slices. Lay about 5 or 6 pieces, slightly overlapping, on your work surface and set the salmon on top. You should use just enough potato slices to make a bottom covering for the fish. Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan, and when it is sizzling, pick up the potato-lined piece of salmon and slip it into the pan. Sprinkle the dill on top and cover the fish with 5 or 6 more slices of potato.

Cook over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, then check to see if the bottom has browned. When well crusted, turn the fish over carefully and cook the other side about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned.

Spoon several tablespoons of the coulis onto a serving plate; then, with the back of a spoon, clear a place in the center. Carefully pick up the potato-encrusted salmon with your spatula and arrange it in the center of the plate with the coulis surrounding it. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

This is nowhere near as gorgeous as the picture in the cookbook, but hopefully it gives you some idea of what he’s talking about. In the cookbook picture, the potatoes are very uniform, and lined up perfectly, etc. But I don’t have a mandolin, and my knives aren’t super sharp, either, so my potatoes came out kind of cattywampus. Doesn’t matter, they still taste yummy. 🙂


The tomato coulis recipe is given in paragraph form, so I’m giving it to you that way. In this part of the book, he uses it with scrambled eggs rather than salmon and potatoes. The side dish is just a ‘Mexican’ salad that I picked up at the Safeway deli.

Tomato Coulis

Saut̩ 1/4 cup of chopped onion (with a crushed, unpeeled garlic clove, if you like) in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil until soft. Chop 1 large or 2 small tomatoes into 1-inch pieces Рabout 2 cups Рand add to the onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Push the thickened tomatoes through the medium plate of a food mill to make the coulis (I skipped this step and served mine as is, and not as smooth). Serve warm.

Curtis Broke My Heart…

Ted and I have watched a couple of episodes of the new season of Take Home Chef, and I’m kinda falling out of love. Sigh. Curtis Stone, the chef, used to surprise people in the grocery store, then go home with them and cook a meal to surprise their family/friend/whatever. I really enjoyed the show, and part of it was the challenge of them looking around in the store and putting together a meal…part of it was seeing the people’s houses, as some were pretty rich and fancy, and some were kind of poor and dumpy…and part was watching the flirty interaction between Curtis and the women he picked up at the store. (I did see an episode or two when he picked up a man, and one or two where the women were over 40, but mainly, young pretty women.)

Well, from what I’ve seen of the new season thus far, it’s changed. Now people write in, or send videos, and ask him to come to their house and cook. Is this more fair, perhaps, than limiting the participants to the type of folks who are to be found shopping in the middle of the morning? Or is it less fair, because it’s limiting the show to the type of folks who know how to apply? I don’t know. I did a quick Google search on ‘season 2 take home chef’, and I came across this nasty tidbit.

June 11th, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Here is something interesting- just posted an “open casting call” for Take Home Chef, asking for men and women between 18-35 to apply to have a dinner cooked for them. So, It sounds like Season 2 is actually a set-up. Rather than actually following the concept of finding someone in the grocery store, it sounds like they will be planted in there, in nice clothes, and instructed to look surprised. Hmmm…

So I guess they’re not planted in the store, it’s a bit more honest than that…he tells us that these people wrote in and why, that kind of thing. But the vibe of the show is different. So far, not loving it. Sigh. Oh, and whereas he used to pay for the groceries with a big wad o’ cash, he now pays with a prominently displayed credit card, ala’ Clinton and Stacy and their “Bank of America Visa Card”.

Sigh. I fear the magic is gone.

The Secret Family of Jesus
(I couldn’t find a video of the right program, but this is very similar, and the same host.)

We ended up watching part of this show on PBS the other night, The Secret Family of Jesus. We came in late and left early, so I will not pretend that anything I write here is correct or true. It’s all about the family of Jesus, and what information about his family made it into the Bible, and what did not. Discussions about how at that famous wedding where he turned water into wine, he was probably at a family wedding, that kind of thing. Then the idea was floated that Jesus felt that John the Baptist was the most important man, and that perhaps he was supposed to be the son of God, something like that. Also, that John the Baptist may have been a cousin of Jesus. I don’t know, because for one, I didn’t see it all, and for two, I’ve only read part of the Bible, and am not a scholar in this area in any way.

If you watch the YouTube clip, you’ll find that the host, Dr. Robert Beckford, is a lot of fun to imitate. While getting Maya tucked in, we enjoyed saying outrageous claims about the Bible in his accent, things like, “If you look here, the original document said “Jesus = Buddha”, but if you look very closely, you can see that the editors of the Bible have changed it to read “Jesus ≠ Buddha”, and we can further look, and, using carbon dating, verify that the little dash changing = to ≠ was added 300 years later! So, as you can clearly see, Jesus was, in fact, Buddha!” It’s mostly fun in that accent.

So after having some fun, I tucked Maya in to bed, and came downstairs, ready to watch Lost. That’s when I heard the following, (paraphrased): “And that’s the real tragedy, that in all of this, what has been lost is the real message of Jesus Christ.” Roll credits. Crap! I wanted to see that! I missed the real message of Jesus Christ! Help! Luckily, help was easily found, via the internets, and I found that the real message hasn’t been lost at all, though I will say that it is largely ignored. According to the Evangelical Alliance, what Beckford went on to say was that the real message of Jesus was “speaking out against injustice and oppression, His moral code and heralding the Kingdom of God on earth here and now.”

Whew. Knew that one. And even as an atheist, it’s a message I support. Now, back to imitating/ridiculing Beckford’s accent and enthusiasm. Join me, won’t you? It’s fun!

The Rocky LaPorte Show

(Update…look, through the miracle of YouTube, you can enjoy the first segment of this sitcom…you could then go back and watch more, if you want…I don’t know WHY you would want that, but hey, whatever floats your boat!)

I answered the phone the other day, and the kind person on the other side of the line asked me if I would be interested in watching a 1/2 hour sitcom if they sent me a DVD, and then they would call me back and ask me questions about it. Cool, huh? And, to thank me for my time, I would be entered into a drawing to win $100 worth of valuable prizes. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like good pay to me, to be entered in a drawing, but still, to see a show before it’s on TV sounded like fun, or at least blog fodder, so I agreed.

The DVD arrived, along with two packets and some instructions. Read and fill out packet number 1 before watching the DVD. Packet number 2 is for after. OK, so I open the packet, and it’s just marketing crap for products. Like, if your $100 worth of valuable prizes should happen to contain paper towels, which of these five brands would you most like to receive? Pages and pages of this crap. OK.

Finally, we watch the DVD. It’s the worst sitcom ever, with Rocky LaPorte doing his best as a bemused husband who has no frikkin’ idea how to buy his wife a romantic gift for their 15th wedding anniversary. His accent was annoying, but the concept that this guy is so stupid that he doesn’t have any idea of what she might like should be left to yellow cartoon guys. But worse than that was that we had to watch COMMERCIALS! And the DVD wouldn’t allow fast forwarding or skipping, either. Oh god. It was horrid. TONS of commercials.

Then, the next day, I got the call. They had me on for 45 minutes, talking about the commercials. “Did you see a commercial with a toothbrush in it? What did you think about the toothbrush? Do you think you would be more or less likely to buy the toothbrush after seeing this commercial? What did you like about the commercial? What didn’t you like about the commercial? What message do you think the commercial was giving you about the toothbrush? How often do you brush your teeth?” On and on like this.

So…blog fodder? Yes, but not really that funny. Good TV show? No. Annoying way to spend an afternoon? Yes. If anyone calls you, and asks you if you’d like to provide valuable information by watching a new tv show on DVD, consider yourself warned.

I wonder what kind of crap I’ll get as a thank you gift, should I ‘win’ the drawing? From the questions I had to answer, I’m guessing toilet bowl cleaner and toothbrushes.

How To Look Good Naked

I caught an episode of Lifetime’s new makeover show, How To Look Good Naked, last week. The premise is that style guru Carson Kressley (of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame) takes a woman who is unhappy with her body, and helps her to come to terms with it…nay, to LOVE it, to flaunt it, to feel sexy in it. You can see an entire episode, if you wish, here.

The episode started with the body-hating woman having a picture of her body, sans head, clothes only in her underwear, shown on the side of a building in Los Angeles, where Carson asked passers by what they thought of the person’s body. That all of the comments were positive, especially in Los Angeles, seemed contrived to me, but all the same, I didn’t want to hear negative comments anyway. The comments ranged from what a great ‘rack’ she had, to ‘that’s what real women look like’ (I hate that comment…as though skinny women aren’t just as real.), and all thought she looked fine. Then Carson had her stand in front of a mirror in her underwear, and really LOOK at her body, and talk about what she didn’t like about it. Then he told her, no, I don’t see these same things you are seeing, let me tell you what I see. And he worked with her on seeing that her body wasn’t at all horrid or bad or somehow indicative of evil or sloth.

He talked to the woman about diets. She said she had been on diets for about 20 years, since she was 12 years old, and had spent thousands of dollars and way too much energy on trying to lose weight.

There was some time spent in showing her how the right clothes can project a confident image, and he worked toward trying to convince her that confidence is what is sexy, that valuing yourself as you are is more important than your dress size or what the numbers on your scale say. Then they went for the fun makeover, hair, facial, nails, etc. Carson is so screamingly gay it’s a caricature, and it made me wonder how many women would just love to hang out with him for the day, listening to him be supportive. And how many would find it exhausting (like me).  At the end, they took a photo shoot of her in the nude (without really showing anything), and projected the picture on that same building in L.A., and she asked people on the street if they thought she looked good naked.

And you know what? She did. She looked hot, and while some of the hotness may have been her pose, lighting, makeup, hair, etc., most of it was that she looked like she was having FUN, and like she was confident that she was a beautiful woman. She looked comfortable in her own skin, perhaps for the first time since she started a diet, back when she was 12 years old.

I liked that he didn’t try to make her look thinner, just tried to show her how to dress so that she would look confident. I liked that he told her that everyone should figure out what styles of clothes are flattering on them, and ignore unflattering trends. I liked that he told her ‘no more diets’, because clearly, they don’t work, and why the hell should she be tortured anymore? I liked a lot about the show.

I don’t think, though, that I need to see another episode. Seems like they’ll all end up pretty much the same way, going through the same steps along the way. But it may be a hit for at least awhile.

My favorite moment may have been when one of the (female) commenters on the street told her that she looked like “A hot piece of ass”.  While that surely is about as objectifying as you can get, as is putting your naked picture on the side of a building and asking people what they think, this was clearly the first time the woman had ever thought of herself that way, or thought that someone else might think of her that way, and the hug she gave the commenter was honest and heart felt.

(There are versions of this show in several countries, I believe, and probably the first one started in England.  FYI.)


Look what the Hanukkah Armadillo brought to our house earlier this week!  Now how did he know that there’s a writers strike and nothing on TV and gosh, we’re pathetic and love us some 90210 fun?  Thanks, Hanukkah Armadillo!

Once More, With Feeling

We had a bit of a Buffy-thon last night, watching several Buffy episodes, and I have to say, I miss Buffy. I wish there were something on TV now that I liked as much as I liked this show…something as funny and clever and poignant all at the same time. The last installment to any good Buffy-thon, if you want to end on a high note and you’re not going for closure (that would be the end of season 7, right?) is ‘Once More With Feeling’, the musical episode. I have this on my beloved iPod, actually, and I listen to it more often than I should admit. For you Buffy fans out there, here are a few of my favorite numbers.

First song…Going Through The Motions…This is Buffy, singing about how alienated she feels from this world, since she has been rudely pulled back to our world (by her friends), when she was peacefully dead in Heaven.

This clip has the opening sequence, which is clever, and then a funny scene where the scooby gang tries to figure out what could possibly be causing them to break out in song. Maya’s favorite part is Anya’s hard rock number at the end, where she sings about her fear of bunnies…I like Emma Caulfield as Anya so much more in Buffy than I liked her as Susan in 90210.

Giles, Buffy’s watcher, is afraid that his presence is keeping Buffy from becoming the strong adult that she can be…that her experience of being dead and coming back has stunted her emotional growth somehow, and he needs to leave, so that she can face up to her responsibilities. He is pretty miserable at the idea, as he loves her dearly, and feels like a father figure to her. Then we see the scene where Tara discovers that Willow has been casting memory spells on her, to make her forget fights that they have had, and Tara decides that she has to leave Willow, to save herself.

This song is near the end of the episode…Giles has sent Buffy out to save her sister, Dawn, from the demon who is causing everyone to sing, hoping that the fight will spark some feeling within Buffy.

And here’s the song where the truth comes out, and her friends find out what they’ve done to Buffy, while only meaning to save her from some horrid hell dimension where they think she was trapped.

And the final number, Where Do We Go From Here, once all of the secrets are out…

I left out a couple of pretty good songs here…Tara singing to Willow of her love in Under Your Spell (no link, couldn’t find a version I liked); Sweet, the dancing demon, revealing his motives in What You Feel; Xander and Anya confessing their fears about marriage in I’ll Never Tell. Really, too bad there isn’t a YouTube of the whole episode. Rrr Argh, indeed.

1. More time with my book today? Perhaps.
2. Tonight is the 2-hour Battlestar Galactica television event, otherwise known as a TV movie. YAY!

An evening with the boob tube…


First off, who amongst you goes out shopping on Black Friday?  I have some family memebers who run out at 6am to get the best deals, and are home and toasty warm before we even get around to breakfast.  It’s a fun tradition that they cherish.  Other family members consider this a day to stay the hell home, safe from the hoards of crazed shoppers.  Then there are others, like me, who could go out, maybe, if we take BART so I don’t have to park anywhere, but could easily be convinced to stay home with a good book or a few episodes of Buffy.

Now, here’s a stupid little blog post I jotted down almost 2 weeks ago, just my thoughts while channel surfing one Monday night, that never got fleshed out into its own post, because, um, it’s too dumb.   Not too dumb to post, apparantly, because here I go, but too dumb for its own post entirely.  What?

1. Dancing with the Stars.  I really don’t care about this show, no matter how impressed we all should be that after practicing for 6 hours a day, every day, these people can actually dance, especially later in the season.  I suspect that if I got paid big bucks, I might be able to dance with that kind of time and hard work too.  Wait…maybe we’re supposed to be impressed because of all of the time and work?  Um…they’re getting paid, right? Why is no one impressed by my mad tax compliance skills?  Anyway, I watch sometimes this season, because Jennie Garth is on, and how can I not vote for Kelly from 90210? Yes.  I actually voted.  4 times.  All for Jennie. (Update, since I wrote this awhile ago…people suck, and Jennie was voted off in favor of Marie Osmand.  I have nothing against Marie.  Heck, Py was on a TV show pilot with her way back when, so probably my heart should be with her…but no.  My heart is with Jennie/Kelly.  Even with her perfect score on Monday, she was voted off by the stupid people who watch the show.  And no, I didn’t vote this week.  I suck.)

2. Some show on Food TV, Unwrapped perhaps?  I learned that the original Uncle Ben was actually a black rice grower.  Truth in advertising?  Isn’t that against the law? Oh, wait, Wiki says Uncle Ben was indeed a black rice grower, in Texas, but that he had nothing to do with starting the company or anything like that.  It’s just named for him. Hrm.

3. Colorsplash, on HGTV.  I love this show.  Yes, the designer is excited about winning and getting to be on TV all of the time, and yes, he used to be known for taking his shirt off, which he apparantly no longer does.  Anyway, he does some awesome work, and I like most of his designs.  This particular episode was a ‘very special’ episode where they remade a bedroom for a boy with a very rare blood disease that converts any tiny bruise he gets into bone.  ACK!  That’s too freaky to comprehend.  And I don’t mean that in a cruel, “this little boy is a freak” way, but just the idea of it is horrid, and I felt for the kid.  But what I remember thinking was how much extra attention this boy’s condition requires from his family, how much it will always take, and that I kinda wished they had gone all out and made up his big sister’s room as well.  She’s surely deserving of some attention as well.

OK, that’s it. A rambling, mostly dumb post about TV, almost 2 weeks late, whatever.  I’ll try to do better next week, OK?

1. Thinking maybe some leftovers and Buffy are in order today. Nothing big. Oh, and a nice long walk, since we’re having beautiful weather here. 🙂
2. Also thinking of making a dent in my book today, maybe an hour or two of reading would be lovely.

TiVo Alert

I was listening to Forum, a show that runs on our PBS radio station in the mornings, and they were talking about a film that is being premiered this month on PBS. It’s called “Seeing in the Dark“, and it’s about astronomy, and what individuals see and feel when gazing up at the night sky. Of course, it’s about a lot more than that, but that, and the fact that some of the music is by Mark Knopfler, got me interested. So I’ll be taping it when it airs locally, which is 8pm tonight on KQED. Check it out!

How Do You Feel About This?

I’m sure that by now anyone who cares knows that there’s a Sex and the City film in the works…that the salary negotiations for Kim Catrall were finally worked out, the script long finished, schedules cleared, and the film is currently in production.  This knowledge pulls me two different ways.  1st off, YAY!  I love the girls, I love the relationship between the four of them, I love their friendship, the writing, the stupid situations they get themselves into, etc.

However…I kind of liked how the series was tied up into a pretty little bow.  They were all happy.  Charlotte had Harry, and had her baby on the way.  Miranda and Steve were married and doing well.  Samantha had finally settled down with Smith and let him into her heart.  And Mr. Big had finally come around and realized that happiness could be found in the arms of Carrie.  Their careers, a feminist might ask?  That particular feminist never watched the show, then, because their careers were always just fine, never needed much story time…the story is the 4 girls, their men, and their relationships with each other.  How they are there for each other, how they are the backbones for each other.  How their love for each other triumphs over all.

So, now that they’re all actually happy…where can the story go?  How can we have an interesting film?  Oh, I know…take away that boring security.  Damn it.  THAT’S what I’m not thrilled about.  To have an interesting plot, we need to throw some flies in the ointment here, and make them at least a little bit miserable.  To those of us who loved these characters, and wanted more than anything for them to be happy, that’s gonna suck, at least a little.

Big Love

All of you fancy HBO-having people are probably already watching Big Love, and just snicker behind your backs at those of us yokels who have to wait and Netflix it…And well you should, except for the snickering part…because Big Love is one darned good, smart, well written, well acted show. If, perchance, you’re NOT one of those savvy folks who have HBO, or if you DO, but you don’t watch Big Love, you might want to give it a shot…it’s the story of Bill Henrickson, the owner of a small chain (2 branches, at this point) of Home Depot type stores, and his three wives, Barb, Nicki, and Margene. You see, Bill is a polygamist who grew up on a compound in Utah, with other members of his sect. This sect believes that polygamy is the word of God, and their duty is to follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, and they ignore the official teachings of the LDS, who frown upon polygamy these days.

Big Love is the story of Bill and his wives, their struggles within the family, and their struggles with the ‘prophet’, who is the leader of the sect from which Bill was expelled as a young teen, left to fend for himself on the streets of Salt Lake City. The prophet is played by the always great Harry Dean Stanton, and also happens to be Bill’s father-in-law, as he is Nicki’s dad. Nicki has a shopping addiction; Barb wants to go back to work, which puts some stress on the ‘sister-wives’, as they are left to pick up some slack, and feel that they should at least be consulted; Margene is new to this whole thing, she’s the youngest of the wives, and she’s trying to figure out what her place is.

So…we’re hooked. Last Friday afternoon, we watched 5 episodes of it. (That’s one benefit of DVDs, I guess, you can have a telethon with whatever show you’re watching.) Now we’re almost finished with season 1, and dang it, that’s it…we’ll have to wait for Season 2 to come out on DVD, or else see if we can watch it on or maybe iTunes. I peeked at the webpage and saw a few spoilers for Season 2, but I don’t want to spoil it, even for myself, so I’m not reading any more.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like, or how these people might live their lives, not the compound type folks with child brides (although you do get a glimpse into that world as well), but the folks living in the burbs and trying to pay the bills…you should check this show out.

Six Degrees of….nothing really

I was watching Sex and the City the other night, and I was remembering the first time I saw Kristin Davis, aka Charlotte York…which would be on Melrose Place, where she played the ill-fated and psychotic Brooke, who married Billy, who was played by Andrew Shue, who was the brother of Elizabeth Shue, who was pretty darned good in Adventures in Babysitting and Leaving Las Vegas, which are two movies that are about as different as they could possibly be.  But I first saw her in one of the lamest movies EVER, Cocktail, in which she played Tom Cruise’s idiot girlfriend/wife.  Idiot because she loves Tom Cruise, really, who I first saw in Taps, but really noticed in Risky Business, and didn’t start to really dislike until Top Gun.

Where is all of this going?  Nowhere really…I was just thinking about the first time I saw, or at least NOTICED certain actors, and how they maybe became big deals since then.  For example, we used to watch Thirtysomething, which I thought was a pretty great show.  Gary’s wife, Susannah, was played by Patricia Kalember, who went on to play Georgie on the show, Sisters.   Georgie’s sister, Teddy, was played by Sela Ward, who for awhile dated (married?) a detective who was played by none other than George Clooney, who died on Sisters so he could be reborn on ER.  Sisters also included Heather McAdam, who played Teddy’s daughter, Cat, (who also played Surf Betty on the first season of 90210), and Ashley Judd, who went on to be in plenty of films…also the first time in awhile that I had seen Swoozie Kurtz, who I remember from Against All Odds.  Against All Odds also had Rachel Ward, who everyone remembers from The Thorn Birds.   Rachel Ward is married to Bryan Brown, who was also in The Thorn Birds AND Cocktail.  Are you crazy bored yet?  WISHING for a ‘wordless Wednesday’, especially since last Saturday we went to a bbq at the home of an actual academy award winner (for sound on King Kong and Lord of the Rings), and you COULD have seen a photo of any one of us holding one or two oscars and pretending to make our acceptence speach, but sadly, we forgot our camera…so instead of a little wordless Wednesday like that, you’re getting a virtual blogarreah of meaningless drivel about when I first saw actors, and really, who the heck cares about that?  Not even me.

Ahem.  The Sisters site on IMDb claims that Kirsten Dunst played a character named Kitten, who has the same last name as Cat’s, and what the heck is that about?  I have no idea.  I don’t remember any character by that name. 

I do remember the first thing I saw Sarah Jessica Parker in was Footloose, which was one of my favorite movies at the time.  She was in that with Kevin Bacon, who of course is famous for being in so much, there’s the whole Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game (play here!).  First thing I saw him in was also Footloose, and I thought he was just dreamy…seen him lately? Not aging so well, is he?  I mean, he’s not nearly so hot as his wife, Kyra Sedgwick (who played with Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July).   

Where does this go from here?  Nowhere.  I could go on forever with absolute stupidness, but I quit. :)  You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Just saw on that Zac Efron is going to be involved in a remake of Footloose.  Hmmm.


I watched a show on PBS last night called, “Fat: What No One is Telling You“.  I thought it was a pretty interesting show, and one that many people might have a few things to teach many of us. 

From the website:

FAT: What No One Is Telling You explores the myriad psychological, physiological and environmental factors that can make it so tough to shed pounds and keep them off. In this documentary, Executive producer Naomi Boak and producer/director Tom Spain, both Emmy Award honorees, share new scientific knowledge about hunger, eating, and human metabolic operation. This film also explains our psychological responses to food, and shows how external pressures (such as oversized restaurant portions and the unending barrage of food advertisement) make fighting fat so difficult, both on the personal and national levels.

FAT’s engaging personal narratives create snapshots of our national struggle with obesity:

  • Meet Rosie Dehli, a Minnesota grandmother, battling to get fit so she can enjoy an active, playful relationship with her grandchild.
  • Meet Mary Dimino, an actress and comedian, in New York, NY, who exemplifies the hard work people must do to lose pounds and stay healthy once they’ve been obese.
  • Meet America Bracho, a public-health professional in Santa Ana, California, who is educating families about nutrition while encouraging her Latino community’s children to move, both in school and at home.
  • Meet Rocky Tayeh, a Brooklyn, New York teenager grappling with the very personal (and highly criticized) solution of undergoing Lap-Band surgery.
  • Meet Dr. Lee Kaplan of Harvard University Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, who is a clinician, researcher and above all an empathetic warrior in the battle against obesity

The voices of these and other real Americans tell the story of the biological barriers, cultural habits, and economic realities that contribute to our nation’s expanding waistline.

Although I am thin (not as thin as I was 20 years ago, but heck, I’m 41…what do you expect?), there are many people in my family who are not.  I grew up with this issue.  My mother yo-yo dieted all throughout my childhood, to the point where I honestly don’t notice when people I know and love gain or lose 20 or 30 pounds.   If you’ve been working hard at losing weight, and wondering why I don’t say something to congratulate you, I haven’t noticed.  If you’ve fallen off of your diet, and you think I’m judging you because you’ve gained? I’m not.  I haven’t noticed.  I am SO USED to seeing peoples’ bodies change, I just don’t see it until it’s mighty drastic.  Like 20 or 30 lbs isn’t drastic, but no. Not drastic enough for me to notice.   It wasn’t just my mother who dieted when I was growing up.  My uncle dieted his whole life, and finally had to have weight loss surgery when his doctor told him that his heart was enlarged, and losing weight quickly was his best chance at living another year.  My grandmother has dieted every day of her adult life.  She has never been larger than a size 2 (today’s sizes…she used to be a size 6, but vanity sizing has changed that).  I suspect that her excessive dieting has played a roll in her breaking her hip at age 40, though the cigarettes she smoked were certainly a pretty big factor as well.  Several years ago, in the hospital after suffering a heart attack, my bony tiny grandmother asked her bony tiny sister to check her chart, to see how much weight she had lost while flat on her back.  When told she had lost a pound and a half, she was dissapointed, she had hoped for more, that she would have been able to ‘do better’.  The last time I was visiting her house while my uncle was there as well, we were looking at pictures from my cousin’s wedding.  My uncle’s ex-wife was in the pictures.  She who tortured my uncle mercilessly about his weight throughout their marriage.  She has gained quite a bit of weight over the years, and my grandma tsk tskd, and said, “I never thought SHE’D give up the fight.”  Wow.  And for so many people, that’s what it is.  A fight.  I also have a sister who had a (thankfully) brief run-in with anorexia when she first went to college, and who still tends to skip meals and get pretty thin when she’s under stress.   Why am I telling you this?  So you’ll understand that this issue has affected my family on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute level for as long as I can remember.  That’s why this show really struck home with me, even though no one I know would think that I have a ‘weight problem’.

Watching the show, hearing the people talk about their struggle, was really sad.  So many people think that the answer is weakness, that all you need to do to lose weight is to eat less, and exercise more.  They don’t understand the complicated games that our bodies play trying to keep the fat in place, don’t understand that willpower is not the issue.  One doctor explained it in such a clear manner, I was really impressed.  He said, “Try to run up 6 flights of stairs, without changing your breathing.  You’ll do fine at first, you can control it…that’s willpower.  But at some point, the body is going to step in, and you will be breathing heavily, there is no way to control it.  That’s the battle of willpower vs. the subconscious, and that’s what people who diet excessively are going through.”

There was one woman, an actress and stand up comic, who has lost a LOT of weight, through diet and exercise.  She’s the one in the picture up top, in her ‘before’ jacket.  She watches her calories, and exercises 3 hours a day.  That’s like a part time job right there, 3 hours a day.  Heck, if I were doing weights and sit-ups and push-ups and a fast walk on the treadmill for 3 hours a day, I could eat whatever I want, and still be a rock.  But because she spent years as an obese person, because her body still has all of those fat cells craving food and trying to efficiently store energy away in case of a famine, she still weighs more than I do.  Where’s the justice in that?  Is that because she’s morally weak, or that she gives in to her cravings, while I do not?  Well, you all know that THAT’S not true, me who ate almost an entire day’s worth of calories in a bag of chips the other day. And I certainly didn’t skip any meals the rest of the day either.

So, the issue here is physical, it’s metabolic, it’s psychological, it’s social…it’s a sedentary lifestyle, fast food, genetics, comfort eating, family issues, etc. etc. etc.  It’s an issue that is haunting so many people every day (like the oatmeal commercial, where the people have their scales chained to their ankles while Willy Nelson sings, “You are always on my mind…”) and so much money and time is spent on it…think of what we could do with our lives if we weren’t worried about our weight.  It’s such a diversion from productivity.

To those folks out there who are naturally thin, who don’t need to diet and exercise three hours a day in order to stay healthy (I’m not talking being skinny, just healthy), I would say, hold off your judgement of those folks who are fat.   They are just as strong as you are, have just as much self control and willpower.

By the way, the doctors on the show were pretty interesting.  They had a lot to say about the physiology behind weight, about nerves and neurons in your gut and how for some folks,  they tell you that you’re hungry all of the time.  They had things to say about our culture, about our lifestyle (like how many people only see exercise as usefull for weight loss, not for general health).  They were compassionate people, looking for a solution.

Lastly, here are a few things that the people being interviewed in the show said that stayed with me.  One young man, just out of high school, on a liquid diet, living next door to a 24 hour Dunkin’ Donuts, says to himself…”I will not eat tonight.  I’m going to be skinny, and then, everyone will love me.”    Or the middle aged woman who said that there’s never a day that goes by that someone doesn’t remind her that she’s fat.  She said, “I don’t know how someone could not know they’re fat, but somehow, people always make sure to remind me.”  Ugh.