Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Well, it's a year later, and I figure I can't really top that gift for this year's (slightly less milestone-y) birthday anyway. But I still wanted to get myself something cool; something I was told was coming three years ago but then for whatever reason never did. So I began scouring the internet for Supernatural action figures.
It's okay; you can call me a dork; I won't be offended. But considering the fact that after the LOST finale I went on eBay for a mini Hurley and Sawyer, and I barely even watched that show, I figured I needed to represent and get a smaller scale Dean Winchester to go with my model Impala. That thing gets lonely just sitting on my desk, not allowed to roam the open road...
Anywhoo, perhaps surprisingly, I found a couple of prospects. No action figure company (like McFarlane, who made the LOST ones for the first two seasons of that supernatural show) had made any mass market ones, but there were "recipes" online for how to make one of your own if you're crafty. I'm not. I learned as much when I worked on a craft show for the DIY network and had trouble with glue guns and sewing machines alike. Scrapbooking might be my limit, and even that is something I don't have patience for all of the time.
Another girl in the UK said she made customs, but she wanted approximately $150 U.S. per figure. I only wanted two: Dean and Castiel, but I figured I'd keep looking before I committed my Examiner salary to something site unseen.
So I tried eBay. Oh eBay. You and I have had such a tumultuous relationship. I relied on you a lot in high school, making money by selling celebrity photographs from soap opera events I attended. I did pretty well at it, too, but spent most of my earnings on other memorabilia I found in your "store." But then I went off to college and something changed. You opened the site up to Paypal before you were really ready for such a big step, and my account got hacked. You shut it down and didn't make me pay for the things the hacker attempted to buy, but you wouldn't let me open a new account with the same email address or credit card, and I have had the same information since college. So now I borrow a friend's account from time to time-- not often because it's really easy for me to get caught up in the competition aspect of eBay and bid high on things I don't need just for the thrill of winning. And of getting packages in the mail. Call me old-fashioned, but I still really like snail mail. And I miss the "care packages" of college.
This weekend I was on eBay a lot. First to ensure I won the National Doodle Day doodle I had my eye on (it's the story of my life!!), and then to look for those LOST figurines. So naturally I turned there again to see about Supernatural ones. And that's where I found someone who has been making action figures from the Joss Whedon universe for years. Looking at some of them in a fan forum, the detail was impeccable, and the faces looked much more like the actual actors than my Saved by the Bell Barbie dolls ever did! And the deal was six action figures-- one a month that I design for six months-- for just about $200! So I "Bought It Now."
Do I need six? No, but at that price, the wheels were set in motion for which ones I could get. The cool thing is, every month we will email back and forth with my selection-- not just the character, but the specific episode and even scene I want them to be outfitted in in order to get the maximum uniqueness and the maximum detail. I already know most of the ones I want, but I will keep them a surprise in case I manage to change my mind. And because at least one of them will be used in a very special capacity on this site...
But I can tell you that if you assumed I would lead with Dean Winchester, you'd be wrong! The first figure I ordered? Castiel! And I wanted him to look how he did when the Winchester boys themselves-- and we as an audience in turn-- first met him in "Lazarus Rising," loosened tie, iconic trenchcoat and all!
With each passing holiday-- from my birthday last year and that custom Fazzino to Christmas last year and my custom "day" bracelet-- I have managed to find amazing items that can be mine and mine alone, and miraculously, I am finding ways to spend a little less on them as time passes. Which, in itself, is something unique and miraculous!
This is surely one unique way to get through hell-atus, huh?? How are you spending it? Sound off in the comments!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The copy for last night's Biggest Loser: Couples finale pretty much wrote itself. The season's heaviest man going head-to-head with the season's heaviest woman was sure to be emotional, any which way it turned out. But in the end, Michael Ventrella of Chicago IL who had weighed in at a whopping half-ton (526 pounds) at the start of this record-breaking eighth season of NBC's hit weight loss show stood victorious. During his time on the ranch, he lost just over half his physical mass (50.14% or 264 pounds) but his sense of humor, wit, and positive attitude only seemed to grow.
"I surpassed my wildest dreams," Ventrella admitted during a post-big win conference call. He always swore he would never partake in eating challenges or allow anyone else to control his fate on the show, but he knew there would be heavy game play involved. And he knew at a certain point it would just be about survival mode so he could stay at the ranch, and on the show, for as long as possible. At over five hundred pounds, he said he felt like "there was no hope for my future." But all of that has changed.
"I'm not that person at 526 anymore. I don't think that way; I don't eat that way, so one of the biggest challenges I'm experiencing at home is just having everyone understand what I'm trying to do. I have friends that don't know the commitment that I'm putting toward doing this. I have friends and family who are overweight and never even attempted to lose weight, so they don't understand what I'm going through. They think it's the old Mike, and it's party time…but that's not the case."
But Ventrella is proving that this truly is a lifestyle change for him. Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels hate the word "diet," and Ventrella agrees. And even being stripped of his ranch support system—including finale buddy Ashley Johnston—he is able to apply the lessons he learned there to his new life at home in Chicago.
"I try to be as creative as possible to recreate some dishes and flavors that I love and grew up on," Ventrella explained when asked if he still indulges in any of the traditional Italian meals his family serves every week.
"Coming from a big Italian family, you know, that's our way of celebrating our love—through dining," Ventrella shared. "But there some that you just can't imitate! So it's another goal that I'll have it someday, but just like a person who wants to buy a house: you don't buy a house and then get a job. You get a job; you earn; you save; and then you get what you want. That's exactly how I look at these different kinds of food. I'll plan ahead. Sunday's coming around, and I'm going to get some deep dish pizza, so I'll work towards that by doing an extra mile a day on the bike. Or Sunday before I go, I'll ride my bike to the restaurant and back, that way my metabolism is at it's highest, and I'll burn it off. It's a journey, but I have to work for that journey."
The one thing Ventrella wanted to press upon his fans and anyone in the public who believes in the phrase "maintenance weight," then, is that "the finale of The Biggest Loser was last night, but the finally for my weight loss is still to come!"
And just what does Ventrella want to do now that he is at his healthiest weight in a long time? He's going to Disneyland! Well, sort of. Ventrella told My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture that he was excited about heading out to a theme park with his family, something he couldn't do when he weighed over five hundred pounds. "I'd love to go to a theme park with all of my cousins and ride a roller coaster and be a kid for the first time in my life! You know, I'm thinner now, and I have a smaller waist at thirty-one than I did at thirteen or fourteen, so I didn't get to really experience what being a kid really was, and I want to live that out."
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Meeting up with friends before the concert, we were excited to stand across from the Jurassic Parking entrance to Citywalk and hear Jane Lynch's voice boom out over a loudspeaker. Was the fictional city playing some of her glee greatest hits in preparation for the back-to-back performances that day? No, but even better: Lynch herself-- decked out in white and black work-out gear, though not a full-on tracksuit-- stood on a small stage, showing off the newest Nike fashions and moderating a panel of strong female athletes. Naturally this led me to hope she'd stick around and make a surprise appearance on-stage in just a few minutes!
We were also treated to a medley of "Faithfully" and "Anyway You Want It" that will be featured in the season finale episode, and of course an encore of "Somebody to Love." Jonathan Groff, who was in the audience during the first show in L.A., also came out to perform "Hello" with Michele as a "surprise." It is assumed that he just fed off the energy so much the first night that he said 'Hey, I want to be a part of this, too!' and threw something together last minute. He and Michele have the Mariah Carey/Trey Lorenz brother-sister chemistry on-stage where they're smiling and giggling their way through the song. It was super cute to see him pick her up and spin her around after they were done, as well. They may be crazy co-dependent, but their bond is real and deep and adorable nonetheless. So much so that the tween-mindset girls behind me yelled out "Kiss! Kiss!" when their duet had ended.
But I left the show with ringing ears, a scratchy throat, and a tapping toe, all things that add up to a time extremely well had!! I only wish I had been able to score tickets to more than one performance because listening to the songs on full volume on my laptop just isn't the same!!