N'awlins

Feb. 19th, 2009 12:14 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm having a bout of synchronicity regarding New Orleans:

1) Top Chef just had part one of the finale in Nw Orleans and showed lots of footage of places that I recognized, plus Emeril was the guest judge.

2) I'm currently reading Dragon's Wild by Robert Asprin, and the characters just went to live in the French Quarter.

3) The cafeteria just offered their version of a Chicken Po'Boy for lunch today, which I just ate (it was only reminiscent of an actual po'boy but I was definitely in the mood for it).

I've really enjoyed my visits there and I haven't been back since the disaster. My annual Neuroscience conference hasn't been there for awhile, but is scheduled to return in 2012. Hmm, can I wait that long...?
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I'm deep in the midst of several reality shows that I am mostly enjoying. Here's the rundown:

Top Chef: New York - This season has been pretty good, with a number of interesting challenges and impressive celebrity judges. I'm not warming up to the nasty British replacement judge for Gail. We're down to the final four contestants: Stefan, who has dominated in the challenges, Fabio, who has a winning personality and won the last challenge despite having broken his finger, Carla, who is endearingly wacky and has finally found her creative voice, and Hosea, who has been off his game since he let things go too far with another contestant. I predict that he will be the one out next. While I like Fabio and Carla better, I suspect that Stefan will win. We'll see!

True Beauty - This is a new show that can probably be done only once. The contestants think they are in a beauty competition, but they are actually being judged on inner beauty. Unfortunately, what the judges define to be inner beauty is a bit farfetched, but it makes for an amusing show. I'm rooting for Billy, the thirty one year old blond man, who is a Chippendales dancer from Idaho. However, everyone left seems pretty fake.

Ru Paul's Drag Race - This is also a new show and it's quite a scream! Santino from Project Runway is one of the judges and he and the other judges hold nothing back. The contestants are totally over the top and the challenges are hilarious. In the end the bottom two must Lip Synch for Their Life, after which Ru decides who shantees and stays and who sashays...away.

Survivor: Tocantins - Not much to say about it, yet. There are a lot of strong personalities, but no one has come through as particularly likeable after the first episode.

I'm also looking forward to the new seasons of Make Me a Supermodel and Dancing with the Stars coming soon...
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BEST EPISODE OF PROJECT RUNWAY EVER!!!

Day Tripper

Aug. 2nd, 2008 02:56 pm
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On Thursday, I went to NYC to spend the day with my friend [profile] moltvikh, who was visiting NYC on his own for a few days. I drove to Trenton and took NY Transit to Penn Station. Whoever thought that it was a good idea to name Newark's stop Penn Station, too, should have their head slapped. I almost got off there, but quickly realized that I was not in New York. I made it there by 1:00 and due to the magic of cell phones, [profile] moltvikh and I met at the station. If I remember correctly, in the days before cell phones, we would have specified a meeting place; but I admit, it was loads easier this way. We had lunch at a Jewish deli named Ben's. I had an authentic corned beef on rye with spicy mustard and it was wonderful ! (If anyone remembers, that was what Captain Sheridan was poisoned with in the torture episode of Babylon 5, and thinking of that makes me enjoy the sandwich all the more :-)

Since we were in the Fashion District, I decided that we should take an impromptu tour of the locations for Project Runway. So we walked by Parsons School of Fashion and Design, we stopped in Bryant Park, and we went to Mood, where they often buy their materials. Mood is located on the third floor of a large building, and access is by an old fashioned elevator, complete with an operator. There is a poster of Heidi Klum introducing the show on the door, but other than that, there were no other touches from the show. It turned out that the store has three floors and is basically wall to wall fabrics, with one floor dedicated to upholstery. The aisles were not wide, and it is hard to imagine how they maneuver the cameras and lights to film the designers selecting fabrics for the show. In any event, it was fun to see where the magic happens!

Next we went to the Whitney museum of contemporary art, where they had a display on Buckminster Fuller. They had is specially designed car in a showroom, and models of his ideas for houses and the geodesic dome. There was a whole display on how he developed the mercatur projection map. It was much more interesting than I would have expected. Also in the museum was a gallery of Maplethorpe's early Polaroid photos, where one could see that he was exploring elements of lighting, subject matter, and composition that appear in his later work. There was also a room of moving architectural art, the idea being that one expects architecture to be stable, so having it move challenges one's expectations in a disturbing manner. It certainly did. There was a floor platform with four walls that swung away from the base and each had a door that opened and shut with a bang! I felt sorry for the poor attendants who had to stand there all day listening to the commotion. The regular collection had some interesting pieces, including some paintings by Hopper, that I now recognized after having seen his exhibit in the National Gallery last Fall. This was all very cool to see with [profile] moltvikh, now that he has been studying art.

We walked through Central Park and had dinner at a Vietnamese/Thai/Asian fusion place, which was quite yummy, hung out for awhile more talking and catching up, and then I caught the train home. I had a fun time, and I'm delighted that the timing worked out so that we could both be there together.
logisticslad: (yao)
My TV viewing this season seems to split between Reality Shows and Sci-Fi. Here's what's on my DVR:

Reality Shows:
1. Survivor: Micronesia - I still really enjoy this show. The man vs nature and tribal interpersonal dynamics continue to appeal to me. This season, they are doing fans vs favorites. It's been an interesting twist, although I confess that none of the fans hold much appeal for me, whereas I like all the favorites. I'm rooting for Cirie for the win (even though she masterminded the ousting of my beloved Yao-Man (he's on my Icon)).

2. Top Chef: Chicago - This show has really hit its stride with interesting challenges and highly talented cheftestants. The creativity and time management are being well highlighted on this season. My final three are Stephanie, Lisa, and Richard (although Lisa might not make it if Dale or Jen can be more consistent).

3. Step It Up and Dance - This is a new Bravo show that features professional dancers doing group challenges. Interesting, although none of the dancers shine with their personalities, yet.

4. Dancing With the Stars - Love Love Love this over the top show! Kristi Yamaguchi for the win!!! Kudos to Marlee Matlin who has also been doing a phenomenal job.

5. America's Next Top Model - I enjoy seeing the hard work that goes on behind the scenes with modeling. The photo shoots remain very creative and the models are always interesting characters. Whitney is my favorite.


SF
1. Torchwood - I'm still a huge fan of Captain Jack. I like the emotionally wounded characters. The plots often have holes, but work out in satisfying ways. I was very saddened by the season finale and look forward to what they can do for season three.

2. Doctor Who - David Tennant has finally convinced me that he is The Doctor (I though Chris Eccelston was fantastic). I still miss Rose and am looking forward to the new season.

3. Smallville - I started watching it again this season because of all the superhero guest stars. It's still Kal El's Creek, but it's become more interesting than the first few seasons.

4. Moonlight - It's a pale imitation of Forever Night, but still fun to watch.

5. Lost - I keep taping it, but not watching it. I think this means that I am just not that interested in watching the show, although I am curious as to what will happen.


Looking forward to the return of Heroes!
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm home watching Dancing With the Stars and they just had a featured encore dance with TWO MEN dancing the Tango!!! Steve Guttenburg's partner Anna was sick for most of last week and had asked her husband Jonathan to help out in practice. Since Jonathan's partner had just been eliminated, he had the time to do so. They had shown a funny clip of their practice on the performance episode. Steve performed the dance with Anna last night, and did ok, but not great. So tonight, the judges asked to see the whole thing with him and Jonathan. They were hilarious!!! At the end they did fake manly things like chest bumping and fist knocking in order to crack the audience up even more. But they actually danced a hot Tango together on national TV!!! WOW!!!

It's no April Fool. Click for spoiler. )
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Today began my 10 hour trek to the 12th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration, which is held at the ASILOMAR conference center in Pacific Grove, CA. I got up at the unjedly hour of 5:00am in order to drive to the airport for my 7:50am flight to San Francisco. The highlight of the trip was bumping into Jeffrey Sebelia, the winner of third season of Project Runway, who was buying breakfast at the Au Bon Pain in the Philly airport! I recognized him by his distinctive neck tattoos. Other than that, the plane ride was long but uneventful as I travelled with most of my research group. Once we arrived, we claimed out bags and my colleage Scott and I rented a car and drove 100 miles south to the conference, stopping for lunch and to by a map along the way. The facility reminds me of a summer camp on the beach. There are lots of small buildings with a dozen or so rooms. The rooms have no tv or telephones. Cell phone signal is sparse and there is wireless access only in the main building (although my room is close enough to get a faint signal). Apparently, this is intentional in order to create a more personally interactive atmosphere. There is a dining hall and we are all on a meal plan. Tonight we had dinner and then a talk followed by a social (which I ditched, being too tired). The conference has programming from 8am to 11pm each day, with these group meals scheduled inbetween posters and talks. There are about 200 people here and it looks like it could be pretty intense. On the other hand, we are in a park right next to the beach, which is beautiful, and I've already seen seabirds, deer, and a racoon. There is a sign posting advice on how to scare off a mountain lion in the event that we see one. Walking on the beach trails is a traditional conference pastime. Overall, it should be fun, but it's going to be work and not a vacation.
logisticslad: (super)
Spoiler alert:

Nooooo... not Read more... )
logisticslad: (yao)
A number of shows I'm looking forward to seeing will premiere soon:

Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on Th 9/6 at 10 on Bravo
Torchwood on Sat 9/8 at 9 on BBC America
Survivor: China on Th 9/20 at 8 on CBS
Heroes on M 9/24
Project Runway Season 4 on mid Nov

I'm setting my DVR to record!!!
logisticslad: (super)
Season Two of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? premiered tonight on the Sci-Fi Channel and it was hilarious!

http://www.scifi.com/superhero/about/

Read more... )
logisticslad: (nermal)
I was wiped out today from the changes in the weather affecting my sinuses. I couldn't concentrate on much at work and so spent most of my day meeting with my staff and students about their work. Then I came home and crashed in front of the TV. I vegged with the latest episodes of SYTYCD and Top Chef and I finished rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (I had wanted to see how things had been changed to make the movie, and I must say, I agree with every single departure from the book). My cats have been very snuggly with me tonight (I think that they found an old catnip toy that still had some oomph left in it).

In their honor, I found a new icon. I've named it "Nermal" :-)
logisticslad: (me)
Yau-Man is my total favorite on the current season of Survivor. He is the oldest guy and he is by far the smartest. He found the hidden immunity idol and almost singlehandely won last week's immunity challenge by blowing darts, tossing spears, and shooting arrows. He looks like an adorable little goblin, and I hope he wins!

From ex-castaway Bruce's blog on the official Survivor website:

http://www.cbs.com/primetime/survivor14/show/ep08/blog.php

"This is the YAU-MAN, ONE-MAN, IT’S IN THE CAN show. He is not afraid of Kryptonite, he can out-rap the BobDawgster, he can throw a spear better than Alexander the Great, he can get more women than Hugh Hefner, he is the Asian Robin Hood, he is the Yau-Man. Marvel comics is producing the new Yau-Man super-hero comic next month. (I heard it from the crew.)
Next week, Yau-Man will do the Fijian warrior’s Dance of Death and hunt a great white shark in the lagoon with a plastic knife from McDonalds. (I heard it from the crew.) You can get the Yau-Man action figure with a happy meal this summer."

This season is finally looking up!
logisticslad: (Default)
I watch Reality TV. Some would say that I watch too much Reality TV, but I find it entertaining in a way that does not expend much mental energy and that totally works for me after a hard day of work. I realized that I am currently watching 4 of them each week. Since I usually record the show and watch it later, I don't actually vote for any of the contestants, so there may be hope for me yet...

1) Grease, You're the One that I Want This one has turned out to be more fun than I thought. Theater hopefuls attempt to fill the roles of Danny and Sandy from Grease, set to open on Broadway in the summer. The show has the contestants sing and dance to music of the Grease period to compete as well as throwing in some Grease production numbers. Having been in a production of the show myself, I find it endlessly enjoyable. My favorites are the Max and Laura, the Danny and Sandy with the most unconventional looks, but the most talent.

2) Top Design I'm not really loving this show because I think that they should not put the contestants in teams nor give them such short times to produce their designs. I realize that this format has worked for both Project Runway and Top Chef on Bravo, but I think that it falls flat here. My favorites are sophisticated style Matt (who seriously pings my Bi-dar, not just because I think he's cute), construction creative Goil, and down to earth Andrea.

3) American Idol I couldn't agree more with the judges this season - the boys as a group are not nearly as good as the girls. Of the boys, only Beat Box Blake and Chris Sligh stand out for me, whereas all the remaining girls (except Haley) have been terrific. Melinda clearly has an advantage given all her experience as a background singer, but it really is different singing lead and I am definitely rooting for her.

4) Survivor Still my favorite concept for a reality show, but I don't like the way they are executing it this season. They divided the tribes into the Haves and the Have Nots, and to no one's surprise the Haves are kicking the Have Nots' collective asses. Plus, many of the contestants are pretty annoying. I like the two smart people on the Have Nots' tribe, Yao Man, who thinks his way through every problem, and Michelle, who started a fire with her reading glasses. I cannot even remember half the people on the other tribe. Hopefully, they will switch up the tribes soon and make things more interesting.

Need I say that I'm looking forward to the new seasons of Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, and So You Think You Can Dance?

Top Chef

Jan. 7th, 2007 10:22 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
Is anybody else watching this cooking reality show on Bravo? It's not as good as Project Runway, but I find it very addictive. Last week they had two very creative challenges. First the remaining seven contestants had to prepare food inspired by a particular color, and next they had to create a seven course meal with each course inspired by one of the Seven Deadly SIns. It was very cool to see what they came up with (and fun to see Ted Allen from Queer Eye as one of the judges). Because we can't taste the food, it's hard for me to pick a winner, but my pick for top three are Sam, Elia, and Cliff (although Marcel or Ilan could easily replace one of them). I predict that despite his recent win, Mikey will be the next one out.
logisticslad: (Default)
Interesting article on why so many men are watching Project Runway:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003276424_projectrunway27.html
logisticslad: (Default)
Last night, [profile] puzzld1 and I had a lovely dinner at Pod, the mod japanese fusion restaurant in West Philly. It was wonderful!!! We had a tuna karpachio, a cooked salmon roll with fruit and an interesting salad with roe, wild mushroom dumplings, and cooked sea bass with snow peas and an amazing mashed sweet potato. Everything was top notch. For dessert, we had the fondue sampling platter which was three tiers of yummy treats to dip into a raspberry, chocolate, or caramel sauce. It was decadent and heavenly!!!

Unfortunately, later in the evening the weather changed and my sinuses gave me major grief. I was up until 4:00am until finally enough meds allowed me to sleep. I'm working from home today as I don't want to aggravate things with rat dander from the lab.

Being home, I got to watch the first episode of Project Runway Season 3 which is my favorite reality show, just in front of So You Think You Can Dance? and Survivor. While I don't really care about fashion, I love the true talent and creativity that the designers must bring to the plate and I enjoy hearing them discuss their creative process. This season is filled with a number of talented characters and it's too early for me to pick a favorite. I also really like that Heidi Klum is not just a pretty face here, but a major force behind the show. Tim Gunn is amazing and spot on with his critiques. The judges are sometimes off the wall, but in general they do know what they are doing and Michael Kors and Nina Garcia have become a welcome part of my overall enjoyment of the show.
logisticslad: (Default)
At this point in the So You Think You Can Dance? competition, I think that the top couple, by far, is Benji and Donyelle. IMO, the strongest most versatile dancers remaining are Travis, Heidi, Alison, and Dmitry. That being said, I enjoyed last night's show and thought that all the couples did very well. Cat's been showing better taste in dresses, but the L'il C krumping exhibition left me cold. I thought that Travis and Martha did a much better job a few weeks ago than the supposed expert krumpers, but maybe I just don't understand the style. I think that at this point, popularity and personality play a major role in the competition, even over talent. This week, everyone was basically out of their comfort zone of dancing, and as Nigel said, "some were still outstanding."

Loved Benji and Donyelle's Viennese Waltz (and had a great laugh with them about calling it the Vietnamese Waltz!). Liked Alison and Ivan's West Coast Swing, Ashlee and Dmitry's Contemporary number (and Nigel's joke about Dmitry making his partners disappear), and Heidi and Ryan's Hip Hop attempt. That leaves my bottom three: Jaymz and Jessica, Natalie and Musa, and Martha and Travis. However, here's where popularity may pull some reversals so Heidi and Ryan may very well end up in the bottom three. My guess for who goes tonight is Jessica and Ryan, but it could be anybody.

Looking forward to the results show!
logisticslad: (Default)
I was not impressed by most of the dancing on the show this time. Many of the dancers seemed too focused on the technical details and not as much on the presentation. I suppose that is typical for a contest like this were it must have sunk in that anyone can go at anytime. Here are my picks:

Top Three:
1) Donyelle/Benji = excellent technique and stage presence! I really appreciated Nigel's comment about Donyelle. She's bigger than the other female dancers, but her skill and comfort while dancing make her an inspiration to anyone grappling with body image issues.

2) Martha/Travis = they learned a new style (krumping) and went for it. They have such charisma on stage and great body control. I didn't particularly like the style, but I thought they did it well. They were my top pick last week and they weren't quite as good as Donyelle/Benji this week, IMHO. Travis is so cute!

3) Natalie/Musa = terrific chemistry and presence! They have had some technical problems due to their very different backgrounds, but all that falls away when you watch them dance together. Musa is a break dancer and is truly working his little bit of classical training.


Middle Three:
4) Jessica/Jamyz = good technique but boring to watch. I think they've done enough camera mugging to be safe this week.

5) Ashlee/Ben = they really committed to learning the jive, which was out of both of their comfort zones. I thought it was entertaining and technically better than expected. I agree with Nigel that they've greatly improved as a couple.

6) Alison/Ivan = there was something immensely boring about their routine and Mia thought it came from them not committing to it. I think that the choreography had more to do with it. Nevertheless, Ivan got to show off his hip hop prowess and Alison was at least convincing at it, so I think they are safe this week.



Bottom Three:
7) Heidi/Ryan = good try but no spark. I think they both worked hard on this number, but they didn't work together.

8) Joy/Dmitry = she didn't quite get the samba and he did his best to draw attention to himself to save the number. It didn't work for me.

9) Aleksandra/Jason = Alex is a cute white girl trying to do hip hop. Jason was ok, but it just didn't work.


I think that Joy and Ryan will be eliminated tonight. Joy - because I think that Mia is right and that she really isn't ready for this level of competition. Ryan - because despite his technique, I don't think he is as adaptable as Dmitry. IMHO, his waltz from last week was worse than Dmitri's hip hop, and his attitude toward his partner sucks.

Looking forward to the actual results tonight!
logisticslad: (Default)
My new mindless TV/reality show obsession is "So You Think You Can Dance?" Last night they had the top twenty dancers paired off for the first time. My favorites were Benji and Donyelle who did an amazing HipHop routine and Travis and Martha who did a classic Broadway routine. They are the couples to beat, IMHO. The three couples with the lowest number of votes will be in danger of elimination tonight. My picks for the bottom three are Ivan and Alison, Dmitri and Joy, and Ben and Ashlee. Ivan and Alison did a Salsa and he stood there like a pole while she did great. Dmitri and Joy did a HipHop number which was a new style for both of them. Ben and Ashlee were stuck with an 80's Disco number and poorly executed it. One boy and one girl from any of the bottom three are picked to go and I think it will be Ben and Ashlee. Results show is tonight!

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