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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

After six days at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, I’m back to normal life on Hooker Street in Denver – where the upstairs neighbors are loud, cars get stolen from right in front of the house, and Greebs got sprayed by a skunk on Monday.

In some ways, I would very much like to go back to the glamorous.

But in more ways, I am so happy to be home.

Having never experienced such a saturation of famous people all in one place, I have to say that it was bizarre. For all its intrigue, celebrity culture is… unnatural. And from what I observed, often it’s not the celebrity who is strange (in fact, most of them struck me as lovely and normal people), but their handlers; the entourage and staff can make things awkward for everyone else. There’s a lot of “protection” of the “talent” that goes on – and yes, I’m sure it’s for good reason, but when you’re a very average girl from Colorado who drives a Subaru worth less than the painting on the wall and are dutifully abiding by the strict order not to freak out, is it really necessary for someone’s publicist to treat you like trash?

That said, I had such a blast. It was a very cool opportunity – something I would never have otherwise had access to, as it was heavy on the wrist bands and badges and credentials. My team was offering our product as part of a gifting suite (you know, where the already-privileged get more stuff for free), and it was a treat to see so many faces that I recognized from television, movies, and music.

And on that note, here are my Thoughts and Opinions on People I Don’t Know At All.

Helen Hunt is stunning. I’ve always thought of her as “average-to-pretty,” but in real life, she is positively luminescent.

I hope to age like Blythe Danner more than I hope to age like Neil Young.

Kirsten Dunst is cute, but not as cute as Greta.

William H. Macy is a 60-year old hipster – and he somehow makes it look cool.

Emily Blunt has flawless (no, really – flawless) skin.

Michael Cera has a mustache. Oh dear. Even without a mustache, I kind of can’t do the Michael Cera thing.

I thought that Lake Bell was Amanda Peet. Good thing I didn’t say that out loud. She was very sweet, and generous with her smile.

The All State guy is a presence. I mean, we’re talking about President David Palmer, people. I wanted him to record my voicemail message, but couldn’t get up the guts to ask him.

The most beautiful person I saw all weekend was Melanie Lynskey. Yes, the friend from “Coyote Ugly.” Yes, the friend from “Sweet Home Alabama.” Yes, the eternal friend-in-the-background who I wish all the spotlight she could ever want. Given her company at Sundance, she might seem a strange pick for “most beautiful person,” but I stand by it. She was absolutely lovely, in a very accessible way.

The nicest person I talked to all weekend was Kevin Sorbo. You know him as Hercules. I know him as tall and strapping and – by comparison to everyone else around – supremely normal.

Elijah Wood is as Frodo-ish as you would expect Frodo to be.

Kate Bosworth is sharp around the edges – all knees and elbows and shoulder bones. I hope she eats a hamburger soon.

The two people that I really, really wanted to lay eyes on but never did were Liv Tyler and John Krasinski. Actually, I DID see Liv Tyler – but it was only from behind, and the only thing I thought was, “She has skinny calves.” So.

I came home with some awesome free swag of my own, a love for Park City, and solidified friendships with my co-workers. All in all, I say SUCCESS.

And now, back to real life: emails, working out, and eating things other than “blackberry braised venison” and “lime-butter scallops” and “lamb three ways.” So – that’s a bummer.

Salt Lake City = bizarre

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Since I am traveling as frugally as possible, I am open to sleeping on anyone’s couch, as long as it’s free. Since I knew I would want to stop around Salt Lake City last night, an old friend from freshman year of college crossed my mind. And since I have no pride and feel no shame, after 6 years of no communication, I looked her up.

On the phone, she told me that she lived with her boyfriend. Fair enough. And then, when I was about 15 minutes from their apartment in downtown Salt Lake, she called to warn me that he smokes pot. Okay. But the thing that she didn’t warn me about?

The cat.

I walked into the gorgeous, creaky, 1909 apartment building to be greeted with pictures of Bob Marley and Tibetan prayer flags and Camel ashtrays… and a long-haired grey cat named Ivan. Ivan immediately took to me, and felt compelled to position himself as close to my face as possible. At all times. This proved to be problematic, as I was sleeping on the couch and had no way to keep the cat away. So as I fell asleep between two fleece blankets (shudder) while watching the first episode of “Big Love” (when in Rome…), Ivan was right there with me, causing my eyes to water and my nose to run.

Or was that the hash?

I woke up with the sun this morning, and since my hosts were still fast asleep, I put on my running shoes and explored the downtown city streets for about an hour and a half. Salt Lake is a very strange city: clean – pristine, even – with huge city blocks and wide two-way streets. I always feel a strange, unsettled feeling in my gut when I’m in the Beehive State – like, I know that everyone is wearing special undergarments and shunning my beloved, essential caffeine.

Nope, never gonna live in Utah. That is, unless I go to dental school. Because those polygamist colonies have got to be an orthodontist’s dream.