Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2006 Teen (?) Choice Awards

Channel surfing does not often unearth entertainment treasure. And it sure didn't on Sunday night, when I lingered on Fox's 2006 Teen Choice Awards for a few seconds. I'm definitely not their demographic, so it's no surprise that the squeals, the surfboards, and the hot tub (yes, the hot tub) were gigantic flags that I Am Too Old for This Show.

So are most of the award winners, when you think about it.

I work with a bunch of statisticians, and their desire to number crunch everything has rubbed off on me. I wanted to see just how old the current crop of winners are, and what the average age among them is (a full list is at the end of this post). Here's my methodology:

1) I took the list of the Teen Choice Award winners and hacked out anything that was for a project (movie, tv show, song), a group, or was obviously for an older person (Choice Parental Unit). The whittled-down list comprises individual artists only.

2) I looked up their ages on IMDB.com, and if it wasn't available there, I gleaned it from the interweb in general. These are not the most rock-solid resources, but hey, it's what was available.

3) The age I used is the age they were at the time of the show. If, for example, an actress turns 20 later this year, I listed her age as 19.

Wanna know what the average age of a Teen Choice Award winner is? 27.5 years old. It's nothing new for teenagers to idolize twentysomethings, and this is the Teen Choice Awards, not the Teenager Awards. And there are some actual teenagers who won. But still... I can't help but think teenagers are picking the folks that they want to emulate in style and behavior, and their choices happen to be firmly ensconced in their twenties.

Do I sound like codger or what? Anyway, here's the list of the Teen Choice Award Winners who fit the criteria listed above:
  • Movie Actress: Comedy: Rachel McAdams (29)
  • TV Actor: Drama/Action Adventure: Adam Brody (26)
  • TV Actress: Drama/Action Adventure: Rachel Bilson (24)
  • TV Actor: Comedy: Wilmer Valderrama (26)
  • TV Actress: Comedy: Alexis Bledel (24)
  • TV Sidekick: Allison Mack (24)
  • TV Personality: Ashton Kutcher (28)
  • Music: Male Artist: James Blunt (28)
  • Music: Female Artist: Kelly Clarkson (24)
  • Music: R&B Artist: Rihanna (18)
  • Hottie: Male: Orlando Bloom (29)
  • Hottie: Female: Jessica Alba (25)
  • Comedian: Adam Sandler (39)
  • Movies: Sleazebag: Bill Nighy (56)
  • Movies: Breakout (Male): Channing Tatum (26)
  • Movies: Breakout (Female): Jessica Simpson (26)
  • Movies: Choice Chemistry: Jennifer Aniston (37)
  • Movies: Choice Chemistry: Vince Vaughn (36)
  • Movies: Hissy Fit: Keira Knightley (21)
  • Movies: Liplock: Keanu Reeves (41)
  • Movies: Liplock: Sandra Bullock (42)
  • Movies: Scream: Keira Knightley (21)
  • TV: Actress: Mischa Barton (20)
  • TV: Actor: James Denton (43)
  • TV: Breakout Star: Zac Efron (18)
  • TV: Reality Star (Male): Drew Lachey (29)
  • TV: Reality Star (Female): Lauren "LC" Conrad (20)
  • TV: Choice Chemistry: Vanessa Anne Hudgens (17)
  • TV: Choice Chemistry: Zac Efron (18)
  • Music: Breakout (Female): Rihanna (18)
  • Music: Breakout (Male): Chris Brown (16)
  • Sports: Athlete (Male): David Beckham (31)
  • Sports: Athlete (Female): Maria Sharapova (19)
  • Sports: Action Sports (Male): Shaun White (19)
  • Sports: Action Sports (Female): Sophia Mulanovich (20)
  • Red Carpet Fashion Icon (Female): Jessica Alba (25)
  • Red Carpet Fashion Icon (Male): Nick Lachey (32)
  • Grill: Brooke Hogan (18)
  • V Cast Music Artist: Nelly Furtado (27)

Did My Dad Take this Picture of Tom Welling?

Driving to and from Philly via I-95, I spied with my little eye something fugly:

(image courtesy of EW.com)

Everything that I could have said is already said at the EW.com PopWatch message board. But yikes, I had to highlight it for anyone who hadn't seen this abomination. Honestly, how do you make Tom Welling look like the confused-yet-skeevy guy at a party?

(BTW, the title of this post is a reference to my Dad's penchant for taking candid pictures, which generally result in the subjects of the picture appearing (a) openmouthed, (b) cracked out, or (d) sleeping.)

Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Avenue Q...

I'm feeling so very cosmopolitan these days. Sure, it's cosmopolitan-y-ness without the designer handbags and the latest cocktail, but I can swing with that. I mean, who needs Balenciaga or Vanilla Sky when you've got Mimi Maternity and Vitamin Water?

Anyway, the reason for my sophisticated glow, despite my nascent pregnancy waddle, is that Hubby and I spent the day in New York on Saturday. It's not like I was hobnobbing with Rockefellers or anything like that, but when you're in New York, there's a palpable sense of potential swirling in the air. And being immersed in all of that potential and possibility leaves you feeling like you're a little more "in the know" about life, the universe and everything. Okay, so it's not all that eye-opening, but we learned how much it costs to park in NYC, and that's something, right?

Hubby and I try to worm our way into the Big Apple once or twice per year. Our excursions would not entertain the Boy in any conceivable way (theater? museums? walking around?). So we dropped him off at his Aunt and Uncle's pastoral abode in northern Maryland (I'm serious about the pastoral business -- they have chickens), and E-Z-passed our way up the Eastern seaboard and into Manhattan.

Since we parked the car around lunchtime, we hoofed it over to Famous Famiglia Pizzeria to grab a few New York slices. After that, we caught Avenue Q at the Golden Theater using tickets Hubby had given me for my birthday. We kinda knew that we wanted to hit the theater while I could still see my feet, and I picked Avenue Q because it's a, um, mature spin on Sesame Street (one glimpse at the song list will tell you that the show is really, really not meant for kiddos.). SinceI've been watching buckets of Big Bird for the past year and a half, I figured it'd be fun to see the darker side of puppeteering. And by darker, I mean sexed up, existential, and grubby. You know, like me.

We pretty much laughed our heads off. Hubby grasped more of the jokes than I because Sesame Street was an integral part of his childhood, whereas I can only remember watching Captain Kangaroo and the Great Space Coaster. In retrospect, this is probably due to my being left in the care of older siblings who were way more interested in other daytime TV fare, like General Hospital and Phil Donahue. But I don't think anyone's going to pen a musical based on those shows anytime soon, so I'll make due with a riff on Sesame Street.

Sidebar: Know what was refreshing? There weren't any kids in the audience. I don't generally find the absence of children refreshing, but I get a little twitchy when an adult brings a kid to a show that is not kid-friendly. So it was nice to see that some people know how to follow the rules and shield their kids from adult material. I know, I know, the show was advertised as a mature audiences kinda show, so parents would be nutty and/or abusive to bring their issue. But that didn't seem to stop parents from bringing some little 'uns (and in some cases, tiny 'uns) to local screenings The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Panic Room, or Miami Vice, among others. Maybe the ticket prices have something to do with it...

When the intermission bell clanged, I hustled to the ladies' room. There was no bladder urgency, but I'm of the opinion that at 27 weeks, I should try and prevent urgency whenever possible. I was about twelfth in line, which meant that I'd be back to my seat in plenty of time. So I was casually staring into space when an usher approached me and said, "Ma'am, are you having a baby?" My first thoughts were, "Uh, not right now," and "Cripes, did he call me Ma'am? He's older than me!" Instead, though, I just said, "Yes." And Usher Man instructed me to follow him to the front of the line. I demurred, saying that I was fine, but he pulled me ahead anyway. I expected to get a bunch of eye daggers -- women can be pretty touchy about cutting the line for the bathrooms -- but the ladies were accomodating and stepped aside.

And people say New Yorkers are rude. Then again, these could have been mostly tourists like me. Eh, either way, I was grateful. There are some perks to a rounded tummy, I guess. So ladies, if anyone with the power to get you to the front of a bathroom line asks you if you're in the family way, say YES.

After the show we meandered around Times Square, nearly going into seizures from all of the neon and blinking lights. But it was kind of a hot day and I could feel my ankles threatening to swell, so we picked up the car and headed home. My favorite part of the picking-up-the-car experience were the potted plants in front of the garage. Apparently, a new layer of paint had just been swiped onto the pots. But I guess I'm just assuming that the pots, and not the trees, had been painted because the "Wet Paint" sign was taped to the mini-trees inside the pots.

Sidebar 2: There really ARE Starbucks on almost every corner of Manhattan. At first, I thought maybe we were circling the same block dozens of times because I'd always figured the preponderance of Starbucks in NYC was an urban legend. Nope, it's no legend. A Starbucks store locater search reveals that there are 127 of them within a 2 mile radius of the Golden Theater. Is that what they call market saturation?

After a pretty non-eventful drive back down the NJ Turnpike and I-95, we were home again, home again, jiggity jog, around 10:00 p.m. That is not a very swingin' time to get home and leap into bed, but I'm willing to make some concessions.

And really, the cosmo thing continues, because we're going to see another show tomorrow night. That's right, Washingtonians -- Hubby, the Boy and I are going to see the Wiggles LIVE in concert. Jealous?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Darn, Just Before I Was Tapped to Be a Presenter

According to this Washington Post article, it looks like the lavish goodie bags bestowed on celebrities for presenting Academy Awards, Emmies, Grammies, etc., are a thing of the past. Well, unless the celebrities are willing to pony up the tax dough.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Baby on Board

I'm finally showing. At six months, it's really about time. Honestly, I was about to sling one of those "Baby on Board" window cling thingamajigs 'round my neck so that my co-workers knew I wasn't just packing on a few pounds. I know I'm not supposed to care what other people think, but women spend large chunks of time worrying about weight, so when the scale creeps upward, even when it's for perfectly good and natural reason (you know, like growing another person inside of you), I still felt a wee guilty for the thickened waist.

But I'm over that now. Sure, I still think I look like this sometimes. Not all the time, though. And the recent spate of celebrity reproduction has brought sweet phrases like "baby bump" into common parlance. It's a beautiful phrase, one that makes you think of a woman, normally proportioned in every way, with one teeny swollen area. I mostly think of myself that way, especially since I'm exclusively sporting generously cut maternity fashions these days, which seemed designed to draw attention to the bump, rather than camouflage it.

One critique of maternity clothes: they are almost all, to an item, designed to accentuate the bustline. Now, I understand that there a bunch of women out there who are thrilled to have added a cup size or two courtesy of the gestational process and want to show 'em off. I, on the other hand, sport cleavage even when I'm wearing a turtleneck and am not hopped up on pregnancy hormones. So, Mimi, Motherhood, A Pea in a Pod, etc., could we calm it down a little with the generously scooped necks so that I can dress appropriately for work?

Luckily, generous family members have given me a bunch of lovely, demure maternity clothes. But whenever I go out shopping on my own, all I find are low-cut tops with spaghetti straps. That's a whole separate issue -- I mean, if you're struttin' around with a bigger bra size, don't you require extra, um, support? And spaghetti straps don't exactly have the girth to cover more industrial straps, my friends.

There's one other tale to tell as a result of my increased size... Since I'm officially in all kinds of maternity clothes (the really obvious kind that tie in the back), and I'm all kinds of round in the middle, inquiring minds around the office want to know if I'm in the family way. My co-workers have been pretty circumspect -- they start to ask, then stop themselves, then I interrupt and tell them that yes indeedy, I'm expecting and am due in November. You should see the relief on their faces. I mean, who wants to ask someone if she's pregnant, and then find out that she's NOT? That's embarrassing for everyone involved and within earshot of the conversation.

Now, I thought I had my bases covered as far as the office grapevine goes. Since I haven't been at this job for very long, I haven't cultivated the kinds of friendships where you would run up to someone and announce that you have a baby on the way. So, I told my boss and my HR director at the end of the first trimester. My sister-in-law works here too, and she knew way back when as well. About two months ago, I made it a point to tell the two biggest office gossips. I figured that these folks would spread the word for me, but nope. Who knew that an office full of women would be so hush-hush about something like this? But my belly is doing the work for me. Good thing, too -- I was afraid that when I took off in mid-November, people would assume I quit or got canned when they passed by my darkened cubicle.

Friday, August 11, 2006

No, No..Don't "Git-R-Done"

Several times now as I zoom around the beltway, I've spied a pick-up truck with this decal affixed to it's back window:

To be perfectly honest, I've never really understood decals, bumper stickers, etc., on non-commercial vehicles. Maybe I'm not that confident in my opinions, like maybe tomorrow I'll suddenly be anti-feminism or something. This unwillingness to serve as a billboard is probably genetic, come to think of it. My Dad's turning into a scary die-hard conservative Republican, and even he could only commit to taping an Ehrlich/Steele campaign bumper sticker on the inside back window of his car during the last gubernatorial election.

But I really, really can't understand someone who's so devoted to the ethos of Larry the Cable Guy that s/he's willing to devalue a two-ton truck. Since these kinds of decals are often semi-permanent, I can't help but wonder if someone thought, "If I distill my life's philosophy to one phrase, one image, what would it be?" and then settled on "Git-R-Done."

Flags, no matter how tacky they may be, make sense to me. Those Christian fish, they make sense to me too. And I smile everytime I see an "Eve Was Framed" bumper stickers. These images and phrases do represent a higher philosophy of one sort or another.

But "Git-R-Done"? What does that even mean, anyway? Is it kind of a neo-redneck version of Elvis' "Taking Care of Business"? That seems to be the case...the top entry for the phrase in UrbanDictionary.com says that it means "Go do that" or "Finish this." If that's the case, why isn't it "Git-It-Done"? I know I have a tendency to be a bit of a grammar hound, but by using an "R" in the middle there makes me think that it's a contracted form of "Get-her-done." I can't help but thinking that it's vaguely sexual in its connotation.

All of that is a high-falutin' way of getting to this assessment of the phrase: "Yuck." And STILL, I have to wonder why anyone would think that was a cool thing to slap on the back of a truck.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Latest Phrase to Ban

Lately, I've been hearing buckets of soundbites that go something like this:

"There's a WAR going on in the Middle East. Don't you have better things to worry about than [insert trivial concern here]."

Fair enough. This resonated the first sixty dozen times I heard it. But, because of the frequency with which it's uttered, the phrase is starting to lose it's oomph. So can we please reserve it for the times when we really need to make a point, and not to put the holier-than-thou smackdown on people who bash an element in a flick, or complain about the weather, or an aching hip joint?