A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

24 April 2007

What a Sheer Delight

I was watching the Bravo channel the other night when yet another "reality" show came on. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a fan of reality shows. Why? Mainly because I hate the fact that shows that were once written like Soap, Seinfeld and Frasier won't get a chance to air if we, as a culture, keep tuning into these instead.

There is going to be a whole generation of people who won't ever get to know just how witty writers CAN be...because they've never been subjected to anything not "soft-scripted". Sure, those reality shows have 'writers'...if you want to call them that, but I guess if that's the only way I could break into the writing business, and I'd LOVE to break into the writing business by the way (hint hint out there)...I'd compromise my principles and "write" for "Survivor" and "Beauty and the Geek" as well.

So, while I'm clicking thru the "scrolly-guide" on my television to pick what's better to watch...and, honestly, an infomercial would be better...well maybe not BETTER...but definitely more mentally stimulating at this point, I get "aurally hooked" to this hair salon-based show, entitled "
Sheer Genius" and decide to watch. Okay, I admit, it was like 3:00 in the morning, so maybe that had something to do with it...but, if a show can reel me in with mere words alone...I'm going to take that bait.

Apparently I've entered this game at Episode 2 of Season 1...and it seems to me they have about 10-12 stylists they've previously introduced who will have to do what is told of them within the allotted time frame. First up was taking jet black hair and bringing it down to at least a mid-blonde, a level 8 I believe. What's a level 8? Heck if I know...but they have swatches so I can be the judge as well. But just as in The Price Is Right...going under is fine, going over just won't do. They each had their little mannequin heads with all the same hair, so it was fair across the board (I like fairness)...and they had two hours to match the shade...going lighter no problem...darker, well, just as in that Price Is Right showcase at the end, you go over, even by a hair...you don't win.

I know what you are thinking..."How do they determine who wins?" I'm glad you asked...why, there are judges of course! One of them is a top hair stylist, Rene Fris; Michael Carl is the fashion director of Allure magazine; Sally Hershberger is another highly sought after hair stylist; and last, but not in the least, least...is Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels fame...she's the one who basically looks the same as when she used to play Kelly all the way back in the 70s. Yes, all women hate her...just kidding, she was the "nice" Angel anyway. "And what are they trying to win?" is your next question, which I shall pointedly answer (yes, ever being the comedian, I will segue as many puns as I can into this hair-raising story...without going over the top) At stake is an apprenticeship with Roy Teeluk, who just happens to be the lead stylist for Nexxus. He is also on the show and walks around bantering back and forth with the stylists...quite a nice added touch if you ask me.

All-in-all it's quite a chatty show - bear in mind that people DO confide in their hairdressers more often than anyone else...hey, I've seen Shampoo...and that "only her hairdresser knows for sure" commercial, and if you can't trust Hollywood writers, who can you trust? Anyway, being TOO chatty almost cost one contestant her spot on the show...when that clock is ticking away, you've really gotta cut that conversation short with your client.

Personally, I liked two stylists right off...Tabatha and Jim. Tabatha won the "colour the fake head's hair from dark to light" competition...and I was genuinely glad for her. Her quip to Roy of "I do it myself as I can do it better than anyone else" when he asked "Who colours YOUR hair?" wasn't at all uppity...she was self-assured - and I can appreciate someone who has confidence and knows where that confidence lies.

Two other runners-up were also chosen to be the "three that came out on top" and were allotted extended perks for their prowess. The next styling event would be to work on real people. But not just real people...that's too easy...real people who brought in a celebrity photo of whose hair they wanted to have. Now, I've been to lots of stylists in my day and usually I give them free reign...my stance is that they are the professionals and should know which cut would suit me best. I give them some ideas and usually a photo of what I'd like it to look like in an ideal world...but it's only a guide. I know I'll never look like Sharon Stone...so I don't get THAT bent out of shape when I don't end up looking like her clone.

Now, not only did these 'three top finishers' of the colouring segment get to walk over to the board and pick the photo of the client they wanted, they also got to choose them based on which "celebrity do" style she wanted to be reincarnated as. The others were "celebrity clueless"...no we aren't talking about Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears...the other stylists just didn't get to see which celebrity their clients wanted to look like. Some wanted miracle transformations: dark hair to Gwen Stefani/Christina Aguilera platinum...hair colour that usually takes many hours to achieve...but their time constraint of two hours would be their only realm within which they could work...making many "do's" simply NOT doable.

This is the part I found the most fun. Real people, real stylists, real decisions, really fast. Real fast? Two hours? Yes, when you have to consult, colour, cut, and blow dry hair into a style, that time goes by faster than black roots will start showing thru platinum hair. There's also no fancy-schmancy cutting-edge technology here, kids...just vision and expertise.

Keep in mind, in this segment they weren't so much trying to "do" an exact replica of the photograph - they were supposed to use it as a guideline on which to base what COULD be done to the client, that the client would still accept and fawn over later. Personally, I would have liked to have seen them really attempt to do that celebrity they chose, a photo-finish at the end, if you will. But, face it, if we all could just slap down a torn page from a People magazine when we sat down in that chair and ended up looking like it when we got out of it, wouldn't we all be running around looking like Halle Berry?

It IS, however, the responsibility of a good stylist to address those "impossible" issues people seem to have and ultimately end up with a satisfied customer. And there were quite a few "satisfied customers" at the end....Tabatha did a spot-on recreation of her client's chosen photo of Victoria Beckham, only Tabatha managed to make it look twice as good...that lady is definitely talented. Conversely, there was one client in particular who was going to be crying like a baby when she awoke in the morning. Again, they stressed - it really was up to the stylist to say "You know, this just isn't going to happen...how about we do something equally fabulous that can?!"

I've seen many a "shouldn't have gone there, girlfriend" hairstyle in my day, and regardless if they are paying top dollar at some swanky salon or going to SuperCuts - sometimes a little honesty in these cases would definitely be the best policy...as in the case of poor Jim.

Jim, unfortunately, created a colour that even the Crayola team would have rejected and was ceremoniously voted off...altho he knew it was coming. He graciously stating that this had been such an enormous honour and special event in his life that he would always remember it fondly. He was endearingly sweet...I'd let him do my hair...I wouldn't give him a two-hour time limit, but I'd definitely let him do it.

Bottom line, I really liked this show and am looking forward to the next installment...altho I saw previews where they donned hedge trimmers, so maybe they ran out of ideas and are grasping at straws. I certainly don't want to see them go "yes, it's time to apply the colour to the hair...but we are going to use this...(insert big fanfare 'unveiling' music here)...yes, a toilet brush! Tune in next week when we will attempt curling hair with nothing more than a modified toaster and a bit of rebar." Hmmm...well, let's not think about that. For now I'm pleased to say the fast-paced open dialogue coupled with the "momentum of the moment" activity seemed to be a perfect blend...alas, unlike whatever poor Jim combined together to get (shudder) "that shade".

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