It's Over Already?

Ah, the first annual Ndel's What the Heck Year Was That?

The Year of the Earth Ox evokes stability and dependability. The Ox is a practical work animal, while the Earth element is steady and firm. Together, they create a kind of plodding energy that can be exasperating. Still, progress will be made in 2009; it will occur in slow, barely perceptible increments. If you stay patient and keep your nose to the grindstone, you will make the most of this ponderous energy.

Oxen place great emphasis on authority and tradition. Therefore, 2009 will lay an especially heavy burden on world leaders. Government officials, CEOs and community organizers will be expected to correct society's ills. If they slack off, they'll be thrown by the wayside. Substance is
always favored over style in the Year of the Ox.

My thoughts are stream of consciousness, so please forgive. And rant. Agree or disagree. Just be, okay?

The World

There is a black man in the White House and he ain't guarding nobody but the people of the United States. Barack Obama is da man. I still think this. Totally understand the Nobel Peace Prize. He is freakin' awesome and I give him an A-. I give him the minus for not totally dismantling some of those Bush era big brother tactics. I am guessing we will have to demand that from him. Let's do it.

What's up with Netanyahu? I think he's a bit jealous of Barack, his wife is hotter.

Was it a conspiracy that both Putin and Obama had shirtless pics published?

Hilary is doing a great job as Secretary of State.

Bill has behaved himself. I'm surprised.

The Idiot Box

Reality peeps really should be considered challenged. I am sick of OctoMom, Jon and Kate, assholes who kill their ex-wives, super duper assholes who put their kids up to lying to the entire nation, as well as big bootied, no talent beauties that parlay that beauty into weekly tell alls. I don't care that Bill and Guiliana are married. Or that there are survivors or dinks travelling the world. I'm okay with dangerous jobs and pet rescuers, but please, spare us the psychopaths, er, I mean attention whores.

What? NCIS is the most watched TV series? How the heck did that happen? It's not interesting, the stories are simple minded. What's the big deal? And don't get me started on why aren't uniformed people investigating Navy crimes... No matter how cute I think LL and Chris are, that show is stupid too.

I am a Gleek. I love Glee. Jane Lynch is a national treasure. I haven't even seen the debut episode that
everyone says is much better than the episodes I have seen. I highly recommend it. And don't ask me if it's like High School Musical. I have no idea.

Mercy on NBC is underrated. It's smart, funny, realistic with just enough soap opera to keep you guessing. Try checking it out. I also like HawthoRNe. I know that the critics are trashing it, but Michael Vartan is almost always worth tuning in for.

I can't wait for the last season of Lost. Technically, I know this is a 2010 item, but I just wanted to prepare you for my obsession.

I am so over Grey's Anatomy. I might be over Fringe; I haven't decided.

True Blood is still great. I still don't get Entourage. I am mad I no longer get Showtime so I did not see the last season of Dexter or Weeds.

I love my DVR; it's the only way I can keep up with all this drivel.

The Big Screen

My movie going dropped off significantly since Cam came on the scene, but I got out to a few flicks this year and my favorite was:

Star Trek. Yup, most fun I had this year at the movies. And I am no fangirl. Although I'm still not happy with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Uhura. However, on the flip side, I am very happy with the casting of Chris Pine.

I also enjoyed The Proposal, District 9, The Soloist, Precious and The Princess & the Frog.

I have yet to see Up in the Air and Avatar. The little, independent films will have to wait for viewing on cable.

While I am on the subject of movies, why do they keep putting Miley Cyrus in movies? She can't act and she can't sing. For that matter, why do I keep seeing Amy Adams in films? I don't see anything special about her either. I have yet to see a Nancy Meyers film that I like (It's Complicated), but I think that the NY & LA cognoscenti like to see themselves in her films (upper middle class to rich, urbane white folk). And no matter what anyone says, Wolverine was possibly the worst movie ever made. With Hugh Jackman. With Ryan Reynolds. With Liev Schreiber. How can a movie with so many hotties fail so utterly and completely?


I listen to stuff from 20 years ago, so I have no comment. Darn kids' music these days sounds like noise to me.

Popular Culture

If Tiger was married to a black woman and his mistresses were black, we wouldn't have heard shit about it.

Twitter really is a good thing. I get a lot of my news from it, as well as tweets from people I don't know, like Ari Melber or Hal Sparks.

Facebook is probably a bad thing, but I like it. Best Facebook crossover tweet ever - "I'm gonna grow pot on my Farmville patch and sell it on Mafia Wars" - unknown.

It's probably not a good thing that Comcast is buying NBC/Universal. This trend in media consolidation has to stop somewhere.

When is the Ugg boot fad gonna be over? For that matter, when did the huge shoulders from the 80s come back?

I miss Paul Newman.
He made me feel good about the world. Especially when I was eating his Raspberry-Walnut dressing.

The food truck trend in LA is most satisfying; especially for my belly. Keep 'em coming. The good ones will stay in business and thrive. Side note, if you haven't tried Kogi yet, do, it's darn good.

The burger trend in LA is a close second. Yum. It's kind of unbelievable how many great burgers can be had in LA these days. Guess I won't be becoming a vegetarian anytime soon.

Molecular gastronomy is here to stay. And a good thing. That shit tastes great.

At least with the economy in the tank, and prices low, I could afford to take a vacation for the first time in seven years.

In closing, in spite of everything, 2009 was a pretty good year. I can't say I'm sorry to see it go, but I am really looking forward to next year. Perhaps Mr. Right will become Mr. Right Now. Let's wish on it.


The Prudent Gal - Shopping til Dropping

One of my favorite days of the year is the day after Christmas. It's traditionally the day that I spend with my girls with an early start, bagels and coffee at the fresh market at Neiman Marcus. Then we shop. That's when some of the best sales of the year can be had. Oh, and on one day in January, the sales are good too. But you have to be careful to not wait too long so that the selection is still good. I generally find that sweet spot is somewhere between the January 6th & the 14th. I really like beautiful things and that requires shopping, although it (the shopping) gets me in trouble (credit cards anyone?), so I haven't been doing much of it this year. However, with the whole holiday season, I've been getting out more and I've come to realize that I have a few shopping tips I can pass along as my gift to you, Dear Reader.

1. Keep all your coupons, gift cards and such in your car so you'll always have them with you. Actually, keep the gift cards in your wallet. And another important point on gift cards, if your balance falls below $10, in California, the retailer can give you the change back in cash (check your state for their laws, but then again, I do live in an awesome, if not broke, state). Of course, most cashiers don't know this, so you have to ask. I do this without fail, because I refuse to leave cash on the table for the retailer or spend more than I want to in order to "eat up" the balance. Skinny Gal thinks that you should be able to consolidate different gift card balances onto one card. And I have to say I agree. Retailers & credit card issuers, are you listening?

2. Shop early. Try to make the week night preview days for sales. Lunch hour excursions work too. And park at the not so popular side of the mall and walk to your destination. Finding a place to park can be a time sucker.

3. Figure out what your style is, what color schemes you like. Once you do that, you'll be able to zero in on groups of what pleases you on a rack and skip over the stuff that you know you won't like. Also, pick out the lines and designers that you like (I like Burberry, Alfani, INC, Jones New York, Missoni, Faconnable) and that fit your body type and taste. Look for those lines on sale.

4. Go larger. It's better to get a really good piece of clothing larger and have it altered down rather than buy smaller hoping you'll lose those pesky 15 pounds. Besides, you'll look slimmer in the larger size. Smaller sizes just make you look like a stuffed sausage.

5. Shopping the really good sales at department stores (think 50% off lowest marked price) is better than starting off at cheap stores. Have you seen the clothing prices at Sears? They are ripping off poor people! They oughta be ashamed! Tip: TJ Maxx, Marshalls & Ross are great places to shop for kids clothing and toys.

6. Look for the no interest, no payment deals for big ticket items. Divide the total cost in whatever the free term (12, 24 months) and pay that amount each month. Credit for free. It's like cash and well...

7. Develop your peripheral vision, then you can spot items, racks, and interesting stores that you might not see otherwise. I saw three stores, a stairwell, one dress and one restaurant that my sister and niece just did not see at all.

8. Don't be afraid to spend for sturdy, timeless pieces. And jewelry is almost always a good buy, especially when marked down.

9. If you are drawn to something, get it. Easier to return it, then go back and find it gone.

10. If you like it a pair of shoes, shirt or sweater, get it in multiple colors. Especially if the fit is good.

11. Do a little research before (The Google!) to figure out where the item you want is and about how much it costs. Better yet, the item just might be cheaper online. Although, I am one of those people that likes to see check out the quality of an item before I buy and that's impossible online.

12. If you come across something that you think would be perfect for a friend or family member, get it, no matter the time of year. Oh, and give it to them right then. If it's perfect for them, they'll forgive you not getting them gifts at other times. This one comes via the Best Friend, Amber. We never get each other birthday or Christmas gifts, but when we see something we think is perfect for the other, we give it.

13. You can't take it with you; money or things. So enjoy life. Besides, love is free to give and receive. Well, sometimes.