On Our Way To Crazy

… like disco lemonade…

First Annual Oscar Party Extravaganza. February 26, 2007

Filed under: Friends and Family — brandi @ 2:24 pm

Last night we hosted the first annual Oscar Party EXTRAVAGANZA! It was a big success.

We had ballots, a scoreboard, fabulous prizes, lots of fun friends and enough food to feed everyone at the Governor’s Ball. If they were willing to eat pepperoni rolls and fruit salsa. Which they probably aren’t.

It was a hard-fought race with no clear frontrunner. Scott shot ahead in the beginning, getting the first three categories in a row correct and making us wonder how on earth he knew to pick The Blood of Yingzhou District in Documentary Short when the rest of us were so sure it would be Recycled Life. (Hey! Recycling is so hot right now.)

Then Shaun swooped in and swept the middle of the show, leading by as many as four categories at one time. But in the end it came down to Aaron and Jason, tied with 13 correct picks each with only Best Picture remaining. Aaron took a chance on long-shot Little Miss Sunshine, but he lost, sadly, to Jason with his correct pick of The Departed.

No one picked Best Original Song correctly, and Aaron was the only one to get Best Supporting Actor right. (He’s a Little Miss Sunshine purist.) Greg, who had a party-low seven right choices, was the sole correct guess on Best Foreign Language Film. Ten of out thirteen party people correctly guessed Pan’s Labyrinth would win Best Visual Effects (the highest number of right guesses for one category), and eight people got Art Direction, Best Actress and Best Director.

We had, seriously, so much food. Sick kids and sick spouses cut our original expectations of 18(!) people down to a much more manageable 13, but the food was already prepared. Aaron and I will be eating chicken salad cups and spinach queso all week.

The party was a hit, and we intend to keep throwing them and turning it into a tradition. Love me some traditions.

Becka and Aaron.

Catherine and Hutch.

Karissa and Leslie.

Scott and Greg.

The scoreboard!

Sleepy hosts.


Hey America, and welcome to Nashville Star! February 17, 2007

Filed under: Friends and Family,Music — brandi @ 1:21 pm

Nashville Star isn’t really my thing.

I don’t watch American Idol, and despite my job, am not a big country music fan. But when our friend Josh was picked to be a finalist, I started watching. And voting. And going to tapings.

When we tuned in the first week, we were surprised by how Josh looked. It’s not that he looks bad, he just looks different. Fixed up. The Josh we know is casual and laid-back and funny. TV Josh is still funny, but it’s not quite the same.

Thanks to the fabulous DVR, I didn’t follow much of the show in the first few weeks, just Josh’s performance and the end where they tell us who is going home. But we went to a taping a couple of weeks ago and again this past Thursday, so now I am intimately familiar with the details of the show.

THE HOSTS: Cowboy Troy and Jewel.

There are not adequate words in the English language for how I feel about Cowboy Troy. I can’t think of much that is more lame. All I see when I look at that guy is someone who could never actually make it as a rapper, so he decided to go country where people won’t know the difference. The problem is that his music is bad at being rap, and it’s bad at being country. The other problem is that his pants come up to his ribcage and his belt buckle is as big as my head. And I have a pretty big head.

I do like Jewel. She plays kind of a Tim Gunn role on the show, giving the contestants advice and standing up for them to the judges. She comes across as someone who actually knows what she’s talking about and is, I think, a real asset to the show.

THE JUDGES: Randy Owen, Anastasia Brown and Blake Shelton

Y’all. Randy Owen. Randy Owen is the lead singer of Alabama, and should be able to give the contestants good feedback and industry insight. But he doesn’t. At all. He rambles and talks gibberish and I think might be smoking crack. He’ll tell one contestant she chose a bad song because it’s one everyone knows, then tell the next she chose poorly because it’s a song no one knows. Someone will sing their heart out, and his only comment is that he really respects their commitment to their family. Because that’s applicable.

Anastasia Brown is the wife of Tony Brown, a big time producer on Music Row. He works with everyone. She owns a company that works to place songs in television and movies. She has nothing of value to add as best as I can tell. I disagree with everything she says. But my real problem with her is the way she dresses. It is so, so bad. Straps in weird places and big lacy cuffs and giant fake ponytails. Not. Good.

Blake Shelton is an artist that I actually like. I don’t buy his albums or anything, but I like his songs and his music is fun and sometimes clever. He does give them good advice, generally, and is pretty funny on the show. He’s my favorite of the judges.

THE REMAINING CONTESTANTS: Angela Hacker, Zac Hacker, David St. Romain, Joshua Stevens

Angela Hacker is really good, and reportedly the favorite to win. She has that scratchy bluesy voice that I love, very Bonnie Raitt. She generally chooses good songs and isn’t horribly boring to watch perform. She sang a lame Shania Twain song last week that was not a good fit at all for her voice, and that might hurt her in the voting.

Zac Hacker is Angela’s brother and is Taylor Hicks redux. I like watching him live, and he picks fun songs that are definitely off the beaten pop-country path. And he had far and away the best song on original song night, a clever and somewhat heartbreaking song about his dad’s drinking problems. But I’m not kidding about that Taylor Hicks thing, and we already have one of those. Word on the street is that it will be a Hacker-Hacker final two.

David St. Romain is possibly the most boring performer I have ever seen. Have you ever been to a bar with a country cover band playing? David St. Romain was probably the singer. I thought original song night would be his downfall, but somehow he slipped by for another week. If he finishes higher than Josh, Josh got robbed. I’m just sayin’.

I am, of course, biased towards Joshua Stevens. He’s pretty straight up pop country, in the same vein as Keith Urban or Dierks Bentley. He is currently a songwriter in town, and his original song was well-written and emotional. We hadn’t heard him sing before the show, and I was pleasantly surprised by how strong and clean his voice is. He is definitely better than DSR, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him go before the Hackers.

The tapings are really fun, and we have an assortment of Josh signs and t-shirts, including popsicle sticks with big Josh faces on them. He’s made it to the top four, and we’re voting like crazy every week to keep him in. It’s getting down to the wire, people. This is the big time. I’m ready.


Now that’s what I call romance. February 15, 2007

Filed under: Living With a Boy — brandi @ 11:57 am

On a day full of lame ‘meaningful’ diamond jewelry, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and crystal roses bought at Walgreens, I was given the most romantic gift of all.

The Teacher’s Edition of Jon Stewart’s book America: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, now with a totally updated ISBN number!

I picked a good one.


Rise and shine and give God the glory glory… February 13, 2007

Filed under: Things That Bug — brandi @ 10:27 am

What I’ve been doing the past four days:

Have car towed Saturday morning to repair place because it won’t start and has been doing a weird chugging thing. Be told the car can’t be worked on until Sunday. Get a phone call Sunday morning that the repair place cannot find my car keys (!) and is sure the tow guy has them. Tow guy is not working that day and can’t be contacted. Car sits in parking lot, not being worked on.

Hitch a ride to work with friend who lives nearby and works in the same part of town. Said friend has to be at work at 8:00 sharp. I usually get up at 8:00. Set alarm for 6:40 and hope I wake up. Arrive at work a good hour and a half before anyone else does. Get a phone call that the tow guy does not have the keys, of course he does not have the keys, he tows cars every day and always leaves the keys, always. Borrow receptionist’s car to drive to repair place to get registration out of (unlocked!) car in parking lot. Drive across town to get new keys cut at dealership. Take keys to repair place. Go back to work. Original set of keys still lost in space somewhere.

Ride to work with friend again. Get ready at work. Very sleepy. Get call from repair place that the car has started for them every time and they don’t hear the chugging noise, even though the guy I talked to yesterday heard it. Car has mystery disease. Car is plotting against me. Car will run great while at repair place, and will not start as soon as I take it home. I am not happy.

I am so, so not a morning person. I will keep this job for the rest of my life if it means I can come in at 9:30 and not sit in traffic from my front door to the parking garage. I do not like to see 6:00 am. Ever.


Six Weird Things About Me. February 7, 2007

Filed under: Reasons Why I'm Lame — brandi @ 11:19 am

Alisa tagged me, which is awesome because the combination of Nyquil and cold weather has given me brain freeze. It has also permanently lodged Ludacris’ Shake Your Moneymaker song in my head. Ay ay ay!


1. I only like green smells. This loosely translates into bath and body products that are green, but also applies to the smells in their original forms. Lime, cucumber, apple, grass, green tea, juniper. They smell fresh and clean. I don’t like things that smell like berries or flowers or spices. Just green stuff.

2. I played percussion in the band in junior high. I really liked it and was pretty good, but I succumbed to peer pressure and quit in high school to focus on sports. Good plan, as I use my track-running skills on a daily basis.

3. I am painfully picky about the Sunday paper. No one is allowed to touch it before me. I take it out of its plastic sleeve and separate it into three piles: good stuff, discard and sale papers (only the good ones). I then organize the good stuff pile in order from least to most interested. That way I only read the parts I want to read, and I save my favorite sections for last. Once something is in the discard pile it’s fair game, but I cannot be held responsible for what happens if you touch the good stuff pile.

4. I can’t wear hats. My head is deceptively large and most hats are way too small.

5. When listening to music, I absentmindedly sign the first letter of each syllable in the lyrics. I picked it up when my sister took sign languages classes in high school. It’s a challenge when the song is really fast, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

6. I love to dance but rarely dance in public. I would much rather watch and make fun of other people. This is why I don’t dance in public – I know what I would say about me if I saw myself.

It was really hard to narrow that list down to six things. I am tagging Bethany, Jennie, Jonathan, Chelsea, Scott and Jon.


Ramblings from my germy state. February 4, 2007

Filed under: Reasons Why I'm Lame — brandi @ 5:47 pm

I’m sick, y’all.

Everyone in my office was sick last week. But rather than stay home and get healthy, they all decided to take their germified butts to the office and spread the joy. It hit me on Thursday, and I made it to lunchtime on Friday before I had to come home. Where I have been ever since. The only moves I’ve made in the past 48 hours have been from the bed to the sofa and back again.

I could barely keep my eyes open yesterday, so I lost the usual sick time perk of getting a lot of reading done. Instead, I watched a lot of TV. Actually, I listened to a lot of TV.

I fell asleep during VH1′s Top 20 Countdown (probably due to the boredom induced by hearing that Fray song for the millionth time) and woke up in the middle of something called “I Love New York.” PEOPLE. What is this? I have no idea, but it completely rules. This girl, New York, lives in a house with a bunch of guys with lame nicknames, and I guess they are competing to date her? It’s like the Bachelor, I guess, only MORE AWESOME. On this particular episode, after the guys competed in a doghouse building contest, two of them got drunk together while one of them was wearing a leopard print speedo. The next morning, New York’s mom woke them all up to go to church. Apparently morals are really important to her, so she thought she’d take the ten guys her daughter lives with to the house of the Lord and see how they do. You know, before they all head back to the house for a massage competition.

Later I watched a DVR-ed episode of Rachael Ray’s show “$40 a Day”. I’m not a fan of Ms. Ray, due to her manhands and over use of the phrase “EVOO – extra virgin olive oil” (it doesn’t do you any good to use an acronym if you tell us what it stands for every time!), but I recorded this episode because she was in my hometown of Dallas. She made several “Beverly Hillbillies” references, which bugged me not only because I get pretty tired of the Texan=hick/backwoods idea, but also because I don’t think they were even from Texas. I know they call oil “texas tea”, but they also call Jed a mountaineer. Texas has a lot of things, but mountaineers aren’t one of them. (Some time spent on the google tells me the Clampetts were either from North Dakota or West Virginia.) Anyway, outside of the obnoxious host, the show was pretty good. She went to La Madeleine (one of my favorite places on earth, but a Dallas thing? I don’t know about that), Sonny Bryan’s (YUM), Monica’s Aca y Alla (which she pronounced ACK-a y AL-uh, and where she had the best thing on the menu, the mexican lasagna) and had dessert at the Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, which I have never been to but heard it’s awesome.

I watched Vanilla Ice throw a big fit on one show because someone put a stripper in his bed. I watched a plastic surgeon in Hollywood shop for a $5 million dollar second home. I watched Stacy and Clinton try to convince a receptionist that football jerseys are not appropriate office attire.

I learned from The Secret Life of… Tex-Mex Flavors that fajitas were invented at Ninfa’s in Houston and that the reason El Fenix’s tortillas are so good is because they dip them in chile sauce and pan fry them before making the enchiladas. Did y’all know El Fenix is what they serve in heaven? It’s gonna be so good.

After my day of stimulating entertainment, I loaded up on Nyquil and slept from 5:00 yesterday afternoon till about 11:00 this morning. I’ve been able to keep my eyes open today and have spent most of it watching Super Bowl pregame stuff. As lame as five hours of inspirational stories may be, several of them made me cry. Stupid football players and their stupid foundations and families and traditions. GAH.

I feel significantly better today than I did yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be in good enough shape to return to work tomorrow. All I need now is some kind of revenge strategy to get back at them for taking away my weekend. Suggestions?