Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion, Part Three Million

I just got this in my email from Bravo:


OMFG, how many parts ARE there to the RHONJ reunion show??? They say three, but I swear it feels like at least 30. And I could have sworn that Juicy (ew!) Joe was on the part I fell asleep watching last week. So how are the husbands just joining now? Don't you mean "the other husbands," Andy?

I am. So. Over. This.

Without watching, I can tell you exactly what happens:

Teresa will lie and blink a lot, use some not-so-big-words incorrectly, accuse everyone of ganging up on her, and pretend her marriage is solid as a rock while everyone else's is falling apart. She will insist that every hurtful thing she has ever said to another cast member was "just a joke. Don't you get it??" She also will claim that everyone is just jealous of her and her celebrity and take zero responsibility for the fact that every single relationship in her life (except the one with Dina, whose bitch has been showing since she left the show) has crumbled.

Joe will sit with her and continue to insist that he was not talking to his mistress on the phone when he called his wife the b-word and the c-word and then pretended he was talking to a Spanish worker (in Italian, natch) when she caught him. They will both claim that they are very wealthy and at no time committed bankruptcy fraud, despite lying to the Office of the United States Trustee (a division of the Department of Justice) about their assets. Then they will insist that, despite the fact that they give paid interviews to tabloids every other month, that their private lives are private, and people should butt out. They will also insist the tabloids twisted their words.

Jacqueline will also lie a lot, yell at Teresa, cry a few times about her son, Ashley, and her now-dead friendship with Teresa. She will claim her marriage is strong, even though it probably isn't or at least wasn't at some point. She will avoid talking about Ashley unless or until someone else brings it up, which they will (I'm looking at you, Andy)

Melissa will yell at Teresa... a lot. She will once again mention during every single topic that her single is set to be released on iTunes very soon. She will not sing live. She will, however, flip her hair and bat her eyelashes… a lot. She will mention that Teresa hates her and is out to get her, and while this is all true, she will exaggerate it and blow it out of proportion until no one cares anymore [I'm already at that point, in case you couldn't tell].

Joe will join Melissa on the couch and yell at Teresa... a lot. He will mention their father no less than 10 times. He will also talk about therapy. He and Juicy (ew!) Joe will get into it and maybe even have to be separated by security. In short, it will look a lot like Melissa and Joe's son's christening (Jesus loves a good brawl per the Gorga/Guidices).

Kathy will roll her eyes... a lot. She will continue to switch sides depending on who seems to be winning the argument at that point. Ritchie will join her and make some extremely disgusting jokes that no one wants to hear. Their daughter, Victoria, will be away at college somewhere watching in her dorm room, cringing, and pretending like she's never met these people in her life.

And last but not least... Caroline. Caroline, I lurves ya, but you iz wearing on my nerves too, gurl. Caroline will keep her arms folded across her lap, looking down at everyone in judgment (rightly so). When Jacqueline is addressed directly, Caroline will answer for her. She may even grab her, hug her, and hold her tight, as though she is a small child (which she sometimes is, lezbehonest). She will attempt to deflect accusations of being a bully with such a menacing tone that you start to wonder "Is she a bully?" But then you, the viewer, will realize she isn't really, she's just a 50-year old woman who has finally realized she's way too old and impatient to be on this stupid ass show and that she is surrounded by idiots, who, sadly, she can't escape because she's related to one-third of them. So, yes, she may be mean and snippy, even condescending, but not quite a bully. That will not, however, stop the sanctimony from ignoring the living shit out of you.

Then we, the viewers, will turn off the reunion, wondering how we wasted three hours of our lives on this garbage… only to forget about it all in a few months and tune in for season five.

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The Hasbro Toy Shop Introduces *New* Games by Zynga! Only... Not Really....

And in at least one case, what they mean by "new" is "we changed the name" and pretended this concept never existed prior to Facebook or your iPhone.

Check this out. Seriously. This was e-mailed to me today.

Dear Zynga, 

This is NOT a new game. It's been around for decades. We old people call it "Scrabble." There's a picture of me "playing" it in 1980 on the floor of my parents' living room. It was old then. It was also distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Hasbro, so Hasbro really needs to drop the fa├žade.

Look, I don't mind that you want to make Farmville into a board game (seriously) and keep a cash cow going; but please don't try to act like "Words With Friends" is something none of us have ever seen in board game format. Heck, it has even been in digital format before you came along.

Sincerely,
The World

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Just Because Someone is a Celebrity Doesn't Give You a Right to Harass

WARNING: There is some strong language in here.

So I'm minding my own business, reading Jacqueline Laurita's tweets when I noticed she was getting some very ugly comments from two accounts. Honestly, it all smacked of trolling, and I immediately assumed her former friend, Teresa, or Teresa's husband, Juicy [ew!] Joe were hiding behind fake names. So I went to explore all of these accounts' tweets. Of course, both accounts were less than a week old, with very few followers and only following the accounts they were harassing. One of these accounts in particular had engaged in a series of harassment of public figures, complete with curse words and threats—first to some celebrity who is presumably having an affair with Magic Johnson (ew! For real?), then Nikki Minaj [hey! I'm Team Mimi, but there's no need to threaten Nikki!], then Melissa Gorga and Jacqueline Laurita from the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Look, I get that Twitter is fun because you get to interact with celebrities. And I get that people have lots of complaints about things famous people say or do [Hey, I've got a blog full of complaints. I get it!]; but there's a big difference between airing out your grievances about a celebrity in a public place and harassing said celebrity on Twitter or via e-mail.

Most people commenting on the Bravo celebrity blogs have gotten this concept. When they comment on someone's blog, it is usually either words of encouragement or, if critical, something in the way of constructive criticism or a question about a contradiction. You never see name-calling or threats. Maybe Bravo.com does a better job of weeding out comments from trolls? Or maybe the people who comment on Bravo.com have just been raised with better manners? I dunno.

Pop Culture Dad has a very simple rule when it comes to online interactions: would you say it to this person's face or would you talk to/about someone like that in front of your family, friends, coworkers, etc.? If you start to type something online that you know is inappropriate in any other context, then you should know better than saying it in an online setting. The luxury of anonymity shouldn't give you license to be an asshole. For many, however, that is apparently exactly what the anonymity of the internet means.

I understand that being a celebrity brings heightened responsibilities. I remember in law school when we talked about defamation suits having a higher standard when they involve public figures. I know there are things that Joe and Jane Public can say or do that someone in the public eye could not without intense scrutiny (even something so simple as going out to buy a home pregnancy test), just as I understand celebrities get away with doing some things that would get Joe and Jane Public jail time. However, heightened public status doesn't mean that people don't have feelings. And someone's heightened public status doesn't make you any less of a douchebag when you say to them things like "you know you ain't to [sic] cute to be popped in the mouth...." or "fuck you bitch. [other celebrity] is a lying whore and it is obvious...". Yes, both of these tweets came from the same awful person to different celebrities. No, I will not glorify this person by providing his/her Twitter address.

You don't like Nikki Minaj's behavior toward the Divine Ms. MC? Write on your Facebook page about it, phone a friend, write a blog, tweet about it; but don't tweet to her about it. Celebrities have feelings, too, ya know; and most humans—famous people included—don't like being bullied or threatened. If Miss Minaj wants to go Google herself and finds many horrible things said about her, then that's the risk she ran by searching for "Nikki Minaj Mariah Carey American Idol fight." Even The Superficial, my favorite snarky, biting celebrity new blogger, doesn't tag celebrities in the tweets or Facebook posts of his blog posts about them. Even a tiger with the sharpest claws has his limits, dammit!

If you can't get the distinction between what you say about a celebrity and what you say to a celebrity, let's think in middle school terms, shall we [And my apologies in advance, but I was in middle school in the 80s.]? When the Heathers wrote about you in their Slam Book, you didn't give a shit, because you never saw that Slam Book, right? It was only an issue when Heather #3 came up to you to say to your face all the awful things they said behind your back (that bitch!). You were in blissful ignorance until that moment. How about if you broke into the Queen Bee's locker to steal her Slam Book to see if they wrote about you? Well, then you were the one who got in trouble, right? And isn't it kind of your own fault for just having to know things that other people avoided telling you? [No, I'm not saying saying mean things is a-okay. Just saying that some shit, you really don't need to know].

The bottom line is: Think. Is it really absolutely necessary that Lindsay Lohan know what you personally think about her alleged stealing? Does Anderson Cooper give a rat's ass that you think gay marriage is gross? No. So keep your mean thoughts contained to your family, friends, fans, and followers. If these celebs are following you, then they'll know your deepest, darkest, most hateful thoughts about their new hair color soon enough (and promptly unfollow you, I am guessing). If they aren't, then you have succeeded in getting a rant off your chest without unnecessarily hurting the feelings of another human being.


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Pop Culture "Carly Rae"

This conversation, which took place in my husband's car yesterday, is pretty typical in my house:

Pop Culture Preschooler: Daddy! What happened to my song?!?

Pop Culture Dad: It's over. He finally called her.

Pop Culture Mom: Well... Maybe.




Call this girl!


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If I Can Pin It, I CAN Do It: Pop Culture Toddler 2's First Birthday Party



Photo by M Photography
 Look at that smile!
As of Saturday, September 29th, Pop Culture Baby 2 (AKA Brennan) is a baby no more. My little princess is now one.

I started party planning mode months in advance. At first, I was set on doing a Lil' Angels theme after finding some of the decorations on clearance at Party City. I polled my gal pals about it. Most thought it was cute, but one thought skulls were a little morbid for a baby's birthday party. Although I disagree, I could see how some of my family members would have also had that viewpoint. Besides, after looking at and Pinning some of the Lil' Angel decorations to my Pinterest board for kids' birthday ideas, another idea was forming in my head.

PCT2 is such a little rock star. Early on, my friends gave her the nickname Super Baby. She was so ahead of everything, and so happy while doing it. She is honestly as close to perfect as a kid can come (minus her lack of sense of self-preservation). A rock star birthday seemed just too perfect for her. And, well, since we are practically the house that Sanrio built, a Hello Kitty rock star theme seemed perfect. I got to websurfing and Pinning.

I found a lot of great ideas online, but wasn't sure how I was going to pull them off. That led me to starting the decorations two months before PCT2's birthday, so I would have ample time to start over if I messed up.

The first thing I did were the invitations. I found some pink and black argyle images/digital scrapbook paper on Etsy. As I blogged about previously, I designed the invitations with an app on my iPad. I bought some 5x7 invitation paper to print them out (with gorgeous hot pink envelopes to match). When I had trouble getting the print settings perfect (going from iPad to PC), I got some help from one of my mommy board pals, Sweets4ever at Craftster.

The invitations were my starting point for the rest of the decorations. I found some a Hello Kitty buttons on Etsy also. While they never printed properly as 1" buttons, they did provide me with great backdrops for my other decorations. One of my favorite Hello Kitty rock star designs (the same one on the invite) served as the base for the lollipop decorations, some of the hanging decorations, the wall posters and the favor boxes.

Photo by M Photography

Hanging and Wall Decorations

The second long-term design project were the aforementioned hanging decorations. Initially I thought about buying those Lil' Angel hangers in the clearance bin and pasting Hello Kitty over the skulls. I figured out, however, I could do it on my own. I got circular and scalloped punches in varying sizes. At night when everyone was asleep (I work, after all), I would sit up in bed punching out the Hello Kitty's and various plain black circles with either PCT2's name or a "1" on them and plain circles or scallops on either the argyle pattern, black, or silver sparkles. Once a had a quart-size Ziplock bag completely full of punched-out paper, I started matching various shapes, sizes and designs until I was happy. I then bough decorating ribbon in black, pink and silver, and spent my nights gluing and taping my designs. The result were hanging ribbon decorations with three circles on each. I saved the remaining paper cut outs for other decorations.

I also bought several balloons to hang. We are in the process of selling our house, so the last thing I wanted to do is have tape and push puns everywhere. However, thanks to the helium shortage, my vision of floating balloon everywhere had to be curtailed. I did manage to procure two tanks, one of which was used almost exclusively on three gigantic mylar balloons shaped like the number one.

Photo by M Photography
I also made signs for the walls, door and window using the Avery Removable Wall and Window Signs. Some of the reviews regarding the actual removability of the stickers were not favorable, and with freshly-painted walls, I was not willing to take a huge chance. If I had to do things over, I would skip these.

Photo by M Photography

Candy Bar

I was desperate to do a candy bar. I always love seeing them at parties, and there were some very cool-looking ideas on Pinterest. However, I didn't want to spend three-figures making one. I bought some satin pink polka dot fabric on eBay to use as a table cloth and jars from the dollar store. I found pink and black candies on Amazon.com and from various candy wholesalers online. I also found some raspberry M&Ms in varying shades of dark pink and licorice bites from my local Super Target. I decorated the glass jars with ribbons I bought from Michael's and the punched-out designs I had made previously. For the lollipops, I got some flower decorating foam boards and wrapped them in black tissue paper, putting ribbons around one layer and pink and black argyle duct tape around the other. The personalized stickers on the lollipops were created on Microsoft Word with Avery 1" round labels. I took my favorite Hello Kitty button design and used Word to personalize the circle around her.

We will reuse the jars and the fabric. I can't sew to save my life, but my mother is very good at it and plans to make the girls dresses with the fabric.

Photo by M Photography


Photo by M Photography
Mmm.. candy ribbons!
Photo by M Photography







Photo by M Photography

Favor Boxes
I found cheap hot pink and black boxes on Amazon and used the same Hello Kitty design, but on the 2" Avery stickers to decorate the favor boxes. The favor boxes were all empty for the kids to fill up with cookies (see below) and candy from the candy bar.



Cookies

I bought some Hello Kitty cookie cutters from Sanrio.com and a guitar cookie cutter from Amazon. I already had the star [honestly, I can't believe we didn't have a Hello Kitty cookie cutter before now!]. I baked several dozen cookies and frosted them all.

For the packaging, I got Avery Printable Bag Toppers, which also came with the plastic bags. They perfectly fit all of my oversized cookies, except for a couple of the guitars, which had spread when baked. Most of those broke in half as I was trying to get them into the bags, anyway, so it all worked out. I also had some trouble with the black cookie frosting refusing to harden, but over all, the cookies weren't bad. My mom assumed I had bought them somewhere, so I take that as a compliment.

Some Kitties clearly fared better than others!


Water Bottles

Thank you, Pinterest! I made the water bottles by removing the existing labels from water bottles and putting pink and black argyle duct tape where the labels used to be. They matched the party beautifully, and unlike paper labels you make yourself, these could go in a cooler without being destroyed.

Photo by M Photography


Cake and Smash Cake

I take no credit for the actual birthday cake. After getting custom cake quotes that were way out of budget for a one-year old birthday party, I contacted a coworker of mine, who was the person who made Pop Culture Preschooler's first birthday cake [a cute princess castle; after the first birthday, we stick to sheet cakes from the grocery store]. I sent her the invitation design and asked what she thought she could do with it. She told me she would try a few things, but had never used fondant before. I set my expectations low. When she arrived with the cake on PCT2's birthday, I nearly fell over. The cake arrived in four beautiful parts, ready to be assembled. The last two parts of the cake were the Hello Kitty (head and body)—the part of the cake we were both worried wouldn't work. I had already bought s plush Hello Kitty to use as a cake topper just in case. No need. This Kitty was (is) FABULOUS. She's also edible (made of Rice Krispie treats on the inside). However, we won't touch her. She is too beautiful to eat. [okay, okay... We did crack open her body at work. Delish!]

Photo by M Photography


All photos by M Photography

My smash cake did not go as well, though. No matter. Its purpose was to be demolished! I am proud of myself for figuring out how to (kind of) use fondant, though. And PCT2 sure didn't seem to mind!

Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography

Birthday Board

This is one of my proudest Pinterest-inspired creations. I spent weeks playing around with fonts on my computer and drawing things out on my iPad and by hand until I was satisfied with how the board would look. Initially I wanted to do a chalkboard with chalk markers, but I couldn't find a board with a frame I liked. So I settled instead on a black canvas with paint markers.

Some of my numbers proved wrong at the well-baby checkup the next day (she's actually 30.25" long and 19 lbs 12 oz), but it still looks good.
Photo by M Photography
Photo by M Photography


Pictures

Special thanks to my friend Mirna at M Photography for taking pictures. Mirna does all of our family pictures, and she totally rocks! If anyone is in the Houston area, I highly recommend you give her a call!
Pop Culture Preschooler ready to rock out.
Photo by M Photography

Note: any picture that doesn't say "Photo by M Photography" under it was taken with my iPad (that's why the quality isn't as good).

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