A brief catch-up – and the Tale of the Wandering Laptop

The last few weeks have been pretty insane, I’ll give you that. Awards Season is finally done – and hey, look! My 100% prediction rate still stands! – I started doing a part-time course entitled “Applying Social Media to Business Challenges” and my mom flew down for a weekend for my brother’s 21st. (Yes, he’s 21, and I have NO idea how that happened).

I’ve been reading a lot of “mommy bloggers” recently, partly because there are some amazing, amazing mommy bloggers (both locally and internationally) and partly because I like the way that they balance the public and the personal.

I’ve also started to tinker around with the idea of getting a new camera and a new laptop. My camera died about a year ago and I haven’t got round to replacing it (I could always just get a decent phone with a decent camera at some point. Two birds, one stone, etc) and my laptop – which I got in late 2005 – is on its way out.

It’s a bit sad, my poor laptop. My dad sold his bike (he bought it when we first moved to Botswana) to buy my brother and I each a laptop – I wanted one so I didn’t have to walk to and from the computer labs at night – and my brother and I were positively thrilled, as you can imagine. My laptop got stolen out from my house – and from the bed that my then-boyfriend was sleeping in – in 2007 while I was at a birthday party. Somebody opened the front door, walked in, unplugged the laptop (left the cable) and wandered off. I was heartbroken and reported it stolen, assuming that I’d seen the last  of it. It was during the year that my father was in his coma, and so it was even more heartbreaking at the time. All of my photographs of my dad were on there, the speech I’d been working on for his funeral (a bit macabre, I know, but I needed to be prepared) and all of my music and work assignments.

A few weeks later, I got a call from the police station. Somebody had bought a laptop on the side of the road in Grahamstown, and when they took it home (assuming it was second-hand) and booted it up, they saw that it was password-protected, realised it was stolen, and handed it in. My silly little Windows-startup password, setup more so that the girls in res couldn’t get in while I wasn’t in my room, saved the day.

I booted up – everything was still there and not a single thing had been deleted or wiped. Only one thing was different.

The thieves had cleaned the laptop before selling it.

Kim Kardashian’s “fairytale wedding”. Oh, kill me now.

Kim Kardashian on the cover of OK!

All about "Kim's dream wedding"! Ooh, hold me back!

I’m just going to lay it out there.

If Kim Kardashian doesn’t get married soon, I’m likely to throw myself off the balcony at work. And, considering we work on the sixth floor, I may die. And it will all be Kim’s fault.

Seriously – I read and write about celebrity gossip for a living, so I’m pretty tolerant of all the associated bullshit. But her wedding to Kris Humphries has just about pushed me over the edge.

For weeks and weeks – since the engagement with the rose petals and the surprising-her-upstairs-in-her-bedroom with the $2-million engagement ring – all the little pumpkin has been able to talk about is her wedding, which is currently scheduled for 20 August. I say “currently”, because if a blonde poppie can dump Hugh Hefner’s ass, anything is possible.

Like the fact that her wedding dress is being designed by “close family friend” Vera Wang. That she’s going to have a 10-tier cake that’s meant to resemble the cake at Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton. That she’s going to wear her hair up (seriously, people were voting on this point). That she’s launched an exclusive bottle of perfume to celebrate her wedding (it’s called “Love” and you could own one of the 799 bottles for just $100!!). That her mom’s had a face-lift in preparation for the big day. Ooh, also – fans can help Kim choose her wedding song!

Most nauseatingly – that she’s convinced her wedding will be bigger and better than the royal wedding. According to pals, of course – with one person claiming, “Kim is planning the wedding of the century. She doesn’t see why a royal wedding should get more attention that hers. She sees herself as a bigger celebrity than Kate Middleton.”

Seriously, what fucked up world do we live in that a reality star’s wedding to a sportsman is likely to be “the wedding of the century”?

More ranting after the jump…

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The JLo divorce chronicles

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. I had to double check and make sure they weren't waxworks.

Now, once I picked my jaw up off the floor after hearing that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were separating, I had a little think on the situation. It wasn’t a case of “Wow, I can’t believe they’re divorcing!” (it’s Hollywood, let’s be honest)… My reaction was more one of “Wow, I can’t believe they’re divorcing now!”

But then it all starts to make sense… JLo stepped out of the spotlight a little in order to spawn – and spawn she did, two cute little babies – but then she started to wangle her way back into the entertainment industry. And then… She exploded again.

She’s starred in a (very feeble) romantic comedy about – you guessed it, babies – (The Back-Up Plan made me sick to my stomach, really). She released a new album and she’s on the radio every.bloody.five.minutes with that inane collaboration with Pitbull (seriously, 3/4 of it is “La la la la la”) and she’s on American Idol as a judge.

And now that she’s back at the top of her game – easily the most popular she has been since marrying Marc in 2004 – it all starts coming out. Stories of him trying to be “controlling” and “dominating”, choosing clothes that befits her as a “wife” and freaking out when she tried to dress a little sexier.

It seems like jealousy – on both sides – was the main reason behind the split. JLo hated Marc’s continued relationship with ex-girlfriend Dayanara Torres and, in turn, Marc tried to “micromanage” every aspect of JLo’s life – including her career. A source on the American Idol set dished that JLo would very often say, “Oh, Marc likes this” or “Marc doesn’t think this is a good idea”.  But, it appears, as soon as she realised that she was a superstar all by herself  – and lightyears bigger than Marc – she broke out of the marriage.

We see this sort of thing all the time. One star’s career takes off and their spouse can’t deal. Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon. Olivia Wilde and oh-goodness-what’s-his-name-again. Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson.

Jealousy makes you nasty, absence does not make the heart grow fonder and sometimes you just gotta break free and do your own thing.

10 Super-Secret Celebrity Weddings

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig

So in one of the biggest “Huh?!” moments I’ve experienced as Entertainment Ed to date, Daniel Craig and Rachel Wiesz got married in an uber-secret ceremony in New York over the weekend. Somehow, I’d forgotten the two were even dating… That’s how low-key they were! Their future kids have totally, totally lucked out in the gene pool. She’s so beautiful and he’s freaking James Bond!

Anyway, I got all carried away for work with celeb weddings… Check out the list here!

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem: They’re one of the most notoriously private couples in Hollywood – and so it was no surprise that their wedding flew way, way under the radar. The Spanish superstars, who welcomed their son Leo into the world earlier this year, tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at a friend’s home in the Bahamas in July 2010, their representative confirmed some time later.

Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz: The musical couple – who had already taken part in a Zulu “union” during the 2010 World Cup, blessing their relationship and their unborn child – were married in an intimate ceremony in Corsica at the end of July 2010. Their marriage was performed by modern-day guru Deepak Chopra.

Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green: The former Transformers stunner shattered men’s hearts across the globe when she tied the knot with Brian Austin Green in a super-secret ceremony at the Four Season Hotel in Hawaii. They had eloped to ensure they weren’t stalked by the paparazzi – and even Fox’s father only found out about the ceremony afterwards. She was still kind enough to send him some pictures from her phone.

Jessica Alba and Cash Warren Fantastic Four beauty Jessica Alba tied the knot with musician Cash Warren at a Beverly Hills courthouse, with no guests and only officials to witness it. The wedding was such a secret that Alba’s brother only found out about the ceremony after Us Weekly magazine contacted him for comment.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline: When Britney Spears got hitched to dancer Kevin Federline in 2007, it was in the height of secrecy. The couple – who went through a very, very public divorce not long after – invited 27 friends and family to witness their nuptials. However, their loved ones were under the impression that they were there for an engagement party.

LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian: The scandalous couple – who cheated on their respective spouses with each other – seemed to have taken their cue from Britney and K-Fed! They tied the knot in front of 40 of their closest friends and family in April this year, and much like Brit’s wedding, guests thought that they were attending an engagement party! Here’s hoping this marriage lasts a little longer.

James van der Beek and Kimberly Brooks: Former Dawson’s Creek star decided to announce that he had tied the knot with pregnant Kimberly Brooks – via Twitter. He took to the social networking site to announce the surprise ceremony, saying, “The woman I love did me the honour of became my wife today … I look forward to earning her for the rest of my life [sic]”. Aww.

Jay-Z and Beyonce : They’ve been dubbed hip-hop’s royal couple – but despite tying the knot in an ultra, ultra-secret wedding in April 2008 they’ve yet to officially confirm that they are man and wife. Talk about keeping the private, private!

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon: Never one to shy away from publicity, Mariah Carey’s beach wedding to Nick Cannon wasn’t so much a secret as a complete and total surprise… after only a few weeks of dating. It even had friends questioning the validity of the relationship – which has since produced twin babies!

Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady: A slight variation of the “surprise wedding” formula, guests at Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady’s wedding thought they were attending a christening for their infant son, Benjamin.

 

A Royal pain-in-the…

Lego

Prince William and Kate Middleton in Lego format.

Look, I’ll admit. I do have certain squishy feelings for the British monarchy. They’re relatively pretty to look at and mildly amusing – particularly when they’re making racist jokes (ah, Prince Phillip) and dressing as Hitler and getting stoned (Prince Harry totally turned out to be more fun). But this upcoming wedding has left me feeling a little green. (And not the Prince Harry kind…!)

It’s actually not so much the Royal Wedding itself (and you know you can pretty much hear the capital letters in that phrase) – it’s been the build up… and quite possibly, largely the hundreds of thousands of wedding-inspired trinkets up for sale. Everything from condoms to coffee cups has William & Kate’s faces on them. It’s a marvellous case of “let’s all jump on the bandwagon”. Want to knit your own royal wedding? You can do that too! Looking for “royal” cat food? It’s available.

The media (led, oddly enough, by the US outlets) has speculated on everything from who’ll design Kate’s dress to what knickers she’ll wear on the day. The literary gem that is the UK newspaper The Sun reported that Kate’s been having a recurring nightmare – that she’s at the altar and realises she’s completely naked. No kidding. If it were me, I’d be having much stronger nightmares.

I’ll be quite keen to see the wedding itself – what Kate will wear, what their guests will wear, what vows they recite and whether or not somebody will do/say something inappropriate. But, I feel, this could all be a wackload more fun if we all played the Royal Wedding drinking game (or some variation of it). Sadly, I’m working tomorrow… And apparently they frown upon you being boozed out your bracket at the workplace at 11am.

The world has gone mad over the wedding, and I understand that it’s a nice change of pace from the death and destruction that we’re normally bombarded with. Kate’s tiara is much more accessible than human rights atrocities in Libya or bombings in Pakistan. I’m not complaining – the need for escapism and a bit of light entertainment is, of course, what pays my salary – but the run-up to the whole thing (and the solid obsession) has been draining and more than a little irritating.

In fact, this little Facebook prayer from our long-suffering Lifestyle editor, sums it all up: “Dear Royal Wedding gods, please let it be over soon.”

I’ll bet you the happy couple is thinking the same thing at this point.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor in 'Cat On a Hot Tin Roof'.

When I was younger – possibly around 10 or 11, would be my best guess – I watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with my grandmother.  I don’t remember the film too clearly – but what I do remember, was Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie the Cat. She was mesmerising – I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. Like many, many young and slightly awkward girls, I wanted to be her – she was beautiful, confident, wildly talented and breathtaking.

There will only ever be one Elizabeth Taylor.

In the news rush that followed the confirmation of her death yesterday aged 79, I found this gem of a quote from Franco Zeffirelli – who directed Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew. “People like Liz don’t exist any more,” he said. “Because fairy tales no longer exist.”

It’s very true. In the current crop of stars, I don’t think a single actress could even come close to Taylor’s level. Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta-Jones are probably closest – but even their stars have faded in recent years. There’s nobody else who has the glamour or the magnetism of old Hollywood… And we’re left with “new Hollywood”.

“New Hollywood” is obsessed with punting out a Good Product. One that will draw in massive ticket sales. A film no longer has to be a masterpiece to garner attention – it’s all about the Product. And the biggest products of all? The stars themselves. Stars are photoshopped into oblivion for movie posters, magazine covers and promotional items. Mainstream actors in particular behave a certain way, interview a certain way, perform a certain way in order to garner some celebrity… And it’s all down to the pioneer that was Elizabeth Taylor.

William Mann, who wrote How to be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, said: “She created the whole business of fame, the way we know it today.”

“The template that she laid down in the 1950s and 1960s everyone continues to try to follow, with varying degrees of success. But she’s the one that invented it,” he told CNN.

As much as she was famed for her film roles and her tumultuous marriages, she was also a passionate humanitarian. She was a dedicated campaigner for the fight against HIV/Aids, helped to fund amfAR (American Foundation for Aids Research) and in her lifetime raised an estimated $200-million for Aids.

What a lady.

The Invite everybody wants…

Having been thrown into an interesting position recently (as in, my best friend – all the way from high school days – has set a date for her wedding and I’m her maid of honour), I’ve found myself somewhat more aware of certain things. Like veils. Potential places for hen parties. Table overlays. Wedding invitations. And then, the biggest invitation of the entire year rolls around and my response was…. *yawn*

To be fair, the British royal family is hardly known for its (overt) wild ways or tendency to break with tradition. So a nice, clean, white invitation with pretty curly writing and a little gold on it wasn’t ever going to go amiss.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re lucky enough to be one of the 1900 people close enough to Prince William and Kate Middleton to receive an invitation to their wedding, this is what you would find in your mailbox…

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