Friday, February 16, 2007

bon mots

This week all three of the judges had some good zingers.

Jonathan hilariously described his response to Goil/Carisa/Ryan's design as: "I'm in St. Tropez, I'm in St. Tropez, I'm in St. Tr -- Wait! I'm in Buffalo."

Team Tahiti's roofless design evoked a couple of the best quips, like Kelly's suggestion that they "include a bucket of zinc oxide." Margaret channelled some of Kelly's southern style and declared, "You're gonna get fried."

In this week's Observation, Margaret's literary stylings reached a new zenith this week. She moved away from the statement form and her language became more associative. I think it was the southern French connection: she became possessed by the the spirit of the troubadours.

The previous weeks observations had an Asian, zen-like style with her use of terse statements that appear simple but upon reflection they plumb profound depths. The first week's was a light koan spoken in a more off-hand modern language. The second week she became more poetic: her repetition reinforced her characteristic irony as well as her use of the haiku form.

This week Margaret celebrated the southern French landscape in poem that is both modern and traditional. Her simple questions -- romantic but almost child-like -- evoke the popular ballad form. The poem appears to be an aubade that celebrates the morning light.The aubade was popular with both the troubadors and as well as modernist poets such as Ezra Pound who greatly admired the troubadors. The second stanza's classic imagist style is very reminiscent of H.D. Indeed, her intense compaction and ironic undercurrent perfectly captures the spirit of the Americans in France a century ago. Can we read this as Margaret's preference for high modernism over the decor of French country?

margaret russell : observations 3

Margaret Russell
edited by kora in hell

| 3 |


Did blue come up at all?

Did the color blue?

Clear blue
Sea blue
Cerulean blue
Saint Tropez blue?

Trés Saint Tropez

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

valentine's day breakup

I'm sorry Top Design, but you didn't deliver for me tonight and I just don't think this is working out. I've invested a lot of time and energy into this relationship -- I've really tried -- but I think I'm going to have to break it off.

There are so many little things that work but the big picture doesn't hold together.

good times, good times

I thought that I could hang in just for Todd. Especially last week when Amy Sedaris called into that after show with that producer Andy (the guy who is so pleased with himself and why shouldn't he be?).

Amy was an inspiration, as always. She seemed to enjoy watching even though she thought all of the designs were bad. Perhaps even because they were all bad.

Then there is the fact that Kelly's outfits are always such a hoot.

And Margaret is fabulous.

Jonathan is fun, although he can be such a meanie It seems weird in a way -- like it doesn't seem to be a good fit with who he is.

The cast is great -- at least most of them seem like nice people. The problem is that their work isn't that strong. A big part of the problem is the kinds of resources they have and the lack of time. Thank god there were only three projects tonight I don't think I could have handled any more without falling asleep.

And yet, there were also some truly delightful moments tonight:

Michael saying "it was good stuffing with you" was definitely the quote of the evening.

Ah, if only those moments could have lasted.

Even the tension between Ryan and Carisa provided some excitement -- especially because Carisa stood her ground against the boys -- although I wouldn't have wanted to see any more of the ugly.

Whenever Todd wears his little argyle sweaters, my heart just melts.
Adorable. An adorable puppy.

But then you went and blew it.

This was not a good move.
(and she had a right to be pissed off)

a no-brainer: elizabeth vs ryan
First of all I just want to point out that this was not a clear cut choice. I think a good argument could be made for Miami being best of the lot. If it didn't quite work at least it had some color, they tried something new, and they were informed about what they were doing.

The St. Tropez was completely ill-conceived. The color palette was from L.L. Bean (rustic New England winter). Ryan thought "upscale and elegant" meant unfinished Pier One wicker? By his own admission he just bought a bunch of tchochkes.

"It's Henny Youngman meets Country Living meets Mickey Rourke."

Good thing they sent him to do the shopping.

Then there is the Tahiti structure that has no protection from sun or rain? A beach house that does not have a covering is just an incomplete assignment. This is a health hazard for those of us who fry after five minutes in the sun-- although it did evoke one of the funnier lines of the show:

Kelly: Maybe they planned to provide a bucket of zinc oxide.

The Tahitians simply didn't finish the project but boy, they really sold their story: "We decided it looked better ... um it's a fantasy, yeah, that's it, we wanted it to be a fantasy... yeah, that's the story."

Furthermore, there is a good argument to be made for Elizabeth as a team leader. I noticed how calming she was when the guys were freaking out.

It seemed like the judges just concocted a scenario with the Miami group where Elizabeth was this harpy who took over the process and didn't listen to Matt and Erik. I just didn't see that. If Matt didn't assert himself I don't think that is entirely Elizabeth's fault. No one was bickering or blaming. This all seemed really trumped up.

So Elizabeth picked a bad color of paint. I don't think she forced it down the throats of Ryan and Matt. [02/17/07 After reading Elizabeth's interview on BTD: it turns out Elizabeth didn't even choose the paint colors originally. Plus Todd helpfully gave them the advice about the paint colors after they'd already bought the paint. They aren't given the flexibility--or money to go out and buy new things once they've shopped.] The color wasn't even used very much. And it isn't like they didn't have a roof. In fact Miami had the design I thought was the best. It was flexible and practical.

The Miami group created a temporary structure for the beach that can be open and inviting but also offer a retreat that feels like a private space. This is much more of a fantasy for me than being fried to a crisp under the equatorial sun. (Even though my fantasy location is definitely Tahiti. The other two places are not even on the list.)

In their deliberations the judges admitted they weren't sure about the dynamics in the Miami group. But they did know what happened in the St. Tropez group and who was responsible for what.

I can't see how anything Elizabeth did came close to being as bad as the way that the entire St. Tropez team behaved (see my previous post). It's just so random. Plus there is the fact that Elizabeth was showing a lot more promise as a designer than Ryan.

it's not you, it's me

But you assumed that we couldn't possibly be more interested in watching a woman who behaves professionally when we could watch a guy act like a jerk.

This is a relationship deal-breaker. This is like finding out that you voted for Bush.

This is sinking to lowest common denominator reality television. You sacrifice quality for a personality you think will create conflict, i.e., you keep an asshole on the show even though he deserved to be kicked off because you think it will be good for ratings. Because you have to follow the formula of reality television which says that a women over forty are toxic to ratings and must get booted off in the first few weeks.

The Assistant even writes in his blog that the rule of reality television is that the cute girl goes first and the oldest person goes next. Sure he's being ironic but he's right. Reality tv is a genre -- and it is arguably the worst of the worst. I keep forgetting that if I'm going to watch reality tv I have to remember that it is basically crap.

I blame myself.
I should have known better than to get into another reality tv relationship.

It just isn't right for me.

The truth is, I don't much care for reality:
In real life people are judged unfairly.In real life young women like Carisa are dismissed and condescended to by guys like Goil and Ryan. In real life there are egotistical jerks like Ryan. In real life women my own age are considered too old and uninteresting or poor leaders. In the real world given a choice between an Elizabeth and a Ryan, Ryan wins.
Fair enough. I just don't want to spend my free time watching this. I don't need the aggravation.

give 'em what they want

I just wonder, do you really have many pseudo punk wankers in your audience? You probably have more women Elizabeth's age who are more interested in seeing the work that she would have produced rather than having to put up with anymore of Ryan. And for the record, they probably have a hell of a lot more buying power. Although I don't know who's going to buy that crappy car that the winner gets.

I'm not saying that you should keep people on to fit demographic markets. That would be just as bad. However, this was a decision based on a reality show formula: audiences want to see Ryans not Elizabeths.

You might want to think about whether this assumption is correct and if this might alienate a significant part of your audience. It might be in your best interest to reexamine the biases in the formula you are using. For additional insight on this read page seven of the Assistant's Blog.

relationship baggage
I stayed in my last relationship with Project Runway despite the irritants of Vincent and Jeffrey because the show also had someone with the intelligence and wit like Laura a few others who were a lot of fun to watch and because the quality of the work was so high.

But I'm just not getting that kind of reward from you.

Although I do appreciate your effort in other ways, ahem.

Very cheeky of you.

At least it is nice to think that you did this for audience members like me.

Hey, leave me my delusions.
Who knows? I might still post about you. But it can't be like before. It will have to be briefer, less intense.

I might just read the blogs instead of watching. It might be better if I don't see you for a while. I'll see how I feel next week.

I can always save to disk and watch later, fast-forwarding through commercials and the boring parts. I know you feel used when people do that but it's your own fault when you are not making the effort to be interesting enough to be watched live.

We can still be friends. I'll check in to see how things are -- we share too many friends in common.

So, I'm sure I'll see you around.

how do you solve a problem like carisa?

It started with neither Ryan nor Goil respecting her experience and skills. Then Ryan was a condescending jerk. Goil claimed to be the mediator but he did not stand up to Ryan's rudeness, did not say anything about their bickering, said yes to both of them on the same request and thus made the situation worse. If you wanted to pick the worst team leader in this challenge I don't think it was Elizabeth.

In his interview Goil said "Larisa is not a team player." First of all, how much of team player is Goil when he doesn't know the name of the person on his team? Secondly, Carisa was a great team player with Erik, who treated her as an equal.

In his interview Ryan insulted her with his "she takes up space" comment, which was obviously a dig about her weight. I'm sorry but that crosses the line. I'm bringing out the heavy ammo: He likes to imagine he is a Henry Rollins style artiste. This episode demonstrated that he is not just a poser but a total wanker.

Good for you Carisa for standing your ground even if it means you get called "not a team player." Women are only "team players" when they don't stand up for themselves.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

herding cats

This week I became the crazy cat lady. I'm actually a dog person so go figure.
  • Arts: Fun facts about Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess; most are true. Includes shrine floor plans and links to amulets.
  • Letters: The two greatest poems about pet cats
  • Shop : You can commit a double Margaret Russell offense and decorate using a pillow with my Siamese cat in a hat design.

Also: my Episode 2 Child's Play posts begin directly below, in the following order:& Thanks to everyone for your comments. I am enjoying the conversation.