june 2001

click here for permalink June 29, 2001

Ever invent something but only in your head because you naturally assume someone else has already invented it and, after all, who the hell patents things anymore and, besides, you were just too lazy anyway?

Well, I did, back in high school and now, ten [gack] years later, they've gone and manufactured it and profiled it on the Discovery Channel; a fingerprint-identifying handgun designed for families with children and for personal protection — feminine protection, as I saw it.

The beauty of it was, of course, that you program in your fingerprint and then you are the only person who can activate the firearm, rendering it useless for children who stumble across it, intruders on your property and/or attackers who are quick enough to disarm you before you can — well, you know.

Now they're available to the American public and the predictable drawbacks have been laid out (by a media perpetually torn between extremely liberal politics and extremely Philip Morris and NRA-funded sponsors). These drawbacks include the fact that the gun's programming could be easily hacked by a computer-savvy criminal; true enough, but hardly the biggest concern for your average family home owner or vulnerable female pedestrian.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not a gun fanatic, by a long shot... but if they have to exist in such proliferation, this might be an evolved step in their doing more good than harm. Even though I didn't get to invent it (too much work, really), I'm glad it's out there now.

click here for permalink June 28, 2001

I watched popular culture's downward spiral into self-devouring cycles of smirking retro, kitsch, irony and parody meet a sudden demise tonight. Yes, I finally saw Moulin Rouge. Damn. That was a good movie.

Baz Luhrman has such a perfect hold on his audience that, although we laugh, we completely believe the intensity and sincerity of Ewan McGregor's gorgeous voice serenading Satine with songs borrowed from Wings and U2. Even a tango set to "Roxanne," sung by the growling, gravelly-voiced "Narcoleptic Argentinean" is utterly devoid of irony, as is a leering, conspiratorial duet of "Like a Virgin." Really!

It's hard to believe that the last sincere musical to see American success was Grease... no, we don't count Purple Rain or Streets of Fire (although the latter did give us our first dose of Willem Dafoe and therefore can't be discredited entirely).

I watched a show on rattlesnakes today on the Discovery Channel and learned about the students in BC who are studying them. They capture them in canvas bags and transport them to the lab, where they coax them, head-first, into a tube that contains the dangerous head part so they can study the body, unbitten.

It made me wonder if the aliens who abduct humans do so before a television crew for the alien version of the Learning Channel and if all those raving hicks who claim to have been probed and set free are actually being broadcast to a whole planet full of couch potato aliens watching in disgust and amusement.

click here for permalink June 27, 2001

Avoid lip and oral area. For external use only. Flammable. Keep away from heat, open flame and children. Do not wear for more than five hours. Do not put directly into eye. If irritation occurs please discontinue use.

Last Friday's costume party preparations left everything in my makeup case (yeah, it's a case) kind of wet and covered in glitter, so I was cleaning and reorganizing its contents when I found this cool little bottle of metallic makeup... that I don't think I've ever used. At first I was all excited by the discovery but the reason for its banishment to the bottom of the case became abundantly clear after a glance at the warning label (see above).

My favorite part is the five hour time limit, which begs the question; what happens after five hours? More importantly, how the hell could this product have been cleared for cosmetic use? Did the manufacturer figure that if skipping the tests on animals was good, then skipping the FDA approval request was even better?

Anyone remember "Happy Fun Ball" from Saturday Night Live? (The clip may or may not be available at this location.)

Of course, this little bottle is only one tiny and relatively harmless footnote in the long history of egregious chemicals and procedures we chicks have willingly applied to ourselves in the name of beauty and fashion. It wasn't so long ago that Lysol was marketed as a feminine hygiene product and lead was a common ingredient in eye shadow.

Heh... we've come a long way, babies!

click here for permalink June 26, 2001

In a Martha mood today, I surfed for hours trying to find patterns, plans or instructions for making a couch — I figure you get a frame, some upholstery fabric, a whole mess of stuffing and a staple gun...

And voila! New couch... however, at least as far as the Internet is concerned, this isn't done. I did find an alarming number of tutorials on how to make a gun cabinet... a lovely display case for your firearm collection, as they called it. I think that almost every furniture building site had one of them... I don't know what else to say about that.

So, I know the next step here and I'm dreading it... the library would surely have what I'm looking for. The library would probably have an entire section devoted to staple gun sofa design, tucked away in some dark corner and available only to those who can decipher the library's arcane numbering system.

Of course I learned how to navigate a library in the first grade, along with all the other kids who were eager to escape the watchful eye of the teacher so they could scavenge for smut in the unguarded aisles of nonfiction. But adulthood and, let's be honest, the Internet, have ruined libraries for me. If I can't find it on the Internet in a reasonable amount of time (actual number of hours may vary), I've begun to resign myself that it doesn't exist.

And if I know that it's an actual book I need, the closest Borders or Chapters is certainly going to seduce me through its doors sooner than the library... even the fact that it's the same stuff, for FREE, doesn't seem to outweigh the searching, the dust, the uniform dullness and worn-ness of hard-bound covers wedged against each other in rows of tall, colorless metal shelving. There is just no appeal compared to the glossy, inviting paperbacks fanned out and arranged like tropical flowers in the windows of expensive bookstores.

However, if money were no object, would I really be entertaining — even for a moment — the thought of building my own couch? No. To the library I go...

click here for permalink June 25, 2001

Mail. Years ahead of his time, Kramer sought to be rid of the mail, with its never-fulfilled promises of love letters and sweepstakes winnings. But it was the incessant Pottery Barn mailouts that plagued him the most...

And me? The corporate entity that makes those trips to the mailbox endlessly aggravating for me — as well as nostalgic and sometimes depressing — is none other than Columbia House; the original, analog source of the SPAM that pads the occasional spaces between my bills.

For years now, we have dutifully received and perused — sometimes even opened — those garishly four-color-processed envelopes, on the order of two per month, I'd estimate. CD Club, DVD Club, Video Club... the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation series on video... the Director's Cut of "Natural Born Killers"...

Once in a while, my defenses weak from life's little stresses or the shitty Vancouver weather, I would pore over the catalog's trite little sections, picking favorites. Action... mystery... love stories... musicals... Even more rarely, in moments of abject mental strain and suggestibility, I would unfold that roadmap-like sheet of stamps. I would sit there, hunched over, fingers pressed into the lickable side, squinting at row after row after row of tiny "Operation: Dumbo Drop"s and "Return to the Blue Lagoon"s for that rare glimpse of a "Usual Suspects" or "Shallow Grave."

Finally, this Spring, they got me. After the third, or so, Blockbuster Bargain Extravaganza in one month, they got me. I tore into that sheet of stamps — which had grown bigger than a beach towel — and ripped out all the halfway-decent selections I could find, tearing corners and dampening rows as they fell into pools of vodka-tonic condensation on the coffee table.

At last, days later, I had extracted five selections I felt pretty good about, cross-checked them with Mr. Pink, filled out the "membership application form," with the pre-approved membership card which is gummied to the paper that urges me to remove the card and place it in my wallet (even in my most brain-dead, consumer-zombie state of mind, I still can't imagine why I would want to do this).

Check signed, selection stamps licked (and later Scotch-taped), membership card secured in a Very Safe Place, I wait. Three months later, two of five selections arrive without incident. The rest are "unavailable" for reasons Columbia House would rather not explain. Vouchers for the missing selections are generously provided alongside a New Member Guide, a Summer catalog and about six glossy inserts that urge me to sell out my friends for more free DVDs.

Membership may have its privileges but if I gave in because I was sick of receiving invitations to join, I must have been delusional. We receive mammoth, rainbow-colored envelopes weekly now, packed with Special, Exclusive, Members' Only offerings. Only two more purchases necessary and I'm free... intellectually, I know that. But something tells me that getting out of the Mafia is easier than escaping the clutches of Columbia House, once they've got you.

click here for permalink June 24, 2001

I've become obsessed with this show called Trading Spaces... it's an hour-long home improvement do-it-yourself show based on the premise of two sets of friends trading homes to redecorate one of each other's rooms...

They get 48 hours and $1,000 to accomplish the task and they aren't allowed to communicate with each other or return home until the 48 hours are up. Each "team" gets assigned a designer from the show's pool of seven professionals and they share a carpenter for the duration of the two days.

Because of the time and spending limit, the redecorating techniques tend to be ultra-creative and the results are almost always sort of amazing, considering. I've been a nut for rearranging and redecorating my own space ever since I was little. We moved so often there wasn't usually time to get bored with your surroundings but when we settled into one place for a few years, it seemed only natural to give the place a new look every few months.

My mother and grandmother are exactly the same as me in this... as we "speak," my mother and her husband are enjoying a day off by setting up their new home (they moved two weeks ago) and my grandmother and her husband are doing some landscaping and outdoor painting.

There's just something about waking up and seeing new things around the house or seeing the things you know and love changed somehow... I guess that also explains why women in my family tend to change their hair color so often.

click here for permalink June 23, 2001

My apartment is in a special kind of disarray today due to the combined efforts of tanning bed installation, masquerade party preparation and the aftermath of said party; it looks like backstage at La Cage a Folles...

But I'm not complaining... I still can't believe I have a tanning bed in the next room but there it is, looking like a cryogenic chamber or one of those space-coffins they use in Star Trek when someone dies and they shoot them into space in a metaphorical homage to "burial at sea."

We didn't finish getting the thing installed until late last night — after the hour that we were already supposed to be at the party — so there are still tools and cords everywhere. And on all the countertops, tables, chairs and much of the floor, there is evidence of hastily-put-together and hastily removed costumes... lengths of shimmery pink and silver fabric, piles of ribbons, wigs, silver necklaces and bracelets, barrettes, bobby pins, safety pins, eyeliner, lipstick, concealer and false eyelashes.

Yes, we were a pair of harem girls and damn good ones, if I do say so myself (costumes were conceived of and entirely purchased/put together within about two hours yesterday). I think we need to seek out more opportunities to go out in public dressed in crazy outfits.

click here for permalink June 21, 2001

I have a piece of (unsolicited) advice for straight guys out there... when groping for that perfect opening line that will stop some cute girl in her tracks and win you a reply rather than a glare of disdain...

... do not employ the often disastrous "celebrity comparison." You know, the one where you tell the girl that she reminds you of a female celebrity you find attractive and expect her to react with flattered embarrassment, thanking you for the obvious compliment to her pedestrian, unfamous appearance.

What you cannot know is whether the object of your attentions will see the comparison as flattering or completely offensive. If she can't stand the woman you've compared her to, she will immediately be filled with insecurity, bitterness and resentment at your well-intended statement. Needless to say, this doesn't bode well for you.

While you may consider it common knowledge that Christina Aguilera and Teri Hatcher are hotties, it's possible (let's face it, more than likely) that your opinion differs from that of the average female. There are no safe celebrity chicks to name-drop, by the way. In comparing a girl you've never met to any other female on the face of the earth, living or dead, you run the risk of deeply insulting her — and ruining what slim prospects you may have had of getting to know her.

If you must compare, be creative and specific. Instead of telling that romantic-looking redhead that she looks like Kate Winslet, tell her that her hair reminds you of a pre-Raphaelite painting by Rossetti. If fine art references make you cringe, try Ariel from The Little Mermaid or Jean Grey from the X-Men (the comics, not the movie). If she isn't flattered, chances are she'll be laughing — and everyone knows that girls love guys with a sense of humor.

Are women impossibly complicated and confusing? Yes, definitely. Do we want men to be psychic? Yes, generally. But the combined application of your natural powers of observation and intuition — and fanatical desire to impress us — usually works the same magic.

click here for permalink June 20, 2001

After strolling solo through Vancouver's clean, safe downtown streets, a visiting aunt once asked me (with refreshing East Coast bluntness), "Where are all the fat people..? All the old people? Everyone here looks like they're on TV!"

For the first time since my arrival in this pristine Northern city, I had a concrete, if simplistic, explanation of the intangible quality that made it seem just slightly unreal. My aunt had put her finger right on it after one day of observation.

If Vancouver looks like TV, that's probably because it is... Vancouver is the filming location of many, many television shows and movies, standing in for every location from Seattle to New York with its fortuitous combination of versatile scenery and lack of identifying landmarks.

As for the "extras," that's a little less easily explained... why is the population of Vancouver disproportionately thin, young and attractive? Beats me, but it makes for good people watching. After my aunt's visit, I took a trip via Sky Train (an elevated subway that connects downtown to about a dozen suburbs to the Southeast) and developed a related theory.

If Vancouver is the perfect set, with rows of shiny new condos towering over smooth, even streets populated by an above-average citizenry, the suburbs are what you see when you venture off-stage. In ever-widening circles around our compact downtown core, you have the off-beat neighborhoods housing artistic types and young families, then older families and giant grocery stores, multiplexes and warehouse outlets... followed by used car dealerships, run-down streets with gritty diners and small, dilapidated homes once considered middle class... finally in the outer circles, you have the long expanses of off-and-on-ramp-ringed townships, marked by fast food franchises and beauty salons on the main drag, crisscrossed by broad dirt roads that overflow with "parts" dealers and metal drums full of industrial chemicals.

Yesterday I had an adventure, of sorts, when necessity drew me to that outer circle by way of the Sky Train to obtain an electrical part that is obsolete and unavailable — literally — anywhere in the Lower Mainland (described above) except in one tiny shack on a dirt road in the middle of Nowhere.

Other "parts" stores lined the street, their wares stacked high in lots behind small, dingy storefronts. Rusted-out cars and trucks were piled like old newspapers in varying states of disassembly, their doors mismatched or torn away to reveal cracked, sun-bleached upholstery with stuffing exposed, bulging from leather seams.

As I approached the electrical parts outlet, I observed every type of household item in disemboweled heaps along the street. It was like I had wandered so far off-stage I had reached the graveyard where old props go when the set is revamped each year. Row upon row of sinks, their pipes and faucets gleaming in the hot, dry sun hinted at the discarded bounty inside.

The storefront appeared no larger than my kitchen but inside it expanded out and back into a labyrinth of wooden shelves filled with every imaginable part to every type of electrical or plumbing device invented in the last 50 years. Decades worth of kitchen appliances stood like sentries along the walls; 60's orange ovens crouched in the shadow of 70's avocado green fridges leaning over 80's white dishwashers. Mirrors of all shapes and sizes, encrusted with dust and dirt, reflected the contents of more rooms containing more shelves back at me as I stood at the counter.

That adventure concluded, I had only to find a cab back to the Sky Train station, one mile away, and I was on my way home. Cabs, however, came from the station, not the other way around so I walked to the huge gas station a block away, an incongruously modern structure made of shiny white tile and newly poured concrete. The "Town Pantry" shop adjacent to it was a welcome sight, yielding modern conveniences like Snapple and Score bars for the weary traveler, and a cashier who was happy to call for a cab.

As I waited outside, a 50-ish man in a baseball cap emerged from the Pantry and asked which way I was headed. "To the Sky Train," I said. "I'm going that way if you want a lift," he said, pointing to his pickup truck and smiling pleasantly.

"No, that's okay," I replied, equally pleasant. He was still pointing truck-wards so, by way of explanation, I added, "You're a stranger." I smiled brightly, taking a bite of my Score bar, "Thanks anyway!"

He paused, opening the drivers' side door, then turned towards me again. "I'm a stranger and the cab driver isn't," he grinned, pleased with the logic of his argument. I shrugged, still smiling, until he gave up and climbed in solo. As he waved and drove away, I marveled at the existence of a man who had clearly never seen an Afterschool Special and who evidently thought it was illogical for a woman of my age to turn down the savings of a $5 cab ride even if it came with the danger of dismemberment by a deranged hillbilly.

But perhaps 10 years of Law & Order haven't yet made it to the outermost circle. After several long, hot, quiet moments, the cab arrived and the Sky Train shuttled me home safely... and that was the end of my little adventure off-stage.

click here for permalink June 15, 2001

Well, there you have it... first time since high school that I've dragged my lazy ass to a movie theater on opening day — I think the last time was either Alien 3 or Terminator 2. So, about Tomb Raider...

As Film.com's reviewer astutely observed, Tomb Raider is "a visually spectacular yet oddly cheerless experience." If you believe that little things like script, plot and supporting characters are an essential element of any film, you might find their careless treatment here distracting.

However, if you believe (as I do) that 95 screen minutes of Angelina Jolie running, jumping, crouching, rolling, smirking and stalking through an otherwise forgettable backdrop of gothic-industrial scenery and CGI effects is more than substantial film-making, you won't be disappointed.

Playing a character herself derived from CGI, Angelina is as three-dimensional (I mean, metaphorically) as the script will allow. She sincerely acts — as well as leaps, spins and shoots — her way through every scene, an effort that is not lost on her audience but that sometimes seems almost touchingly out of synch with the relative two-dimensionality of the film.

My mission for this weekend, aside from "enjoy the hell out of this gorgeous weather" is to see Moulin Rouge, which was sold out when I planned to see it last. And to — maybe — ride my bike some more... a friend dragged me around the seawall yesterday and I must say that 7 1/2 miles is a LOT less painful on a bike than on foot. Yes, getting out of the house is good...

click here for permalink June 14, 2001

I was having coffee with a couple of friends in the mall today and, as we were about to disband, two of us decided to take a detour upstairs to the aromatherapy store. She had to make a stop to exchange something so I went ahead.

I orbited the perimeter of the store rather aimlessly as I waited for her, browsing the shelves for nothing in particular, reading labels, smelling testers and declining the saleswoman's repeated offers of assistance. On my third lap, I was beginning to feel rude for saying no, so I asked if she knew of any essential oils that would be good for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

She immediately sat me down and pulled three books from the shelf, leafing through them for information on my condition while asking me questions about the pain and numbness, their duration (all the goddamned time now), activities that aggravate it (everything worth doing) and what, if anything, I've been doing to treat it thus far.

As I answered, she mixed three essential oils (lavender, eucalyptus and marjoram) into an apricot kernel massage oil base. A year ago, I explained, a physical therapist told me that the usual CTS exercises would only aggravate the inflammation in a case this bad and I was instead supposed to ice my wrists daily.

I admitted that I had tried at first but it's way too painful and I can rarely bring myself to do it anymore. The saleswomen had started to massage my wrists with the blend of essential oils; she looked up at me very seriously and said, "It hurts when you do that?" Yes. "Don't do it anymore." Uh... "Don't do it anymore if it hurts," she insisted. "You're not helping yourself... your hands serve you well... there's no reason for you to be in pain. And there's no reason you should have to stop doing the things you enjoy."

That alone was a damn good sales pitch but it didn't end there; I sat at the counter as she massaged my hands, wrists and forearms for nearly forty minutes. My friend came and went while I sat with my arms outstretched on the counter, watching my hands become less puffy before my eyes as the circulation returned to them. They felt better all day and of course I bought the stuff. I also impulse-purchased another blend called, heh, Euphoric. Guess what it's supposed to do for you.

Fun with ancient religions: the Mayan Oracle calculator... Input your birthday at the bottom and find out what the Mayan calendar has to say about your destiny. I, apparently, am a "Red Magnetic Earth." That's way better than my Chinese Astrology sign.

click here for permalink June 11, 2001

They say that on the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers (and when I say "they," I mean Volkswagen... but not all the time, just this time). On the road of life, I think I'm a backseat driver.

This is true of all critics, if you think about it — not that I consider myself a critic except in the Oscar Wildean "critic of life" sense — and I'm nothing if not indiscriminately critical. To further belabor the Road of Life metaphor, I don't even know how to drive but I'm the worst person to have on your passenger side, always cringing and yelping at the slightest encroachment — real or imagined — by another vehicle or pedestrian and gripping the armrest as if it will somehow take pity and grant me the powers of copilot.

I'm hoping all that will change when I eventually give in and learn to drive. Well, to be honest, I really don't give a rat's ass but Mr. Pink is hoping so...

My writing class ended last week but the lessons are going to be percolating in my brain for a long time... not the nine essential story elements or the three types of leading sentences but the lessons I hope I learned from watching the four other women in my class. Three of the four were diagnosed at one time with terrible illnesses which they all beat using various alternative methods. The fourth is 82 years old; healthier, stronger and more vital than most 60-year olds. Their remarkable survival stories weren't treated as such in class, though, which was the truly amazing thing. If you can beat cancer and still look back on all the other events of your life as more interesting writing material, you're doing something right.

click here for permalink June 10, 2001

The other day I was buying a bottle of vodka at the local liquor store and the cashier guy, recognizing me from previous purchases, said, "you must work around here, eh?" I didn't mean to, but I think I gave him a blank look for a second because he then added, "...or live around here?"

Ah. The light went on. "Yes, I live around here," I smiled, no, I don't work around here... or anywhere, for that matter. I didn't even understand the question for a second, but I kept all that to myself and walked away secretly feeling rather proud of myself... rather special and liberated in a counter-cultural sort of way.

To clarify; in September of last year, I was one of around 60 employees to be unceremoniously laid off by one of those "dot-gone" companies you keep hearing about. Since then, I've been looking for work in other cities, weighing self-employment/freelance career options and joining writing classes/groups in order to keep my creativity from leaking out into the atmosphere like the helium in a two-day old circus balloon.

It's been glorious, aside from the occasional boredom and proximity to the fridge. Not once in the last eight months have I gotten out of bed and thought, damn, I wish I had somewhere to go... some reason to jar myself awake with an alarm, hit [snooze] six times, rise in a panic wondering if I've forgotten about some insipid meeting for which I might already be late, shower in a pre-caffeinated haze, dress in some business-casual-techie-chic outfit that I've worn every other week for the last year and a half, guzzle coffee while applying makeup while watching Regis and Kelly while blowdrying my hair before rushing out into the cold morning air (in Vancouver the mornings are always cold, regardless of season) to pant my way up a steep hill so that I'm nice and hot and out-of-breath when I step onto that crowded, muggy, airless city bus.

No, I don't miss one thing about working. In this society, however, we're not allowed to be too proud of doing nothing. If you've scanned the Rants section, you know how I feel about the "Work Ethic," in general, but lately I've felt the pressure, on a personal level, to justify my time "off." There is an unspoken rule that, if you're not working, you're in a state of limbo... as if working or, more specifically, your job defined your existence.

This sounds simplistic but imagine, for a minute, if "what do you do?" wasn't the first logical question to ask someone you just met. Or if, in response to that question, you could list the things you actually enjoy doing instead of what you do in order to make money; "I sunbathe, snowboard, watch TV, drink margaritas, play with my cat, sing in the car, dance (like nobody's watching), eat dinner with friends, shop, paint my bedroom a new color every three months and phone my mother once a week." You get the idea.

Ideally, your job is the proverbial "doing what you love and getting paid for it," or at least it's something you can be proud of. But it's more often what you do in order to do — or buy — something you can be proud of. Even more often than that, it's just what you do.

Work-related stress and depression are so pervasive these days, even our immune systems are under siege. The viruses get stronger every year, as do the drugs to "fight" them, and everything we eat or wear causes some type of cancer; people everywhere are working and worrying themselves into chronic illness.

But, hey, I know we can't all love what we do — we need the coal miners, customer service representatives and sandwich artists of the world, even if they would all rather be sitting at home watching every episode of Friends that's ever been syndicated. And, although I feel their pain, I don't yearn for society's collapse like some effeminate, armchair Tyler Durden...

I do, however, feel a rush of pride in my fellow humans every time I hear someone say that they're not going "back to work," whether they've found an alternative or not. For some reason (my previous employer being just one of them), I know a lot of people who are in this position right now and many who are in the process of radically redefining "what they do."

Some are making cheesecakes for fun and profit and some are finding out just how far their words alone will carry them. Already, they are happier and healthier for having made the decision not to merely take the road less travelled but to carve out a path of their own.

click here for permalink June 4, 2001

I bought some clear nail polish yesterday and (...what? Look, if I were a cop or a soul diva, you'd get more action-packed tales, but since I'm unemployed, you get this. As I was saying,) it's called Teflon Tuff...

Woo-hoo, the six-year old in me exclaimed, Teflon! That's some tuff stuff! Well, I'm pretty sure I was getting it mixed up with Kevlar (good thing I'm not a cop or a soul diva, 'cause that could be dangerous). So, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure most people who buy this product are doing so based on the same initial misconception.

Kevlar, obviously, is that bulletproof stuff they put in riot gear and Teflon is that nonstick stuff they put on frying pans. So... first of all, how tuff is Teflon, really? Sure, things don't stick to it but that's just...slipperiness. And slipperiness, although quite handy, doesn't necessarily make something Tuff. Eels are famously slippery but are not considered remotely tuff — and the same goes double for my nonstick pans.

Second of all, it doesn't seem like a compound known for its slipperiness (and not, say, its bulletproofness) would be particularly beneficial to nail polish. The only chemical attributes of nail polish that require innovation, from the consumer's viewpoint, are durability and drying time (and for all the dads and boyfriends out there, an "unscented" formula might be nice). So why Teflon?

I'm sure the market research and chemical trials, brand comparisons and stress tests that went into the product launch proved Teflon to be Tuff. Obviously, the company that makes it wouldn't have bothered if my uneducated presumptions about their slippery additive were true. But did they really expect consumers to be aware of Teflon's secondary (non-slipperiness-related) attributes? Or just mistake it for that bulletproof stuff?

click here for permalink June 3, 2001

Was the moon landing, as The Space Channel's "Conspiracy Theory" suggests, a hoax? Call me impressionable (heh), but after watching one hours' worth of compelling evidence to support the theory, I'm damn near on board.

If that's the case, it looks like I owe someone an apology ten years in the making. During our senior trip to DC, my friend Aretha and I stayed up almost all night arguing politics and governmental cover-ups — she tried for hours to convince me that the moon landing was a hoax and I thought she was nuts. Heh, sorry, sweetheart. Next time, bring photos!

Another question I've been pondering this week... will I be able to get anyone to see "Tomb Raider" with me when I rush to the front row like a lovestruck teenager on June 15th or will I have a repeat of the (mildly) humiliating experience of having to see "Barb Wire" all by myself because none of my friends were willing to subject themselves to such a large-screen spectacle of atrocious acting and makeup artistry gone mad?

And, NO, in case you're wondering...it was NOT a good movie! But I got over the sting of being the only female — and the only person over 16 — in the audience (of which I comprised a full 20%) and enjoyed the movie for what it was... Pamela Anderson bringing to life some of the ultimate comic book heroine attributes as — really — no other actress could have done.

You see, I grew up reading The X-Men and a dozen other Marvel Comics titles (yes, for all you geeks out there, I did read Dazzler...) so, although I don't think it qualifies as a creative masterpiece on any level, the thing about "Barb Wire" is this: Pamela comes closer than any other "real" female on earth to embodying the quintessential comic book heroine; she looked so (excuse the word)... natural... firing two machine guns at once while doing gymnastics in five-inch heels, a glued-on leather catsuit, bigger hair and makeup than RuPaul and breasts the size of her head.

However, as indisputably three-dimensional as Pamela is, "Barb Wire" the film was never able to escape its two-dimensional plot, writing, direction and acting. Based on her acting talent alone, I have much higher hopes for Angelina's foray into fleshing out an adolescent fantasy heroine but, if I'm wrong, we'll always have "Gia."