Monday, August 27, 2007

Beach volleyball = eye candy

So, in a monumentally unproductive Sunday afternoon, I watched at least parts of: U.S. Open preview, a WNBA playoff game (NY vs. Detroit), Indycar racing, LPGA golf, the Little League World Series and women's pro beach volleyball. The volleyball match featured the doubly lovely Misty May and Kerri Walsh -- as most televised women's volleyball matches tend to do, being that May-Walsh are the best team in the world and have been for quite some time. During the match, I thought to myself, "Hmmm ... I could use this as an excuse to post the hottest sports photo ever." But I kind of forgot about it. Then what happens tonight? A&E reruns the CSI: Miami episode in which May and Walsh make a cameo (they discover a body buried smack in the middle of their court during a tournament). It appears that the forces of the universe want me to share this photo from their gold-medal celebration at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

It's a beautiful moment, and not just because of all the hot girl-on-girl-in-the-sand action. It was the culmination of their complete domination of the field; they never dropped a set in the entire tournament. Incidentally, I know they are both married and are just pals. The celebration was obviously just the joy of the moment. But that doesn't mean it can't be hot too, right?

I've never had the chance to see these two in person, but I did get to see Misty May play several times back in the day, when she was kicking ass and taking names at Long Beach State. My alma mater was in the same conference as Long Beach, and my first job at the college paper was as the women's volleyball beat writer -- a gig that I, as sports editor, assigned to myself. Clever, non?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Long-term crush: Becky Hammon

Sometimes TV crushes are fleeting. Either you stop watching the show, or the character becomes unlikeable, or it simply gets buried under the weight of other crushes. But some, a special few, go on for years. And years. Such is the case with my all-time No. 1 women's hoops hottie, Becky Hammon. My good friend Mechelle, the best women's basketball writer in the whole world, would call bullshit on this statement and contend that a couple of other people could be my No. 1, based on the pure intensity of the crush. She would know; she's had to listen to me all these years. But I am standing by Hammon because she has stood the test of time. In 10 years, I've watched her go from Colorado State superstar, to undrafted rookie shooting guard who barely made a WNBA roster, to all-star point guard and, this year, legitimate league MVP candidate. (She's not going to win; Lauren Jackson will, but still.)

First, let's talk about skill. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- talent is sexy. Hammon is not the fastest person out there, and she's going to commit a lot of turnovers, but she more than makes up with it with her pure ability to score and to create opportunities, and her excellent floor leadership. She also has a bizarre knack for hitting these wacky circus shots in the lane that have no business going in the basket. Since her trade to San Antonio this season, she's kicked up her game another notch. In the regular season, she averaged career highs of 18.8 points and 5.0 assists. Not bad for a woman who's only 5-foot-6. After today's 86-61 win over the Monarchs, in which Becky scored 20, she has her team one game away from the Western Conference finals. Which, of course, means more TV appearances. Woo hoo!

Now, on to the hot. Obviously, Becky Hammon is an attractive woman. But more than that, she has this sexy, butch swagger that I find irresistable. I know what you're thinking: that cute blonde with the ponytail? Butch swagger? If you've ever heard Hammon speak or seen her off court, you know what I'm talking about. She opens her mouth and a Jeep Wrangler falls out. I'm not saying she is or she isn't ... I'm just saying.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dear cicadas

Dear cicadas:
Please calm down. I enjoy your buzzing in the summer; it makes me think of good times in my childhood -- going camping, staying at my grandparents' farm, and how my parents would always leave the house open at night even when it was really hot. But when you are so loud that I can hear you inside my house, windows shut, TV on, it really freaks me out. I know you're just trying to mate, and I respect that. If I could make that work just by being really loud, I would absolutely do it. Oh, and would you also stop flying into me and clinging onto my shirt? That really, really freaks me out.

Thanks, and good luck with the mating.

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Big Love: I flippin' knew it!

Last night I finally got around to watching this week's episode of Big Love. In it, the diaboloical almost-child-bride Rhonda Volmer threatens goody-two-shoes Heather that she'll tell everyone that Heather is secretly in love with her best friend, Sarah Henrickson (the oldest kid in the polygamous Henrickson family). I had a feeling early in the first season that the show was going to go that direction, when Heather the Super Mormon mentioned to Sarah that she volunteered for a gay youth center. At the time, I thought (OK, hoped) they were going to go the relationship route with these two -- a theory bolstered a few weeks later when they made weird googly eyes at each other at a party.

But any hints the show seemed to be dropping tapered off, and then this season Sarah got a boyfriend. But Heather still seemed pretty intense about Sarah, so I started to think that either it was one-sided, or that maybe I was projecting the whole thing. After all, I used to be Heather -- super-conservative church freak, yet I considered myself to be thoughtful, open-minded and non-judgmental. I was particularly sympathetic to gay issues, trotting out that "love the sinner, hate the sin" business. (I loved the sinner, all right.) I was uncomfortable with and jealous of my best friend's boyfriend, but I never thought to examine why. If someone had confronted me with it like Rhonda did to poor Heather, my face probably would have registered the same expression -- oh, shit. Heather denies it, but you can see the lightbulb turn on. That's not true. Is it? It's not, right? Oh God, it probably is.

Rhonda astutely points out that even if it's not true, people will think it is, so either way, Heather is in trouble. I'm be interested to see where the show goes with this plotline. Wherever it lands, if it gets Tina Majorino (Heather) and Amanda Seyfried (Sarah) more screen time, I'm all about it. I loved those two in Veronica Mars, and it's been fun to watch them work with completely different material. They both have a boatload of talent. I've been particularly impressed with Seyfried, who shows a lot of depth in her portrayal of Sarah. As for Tina Majorino, well -- sometimes I have a TV girlfriend who is way too young for me, and she is one of them. I didn't come out until I was in my 20s, so I get a few retroactive TV crushes on girls my teenage self would have liked, had I been in possession of a clue.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ear crush: Brandi Carlile

Freshly bestowed with an iTunes gift card, I went bonkers and bought two albums from singer-songwriter chick Brandi Carlile, The Story and Brandi Carlile. I will confess that I haven't been listening to the radio much lately (mostly because all of my local stations have slowly turned to crap), but I had heard a few tunes of hers here and there over the last year or so, like "Turpentine," "The Story" and "What Can I Say," all of which are lovely. After listening to several other clips I decided to just buy the lot. So for the past couple of days, I've been constantly listening to both albums. She is really something else. Her voice is beautifully strange (strangely beautiful?), a lot of interesting falsetto. It's technically wack in a really compelling way. Which is why she can get away with covering "Hallelujah," succeeding where others failed (I'm looking at you, Imogen Heap). I haven't had enough time yet to really chew on her lyrics, but I like what I've gathered so far. There are cliche lines here and there, but some interesting turns of phrase as well.

Oh, and hey, guess what? She's totally gay. I didn't even know when I bought the albums. I'm not sure how I missed out on that. Even my straight friend Jen was all over it. I feel especially stupid for not knowing more about her since she appeared on the most recent Indigo Girls album, collaborated with them on a song for The Story, and has been touring with them this summer. Being a good, dutiful lesbian, I love my Indigo Girls, y'all. I am old-school in that regard. (Shut up. They still kick ass. Amy Ray is writing songs these days that make the hairs on my neck stand up. Listen to Prom.) Anyway, my point, which I am taking an ice age to get to, is I think she might have the most commercially marketable sound of any lesbian artist in a good long while. She could be a really big deal.

I'm not calling this a full-blown crush yet since I have never seen her live (or even on Memorex). I've only listened. It's only a matter of time, though. I can tell.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm just not that into her: Jacinda Barrett

So, last night I watched The Last Kiss, one of those Zach Braff joints. Normally I don't like to fall into the mindset of, "You have to be gay/black/Lutheran/a former band geek/whatever to really get this," but I swear you would have to be heterosexual to enjoy that movie. It failed generate any emotion in me except mild irritation. All the women were shrill and hysterical. Nice. To be fair, all the men were about as emotionally mature as your average 9-year-old. But it did get me thinking about one of its stars, Jacinda Barrett. She doesn't do much for me, despite being tall, beautiful, talented and Australian. Is it because I still see her as that model chick from The Real World: London, and thus I can't take her seriously? I don't know. She was perfectly sane when she was on the show, plus it was long before The Real World devolved into non-stop drunken shenanigans, so I don't think the grim spectre of crap reality TV looms over her. I suppose she just leaves me cold, for whatever reason. I just have to take a deep breath and tell myself that it's okay if I don't want every pretty girl to be my girlfriend.

In other news, Lauren Lee Smith also was in the movie, which gives me a perfectly good reason to post a photo of Dana and the Soup Chef. (As if I need a reason. Soup Chef!)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Soon to be back on my screen, thank god

As much as The L Word frustrates me -- and it does, quite often -- it does at times give me moments of great happiness. To wit: Dana and the soup chef, pretty much everything Leisha Hailey says and does, a good Bette rant, the awesomeness of Joyce Wischnia, and of course, Sarah Shahi as gold star lesbian Carmen. Ah, Carmen. With her beautiful smile and oh-my-god body, she made lesbians' hearts sing for two glorious seasons. (OK, the seasons weren't actually that glorious, but Shahi was, so whatever.) After Shane dumped Carmen at the altar (stupid move), Shahi's arc on the show was over, and she moved on to free TV, starring in an NBC sitcom that only lasted a few episodes.

She'll soon be back in prime time in another NBC show, this time a drama. In Life, which is on the fall schedule, Shahi plays the partner of a cop who is returning to the force after being framed for murder. To be frank, even if the show is crap, I would probably still watch it to see Shahi looking nine kinds of hot. Detective-wear suits her. But it sounds as if the show has promise. The framed cop is played by Damian Lewis, who was excellent in one of my favorite TV miniseries ever, Band of Brothers. I have a little bit of a boy crush on Lewis, I can admit. (If you were wondering why I didn't crop the dude out of the photo, there you have it.) Anyway, Lewis has already shown that he's a great actor, and so has another of the show's stars, Robin Weigert, who was so good in Deadwood as Calamity Jane it was ridiculous. Seriously, do yourself a favor. The woman was a marvel. And Shahi showed a lot of chops in The L Word, so if the material is as good as the cast, this could be a solid show. I have high hopes.

Incidentally, much is made of the fact that Sarah Shahi was briefly a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, but although I am a huge Cowboys fan, I find it much more interesting that she is a direct descendant of the shah who ruled Iran in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (That's right, Carmen de la Pica Morales is not Hispanic.) Obviously her present-day family can't be too conservative if they're cool with her posing for Maxim and having simulated sex with women on television, but you can't help but wonder what the old shah might think about his great-great-great-granddaughter.