Archive for May, 2008

Sanctity of Marriage, You’ve Been Served

May 28, 2008

Thanks to a heads up from former blogger/reader K, I learn that Heidi Montag, Hills star and paramour of no-talent assclown entrepreneur Spencer Pratt wants to get married. For reals this time. You can tell because Montag draped a piece of tulle over her head (left over from last week’s Ashlee Simpson “Why the Greaseball From Fall Out Boy and I Will Be Together Forevs!” cover shoot) for the cover of the new US Weekly. Let’s take a chunk-by-chunk look at the magazine’s peek behind the curtain of this no-talent assclownblushing maybe-bride-to-be:

Here comes the bride! After famously calling off her wedding last year, Heidi Montag reveals for the first time in the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now, that she’s changed her mind. “I’m ready to marry Spencer,” the 21-year-old Hills star tells Us.

I’d say that informing your significant other on the cover of a magazine that you’re tap, tap, tapping your foot waiting for a ring ranks up there in elegance with a fake pregnancy. I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing that Jacqueline Bouvier did to land JFK and Grace Kelly to nail Prince Rainier.

“He’s my soulmate.”

I will actually concede this point. I would doubt that there are two people on the planet better suited for each other.

What changed?

The upcoming season of The Hills! That’s what changed, US Weekly blurb writer! There are only so many times that viewers can watch Audrina Partridge and Justin Bobby communicate their longing for each other through a series of grunts, raised eyebrows, and deep sighs before realizing that they should probably turn the television off and go, oh I don’t know, read a book or something. Viewers need to see America’s no-talent assclownssweethearts back in a state of premarital bliss!

On-and-off beau Spencer Pratt convinced her to plan their wedding again during a secret make-or-break getaway to Mexico.

Yes, “secret.” Indeed. This couple definitely seems to want to live a private life. So secret that they, say, told US Weekly about it and call papparazzi every time they head to the store, park, baseball game, restaurant, restroom, etc.

“Heidi read me biblical passages like ‘Honor thy wife,'” says Pratt.

Ignoring the obviously problematic assertion that she “read” him anything, I’m going to head right to this chick’s co-opting of religion in an attempt to flesh out her character. And I don’t mean moral character. I mean the character that she plays in real life. I’ve seen multiple references to her informing interviewers that she was “praying for” her nemesis Lauren Conrad. My fiancé (a reporter) has a line that he uses when someone calls him to scream about a story that had something to do with religion being anti-religious/liberal/etc. He says sweetly, “I’m praying for you.” And it incenses them. But you know what HeiMo? He doesn’t mean it either. Oh and by the way, I’m unable to find the phrase “honor thy wife” appearing in any commonly used versions of the Bible.

Jezebel.com adds further details on the Speidibridey:

Heidi says, “We were walking at sunset and he had a little picnic made for me, with chocolate-covered strawberries and Dom Perignon.”

Klassy. I thought that menu was awesome too when I was 13 and watching Pretty Woman at a slumber party.

“It was pretty much a preproposal.”

As Jezebel points out, he already proposed to you once before. That aside, what in the name of all that is holy is a preproposal? I’ll try to figure it out while I predigest the salad that’s on my desk that I haven’t started eating.

“He is ready to really propose to me, down on one knee, with the right ring,” Heidi explains. “The other one failed. Why would we use a failed ring? A new ring means a fresh start, a fresh love and a fresh engagement. Plus, I didn’t get to pick it out. I want something much bigger, and one that comes from the heart, not some purple thing.”

For those unfamiliar with The Hills, this is a reference to the first time Spencer “proposed” to Heidi and a blogger discovered that the ring was a piece of cheap costume jewelry, offering further evidence that the whole thing was a total sham. Also, I love that she immediately follows her demand for something bigger with a demand that it come “from the heart.” Apparently the heart needs to understand that the ring better be somewhere north of two carats.

“I want to perform at my wedding. It’s a special song that I’m working on for Spencer.”

Sugarbooger, the entire wedding will be a performance.

And she’d like U2 to be her wedding band.

Yes, I’m positive Bono will clear time from his AIDS-ending-world-debt-canceling schedule to hoof over to whatever pink-shrouded shindig the folks at MTV will throw together to croon you into wedded bliss. If he does, I’m never listening to Joshua Tree or an iPod commercial again. Do you hear me Bono? Never!

My feathers being in a fluff isn’t exactly new. I make a living off of it. But you know who should be really pissed about this? Teh gays. In fact, I would assert that the US Weekly article offers an irrefutable argument to the claim that gay marriage should be prohibited on the grounds that it undermines the sanctity of marriage. You know what undermines the sanctity of marriage? No-talent assclownsTelevision personalities who do it to advance a plot line. But by all means, Speidi, honor thy ratings.

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You know what, Facebook targeted ad?

May 28, 2008

Saw it off. Seriously.

Golfing, Halibut, Nazis, and Flower Pots

May 27, 2008

This weekend, in between (deep inhale): happy houring Friday; ogling the new Adams Morgan Harris Teeter, whacking a bucket at the driving range, shopping and Indiana Jones with the fiancé in Chinatown Saturday; lawn partying at the lovely K’s, fixing a fresh-from-Alaska halibut dinner for my parents, and watching HBO’s 2000 election snuff film Recount on Sunday; planting flower boxes on my balcony, checking out the 1936 Berlin Olympic exhibit at the Holocaust Museum, grabbing an al fresco dinner and then seeing Errol Morris’ new Abu Ghraib documentary Standard Operating Procedure yesterday, I managed to accomplish a wedding task.

While wandering through the jungle oasis that is Johnson’s Nursery on Wisconsin Ave. yesterday morning, I saw a rack of cache pots that would be perfect for the reception table centerpieces. Ordinarily when decorating a reception table, brides are using cut flowers so the florist provides vases, but since I’m doing a potted plant (orchid) for each table I needed to actually find some pots. And these were perfect and less than $10 a pop, so I scooped up a batch of them. This was on the advice of the decidedly no-nonsense doyenne who commands the floral section of Johnson’s. I was dithering over whether to buy them on the spot—I mean I don’t really need them for another five months—and asking whether they’d be available in October. She looked at me with the most sincere of “you’re an idiot” faces, clearly envisioning the hissy fit I would be having in front of her should they not have this particular pot come October, and said, “You see them now. You like them. Buy them now.” So I did. (see above)

Cross one thing off the list. Only 328 more to go.

John Updike Upstaged by Gross Old Man Feet

May 23, 2008

Yesterday my editor passed on a pair of tickets to see John Updike deliver the annual Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment of the Humanities. Updike was to speak on the topic, “What is American in American Art?: The Clarity of Things.” It’s not new ground, as he himself confessed in his introduction, and to be honest, he gave a somewhat baffling presentation. While not unpleasant (because for heaven’s sake what did we have to do on a Thursday night that was better than listening to John Updike talk about anything?), it seemed to stray significantly from the advertised thesis. Updike focused instead on whether works of art, predominantly from the 18th Century, had a “liney” or “painterly” quality. All of this was inconsequential though, because the gentleman (and I am indeed testing the elasticity of that word) in the row in front of us took off his shoe and began rubbing his stockinged foot in the face of the woman seated to his left.

With only one empty seat separating them, he crossed his right leg over his left and balanced his ankle on his knee. Encased in a drab green sock, his foot waggled off the end of his leg like a docked tail on a dog. He rubbed it and twirled it and generally let those of us in the balcony know that they were really working through some issues, he and his foot. Obviously, I was unable to concentrate on Updike’s assessment of whether John Singleton Copley’s 1768 rendering of Paul Revere featured disproportionately sized hands (it does.) When one has her head tilted at a 45-degree angle in utter amazement, she cannot properly contemplate American masterworks, Pulitzer Prize-winning lecturer or no.

So discomfited was I by Shoeless Joe, that we opted to skip the reception that followed in one of The Willard ballrooms. I would need something stronger than the occasional passed canapé and blah white wine. Instead, we ran like rabbits from the crowd and hid away upstairs at Cafe du Parc. I turned to the best remedy I know: assiette de fromage. And what fromage it was. Creamy, bold, accompanied by spiced fig jam and honey. Perfection. In the glow of the bistro, all was right with the world again.

Can You Hear Me Now? No, Not Anymore.

May 22, 2008

Last night I went into Verizon (store, not arena) with the intention of getting my Treo fixed. The camera had never really worked properly on it, the whole phone was turning itself off constantly, and the connection for the charger was loose. But in the controlled melée that was the Verizon store at 5:30 on a weekday (seriously, you’ve never seen so many incredibly irritated 27-year-old white chicks trying to figure out what Jesus would do if confronted with such incompetence delaying His arrival at yogalates class) I found myself having to make a split-second decision. The tech support people told me the whole phone was pretty much shot so they’d just give me a new one for free since I’d been paying the extra five clams a month for insurance. But the only thing they could transfer to a new phone was my contacts list. I’d lose everything else.

More than two years of text messages, pictures, and videos I’d been saving for one reason or another would be gone. I’d lose the clip of my 2-year-old niece relaying her extemporaneous story about the ant crossing the river (“How did he get across the river?” I’d asked, compelling her to look into the cell camera lens like I was a blithering idiot and respond, “On the spider’s back.” If she hadn’t been taught that saying, “Duhhh” to an adult was rude, she would have surely added that.) I’d lose the voice memo of my fiancé singing “Juke Box Hero” to me in the truck one afternoon, his wailing almost totally obscured by my peals of laughter. I’d lose the photograph of soybean fields stretching alongside Highway 13 outside of Bethel, North Carolina, on a relentlessly beautiful day endcapping a roadtrip a couple summers ago. I’d lose all the “Congratulations!” text messages sent on September 1, 2007.

With the Junior League impatiently tapping its Tory Burch flats behind me I blurted out: “Fine. I don’t need the rest of it I guess.” And just like that, I had a new, empty Treo in my hands. Suddenly, I was 9-years-old again, informing the hairstylist that I wanted her to cut off my 16 inches of red curly hair and give me a just-below-the ears ‘do. I was lighter. Unencumbered. And a little freaked out to have said goodbye.

Confucius say “You’re having twins, suckahs!”

May 21, 2008

(Photo from Pret a Voyager.)

On Sunday evening, my fiancé and I took lazy to new heights. But at some point we decided to get downright ambitious and amble down to Chinatown for some Full Key. Incidentally, if you don’t know about Full Key, it’s a few blocks back from the larger, touristy joints and it is delicious. Bring cash though (and a healthy appreciation for the sight of dead ducks). No cards accepted. Anyhoodles, at the end of the meal he opens his fortune cookie.

Fiancé: “You will have great success this winter.”
Me: “Hah. Winter is post-wedding. Maybe it means we’re going to have a baby.”
Fiancé: “Yep.”
Me (opening my fortune cookie): “You will have great success this winter.”
Fiancé and I: “Oh, f***.”

Want. Want. Want.

May 20, 2008

I have been a very reserved bride when it comes to spending. In fact I’ve taken it as a point of pride that I’ve tried to be reasonable about everything. Admittedly this has been made easier along the way by the fact that I consider myself to have simple tastes. Example: I don’t need fussy, elaborate floral arrangements because I don’t even like them. Single orchids, please, thank you. $1,500 for wedding invitations? Not a chance. So when first analyzing last fall how I’d allocate the budget I’d been given, I automatically gave the idea of having a videographer for the wedding a hearty “phhtttt.” Not necessary.

Then last month on DC Nearlyweds I read about Michael Eller’s Monachetti videography work. And like the writer there, I was suddenly a 5-year-old with my nose pressed up against the glass at Dr. Fantasmo’s Candy and Puppyorium.

A quick email exchange with Eller confirmed that his prices are indeed reasonable when compared with what the typical (and typically cheesy) videography services charge. Three to five minutes of edited video runs $2,000. It’s expensive and a luxury, to be sure, but it’s so tantalizingly doable, you know? Yet my fiancé hasn’t succumbed to my eyelash batting and begging and lobbying and pleading. Even attaching myself to his leg every morning as he heads out the door isn’t working. I’ve tried pointing out to him that, like our photography, we’ll have this for decades to come. It will be a lasting memento, to share with our children and their children, of the moment in time when we looked our hottest. No dice. I’m fairly convinced all he sees is a three to five minute video of him not buying a plasma screen TV.

deep sigh…If anyone owes me $2,000 that I’ve forgotten about, please give me a ring and remind me.

Another Woman Sings a Man to Shipwreck

May 19, 2008

It’s tempting to recap Saturday night’s Swell Season show at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore by merely quoting Jon Stewart: “Holy shitballs.” While an apt review, it’s slightly insufficient. (For the uninitiated, Irish indie-rock singer Glen Hansard had a band called The Frames. A few years ago while touring with The Frames, he met a bird named Marketa Irglova. He asked her to record an album with him. They did, under the name “The Swell Season.” That album inspired filmmaker John Carney to make the movie Once, using many of the songs from that album and asking them to just go ahead and star in the darn thing. Now you know. And if you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend Netflixing it.) I’ll be spending the next few days impatiently drumming my fingers on the table waiting for playedlastnight.com to get the audio from the show online or for the camera-phone Scorseses in the audience Saturday night to get some clips on YouTube. In the mean time, some of the highlights:

* I’ve never been to the Meyerhoff, but after Saturday I would start a letter-writing campaign to get any of your favorite acts to play there. Ordinarily it’s used as a classical music venue and the acoustics are phenomenal. The deep, swirling wall of sound that came through the place was, to quote Hansard, stunningly “posh.”

* They played Fitzcarraldo. When you name a song in homage to a Werner Herzog movie, you’re off to a good start in my book. When you play this song in my presence, you’re set for life.

* Glen Hansard is remarkably perceptive. To wit, if I may roughly approximate one of his song set-ups: “This song is about the Irish pastime of standing around in a field, listening to Bob Marley, smoking jazz woodbines, and handing over to the woman you love…a mix tape. The tape that says everything you feel about her but can’t say.” It was nice to see him standing around on stage, clearly very in love with creative partner-turned-actual partner Irglova, having a grand time. One has to assume that Once served as one hell of a mix tape.

* That perceptiveness continued right into his introduction of the song “Once.” Hansard spoke about the ability of a woman to sing a man to shipwreck. When he talked about this phenomenon at a show earlier in the year he alluded to there being poetry in the wreckage, either way.

On Friday night, I hung out with four friends from college and their significant others at a beautiful cabin perched high in the cliffs that border the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County. Of the four, P is already married and M and I are both engaged. We’ll be marrying within about six weeks of each other. The fourth, E, has been happily dating a wonderful guy for a few years. But as she smiled slyly and draped her hand over a bottle imploring me to make her a cocktail shortly after I walked in the door (although not shortly enough for M’s taste, who was about to keel over), I learned that E is no longer just dating her wonderful guy. She is marrying him. That very morning her beau walked with her down to the natural, driftwood-strewn beach and then sunk to one knee and asked her to marry him while slipping his late grandmother’s ring onto her finger. Later that night, as one of the guys snapped a picture of the four of us with our arms interlaced I thought about where we’ve all been.

We’ve been there for the start of new relationships, we’ve stared in wide-eyed horror as flings with the lifespan of bugs hovering over a highway ended with all manner of indignities both delivered and received that in retrospect were often more hilarious than anything else, and we’ve consoled each other when the ones we thought were The Ones weren’t. We have crashed ourselves, and we have sung our share of men to shipwreck. I’m not entirely convinced we’re not all doing the same thing now, because I believe that for people to love each other so completely that they decide to devote the rest of their lives to each other is to essentially acknowledge they want to steer directly for the rocks. I believe the decision to marry means that you think you have some idea of how to handle the impact.

Falling slowly, eyes that know me/and I can’t go back.

May 16, 2008

My fiancé and I have a tradition in the few seconds before a movie is about to start at the theater. We turn to each other, make a setting-the-bar-low hand motion and mouth “low expectations.” It’s a silly thing that we do to try to avoid being too disappointed by the typically crudtastic movies released these days. Per usual, we did that last year as the lights were going down for indie flick Once. And within 10 minutes we were both tearing up. (I’m sorry, I was tearing up. He was just trying to get something out of his eyes.) It was the scene in which Guy and Girl–the lead characters’ roles are unnamed–sing together for the first time at a borrowed piano in a music store. I asked him later about his reaction and he said, “It was beautiful,” before adding, “They reminded me of us. Her walking along with her little vacuum cleaner, and then she shakes his life up and makes it better. You did that for me.”

That’ll do. For eternity.

Tomorrow night, we’re heading to the Meyerhoff in Baltimore to see the film’s stars, Irish singers Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who perform together as The Swell Season. It will be a nice preview of sorts to our Ireland honeymoon, which kicks off with four days in Dublin, where the movie takes place. And our married life together in general.

No need for the low expectations hand motion this time.

My Workout Mix Better is Better Than Your Better

May 15, 2008

Within minutes of getting engaged, a message is beamed to all merchandisers on the planet alerting them to your new status so that they may begin the year-long process of clogging every media-receiving receptacle over which you preside. The most common pitch is the online advertisement encouraging me to get off my venti derriere and get in shape for my wedding day. Now, to my knowledge, the good people at Facebook, The Knot, etc. have no actual idea what size my rear is, but they seem to take the buckshot approach with all engaged ladies: you’re female and you’re getting married, you most certainly think you weigh too much right now. Many of these marketers tout “The Perfect Bridal Diet” or some variation thereof.

I don’t even bother clicking, because lately I’ve been tinkering with my own bridal diet. It consists of a little something I like to call gut-churning anxiety and exercise. As for the former, well it is what it is. I go through phases where I can’t eat very much and suffice it to say, I’m in one right now. The latter I can actually control, so in advance of the never-ending round of dress fittings that begin next month, I’m trying to be up in the gym just workin’ on my fitness, as the kidsthe Fergie says. Since literally one reader inquired recently about what I’ve got blaring in the old iPod when I’m at the gym in an effort to update her own work-out mix, I thought I’d share. Especially as I’m sure yesterday’s Coldplay fandom admission has you all clamoring to download the entire Bridal Bird’s Workout Essentials mix from iTunes. These are not my greatest workout songs of all time. Just what I’m listening to now.

1. Violet Hill, Coldplay — Yep, that’s how you still know I’m gay.

2. List of Demands, Saul Williams — There’s nothing like a white girl trying to burn off her mochaccino listening to some dude rapping angrily about reparations. To further boost my street cred, I remove my sorority-logo-emblazoned ribbon from around my ponytail when this comes on.

3. Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On), Robert Plant and Alison Krauss — I instantly have to knock the treadmill speed up a couple notches when this comes on because of the tempo. Also, this unlikely duo makes “Go f*** yourself,” sound so down-home plucky.

The Pop Crap Portion of the List (Look, when The Decemberists or whomever else it is that they’re peeing themselves over these days down at the Rock & Roll Hotel start writing songs I can run to, I’ll add them, but for now, pop songs are going on the list.)
4. No Air, Jordin Sparks with Chris Brown — I like a touch of the literal when I’m running and gasping for air.
5. Pocketful of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield — If I were on The Hills this would be playing as I drive around the city and look pensive. But I’m not on The Hills, so it’s playing as I do crunches and try to remember whether I locked the front door.

6. I Will Possess Your Heart, Death Cab for Cutie (hell yeah, the 8:35 version) — The four minutes of instrumental build-up is perfect. And then the rest makes for good stalker-evasion training runs.

7. Mercy, Duffy — Confession: I went around for several weeks calling her “Dusty.” I consider this a Freudian slip because she sounds a lot like Dusty Springfield.

8. Just Can’t Seem to Get it Right Today, Joe Purdy — Yes, this makes this the second song used in a commercial that’s on my list. But in my defense I knew both of those songs before they were used for the commercials. (Of course I’m lying. Everyone is lying when they make this claim.) Also, lately, if it’s a day ending in a ‘y’, I’m in agreement with Purdy.

9. Blood, Editors — I jumped around like a fiend when I saw them perform this live so it seemed like a natural fit for the list. Nine out of 10 times, I’m a lot less trashed when I’m listening to it at the gym.

10. Sinner Man, Nina Simone — This song has a permanent spot on all Bridal Bird Jock Jams volumes. Every. Last. One.

11. Weird Fishes/Arpeggio, Radiohead — Sure, there’s the song’s orchestral swell to keep me going, but there’s also the realization that I couldn’t fit an arm into one of Thom Yorke’s trouser legs. There’s nothing like a twee British alt.rocker’s size 0-frame to compel me to hit the ground for another set of prison push-ups.

12. Natural’s Not in It, Gang of Four — “The problem of leisure/what to do for pleasure,” is especially apt on the occasions when I’m working out while off during a workday. It’s the ultimate ladies who lunch anthem, if ladies who lunched also did a lot of blow.

So that’s my list. What am I missing? Bridal Bird readers want to know.