TV Eye

Don't Touch My Ceiling Fan

MPDP: Mindy Paige Davis Page
MPDP: Mindy Paige Davis Page

Anyone who regularly reads "TV Eye" knows that there are certain things I don't watch or write about.

Sports: Besides Pardon the Interruption (ESPN), which I like but watch infrequently, sports is just too broad to cover.

Daytime soaps: Although my closest friend on Earth goes nearly apoplectic when I say this, I detest them. I do, however, admit to watching Port Charles (ABC). Why? It's only 30 minutes, it's going off the air soon, and it has some of the most convoluted storylines I've ever seen on daytime TV.

The last program I don't watch may come as a horrible, surprising shock considering its popularity and the buckets of ink recently spilled on the subject in entertainment media. No, dear readers, I don't watch Trading Spaces (TLC). Trust me, I've tried. A relative tried to set me straight earlier this year, coaching me through a Trading Spaces marathon into the wee hours of the morning. She explained the finer points of the show, pointed out the "characters" and other "intriguing" details. I feigned interest until I had to come clean and admit ... I don't care. Every time I've admitted this to friends and strangers, there's a gasp followed by fearful bunny eyes suggesting I've sprouted hooves, a tail, and some horns. How could I not like the show's perky host, Paige Davis? (Sure, she's cute.) How could I not fawn over the hunky carpenter, Carter Oosterhouse? (Actually, if he were on screen more, I might be more inclined to watch.) How could I not oooh and aaah over the end results and run right out to buy a glue gun of my very own?

Part of the show's "drama" comes from the "reveal," where homeowners get to see their redesigned rooms. On the few occasions I purposely watched the show to figure out what all the hubbub was about, I was aghast. In one, designer Frank Bielec hung a horrendous piece of "art" in a giant plastic baggie on a bedroom wall across from a bed several feet too high (and no step stool), next to a chair with leather handcuffs on the armrests. The pleasant ambient light from the room's only window was stanched with heavy, bleak curtains. Eeeeek!

The second episode I saw was apparently a Trading Spaces classic. A horrid white façade was slapped over a fireplace specifically ruled off-limits. At the reveal, the wife slunked off camera, but was heard inconsolably sobbing through her still-live mic.

Anyone who's ventured into my apartment will surely see that I could use some decorating tips. But when it comes right down to it, I like my piles of books and paper. It looks like a disaster to the untrained eye, but to me, it's a highly sophisticated filing system where I have everything I need within reach. Too much neatness means that I can't find something when I most want it. But best of all, I can almost guarantee that no one in their right mind will ask to crash at my place.

Season four of Trading Spaces premieres Sept. 6 on TLC.

Good to know

Central Texas barbecue is the focus of a future episode of Epicurious (Travel Channel). Chef Michael Lomonaco will be in Austin over the weekend, checking out Austin-area barbecue joints, topped off by a visit at the 13th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival on Sunday.

A free, prescreening of Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam takes place Monday (Aug. 25) at the KLRU studios at the University of Texas. Based on the award-winning book by Charley Trujillo, the film recounts the experiences of Mexican-American servicemen in Vietnam, serving at the same time the Chicano movement was beginning to challenge inequalities in the States. A panel discussion follows the 7pm screening. Soldados is the last film in the POV series airing on PBS next month. To attend the screening, call Karen Quebe at 475-9050 or e-mail

HBO2 airs University of Texas film professor Ellen Spiro's documentary short "Atomic Ed & the Black Hole" Tuesday (Aug. 26) at 11pm. Spiro's film is part of the cable network's Still Kicking, Still Laughing series featuring seniors aging with panache. "Atomic Ed" takes its title from a former Los Alamos National Laboratory machinist turned atomic junk collector, nicknamed Atomic Ed. After leaving his job 30 years ago, Ed began to collect nonradioactive discards from the laboratory, creating and maintaining an unofficial museum of the nuclear age he calls "The Black Hole." "Atomic Ed & the Black Hole" also airs on Aug. 28 at 6pm and Aug. 30 at 12:45pm.

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Belinda Acosta, July 8, 2011

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Ellen Spiro, Karen Quebe, Atomic Ed & the Black Hole, Soldados: Chicanos in Vietnam, 13th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, Charley Trujillo, Michael Lomonaco, Frank Bielac, Paige Davis, Carter Oosterhouse, Trading Spaces

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