Friday, January 8, 2010

Trouble. With a capital T. And that rhymes with C. (And that stands for crazy!)

I’d love to devote my blog solely to interesting things. To make it pithy and witty. To fill it with keen observations. But I gotta work with what I got. And what I’ve got is a weekly ritual. Along with a bunch of girlfriends, I watch "The Bachelor" on Monday nights. It's more of a social event than anything. Still, it's kind of like one of those bruises that you just. can't. stop. touching! ("But it hurts when I touch it...")

Sometimes we have to TiVo it and watch it on Tuesday, but that never works. Someone (okay, sometimes it’s me) always checks the blog on Tuesday morning and shares the spoilers. It's a good thing that it's recorded, too, because half the time, we're laughing in horror at/about/in spite of the train wreck unfolding before us.

And that's the worst part. We still watch.

So, here I am, telling you about The Bachelor. And actually, not even in good time. Only I’m not on ABC’s payroll, so I can be honest.

In addition to all of the bottle blonde hair and a lot of breasts on display, what was most apparent to me this week was that Monday night's "ladies" (do they call them "bachelorettes")were remarkable in their ordinariness. They were, of course, all very pretty. (Even the ones that I suspected might have been men. Don’t tell me that you didn’t think that, too.) But so few of them seemed interesting or intriguing. (And unfortunately, those that did were eliminated.)
Admittedly, Jake seems kind of boring, himself, so maybe he wants bland. But really, how did he convey that to the producers? What did that discussion look like? “Okay, here's the thing - I’m specifically looking to avoid interesting conversations and anyone with judgment, modesty or self-respect. Thanks. That’d be great.”

So, apart from the personality deficit (though a definite surplus on other assets...) what also struck me last night is the difference between the men's post-elimination self-assessment and the women's. Now, I’ve only watched half of the last “Bachelorette” season, and one episode of “The Bachelor”, so I don’t know if this is typical, but I sure hope that show has some good counsellors on staff to help these particular women! One girl, who seemed really sweet, actually uttered these words, "I wasn't good enough!" Sorry? Sweetpea, that is not an appropriate assessment of your "performance" (let's call it what it is!) during a few hours of contrived and alcohol-imbued interaction, which was also being filmed! (Now, I don’t know about you, but I have auditioned for a television reality show. OhyesIhave. Knowing that what you are saying and doing is being captured on tape for all posterity is STRESSFUL!)

Clearly, some of them never had parental guidance when they were watching TV - someone to say, "it's okay, honey; it's not real". They took the whole thing so personally, which, I suppose it is, but in addition, they took it so HARD, like it was real! And in spite of the moniker “reality television”, there’s not one part that’s rooted in reality. Well, maybe one thing: The Bachelor, Jake Pavelka, noted that he's been “unlucky” in love. That. Part. Is. Real. And I think I know why. About the women you decided to ask to stick around, Jake? They were UNreal. (Er, I have a pretty good idea why you haven't "found love" yet.)

Jake, honey, we need to talk. You seem like a nice guy. So why aren’t you looking for someone nice? Some of the women that you eliminated were cool. They seemed like the type of women that I’d want to have as friends. Some of them seemed kind. Some of them could laugh at themselves and didn’t take themselves too seriously.

In contrast - you asked trouble to stick around. Maybe you need to re-think what you're looking for. Because the way you're going... you're still lookin' for trouble. Good luck with that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Revolutions, or "Howzat workin' for ya?"

On New Year's day, my friend Pete posted something in his Facebook status about "getting ready for another "365 in 365" and wanted to know who was joining him. Knowing Pete, I suspected that it was something about fitness, (and I vaguely recall wondering whether we could really be friends when he told me that he was doing this last year) so I glibly asked him if he was planning to eat 365 sandwiches this year. He invited me to join him in his quest to do 365 workouts this year: "gym, hike, ski, run..."

First thought: Why would I do that? It. Sounds. Like. Hell. Well, the gym part does. The rest sounds like fun. Go skiing every day? Ya-hah! (Well, yes, except I don't want snow in July. Or anytime after March. Or before January. So maybe not skiing every day.)

Still, in spite of my jokes, I am not actually lazy, though my move to Chicago has affected my activity patterns. Why is it so hard for a girl to join three Ultimate teams, here!? Or one for that matter? And does anyone know how hard it is to consult a map while biking in traffic? (Uh, Mum, I didn't really do that. And if I did, I was wearing a helmet.)

The whole idea of New Year's Resolutions is a bit foreign to me. I don't really set them because I think that January 1st is an arbitrary -and somewhat depressing day- to start something new. I suppose if I was the type of person to diet, I wouldn't wait until Monday morning "to start". That just sounds like a bad idea and it's probably one of the reasons poor Monday is so maligned. (Aww, who needs a hug?) I pretty much just make changes when I see they're needed.

Well, this is certainly a change that is needed, and besides, it means that I will talk to Pete more. So that's good.

I did, however, negotiate slightly different parameters, because I've seen enough Dr. Phil to know that a goal must be SMART! (Specific, Measurable, etc.) Then I really got to work...

I knew from the outset that my resolution also needed a branding strategy to appeal to me. Me! Me! Me! Saying I would "work out" every day conjured up images of teal stirrup tights with a belted hot pink leotard. (Oh, really? You. Will. Not.) I was condemning it to fail.

It needed to be more lifestyle-oriented. (Take note all you marketeers: this is how you sell to ME! ME! ME!) My "365 in 365" needed to improve my quality of life, decrease my stress, provide a platform to spend time with friends, increase my fitness, while allowing me to keep my dignity in tact. (Did I mention that the teal tights image included a gold headband and softbox lighting? Eesh.)

I think my resolution also needs a storyline and a soundtrack! I'm working on that, but we creative-types are notoriously bad for sticking to deadline, so suggestions are welcome. Thus far, I've got "Changes" by David Bowie or "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones. Uninspired, both. Maybe "Eye of the Tiger"?

My 365 in 365 is to just be more active. It includes yoga and running but it could also include going for a walk at lunch or - in a pinch - it could include getting off one El stop earlier and walking the extra mile home. Maybe it also includes dancing around my kitchen for an hour in my pyjamas on Sunday mornings. (Uh, okay, already do that. It won't include that.)

That can't be bad at all. I'm hoping it will help me sleep. That would be revolutionary. That would seriously improve my life! So far, I am three days in and I'm still on track! But I would also note that I am drafting this at 4 am. (Irony, you are a skank. And your shoes are not cute.)

Who's in?