Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Cindy Spot: Mini-Muscles

Even though this blog is called "Cindy Inc.", there's been precious little posted about Cynthia Ann Crawford. To borrow a line from No Small Affair, "That is going to stop as of now." Every Thursday I'm going to discuss a little something connected with the sadly now retired from modelling supermodel-cum-MILF-cum-millionaire. And this week, we start at the bottom. Not Cindy's perfectly shaped peach which even today just begs for a spot of all-night action, but bottom in terms of quality.

Like all other models who engage in non-modelling activities, Cindy's gotten a fair amount of brickbats (from her Revlon commercial where she sang a duet with Little Richard - which seems to have made an impact on Cindy, who has almost never sung on record or on TV to this day - to the children's picture book About Face). But nothing she's ever done has been as painful to watch as her fourth sort-of exercise video, made on behalf of 24 Hour Fitness and given away in their US branches; in Britain it was sold through retail stores, and remains to this day the only thing with Cindy Crawford I've never been able to watch more than once. And yes, that includes Fair Game, Bodyguards - Guardie del Corpo (but we'll get to that in a later blogging) and that episode of According to Jim.

Mini-Muscles is aimed more at children than grownups, and revolves around Cindy, a bunch of children called the Fit-Wits (oh good grief) and a little flying insect thing called CC going on a trip around the world on behalf of the President to get the keys to good nutrition and fitness, and being battled against by a big fat ugly villain called Dr. Doubledip. It kicks off with a live-action introduction from Cindy before she leaves, with only her voice and animated likeness behind. Oh, did I forget to mention this video is a cartoon? And a shockingly badly made cartoon at that; it figures that this bringing together of two of my favourite things (Cindy Crawford and cartoons) would be a massive letdown, though it is kinda nice to see a toon version of Cindy (it's rather less nice to see animated versions of Radu and basketball star-cum-alleged rapist Kobe Bryant). Think the worst kind of Hanna-Barbera animation with sub-Jerry's Final Thought writing. Only worse.

If it's a help, it's only a half-hour before the bad doctor sees the error of his ways and everyone ends up dancing on the White House lawn to terrible, terrible music. But at least we get to see the logo for Cindy's company Craw Daddy Productions (CC flying around the aniCindy before landing on her face and becoming her mole) - come on, Cindy, executive produce a TV movie or something so we can see it again, because I really can't bear to sit through this again. Please forgive me...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

It's not all bad.

This was posted on the Vicki Richter Yahoo! group. I wanted to link to it, but another member pointed out you have to register to read stuff on the paper's site.

When Matt became Jade (Leslie Scrivener, Toronto Star)

Many at Northern Secondary School were surprised when Matt H. announced last year that he was running for student council president. A somewhat lonely boy, he didn't fit the model of the popular, extroverted student leader. Everyone seemed to know the outgoing president. Matt was more reserved — he liked playing on-line games and writing. He was on the ninth revision of a fantasy novel.

Everyone told him he didn't have a hope of winning. But he got the signatures needed for a nomination. For his election campaign that spring, he made a funny video, an instant teenage classic that showed him drinking a smoothie made from everything in his refrigerator. On stage at an assembly, where he stood tall, at 6 foot, 4 inches, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, he made a short satirical speech that parodied campaign promises: "I'll prevent a gigantic meteor from crashing into the school," he boasted. He won a standing ovation. It was a narrow margin — 16 votes — but he won the election.

In December, just seven months later, students and teachers saw an entirely different school president. The acting principal, Tony Kerins, sent teachers a letter saying that Matt had made a "gender presentation decision" and would soon be dressing as a girl at school. For the rest of the year, Matt would be known as Jade.

The staff wasn't asked to prepare students. The thinking was that Jade should not be seen as an exhibit and exposed to an open forum about her change. "We have this person who is one of us," Kerins said, "and we are not going to have that person hurt or embarrassed."

Just before the Christmas break, Jade chose her outfit for her first school day as a girl — a ruffled knee-length black skirt, pink T-shirt and black jacket and a dark wig that flipped up at the ends. The next day, she began life as Jade.

She was escorted to her classes by Dale Callender, a counsellor from Delisle Youth Services, a dropout-prevention centre at the school that's expanded into many parts of student life. Callender, a neat, compact man, in his mid-30s, is a respected figure, immersed in school culture — he's like an icon here, one student said — and there's usually a gaggle of teenagers waiting outside his third-floor office.

He stayed by Jade's side all day, to answer questions from other students and to convey subtly, but firmly, that no nonsense would be tolerated. He and Jade heard a few snickers and saw some startled looks. But that was all. The curious ones came to Callender later with their questions: Is this for real? Why is he doing this? Is he gay?


Meeting Jade for the first time requires a moment's adjustment. She's wearing a skirt and size 13 runners, and her legs are long. She has a low speaking voice. "I don't have female mannerisms," she says, sitting in Northern's student-council office, a room with a wrecked-basement quality to it. "The way you stand, the way you walk, the way you use your hands. I have to learn that. It's interesting."

The questions kids asked Callender were ones Matt had asked himself in the year or two before he became Jade. He had known for a long time that something was awry. He'd secretly tried on his mother's skirts when he was 6. He confided to a friend once that he wondered about his sexual orientation, though he knew he wasn't attracted to boys.

A year ago, as school ended, instead of looking forward to the idle days of a teenage summer, he was beset by panic attacks. He'd had them over the years, but now the intensity seemed overwhelming, and it was increasingly clear what was causing them. He disliked his name. He resented being referred to as "him." Deep down, Jade says, "I always knew I wasn't male. I'd pretty much ignored it until I was 17 and the stress kept building and building."

As a child, Jade was shy, and highly observant. "Though my upbringing wasn't strict, I was careful not to break rules," she says. "I was afraid of offending anyone. I didn't want to be a burden. I found it difficult to swear."

Her father, Michael, is a labour lawyer, her mother, Anne, a humour writer and novelist who's working on a theology degree. Anne came out as a lesbian when Matt was in Grade 7. The couple's divorce was peaceful and Mike lives a block away from Anne and their two children.
Other kids found Matt a little eccentric. But he made a few enduring friendships. One such friend was Ben McNelly. As children they played with their action figures and video games and created villages and stories around their action figures in Matt's room. "Jade was nice to me," says McNelly, who's now the editor of Northern's student newspaper, Epigram, "and I was nice to her. She was refreshing. With some kids you'd play with action figures and fight. I felt more imaginative when I was around her. She has such a wonderful imagination and she brought that out in me."

In mid-summer Matt called Dale Callender to talk about the stress he was feeling. "I've never actually felt comfortable in my body. Imagine your mind telling you that this is just wrong." Under international standards of care, 18 is the minimum age for a sex-change operation. Matt was 17. But he began thinking about coming out at school.

That August, Matt and his mother drove to their family cottage, and conversation turned to some skits at school in which the boys were to play female roles, à la The Kids In The Hall. As they were unloading the car at the cottage, Matt obliquely told Anne what he had in mind. It wasn't easy. "Though my mother had come out as a lesbian, I found it very uncomfortable to tell her. I only said, `That thing we talked about in the car, maybe I'd like to do that.'"

"It took me a while to figure out what she was saying," Anne says. "I wasn't hearing any of that `I hate living as a male.' I was hearing `I want to wear women's clothing.' I thought if she says it, I have to accept it."

Anne recalled her own fears in telling her children she was gay — she'd hoped they would see the importance of being true to oneself. "This is a kid who has always been self-aware," she says. "I believe she did this because this is truly who she is. What we wear and how we present ourselves is an expression of who we are."


The language around the change Jade is making is fluid, and often confusing. "Transgender" is the word Jade uses, and it describes those who feel uncomfortable in the body they were born with. "Trans," as in trans-teen or trans-youth, is a newer term that includes transgender as well as transsexual — those who want to change gender using hormonal treatment and possibly surgery. "Trans" may also include those who don't fit either gender and want to present themselves as "trans," a third identity, neither male nor female.

There are three child and adolescent gender-identity clinics in the world; the only one in North America is at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, where 500 children and 300 teens have been assessed for "gender identity disorder" or "gender dysphoria," which means unhappiness, since the mid-1970s.

In the past two years, the Toronto clinic has seen a spike in teen referrals. Fifty children and teens are on the waiting list for assessment at CAMH, says Ken Zucker, the psychologist who heads the clinic. Zucker and his colleagues have given a lot of thought to the reasons for the increase. One possibility, they say, is an explosion of interest in the media — many popular television series, from Law and Order to E.R., have included episodes with transgender characters. Young people may also be turning to gender change as a solution to other problems; a girl may think she won't be bullied if she dresses like a boy. Most controversial, Zucker says, is the effect of non-sexist child-rearing methods. Zucker demurs from this view. "As if raising them in a more diffuse way causes them to be more uncertain about gender," he says.
Gender identity develops between ages 2 and 4, the result of genetic inheritance, exposure to hormones during fetal development and possibly environmental factors. But the onset of puberty — with its biological changes and development of sexual curiosity — can push children struggling with gender identity into crisis, says Dr. Krista Lemke, a psychiatrist at Whitby Mental Health Centre. "As a younger child your body isn't clearly that male or female. With clothes on you can present either way." Suddenly, that changes.

In a world unforgiving of gender ambiguity, suicide attempts, drug use and running away from home are not uncommon when transgender teens don't have a lot of support. Of the 10 teenagers he'd seen the previous day, Zucker noted, seven had dropped out of school.
Gender is, after all, a fundamental part of identity. We recognize people by their sex; our first descriptions are often of gender — "I met a man on the elevator ... A woman I know ..." When these neatly organized divisions are upset, our response can be visceral.

Changing such a profound part of one's being may seem inconceivable to those who haven't encountered gender identity questions before. That young people choose to change, no matter how frightening it may be, Lemke says, "speaks to how strong that internal sense is."
Teens deciding to make the transition first do an internal audit, says Steve Solomon, a social worker in the Toronto District School Board's human sexuality program. "Will it be risky and make me more vulnerable?" he asks. "Will it give me more integrity and a sense of `This is who I am,' a sense of completeness and honesty? They weigh this against risk. If they end up being true to themselves, it's similar to the way gay and lesbian youth come out. I've seen the stress lines go from their faces."

He's worked with about a dozen trans-teens who have come out at school, and others who haven't. "It makes we wonder, for every student I get to meet, how many more keep it to themselves?"


At the end of the summer, Jade decided not to come out at school. Instead, she would dress as a girl at home. Anne went shopping for clothes. She wasn't sure of Jade's tastes and didn't know what was fashionable for teenage girls. Her child didn't feel at ease trying on girls' clothing in department stores, so she found a store in Whitby that catered to tall women, though most styles weren't suitable for teens.

Jade wore those clothes at home for the first few months of school. "Still the stress of being in the closet was too much," she says. At Halloween she wore a flowery pink cocktail dress to school. "People laughed hysterically. Of course, no one knew then, so they took it as a joke. But I enjoyed it. It was the one day I could cross-dress in public but still be without as much fear as usual of ridicule."

Anne's first clue that Jade wanted to live as a woman — not just cross-dress at home — came in a phone call from school in the late fall, asking her to a meeting to discuss Jade's transition.

"I knew there'd be stress," Jade says, "but there really wasn't an alternative for me. I had to live the life I needed to live no matter what that brought."

By now she was called Jade, a name she had used for a favourite character in her novel — "one of the most misunderstood and underestimated characters in the group." She'd written down lists of girls' names, and for a few days used the name Jenn, which she'd always liked; but eventually she discarded it. Jade, she says, just felt right.

They had to move quickly. Jade hadn't yet told her father, whom she saw once a week for dinner or a movie, though they had very different interests. Mike is athletic and plays football and basketball in a men's league; he finds little interesting in the culture of technology, which he says creates distances between people. "Jade knew I was distrustful of the thing she loved the most."

But minutes after Anne told him that Jade was cross-dressing, Mike hurried to see her. He didn't want Jade to think that he had hesitated for a moment. "In theory I had a choice," he says. "In reality, it was a no-brainer. There was nothing to do but be completely supportive. It was a turning point."

He recalls the waves of emotion he felt as the news settled. "My first reaction was sadness and fear for the future, that she was exposing herself to a lifetime of hardship. Life is hard enough.

"My second reaction was sadness for the past. There were many periods of Matt's childhood when I wondered why Matt wasn't happier. I was now able to understand that Matt for his whole life felt uncomfortable wearing clothes we'd bought for him.

"My third was admiration. You tell your kids to respect others despite differences ... to be themselves and not what other people want them to be. I was proud to have a child who had the courage to do that."

But what lay ahead? "I wanted to make sure my child was doing this with eyes open, so she understood from an adult perspective what this meant. Was this something you need to do at school, could you pick your times — after school, weekends, social occasions? Beyond high school, there's university, and beyond university ..."

Mike wanted Jade to consider all this. But he never wanted to talk her out of the change. "Here was a child who had wondered, `Does my father really support me?' I realized how important my role was."

The next time Jade went shopping it was with her father. They went to Take a Walk on the Wild Side, on Gerrard St. E., where a burly man wearing a five o'clock shadow and a miniskirt met them at the door. Jade tried on clothes, including a brassiere and breast forms, and a brunette wig. Mike told her what he thought looked best. He wasn't embarrassed. "The most significant thing was seeing Jade look at herself in the mirror approvingly. You could see she liked the way she looked."

"My dad was really great," Jade says simply.

"When one person in the family changes, everyone has to," Anne says. "But how many parents can show their kids flat out that they love them, not because she's who we want her to be, because she's who she is? It's ... an opportunity."


At home, Jade was one of the lucky ones. But no one was sure how the school would accept her transition.

Northern Secondary, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this spring — a banner with the slogan "Hail, dear old Northern" hangs in the hallway — is described as one of the most diverse schools in Toronto. Though it's comfortably set in North Toronto, students come from across the city — 400 were refused admission because enrolment was full — for the variety of programs offered. There are 200 courses, catering to gifted students, students with learning disabilities, those with hearing impairment; besides a strong academic program there is also an applied program and a large co-op placement. It was one of the first to have a gay-straight student alliance.

"Sixty-one kids played the final in junior football — they won the city championship," says principal Bob Milne, who was on a leave when Matt made his transition. "A hundred and fifty kids were playing rugby. They don't cut the teams. One hundred kids were in the school play. There is a place for everybody. Any kid in this school can start a club — we have a juggling club, a Danny de Vito club, a baseball-card collectors club."

Though Jade had been on Northern's track team and was a distance runner, her interests were more solitary — computers and playing the World of Warcraft, a multi-player online game in which players create their own characters. Jade says she's drawn by the competitive aspect of the game, where characters are perpetually at war. ("I play Alliance and work to eradicate the Horde.") But it's one thing to not be a joiner, and quite another to make a radical change that's bound to set you apart. Jade's parents were terrified someone would hurt her. The school's preparations, which took about three months, included consultation with Steve Solomon, the school board social worker, and with Toronto police, who suggested Jade consider alternative routes to school for the first days and carry a cellphone.

A few staff wondered why Matt couldn't wait until university, why he was exposing himself to danger and potential ridicule. "My response was, `Whenever is there a good time?'" Callender says. "She'd waited 17 years, who's to say she should wait until September?"

Adults understood the safety worries, but they had to learn about the complex world of transgender and how they could support Jade. "It was today's adults evolving with today's youth," Callender says.

After a day or so of thinking it over, acting principal Kerins sent out his letter to the staff. In it, he said Matt was a wonderful and courageous student who has the right to live as he chooses at school and in the community. "Matt will be as smart and funny and nice as before, except he will be dressing differently in order to feel more comfortable. It is our professional duty, as board employees, to support Matt to the best of our abilities."

Things became routine very quickly. When one sees Jade walk with her classmates, share candies before class, deftly direct a student senate meeting, first impressions of incongruence quickly give way. At Northern, there are students with orange hair, students in wheelchairs, gay students, students wearing absurd clothing. Now, there is also a student who still looks a little like a boy, but feels and dresses like a girl.

Jade admits she felt frightened that first day as she walked through the school. Yet fear was balanced by a new feeling.

"I felt I was just being comfortable for the first time. Moving through the hall, I thought, this is me. I was aware of others. I was very tuned in to placement and what was going on around me. There was some laughter. But no one came up to me directly.

"At the end of the day it was kind of surreal. I never expected anything to happen after years of longing."

Jade's position in the school raised certain questions. What part, for instance, should she play in public events? The day after she came out, she made a speech about Festivus, a fictitious alternative holiday on Seinfeld, at the school's December assembly. She was clearly nervous. "I sat in the audience, near the back," acting principal Kerins says. "No one said anything where I was sitting. It was something to behold."

In an interview with the school newspaper, Epigram, Jade answered the questions students may have been too polite to ask: what transgender meant, which washroom she used — a staff washroom — what Jade's sexual orientation was and would she have a sex change. "It's a common misconception that gender identity and sexual preference are linked," she explained. "In reality most transgender people are still attracted to members of the opposite sex." She criticized the media for consistently portraying transgendering as comedy. "(It) is never shown in a good light."

At her first Student Administrative Council meeting, she invited questions from the group.

All of which helped her classmates. "With those straight answers from him, her, we could understand what she's going through and why she made those decisions," says Jennifer Lovering, a Grade 12 student, sitting outside school with friends after class.

This transparency seemed important. "She didn't try and hide it. She said, `This is what I'm going to do' — so there was no target," says Matthew Worts, who, like other students, sometimes spontaneously switches pronouns midstream. "He didn't remove himself from his group of friends," he adds. "Everyone thought of her as the same person — she was hanging out with the same people just like she did before, she just changed her look."

Boys on the football team, throwing a ball outside school on a recent afternoon, may not have understood or particularly liked Jade's choice, but they defended it. "It was kind of shocking, but you have to allow it," says Nathaniel Budhoo. "Some guys said, `Oh, come on, why?' but they wouldn't say anything. They didn't want him to feel worse. But now, everyone seems fine with it."

Some do feel the school president should more closely reflect the majority of students at Northern. "I don't know if he does that," Jesse Warfield says. "As a student, he has the right to express himself in his own way, but as a representative of the school — maybe some things should have been brought forward in the campaign. I voted for Matt, not Jade." He adds, in a way that seemed typical of students interviewed: "He was a nice guy and still is."

A minor effort to have Jade removed from the presidency, impeached, really, didn't go anywhere. When she spoke at the Grade 8 orientation, there was a bit of laughter in the auditorium, but the older students shot looks at the younger ones and the laughs faded. Kerins says the kids, as much as the adults, set the tone. "Kids are incredible, as long as they feel they are heard. Where you get problems is when you pretend nothing is going on."

There were compromises. Jade joined her class on a school trip to France, rooming with a male student for the first week in a hotel. But the travel agent couldn't arrange a family for her to billet with. Jade seemed pleased to just go and — she's a teenager, after all — to skip out and come home a week early.

Jane Steelemore, chair of the parent council, says she received one phone call about Jade, from a parent asking if the council was going to "address" the issue. "My response was we didn't have an issue to address."

Jade's parents still worry for her safety — "the unusual is always a visible target," Anne says, "but I don't worry every moment of the day anymore." Mostly, she is thankful for the goodness and goodwill that have been extended to Jade. "We live in the best city in the world." The school has been "perfect," she says. "There is extraordinary kindness and acceptance in this world, and we often don't expect it."


Despite her openness about the minutiae of changing gender, when Jade's asked what it means to her to feel like a woman, a curtain falls. She yawns, and the animation of earlier conversations — about how much she loves writing, how much fun she has reaching certain levels in Warcraft games — vanishes. "I don't know how to describe it. I don't know if anyone can. I just feel more comfortable viewed as a woman. Looking in the mirror, it just feels right.

"Definitely having people treat me as one helps. I think what might be useful is that no one knows why exactly someone becomes transgender and feels the way they do. The cause is unknown. I do know I need to express myself and have the world view me as who I really am."
She's content cross-dressing for now, though she hasn't ruled out the possibility of a sex-change operation. By law she would need to live as a woman for two years before beginning the process.
She says it's important to know there are many expressions of transgender.

"A lot of people think because you're transgender, you have to be very femmy.... In the transgender community there's a wide spectrum, many different people, and some get into looking like Barbie dolls, very, very feminine. Some don't feel the need to express femininity. It's more or less how your brain is — it's not dependent on interests."

Jade's classmates, with their open hearts and good intentions, have supported her. They still get their pronouns mixed up and feel embarrassed and sometimes apologize. They worry that she is vulnerable. But, as Ben McNelly says, you take a deep breath and go forward.

"She showed a great level of bravery and trust," he says. "If she had that trust in me, to tell me those things, the least I can do is be supportive of her. But I can't deny part of me wants her to be Matt again. We had great times when she was Matt. If she knows deep down she's female, it won't impede our friendship, but part of me wants Matt back. I don't know why that is, perhaps because I've known her so long."

Jade will be leaving home in the fall to go to university in British Columbia. Mike spent some time earlier this month dropping into restaurants and stores on Church St., searching for summer job possibilities for her. It was part of his job as a parent, he thought, to help Jade through the first big hurdle of finding work.

She's happier with her world. There are far fewer panic attacks — and those were just brought on by the stress of yearlong school projects, she says. She feels comfortable at Northern. "I don't even think about it. On the street I'm more self-conscious. Sometimes there are rude comments: `Queer, fag, f--- you.'"

On one recent day, Jade got cat calls. Which she took as a compliment, she says, smiling wryly, "Whatever I did that day worked."

Little friendly note to our would-be teacher...

While I think the American way of spelling is actually more correct with regards to the words (when was the last time anyone said "colour" to rhyme with "hour"?), it's Drury Lane. Not Dreury. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Five things that perked me up a bit.

Okay, so the cable company is a joke and the new owners of Ashurst have increased the workload with little or no immediate support for me and I'm eating way too much, but there are five things that make this weekend not a total loss.

1. Go to http:/ and you will see that there's a Knight Rider soundtrack CD coming out. And David Hasselhoff does not appear on it.

2. I finally saw the Invisible Woman billboard for Fantastic Four.

3. It's only three more weeks until my summer vacation.

4. Thanks to Jen's advice, I've started rewriting.

5. There's got to be a fifth reason somewhere.

I am NOT going back to terrestrial.

This weekend finally saw the heat break and drench Glastonbury. No great loss - camping. In the countryside. For a weekend. At a music festival. It ain't Aimee Mann's idea of fun, and it ain't mine.

This weekend also saw rain come tumbling down in London. I'm used to getting wet without an umbrella.

This weekend also saw piece of shit don't know their left hand from their right asscheek keep me hanging on the phone for 45 minutes fucking useless corporate entity NTL continue to screw around with my digibox. Ever since I moved into Kenton Road it's been one ballsup after another; first they bring over a whole new digibox instead of just re-installing one of the two that I disconnected before leaving the old place (even though I specifically asked them to do so). Then the guy who does it leaves without taking the two old boxes (which is partly my fault, I admit, because I didn't remind him in my excitement at finally getting back to the world of cable). Then the remote control starts to not work any longer. Then they continue to mess up the bills meaning I keep having to ring them up and sort them out (no, I only have ONE box connected around here you feckless morons... only minus the feckless morons bit; flies, honey, vinegar, you know).

Then the box starts to not pick up most of the channels - UKTV ones, for some reason, come through fine. But Sky One? No. Toonami? Uh-uh. CNN? Hell no. Bravo? Forget it. And as for the movie channels... and yet, the QVC-type channels are unaffected. This is a travesty.

So after I call them again (NTL: key factor in my top-ups being more frequent than I'd like) they arrange to have an engineer come over today. Today comes; the guy's due between 12 and 4. The phone rings around quarter to two; they're at THE OLD ADDRESS. Apparently piece of shit etc etc NTL's Customer Services department never logged in my new address. (Just as they never logged in the engineer's appointment originally - oh, did I mention that the guy didn't come the first time?) And now, thanks to those piss-brains, they won't be able to come until after three working days lets them register the address, so I'll have to ring them on Wednesday and make another appointment for this weekend coming and if they don't sort it out by then I'll probably just tell them to fuck off and have Sky put in again.

Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of people phoning them last night.

Monday, June 20, 2005

You call this heat?

With summer comes heat and pronouncements about Britain being hotter than (insert tropical place here). Yes, it's warm and yes, it's nice - but for goodness' sake, it's not as hot as they keep trumpeting it as. No amount of stories about Brits flocking to the beaches will make Brighton and Margate the new Mediterranean or California or Caribbean; they just don't have the glamour for it. How fantastic would French beaches seem if they were soundtracked not with Will Smith but with "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside"? Thank you.

The last time I was in the Caribbean it was steaming hot all the time. And it wasn't even in the summer. So heaven knows how folks here would take it if it really was Totally Tropical. (And people have been known to die during heatwaves, like France last year and just this week in India. So lay off the gloating for a bit.) Mind you, England always has had a funny relationship with weather.

Summer... start of Wimbledon. More weeks of getting us all to root for bloody Tim Henman. And more weeks of Maria Sharapova running around in a lovely white minidress. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Props to Butch and the Flipper fans.

Because they knew about Jessica before the Dark Angel folks did. (First stage Alba fans: Along since she played Maya. Second stage: Along since she played Molly. Third stage: Since she played Max. I'm third stage. Fourth stage: Nancy.) I don't know if Butch was along before or after 2000, but if it was that time he knew before the rest of the world did.

No props whatsoever to the Babe Index.

And even less to DrBlasphemy.

Hopeful props to Western Union and my little sister, and semi-props to the weather.

And that's the end of that chapter.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Babe Index shakeup (because I couldn't think of a snappy title)

The Babe Index needed a bit of a shakeup, but there was no way to provide the biggest shakeup of all without moving Cindy to a position lower than 1. Plus, I didn't want to have to introduce a maximum number of people.

Solution: TWO lists. One for Cindy, and the other for everyone else.

Democracy can work.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hello Ruby Tuesday.


The media generally behaving like the fate of the world depends on London hosting the 2012 Olympics. (Newsflash: It doesn't.)

The warehouse manager being off until tomorrow, meaning more work for me.

The fact that I visited Sharon and found myself watching the first 40 minutes of Ocean's Twelve (I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I despised the first movie and had no desire to ever see the sequel).

The fact that I'm going to be two days late with the rent.

The fact that at least one TV critic has shown herself up to be a card-carrying homophobe (or at least somewhat in sync with same) following her view on Middle Sex. A bit more on that later.

The fact that Big Brother is back on.

The fact that Sharon has fessed up to watching (I assume she meant occasionally) Celebrity Love Island, the reality show that sounds like something I'd write - numerous celebs are brought to a remote island and hopefully paired off - only minus actual sex. And in most cases actual celebs. (And viewers, judging from the ratings.) I'll put it down to her not having Sky yet.


Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi on Cartoon Network. Oh yeah, and Jessica Alba at the MTV Movie Awards.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Have we forgotten Woodstock II already?

So Joan of Arcadia's been cancelled, my holiday weekend was spent helping Sharon move out of our old place and into her own flat at last, Desperate Housewives and Charmed come to the end of their runs this week in the UK, I'm still trying to get ntl to come and get the digiboxes that I don't use, and there's going to be a Live Aid II (I know it's called Live 8, but since this is my rant I'm calling it Live Aid II).

I don't know if Jen remembers the original concert back when she was 7, but Live Aid was a real event in 1985 - I couldn't watch it all live because the Saturday it took place was also the day we were flying from Barbados to England for a summer vacation. But even then I felt that this, regardless of the causes, was a one-time-only thing. Just as "Do They Know It's Christmas?" should have been a one-time-only thing, but that got remade twice in 1989 and last year (though they tried really hard to pretend that the version in 1989 didn't exist). They were both crap.

And I can't help feeling that this isn't going to work out well either. Part of it is because of the lineups in the five cities (Coldplay, Dido, Madonna, Annie Lennox, the Scissor Sisters, Keane, Joss Stone, Sting, Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, and U2 all at the same concert [they're performing in London]. No way. No fucking way. Only Mariah Carey would escape the carnage if I had a machine gun), but also because it's not really likely to get the attention of the world's governments, which is after all the main goal. Think about it; did all those millions of people marching last year or the year before make one whit of difference to the Powers That Be and their way of thinking? Apparently this is So Important that - shock, horror - Wimbledon might have to be shoved over to BBC2. I think I shall be at the cinema on that July day.

Now about Joan of Arcadia...