Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reviewed: One Tree Hill

Last night I TiVo-ed One Tree Hill (all the other shows have ended for the season, gimme a break) even though I thought the season finale was last week, but it turns out that it isn’t until next week. And you know what? I’m not even ashamed that I’m really excited about that, because the show is so unapologetically bad that it’s totally admirable.

The badness really is amazing and it never disappoints. My favorite character is Dan, the father of Chad Michael Murray and that other kid that’s supposed to be good-looking. Dan is constantly doing really evil things to everyone on the show like purposefully breaking up his high school-aged son’s marriage, hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother, marry him and leave him, killing his brother and then blaming it on a high school kid that committed suicide at the same time, not to mention last night when he was about to go kill a high school girl who was witness to the crime. His evil knows no bounds…and it is awesome.

Pretty much everything that has happened to anyone in the world happens on this show (teen pregnancy, drug, gambling, and alcohol addictions, long lost brothers—for two different characters, unrelated—and birth moms, near-fatal accidents, near-death experiences—again, twice, unrelated—, all-ages teen-run clubs, fires, stalkers that pretend to be your long lost brother, sex tapes, school shooting, fake pregnancy, kidnapping, teen cardiac arrest resulting from playing basketball without taking your special heart medicine, etc.) Last night’s episode ended with Chad Michael Murray pointing a gun at his dad…awesome. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

78 Stars. The rumor is that next season is going to skip the college years altogether, since teen dramas never last through them, and pick up again after all the characters have graduated college. This is excellent news for me, since the high school thing was really just a pesky problem for the storylines anyway, and will make me feel a lot less weird about watching.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reviewed: My Parents’ Dog, Bear

Bear is like the popular girl from school—the one that was pretty and smart and everyone liked her and the worst part was that you did too, because she was also really sincere and seemed unaware of the glorious heights of her popularity. He’s a nice, cute dog, yes, but he’s also the dog that came after my dear, sweet childhood dog Yipes, sooooo it is hard for me to get completely won over. Yipes was just a mangey little mutt that was too small and scared to really be a watchdog (for all her bravada) but she was my favorite dog of all time, a 100-star dog, the best of the best. I keep a picture of her in my wallet.

Bear is twice the size of Yipes, but he nicely jumps on my bed and sleeps next to my feet. Plus, Bear will kiss your face whenever it is offered and seems to be around when you need him. I’ve always thought of this as a special dog-recognition talent; some dogs really can tell if you are sad and they try to cheer you up, just like the good friend that understood you completely and who you really needed back in high school maybe just to communicate to you everyone once in a while you don’t need any of those jerks because I'm here and I like you and it does make you feel better, it does. Bear, like Yipes, seems to possess this talent, if not as strongly. And he gets really excited in a contagious way if you run around the yard with him. I am won over by his popularity, as is everyone who meets him. If there were a dog prom, he would be Queen.

88 Stars. Dog gender is confusing; just go with it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reviewed: Target Premier Home Collection Hand Towels, One Year Later

Last year my grandma and I were shopping at Target and she bought me some new hand towels. They were nice and soft with a muted green at the ends, and they went perfectly in my bathroom. They went so perfectly, I even started to feel a little classy.

But now? I mean, I don’t have a well-trodden bathroom; that is perfectly evidenced by the pathetically small number of my friends. And I’m not hard on towels; I often switch the “fancy” Target towels out for a pair of solid yellow Wal-Mart brand. But lately it’s like I wash the towels, hang them on the rack, and one hand-drying later they look like rags (see pic).

I checked the tag and it says that the loops are made of 100% Egyptian Cotton, but the rest of the towel is just plain cotton from wherever else (Georgia?). I guess I don’t know much about towel construction, but I thought the loops were part of the…other part, you know, like the actual towel of the towel. I don’t get it.

29 Stars. My mom always said not to get white because it showed dirt, but like the wild rebellious kid I am, I went ahead and did it. I should have known better.

Guest Review: Atomic Clock

When Robert Lamn of Chicago sang “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" he made it abundantly clear he was not the owner of an atomic clock.

What is an atomic clock? Let’s break it down. The clock part should be self-explanatory. Atomic requires some deciphering. In this case it is a very liberal definition of the word meaning “sets itself so your lazy ass doesn’t have to.” This is an alternate definition so far ahead of its time it has yet to find its way into dictionaries. I await the day when the atomic clock time servers (Satellite? Radio wave? Let’s be safe and just assume it’s magic) break down leading to thousands of people being late for work.

Since the average consumer is not orchestrating space shuttle launches from their homes, absolute accurate time is not a real priority. For the majority of atomic clock owners, the real perk is in not having to set it during daylight savings time.

Each March, springing forward is never a problem. In our digital age this usually means pushing the hour button once - 5:27 is now 6:27 – and you’re set for eight months. But come that dreaded November day when we must fall back, oh how I shudder to think I’ll have to go all the way through each number before landing on the correct time (and sometimes twice if the clock is fancy enough to know the difference between AM and PM). Because the daunting task of setting every clock in the house can take in excess of seven, eight, or even nine minutes, the time conscious consumer demanded better technology. Thankfully, it has come in the form of the atomic clock

Once only sold at stores featuring useless gadgetry such as glow in the dark inflatable ankle massagers and reversible magnetic paper weights, the atomic clock can now be found just about anywhere. The other day I saw some for sale at a gas station (though in all fairness, it was a relatively upscale gas station).

52 stars. A time keeping device with space age implications I can only begin to imagine… but ultimately pointless if your oven clock is the first clock you see after you roll out of bed (you may want to reconsider your living arraignments. Or at least consider feng shui.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Reviewed: Vincent Longo Lip/Cheek Gel Stain in My Sunshine

Ever notice how hot you look when you’re a little bit dehydrated and running a fever? I wish someone could put that in a bottle and sell it. But for now, while the make-up scientists are hard at work, the closest you can get to achieving the look is a good lip stain.

Vincent Longo’s stain comes in an unassuming black cylinder with a built-in wand for application. Since the cylinder is black, there isn’t any way to tell what color the stain actually is, and Sephora’s in-store color blocks weren’t too helpful. One looked fairly brown, one purple, and the other three appeared to be the same color red. I picked up the one called “My Sunshine” (has a nice ring, right?) and tried to sanitarily test it out with the clean testing wands located abundantly throughout the store (this is important for what comes next.)

At the mirror next to me a fourteen-year old girl smeared pink lipstick straight from the tube all over her mouth, then put it back in the holder and walked off in search of some—I don’t know—toothbrushes she could sample? In response, I pulled out all the boxes to get to one in the back, which I checked closely for signs of opening by any other like-minded fourteen-year old girls. When I got home I excitedly applied in front of the mirror to quickly see that it looked like I had just eaten a cherry popsicle.

59 Stars. Haven’t you heard? Popsicle-mouth is making a huge comeback.

Reviewed: Band-Aid Water Block Plus Clear

You may have noticed that for a few days we haven’t been posting as regularly. This is due mostly to a combination of slacking off, increased sunshine, and my birthday. So this morning, going for a marathon session of reviews, I walked around my house assembling all the things I had purchased in the last month.

About a week ago I broke down and bought the fancy band-aids, but I ended up using all the generic band-aids before I had to open the fancy box. So today I decided to give the new band-aids the hardest test possible—the hand.

Hand band-aids (and finger band-aids for that matter) are the trickiest of band-aids because your hands are, I hope, subjected to frequent washings throughout the day. But this water block guy is pretty good. I’ve been wearing it around all morning—two hand washings already—and so far it’s stayed put perfectly and there’s only the smallest sign of that black sticky band-aid goo on one end.

The band-aid skin, if you will, has adhered nicely and is thin and stretchy enough to move with my hand skin, not against it. One drawback: the cotton pad is only about two inches long and ½ inch wide, so it means all you people with gashes or wounds exceeding these measurements need not apply. Plus, the adhesive completely surrounds the cotton pad, so there’s no room for leaving a little of the cut hanging out the edge…unless you are prepared for a brutal pull-off later.

98 Stars. I’m totally a fan. I can’t accurately predict how this band-aid would have fared had I actually had a cut, but for now I feel safe crowning Water Block Plus the King of Band-Aids.

Reviewed: Synovia Leather Protector Water and Stain Repellent

Last Christmas Joe got me a pair of leather boots (see Reviewed: Frye Boots) that I love only second to my Mom. (Haha, just kidding, Joe. I swear, you’re on a totally different scale.) Realizing that in order to protect my beloved boots I needed to invest in some water-proofing, I picked up a can of Synovia that was recommended by the guy at Nordstrom’s shoe department.

The directions say to first test on an inconspicuous area. On boots, I wasn’t sure exactly where that would be, so I sprayed the heel. No adverse effects. So I shook well and sprayed evenly, 6-8 inches away from the surface, and allowed to dry one hour. Then I checked on them at the designated time. I noticed that a white sheen had dusted several different areas of the boots and it did not respond to being brushed away. I looked frantically around the apartment and almost called 9-1-1.

Doing my best not to panic (I had only gotten to wear them two weeks, God! How could you do this?!) I grabbed a damp cloth and tried to brush off the white dust. The dust was stubborn, but in time it relented and disappeared. Now I’m really not sure if my boots are water-proof or not. Currently, just to be safe, I check the forecast before wearing outdoors.

0 Stars. I trusted you, Synovia.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Reviewed: The Mimi and Flo Show

Now that everyone makes annoying predictions about what kinds of things we’ll be doing with computers in the next decade, I’d just like to say that I don’t care. If it doesn’t have any resemblance to Back to the Future II, I’m not interested. Look, Windows Vista, I’m not celebrating and no one else is either. I’d rather spend my time explaining to an older person what the heck this “you-tube” business is all about.

Even though they sniff at YouTube and reside on their own website, the Mimi and Flo Show is the best kind of tv online: choose your own adventure. It follows two young women from separate backwater small towns in Illinois who move to New York City and meet in an elevator when one of them cuts the cheese. You never get to find out who delt it, but you do get to choose who takes the blame, among other entertaining choices and situations that you can control. The girls are so goofy and small town that it should be insulting to me, an Illinoisian (an Illinoisite? an Illinoiser?)--Mimi has a look-on-the-bright-side approach that extends to things like living in the kitchen of her creepy cousin’s city apartment (he plays video games all day and she cheerfully demonstrates the gas stove to visitors), and Flo wears a serious winter coat circa 1986 Burlington Coat Factory that I’m pretty sure I had in fourth grade—but it’s worth it to see what will happen next.

92.5 Stars. Embrace the Internet and go watch it. Click here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Guest Review: Shure E3c Earphones

You're a grown up. If you're commuting on a crowded subway and Justin Timberlake happens to come up on the shuffle, well, so what? You don't have to scramble to lower the volume or skip to the next song because you're comfortable enough to enjoy catchy, meaningless, pop music without any sense of shame.

Or it's because you finally broke down and bought a pair of earphones that didn't come free with your ipod, like the Shure E3c earphones. Not only do they sound better than those tinny Apple earbuds, they block outside noise. Yes, this leaves you vulnerable to being stabbed, run over, kidnapped by a gang of hobos, etc., but your ears will thank you. No need to crank up the volume anymore because now you can actually hear the music. More importantly, noise-blocking technology means your music no longer pollutes the eardrums of your fellow travelers. That guy standing next to you on the train has no idea what you're listening to until you pull out your ipod and Hall and Oates are right there to let him know that you mean business.

There are plenty of earphone options out there, depending on how much you want to spend, but buy something for God's sake. It's time you kept your music to yourself.

90 stars.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Reviewed: Clinton’s Proposed Bill to Reverse Authorization of Iraq War

Maybe there is no place for politics on a blog that reviews stuff like sweatpants or Showgirls the movie (5 stars), but I figure if Sean Penn can use the words ”moisture”, “blood” and “underwear” in a political speech then anything goes, right?

Four years ago when the war started I was standing in the middle of a hundred other smelly activists, many of them dear friends of mine—maybe not the smelliest ones (and fine, I was probably a little smelly, too. It’s peer pressure, when your friends all use natural deodorant because the ingredients in Secret cause cancer!)—holding a sign and feeling like my heart couldn’t be any heavier. The war had started, we all knew it would turn out bad and all we could do was hold signs. I was the typical hardcore college feminist and I friggin’ loved Hillary Clinton and still do, even though I can’t help but be wooed by you-know-who.

But now, finally, this is good. It’s about time someone removed Bush’s authority. The stories that come out of this war—not the Jarhead-type here’s-the-action-and-it’s-entertaining-but-f*ed-up-isn’t-it stories, but the stories that detail the minute all of that stops, goes wrong, and someone dies—written with such raw details by imbedded reporters (CJ Chivers, for one) are so real, so tender and brutal, so honest that it’s almost too much to know. To imagine being there…to have someone you love there…

Maybe Clinton’s motive is more politics than heart, but that’s okay for me, because I think I’ll go for either at this point if it means someone’s gonna do something about this war.

90 Stars.