Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Warm Fuzzy...

I rarely take the time to read entire articles because my life sort of works in bits. In the radio business, you have just a few minutes in between commercials to make a point. During commercials, you have exactly three minutes to get up and go to the bathroom before you're back into news. News, which is another series of bits that fit together in a single newscast.

But I took the time to read this whole article, and though I'm feeling a little melancholy and introspective today, it spoke to me. It made me think that, even though I am single in Utah, it is okay to hang out with just me. Simply, it was worth the time.

From Wired.com
I totally forgot about Valentine's Day this year, until I went into a post office here in Osaka and was given a little gift by the official behind the counter: a small red replica postbox.
This scene -- a corporate Cupid raining down arrows into the hearts of customers -- was repeated when I went to a convenience store and was asked to make a lucky dip selection from a box of candies. I left cheered by the tenderness of it all, amused that these declarations of love were coming to me from public bodies and businesses, not individuals.

I didn't really need to be cheered, and I didn't really need to do anything special on St. Valentine's Day. As someone in a relationship, I like to think I salute St. Valentine every day. Looking back at my blog entry for February 14th, I see that what I was thinking about that day wasn't love, but Japanese collectivism and the spirit of wa. The emphasis on harmony, politeness, obligation and mutual dependency is a marked feature of Asian societies, in contrast to the Western emphasis on individualism.

Poking around on the internet, though, I began to notice that St. Valentine's day was making some single people in the West very unhappy by reminding them of their singledom. For instance, I read an internet thread (it would be a bit insensitive to link to it) in which a computer programmer threatened to jump off a bridge unless he'd found a partner within three months. And I read an article in the travel section of British newspaper The Observer in which writer Will Hide compared the experience of being single in London and New York:

"If you're alone but hoping not to be," writes Hide, "Americans are much more approachable than we British, be it at the food store, the pub or the gym. You can chat to complete strangers without feeling like a total psycho.... If you're simply on your own and happy that way, New York is a great place just to hang out because everyone does it. Going to the cinema alone in Britain? Sad git. Going to the cinema alone in New York? Hey, cool, a chance for some quality 'me' time. Lunch for one in Blighty? Obviously Billy No-mates. Lunch for one in Manhattan? Alluring. A bit mysterious even."

Now, personally, I dislike going to the cinema, restaurants and even cafes on my own. But, just as Will Hide notices that it's easier to be a unit of one in New York than it is in London, I've noticed that it's easier here in Japan than it is in the West. It's built into the infrastructure.

For instance, in the West you often feel like you're inconveniencing any restaurant you turn up to alone, because an unoccupied seat (a seat containing the ghost of your absent dyadic partner) sits facing you, a seat the restaurant could otherwise be making money from. Japanese sushi and ramen restaurants, in contrast, tend to have a horseshoe-shaped counter bar facing the chef where single people can sit without wasting space or facing any ghosts.

A single person with a free evening in a Japanese city could go to one of these restaurants, a pachinko arcade, a public bath-house, a manga cafe, a cosplay maid cafe, a karaoke bar and other (shadier) places and feel like they were participating socially without being in a couple.

In the West, it seems to me, that isn't as easy. And that seems counter-intuitive: Shouldn't individualist societies cater better to the needs of individuals, and collectivist societies cater worse to them? How come it seems to be the other way around?

Of course, there are movements in the West to define singledom more positively, and even to formulate a kind of single-person activism around the issue.

In 2004, Sasha Cagen published the book Quirkyalone, which tries to give a positive spin on Western solitude. A quirkyalone, says Cagen, is "a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of being in a couple." In her first formulation of the idea back in 2000, Cagen calculated that 5 percent of the U.S. population are quirkyalones.

Cagen's thesis that "it's not strange to be single; rather, single is the new norm" is lent some credence by new research released in February by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which reports that 43 percent of American adults (87 million people) say they are single. Twenty six percent of these are single people in a committed relationship. Of those not in a committed relationship, 55 percent are not looking for a partner.

I'm still not quite sure why collectivist cultures should cater better to the needs of individuals than individualistic societies do. Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that in a collectivist culture like Japan, you're never truly alone, even when you're alone. Or perhaps it's because Japan is such a group society that you need a break now and again, a place out in public where you can be alone for a few minutes between the group at the office and the group at home.

But I'm pretty sure of one thing. Given current U.S. trends toward living, working and playing alone, the infrastructure of American cities could benefit from resembling a little more the monad-welcoming floating world of the Japanese city, animated, apparently, by the spirit of a corporate and collectivist Cupid who loves anyone with the yen.

Sushi and karaoke already have their place in the neonscape of Western cities, but it can't be too long before someone with a free evening in L.A. will be able to do as many things alone -- and feel as connected with strangers -- as you can in Osaka today.

In a truly individualistic culture, you shouldn't have to feel "quirky" when you're out and about alone, should you?

Sunday, February 26, 2006


I have said for the last couple of years that George Michael has been one of my favorite radio interviews I've ever done. He was so polite and he was even careful to call us by our names, something that doesn't really happen very often. I have loved George Michael since Wham! woke me up before I went went and I even loved him after that little debacle with gay sex in a public bathroom.

He is beautiful and talented, so WHY does he have to pull a Robert Downey Jr.? George Michael was arrested in London this weekend for drug possession after he was found slumped over the wheel of his car. Authorities say Michael had both weed and GHB with him. Why, God, why?

Is Dating Worth It?

I've recently been informed of some nasty rumors (Or rumours, if you're British) that have been spread about yours truly regarding people I've dated, making me wonder is it worth it? Last night was a trip. I was driving home, and ended up next to one guy I briefly saw last year who actually slowed down and changed lanes to avoid eye contact.

Later, I found out from a friend who is a door guy at a local jazz bar that someone I saw briefly last month (Tiramisu Guy) has been telling people some not nice things about me. Apparently, I asked him if he was gay and that was why he "kicked me to the curb." Isn't it interesting how some people can be outright rude in their dealings with the opposite sex, and then when they're around their friends you're the alleged psycho? Besides, it stands to reason that if he were gay, he would've enjoyed my fabulous pinkness and charm even more!

Even later, I found out from my neighbor whom also used to be a co-worker someone from my previous place of employment is now telling everyone we used to have a thing.

DO THESE PEOPLE NOT HAVE LIVES? Or is it that my life is so "interesting" that they get off in making me out to be not a nice person. With that, I hope that karma comes back to those who speak poorly of others and makes them feel as stupid as Adrien Brody looks in these pictures.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Girly Girl Pick for Week of 02/27

I'm not blogfading, I promise! (Blogfading: yep, that's what the kids call it when you get enthused about your blog and then crap out on it.) I've been trying to find a new apartment, and I finally found one! I'm moving at the end of next month to a discofabulous place, so things might be a little hit and miss for the next little bit. I'll post some picts of my new 70s retro pad sometime soon, as well as the progression of some redecorating I'm doing. It rocks.

At any rate, I have a great product that you simply MUST get from our good friends at Benefit. (AND available from Sephora for those of you who are Sephora sluts like me.) It's called Dr. Feelgood, and it's tough to explain, but it is a great product. Dr. Feelgood is a mattifier that goes under your foundation, or can be used instead of foundation if you're one of those kind of people. (Not me, I'm finding I'm a foundation slut too.) It mattes shine, it primes skin for foundation, it reduces fine lines, and it makes pores smaller. I don't have big pores, but I have one weird one on my cheek that Dr. Feelgood seems to fill in.

When you're retouching things at the end of the day, rather than using more powder to combat shine, Dr. Feelgood works for that too. Just pat on (DO NOT RUB) over existing foundation, and it makes you look great into the evening too.

From Sephora,
A brand new idea for smooth, silky skin. This complexion balm slips under makeup to help smooth the complexion. Enriched with vitamins C and E, Dr. Feelgood can also be worn alone on bare skin. It's indispensable and in demand!

Give it a whirl. It's $24, but lasts for a really long time, so it's a splurge that's worth it and not something you'll have to buy often.

Benefit classifies Dr. Feelgood in its "Fake-It Collection" with products designed to "go from dull to darling in an instant."

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Little Self-Love...

From the Deseret Morning News:

How's Tom Barberi doing after nearly six months back on radio?
The radio host, self-nicknamed "The Voice of Reason," expresses optimism and even acknowledges his nicer-guy image via e-mail: "The ratings were interesting, seeing as we just turned the station on without any promotion or publicity.
"That said, the Arbitron Maximizer had the station at a 0.6 (ratings share). Now, with our billboard campaign and a full book exposure next time, I am very optimistic that we will show up. It took more than a year for (sister station) The Zone to show a pulse, and we already show signs of life!"
Now on the FM dial — on KFMS (FM-97.5), weekdays, noon-2 p.m. — Barberi may no longer be on morning-drive radar, but he is filling a void with stimulating local talk radio in the early afternoon.
His later start on the air might also have something to do with his more pleasant manner on the air. "As far as my being nicer," Barberi wrote, "maybe it is because for the first time in 35 years I have gotten a decent night's sleep. I still have my temper tantrums and bite back when attacked on the air, but I have been trying to be a little more rational."
He's excited about the potential listeners he could reach on the FM band. "Talk is what interests people on the radio, especially local talk, and I hope to expand the show to three hours and start it earlier fairly soon."

Barberi's not a solo host this time around. Holly Braithwaite joined him on the air shortly after his revised show began last September.
Formerly a sidekick on the "Z-Morning Zoo" on KZHT, Braithwaite is doubling as the show's producer and seems, like Barberi, to be a host that listeners either love or hate, with little or nothing in between.
While some listeners refer to her as "sexy and insightful," others may call her "uninformed" and just plain "unintelligent."
Either way, she brings a younger audience appeal to Barberi's show, and, according to Barberi, she's a fabulous producer.
Barberi also likes to have fun with politics, and he had some empty Evolution Ale bottles delivered to the state Legislature. He said most of the politicians on the Hill got a laugh out of the stunt.
Studio lines for the Barberi-Braithwaite show are 470-, 570- and 670-0975. There's also a "Tell Tom Line" at 519-7899, which is open 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another Uncanny Similarity...

The Olsen Twins


Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Survival of the Fittest

Happy Valentine's Day... Whatever

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours and all of you. Soon, it will be over and we can all put the whole nasty thing behind us for another year.

My heart was warmed when I caught the exclusive scoop on E! News that Britney Spears spent most of the day at an Urgent Care in Malibu. Ms. Spears was seen running with two bodyguards out of the clinic yesterday, while her son, Tater Tot was sneaked by Brit's assistant out the back. Unfortunately, Spears will still make her cameo appearence on Will and Grace next month-- she made it out of the Urgent Care just in time to shoot the episode.

Quick Valentine's Day Quiz: What do you get when you spend two hours making someone a Valentine's Day tiramisu (we're talking FROM SCRATCH... the whole deal... soaking the ladyfingers in espresso and even beating whipped cream into stiff peaks. The whole deal...) and you leave it for them as a tasty surprise? Answer: A big, fat NADA. Zilch! Zip! In other words, the recepient didn't even send so much as a damn text message to say thanks.

I'm off to the gym! Smooches!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Girly Girl Pick of the Week 02/13/06

I've written before that I feel my hair is the bane of my existence. Well, it still is. But this little product makes it all the better. It's another fave from Bumble and Bumble, Brilliantine Creme!!! (It comes in a tube now, instead of the bottle, but still a great product.)

Brillantine creme is really hard to describe. It's not a pomade, it's not a gel, not a wax... but it messes up your hair just enough to look like you've got a sort tousled thing going on. It doesn't make things gummy. It doesn't leave locks greasy. It's like it makes it look just better than without it! Also, I have a lot of people ask me if I just got my hair colored because it really brightens it and makes it looks shiny.

GREAT because I don't have the cha-ching to get it colored as often as I'd like.

Our friends at Bumble and Bumble are so great.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Girly Pink Gadget Pick!

Here's a little bonus to the girly girl beauty pick... it's a girly pink gadget for the girly geek in all of us. I was reminded this weekend that I really needed a little flash drive for all my eBooks. I just wanted to get them off my hard drive and put them in a collective place. Then I went to Target and found on sale this week for $19.99 a cute little zMate 256 MB flash pen drive for all my computer reads!

And if you're really lame like me, you can wear it around your neck! I was so excited when I took it out of the package that I wore it from the cute pink lanyard all night while I made my grilled chicken salad. I even did a little dance around the apartment while waiting for "Grey's Anatomy" to start (still dealing with that Code Black situation). Then, I realized I was a big, lame dork and I took it off for bed.

p.s. Sorry the picture sort of sucks, but I took it with the camera phone and was so excited I had to upload it right away!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Suckle Her Slipple

So, I think it's funny when stars' nipples pop out because I've been there before. No, I'm not suggesting I'm a star, I'm saying I've accidentally slipped a nip to a crowd of people.

1998. University of Utah student union. I was performing with the ballroom team, and I had been late the morning costumes were assigned. Because I was tall, the other gals on the team assumed I was a size 14. I was about a six (I say about because my top was about a six, yes, my ass was fat. I'm considerably smaller now that nearly ten years later, I've lost my "freshman fifteen"). During the Viennese Waltz performance, the dress got twisted, my nipple popped out and got caught over the left side of the dress, and my partner twirled me around for all to see.

Enter 2006. Brits and her baby daddy somehow actually got into the Mariah Carey Grammy after-party. Here's a picture of the happy family: Kevin, Britney and Britney's nipple.

Image from Perezhilton.com

It's so creepy...

Does this remind anyone else of that scene in The Shining? Except that there's not a little kid on a Big Wheel... and they're not in a hotel... and they're sitting at a fashion show...

But you get the idea.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Newest Favorite Thing...

I got this for Christmas, but haven't blogged it. Ritmo Mundo watches-- Italian, gorgeous, pink of course. This is by far my very favorite watch, and I've got quite a few.

I'm constantly amazed about how these high-end watch retailers keep up with the trends, and I guess it's all about getting in with the cool kids. In an article about Ritmo Mundo, "Ritmo Mundo (Rhythm of the Earth) watches appear to be joining that select group of watches that are worn not only because they are handsome timepieces, but also because they are the current ‘in’ item to be seen wearing on the wrist. The flair of Italian styling, dynamic American marketing, high profile celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sarah Jessica Parker wearing them and instant consumer recognition - a success story in two years."

Thus, you can get away with sale clothes from Wet Seal if you've got a gorgeous watch and gorgeous bag!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Okay Fine... Girly Girl Pick for Week of 02/06

After a brief hiatus from the blog, I'm finally over myself... perhaps it's a heavy cocktail of vodka and Xanax. Either way...

Let's talk Bobbi Brown SHIMMER BRICK!!! I can't take full credit for the discovery of this lovely little wonder, I owe my friend Jill for tipping me off on it a few months ago. She can't take full credit for it, because her friend Karen tipped her off on it; and so I pass it along to you all.

The lovely little folks who read my blog and wait with baited breath for all things glittery and makeup-ey.

Shimmer Brick isn't blush or bronzer or shimmer... it's a combination of all three. It's a cake made up of eight different shades in the same color family. If swirled together, it all works for a shimmery highlighter over blush. If applied one color at a time, it works for eyeshadow. The lighter colors work for highlighters... if you get the bronze, it works to make you look tan.

If you're hungover, it makes you look like you're not. Comes in Apricot, Rose, Bronze, Pink and Beige bricks.

Seriously, the uses to Shimmer Brick are endless and it's a truely versatile product. I have both the Rose brick and the Bronze brick and I use them all of the time depending on what I'm wearing. That said, Shimmer Brick is not cheap, but it does last quite a long time so it's one of those things that are DEFINITELY worth the occasional splurge. (For real, it's like $38.00, I think) I will forgo buying groceries for the week to afford Shimmer Brick, which shows how much I love it. Also, you have to deal with the Nordstrom Bobbi Brown counter and sometimes they're not so nice to me, but Shimmer Brick is worth even that hardship!!

It's glorious. It's Shimmer Brick.