Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turning People into Fetishes

Blah Blah, I have gastroparesis, blah, blah.
Let's talk about fashion shows.

Has anyone caught the new Bravo show, Launch My Line? From the first, I was pretty sure I was not going to watch this show. Bravo's reality shows typically don't interest me, with the exceptions of Top Chef, and in the past Project Runway. Bravo's shows seem to thrive on the stereotype-for-ratings, and fail to capture any sense of humanity, or include people who live functional or reasonable lives, and I can't relate to the characters displayed in any way. I don't generally enjoy "reality" TV for that reason, but Bravo seems to be one of the worst offenders.
This week, though, I decided to give LML a shot. I won't be doing so again.
If you're unfamiliar with the show, the premise is that 10 designers are paired with 10 professional people who want a clothing line. The show is hosted by twins Dean and Dan Caten. In concept, it's interesting. In practice, the whole thing feels like bad acting in a bad theater production.
Has anyone ever spent a lot of time with "theater people"? Dancers, musical theater folks, or your stereotypical Actor? They're lovely people, and I don't want to disparage a culture, especially not one I'm essentially part of. But often you run across the person who has actually managed to fetishize himself. The person-as-fetish perceives himself as unusually magical or potent, or pays excessive attention to the minutiae of his own real-life appearance and behavior. It is not so much ego as everything that person says or does is Acted and overplayed. It's like taking Tim Gunn's "it's a whole lot of look" saying and applying it to a person's mannerisms, dress, and other personal characteristics.
As I watched LML it became clear that, not only were there a lot of Actors, but the whole show seemed to revolve around that and even encourage it. The show's scripted components were not delivered in ways that seemed fresh or natural. The framework of the show ("We're opening the trim room! It's been stocked with things that fit your animal inspirations! You have a half hour in the trim room, and then you're not allowed back in!") also seemed to lack fluidity. They were set pieces, no more. The effect was heavy-handed in the fact that it clobbered me with, "We're a TV show! We're very dramatic! *wink*" all the time. The whole thing made people into objects, and how can fashion survive and be genuinely creative when the people have their own selves to counterbalance?
It's true that Project Runway has its poor moments, too--especially this season. But I think on the whole PR takes a more mature and adult approach to fashion. There are some oddballs, but often they're gone within the first few weeks because their results seem like jokes that have gotten out of control. PR also doesn't throw around a lot of darlings and sweeties, and LML seems to go that direction often. If you have a young soul, LML might be for you--it has a sort of teenage joie de conflit that some might relate to. I found it grating.
The proof, though, is really in the results. This week's challenge was to do an animal-inspired one-piece look, no dresses allowed. Guess how many jumpsuits? Lots. The parameters of a challenge that would produce that many jumpsuits seem just silly to me.
So, I gave it a try, but this show is not for me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In Which I Become Afraid of Needles

So, it's been a busy week.
I had my endoscopy Wednesday. My Mum was with me. I had a terrible vein-searching experience for blood and IV that made me nauseous and I went in to my procedure with a basin next to me and a cloth on my forehead. Fortunately, it turns out that Monitored Anesthesia Care actually really does mean you are unconscious. At least I was. I spent the rest of the day in bed waiting for the anesthesia to leave me and trying to sleep with, alternately, a giant headache, an upset stomach, and the worst taste and cough ever from the stuff they spray in your throat. All in all, it wasn't a good time, and I worry I may now be phobic of needles, when previously I was fine with them. Also, from what I gather, the test was negative, so they scheduled me for a gastric emptying study Friday.
Here is what the gastric study entailed: I came in early in the morning and ate a cup of oatmeal laden with radioactivity and in which I was allowed to put sugar. Then, I sat with my iPod Shuffle in a chair that reminded me of an armless airline seat, not quite coach but not quite first class. I had a pillow behind my back and one behind my head, because I was going to have to sit absolutely still for an hour and a half. And here's the tricky part--from in front of my face to in my lap, about four or five inches from my body, was a machine taking pictures of me constantly. I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and listened to a bunch of songs, then landed on two Neko Case songs which I repeated for the last half hour. It was not the worst test I've ever done, but it was kind of like a battle of wills. I definitely went a little numb and got sore. I had to do a few dance stretches when I was finished. I should have the results from this test on Monday at my follow-up appointment.
My Mum stayed with me through all of this, to help me and make sure I didn't set the house on fire while doped up (in fact, at one point when she left to move her car I knocked over and smashed a bottle of olive oil). We went to the MSU at BGSU hockey game last night to celebrate the end of this grueling week (ha ha--gruel. It's an oatmeal joke). I really thought BG would pull through, since they were up 2-0 heading into the third period, but MSU put on a spurt and we got a little lackluster. We lost in overtime, 3-2. And when I say we, I mean BG at this point. I cheer for MSU when they play literally anyone else, but I know virtually the entire BG hockey team, and I want to see them succeed. They're heading up to Munn Arena tonight, and I'll be listening in on the radio to see how it goes.
Meanwhile, Mum has left to get back home before we get ice. I have portfolios needing to be read, and I am ignoring them studiously. I may take some home with me this year, which I've never done before. I really have spent a lot of time resting recently, but somehow I still feel wicked tired and not that well. Very glad I don't have to teach next week, because I need a break from talking. I have to say I am looking forward to a few days of little to no responsibility at some point.
And while you're at it, I have a friend having surgery for breast cancer this week, so some extra prayer her way wouldn't go amiss! I hope you are all well and enjoying yourselves out there.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Hey, all.
Well, having no PR puts quite a dent in my Thursday night TV lineup, but will probably enable me to get some work done.
I'm in the process of getting over a cold right now, one which smacked me down pretty hard over Thanksgiving. One day and night, I could barely swallow. Now, I can't talk too well and my nose needs to be blown with frequency, but I'm doing better.
My stomach is still being kind of a jerk. I'm not feeling it too much usually because we have a little schedule for it that keeps it under control as much as I can. Still having some rough nights. I haven't had any Dr. Pepper for quite some time; been drinking ginger ale as part of the schedule, and not much caffeine. I might try a little Dr. P this weekend, in small doses.
I have an appointment for an endoscopy for next Wednesday; I met with the surgeon today. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but he is like that typical doctor with whom you can't tell if he's really listening, and he moves too quickly from one thing to the next. Anyway, he suggested that if the endoscopy doesn't find anything, we might try a gastric-emptying study to see if I have gastroparesis. I don't have a severe enough case for drastic treatment, but may need to work more with different drugs, which is always a pain to figure out with my sensitivity to most anti-nausea drugs. I think I'll pass on the botulin toxin treatment!
Anyway, I'm trying to kick along and stay warm, since getting cold exacerbates the problem. I've spent a lot of time in fleece pants and my bathrobe lately. I'm hoping this last weekend of grading, during which there are also two hockey games, is not going to put me over the edge again. Just have to keep eating tiny meals and taking my Pepcid AC and compazine, and trying not to get into situations that will make me too nervous or uncontrolled.