Tuesday, November 30, 2010

International Flavor.

My new favorite show is called International Flavor- a local self-described 'reality cooking TV show' on Cable Access... An amateur, Calgarian 'Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives', if you will. I'm sure you guys can already tell that it's a great 30 minutes of television. It's hosted by a perky blonde woman and a really gung-ho guy. Free espresso at the studio, I guess.

Sometimes they go to Indian restaurants or Moroccan restaurants and try exciting new foods, but sometimes they have to go to truck stops and still pretend to be amazed by chicken fingers and pancakes. They take bites of the dishes while the chef, owner, or staff silently watch them chew. Sometimes they pepper the chewing noises with sentiments like "mmm", or "this is good". Sometimes they just stay silent and move onto the next dish. This is the secret way that they signal to the viewer to not order this dish if they ever find themselves there, but without being totally obvious. I appreciate their subtlety in this matter. People's feelings are at stake here.

Sometimes the female host will take a gigantic forkful, like when she would be alone in the kitchen at home eating last night's KFC coleslaw out of the container, and then remember she is in front of a camera, and deposit half of the bite back onto the plate. She deeply nods with each bite, like she's computing how pork chops are supposed to taste. She often takes a second mindless bite, only to realize that she must hide a portion of the second bite in her hand under the table because it's time to move along to the next sample. Out of the two hosts, she is the polite one.

The male host often joins the cooks in the kitchen, where they show him exactly how to prepare some of their most popular dishes. This of course falls to shit, because often the host will begin to stop following directions, and start to cater to what he likes to eat. It doesn't matter that the Southwest Burger has onion on it, because he doesn't like onion and this is his burger. I would say he's the more assertive of the two hosts. A real go-getter, a self-starter.

They put real-life, visibly uncomfortable, customers on TV to give testimonies on the quality of the restaurants. They ask leading questions such as: "Do you think that this restaurant, one of the best in the city, is a good restaurant?", and "Would you say you come here often, all the time, or regularly?"
I have seen a man almost reduced to tears with fear when the camera got up in his grill to ask what he liked about his nachos. He eventually choked out that they were "good, I guess".
They often interrupt their guests in the middle of an interview or let the microphone fall to the wayside so that you can't hear what anyone is saying. I should find this annoying, but it's just plain endearing. Wonderful, in fact.

Obviously, it is the cutest show on TV right now, but I can't do it full justice. You'll have to watch for yourself, if you're in town. Maybe have a couple of glasses of wine first.
Thursdays, Channel 10, 10:30PM.

~sarah p.

p.s. Also, this lady is the producer... She's like the Calgary version of Charo! Neat!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In too deep.

Oh, the glorious wonders of Youtube.
What happens when you search Genesis' 'In Too Deep'? Hours of fun! Pure magic!
Here, I've done the work for you guys. Check it-

The videos that accompany karaoke videos are always pure gold. This guy is so fucking pissed. He's definitely in too deep. Holy shit. Let's move on.

This one. Oooooh, man. This guy is in soooo deep.

I often wonder if stage parents ever stop to think of the ramifications their son might one day endure for singing 'In Too Deep' to another boy on national TV.

So deep. So, so deep.

~sarah p.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


If you couldn't already guess, I totally hate the holiday season. Always have, always will. I try to understand why people would enjoy this time of year, but I keep coming up blank. The reasons people give: the spirit of Christmas, the joy, blah, blah, blah- they just don't seem legit. You can pretend to care about goodwill and cheer and "the giving spirit" all you want, fact of the matter is, people love the holidays because almost everyone breezes into January with a belly full of fine foods and couple of hundred of bucks worth of loot.
For example, I've got this one amazing trick where, upon people asking me what I want for Christmas, I put on a really sad face and say that I want "nothing". This one magical statement turns packages full of candles I'll never use, and ugly sweaters I'll never wear, into cards packed with cash and gift certificates (because, for some reason, you're not allowed to say that you "just want cash" for Christmas). I'm not the only one on the planet that uses this trick, I'm just the only one to admit it.
People say they love the generosity of this time of year, the family, the decency that it brings out in all of us, but then everyone just spends the time getting drunk, stuffing their faces, and getting needless gifts. If it were really about selflessness and togetherness, we would all bring our families to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and take the cash that we would use on little Timmy's X-Box 360 and giving it to the animal shelter.
Don't bullshit the bullshitter, holiday-lovers. I see right through you guys, straight to the little dollar signs in the back of your eyes.

The weather sucks, the malls are packed, and nobody buys me that three-flavor popcorn tin that I always ask for every year (cheese, butter, and caramel). My family started doing a gift exchange, which I thought was a good idea. I drew my mom's name out of the hat, I have to spend $150 on gifts for her and only her, no problem. My mom is the world's easiest person to buy for- she doesn't really even care what the gift is, so long as you wrapped it yourself. Nooooo problem.
You know what, though? Big problem. You see, my name was picked out of the hat by my worst relative. The one that, despite the $150 limit, will spend $3 on an ornament from the clearance section of Shopper's Drug Mart, and shrug unapologetically when I open it and realize that I've been bamboozled. Gift bamboozled.

I hate Christmas specials on TV. It's the same shit every year. Did Matlock need a 'very special' holiday episode? Every day that Matlock continues to breathe off of life support should be 'very special' to him. Also, every year they play the same commercials. I know this because I watch TV every month of every year. Can't trick me. There are a certain breed of actors that will never find themselves on a sitcom or a drama or a movie, and will just continue to be in commercials for the rest of their lives. The children of this breed really stand out, in that you visibly watch them age from one commercial to the next. Huggies to Hot Wheels to Trapper Keepers to Speed Stick. Boys to men. When a kid doesn't age from one year's commercial to the next, you know that company didn't dole out the cash for a fresh new 2010 ad, because they thought that nobody would notice. Unless these companies figured out a way to turn back the aging process, they are very obviously recycling their 2009 ads for another year. Nice try, guys.

Lastly (but certainly not least)- Santa. What the fuck is up with that guy? If it were any other time of year, and you busted a scruffy guy in flamboyant red, fur-trimmed pajamas on your roof, you would get on the phone and call the goddamn police. "Help!", you would say, "There is a gay vagrant on my roof, and he is trying to lodge himself inside of my chimney!".
They would come and take his shitload of reindeer to the SPCA (where does a man get eight reindeer anyway?), and haul his ass off to jail.
As the paddy wagon headed back toward the station, with ol' Saint Nick in the back of the car, he would bellow a deep and jolly "ho, ho, ho" out the window, to which you would get back on the phone with the cops to also sue him for verbal harassment, because nobody is allowed to call you a prostitute.
In spite of all of this, nobody bats an eyelash if this shit happens on December 24th. Guy gets on the roof, lets himself into the house, eats the cookies, makes out with your wife, and takes off with his herd of radioactive wild animals. No big deal. It's Christmas Eve, so it's okay.
Also, Santa looks like he would stink if you met him in real life. Juuuust sayin'.

Look, I like eggnog, and I won't turn down a sugar cookie at any time of the year. I like the smell of fir trees. I look adorable in mittens. I enjoy ruining Christmas for others. I guess it's not all bad, afterall.
Can someone please just get me my tin of popcorn this year? Come on. This is getting ridiculous.

~sarah p.

p.s. How about being nice to each other all of the time, assholes?

I also like those boxes of assorted chocolates. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The worst feeling.

I've always thought that the photos in Robert Frank's 'The Americans' were incredible representations of raw human emotion. Visualizations of happiness, sorrow, wonder, hate, hopelessness...Each page a deep window into the human soul.

I guess you could say that this photo is a pretty good representation of one of my least favorite feelings in the world... A gumless depression. Allow me to explain:

Each time my parents go down to the States, they ask me if they should bring me anything from across the border. Each time, I have one request and one request only: Fruit Stripe gum. Both the green (chewing) and the pink (bubble) kinds. Many, many packages.
You see, Fruit Stripe gum is very, very difficult to obtain in Canada, and I do believe that up to 50% of my soul is built of the stuff.

My heart leaps into my throat when they hand me a heavy paper bag upon their return.
I open the top of the bag and inhale the sweet air... I would imagine this is what heaven must smell like.
I eat them in rhythmic order, the pink, green, red flavors before the orange, yellow, blue, and purple flavors. One stick at a time, evenly pulling them from the paper sleeves so that the packages never have a surplus of a certain flavor.
I plaster my arms in the fake tattoos that come on the wrappers. It is a rare treat to find one that hasn't been cut in half during the manufacturing process, and I keep a small collection of wacky zebras surfing, skateboarding, dunking basketballs long after the gum is gone.
With obsessive vigor, I chew and chew until eventually, there is only one stick of each flavor left.
I have heard stories of parents being stuck in some sort of emergency situation where they must choose between their children, and I guess that this is what I feel when I get to this point. The joy is most certainly over. As each piece disappears, a piece of me dies.
For months after the gum is gone, I will occasionally pull out one of the saved wrappers and adorn my hand with a zebra playing t-ball, just for the memories. I always thought that it was just a sugar-comedown, but I now believe that the ending of my hard-to-obtain gum sends me into some sort of true gumless depression (spell check keeps telling me that 'gumless' is not a real word).

I guess what I am trying to say is- can anyone hook me up with more Fruit Stripe? Help a brother out? I've got the shakes, man.

All my love (even if you don't send me the gum),
~sarah p.

p.s. The little zebra on the package is called 'Yipes'. If that ain't cute, I don't know what is.