Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Top 5 Reality/ Sports Shows I am Thankful For

I have decided to compile this list of reality shows that I am thankful for this year. This does of course exclude "American Idol" which for me is a separate category, but I do love these five ratings darlings for their respective networks.

1. "Sunday Night Football"- What could be better than football? Well just about nothing. The Patriots who are a perfect 10-0 have already entertained "Sunday Night Football" audiences twice and are about to do it again against the Eagles this Sunday. Whether or not they win is another story, but you can be sure that there will be drama like none other on TV with Pat's quarterback Tom Brady at the helm, and Randy Moss at running back. (Sunday 8 p.m. on NBC)

2. "The Biggest Loser"- I had never watched this show before this season; I mainly started watching because of the new host of the show "Days of Our Lives" star Allison Sweeney. I soon discovered that the show is not only fun to watch but heartfelt as well. I love seeing the contestants where they are today; it's great to see them so proud of themselves and their families so happy with their improvements. Every contestant that I have seen has decided after the show to not only continue his or her healthy lifestyle but to share that lifestyle with family and friends as well. "The Biggest Loser" is a bigger winner. (Tuesday 8 p.m. on NBC)

3. "America's Next Top Model"- This show has it all: girls being catty with each other and then making up (particularly after a contestant is kicked off, you know how they all hug each other when they were just arguing a day before.). And let's be honest the show is for men, women, and children alike. Men like to look at the models who sometimes have photo shows where they are scantily clad or wearing nothing at all. The women like to route for a favorite- I loved Jaslene last year. Also I must admit that I love watching the different photo shoots; I like when they shoot editorials and when they do two pictures, one for a woman's magazine (i.e. Galmour, Cosmopolitan) and one for a man's magazine (Maxim, GQ). Little girls like watching it and wanting to be a model (I must admit, I sometimes want to be one too). This season has been partcularly good, and we're at a point where anyone left could win it- there's Bianca, the diva with an attitude from Queens, NY; Chantal, the sweet blonde beauty who looks like a princess from Austin, TX; Heather, the intelligent but somewhat outcast of all the contestants from Valparaiso, IN; Jenah, the free spirited risk taker who always takes an amazing photo from Farmington, CT; and Saleisha the sassy flirt who looks like she could walk into any hip-hop video from Los Angeles, CA. I cannot wait to see who wins. (Wednesday 8 p.m. on the CW)

4. "Dancing with the Stars"- This show is much like its contestants- like a fine wine, better with time. "Dancing with the Stars" never fails to deliver; initially I thought I would be bored with this seasons contestants, but I quickly discovered that afer watching for two minutes I was hooked again. Mel B. and Maxsim have impeccable chemistry, Jennie Garth looked absolutely yummy for a woman who has three kids, and her partner newcomer Derek Hough (Julianne's older brother) is great. Marie Osmond looks fabulous, the weight she has lost moving her hips is impressive and her partner Jonathan Roberts compliments her beautifully. And who can forget Helio Castroneves (the race car driver from Brazil), he is so energetic and his smile just makes everyone smile as well, and Julianne Hough is becoming a household name. The 19 year old phenom is fast becoming one of the best choreographers in the dance world today. I wish I could talk about the rest of this cast, but I just don't have enough space. (Monday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 9 p.m. on ABC)

5. "The Amazing Race"- This show never disappoints, the locations, the contestants, and the challenges; need I say more? Okay, fine did I mention this show has won all five Primetime Emmy Awards for "Outstanding Reality Competition Program"? I think they should let reality darlings and husband and wife team Rob and Amber come back to the show again; the drama that would provide would be more than anything one can see on the soaps. (Sunday 8 p.m. on CBS)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mike Lowell to Stay in Boston

Well it's true, he loves Red Sox Nation. Mike Lowell will sign on the dotted line if he hasn't already, and the deal is a sweet one: $37.5 million for three years. Lowell did have four year deals from other ball clubs, but clearly his heart is in Boston.

Curt Schilling wrote on his blog today, "How cool is that? Leaving years and dollars on the table to come back here for three more years, good stuff. Pretty nice to think you are fans in a town that is now a desired destination for athletes across the major sports. Come a long way for sure. Congrats to Mike, and I've already spoken with a few guys on the team and suffice to say, we're all ecstatic."

As I have said in previous entries, Mr. Lowell is well respected by teammates, management, and fans alike; he provides leadership qualities that are well utilized in the Red Sox Clubhouse.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday Night Lights is Fantastic

I am not supposed to want to stay home on Friday nights, but "Friday Night Lights" really makes me want to do just that. It is has been a long time since I have watched a show as well written, as cleverly acted, and as captivatingly shot as "Friday Night Lights"; this is show that everyone needs to be watching for one reason or another. I can guarantee that if you watch one episode you will continue wanting to watch.
The show is based on the book and movie of the same name; it makes home Dillon, Texas and follows the lives of those living in the town and their connection to the local high school football team, "The Dillon Panthers".
The show is lead by Kyle Chandler (in his most brilliant role yet) who plays Panthers coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami Taylor played amazingly by Ms. Connie Britton (who played the same role in the movie version of "Friday Night Lights".
Then there are the football players, all of whom were basically no name actors before the show: there is Taylor Kitsch who plays bad boy Tim Riggins, Gaius Charles who plays attention getter Brian "Smash" Williams, Zach Gilford as good boy Matt Saracen, Jason Plemons as the outsider (knight in shining armor) Landry Clarke, and Scott Porter as ex quarterback current coaching assistant Jason Street.
Every football town has to have girls (cheerleaders, potential girlfriends, and bad girls); there is Aimee Teegarden who plays the Taylor's daughter Julie, Minka Kelly as cheerleader Lyla Garrity, and Adrianne Palicki as former town vixen turned good Tyra Collette.

So far this season----

Coach Taylor has come back as coach of the Panthers.

Mrs. Taylor had a baby (Grace) and is back as a high school guidance counselor.

Over the summer, Julie had eyes for a lifeguard at the pool (The Swede) and she later becomes embarassed when she sees he's not really into her at all. Julie and Matt break up because she wants to see other guys and not end up like her parents. Julie tries to make amends with Matt by inviting him to a concert but he refuses to go because she cheated and she isn't even saying sorry. Julie currently has her eyes set on her teacher Mr. Bartlett

Landry and Tyra start hanging out together, and one night when they go out to get some food Tyra is confronted by the man who tried to rape her; Landry comes out and there is a confrontation and the man ends up dead. Landry and Tyra get rid of his body by throwing it into a river. Tyra and Landry kiss after she reveals that if anything happens to him because of what he did for her she'd never forgive herself. Tyra tells Landry no one has ever cared for her so much.
Landry's dad tells Tyra to stay away from his son because she is trouble. Tyra ends things with Landry to protect him, he tries to talk to her about it but she ends it all and then cries in her car.
Landry finally admits to his father with evidence surfacing that he comitted the murder. Landry's father sets his son's car on fire to get rid of the evidence.

Jason contemplates having surgery for his paralysis. He travels to Mexico with Riggins to check his options, but the options are risky and would possibly have Steet dying in surgery. Riggins gets Lyla to come to Mexico to help him stage an intervention, and ultimately decides not to have the surgery. Street agrees to be a coaching assistant.

Tim continues bedding half the town, according to Lyla anyway. Before Coach Taylor returns Coach MacGregor pushes Tim so hard that he passes out at practice and is taken away on a stretcher. Tim still wants Lyla, and proves it in Mexico.

Saracen's live in aid, nursing student Carlotta, for his grandmother arrives and she is quite the fiesty one. Saracen begins to like spending time with Carlotta. Saracen and Julie agree to be friends after she admits she messed up. Matt begins dating the new cheerleader at school Lauren and Julie sees them in a lip lock and is crushed.

Smash likes all the attention he has been receiving as the new team captain. Smash approaches Coach Taylor about getting Riggins back on the team. Smash then confronts Riggins and tells him that by not being on the team is ruining everything.

Lyla befriends Santiago a student at the State School for Boys where she is doing peer counseling. She discovers that his parents were deported to Mexico and his uncle who is supposed to be looking after him is a bad influence. Lyla asks Tim for a favor, teach Santiago to play football; he agrees after learning that Santiago is not interested in Lyla.

"Friday Night Lights" is exciting to watch; it's so entertaining I almost wish I was living in Dillon, Texas. Well, actually, maybe I wouldn't go that far. But the show is one that I believe ultimately tries to bring people together, and there are not a lot of shows on TV like that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

American Idol Update

Ms. Katharine McPhee is engaged according to; the 23 year old singer and actress is engaged to Nick Cokas, a 42 year old actor. They have been dating for more than a year and met on the set of a theater production of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Relationship Renderings

The album "Confessions" by Usher is one of my all time favorites, but I must admit that initially when I found out that "Confessions" was based on Usher's real life experiences I was not pleased. The lyrics said it all, Usher was being a major player and being inconsiderate of his girlfriend's feelings. How is it possible, I thought for a man to have feelings for more than one woman? And then I discovered that he doesn't really have feelings for either one of them, at least not the "butterflies in your stomach" kind of feelings that I am thinking of. And why, I thought, stop at two women then, maybe there are three, four, five, a bunch, that a man can claim to have feelings for.

Words mean a lot to me, obviously, as a writer, I see words not only as a form of communication but a way to express one's self. Words to me are power, truth, and one word can make or break any moment.

Maybe Usher isn't so wrong after all. He is a player, but he confessed to it, and sometimes confessions are realizations of who one really is.

Here are some lyrics from his "Confession" interlude:

"Everytime I was in L.A. I was with my ex-girlfriend/ Everytime you called, I told you,/ Baby I'm workin'/ I was out doin' my dirt/ wasn't thinkin' 'bout you gettin' hurt/ I was hand in hand in the Beverly Center like man/ Not givin' a damn who sees me/ So gone/ So wrong/ Thinkin' I got it and left you sittin' at home/ Thinkin' about me/ Bein' a good girl that you are/ But you prolly believe you got a good man/ I mean I would never do the things I'mma about to tell you I've done/ Brace yourself this ain't good/ But it would be even worse if you heard this from somebody else."

So the man in this (Usher or maybe someone totally fictional that Usher made up) is confessing to his girlfriend or a woman that he really cares about that he has cheated on her. He is away on business, and she is being the good woman that she is sitting at home waiting for her man. Although this is all probably really hard for this woman to hear and deal with, the man is doing the right thing. Because not only is he empowering the woman to make her own choice and decide whether or not she wants to continue her relationship with him and try to make it work; he is also admitting to himself that he has a problem being faithful.

People could be unfaithful in relationships for a number of reasons: the individual feels unfulfilled in some way (mental, emotional, physical) in the current relationship, the individual gets an excitement or rush out of trying to juggle more than one relationship with the multiple parties being unaware of each other, or the individual cheating was previously cheated on or hurt in some way and is desensitized so as a result doesn't care about the feelings of others. There are definitley many more reasons, but these are the most obvious.

Typically, if a person is unfaithful once, he will be unfaithful again. I was with someone who was unfaithful to me, and he confessed, and told me he cared about me and that it wouldn't happen again. I gave him another chance, and it did happen again and again.

I believe the only way someone unfaithful becomes faithful is if he or she truly wants to. I believe the person may meet someone who he or she really comes to love and that person may inspire a change. I felt that way about someone I seriously dated. He, no question, had a really tough life, living all over the place. He had no constants in his life, so I thought maybe because he loves me so much and I love him so much I can become his constant. I thought, he has messed up a lot in his life, made mistakes, but he is admitting to those mistakes, he is trying to change. I truly believed I had inspired a change in him because in a lot of ways he changed me too. Now, I am just really confused about our relationship and where it stands because we are far away from each other, and I wonder whether or not he really wants to change.

In most cases, a woman is very trusting of a man if she is in love with him or wants to be in love with him or possesses feelings or care for him. A man will definitely take advantage of that, he may also play one woman against another (this has happened to me).

Women are very catty and jealous of one another when a man is involved. I one time had a woman call me up at my work place and ask me what my relationship was with a man that she was casually sleeping with.

Going back to Usher here are some lyrics from his song, "Confessions Part II":

"Now this gon' be the hardest thing I think I ever had to do/ Got me talkin' to myself askin' how I'm gon' tell you........../ The first thing that came to mind was you/ Second thing was how do I know if it's mine and is it true/ Third thing was me wishin' that I never did what I did/ How I ain't ready for no kid and bye bye to our relationship".

My question in all of this is, why does it take cheating for a guy to realize that he is with a good woman and he doesn't want his relationship with her to be over? Why can he not realize what he has when he has it? And does he really feel regret? He didn't feel regret when he was cheating.

"I need to stop thinkin', contemplatin'/ Be a man and get it over with (over with)/ I'm ridin' in my whip/ Racin' to her place/ Talkin' to myself/ Preparin' to tell her to her face/ She open up the door and didn't want to come near me./ I said why ? baby?/ Please hear me."

More men should think like Usher, and when they cheat, they should be a man (or woman) and confess and get it over with. Believe me, for anyone who cheats, man or woman, the person you cheated on will always respect you more in the end if you confess. However, do not expect the person you cheated on to be happy about it and welcome you back with open arms just because you confess. Some people, depending on the circumstances are strong enough to give second chances and some are not. And not giving a second chance is not a sign of weakness especially depending on the individual relationship.

I feel like personally, I would want a second chance if it were me that made a mistake. But where does one draw the line? I have offered third and fourth and fifth, and maybe, ridiculously enough even sixth chances. In the end, I just had to realize that the person I cared about didn't care back. I was hurting myself more by giving all those chances than I was helping the one I was giving the chances to. That person didn't want my help, he didn't want to become a better person and I had to stop lieing to myself and thinking that he did. He was and is happy with his life, happy doing wrong and okay with playing with the feelings and lives of others.

If someone who hurts you in a relationship tells you that he or she really wants to be with you make that person prove it because if he or she really loves you; it will happen. The proof will present itself. I have never been in any relationship for impure motives, I wish those I dated could say the same.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confessions of a Retail Worker

Today: by far one of the worst of my retail career.

Part I:

It started out with me talking to my boss over the phone because it was his day off. How I ended up calling him is a long story that had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was angry about a conversation that he and I had in his office the day before. He chewed me up and spit me out about a "mystery shop" that I failed; for all those that do not know let me explain the "mystery shop" concept because it is really a sneaky, underhanded, sleazy thing for a retail company to do to its employees. They pay someone (usually a third party but not always) to come into the store and basically test you to see if you are doing every miniscule aspect of your job correctly. Apparently this woman who tested me felt the need to lie because she said that I never asked her if she wanted to open a credit card. It's ironic how I remember everything, what she was wearing (jeans and a puffy army green jacket), what she bought (2 illume soy candles, fig), what register I was working on (terminal: 698), and the total ($33.58). It's also ironic that everyone "tested" on the day I was "tested" failed also. Interesting! Perhaps the company is being dishonest because they want us to push more in opening instore accounts (as if it already isn't a burden already, nevermind the fact that we are responsible for driving the public further and further into debt). Perhaps it is because the woman who was testing us was having a bad day and felt like taking it on innocent retail workers.

Whatever the reason, management would gladly take the word of a third party over me or just about any other employee for that matter, and at the end of the day: no one cares what the retail worker has to say. Maybe we can change that.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Confessions of a Retail Worker

This is a new series of posts that could be or are possibly work related; whenever I feel the need to rant about my job (and on the unique occasion rave) I will be doing so here on my blog. People's names will be replaced with a letter, for example someone named "Mary" would be "M" or "Ms. M" etc.

Last week, we had this huge sale at work; it was Saturday night and my day was winding down. I could not wait to quickly and quietly escape the sale (I ultimately ended up leaving over an hour after my shift was over!). A customer approached me, and asked me for information on her in store credit card account. I asked her if she just needed to pay a bill because I could take the payment for her, and she said no. She then said I need to know the balance on my account; I told her I did not have access to that information, and that she would need to inquire with customer service. She seemed perfectly content with my response and was on her way.

About half an hour following my encounter with this customer, the customer service supervisor, Ms. McC came downstairs and asked me if I sent a customer to customer service to pay a bill. I asked, "why do you ask?" The customer said a thin woman with glasses sent her to pay her bill in customer service (as a side note, I would like to know why I am never described as an "attractive" young woman, why am I always thin with glasses? Does my weight and my vision impairment define me?), Ms. McC replied. I said no I did NOT. However, I did send someone to customer service who told me that she needed information on her account. I asked Ms. McC, do you really think I would do something like that? Do you think I am so lazy that I would not walk ten feet to a register and take a payment? Oh no she said I didn't mean to imply that at all. I mean I am not implying that she said, cowardishly. I said oh okay I just wanted to make sure.

She then proceeded to tell me that we can take account payments to which I replied, "I am very aware of that" (I have worked there for ten years). In fact, if I see a customer walking with an account statement, I ask them if they need to make a payment. I then told Ms. McC that I would hope that if I had a line of people waiting to check out with their purchases that if someone was also waiting in line with an account payment that she would not think I was wrong for sending them to customer service so they would not have to wait in line or in as long or timely a line. She had no reply to this and said "I just wanted to know what was going on". "Right", I replied.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

American Idol................ Now What?

Season 6 (2007)

Winner: Jordin Sparks- and , will release her debut album off Jive Records on November 20, 2007, titled Jordin Sparks, the first single is called "Tatoo" and has been receiving a fair amount of airplay on radio stations.

Here is a list of upcoming appearances for Jordin:

Nov. 20, 2007 Good Morning America (ABC)
Nov. 21, 2007 Live with Regis and Kelly (NBC)
Nov. 22, 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC)
Nov. 26, 2007 The Ellen Degeneres Show (NBC)

Runner Up: Blake Lewis- , will release his debut album Audio Day Dream on December 4, 2007. Mr. Lewis supports cancer research at a local hospital in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. Here is a small factoid, his first single "Break Anotha" was co-written by himself, Ryan Tedder of the group One Republic, and Sam Waters.

3rd: Melinda Doolittle- , is currently hard at work on a "soul" album. I will post more on Melinda and the other members of the Top 10 from season 6 as soon as I find more informtation.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gimme What?

I was driving home from work one night listening to an overly played song by rapper Mims called "Like This", and a part of the song goes "gimme, gimme,/ gimme, gimme, gimme,/ (say what),/ gimme that all of that break it down/ girl shake it up now drop it to the ground/ girl you're way too hot/ go a little lower/ now baby beat it up like Rocky Balboa". And as I pondered what the "gimmes" were for I changed the station and irony of all irony, Britney Spears' new song, "Gimme More" was playing. That's when I decided I needed to further explore the use of the "gimme" in a blog entry.

Meriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines gimme as "1. a short putt in golf conceded to an opponent in casual or match play. 2. something easily achieved or won especially in a contest.

By reading those definitions I didn't think that they applied to the songs that I had been hearing on the radio or songs that I had heard growing up. I then proceeded to where there were quite a few definitions for gimme.

First let's think about Britney's use of gimme in her new song: "Cameras are flashing while we're dirty dancing/ They keep watchin' (They keep watchin')/ Keep watchin/ Feels like the crowd is saying/ Gimme gimme more/ Gimme more/ Gimme gimme more/ Gimme gimme more" and the "gimmes" keep repeating for a while, if you've heard the song you know what I'm talking about. has two results, the first defines gimme as: "1. give me. –noun Slang.
2. Golf. a final short putt that a player is not required to take in informal play. 3.the gimmes,
a. reliance on or a demand for the generosity of others, esp. as one's due: grown children with the gimmes who still expect money from their parents. b. greediness."

The second result from the website which comes from the American Heritage Dictionary reads: "Informal Contraction of give me., adj. Slang Demanding material things or especially money; acquisitive: today's gimme society; tired of gimme letters., n. Sports A putt that is granted to a fellow player as successfully made either before it is attempted or after it is missed in an informal game of golf."

Most obviously I determined that these artists are using the word gimme which is slang for give me. There are a few reasons for this; it sounds better to sing gimme than give me. I also think that through the usage of the word gimme, a subliminal message is being sent to listeners. I think in a way they are trying to get listeners to want to listen to their songs more. The artists, writers, producers, etc. are thinking we want listeners to think....... "Gimme more of that song" or "I wanna hear it again". In a lot of ways, using gimme in a song sells the song. Britney Spears' song "Gimme More" is already number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

So below is a sample compilation CD that I would put together of songs that contain the word gimme; there are also some honorable mentions that did not quite make the cut. Listen to the songs once and see if you would not want to listen to them again (I dare you!).

1. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! by Abba
2. Like This (gimme gimme) by Mims
3. Gimme Back My Bullets by Lynyrd Skynyrd
4. Gimme That by Chris Brown
5. Don't Gimme No Lip by Pearl Jam
6. Gimme Gimme Gimme by A Perfect Circle
7. Gimme da Light by Sean Paul
8. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
9. Gimme More by Britney Spears

Honorable mentions: Gimme Some Money by Spinal Tap, Gimme Some Lovin by the Blues Brothers, and Gimme Some Water by Eddie Money

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Top 10 Reasons to Re-sign Lowell

So the major talk of the Red Sox off-season is will they (Red Sox management) or won't they re-sign third baseman and World Series M.V.P. Mike Lowell. I decided to make the Sox brass a "Top 10" list on the main reason why they should re-sign him.

10. Mike Lowell is well respected by his teammates. At the Red Sox "rolling rally" captain and catcher Jason Varitek held up a homemade sign which read "Re-sign Lowell". First baseman Kevin Youkilis made a video at the rally telling fans to yell "Re-sign Lowell". That says it all.

9. We don't want the Yankees to get him. The evil empire has taken enough of our players; they aren't taking Mike Lowell too.

Here is a list of a few notables that the Yankees stole from us: Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, and of course "the Babe" Babe Ruth

8. Keep class in the clubhouse. Mr. Lowell is a classy guy; he's respectful to the media, his teammates, his fans, and he wears a suit often which is rare in post game interviews.

7. The World Series M.V.P. should be on the team the following year so he can have a chance to defend his title, kind of like defening a heavyweight title in boxing if you will.

6. Sox brass will keep women attending Sox games by keeping rugged good looks and a gentleman at third base in Lowell.

5. Good offense.......... case in point:
In the World Series Lowell batted .400 with 6 runs, 4 rbi's, and 1 homerun
In the regular season he batted .324 with 120 rbi's, and 21 homeruns

Lowell is definitely a contender for the M.V.P. Award.

4. Good defense........ he is a 2005 Gold Glove winner for third base.

3. Mike says he wants to stay in Boston, "I've never hid the fact that I like playing in Boston."

2. The Boston fans love Lowell!

1. Mike Lowell is one of the older players on the team who has experience and knows how to perform in clutch situations.