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Sooo, TV’s biggest waste of airspace, the Oscars, were on last night. Did you watch? I passed. I figured if Seth MacFarlane was hosting there would be more than a little bit of singing, and since that’s always the worst part of any Family Guy, Cleveland Show or American Dad episode, I wouldn’t be missing much. From what I gather from reviews of the show, I was right. Apparently the theme for the awards show this year was music in film or some such. As I’m not in a drama club, nor a Gleek, I’m glad I passed.
That said, I’m more than happy to pass judgement on everyone’s attire. Something I feel like people could benefit from remembering is that fashion and glamor are two different concepts – fashion is about the shock of the new, while glamor is defined by desire and mystery. Unfortunately, many in Hollywood try for both and possess neither. But that’s ok – the Oscars probably shouldn’t be viewed the same as Milan or Paris fashion weeks. Ultimately the red carpet is for the couch-potato critics like me – the velour tracksuit wearing, middle American living, People magazine readers.

I’m so jazzed that Jennifer Lawrence won! I for sure thought she didn’t stand a chance slash was kind of confused as to why she was nominated, but whatevs, good for her! And the best part is that now they can promote the next installment as, ‘Hunger Games Part 2 – starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence’. But there will be plenty of time for mocking that later – let’s get on to mocking the way people look.

Lawrence/Dior

Lawrence/Dior

Jennifer Lawrence pulled off the perfect red carpet look – plenty of drama but not too many complications. The silhouette of her dress was knockout, and there was no fussy styling details detracting from that. Her swept-back hair, neat silver clutch and delicate jewelry were all in harmony. She looked like a genuinely nice person who deserved to win. Bonus points – the internal structure of her dress kept it looking great from every angle. Plus, the texture seemed to ensure that it didn’t look shiny or crinkly. Likes it!

Hathaway/Prada

Hathaway/Prada

I think it’s safe to assume it wasn’t Anne Hathaway’s intention to be upstaged by her nips, but that’s exactly what happened (kind of like how on Friends there was a span of about 3 seasons where you could see Rachel was cold in every scene). It’s actually the darting in the dress, but the resulting look is the same. I don’t care for how the satin holds its shape all the way down – looks like a stiff bridesmaids dress or something you’d wear to prom circa 2001. Plus, I feel like the look is too angular and sharp. Apparently she started talking about poor/starving people in her acceptance speech? She needs to get over herself. Bring back Princess Diaries Mia.

Adams/Oscar de la Renta

Adams/Oscar de la Renta

I LOVE gray, possibly more than anyone else, but this dress just looks dirty. Or like a rain cloud a la jimmy dean breakfast commercials. Plus, it’s just too huge for words. I wonder how many times she was stepped on? And if she shed, haha, leaving a trail of feathers. ‘Oh, there goes Amy – heading toward the bathroom.’

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Witherspoon/Louis Vuitton

Witherspoon/Louis Vuitton

The color Reese Witherspoon chose to wear was gorgeous. Flattering, different and of the moment (read, trendy) while the cut kept her dress classic. Plus, it looked great with her old-Hollywood-styled hair. I like this older, post-Ryan Reese. She seems more at ease with herself and clearly doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Chastain/Armani

Chastain/Armani

Jessica Chastain looked elegant and timeless, but my first impression was ZZZZZZ. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like every time I see her she’s wearing some neutral-toned something or other and being pale with red hair. Yawn. However, the beading was nice and I’m digging her Harry Winston frosting.

Aniston/Valentino

Aniston/Valentino

Jennifer Aniston knows her brand and knows what the public wants her to be – the nonthreatening, smiley girl-next-door. She’s made a pretty decent career out of this, and she wouldn’t want to jeopardize anything by going off-brand in some cray Bjork dress. So, throw on a strapless something, have a great blow-out, and smile a lot. Bingo bango bongo. Job done.

Michael Douglas leads his wife actress Catherine Zeta

Yo! Catherine! Beyonce wants her dress back! Catherine Zeta-Jones is gorgeous. You know that, I know that, we all know that. But, more often than not, she leans showgirl, partic in swooshy metallic. I feel like at home Michael Douglas is just like, ‘Oh, you‘ while she parades around in headdresses.

Kidman/L'Wren Scott

Kidman/L’Wren Scott

My personal winner! Nicole Kidman is a must show for the red carpet – her choices tend to be either brilliant or brilliantly awful. This, I’d say, is one of the good years. Major props for wearing a gown straight off the catwalk (I know I said red carpets were not a place for high fashion – this is an exception). Her look is #27 from the London Fashion Week show by L’Wren Scott, which took place just last week. Add to that a demure smile and clearly besotted husband, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Stewart/Reem Acra

Stewart/Reem Acra

This is an example of a ‘why is she here’ moment – Kristen Stewart. Maybe she presented. Idk. Suffice it to say, there isn’t a dress in the world that could make Kristen Stewart look like anything other than Kristen Stewart. There’s really no other way to describe it. She’s in Reem Acra, and it’s feminine and refined, but she’s on crutches and her hair looks insane and you get the feeling there either was a tantrum earlier or there will be one soon. But she’s K-Stew. That’s how she rolls.

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Did you know I love Paul Rudd? No?? Well I do. In a MAJOR way. Ever since I first laid eyes on his dorky but sublime nerd-faux-bro in Clueless I was smitten. Why couldn’t I have a former step brother turned boyfriend? Girls in California have all the fun. But I digress.

I also LOVE Leslie Mann. I love any female actress who can make me laugh, but I particularly love the ones who can be physically and scatologically hilarious while still looking downright awesome. It’s this awesome combo that I strive for on the reg – a girl who’s down with the grossness but still emits sex appeal.

So, point being, Leslie Mann is married to Judd Apatow and reprising her earlier role from Knocked Up in his newest flick, This is 40. Bonus! Paul Rudd is back as her doting, fantasy baseball-on-the-sly-playing hubby. And, those two adorable potty mouthed kids are back in their teen and pre-teen forms – Mann and Apatow’s daughters. Wild stuff, no?

too presh for words. makes me sick.

I’m highly anticipating leaving the theater sitting on the couch* and wishing with all my might that by the time I’m 40 my life will turn out like theirs. I’m not even sure what that means yet, but I know they’re funny, have friends, and live in a nice house. What’s not to want there? Oh, and they have precocious children. If you have children and they’re not precocious, what’s the point? (Tangent – I don’t know what I would do if my child was picked on at school or unpopular. I’d be devastated.)

It’s interesting to think about where my life might be in 13 years. Just last night I was at the gym and Ke$ha came on Pandora, and I literally thought, ‘Christ. Now there’s someone who’s not going to age well.’ And then I felt better about myself, b/c ya know, there’s that.

foulness

Two of my favorite books are going to be (re)made into movies this year – The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina. Both are period pieces and are set to feature fabulous jewelry – TGG will be outfitted by Tiffany and AK by Chanel. Needless to say I’m beyond stoked. Tiffany is celebrating its 175th anniversary this month – it first opened its doors September 14, 1837 in New York’s lower Manhattan. Get this – the first day’s sales totaled $4.98; a far cry from today’s standards.

I love all things fashion, but particularly how certain brands have managed to become iconic, both in America and worldwide. Images representing Tiffany and Chanel continue to be some of the most easily identifiable, both through marketing campaigns and 20th century PR. When I think Tiffany I automatically think diamonds, and when I think Chanel, it’s straight pearls. Back to my original point, Chanel is outfitting the cast of Anna Karenina because Keira Knightley is playing the lead, and she’s currently the face of Chanel.

Ms. Knightley starred in a movie I saw over the weekend – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. As the title suggests, it’s a bit of an unsettling concept; Earth is set to be demolished in a couple of weeks’ time, and society has basically ground to a halt. Flights are canceled, televised news casts/print periodicals/basic sources of information are no longer available as everyone wants to be with their families, and rioting reigns supreme. Amidst it all, two people who have been neighbors finally meet and become friends in their search to find a way to reunite one with an overseas family and the other with a high school sweetheart. Left alone, they await the end of humanity together and finally realize what life is all about.

So – here’s the kicker – the movie is saying that basically it takes a life shattering event to finally come to some semblance of an idea of the meaning of life. That’s depressing as hell. It took everything I had not to start sobbing uncontrollably, simply b/c it’s just such a dark idea. It speaks to our most basic existential crisis (at least mine) – what’s the damn point of it all? And, if we do ever figure it out, will it only be at the very end when there’s no time left to sit back and be relaxed for once? I’m not looking for pure bliss here, just an even-keeled contented existence. Sitting back and just being for once – no racing thoughts, no worries about money or careers or the endless suffering of others. I guess until that time comes I’ll continue to try to lose myself in movies and books, per the usush.

Tonight is the night DC fans have all been waiting for – our first look at RGIII on the field in a Skins uniform. Granted, it’s only preseason, but it’s hype-worthy none the less. Unfortunately I’ll be unable to watch as I’ll be en route to NOLA, and Delta is a POS airline w/o direct TV. Key words from above = PRESEASON and NOLA.

That’s right – I’m heading to the Big Easy with my favorite girls from college for a pseudo bachelorette weekend. (‘Ah, New Orleans. The Big Easy. Sweet Lady Gumbo. Old… Swampy.’) NOLA is one of my favorite cities in the US and I can’t wait to share it. We’re going to be lazy, drink delicious concoctions and eat all the fabulous food. Honestly, according to my (self-made) itinerary, it seems as if all we’re going to do is eat – and I’m more than ok with that. Reviews to follow upon my return.

I know everyone is beyond stoked about RGIII (see above), but I wanted to give a shout out to another DC superstar – the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez. Not only is he adorable, but he’s an amazing pitcher and team player. I’m a recent convert to the baseball scene, but I’m pretty sure last night was a banner night for him. He a) pitched a complete game, b) won the game, leading the Nats to an MLB-best 25 games above .500, and c) hit a 2 RBI homerun! What a stud!!

I just really appreciate everything he’s done for the team (solid, unselfish play) and the community (inspiring fans a la Angels in the Outfield. sigh. I miss Tony Danza. Whatever happened to him?) I recognize that it’s a team sport, and I have special places in my heart for the rest of the gang – Morse, Strasburg, Zimmerman, Harper and LaRoche in partic – but Gio’s smile makes it seem as if it’s just a bunch of guys out there having fun. And if having fun helps them win, their winning helps me have fun. That’s the circle of life right there.

I found my Adele cd on the way into work yesterday (‘I can’t find my Cranberries CD. I gotta go to the quad before anyone snags it’) and listening to it I was reminded how good some break up songs can be. Soul scratching and piercing, they percolate into your inner depths and bring forth memories better off bottled forever.

The feeling of love lost is probably one of the most universally-recognizable feelings – that smothering grip of panic born from failure; the realization that something or someone once comforting is indescribably foreign. A reflection of how ubiquitous this pain is can be found in the closing pages of Fifty Shades of Grey.

I know, you’re probably thinking ‘holy hell! Where did that even come from? I’ve heard more than I ever wanted to about this fad’. And I completely agree. However, to be fair I have to treat all read material equally.

You all know how I feel about The Hunger Games series (ps – saw the movie – not so much), well, this is really not as good. If The Hunger Games are like crack, then the Fifty Shades trilogy is like meth – equally addicting, but somehow just so much trashier. This revelation came about 4 pages in, and after the first book I’m completely good on ever reading any more.

No, it’s not because I’m a prude, or the sex is just too gratuitous. It’s more the fact that the books are so poorly written. There’s hardly any character development or plot – but I guess that’s the point. Sex sells. End of story.

I will say though, that once you get past the S&M and copy/paste sexual descriptions, I suppose the premise has some merit. The protagonist must grapple with how much of herself to compromise for someone she ‘loves’. After a tumultuous relationship filled with guilt, suspicion, stalker tendencies, make up sex and jealousy, she finally realizes that she’d rather be alone than with someone incapable of loving her back. Girl power! (This after she suffers physical abuse b/c ‘it’s what turns him on’.)

There was a clip on one of the Hollywood ‘news’ shows of a middle aged ladies book club who had recently finished the series. Half were talking about how sexy it would be to have a young billionaire with rock hard abs find them attractive – at any cost. The other half were going on about how much they liked the books, but would never let their daughters read them b/c they were too ‘mature’.

Um, eff that noise. They should be more concerned that younger, impressionable girls don’t read them b/c they’re drivel and condone selling oneself short all for the sake of some dude. Today’s sure sign of the apocalypse – not only are Fifty Shades books on the NYTimes Bestsellers list, but I’m pretty sure a movie is in the works. I wonder if Ryan Gosling would be interested in the role?!

A coworker and I had a shouting match discussion* this am about what constitutes mid-twenties and how thirty is the new twenty. First of all, this jibberish about 30 being the new 20 is a blatant falsity. Mayyybe if you’re just now getting your masters and feeling the relative liberation of post-collegiate life forays; otherwise, by 30 your life should most likely not even remotely resemble the one you held at 20. Not to alienate any potential readers, but if you’re still at the same job or binge drinking eight ways from Sunday, you may have peaked too soon.

Now for the second argument – early twenties is 21, 22, and 23; mid-twenties is 24, 25, 26; and late twenties is 27, 28 and 29. See? It breaks up evenly. That’s how you know my logic is sound. I’ll deal with the fact that that will place me squarely in my late twenties (gah!) come October.

Point being, you’re never too old to enjoy the Hunger Games trilogy. (See what I did there? That’s called a non sequiter. It’s what all the mid-twenty year olds are doing these days. Google it.) No joke, I tore through all three books last week – they’re so damn easy and entertaining to read!

The only prejudiced feelings I had going in were that I didn’t want them to be lame love stories like Twilight. Don’t get me wrong – I read Twilight too – but it was too vomtrocious and bosom-heaving for my tastes. More than anything, I wanted to read the books before seeing the movie. Plus, I wanted to see how they could make a(nother) movie out of a gladiator-esque theme.

Turns out I was wrong – it’s not a gladiator scenario at all. I mean, it is kind of, but there’s more to it than that. As I explained it yesterday, it’s a dystopian future where teens are routinely delivered as tributes to the capitol as retributions for a war waged decades earlier. Once there, the tributes must fight to the death in an arena (a dome over various natural settings), all of which plays out on nationally-mandated live TV. The winner gets to live, and is supplied with a year’s worth of supplies for their district.

In my friend’s words: ‘Woah. Deep. Shit.’ Factt. It’s pretty heavy social commentary. I told him to read it this week so I have someone to chat it up with. I could give two less if it’s considered ‘young adult’ fiction – entertainment is entertainment.

Do you ever have the experience of realizing that a lot of time has passed in what felt like no time? And that even though a ton of things have changed in your life, there are still some horrible world events that have remained the same?

This happened to me this past week. When I was a junior in college 6 (!!) years ago, the film Invisible Children came out and promptly took the (socially conscious pockets of) campus by storm.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, basically these college-aged guys decided on a whim to head over to Uganda to see what the civil war there was all about. There they encountered some of the thousands of children who made the nightly trek from their villages to the relative safety of the towns in hopes of being spared forced conscription into the LRA – the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The LRA is a militant group that was formed in 1986 in Northern Uganda, and currently operates there, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement of women and children, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.

Led by Joseph Kony, the LRA has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has forced the internal displacement of over 2 million people since its rebellion began. Ideologically, the group purports an extreme form of syncretic pseudo-Christianity, and seeks to turn Uganda into a theocracy ruled by Kony’s self-styled version of the Ten Commandments.

In the 26 years since the conflict began, ideological motives have given way to outrageous brutality that spans borders and ethnic groups. In 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague (currently sitting at public enemy #1), but has thus far evaded capture.

Enter the guys (now grown men) of Invisible Children – they’ve made it their mission to promote awareness of Kony, and by extension, the children still trapped in peril. Double enter this blog post – whereas in 2006 I did my part by donating time, dollars and couch space – I’ve been less than attuned since graduation.

Yes, at one point I was working for a nonprofit with a Darfur Fund (I know – NOT the same) and a heavily trafficked website, but since parting, my social consciousness has been severely lacking. Until last weekend.

We watched Machine Gun Preacher – the 2011 Hollywoodized story of Sam Childress starring Gerard Butler (a biker preacher who leads a struggle in collaboration with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army against the atrocities of the LRA). Aside from being supremely acted and informative, it sparked a desire to follow up on an issue I hadn’t thought about in ages.

Ironically Serendipitously  enough, the Invisible Children organization released its viral campaign ‘Kony 2012’ the following Monday. Coincidences like that must not be ignored – an ‘action kit’ is already on the way to my house and the video itself is posted below.

If you’d like to read more about the issue of child soldiers in general, Uzodinma Iweala’s stunning debut novel Beasts of No Nation explores both coming-of-age and the dark horrors of war. Another good one is What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng by Dave Eggars.

Well. This post is heavy. My apologies, but sometimes it feels like the world’s going to shit.

On October 14, 2011, Rush Limbaugh, a political commentator, originally questioned the U.S. move against the LRA on the grounds that “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them.” “So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda.” Later, Limbaugh stated that he would research the group as he was made aware of accusations of their atrocities. Contrary to this assertion, however, he later allowed the show’s written transcript to be posted on his website under the title “Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians”.

How’s that for levity?

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