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Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Long-Awaited Ugly Bridesmaids' Dress Contest

Not coming to a reception near you

Okay, it's Saturday night, and I'm supposed to be getting some work done. However, I can't get in to the remote system that I have to, and IT at work doesn't have live callings until 4 PM tomorrow. As a result, I got some laundry done, slept excessivley, and decided to catch up on some of my long-promised blog threads.

So, without further ado, let me announce:


Yes, folks, it's the end of summer, and many of us have gone to at least one wedding. Now, one universal issue that most ladies have is knowing what to wear--if it's a daytime wedding, one worries if what one has is "too formal," while fancy-schmancy evening weddings can often mean many pained hours of shoppinig for something "dressy" that one will actually wear more than once.

Of course, best men and bridesmaids have the choice of what they are wearing made for them. For the guys, it's usually just some variation on gaudy cummerbund-and-tie sets on a tux, although I've seen wedding pix of a full groomsmen's party in kilts (a choice which was made apparently without any consideration for the participants' age, body weight, or race). However, this kind of cruell and unusual treatment is usually only reserved for the ladies.

In the US anyway, bridesmaids can sometimes get off easy, and are only asked to wear a dress of a certain type or color (ie "strapless black, long skirt" or "dove grey, any cut."). However, most weddings are more along the lines of what my best friend from college, B., has attended over the past 10 years.

B. is D.A.R. out of Boston, has a BA and her PhD in advanced logic mathamatics, and has gone to an average of 4 weddings a year since graduating college--a number that has slowed down only in the past year or so as her last few holdout friends and neighbors tie the knot. In many of these, she has been a bridesmaid. In all but one of these, she has had to endure the dreaded Bridesmaids Dress. B. is also rather tall--almost 6 feet--and very buxom. Almost nothig "off the rack" fits her. Fortunatley, she's also a skilled seamstress (everyone in her family, including her dad and two brothers, sews), and can do most of her own alterations. Nevertheless, she winds up spending upwards of at least a grand most years for dresses that she knows she will likely never wear again--most so hideous that she can't even shorten them, de-trim them, or otherwise salvage them for any kind of later use.

Now, B. has friends and neighbors that have been through this also. So, one day, she actually had an Ugly Bridesmaids Dress Tea. Five of her best galpals got together and wore their ugliest bridesmaids dresses for a boozy midafternoon tea party. Entries included a tiny-floral-print, toga-style sateen number that would make Kate Moss look ready for gastric bypass surgery, and a magenta off-the-shoulder mass of ruffles that looked like either something a drag queen imitating Carmen Miranda would wear, or a giant ruffled sea slug intent on devouring the wearer. No door prize was offered, but she may hold another one with either a "how to sew" book or a gift certificate to a local clothing retailer up for grabs.

And now, for The Rules:

First and Most Important: This contest is done without any guarantees of its completion, or of any prize being actually delivered. The News Blog does not accept any responsibility for any damages, real or imagined, caused by anyone sending in their picture or our use of it. All entries will be considered as bona fide and sent in in good faith. The News Blog reserves the right to cancel, change, or withdraw this contest at any time. All pictures sent to The News Blog become the property of The News Blog. Entries may be posted on The News Blog by News Blog staff. All entrants shall indemnify and hold harmless The News Blog for any damages arising from The News Blog's soliciting, receiving, or use of any contest materials by entrants. The News Blog cannot and will not verify the identity of any sender or persons shown in any pictures entered. The News Blog offers this contest for entertainment purposes only. In other words, everyone chill out and have fun here, and nobody be a jerk and send in pix of folks that people may not want to see on the Web. If you do, it's not our problem; we're not mindreaders. If your picture winds up in our Inbox and you didn't send it, we're sorry--take it up with your new ex-friend but don't call us.

By submitting a picture to this contest, participants warrant that they have read and understood all of the rules of this contest, that they have permission from all parties concerned to send in said picture, and that they understand that said picture may appear on the News Blog or on a survey sub-site created by The News Blog as part of the contest.

All pictures must be sent in as attachments to an e-mail, and must be in either a GIF or JPEG format. If you feel especially angelic, you will pre-format it for the Web. All must be under 1 meg, and should actually be substantially smaller. Anything really big that clogs our contest inbox may be deleted without being viewed.

Be sure to include a valid return e-mail address in the event that you are the winner.

It is highly suggested that you block out any faces if you don't want it plastered up here for the world to see in the event that you're a finalist. However, once you send it in, The News Blog will NOT doctor pix for you. Send it out only if you want the world to potentially see it as-is.

It is also highly recommended that you be the person wearing the dress in the picture--no fair raiding your relative's wedding pix for material. Guys, if you are daring, we WILL accept pix of you wearing the dress, even if you didn't wear it to the wedding. However, this is not a Drag Thing--it's not about you, it's about the dress.

Feel free to also include in your e-mail an explanation of the wedding, and why your dress is Especially Hideous.

Oh yeah, what you've all been waiting for: The winner may receive $50, either in the form of a money order, a gift certificate, or a PayPal payment. Foreign entrants are welcome, but the final cash value will be $50 US dollars in value, as per the exchange rate of whatever day we get off our butts and send out the prize item.

All entries must be emailed to:
jenblog-dresscontest at <---obviously, replace the "at" with "@" and close up the spaces.

All entries must be received by October 31st, 2005. The winner will be selected either by The News Blog staff, or possibly by a group vote depending upon the number of entries received and/or the motivational levels of The News Blog staff.

The winner will be announced by November 30th, 2005, and probably substantially earlier if we aren't too busy.

Having said that, have fun and let the horror show begin!

Oh, and as a postcript: My friend B. finally tied the knot a few years ago. It was a sensible wedding with 50 guests at a small historical inn in Massachusetts. Her Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids all wore different dresses, with the only requirement that they be light tan, beige, or peach, cut with a long skirt, and of a somewhat drapey material. Everyone looked wonderful in their choices. B. bought a wedding dress at a huge warehouse in Texas (where she last taught), and did the final trimming herself. As a result, she didn't spend enough to buy a small car on her dress and she still looked radiant. We look forward to seeing what you send us! Watch this area. We may repost this periodically to remind y'all. --Jen

posted by Jenonymous @ 12:00:00 PM

12:00:00 PM

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Flavor of a Memory

Buttered Popcorn DumDums and Other Powerful Truth Serums

Jenonymous here. I just got in from a somewhat surreal event at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City. I won't get into the details of the purpose of the event, other than that it was in Dylan's cute private party room, was a sort of networking event, may figure prominently in the Jewish Dating Scene thread when I get around to writing it, and may be liftable directly into the next season of "Sex and the City," a show which I despise (I actually ran into my young female gynecologist). A chocolate fountain and vodka was also involved. But I digress.

The real story of this low-fee private party was a) to see Dylan's private party room and most of all b) being able to shop in Dylan's without hordes of tourists and kids running all over the damn place. For those of you who say, "But Jen, you damn misanthrope, don't go to a fucking GIANT CANDY STORE if you don't like kids or crowds," I say you are indeed correct. Hence my choice of going to an evening event where alcohol was served. To continue....

Naturally, there was a discount for bulk candy that night. And, to be honest, I was like...a kid in a candy store. I was astonished by the (albeit marked-up) selection of candies from my childhood that I thought I would never see again--what made me first grab a basket was an ancient novelty from literally my toddler days--a foil-wrapped chocolate lipstick and ring that I haven't seen since I was 4 or 5, which I believe that is from Germany.

Now, you have to realize that Dylan's specializes in discontinued and hard-to-find candy, as well as colors and flavors of established brands normally available only through corporate orders or specialty mail order (want some canteloupe bubble gum or hot pepper candies from Mexico?). Naturally, they have a full spectrum of M&Ms and every jellybean flavor ever made.

And Dum-Dums.

Every flavor of Dum-Dum ever made.

Now, one of my favorite flavors for hard candy is butterscotch. For most of my adult life, I always associate butterscotch with a sweet-salty flavor that is deep, resonant, almost musky, almost smoky.

And hundreds of sundaes and bags of drugstore candy later, I still haven't found the elusive flavor that I was looking for.

Until tonight.

Staring me in the face was a self-serve chute full of...buttered popcorn Dum-Dums.

To our foreign readers: Dum-Dums are small, almost gumball-sized balls of candy stuck on a stick; a sort of mini-lollipop. They come in many odd flavors such as pineapple and root beer. Oddly enough, their two biggest fan groups seem to be very small children and adults trying to quit smoking (anecdotally, I've heard that the thick stick and slow dissolve time is what is their attraction to the latter group).

As a very small child--3 years old--I remember my Mom and all of my neighbors' moms having a bag of assorted Dum-Dums in the house.

Seeing the wrapper, I suddenly realized that...THIS...was how I first tasted "butterscotch"--as "buttered popcorn." Yeah, they have oversweet butterscotch also, but this was...different.

I immediatley added a small self-serve bag with about 5 lollipops in it to my basket.

Even though I was exhausted and not particularly hungry after the chocolate fountain at the event (into which guests had dipped pretzels, marshmellows, and cut-up strawberries), I had one on the subway the second I got settled in my seat.

And then the memories came flooding back.

I am in our suburban kitchen. I can see the almond-colored floor and appliances, before we moved to a house that had the then more fashionable avacado color scheme.

I can see my Mom, and my Grandmother's place in Islip. I see my Grandfather taking one from the bag and replacing his ubiquitous toothpick with a Dum-Dum. I swear, I remember at this moment that he had a strawberry DumDum.

And I remember the flooding, warm, expanding taste buttered popcorn done as candy.

For that one train ride home, I was 3 again.

The taste and the memories came rushing back. Salt...SALT was what the cheap imitations were missing, what made them incomplete. As I sat back in my seat, I remembered striped Danskin toddler's clothes and my Mom's tennis dress and her Indian-print caftans and my sandbox and my blue poncho-and-beret set that she croched for me and my first school bus and Glen, the nice boy from my nursery school who also went to county day camp with me who always let me share the glitter and the Elmer's when the mean kids tried to hog them.

And I will never waste my money on false pretender butterscotch candies again.

I got other candies--mostly stuff to bring to the office to share, and to let my boss eat during agreement reviews, and to kill my bad monthly sugar cravings. The Dum-Dums will go into my secret stash drawer, however.

BBC News is on, and I need to get up at 6 AM (as usual) tomorrow. But I already know what I will have after lunch tomorrow.

posted by Jenonymous @ 10:42:00 PM

10:42:00 PM

The News Blog home page

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

SushiPizza & PizzaSushi

These are a few of my favorite things....

Jen here.

Okay, so I was stuck in a 6-hour meeting today, which, ironically, was about efficiency. At our lunch break, they fed us pizza. On the same catering cart was food for a meeting from what I guess was a marketing group or somthing--it was sushi. It was promptly taken down the hall. Guess which one I wanted?

Anyway, though, as the meeting was very long and my eroded attention span was very short, I started to think...I like pizza. I like sushi. I have seen things like steak sushi and Peking Duck pizza.

So....why didn't anyone think of sushi pizza or pizza sushi yet? I don't mean fakeass slabs of rice and nori patted round with raw fish on it. I mean an honest-to-goodness way to make real, edible Pizza Sushi or Sushi Pizza.

Being amazingly bored at said meeting, I was fascinated by this idea, and over our pizza lunch, I casually tossed the question out to two of my Office Pals.

"Dunno, Jen, guess it's waiting for you to invent it," said one. "Betcha it already exists," said the other.

Folks, you know what to do...all Google found me was more nasty ricepatty-fakeass-sushipies, and NO evidence of pepperoni on rice blocks.

Tag up ideas, recipes, proof of existence, etc. here.

And enjoy the surreal blog-break from the usual disasters....

posted by Jenonymous @ 8:53:00 PM

8:53:00 PM

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