Friday, December 18, 2015

Bergen Health & Life: Best of Bergen

It's voting time again! It's Bergen Health & Life's "Best in Bergen" poll time! Please vote for your hometown favorites! 

Shades of Soho needs your votes to win. It's the best way to get the word out that we're here for all your lighting needs. Winning these local awards is a huge help for us and we need YOU to do us the favor of getting our name out there. It just takes a moment.

Please write in "Shades of Soho" as "Lighting & Lighting Restoration" for a category, in the write-in section at the bottom. If you're feeling generous, you can also add us in as a contender in the Interior Design category under the Home & Home Services section. There is no lighting category.



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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ATNY: JANUARY! Bergen/Morris/NYC

Actor's Technique NY comes back to Glen Rock in January! They had a successful first semester and are gearing up to do it again. Don't miss out on your spot. This is a great bunch of classes for the kids who have a real interest in acting, getting work in tv and movies, and just learning the life skill of improvisation. My son has been taking these classes since he was four years old and he's almost seven. I have definitely seen a positive evolution of confidence since he's been taking acting classes with ATNY. He also was able to learn three pages of dialogue and "perform" them for me to record in under forty-eight hours (with school and dance class in between). I don't know that he would've had the confidence to do it and understand how he was supposed to act it out had he not worked with ATNY for all this time.

If you have a kid who already likes to perform, this is the place for them.

Todd is the owner there- if you have questions, just give him a call and you can tell him you found ATNY on my blog!


ATNY NEW JERSEY! Morris & Bergen County Saturday or Sundays


image Jan 23, 12:30 PM

NEW 2-CLASS OPTIONS w/Final Customized Agent Showcase in NYC
Top TV/Film Managers are coming to Visit in NJ!

Saturdays, JAN 23rd - MARCH 26th: Millington (near Gillette), Morris County
Sundays, JAN 24th - MARCH 27th: Glen Rock, Bergen County
(9-Week or 6-Week Class Option, 1 or both classes each day)

Make-Ups Allowed at Specific Location or in NYC.

120 Stone House Road, Millington, New Jersey 07946
Saturdays, 1:30pm -2:30pm: Improvisation/Monologue (Ages 7 - 17)
Saturdays, 2:30pm -4:00pm: On-Camera TV/Film Act & Auditioning (7 - 17)

175 Rock Road (back at end of Parking Lot)

Sundays, 1pm - 2pm: Ages 4 - 6 (Non-Readers)
Sundays, 2pm - 3:00pm: Improvisation/Monologue
Sundays, 3pm - 4:30pm: On-Camera TV/Film Act & Auditioning

If you can't make it into NYC for our popular diversified Young Actor Programs, then stay close to home and enjoy our strongest On-Camera Classes in your own backyard! In this great New Jersey Program, all young actors will enjoy both the constructive fun of improvisational study, combined with monologue and scene study. All Genres of acting will be included, from stage to On-Camera Training. With On-Camera Acting & Audition Technique, we'll prepare you for our final 9th week agent showcase with NYC's top agents and managers. Make Up Classes by request in NJ or NYC.

IMPROVISATION & MONOLOGUE: A core element in all acting. It teaches you to react quickly, without thought, in a way that's honest and inventive. You'll learn to take chances, break out of your shell, and use your natural ability in a constructive way. ATNY will include a stage monologue class to help both stage actors and musical theatre students with song performance.

ON-CAMERA TV/FILM & MEISNER TECHNIQUE: With the help of Meisner Technique, our young actors will learn through monologue and scene, how to respond to a given circumstance in a honest and "in the moment" way. We'll teach you how to be more engaging, make stronger choices, and bring your acting from a stage element to a more subtle film approach. You'll become more believable.

Please Call ATNY with Questions or Phone Registration. Deposits to Reserve.

Improvisation Class Only, 450 & TV/Film Acting Class Only, 645
Improvisation & On-Camera TV/Film Class: 1045

Improvisation Class Only, 325 & Act & Audition Class Only, 425
Improvisation & On-Camera TV/Film Class: 725

*Deposit Required to Reserve Seat. Payment Plans by Request, Future Class Make-Up for Missed Classes Only, No Financial Refunds. Thank you.

Once you register below, ATNY will automatically receive the name and age of your child. We will follow up by phone or email to inquire as to which location you've registered for, so register below and chat shortly!

Paypal Registration Below or Credit Card Registration by Phone.
Refer a NEW FACE to ATNY, deduct $50 per new face referral.

REQUEST ACTOR REEL: More industry professionals are requesting actor reels to help market their young talent. If you're interested in a Marketing Reel for your young actor, please let ATNY know at Registration. We'll take care of it at your location on a day with others. At registration, only $145 (Reg. 195).

Call ATNY w/Questions or Phone Registration: 917.763.1777
Make-Up Days and payment plans by request.

REGISTER BELOW for either location, We'll follow up with you!

Friendly customized payment plans upon request, please call us!

Full Program

Cost: $1,045
Member Cost: $941
Single Class

Cost: $645
Member Cost: $581

Thursday, December 10, 2015

More Ambig-Jew-ity

This is a follow-up to my original post about Jews on tv- The search function on my blog isn't working, at least with Firefox, so I don't know if it's working for anyone.

The holiday season is upon us yet again, so before all the big hiatuses on TV, we have the "holiday episodes". Sometimes they end with Thanksgiving, sometimes we get a little bit of Christmas. I don't know if we've ever gotten Hanukkah, except that little snippet once with Friends and the Hanukkah Armadillo.

B and I don't watch The Goldbergs, like I've said before, because it isn't funny. However, last night, it was their Super Hanukkah episode, so we gave it a whirl. It was on when we sat down to veg for the night. Then later on, just by coincidence, we watched an episode of Fresh Off the Boat, which centers around a Chinese family and is hilarious. I finally realized the difference- why one is funny and the other isn't. It's not because we're Jews and we can't take a joke. It's because the stereotypes that they play off of in The Goldbergs are the nasty stereotypes that people use as serious insults. Any time I've caught this show there has been a line with Jeff Garlin not wanting to spend any money. So, basically, it's the whole Jews are cheap routine. And since it's Jeff Garlin and he is the lone Jew playing a Jew, besides the George Segal, it's ok.

Outside of George Segal and Jeff Garlin, this is the most gentile-washed Jewish family of all. And while I'm sure Wendy McClendon-Covey is funny as herself or in other things, she doesn't fly with me at all a Jewish mother. I know the show is supposed to be over the top but her character is ridiculous. The mother should've been more Fran Fine. Sylvia Buchman. Even Marie Barone could've been a better Jewish mother. She basically was, except, of course, for being/playing Italian. Christina Pickles most likely isn't Jewish with that name, but she played a kick-ass Jewish mother as Judy Gellar on Friends. If they wanted to play into stereotypes, they would've done a more New York Jewish thing. More Brooklynese and Yiddish thrown in. I know this show is based off a guy that grew up in Jenkintown, PA. But it's only said to be "loosely based" on his life. If they were going to just run with all things Jewish stereotypes, then just commit!

I can definitely take a joke. I love Jewish comedians and I can goof on Jewish stereotypes as well as the next. I even do a great Brooklynese mother/grandmother imitation on command. But this crap just isn't funny.

I don't really even know too many Chinese stereotypes, but their stereotypes seem to be able to be spun as positive. On Fresh Off the Boat, Jessica is hard on her kids, but it makes them successful. She can be cold, but in the end she shows her love. Her heart is always in the right place. She's a little bit Archie Bunker, but the offenses she makes to get to the lesson are more endearing than a sticking point as to why people could hate Chinese people. Jessica is sort of over the top but somehow she manages to be funny and not a total caricature.

I think I'm back on this kick because Girlfriends Guide to Divorce is back on and every time I see that Super Gentile brother of Abby's, I get annoyed at that casting. Watching The Goldbergs last night, I just sat there not laughing, then cracking up at Fresh Off the Boat. It made the differences glaringly obvious. I guess I'll just keep watching Louis, Jessica, Eddie, Emery, and Evan. And laughing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sleep Number Sucks

I've held off on writing anything about my current bed situation, hoping it would all get resolved.I hate to malign any company, big or small but here, I have no other choice. They did this. Or did nothing, depending on how you want to look at it. I've done everything I possibly could to just get what we're supposed to have, but it's been nothing but a horrendous challenge and the worst part is that the company doesn't even pretend to care. They supposedly "went dark" to change over their computer systems. This is their answer to why everything is a mess. However, that isn't the customers problem and if they didn't know how the computer switch was going to affect customers, they had no business selling beds until it was all figured out.

B and I decided we needed a new bed. It's been ten years and our bodies are no longer cooperating with sleep. Mostly because we wake up feeling pain every day. We don't know that it was the bed. We actually had a very highly rated mattress. We just thought we might need a change.

The first week of October we walked into the Sleep Number store in Garden State Plaza. Basically, the rest of this post is an outline of what we've dealt with thus far. Oh, it's been a treat.

 -We got a sales pitch from a new hire. The manager was overseeing everything. Then manager told us that we can get an even better deal for ordering the pillows, making it a "full bed purchase". We agreed because we originally went in there just for pillows. We went with the "P5", which meant very little to us. We tested it out in the store and it seemed fine for amount of money we had to spend.

Later that night, we received a call from an employee of Sleep Number but not the manager. She asked us if we were getting a "modular or adjustable base". We had no idea what she was talking about. No one talked to us about the bases. As far as we were told, it was either we want one that goes up and down or we don't. We didn't. The woman on the phone said we had to order a base then and it wasn't included in the price we paid. She wanted another $400-$500. No, no. I refused. I said I was given a price for a "full bed", that's what we agreed to and that's what we paid for. She said she'd speak to the manager.

-We went back into the store in the mall to speak to the manager two days later to make sure we were getting the base included. The store manager told US that WE had to call customer service, the one of us who has the "strongest personality" to get them to give us the base included with the price we paid. SHE SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT LEGWORK. It was HER MISTAKE. So I had to sit on hold forever and get that worked out. The customer service rep on the phone said we would get the base.

-We'd already made an appointment for delivery for October 15th. When customer service called, I asked if there was a base being delivered with the mattress. Of course they said no, that it was just the mattress. Customer service said that delivery had to be cancelled then because they only had a record of the mattress and they don't have a base for us. We cancelled. Then, they didn't communicate that to delivery because delivery called us the day they were supposed to deliver saying they had our bed. But they didn't- it was just the mattress, so we had to refuse delivery. But we had to take time out of our work day to deal with this and reschedule.

-I rescheduled. They couldn't come again for delivery until NOVEMBER 20th. That extended when we were supposed to get the bed another three weeks. That makes six weeks in total. Waiting for a bed. Working out scheduling.

- We were never told about the differences in the modular base. We weren't told that there were legs for it that are extra, and different sized legs at that. While I WAS ON HOLD for FORTY minutes, I was checking out the bed on their website while waiting. THAT, is where I saw the legs. When someone finally got on the phone, in my fit of rage, I told them legs better be included with this.The representative said he would include legs. But had I not seen them on the website, my bed would be ON THE FLOOR. Legless.

-I also only saw on the website we need brackets to secure the headboard. My head exploded when I saw that. WE ORDERED A WHOLE BED. I shouldn't have to order all this stuff separate for a bed that costs this much. Or at the very least, I SHOULD'VE BEEN TOLD brackets were separate. I told this to the guy on the phone and he said he'd send them out. Of course THEY AREN'T HERE. My headboard is currently zip-tied to the bed. It's been at least three weeks, three different reps that said they'd send them out, and they still aren't here.

-The bed came. The delivery guys were sure they were also PICKING UP A BED. A bed that didn't exist because something was not communicated that we never accepted the first mattress. They REEKED of cigarette smoke. The one guy also came in like a bull in a china shop and KNOCKED OUR CHANDELIER CLEAR OFF THE CEILING. No, my husband didn't have them take pics to file anything because he had to go back to work and as bad as they smelled, he didn't want them in the house. When you have people delivering BEDS, something people SLEEP ON, you don't allow your delivery men to STINK OF CIGARETTES. It's disgusting and so unprofessional. 

-The bed felt like an Aerobed. It was not good for us. We already took apart our old bed and moved our mattress to somewhere not easily accessible. I'm sure Sleep Number is aware that this is the case for most people. They keep the bed because it's too much trouble to give back. At first I thought we might upgrade to the next mattress. Then I saw the next mattress up was another THOUSAND DOLLARS. Yeah, no. So, I had to spend $175 on a memory foam mattress topper to make the P5 more comfortable. From a totally unrelated company. Sleep Number makes one of their own. But I wasn't paying $300-$400 for it though. So "Lucid" brand, it is. Until that came, I barely slept and woke up in massive pain. 

-I wrote an email detailing everything that's happened and sent it to Sleep Number on November 24. I finally got a phone call...YESTERDAY. On 12/7/15. Only to address my brackets that still aren't here. The rep said she'd call me at 4:30p to help me with the Sleep IQ. But I had to be near my bed because it's a Bluetooth thing. I made sure I was home, much to my six year old's annoyance because he couldn't stay after school to play. No phone call. I went about my business. 

-At 6:50p on December 7th, my phone rang and it's Sleep Number. I said I was supposed to get a call at 4:30, I was there, and no one called. The rep said he sees 5:30. No matter- It's NOW ALMOST 7p! I said I wasn't home and wouldn't be until 10p. He said they're closed at that time and someone could call me first thing in the morning. I said I can talk and be near the bed at 9:30a. I said I won't be holding my breath for the call though. He promised I would be the first call of the day. I rushed around this morning to be able to deal with the bed. It's now 2:22p, I'm at work, and I haven't heard a peep from Sleep Number.

So...I don't know whether to laugh, cry, scream, or what. I've written, called, tweeted, and emailed. All to no avail. Every time I speak to someone over there, all I hear is #SorryNotSorry. Because in NO way are they sorry enough. They should be doing SOMETHING for me. They could start by SENDING ME MY F'ING BRACKETS though. At this point, I'm just tweeting them how they suck to make myself feel better. Seeing as they're not really keen on doing anything to rectify all their mistakes, mishaps, and crappy customer service. I've done everything humanly possible to resolve my issues with them.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Guns for Brains


I don't pretend to understand guns. I just don't understand them, period. I watch the news every single day, multiple times a day, and the more I watch, the less I understand. I don't understand the urge to hold one, shoot one, and I don't get the sex appeal. I sort of get the hunting thing, seeing as many deer just hanging around Bergen County, when growing up, I don't think I ever saw one in person. Clearly, since stealing all their land, they're displaced and overpopulated. And according to Darryl Hall, just carriers of Lyme's Disease. Pro-hunting can be argued though- it's for food. We need food. Most of us can go to a supermarket but you want venison, killed yourself? Fine. It's not my thing but the argument makes sense.

I'm not a dummy. I don't live in a bubble. While I don't live in a bubble, I can only go by my own experiences and what I see every day on the news. What I see happening daily are gun massacres, gun accidents resulting in death, children killing children. In just about every case, the guns were "bought legally". So when I hear or read pro-gun folks cry about how gun laws aren't going to stop criminals from getting guns illegally, I don't even know what to do with that. Well, no, gun laws probably won't stop anyone from getting guns illegally. BUT WE STILL HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE LEGAL ONES.

I am not up to illegal weapons on my priority list when it's ones that are obtained legally that are killing people every single day. It's common sense that if you don't have anything to hide, and you're relatively sane, then you shouldn't care if the gun laws are strict.

2nd Amendment, blah blah. The 2nd Amendment was written in the 1700's! There has to be some sense in what holds up and doesn't two hundred years later! I want to be able to protect my family, blah blah. Obama wants to disarm us to take over like Hitler. Blah, and blah. I'm pretty sure it's not Obama's fault that Henry W Bartle, 18, of Rome, NY killed his girlfriend's seven month old baby with a shotgun he was cleaning...NEXT TO THE BABY.

How about the fact that I just googled "boy shoots friend by accident" and pages came up. And the dates were like a week apart. All different incidents. All different ages, from little kids to teens. Then I googled "home owner saves family by shooting perp" just for comparison. Yeah, not that many. Not even close to how many "accidental" shootings there have been. I'm not even including purposeful just-white-man-on-a-rampage-ones. I'm going out on a limb to say that we're not talking about the illegal weapons trade either. We're probably talking Walmart specials. Or gun show wares. Makes no difference to me.

I'm forty-one years old. I've never seen a gun up close, held one, shot one, or been close to anyone who has one for protection. How? Why? BECAUSE THERE HASN'T BEEN A NEED. If they're stored the way they're legally supposed to be stored, and someone breaks into my house, am I going to be able to get to it, get it loaded, and shoot? I don't think so. Nor would I want to try. We installed dead-bolts. We have an alarm that's on home or not. We have cameras watching the outside of my house. Groupon mistakenly sent me five cameras. Groupon has terrible customer service (another post entirely), so I couldn't even get in touch with anyone there to tell them I got five cameras sent to me out of the blue. So I put them up. I have a panic button thing. I think I'm set to leave the shooting to the professionals. I don't even live in a high crime area, AND our police, despite what you may read lately, are extremely competent.

I have seventeen hundred Facebook friends. Some of them are pro-gun nuts. Yep, I said it. Nuts. Not just legal gun owners, but people unwilling to listen to reason, standing their pro-gun shoot-em-up ground, 2nd Amendment twisters. I've yet to hear of one story of anyone I know personally having saved themselves from a home invasion because they had a gun. 

I do know that in most of Bergen County, NJ, there is no need to have a gun. Especially if you have little kids. I guarantee your little one gets into the gun stash before you ever actually need or can use it on some mythical perpetrator coming to invade your house. Unless you're sleeping with a loaded gun under your pillow every night, you're never getting to that gun fast enough to do anything correctly with it. If you do sleep with a loaded gun under your pillow, I'm taking the bet you shoot your face off before it protects you from an intruder.

I don't pretend to know what it's like to live somewhere else. I only know what it's like here. There is no one that can convince me that stricter gun laws would make any negative difference to any law abiding citizen that isn't planning an attack on anyone. Maybe in high crime areas with gangs in on illegal gun trade, I can sort of understand where it could be a problem if it's harder for the Average Joe/Jane to get a gun to feel safe in their own home. Even so, I'm not saying to get rid of guns completely, but it should be more difficult to get them. Also, the KIND of guns sold to civilians is a problem that needs to be corrected. No one needs an AK-47 or whatever assault rifles are. I can't come up with one good reason someone needs to have that hanging around their house. Anywhere. If you have that, you're just one postal moment away from being a psychopath on a shooting spree.

We can't police stupid and we can't police mental health. So we have to police weapons. That's the only logical answer. I've heard all the stupid arguments that come up about not blaming the car when someone runs someone over or crashes and other analogies. However, most of these analogies don't make any sense. A gun's only purpose is to kill or maim. A car has a main purpose of getting someone from one place to another. Having nothing to do with killing or maiming. If that happens, it's unfortunate, tragic, sad, etc, but it's not the actual purpose for existing. Guns have no other purpose but to do damage. I don't understand why that fact isn't common sense. That I even have to type that out is tragic.

Stupidity and mental health are huge problems facing society. Our mental health system is broken beyond discussion. Every time there is mass shooting or some other tragic shooting in the news, the pro-NRA nuts start yelling about how it's mental health that's the problem and not the guns. "IT'S NOT GUNS THAT KILL PEOPLE! PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!" Most of these nuts consider themselves Republicans. Republicans don't want to pay for mental health programs. THAT, friends, is where the system is broken. Certain groups not only don't want to pay for mental health programs, but actively vote against any mental health reforms and rally others to vote against. So what then? We just blame mental health problems, shrug, send out a tweet of "Prayers for the shooting victims of the week" and go on with our days? How insane does that sound?? I'd like to see the NRA put up the billions for mental health programs. Then they'd have a leg to stand on. Maybe.

We don't know why this couple, this week, decided to shoot up the husband's work place and kill all those innocent people. All we do know is that the guns were obtained legally. We do know there has to be a better way. Let's hope someone has the balls to implement that better way. Soon.

I'm just going to leave this here: