Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another bad idea

Celebrities never disappoint when it comes to bad ideas. A-list, B-list, DDD-list, it doesn't matter. Take Heidi Montag, for example. She has had more bad ideas than she's had faces and yet she is STILL AROUND, and she is STILL FAMOUS.


For now though, Heidi, you and your plastic melons are off the hook - because there is only one thing that could possibly be worse than a b-list celebrity with a bad idea.... and that is a has-been celebrity who has one. Siiiigh. I must discuss.

Elizabeth Berkley.

Back in the day, Elizabeth was a star in one of my favorite shows growing up, Saved By the Bell. She was goody-good Jessica Spano. Kinda nerdy, kinda neurotic, but overall a pretty benign character with decent values. I really remember two things about her: she got addicted to caffeine pills and was taller than all the boys in school.
So I guess after leaving the show she tried to break into film, because the next thing anybody can remember, she's grinding her ladyslipper all over well, everything and everyone in a little movie called Showgirls. Yikes. Bipolar career anyone? I'll take "ways to shed your squeaky clean image for $500, Alex".....

Fast forward to today. I'm sitting in my cubicle working very very hard and someone sends me a link to a news story about... ta-DA!!! Elizabeth Berkley. I made my surprised face. It looked like this:

So here is what the link said, from the AP, straight up:

"NEW YORK — Elizabeth Berkley is ready to take your question.

The actress will be writing "Ask Elizabeth," a "a self-esteem handbook for teen girls" based on questions she has been asked over the years.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers announced Tuesday that it expects to release the book next spring. It's an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group."

and from USA Today:

"Elizabeth Berkley, 37, wants to empower girls.

She will be writing Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body…And Life in General...

... Elizabeth is also launching a monthly "Ask-Elizabeth" column on Oprah.com in April 2010."


Hmmmmmm. I don't know what to make of this. I had to think about it for a second:

Ok, this is a little much from someone who was so hell-bent on destroying her wholesome image with an NC-17 movie. It's a little like Kate Gosselin giving hair advice.

Things I really hope young girls aren't asking Elizabeth Berkley about:

How to act your way out of a paper bag (although the um, 'dancing' was very convincing)
Caffeine pills
Kissing Mario Lopez (ewwwwww)
How to cook a steak
Why PETA is a good idea
What the hell happened to Dustin Diamond
Is Mario Lopez's hair crunchy or greasy

Things it's probably ok to ask her about:

Kissing Mark-Paul Gossellar
How often to water a dress made of lettuce
What the hell happened to Lark Voorhies
Cubs or White Sox

I dunno. I'm just having trouble believing that much grounded advice can come in this package:

I suppose I may be wrong. Yeah, me and the guys at work laughed at the article today and made jokes about the racy scenes in Showgirls vs. self esteem, but the movie did come out way back in 1995. I have no idea what she's been up to since then, so part of me thinks maybe I've judged a little harshly.

Either way though, you need more than a vagina and name recognition to be able to give good advice to young girls. I'm sure she means well, but I'm still filing this under "bad idea."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dollars at work

Ahhhhh money. I never have enough of it, can't seem to manage it and it keeps disappearing from my account faster that Tim Tebow is going to disappear into the NFL.

Just when I think I have a little extra, some unforseen (and usually unpleasant) expense inevitably swoops in to claim it. I mean, life is expensive enough without all this extra random crap that seems so intent on sucking my savings dry......

... and I KNOW you feel me on this. Just recently I left the dentist suffering from some pretty acute anxiety over the bill I was racking up there and my engine light came on. There are out of town weddings to attend, medical expenses, and let's not EVEN talk about how badly my carpet needs to be shampooed or my couch needs to be re-covered.


I want a savings account. I want to be able to buy a house before I'm 50. I want to sign up for a 401-K but still be able to put food on my table. I want to be able to buy name-brand tampons without being racked with guilt at the expense.


So often enough I think to myself: "what can I do to make my money situation better?"

I've written often enough in this blog about ways I'm trying to improve myself and my life. I'm tackling health, fitness and relationships, so why not work on developing smart money habits too. For starters, I did what I always do when I want to tackle a problem:

I Googled it.

You know, Google is really only helpful if you either need something really specific, really general, or a photo of Justin Bieber (why is that name in my head?).... so onto plan B.

I wrote down my super grown-up financial goals (yeah me!):

• Pay off credit card debt
• Have a reserve for unforseen expenses
• Have a savings account that I contribute to each month
• Sign up for a 401-K
• Save for a down payment on a house
• Be able to afford vacations, friends' weddings and other extra yet significant expenses without going on a diet that consists exclusively of Wonderbread and Ramen.

Ok, so the amount of money that goes into my account each month is pretty much the same every time. On occasion, I'll have the opportunity to make something extra, but not regularly enough that I can rely on that as part of my income. So my spidey sense is telling me that something's gonna have to give.

What can I cut back on? Hmmmm

• I can bring more lunches to work. I usually end up eating lunch out, which adds up.
• Maybe, just maybe I don't need 6 different kinds of shampoo in my shower...
• Nickel and dime expenses - like lattes, iTunes, etc.... a dollar here and there adds up.
• Quit buying stuff I don't really need - even if it's on sale.

I dunno. This list was harder than the first. I'm not sure where my money goes, so I'm going to write down every dollar I spend for the next month and see if anything stands out. In a lot of ways I live very cheaply, but I know there are some things that I do with my money that aren't terribly brilliant. The first step I think, is to acknowledge what my bad tendencies are and try and change them. It's kind of like going on a diet I think.

But I guess the thing about sacrifices is, they allow for bigger and better things in the long run. As a whole, our country has nurtured a culture of greed and overspending.... and now look where we are. I don't want to fall any further into that rabbit hole of thinking that I can have anything I want, because I can't. No, that's not what my credit card is for. Used properly, it is a valuable survival tool, not a means to get those designer jeans I've been wanting oh-so-much.

Ok stay tuned. This is not gonna be fun - but sometimes worthwhile things aren't.

Like The Little Engine That Could said: I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can.... I think I can....