Party Like It’s 2008!

If you haven’t heard today is one of the biggest days of the year for partying – next to office Christmas parties and of course, your release from jail on DUI charges.

While many prefer the cold crisp nighttime air to bring in the New Year, others plan to hold joyous small gatherings inside pre-heated buildings.

Me, I’ll go wherever alcohol is offered free to me.

As a service to those who still are planning their parties, I’m here to offer some ideas to make the night go by a little smoother. You see I love holding my own small get-togethers. I usually end up playing bartender at mine (by choice). But there’s just something about having family, friends, good food and wine and lively conversation that makes every gathering much more memorable.

These are my own suggestions I have learned over time. Yes, I started out by reading everything I could get my hands on, but now I do my own thing. And so can you.

1.      Pick a theme:

·        Obviously this one is easy this time, but usually I try to do something different each time. For instance, one included side dishes containing alcohol, yet then my cocktails tasted like food items. Aw – sneaky, yet oh so cool twist huh!?

2.      Remember everyone is different:

·        This notion is important; not everyone drinks alcohol. Some may not like the taste of it, some are designated drivers, some may be allergic, whatever the reason make sure to serve other types of drinks such as soda or juice.

·        The soda idea actually brings up another unforeseen quandary – not everyone likes diet, so serve both regular and diet.

3.      Finger foods over larger dishes.

·        I served grilled pina colada shrimp, roasted nuts and some other items. The point is it makes it much easier for guests to mingle with smaller foods. Also, smaller portions allow for more selection on the guest’s part; they don’t get stuck with one food.

·        Look through cookbooks one month before to see what’s out there. Maybe it will spark something in you. As time gets closer though, start narrowing down your selections to just a few. My boyfriend and I decided to cook four different dishes each – so guests had a total of eight dishes each to choose from.

4.      For God’s sakes write down/copy your recipes or tack them to a cabinet while cooking. You don’t need to be looking it while you’re talking with your guests.

5.      And most important to me: just have fun, but also polite. You invited these people into your home to share a few special moments with you. Enjoy the time, but also treat it with the respect it deserves.

See those weren’t hard and they’re pretty easy to follow.

Happy New Year!

(or I’ll just see you tomorrow!)

  

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30 Seconds From Death

bhutto-waves-to-crowd-smiles.jpg

I was immediately saddened upon learning yesterday’s assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  

I will admit I don’t know that much about her, but I can already see her democratic ideals in the eyes of her followers’ and her lasting impression on several world leaders.  

It has since been learned that she died from a skull fracture, not bullet wounds as first reported. The country’s Interior Minister blames al-Qaida and the Taliban for her untimely savage death. 

And it wasn’t just her, her unidentified suicide attacker took 20+ people along with him. Another 23 people were killed in resulting riots at train stations and banks.  

As I write this, there are no plans to postpone Pakistan’s January 8th elections. Even Parade Magazine still plans to publish an interview with the opposition leader later next month.  

In some ways, it’s almost like she’s still here.  

Until you turn on the news and see the fanatical expression of mourning from hundreds of thousands of people all crowded on city streets and at her burial site near her slain father. 

I can’t stop thinking if she only hadn’t stood up to greet supporters she would still be alive today. But who’s to say if the suicide bomber’s blast wouldn’t mangle her car anyway? Or if someone would push through the massive throng and shoot through the bulletproof window? She allowed herself to be vulnerable, granted for a noble cause – democracy – but in the end her personal quest might have killed her. 

Drudgereport.com posted a picture of Bhutto on their front page with the title ’30 Seconds From Death’ directly underneath. She’s surrounded by supporters, is smiling and oblivious to what’s planned for her immediate future.  

This simple yet poignant picture displays two extremes: a conspicuous woman defying destiny by reaching out to ‘her’ people and the seething invisible evil that lurks nearby.  

Her family legacy is marred by corruption and violence. Bhutto’s father was hanged in 1979 on conspiracy charges. One brother died in France under mysterious circumstances while a second one was fatally shot.  

From that alone, one would wonder why she would take such a public job. Because as she once said, “I didn’t choose this life; it chose me.” 

Her life reads like any modern political journal – Bhutto was educated at both Harvard and Oxford. She became the Muslim world’s first female prime minister – twice and was twice removed from that office on corruption charges.  

Aside from that what I learned from Thursday’s assassination is that I should apply some of her beliefs to my personal life – half a world away from terrorist turmoil Pakistan. 

First, be brave. Do what I want without repercussion from others. If you don’t like how I live, too bad. I shouldn’t have to answer to anyone for my morals (or lack thereof should that also be the case.) I am the holder of my own destiny. 

Second, go after what you want. Don’t just sit there, chase your dream and grab it. It’s there for the taking. If you don’t, someone else will gladly take your place for you.   

And thirdly, (and this is the one I’m starting to harp on the most) – live in the moment. She (and we) had no idea what lay ahead for her. But she lived her last moments bathed in supporter acceptance and enjoyed the moment.  

And then it suddenly ended for her and 20+ others.  

You can’t control others, your final day or taxes, but you can control your deathbed confessions. Don’t let regret rule your life.

Get Ready for New Top Ten Lists!

From the New York Times:

Letterman Makes Deal With Striking Writers

By BILL CARTER

Published: December 28, 2007
David Letterman has secured a deal with the striking Writers Guild of America that will allow him to resume his late-night show on CBS next Wednesday with his team of writers on board, executives of several late-night shows said today.Most of television’s late-night shows are scheduled to return to the air that night after being off for two months due to the strike, but it is likely that only Mr. Letterman, and the show that follows him on CBS hosted by Craig Ferguson, will be supported by material from writers.

The reason is that Mr. Letterman’s company World Wide Pants, owns both those shows. The company announced two weeks ago that it was seeking a separate deal with the guild that would permit the two World Wide Pants show to return to the air. The talks seemed to be at an impasse until today when the deal was completed.

A spokesman for Mr. Letterman’s company declined to comment.

Beyond the obvious advantage of having writers to supply comedy material that other shows will not have, Mr. Letterman’s and Mr. Ferguson’s shows will likely gain a benefit by being able to book guests who will not appear on shows still being struck by the Writers Guild.

Representatives of some of the other late-night shows have reported difficulty booking some the top-name actors in Hollywood, who have indicated reluctance to appear on shows whose networks are still among the entities the writers are striking against.

Numerous big-budget movies have opened during the holiday season without having opportunities for their stars to promote them on the late-night shows as they normally would. The World Wide Pants shows may now be able to book many of those stars, some of whom may still resist appearing on the other shows, like NBC’s “Tonight” with Jay Leno and “Late Night” with Conan O’Brien, and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

All three of those shows are scheduled to return Wednesday without writers.

From People Magazine:

Letterman, Ferguson to Return – with Full Writing Staffs

FRIDAY DECEMBER 28, 2007 07:10 PM EST

Letterman, Ferguson to Return – with Full Writing Staffs | David Letterman

Just in time for the New Year, some fresh laughs will soon be back on late night television.

The Writers Guild and David Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants, which produces Late Night with David Letterman and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, reached an independent agreement Friday.

Those two shows will be allowed “to return to the air with their full writing staffs,” according to a statement from the Guild. “This is a comprehensive agreement that addresses the issues important to writers, particularly New Media,” which refers to the use of their work on the internet.

“I am grateful to the WGA for granting us this agreement,” Letterman said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “We’re happy to be going back to work, and particularly pleased to be doing it with our writers.”

Kellene’s Observations for 2007

With 2008 every so slightly creeping up on me, I feel the need (along with everyone else) to review the past year in excruciating detail – or at least in the form of some kind of list.  

For more professional lists or critical thoughts turn to Time magazine or Newsweek. There will be no seriousness with my observations.  

Most shocking moment: the NASA Lisa Nowak love triangle. Remember when she was normal? I don’t care either; her life is much juicier after she drove 800 miles to try to attack and kidnap a woman considered a romantic rival. 

My most stylish moment is not a moment per say, it is more like a continuum. Tim Gunn. Have you seen this man? He is impeccable in every aspect of his life and now his quiet life has been outed by Bravo’s hugely successful Project Runway. He is no doubt someone to look up to in both politeness and fashion-wise. 

2007’s Best Show: House. Period. From May’s cliffhanger of Dr. House’s three assistants leaving him (one quitting, one resigning and one being fired) to now House choosing three new replacements, the show has continued to stay fresh among tough competition from like 27 cases of money to show contestants losing weight on Survivor China. Oddly the current writer’s strike has wet my palette for more.  

My guilty pleasure: every damn show produced this year on VH1. I grew up on MTV and viewed VH1 as an older out-of-dated version of the cutting edge channel. But now, that has come full circle with The Pickup Artist, Best Week Ever to Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and America’s Most Smartest Model. Yes, they are not highly intellectual, but they are great voyeurism television.  

Word of the year: Recall. Need I say more? Toys, dog food, beef, cars, lead….it goes on and on….. 

Website of the year: perezhilton.com. I am guilty of going to this site a lot. But that’s not the reason why I’m choosing this item. How many times have you heard about this? This guy was everywhere you looked.  

It Guy: Barack Obama, Bret Michaels and a relatively unknown guy named Al Gore. Heard he won some awards this year or something…. 

It Girl: Britney to Paris to LiLo to Katherine to Jamie. Not bad for a full Spears circle.  

Concert of the year: Um, of course it’s Led Zeppelin. Are you crazy? And no, I didn’t go. A close second for me would have to be Genesis. Waited since 1986 to see them. And I finally did during a heinous downpour at the outside Hollywood Bowl. I nearly cried when I saw Chester Thompson. The Who would also be up there for me. God, how old do I sound? Still don’t know why they chose Reno as their starting point for their latest world tour, but sure…why not?  

Movie of the year: American Gangster. I was in Chinese Grauman’s Theater watching Ocean’s 13 when I first saw this trailer. Oh my god, it took my breath away. Or maybe it was the shear size of the movie screen. Either way it screams Oscar in oh so many ways.

Food of the year: Recently I ate a short braised rib in Chianti with garlic mashed potatoes and pan fried veggies at Mimi’s Café. It was single handily the best meal I’ve ever eaten. And no, you can’t get it anymore; apparently it was a seasonal thing.   

Music: I’m going to have to go with everyone else on this one – Amy Winehouse. I know BriWi mentioned it a long time ago in his blog, but the last couple of months her tunes have just become catchier and catchier every time you listen. It’s like ear candy.  

And my big breakthrough moment: the recent migraine that made me bed ridden for four straight days. On a positive note though, it’s made me healthier and more conscious of what I put into my body. I think the culprit is chocolate. And I love chocolate. The smell, how it melts in my mouth…..well no more! I don’t ever want to go through that pain again.  

As a result, I’m drinking water – yes! – more water, looking at yoga as exercise and eating healthier. I noticed one day while my boyfriend was eating his bacon, sausage, eggs with cheese and crispy hash browns, I could not help but notice how greasy his entire selection was. It shocked me; I was (and admittedly somewhat still am) like that.  

As an employee at a news station, goodies come in from all sorts of places for the holidays. Most of it being chocolate. I didn’t indulge this year. I learned just because it’s there doesn’t mean I need to it.  

I also want to thank everyone who has been reading my words. I hope to bring you more interesting thoughts and a way better looking blog next year. I’m still learning this whole thing, but I already feel like I’m behind. Some of these other blogs blow my non-consistent font sized thoughts out of the water!  

I also invite you to leave comments. Tells me what you are thinking and how I’m doing.     

Report: Letterman to Return to TV Next Week

From NY1 News:

Top Stories
Letterman Reportedly Set To Return To The Air Next Week
December 26, 2007David Letterman is reportedly planning to join his late night colleagues in returning to the air next week, with or without his writers.

According to Wednesday’s New York Post, the New York-based Letterman is expected to announce tomorrow that his show will return January 2nd.

Letterman’s production company has not been able to finalize a deal with the Writers Guild of America, whose members have been on strike since November 5th.

Fellow late night hosts Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel will also be back on the air next Wednesday.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are scheduled to come back on January 7.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas….

‘Twas the night before Christmas

and shoppers are getting last minute ‘desperate’ gifts

from those waiting for mail deliveries to anxiety ridden parents causing near marital rifts.

Malls nationwide continue to see slumping sales,

holiday Budweiser ads still feature the Clydesdales  

Forgotten seems to be the true spirit of the season,

so why aren’t there any moral Christmas movies starring Liam Neeson?

Meteorologists predict this year a white Christmas,

but living in the desert, I’ll believe it when I see it or I’ll get pissed.

 

Decorative pine garlands lay across the mantle of my fireplace,

as my cats scratch and jump wildly at my mistletoe base.

 

Midnight mass broadcast on every TV channel,

while I sip hot cocoa waiting for Santa in my flannel.

World peace remains to be a far fetched wish,

but for now let me enjoy this holiday leaving cookies for Santa in a dish.

A Whole New Kind of Gateway Drug

     I’ll admit it, I have an addiction.

     During a recent buffet dinner at one of Reno’s casinos I saw it everywhere. It made my eyes light up like jackpots – black, brown, blue, satchel, hobo, pockets, hoops, small and large.

     My addiction started during a January trip to Park City, Utah to see the Sundance Film Festival. Near our hotel was Mecca – a factory outlet that included a Coach store.

     “No bigs,” I thought. I would drag my mother there to just look, that’s all.

     Minutes later, my debit card rang up the hideous amount. My jaw dropped at the site, but it was too late, I was hooked after my first shopping hit.

     Ten months later, I now own four very expensive purses (or a full week’s vacation to Hawaii) and I still want to get more! What am I talking about? I want to own the whole damn store! But I can’t do that, I do have to think of life survival type things like…well when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.

     I have actually come to a point where I think I want to try to create some handbags on my own. Give them out as Christmas gifts or something. Granted I have to learn how to sew them first, but that’s not the point.

     I was warned it’s an expensive addiction, and in all fairness, it’s not like I smoke or do hard-core drugs; I do drink a lot of caffeinated Coke though.

     A few months ago a Coach store opened in Reno – actually the same day as Williams-Sonoma, but that’s another day, another story, and another addiction to talk about later.

    The women there have since even given me a nickname – “the girl with the red purse.” Seems the one my mother pushed onto me in Utah is rare. It even gets more attention than I do.

     “You have to see this Mary!”

     “Oh my God, where did you get that? It’s so cute!”

     “She got it in Utah.”

     “I didn’t even know they made them in that color.”

      You get the point.

     Who knew strangers would obsess over some stylish and expensive threads? It must be an extension of my impeccable personal style. Maybe I should wear my ratty sweats out in public more often!