August 25, 2012

August 22, 2012

Michael Phelps, Louis Vuitton... Fail?

All-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps has just released an ad for luxury leather goods maker Louis Vuitton, photographed by superstar photographer Annie Leibowitz.

Phelps is at the top of the world again after the recent London Olympics... Leibowitz is considered best of the best celebrity photographers... Vuitton has featured everyone from Angelina Jolie to Jennifer Lopez to Mikhail Gorbachev in their advertising campaigns... and yet, meh...

I love Vuitton (who doesn't) and admire Phelps,  but this one doesn't work for me... the swimsuit in a bathtub is wonky, his body looks 37 feet long, the stare is psycho rather than sexy, and hey advertising wizards, we need to see more of the bag!

Do you think this works?

August 19, 2012

Everything I Never Knew I Wanted...

Tonight we saw our first show of the season at the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

The Fringe Festival is HUGE here ... it is the largest and longest-running fringe theatre festival in North America, and will sell over 100,000 tickets this year. It is second largest fringe theatre festival in the world after Edinburgh.  HUGE.

The show we saw was Everything I Never Knew I Wanted, a one-woman show about hope and life and career and bad dates and bad jobs and growing up. It was not a random choice, as that one woman is my cousin Stacey.

While Stacey and I adore each other, we live far apart and haven't seen each other in years. We reunited last week, along with my husband and her director, over Greek food and belly dancing. It was an awesome evening.

In Everything I Never Knew I Wanted Stacey remixes and remasters stories from her life, from childhood to career and romance.  She plays 21 characters and a whale. For the record, I heart the whale boots (see the show, you will know what I mean).

I don't look back much on my life, but Stacy looks back on hers here and it is funny and touching and yes like all of us she has quite the life to look back on... at one point, one of the characters says that character "Stacey" has had 60 jobs and dated 100 men and hasn't found happiness... yet.

We saw this show with two friends, and all four of saw flashes of our own lives on stage. And laughed out loud many times. And admired Stacey's bravery and skill. She is at the fringe all week until Saturday, if you are in Edmonton check it out.

And as many of the characters are my extended family, but their names have been changed, I am still trying to figure out who the wild wacky aunt really is....

August 17, 2012

Happy Blogaversary To Me....!

Today marks three years to the day since I started writing alfred lives here... wowza, that really flew by, now didn't it?

I hardly knew what a blog was three years ago; then we saw the movie Julie & Julia and I was inspired  to write and to learn about blogging.... and yes even Meryl Streep as Julia Child had no such impact to inspire me to cook.

Blogging has, somewhat to my surprise, turned out to be a real community, and one that I am excited to be part of.

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for commenting, thanks for coming back time and again, and thanks for  participating in this little dog-friendly community...

Alfie says WOOF!

August 12, 2012

America You Sexy Bipolar Bitch...

I so wanted to like this book. No, I wanted to love this book. But in the end it's more of a meh...

In America, You Sexy Bitch, virtual strangers, a young Democrat and a young Republican, hit the road in a big-ass RV to bond, explore the USA, and bridge the gap between their worlds.

I know of both the authors vaguely. Michael Ian Black is an actor and comedian (Wet Hot American Summer, TV's Ed). Meghan McCain is the daughter of political icon John McCain and a political commentator. He is a 40-ish married liberal democrat, she is 20-something, outspoken, and pretty liberal for a Republican. I was especially aware of her outspoken support of marriage equality and the NOH8 campaign.

The two met cute on twitter and decided to head out on an adventure together, discover more about the country they both love, and see what they have in common. Oh, and write a book and make some money.

The title is brilliant and funny... and then uh... what the hell happens? The book has interesting bits, but they are bits with a lot of other stuff in there too. It's not funny. And it's not particularly well written.

Michael Ian Black was funny on Ed and uh... oh yeah that is all I really know him from. He is dorky fun on twitter. And comes across as a likable and funny devoted family man in this book, witty but kind of bland.

Meghan McCain charms on talk shows but annoyed the crap out of me here. Besides the me, me, me thing, and the I'm-more-than-a-rich-white-girl thing,  I have a real problem with her rah-rah-rah "guns for all, health care for the rich" Republican flag waving. She is all about drinking, guns, and bashing Obama. Without discussing the issues in any detailed or open-minded way, McCain trashes every liberal she can, from Brad Pitt to Bill Clinton.

In America, You Sexy Bitch we bounce between the author voices, sometimes talking about the same adventure (non-chatty Mormons), sometimes commenting on each other (he's boring, she drinks too much), sometimes talking about issues (guns control, for or against). I guess they are supposed to find common ground but they rarely do.

The book visits and insults everyone from New Orleans residents to Las Vegas strippers to Utah Mormons to vegans to atheists to Elvis fans. He needs some bigger balls, she needs to shut up and listen to someone else's opinion for a change.

Please let these two not do a sequel, and if they do, stay the hell away from Canada.

While I can't really endorse this book, it is fascinating in an "alien planet" kind of way, touring worlds I do not know with people I really do not know. I have put his book down many times. I have gone back to it many times.  I have yet to finish it, and I have yet to give up on it. Bipolar indeed....

Thanks to Mandy’s Blogger Book Club (#MBBCWRW on Twitter) for providing a hardcover copy of America, You Sexy Bitch.

August 10, 2012

The Bourne Damon Legacy

Today is opening day for The Bourne Legacy, the fourth movie in the terrific Bourne series.

Usually I would be excited about this, as I loved the first three, just as I did the Robert Ludlum novels on which they were very loosely based.

This one is not based on a Ludlum book (not a big deal, the others were in title and idea only), and also doesn't star Matt Damon, who was Jason Bourne.

On the upside, it is written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three, and also wrote and directed the excellent Michael Clayton and Duplicity. So there is potential here.

New leading man is Jeremy Renner. And looks like he has a sense of humour about stepping into Damon's super spy shoes. There was never just Matt...

August 8, 2012

Strippers, Christmas, Guns & More...

Every week is different. I guess usually that's a good thing, as it sure keeps life interesting. However, when morons and bigots are involved, I think I could do with a little less 'interesting'...

Here's what I saw and learned last week. And yes I am still looking for a moral to the story...

1- We saw Magic Mike. It wasn't great.

2- We were the only males at Magic Mike. As we walked in, a woman said "Oh Men..." with some surprise, then looked shocked she had actually said it out loud. I assured her it was okay, we're married, and to each other. Got a chuckle.

3- On our almost-weekly trip to Costco, we bought Christmas ornaments. On July 31st. I was amazed they they even have these for sale in July, my husband Monsieur Christmas was ecstatic.

4- Chick-Fil-A, a fast food chain I had hardly heard of, set sales records last Wednesday when people against marriage equality, and people who simply hate gay people, lined up for hours to buy unhealthy food and support the bigots. It was scary to watch and feel the pure hatred. Few things truly astonish me, this somehow did.

5- I tried to write something about the Aurora mass movie theatre killings and couldn't do it. Too sad.

6- I noticed more idiot drivers than usual. Or maybe it is just annoying me more. I don't claim to be the most cautious of drivers; I sure as hell do not text while adjusting the radio and driving forward, oh too-skinny girl in a white dress driving a red Chrysler 300...

7- I have now seen all of the first two seasons of the BBC's Sherlock. It is awesome. Favourite bit so far is the flirting between Sherlock and arch-villain Moriarity... totally gay-tastic.

8- We saw the Ewan McGregor Emily Blunt romance Salmon Fishing In The Yemen on Video-on-Demand. It is sweet and romantic. See it.

9- The "framing expert" at Michael's knows diddly squat about colour, style, framing, or customer service. Who hires these people? Good thing we are gay and have big taste and huge opinions.

10- The weekend came to a close with news coverage on the shooting at a Sikh temple in the US, which leads me again to yes my ultra-liberal pacifist question: ok folks, isn't it time for politicians to start talking about gun control? That doesn't mean no guns, that means some restriction on guns. Something I saw on twitter that resonated: if you don't like the term 'gun control', fine I respect that, let's call it 'massacre prevention'; on a more hopeful note, to support families of the victims, donate here...

August 7, 2012

It's Starbucks Appreciation Day!

Equally Wed, a same-sex marriage magazine, deemed today August 7 as Starbucks Appreciation Day in response to last week's hateful Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Unlike Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks is a leader among companies in promoting equality.

Since then, at Starbucks' request, this day has been expanded to National Marriage Equality Day to also include other companies that support marriage equality, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Kenneth Cole, Nike, and many more. Find more info at

Starbucks has been at the forefront of equal rights, first as an employer offering same-sex spousal benefits for the last 20 years, now up to and including endorsing marriage equality.

I see a "Grande Veranda" coffee with my name on it. And maybe a sandwich.... I will be spending money at Starbucks today... will you?

August 5, 2012

3 Great Summer TV Shows...

Summer TV usually blows, a wasteland of repeats of shows you avoided the first time around, network burn off of cancelled already shows, and reality shows that wouldn't cut it in the regular season, so there is usually little to watch.

So the TV summer activity is usually killing time waiting for great shows like The Good Wife and Downton Abbey to return. This year we do have the Olympics, though I haven't been watching much so far.

So among Big Brother, its clone The Glass House, America's Got Talent, Canada's Got Talent, etc., I was delighted to find three really great shows to watch.

The second season of the BBC's ultramodern Sherlock Holmes reboot was only three movie-length episodes, but it was smart and mysterious and funny and sometimes sexy. It is in repeats already, and out on DVD, seek it out. Is the best thing I have seen on TV so far this year.

After the dreadful reboots of 90210, Charlie's Angels and Melrose Place we all expected this to suck, but it doesn't. The new Dallas is really a continuation of the old Dallas, 20 years later, where the kids are hot greedy scheming 20-somehing's. Evil JR and his eyebrows are back as are Bobby and Sue Ellen. It is rich people fighting over oil, money, and a ranch called Southfork, with a faster pace, more swearing, more skin, and more backstabbing. Love it so far.

The Newsroom
The new HBO show from West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin is smart, fast, preachy, and good but not yet great. If Sorkin can get us to care about the characters like he did in The West Wing, this one will be a winner. Already renewed for season two.

What are you watching this summer?

August 1, 2012

RIP Gore Vidal...

Gore Vidal, author,  playwright, actor, game show and talk show personality, intermittently scandalous celebrity, and out gay man before it was even somewhat comfortable to do so, died yesterday

I have read some of his writing, it was smart and literary and challenging. All words that apparently would describe the man as well.

His historical fiction (such as Lincoln) was brilliant.

A contemporary of Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, Vidal was out and defiant and scandalous. His writing won few awards, he ran for political office and failed, and was defiantly not an activist. He was proudly fond of drink and drugs and promiscuity, all of which he chronicled in his memoir.

He engaged in word fights with everyone, and was witty and smart and cynical. A famous quote was that the happiest words in the English language were "I told you so." He was not warm and fuzzy.

Some of the many Gore Vidal super quotes...

I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.

Every time a friend success, I die a little.

Fifty percent of people don't vote, and fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent.

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

A good deed never goes unpunished.

RIP Mr Vidal, you were one of a kind...