Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Links

Here are some random links to things that I thought were cool, fun, interesting, weird, funny, or just wanted to share.

Tim Burton + Johnny Depp + Wonderland = WIN! New full trailer released in the UK now on Youtube. Also, check along the side for Disney UK's trailers for the live action version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and the 2 trailers for Toy Story 3!

Iron Man 2 Trailer is A W E S O M E !!!

Man vs Toddler. I thought this was pretty funny. "Somebody teach that kid to do sh.." LOL!

Star Trek as the A-Team!

What would a Discovery Channel type documentary on The Beatles be like in 1,000 years? Perhaps like this:

Han Solo IS Scarface (Kinda funny mash up video.) Cursing, so NSFW.

Is THIS how the Cylons or Skynet got started?

Meet the # 1 World of Warcraft player ever:

David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends) had some nice words about making his latest movie in my area. The cast includes someone I know. WTG Jen Kincer!

I would imagine that by now everyone has seen this 17 second video of the "surprised kitty," but just in case, here it is. Cuteness overload warning.

Ever wanted to call a celebrity? Actor Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) recently joined a band on stage and sang a song that not only repeated his phone number over and over, but he actually had a woman on stage hold up a sign with the digits. I'm guessing that he set up the number ahead of time for this event, but some people have said they've actually reached him. Usually it just goes to voice mail.

Funniest Facebook Faux Pas. I've seen some of these before, but this is a pretty good collection. I can only hope that some are (At least one is NSFW)

Read this article, and then play the video of duet fromDavid Cook and Carrie Underwood. They performed "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac at the American Idol attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Disney World in Orlando.

This video is full of win. It's Neil Diamond covering Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" set to animation:

Here are The Lovemongers (aka the gals from Heart) performing their remake of Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore." I still think that this is better than the original. Sacrilege, I know.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top Chef 6: Las Vegas - Finalé

I decided to wait to post this since the finalé was in 2 parts.

Part 1 last week saw the Final Four cheftestants getting back together after being away from the show for a couple of months. The Final Four are Jen, Kevin and the Voltaggio brothers, Bryan & Michael. Amazingly, these 4 were the ONLY chefs to win an Elimination Round the entire season. Eliminated Chefs won Quickfires, but NONE won an Elimination Round. Chef Tom wrote that it showed that these 4 were truly the best of the best. By now the show had aired, and they had a chance to see what other people had said about them. Kevin noted how Michael put down his cooking but hadn't really had any chance to actually taste it. Kevin also noted that there is a Facebook fan page for his beard! How fun!

They met at a train station in Napa Valley in longer in Vegas. They had a Quickfire on the train where they were to make use of the grape and the guest judge was Michael Chiarello who used to have some shows on Food Network but competed on Top Chef Masters this Summer. He owns a restaurant in Napa and is a longtime resident there. The winner of the Quickfire would get a new Toyota Prius. Jen said that she really needed a new car. It seemed to come down to Jen and Michael with Michael winning as he not only used grapes throughout, but also used a grapevine as a skewer.

The Elimination allowed them to make whatever they wanted using ONLY local ingredients found at a local Farmer's Market. Well, salt & pepper were allowed, but otherwise, all local. Everyone had to make 2 dishes, one Vegetarian. I noticed that 3 of the 4 used cheese (not all are lacto-vegetarians,) while Michael used an egg (not all are ovo-vegetarians.) Jen made a duck dish and an over salted vegetarian dish, while Bryan made 2 amazing dishes. Kevin made an incredible looking vegetarian dish, but his meat dish was just so so. Michael's meat dish was very good, but his egg wasn't presented correctly. While not undercooked, he failed to remove the clear liquid that emerges and it looked unappealing. The editing made it look like Michael was going, but Chef Tom said in his blog that they knew from the start that it would be Jen. Her vegetarian dish was SO over salted that it was inedible. Bryan won the challenge.

This week the Top Three had to make a 3 course dinner with one course of their choosing, one course using ingredients from a "mystery box," and a dessert course. All of the other former cheftestants returned and the Top Three had to draw knives out of a knife block to see which 2 each would get as a sous chef. One would help them prep the first day, and one would help them finish the next. Bryan was the luckiest as he got Jen & Ashley. Michael was pretty lucky in getting Eli & Jesse while poor Kevin ended up with Preeti & Ash. Ashley, Jesse and Preeti helped the first day, while Jen, Eli and Ash helped the next. Kevin complained that of the 12 or 13 things he needed done, Preeti was only able to do 2 of them.

They were given a 4th dish, the first one, that would have to be inspired by a childhood memory. Oh, and their mothers arrived to cheer them on. Kinda awkward for Bryan & Michael's mom, huh? The mystery box was the same for all, and it contained fish and some ingredients I've never heard of, including some kind of mushroom. Kevin ended up being cut first, so it came down to the 2 brothers. Both he and Chef Tom later said that Preeti wasn't the problem, Kevin just ended up in a funk.

In the end, despite the way it was edited, Michael won. LOTS of fans complained, but Chef Tom explained it was the editing, and he wasn't thrilled with it. It's one thing to edit the show to throw people off so they don't know who will win, it's quite another to edit it to be misleading. Chef Tom felt that it was misleading, it even had him questioning his own memory. It LOOKED like the courses went this way; Childhood: Kevin, Mystery Box: Michael, Chef's Choice: Bryan, Dessert: Bryan. In actuality, Michael won the "Chef's Choice" course so he won 2 of the 4 to win Top Chef. In total, including the final win, Kevin won 5 Eliminations and 3 Quickfires, Michael won 4 Eliminations and 2 QFs, and Bryan won 4 Elims and No QFs. While the fans wanted Kevin, and if not him then Bryan, they can't complain as Kevin won $45,000 amongst his wins. Michael consistently made artistic, bold, tasty, and complicated food. Kevin's was more simple, yet flavorful, while Bryan's was yummy and classic while somewhat "safe." Michael may not be a fan favorite, but it's hard to argue his win.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recap week ending 11/22/2009

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The guest judge this
week was Gavin Kaysen who competed in the 2007 "culinary Olympics" called the Bocuse d'Or. Sorry, not impressed. The footage of that event looked like it was filmed in a high school gymnasium by a local municipal access cable company. Seriously, it looked like a joke.

Anywho, for the Quickfire Challenge, the 5 remaining cheftestants were to try to recreate in their own style Chef Kaysen's dish that he made in 2007 which was a Ballotine of Chicken, Chicken Liver and Crayfish. It is essentially a protein inside of a protein inside of a protein...think turducken.

While the instruction were to make a "version" of it, brother Michael apparently took a little too much license and made a terrine. I'd always thought of a terrine as a cooking dish (and it is) but in food it's essentially several items pressed together and shaped and cut. It kinda looks like a sushi roll. So, his dish didn't go over too well. Surprisingly, Jen won! It was her first win in a looong time, and maybe finally will get her confidence back up. Her win got her 30 minutes extra time in the Elimination Challenge.

The Elimination Challenge of course was to make something in the style of the Bocuse d'Orusing one protein (either Salmon or Lamb,) and 2 garnishes. Kevin (who I agree with) said that while the Bocuse d'Or is all about presentation (you present your dishes on a mirror...oy,) he wanted to focus on complex flavors. I mean, leave it to the French to come up with a food competition that is more about looks than taste. What is it for, a magazine cover? Ridiculous. Anyway, Brian was the one who everyone thought had the best technique and complicated dish, but his lamb was undercooked. If he had Jen's extra 30 minutes, he probably would have won. All of them received some praise, and all of them received some criticism. Kevin won, which I'm SURE pissed off Michael because he keeps saying that Kevin cooks what he cooks on his day off. WTFE a-hole. Kevin not only focused more on taste than appearance, but he sous vide his meat, which he'd never done, and he had asked brother Bryan the night before on some tips for doing it. Bryan said that he'd have been an a-hole to not tall Kevin...and that he doubted that his brother would have told Kevin. He's probably right, and Kevin is probably lucky that Michael went to sleep early, so he didn't know about his brother "helping" a competitor. Eli ended up going home so as predicted here after the 1st or 2nd show, the Final Four are the brothers (Bryan and Michael,) Kevin, and Jen.

Next Iron Chef America:

This started with 10 chefs, and I only knew 2 of them. Amanda Freitag and Jose Garces. Both had competed on ICA before (and Garces won as I recall.) The final 2 chefs were Jose and Chef Mehta who was born in India. So, the new Iron Chef would be a minority (either Hispanic or Indian.)

The final round was a head to head ICA battle in Kitchen Stadium and the "secret ingedient" was "ribs and racks." So it was ribs from pig, cow & buffalo. Unlike the first NICA 2 years ago, the 3 judges who had been judging all along actually got to be judges for the finals. The last time, there was a LOT of issues where the 3 judges throughout the show weren't the judges for the ICA battle (3 Iron Chefs were instead,) and the 3 judges who had been there all along thought that Symon probably would not have won had they been the judges. So, this time not only were the 2 judges there, but also 3 current Iron Chefs (Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, and Morimoto.) To me, that made the most sense, and both the Chairman and Alton Brown also were served dishes. I bet if there had been a tie that Alton would have been the tie breaker.

It seemed pretty apparent to me who would win. The 3 judges of the series made noise that Chef Mehta took more risks and that maybe led to more failures but also led to the single best dish. The Iron Chefs seemed to say that Chef Garces might have been more "conservative" but nearly everything was technically correct, cooked correctly, and he didn't produce 5 "Latin" dishes, so it wasn't "really" conservative for him. In the end, Chef Garces won and is the new Iron Chef to replace Mario Batali who has had a falling out with Food Network...although he WILL compete in the Iron Chef Battle with the White House Official Chef along with Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse (who also has had a falling out with FN.) This special episode of Iron Chef America will air in January.

Detroit Lions vs Cleveland Browns:

While this game was blacked out locally, I listened to it on the radio.

What the heck was that on Sunday?
The Lions are at home against another 1 win team. A team that had ONLY had 5 TDs for the ENTIRE SEASON so far, and of those 5, only 1 player who was directly involved in ANY of them was actually in the game. The Browns are imploding from within with players calling out the coach, the coach calling out players, and the owner working to replace the GM and coach. ANd they're imploding from without with fans hoping they lose all the rest of their games, that the QBs get hurt, that the owner fires everyone and/or sells the team. You think it's been bad here? At least the Lions team are on the same page and trying to get wins.
So, what happens? The Browns roll up a 24-3 lead.
In the first quarter.

But, as I contended last season...these Lions aren't quitters. Last season, had we played Cleveland or St Louis, or Cincy, or a couple other teams, we probably would have beaten them. The Lions were motivated to not go 0-16 while those other teams just wanted the season to end...and they lucked out because each one of those 4 win or less teams played other 4 win or less teams while the Lions did not.

So, the Lions get it back tied at 24 at halftime. Then they took the lead! Then, like the Lions, they not only lost the lead, but turned the ball over late in the 4th quarter by a bad decision by StafFORD. Calvin had triple coverage, yet Matt tossed the ball his way regardless. Dumb. Typical Lions QB. But wait! The Browns fail and kick the ball back to the Lions. What does StafFORD do? He marches them down the field to around the 30. Then he heaves a last second desperation toss towards Bryant Johnson in the end zone, and is promptly flattened onto his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Johnson was essentially frisked like he was a dope smuggler, so after a pass interference call, the Lions had 1st and goal from the 1 with 0.0 showing on the game clock. Daunte Culpepper, who hadn't even been warming up, had to run onto the field to run the last play. So what does the genius coach of Cleveland do? He calls time out. Many say that he didn't have a choice. They were winning and they had to get their defense set. BS! Let the ice cold Daunte try to run a game that he had absolutely no handle on and take the chance that the Lions, as usual, would fail. Instead, out runs StafFORD, lame arm and all, and tosses the winning TD to rookie TE Pettigrew! HOLY SCHNIKES!!!! This isn't Joey Harrington. This isn't Scott Mitchell. Those clowns would have been writing in pain on the bench, watching the game on the jumbotron.

What did I learn from this game?
That the Lions are absolutely terrible. Their defense couldn't stop a check, and their special teams must be full of "special" people. Durr durr.
But, the offense isn't horrible, and StafFORD tossed TDs to 5 different players. 2 rookies, one a 2nd year player, and one a 3rd year player, and the 5th the backup TE. That shows that perhaps there is a nucleus to build upon. StafFORD has shown that he could be "the real deal" and prior to the game HE took all the blame for the multiple dropped passes over the prior few games. That sends a signal to his offense that HE is the leader, and that builds respect. StafFORD got 422 yards and 5 TDs, the first time a rookie has done that since the 1930s! HOLY SCHNIKES! Does this mean that the Lions "turned a corner?" Hells no. But it does show that perhaps, just maybe, they got the right guy last draft. The offense needs LINEMEN, not skill players or StafFORD will get killed. But the guy's got the heart of a winner and the toughness and guts to get him through the bad times.

The Lions will be lucky to win 1 more game (Chicago at home on the last week is their best bet) but that was a nice win and a nice boost to the offense and showed that the Lions may FINALLY have a true leader in the locker room. They had better spend the entire off season bringing in veteran defensive linemen and secondary as well as o-linemen, and target those positions with EVERY pick in the next draft.

Oh, and I happened to pick up StafFORD for my Fantasy Football team and he got me over 55 points! W00t!!
I played my brother's team, and he's a HUUUUGE Lions fan. Must have sucked for him knowing that although the Lions would win, he was getting killed. Sorry about that, bro.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week Ending 11/15/2009

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The guest judge this week was Nigella Lawson who is sexy but I've never been a big fan of her cooking shows. The Quickfire Challenge had the 6 remaining cheftestants prepare breakfast in bed for Padma and Nigella (they were in separate beds, perve.) Robin's breakfast of course sucked and as usual she was all "I was unhappy with my dish." Of course you were, you blow. Bryan's dish also ended up in the bottom but only because he added vanilla to it which Nigella didn't like. I dunno, it looked and sounded great and I'm not sure how vanilla could have ruined it. For reasons unknown, Jen made "Shit on a Shingle" and actually CALLED it that! WTF!?! Michael made a nice dish, and Kevin made an interesting twist on "steak and eggs" by adding coffee beans, but it was Eli's Reuben/Eggs Benedict sandwich that won the Quickfire, and earned him the one and only slot from this season to be including in the new Top Chef Quickfire Challenge Cookbook. Good for Eli, as that will probably be his last honor in this season.

For the Elimination challenge, the chefs were each sent to various casino/hotels in Vegas to be "inspired" and then turn their inspiration into a dish for 250 guests. That's a LOT of work for each chef, but you just knew who would do well and who wouldn't.

Jen again tried to sabotage herself and in the "stewing room" where they wait to find out their fate she just kept saying, "Just send me home already." Nice. Nothing like giving up.

Eli went to "Circus Circus" and somehow decided that meant peanut and popcorn soup. WTF? Sounds gross. Chef Tom blogged that he actually kinda liked it, but ultimately Eli failed to pull it all together. Padma said that she NEVER wanted to try to eat it again. Nigella was afraid to even try, but ultimately did after the other judges gave it a go.

Michael won by making a nifty chicken wing dish inspired by firefighters of NYC. It had a little sweetness and a little heat and had a semi-frozen blue chees mousse on top.

FINALLY getting the boot was Robin who tried to make things that she'd never done before (again) and failed at it (as usual.) She claimed that she had been an artist and I think she should do everyone a favor and go back to doing that as she just sucks as a chef.


I went and saw Michael Jackson: This Is It and it shows how he was involved with all aspects of the show from auditioning backup dancers to watching the shoots of the little videos that would appear on stage during the different songs. He looked to be in good shape, danced well, and for the most part his voice was in fine shape. I do think they "augmented" his voice by playing the album version of the song at times 9probably as the audio was poorly recorded when he sang it live (remember, these rehearsals weren't supposed to see the light of day) but when he did sing live that were obviously live, he sounded really good.


Fringe was pretty decent although I saw the first "twist" a mile away. Next week should be amazing as it is about the "Observers." Yes, that's an "s" at the end. Stargate:Universe was kinda boring, and Sanctuary wasn't very good (again.) Smallville was quite good although the "Wonder Twins" weren't really given much to do. Lois believed Clark to be "The Blur" and showed him that she was ok with the idea (so why Clark continued to lie to her is a little odd) but this episode did mark the appearance of "Clark with spectacles." Lois also realized, fully, that she is madly in love with Clark and when he risked her life (or so she believed) to try to save her, that just cemented it. Survivor had one of the best Tribals ever as Evil Russell found a Hidden Immunity Idol for the second time WITHOUT A CLUE! Amazing. It led to a great tribal where the "other tribe" cast 7 votes to evict him (although Shambo's was a sham vote...just for looks) and they were all nullified by Russell playing the HII. It was awesome.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recaps and a little more 10/28-11/1/2009

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

First I want to correct myself from last week.
Although it seemed at the time that the judges weren't happy with either seafood dish from Jen last week, I read Tom's blog and he stated that her Halibut dish was good, the shellfish dish (the one she cooked to order like a dumbass) was terrible. So, Mike I. had 2 acceptable dishes; Jen had 1 good and 1 bad; Kevin had 1 good (his dish,) and 1 bad (Laurine's dish that he cooked;) and Laurine had a bad dish (her lamb dish that she prepped, Kevin cooked, and she allowed to be served undercooked,) and did a terrible job as hostess. So, I now agree that she did deserve to go over Jen last week.
Now, on to this week...

This was one of those Quickfire Challenges that had NOTHING to do with the guest judge. The guest judge was Paul Bartolotta, who has one of the top Italian restaurants in Vegas. The challenge, though, was sponsored by TV Guide and was "tv dinners." The challenge was misnamed because instead of making a dish to be frozen and then served tv dinner style, they were asked to make a dinner to eat fresh that was inspired by a classic tv show. What Chef Bartolotta's connection to any of this escapes me. It just seems that they were able to get a paying sponsor (TV Guide) and "crowbarred" the guest judge into the challenge.

The shows that were to "inspire" the chefs were MASH, Flintstones, Gilligan's Island, Sesame Street, Soprano's, Seinfeld, & Cheers. For me, none of the dishes really had ANYTHING to do with the shows. Kevin at least made an Italian dish (meatballs) for the Soprano's, but pretty much everything else could have been for any tv show...or heck, just any movie, radio program, or even book. I will give Robin props for being a non-tv watcher and used to eating only "healthy foods," yet knew Big Bird and Cookie Monster. Unfortunately, she made a cookie and some mess with an egg on top. It looked terrible and she wound up in the bottom 2 along with Jen who is Hell Bent on crashing and burning. For MASH, why didn't Bryan make something inspired by Korean cooking like Korean Ribs and a Korean style veggie side? Instead, he made meat and potatoes which he said would have been something American Servicemen would have considered "comfort food." Ok, I'll give him that, but the Korean Ribs would have been great, especially since there was an episode where Klinger had ribs sent from Toledo. For the Flintstones, why didn't Jen make a GIANT CUT OF BEEF with the bone in, and call it "Brontosaurus Style?" For Gilligan's Island, Eli went "tropical" but why not a mini coconut pie, or even coconut custard? Why not something with "Ginger?" Anyway, Bryan and Kevin were the Top 2 and Kevin won.

For the Elimination Challenge, they were going to take over Tom's Vegas restaurant, Craftsteak. The Cheftestants were all excited and mulling the proteins when Tom brought in Padme Amidala herself, Natalie Portman. Oh, did they mention that Natalie is Vegetarian? I don't understand why chefs go nuts over having to cook for vegetarians. A few weeks back, Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen called the the "biggest pains in the ass in the world." Kevin made some snide comments too, but at least not as bad. Chef Tom acknowledged that although he understand why vegetarians/vegans choose to not eat meat, he went on to say that there are stomach acids that ONLY exist to break down in other words, Vegetarians/Vegans are going against nature. Well, at least he tried.

I go to a Vegetarian restaurant all the time, and there is PLENTY that can be made vegetarian. Heck, every Indian and Ethiopian restaurant have a big vegetarian menu, as does most Mexican and many Italian. Not including odd things like Seitan, they can use beans, lentils, and soy for protein, but pasta dishes, rice many dishes are out there that are already vegetarian, let alone any number of dishes that can be made. Robin was excited because she cooks and eats vegetarian all the time. Mike I. also cooks vegetarian all the time and his own mother is Vegan. The rest mentioned that they have vegetarian dishes or make them special at their restaurants...but they all seemed to whine a bit.

Well, whatever. Michael, Kevin and Eli were in the top, and Kevin's sloppy looking mushroom dish won. I think this made him the first to win both the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges with the same guest judge. Michael bitched that Kevin's dish may have been tasty (he didn't try it,) but it was pedestrian and could be made by any young chef in cooking school, while his was much more complicated. Chef Tom admonished this on his blog and that technique and presentation don't exceed taste, and Kevin's tasted better...although I think he actually wanted Michael's to win inspite of Kevin's dish tasting better, and was out voted.

Jen, Robin & Mike I. were in the bottom (this meant Brother Bryan was alone in "no man's land,) and all of them were pretty terrible. I think the judges are cutting Jen slack, but her dish did seem to be the least offensive of the 3. Robin's was a bunch of disparate veggies that had no connection to each other, and the dish was not balanced in terms of seasoning, acidity, and so forth. But surprisingly, it was Mike I. who got the boot. He didn't cook his leeks properly...and for whatever reason tried to make them a "pretend protein" rather than actually incorporate a real protein. His dish fell apart and he just was like, "oh well, whatever," because rather than try to fix it, he figured that Robin would fail worse and she'd go. He was wrong. In Chef Tom's blog, he seem to imply that one of the brothers or Kevin will go earlier than expected, and in the promo for next week, judge Toby is heard to say, "he" in relation to someone totally failing.

Random Thoughts:

After one of the best Smallville's in a loooong time, they followed up with another good one. Oliver is back and has recruited a gal to be his "Speedy" of sorts. He also got into a love triangle with Clark and Lois, but the episode ended with Clark taking matters into his own hands (although Lois already had told Oliver that she loved him as a friend but Clark has her heart) and Clark kissed Lois.

Sanctuary was one of those episodes to show that the "new person" is part of the team. It didn't work. She still sucks.

Stargate:Universe was one of those "needs of one outweigh the needs of the many" episodes. It was so so.

Ghost Hunters was semi-live with 5 "scariest" episodes as voted by "fans," but hosted live and included Steve and Tango and people from their spinoff series Ghost Hunter Academy. It was ok, more good humor from host Josh, but after they were spoofed on South Park a couple of weeks ago, I'd have rather seen a full episode made by South Park than this sort of semi-live "best of."

Personal Notes:

With my birthday so close to Halloween, I've always had a special place for it. Also, it fits me much more than say Christmas, or 4th of July. I've always looked forward to it...
Until a bad combination of factors over the past few years.

My ex and I wanted to get married on Halloween. We couldn't get the date, so we settled on November 1. It was great, and everyone who was there still talks about how unique and fun it was. The theme was Halloween during the Renaissance. She made her Renaissance style wedding dress, my Renaissance style outfit, her son's outfit that was like a junior version of mine, the 3 little flower girl's dresses, and altered the matron of honor's gown.

We made most of the decor ourselves. The card box looked like a castle. The bride's cake looked like a castle, and the groom's cake was dark chocolate ganache over a red velvet it looked like a "blood cake." The groom's cake had a little gazebo painted black with black roses on it, and little figurines of Dracula and The Bride of Frankenstein. All of the tables had artificial leaves on them. We took all of our carved pumpkins (my family and my brother's) from Halloween and spread them around the reception hall. We had a table set up for kids after dinner and hired the 2 gals who operated the after school facility at my stepson's school. People were encouraged to dress up...either Renaissance or Halloween costumes. Not everyone did, but many did dress up. It was a LOT of fun.

But now, I see that day just after Halloween, and it makes me a little sad. Before it was over, I had a little family of me, my wife, my stepson, and our 2 dogs. Worse, 2 years ago on 10/29 I had to put my girl dog to sleep (the other one lives with my ex several hundred miles away down south.) So now I've "bookended" my favorite day of the year with "sadness."

This year, it's kinda hitting me differently. Last year, I had no desire to decorate for Halloween as it was the first year anniversary since my little girl had to be put down. I went Trick or Treating with my niece and nephew...and I will again this year. Having just turned 40 and still single...and then these 2 dates all in a row...I'm just not feeling much joy or having the kind of fun that I usually have. Add to that the fact that I'm still having money problems and know that until I get that improved, I won't even THINK about trying to date anyone...
Well, it's all left me more than a little melancholy.

Yeah, yeah, I know...waaaaah.
I know it could be worse. A LOT worse. But the weight of the "blahs" is keeping me down. As I've written before, I'm not a "rah rah" type of person, so when I get the blahs...oy. But, I'm muddling through and hanging in there. At any rate...I just wanted to try and put how I'm feeling into words as it seems to help to "get rid" of those feelings.

I went to my brother's to carve pumpkins, then went Trick or Treating with them on Halloween. It was fun.
But I miss my little girl.
And I miss my little family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recaps 10/20-10/25

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

This week the guest judge was Rick Moonan who competed on Top Chef Masters and is all about "sustainable foods."

The Quickfire involved everyone drawing knives. 6 were blank. 1 said "first choice," and 1 said "second choice." Jen drew 1st choice and they were told to pick people for teams so she chose Kevin, then MIke I, then Laurine. Brother Michael had "second choice" so he chose his brother bryan, then Eli and got stuck with Robin. For the quickfire, they had to see how well they could be a team by having 1 chef start a dish and work on it for 10 minutes while the other 3 were blindfolded (so they couldn't see what was going on) and NO TALKING was allowed. After 10 minutes, the second chef would whip off their blindfold, and then try to continue the dish and so on down the line. Both teams put their weakest 2nd as that was the easiest to fix with the final 2 chefs. Jen's team went Jen, Laurine, Mike I, then Kevin. Michael's team went Bryan, Robin, Eli and finally Michael. Rick liked both dishes, and although Jen oddly called her fish Trout, although it was Sablefish...which she SHOULD know since SHE was the one who got it since SHE went first and CHOSE the ingredient...her team won. By winning, they got a $10,000 chip which they could split 4 ways ($2,500 each,) or "let it ride" and if her team won the Elimination Challenge, they each would win $10,000! They decided to gamble, and put the chip on the line.

The Elimination Challenge was the much loved "Restaurant Wars!" This time it was different. usually, each team is given a small space side by side that they have to create a restaurant from scratch, including decor. This time, they were able to take over Rick's 2 story restaurant in Vegas, because each floor had its own kitchen and decor. Jen's team took the top floor which was more "fine dining" and their restaurant plan was supposed to fit that more. Michael's team got the first floor which had a more casual look. So, instead of decor and food, they split up to get food and restaurant equipment and odds and ends not at Whole Foods. The 4 good chefs, Bryan, Michael, Kevin and Jen, all went for the food while the other 4 went to get the other stuff.

The judges went to Michael's restuarant first, which they named Revolt as in Robin, Eli, and the Voltaggio brothers. But of course, the judges instantly thought "Revolting" which isn't a good pairing with food. Eli was the "front of the house" guy, but in another twist, he HAD to come up with 1 dish. He and Michael did first courses, Michael and Bryan did second courses, and Bryan and Robin did desserts. The judges LOVED the food. They weren't especially fond of Eli's dish (which was incorrectly labeled on screen as someone else's (I think Bryan.) Bu they really loved Michael's first course chicken, and also his second course a fish dish. Robin's dessert also got high marks, although she and Michael fought in the back because he was trying to improve it while she took it as him messing with her dish. Bryan had to step in and settle them both down. They also loved Bryan's beef dish and mostly loved his dessert. While Eli's dish was the weakest of all the dishes, it was passable and his hosting was very good.

Jen's team was fail. Laurine was terrible as a hostess. She put out food and then walked away without explaining the dishes. It wasn't until the 2nd course that Padma had to stop her and ask her to tell them what they were having and who made what. She also seemed to disappear for long periods of time. The food did not go over well. For some reason, instead of having the chefs cook 1 dish per course, they had them do both dishes per course. First course were both Mike I's dishes. They were so so, but they got the highest marks for this team. Second course were 2 seafood dishes from Jen, and for reasons unknown, she cooked shellfish to order....which is dumb, time consuming, and easily undercooked. Finally, Kevin had a beef dish and also had to finish Laurine's Lamb dish that she prepped all the way up to the actual cooking process.

Needless to say, Michael's team won. That meant that his team now got the $10,000 chip that Jen's team had "let ride." Michael offered to split it 4 ways, but when they got to the back, Bryan told him to keep his portion. He felt that (a) Michael had won it, and (b) Michael was such a jerk in the kitchen that his bad behavior shouldn't be rewarded.

Jen's team had all decided to NOT make a dessert because they said in past seasons, the team who made desserts lost. The judges pounced on them for no dessert. In the end, Laurine got the boot even though her dish was undercooked by Kevin. Laurine had told Tom that SHE would send back ANY dish not made properly, but then said that because there was such a long wait in between the 1st and 2nd courses (due to Jen cooking the clams and such to order) that she just tried to get the food out. So, she went due to that and due to her poor front of the house performance. While Tom has said time and again that each chef is ONLY judged by THAT week's elimination, I don't think that is what happened. Jen made 2 terrible dishes. Both were called out for how bad they were. Had she precooked the clams, oysters, and etc, and maybe made one as the first course and 1 as the second, she might have been able to stay on top of them. Same with all the chefs and their dishes on her team.

For me though, it SHOULD have been Jen because it was her team, and BOTH of her dishes were terrible. Afterwards, Kevin was pissed and wouldn't talk about it. I wonder if it was guilt for undercooking Laurine's dish and her going home, or because he felt that Jen was given a pass due to her prior good performances. Once again, Jen's dour, pouty, poor self esteem caught up with her. She really is her own worst enemy.

This was a great week in tv! Many shows had some of their best episodes ever!


Chief Russell passed out at the reward challenge and at one point had "cold dead eyes." Jeff stopped the challenge, and then cancelled it outright and sent the tribes back to their camps. he had announced that reward was for pizza, but that BOTH tribes would go to tribal where the winning tribe would eat in front of the losing tribe, but BOTH tribes would vote off someone. Snake bitten Foa Foa looked to be about to win when Chief Russell faceplanted on Galu's puzzle table. Russell's heart rate dropped from like 98 bpm to 67 bpm, so they pulled him from the game. Russell was pissed and reading interviews with him now, he was a jerk to medical and the Survivor people. He didn't realize how bad it was as he was out of it. He just thought he was dehydrated and passed out and would have been fine after some water. Watching it with his wife, he said seeing his cold dead eyes would haunt him his whole life and made his wife breakdown next to him. She thought that she had just seen him die before coming back. Thankfully, this has apparently brought them closer together. Jeff blogged that it was about 45 minutes before Russell was fully conscious and aware. He also responded to comments on his blog and said that both tribes got pizza because of what had happened. Neither tribe voted anyone out so Galu now has 8 and Foa Foa still has 5.


I thought that this was one of the best episodes of Smallville in a LOOOONG time.
It was kind of like that Michael Douglas movie "The Game" where he's a rich guy and for his birthday gift he is thrust into a "game" where his life and lifestyle are put to risk. That happens to Oliver who is on a self destructive binge, and essentially tried to kill himself last week when he stepped off the Toyman's bomb platform, not knowing that it was a fake.
He is at a gambling house when an Asian woman with a dragon tattoo offers him some "real fun." She give him a pill and he wakes up in a coffin. he gets out and finds himself in a room with another coffin, this one locked and someone inside pounding to get out. On the top of the coffin it says, "Alexander Luthor" who Ollie believes he killed last season. Ollie opens it and it's just speakers. He's then taunted by the game makers.

He escapes to a car, that gets hit by a semi. He wakes up on the ground and makes his way back to the gambling place where he finds the scared Asian woman. She tells him that her life is in danger too, and they both get attacked and she gets shot. Cops show up and taser Ollie. He wakes up handcuffed to a table and a cop yelling at him. An FBI agent comes in, and tells Ollie that they've been tracking this group and that they raid his accounts. He gives Oliver a laptop, and Ollie checks his accounts. He has over $3 billion, but it's all there. The FBI agent leaves the room, and suddenly the money disappears. Clark busts in, and takes him to see Chloe.

Chole is shocked at Oliver's appearance. Ollie tries to get to the bottom of it, while Chloe sends Clark to see Jor El as they find out that nearly 100 Kandorians have arrived on earth, and 1 was at the event where Oliver was standing on the "bomb" platform. Clark later returns to say that Jor El recognized the symbol as a house from Kandor and that her presence there means big trouble.

Oliver goes back to the gambling place and finds a bound Lois in the Asian woman's dress. Lois saw the footage of Ollie stepping off the platform, and was made that Clark both hid it from her and lied that Ollie was ok. She found Oliver's lambo, and the Asian woman was in possession of it. She and Lois fought until Asian woman (now known as Roulette,) pulled a gun on her. Roulette told Ollie that he had a choice, save Lois from the fire she was about to start, or try to stop her. She knocked out Lois (actually, it seemed quite lame,) and as she left, the fire caused an explosion in the other room. Ollie left Lois to save a trapped Roulette, telling her that despite all that she's done, he won't leave her to burn alive. Suddenly, she gets up and all the fires go out. It was all a set up. She tells Ollie that she kept asking him, "Who did he destroy?" Suddenly mirrors appear and the answer is obvious...Ollie "destroyed" himself.

Ollie confronts Chloe. He figured out that only SHE could have put it all together and used the League to prevent him from serious harm. Chloe admitted it, and said that Clark and Lois only became involved by accident. She knew he was still a good man and a hero, but had lost sight of it after what he did to Lex. Oliver now was "reborn" and the episode ended with him and Clark on a rooftop, looking to stop crime together.


Dollhouse told how Sierra (born Priya) was an artist found by a brilliant Noble nominated doctor. He used the Dollhouse to throw her an art gallery showing mixed with real art people and Dolls. He wanted her to be with him, but she fell for "Victor." It was then that he used his pull to have her drugged with psychotics and committed to a mental institution. He then arranged for her to be picked up by the Dollhouse and made into a Doll...where she would become his unknowing personal sex slave as she was programmed to be his "girlfriend."

Acting on a tip from Echo, Topher looked into it and found out that the Dollhouse had been had. DeWitt was NOT amused and told him that they would no longer be sending her to him. he told her that as a major contributor to the Rossum Foundation, HE not she called the shots. Sure enough, her job and life were threatened by her higher ups to make Sierra PERMANENTLY his girlfriend.

Topher instead gave her back her real mind, and she ended up killing him. She called Topher who came to help her and they'd BOTH have to run away. Until Langton showed up with a plan. He had followed Topher and sent him to his car for some tools and acid. Topher had to cut up the loser's body in the tub, and fill the tub with the acid. Priya then came back with them and knew that she had to go back to being Sierra again. She saw Victor, and realized that somehoe, the 2 of them were in love. She told Topher that if she were to be returned to Priya again, to restore her to where she was when he woke her up, without any knowledge of what has happened and what she did.

By all accounts from fans and reviewers, this was one of the best episodes ever!

Other shows that were really good this week include Spectacular Spiderman which saw a battle between 3 crimelords and then Spiderman, only to find that the Green Goblin had returned and had set the whole thing in motion. Batman the Brave & the Bold also was surprisingly good. It was a musical, with Neil Patrick Harris in the role of the Music Meister, a villain who can control minds with his singing. Good guys and bad all end up doing his bidding while Black Canary and others sing his twisted songs. Very interesting songs, and especially the Black Canary pining for Batman song.

Other shows:

Sanctuary was pretty decent, but I STILL want to know why they killed off Ashley and replaced her with a new character. Stargate:Universe is much more like BSG than Star Trek:Voyager, and NOTHING like the other Stargates. Medium was a good episode on the whole, but I HATE episodes where they make Allison look crazy.

In other news, it was my birthday on Friday (10/23.) Not a good day on the whole, but could have been worse.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recaps and Comments 10/20/2009

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The guest judge was Charlie Palmer, who is sometimes credited with making "American Food" a "Cuisine" and not just a derided joke.

Brothers Bryan and Michael had both worked for him. Bryan for about 10 years, and Michael for about a year. Charlie said that he wouldn't give them any special treatment.

The Quickfire Challenge was that they had to pair a new company's (ie sponsor) brand of snack food with something else to make a nice dish. The snacks were 1 of 6 flavors of Alexia Crunchy Snacks that are made from veggies. The chefs had all been eating the snacks back at the apartment they've been living in, so they were all familiar with the flavors of the snacks. Some seemed really good, while others were kinda meh. Poor Jen, she cooked her tenderloin too early, and Charlie and Padma got to her last, so while her meat sat all that time, it continued to cook. Tenderloin has less fat and is easy to dry out, and by cooking it too early and having it sit, by the time it was tasted, it was overdone. Jen, Ash and Robin were in the bottom. The tops were Bryan, Eli and Kevin and Eli got the win. No $15,000 or immunity for him though, his only reward was that he got to pick first in the Elimination challenge.

The Elimination challenge began with everyone drawing knives. On each knife was a type of cut of pork. Shank, shoulder, butt, loin, tenderloin, leg, etc... Jen got "Wild Boar" which was the "wild card" so she could pick whatever cut she wanted. She wisely chose pork belly which is the juiciest, tastiest, and least likely to get dried out. One they had their pig part, they had to pick a brand of Pinot Noir to pair their dish with for Charlie's "Pigs & Pinot" annual charity fundraiser.

The result was a microcosm of this season as a whole (and clearly of the remaining cheftestants.) The Top 4 were the usual 4 that are in the top. Brothers Bryan & Michael, Kevin, and Jen. Kevin got the well deserved win, and he get talking about how much he loves pork that he even has a tattoo of a pig, and once he won, he proceeded in showing it off to the judges. The bottom 3 were the usual bottom feeders, Robin, Ash and Laurine. That meant that Eli and Mike I were where they usually are...somewhere in the middle. Laurine's dish was called "catfood" by Dana Cowen, another Food & Wine person (like Gail) who also is a regular on Top Chef and I think she's been on Iron Chef America too.

For me, anyone who has a dish called "cat food" should be the one sent home. Especially after she explained how she cooked it, and Charlie informed her that her cooking method wasn't even the way the dish is SUPPOSED to be prepared. So, let's see, she didn't even know how to cook the dish she made, and the final product was like cat food. So she went home right? Wrong! Ash who YET AGAIN changed his mind after talking to one of the other cheftestants, and prepared the dish the way the other person suggested, instead of his original idea. He told Charlie what his original plan was, and Charlie thought that it sounded yummy. I think Ash got the boot because Tom was tired of Ash always cooking someone else's idea, and not his own...even after telling Tom that "this time it would be all him." Ash would contend that Padma had a LOT to do with him going. He claimed that she NEVER liked ANY of his dishes, and was ALWAYS critical of him. When he was in front of the judges explaining his latest disaster, she asked him in a VERY condescending tone, "Did you taste the dish?"

Regardless, The Top 4 will most likely always be in the top and SHOULD be the Final Four, the bottom 2 should go next, and Mike and Eli may win another Quickfire or so, but I don't see either winning an Elimination round.

Paranormal Activity:

I am not a horror movie fan.
That said, if a movie comes along that looks interesting, I might try to see it. 10 years ago, it was Blair Witch. That was not really a "horror" movie as we know them these days, but more of a scary a throwback. It was ok, but by the time I had seen it, the "cat was out of the bag" that it was a movie and not "found footage." I also happened to see the fake documentary (aka mockumentary) that presented all this back story. I think it was called "Curse of the Blair Witch." I've read where some people saw the mockumentary first and then were disappointed that NONE of that info makes it into the film. For me though, I think it enhanced the experience because I understood some of what was happening. Perhaps it would have been better to see the movie first, and then the fake documentary. I dunno, hard to say.

It's been surprising at how few "scary" movies have been made since, and how many gory horror movies have come out. I suppose there have been a few, some would say 28 days later.
Most would say [REC] which was remade as Quarantine. I haven't seen any of them.
I am trying to see "Let the Right One In," but I've heard that the DVD has poor ad misleading subtitles. Like some of the dialogue was misinterpreted or made not as full as seen in the theaters. So, I guess I'll wait for the revised DVD. I also want to see Trick r Treat, which like Paranormal Activity was a small budget film (although it does have some known actors) and for whatever reason, it was never given a proper release. I've heard it's scary as Hell, and I see it's On Demand, so I'll probably try to order it soon.

At any rate, Paranormal Activity, like Blair Witch and Cloverfield, is supposed to be a movie made from footage from a personal camcorder.

I won't give anything away, but the gist is that a young 20 something unmarried couple move in and odd things start happening. The guy doesn't think much of it, but decides to buy a really nice video camera, with great resolution and an expensive mic, to let the thing run at night and see if it picks up anything. He does it more or less to appease his girlfriend.

As such, while the entire movie is filmed from this camera, the main thrust of the film is told while the camera runs during the night while the couple sleep. Watching darkess and a time counter run in the bottom right corner of the screen may not seem very interesting, but trust me, it is.

There isn't any gore. This movie is 100% creepy, suspenseful, scariness. Sitting there watching them sleep and wondering if something is going to happen is pull out your hair, look thru your fingers, bite off your nails creepy. I would say that I found this to be 10 times creepier than Blair Witch because while that took place in the woods, this takes place in their home. I find that to be MUCH creepier. The main problem that people had with Blair Witch was that you really don't see anything. If you like creepy, scary, terrifying, non-gory horror movies, this is for you.

I have NEVER been in a theater with so many people screaming their faces off. Even Sixth Sense was more people being startled than actually terrified. This movie could very well make you lose your shit...both figuratively and literally.

I saw this by myself.
I do not recommend that.
While I personally didn't have any problems sleeping, alone, that night or since, I've read where a LOT of people have had problems. Even those not sleeping alone.

I encourage people to go see this movie. It's the perfect time of the year for it. Also, it's a great story of a movie made for less than $20,000 doing good. In very limited release (still in less than 800 theaters) it's made over $20 million this past weekend, and has topped $30 million total.
If it's not showing in your area, call your local theaters and request it. Go see this movie, and see it with an audience as that is really part of the experience.

Odds and Ends...

Adam, who won Big Brother 9 (the ONLY Spring edition) was arrested for selling Oxycodone.

The headline that lead me to that search for the above article (as that one has a photo) was "Big Brother Winner Arrested for selling Oxycodone." I thought, oh no, Dr Will!?!
I had thought that Adam was a basically decent guy, despite his well known "retard" comment. I guess not. He used his winnings to fund his life of crime. As Bugs Bunny would say, what a maroon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Catching up

Sorry that it's been so long, work has been nuts.
Anywho, I'll do short recaps of Warehouse 13's final 2 episodes and the last 3 eps of Top Chef: Vegas, plus a few comments about other shows this season.
Suffice to say, I probably won't be blogging any shows for the time being, but I will try to keep posting on Top Chef until it finishes.
Anything else, tv shows, movies, wtfe, will come as I can.

Warehouse 13:

Ok, so I was wrong in that Mrs Frederic didn't turn Artie and the team loose to get MacPherson. The second to last episode started with Myka in Europe in a hotel room they traced to MacPherson. She discovered that special hand cymbals that he had were not in their storage box in the room, so he must have them on him. At the same time, Pete was chasing MacPherson down a street in Montreal when 2 cops showed up. MacPherson used the cymbals which blasted a sonic wave that knocked Pete over and killed the 2 cops (Pete had been warned to cover his ears, the cops weren't so lucky.) Mrs. Frederic was NOT pleased at what they had been up to.

Myka's father, who runs an old new & used book store and lives above it with her mother was sent an old Edgar Allen Poe book. Upon touching it, words from the pages ran up his arm causing him to scream in pain. Myka's mom called and told her that he had some sort of seizure, so Myka went to check on him...although they never got along. Pete showed up unexpectedly to offer his support. Later, the father read the book again (not knowing what had happened) only this time he went into some trance/coma like state and the words could be seen all over his body.

At the same time, a college student with a crush on a pretty gal "hears" Edgar Allen Poe's pne "calling" to him. He breaks into a display case with it, and by writing a word down anyone who reads it is affected by it. He writes "fire" on paper and puts it in a rivals locker and the guy bursts into flames (survives.) Then his professor confronts him about the pen and the kid shows him "wall" and the wall grabs the prof and buries him alive inside. Luckily, by now Pete and Claudia have arrived and they get the prof out of the wall. The kid entralls the gal and when Pete & Claudia show up he shows them "Pendulum" and suddenly they're lying prone on the ground with a giant pendulum swinging above them. They're able to break the spell from them and the gal, and take the pen into their custody.

Back at Myka's parent's place, the reunite the pen and book and the words leave her dad and go back into the book. As Myka and Pete leave, they realize that something isn't right. They go back inside and fine Myka's parents entralled by a lantern (Jack the Ripper's) and MacPherson is there. He agrees to free her parents and spare their lives in exchange for the book and pen. He takes them and leaves.

Ok decent episode, it resolved Myka and her father's estrangement when Myka finds out that he wrote and rewrote a book about her and how great she is. He never published it, but Myka and her mom encourage him to do so. Myka's parents were played by real life husband and wife Michael and Susan Hogan. Michael played the eye patch wearing Colonel Tigh on the recent BSG remake series.

The final episode of the season had the whole team hunting MacPherson who possessed a Phoenix pendant that allows the wearer to survive being in a fire, but by killing double the amount of lives it saves. This is what caused MacPherson to be banished from the Warehouse and imprisoned. Years earlier, he used it to save the life of the woman he and Artie both loved, but it killed 4 firemen. Banishment from the Warehouse means adding an element to his blood that should he step into the Warehouse, the magically enhanced elements in the Warehouse would cause him to explode. He somehow had managed to not only escape prison some time ago, but had managed to get the Phoenix pendant as well as other items from within the Warehouse. Doing an investigation, the team used the item's tracking device that records anyone who removes an item from a shelf. In all cases, the person was Claudia.

Turns out that MacPherson had a shape changing artifact, and had one of his henchmen wear it to "become"Artie to try to frame Artie as a major criminal. It was also revealed that Leena, the Bohemian woman who runs the Bed & Breakfast where the agents live, was working with MacPherson and stole the items for him while looking like Claudia. The point was to get the agent's to capture MacPherson and bring him to the Warehouse to be encased in copper for all time. In order to do that, he was given an item that neutralized the chemicals in his body so that he could go inside. Once inside, Leena (as Claudia) freed him from the copper and he stole some items and set the tunnel that connects the Warehouse to the outside to explode...which it did...with Artie inside.

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The last 3 episodes-

Episode 5:
Guest Judge: Tim Love who competed and lost in the first rounds of Top Chef Masters.
Quickfire Challenge: make something with cactus. Winner: Mike I who won a $15,000 chip
Elimination Challenge: Camping cooking out in the desert with fire pits.
Winner: Brother Bryan for his second in a row, and third overall.
Eliminated: Mattin who made ceviche...out in the dessert...and it was raw.

Episode 6:
Guest Judges: Michelle Bernstein and Penn & Teller.
Quickfire Challenge: Make something that represents Angel on one shoulder and Devil on the other. Winner: Robin who made a dish that represented what she could eat and couldn't eat due to her cancer diagnosis. The cheftestants were NOT happy as Robin is considered a light weight and they though Michelle gave it to her because she's a woman and her cancer story. Chef Tom disputed that in his online blog. BTW, Michelle Bernstein is SMOKING HOT now!
Elimination Challenge: Use their own "magic" to deconstruct and recreate a dish.
Winner: Kevin who had made a similar dish in the previous challenge but failed...he just happened to get some of the same ingredients by chance.
Eliminated: Ron who tried to make a Paella but neither successfully or correctly made a paella, and didn't even get the concept of deconstructing it as it was essentially just his trying to actually make a paella using the normal ingredients.

Guest Judge: Tyler Florence of Food Network (huh? how was he able to do this?) aka my "celebrity look-alike." I don't think I look like him, but he's the only celebrity who is even close. I think he was able to be on this show as it was all to benefit a feed the hungry program that he's seriously involved with.
Quickfire Challenge: The pulled a slot machine and it gave them 3 random ingredients based upon "mood" "taste/texture" and "origin of cuisine"
Winner: Kevin who could take a $15,000 chip, or have immunity in the Elimination Challenge. He chose the chip (good call!)
Elimination Challenge: They had to draw knives to pair up and make a dinner using ingredients given to them from a well regarded restaurateur who also were members of Tyler's organization. The ingredients represented that restaurateur's "style" but they didn't have to make the dish like the restaurateur, they could make something of their own using that person's ingredients in a new and different way.
Winner: Jennifer who had been sick and was in the bottom in the Quickfire Challenge.
Eliminated: Ashley Brother Michael almost got the boot, but since he wins more than not and Ashley's in the bottom more than not, I think that's why she went.

At this point, the only really "weak" cheftestant left is Robin. She SHOULD go this week, and if not her then maybe Laurine.

Other Shows:


They spent waaaay too much time hyping Evil White Russell and yet nothing he has said is really true. He keeps gloating that he's "calling the shots" yet the first to go was a young gal who didn't get along with the tribe, and the next to go was an over 40 woman. These are the types who USUALLY go first anyway. His first real challenge was when Jaison wanted to get rid of Ben but EWR didn't. Jaison got his way as EVERYONE (including EWR) voted out Ben. I will give EWR credit for finding the Hidden Immunity Idol without a single clue, but for me, it was hidden very lazy. I was more impressed when Eirk was told the 2 clues by Shambo and he went and found it just using what she had told him. Their HII was also in a tree, but it seemed MUCH harder to find.

The Amazing Race:

It would SUCK to have been Philiminated before the start of the race as the "hippie" couple was, but at least it's not as bad as when they've done it on Top Chef where they had traveled across the country only to be eliminated before it began, or Survivor where people had traveled across the planet only to be eliminated before tribes were even formed. I had hpp[ed byond hope that the annoying lawyer couple would be the ones to go, but alas.

Right now, I like the young couple who have been together since Elementary school, the father and son team, and the Globetrotters (these 3 teams finished 1, 2 & 3 on the last episode!)
I didn't like the poker playing gals, but they redeemed themselves a bit when the gay brothers had stopped to help them and they told them to continue on so that they wouldn't fall behind trying to help them.


So, they made Clark "Batman" for the first 2 episodes and he's now "The Blur" instead of the "Red Blue Blur" as he now wears black and not red & blue. They're also making Green Arrow have the "addict" storyline...much like the Tony Stark drunk storyline in Ironman. I think they had a GA storyline that was similar in the comics, but I'm not 100% sure. Also, Zod and MANY Kandorians are on Earth, but NONE of them have powers...yet. They now know that Clark exists, but for the moment, they think it's Jor El. I'm also not sure I like what they're doing, but I'll reserve judgment until I see how it all plays out.


This certainly isn't the "old" Stargate, and also isn't Star Trek:Voyager. MUCH darker. MUCH more conflict. Also, MUCH more adult and has really "deep" themes.


Pretty good, glad it's back. Hope it does well.


I haven't watched ANY of the episodes, and apparently neither has America as it's ratings are terrible. I doubt it will make it.


Somewhat better, but still glad it's back.


Very different than last season so far. I like the change, and the effects seem even better, so perhaps they increased the budget. So far, so good!

Wolverine & The X-Men:

Wow, this series has continued to impress me. If you're not watching it, you're missing the best first season of a cartoon series ever...even better than Spectacular Spiderman from last year.

Spectacular Spiderman:

It took a LOOONG break recently for no reason after having FINALLY come back on, but it's back and it's still good.

Next Iron Chef America:

I know Batali is gone, but I recognize NONE of these people. Why not wait and maybe bring back some of the other NICA people from last time, or some of the TCM folks. Who are these people? So far the first episode might as well have been called Top Iron Chef America as it was virtually IDENTICAL to Top Chef and NOT like the previous NICA that Michael Symon won.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I hope she kept the receipt

Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8 just shot a talk show pilot.
Now, put that gun don't HAVE to WATCH it.

About possibly getting her own talk show, she said, "I've been given the gift of gab, so why not use it?"
Not only do I hope she kept the receipt, but I'd hate to be the "regiftee."

Before she made that statement, here are some other phrases that Kate tried out first...

"I've been given the gift of grab, so why not misuse it?"

"I've been given the gift of flab, so why not use it?"

"I've been given the gift of scab, so why not use it?"

"I've been given the gift of crabs, so why not use it?"

"I've been given the gift of rehab, so why not abuse it?"

"I've been given the gift of stab, so why not use it?"

"I've been given the swift jab, so why not use it?"

"I've been given a lift by cabs, so why not use it?"

"I've been driven miffed and stabbed, so why not excuse it?"

"I've been driven from thrift and drab, so why not choose it?"

"I've been set adrift on memory bliss of you" (Holla PM Dawn!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Did American Idol just Jump The Shark?

I'm afraid that American Idol has strapped on the water skis and made a run off a ramp over a large man-eating fish.
Yes, American Idol has just Jumped The Shark.

When Paula's new manager cost her one of the best jobs on TV, AI responded fairly well by bringing in performers to help judge the early rounds. Although some of the names are somewhat questionable (Posh Spice? Seriously?) At least you could make the connection between the guest judge and singing/performing.

What's wrong with 3 judges? Last year, they kept running over on time and even one week had the judges make comments in pairs so that some contestants didn't hear from Simon, for example. It didn't work, and now they've added someone who is going to be rambling on and on with her "confused stream of consciousness comedy." How is that not going to make the show run over on time?

I had thought that with all of the time issues from last year that they'd just go with 3 judges this season. Which is what they SHOULD have done. Then I had heard rumors that they might be trying to sign Marie Osmond, Debbie (err, excuse me, Deborah) Gibson or Taylor Dayne. I could have lived with any of them, but I STILL didn't see the need.

But Ellen Effing DeGeneres?

Don't get me wrong. I used to like Ellen. I don't mind her now. I HATE her shtick that she's always confused and rambles non stop hoping that her stream of consciousness will end up being funny. Usually, it isn't. But WTF does SHE have to do with a SINGING COMPETITION?!!!!??!?!?!!!??

She was a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. I don't watch the show, but I've seen/heard the clips. She offered nothing. No criticism, no earned praise, no insightful remarks, nothing. She did shtick. Bad shtick. And it was ALL ABOUT HER. The ONLY comment that I saw about the dancers was something like "I'm going to have you come to my house to hang pictures because you're good at NAILING IT!" Oy. The rest of it was her shtick like she just wanted to sit close to the stage and didn't know she'd be judging (more confused Ellen,) or "it was rich and full bodied...oh sorry, I'm thinking about the wine I had before I came out here." Ugh. Think I'm being too harsh on her? Check out this video clip of just her on the show. Tell me who her comments are directed to 99% of the time, her or the dancers.

What very little credibility Idol had left, they just tossed into the shit can and lit it on fire. The SHOW is about the SINGERS and NOT the JUDGES or RYAN!!! Look, I'll give it a go, but man, what a total disaster. I hope at least they put some good wax on those skies. Maybe they'll actually be able to jump over the shark, and not land in its belly.

I also found out that Ellen signed a 5 year contract with American Idol, so they (and we) are going to be "stuck" with her no matter how it turns out.

Michael Slezak who blogs about AI and hosts the hilarious web series Idolatry on says that AI is his favorite show and while he loves Ellen and her show, he is not happy about her coming onto AI. He also bagged on her "judging" on SYTYCD.

I just read an article at where they asked Randy and Kara about Ellen. Randy said that he, Ellen, and Ryan are all buddies. So, now I know how she got the job. She's buds with the judges and producers. She didn't get the job because she was the most qualified, she got the job because they're all "pals." Favoritism at its worst.

I'll see how it plays out, but I am NOT optimistic.

( I originally posted this 2 days ago, but needed to repost it as I added some new info.)

Recap 9/7 - 9/12

Warehouse 13:

The agents got trapped in the Warehouse which almost had an overload, while Artie faced that "sci fi" cliché, the performance review.

Claudia decided to play with the zip line, but it snapped. She ended up crashing into a full scale replica of the Bed & Breakfast that the Warehouse employees live. The wire, meanwhile, knocked a can of silly string into some mechanical cogs, and it glued it to a stop. Bad news as the cogs pump the Purple Gunk throughout the Warehouse, and it's the gunk that makes the artifacts inert. With the wheels not turning, the artifacts start to interact, and the gunk starts to build up back pressure. The whole place is gonna blow unless they can fix it.

Unfortunately, while tracking down Claudia, Pete & Myka enter the fake B&B and once they close the door they find that they can't leave. Whenever they try to go out a door, window, or hole in the wall, they just find themselves back inside. With the Mrs. Frederic's recorded voice now giving a countdown to boomsday, the agent's finally realize that the only thing different in this B&B is a painting on the wall that is of the living room. They realize that if things in the LR get moved, they get moved in the painting. After some trial and error, they use the painting to open a hole in the B&B to get out. Once out, they see a nasty storm cloud, inside the Warehouse, and some very powerful artifact charge dispersals crackling around.

They decide that the fastest way to the Gunk Room, is through the Dark Room, where the most powerful and dangerous artifacts are stored. Unfortunately, despite Myka's warnings, Pete ends up interacting with an artifact and gets stuck as it sucks the life out of him. Myka tells Claudia that she trusts her (aww) and sends Claudia to the Gunk Room to fix the problem, while she fixes Pete. Eventually, Myka uses a push broom to shove Pete away from the artifact, but now he's too drained to go right away, so Myka runs off to help Claudia.

Good thing, because Claudia had been removing the silly string while wearing their special purple artifact safe gloves, but decided to take them the silly string is now wrapped around her arm. Myka shows up to try to help pull Claudia away, and also gets stuck. The gears are now pulling both women towards them and will grind them up. Pete shows up and uses the snowglobe artifact in Claudia's bag to freeze the string, and then smashes it. The gals are now free, and so are the cogs, with less than 30 seconds to spare.

Meanwhile, Artie delivered paperwork and payroll to a courier who he meets car to car out in the desert in front of a little diner. The courier pulls away, and there is Mrs. Frederic's bodyguard in front of Artie's car who tells him to go into the diner. Artie sits with Mrs. Frederic and they both order a pie homemade by the waitress. After a bit, some patrons leave and suddenly the diner is closed for business. It turns out that all the remaining diners, including the waitress, are the "regents" who oversee the Warehouse. Artie is under review because of some foul-ups including the destruction of artifacts, the letting loose of "Alice," and the return of McPherson. This is a tired gimmick in a lot of Sci Fi shows, but thankfully, they didn't make it a "clip show" as is usually done.

Artie gets reamed by the guy who played Baltar's lawyer on BSG, and the FBI agent's co-worker on Dollhouse. Artie realizes that the regents are just "regular people" like the waitress, which surprises him. He also realizes that they are terrified of McPherson and are essentially "in hiding" from him. Artie tells them that they have prevented him from going after McPherson, and if they want him stopped, that they need to untie his hands as he feels that the team he has now is the best ever, with the 2 best agents ever. He then goes outside to sit on the porch and cool off and let them talk. Bye the bye, Mrs. Frederic joins him and tells him that HE is the best agent the Warehouse has ever had, and that the regents approve of him and as for McPherson, she said, "Happy hunting." With 2 episodes to go, it looks like stopping McPherson will be the Season Finalé, if not both of the next 2 episodes.

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The chefs go to Daniel Boulud's restaurant at the Wynn and have to create something unique using snails (as that is a French specialty) for their quickfire. Added twist is that the winner will not only be immune, but will also get a "special prize," while the loser gets sent home. Ouch.

Not real surprise, but Kevin, Jen and Misogynist Mike I. are the tops with Kevin winning. Instead of a $15,000 chip (that's no chips for the last 2 Quickfires...what are they, cheapos?) he gets to dine with 4 of the best French Chefs in the world. Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller (who finished third in Top Chef Masters,) Jean Joho, Laurent Tourondel, and Joel Rubochon who was named the "Chef of the Century" in France and his restaurants have a combined 25 Michelin Stars...more than ANYONE else. Chef Tom thinks that Tom Keller, and American, is also one of the best French Chefs in the world, BTW. Kevin felt honored, while the cheftestants who were to compete all looked like they wanted to throw up. Ashley even admitted that she did. In some ways, to these chefs, it'd be like cooking for God as these guys are leaders and inspiration to chefs all over the world.

The chefs drew knives. Some had a protein, while others had a classic French sauce. The chefs then had to decide which "protein chef" would pair up with which "sauce chef" to make a single dish to serve. Once again, the tops remain at the top with the pair of Jen and brother Michael as one top team, and brother Bryan and Mike I. the other top team. Actually though, Mike I.'s dish was explained to him by Bryan, and although they didn't show it on tv, Chef Tom said that the judges figured it out because the style and technique had "Bryan" written all over it and not "Mike I." So, Bryan won the challenge. Bryan now has 2 Elimination Challenge wins while his brother Michael has 1 Elimination win, 1 Quickfire win, and 2 other Top Finishes in other Elimination Challenges.

The bottom dishes were Hector and Ash, and Ashley and Mattin. A bit of a surprise since Mattin is French...although he is from Basque which is more Spanish than French. Mattin lied to the judges that he didn't shoot down Ashley's idea to add asparagus to his sauce. He very nearly got the boot. Had they known he lied, maybe he would have. Instead, Hector got the axe which is what they though he used to cut his meat with. It wasn't cooked properly and it was hacked, not sliced. So after 4 women got booted, Hector became the first guy to go.


Jo's current and former boyfriends both returned to town after Zane had been gone a month while Taggert has been gone for 2 years. They brought back the longest single intact ice core sample ever successfully recovered. However, it's from Russia, so a Russian has to sign it over to GD before they can start working on it.

Taggert and Jo talk it out, finally, because he left without saying goodbye. They wish to remain friends. Zane, meanwhile, is acting like an emotionless zombie. Jo was VERY excited for his return, but he seemed to not give 2 shits.

Zoe, meanwhile, has decided that after delivering Allison's baby that she wants to become a doctor. Perhaps and OB/GYN or a pediatrician. She took the Eureka version of the SAT and doesn't want to know what it says. Her boyfriend tells her that it is 99.8% accurate in picking the best field for someone's aptitude. It says that Zoe should be a robotics engineer. She wants none of it, while her boyfriend gets her a beginner's robotics kit to try out.

Very soon, the cooling system that Zane designed to keep the ice core frozen starts to spread it's icy cold all over town, trapping Zoe, her BF, and other people in the diner. They learn that it has gotten into Zane, and is affecting the emotion center of his brain, thus the zombie behavior. The problem is that the ice regros faster than they can eliminate it, and they still don't understand what's going on. The Sheriff, (SHOCKER,) figures out that the special high tech insulation suit that Zane wears is why it affected him and not Taggert. As the whole town is wrapped in it, that's why it's spreading. The Russian finally concedes to sign off on the ice core so that they can test it, and they find that it has mold like spores that are using the high tech fabric to incubate. They come up with a mist that will dissolve the ice and ill the bacteria and use a little used emergency communication tube network throughout the town to spread the mist. Just in time too as the diner falls to 30 below zero before the Sheriff and Taggert can break through the ice wall at the door.

Zoe, it turns out, figured out that the diner's GIANT freezer will block out the cold so they all hide in there until they're rescued. Afterwards, her BF finds that she finished the robot kit, but he tells her to put it away and focus on what she wants to do. It was her instinct that led her to decide to become a doctor and it was her instinct that saved all of the townspeople in the diner.

The Sheriff and Tess, who in her first day as head of GD in Allison's absence due to maternity leave had to watch the town freeze under her watch, have a nice dinner at the Sheriff's house. Zoe scoots out past them and tells them that she's staying the night with a friend. Earlier, she alluded to the Sheriff that she'd leave so he could bang Tess, which creeped him out. Looks like she made good on the offer because although Tess was about to leave, after Zoe took off, Tess decided to stay. Baum chicka baum baum.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Recap 8/31 - 9/6 including Big Brother Spoilers!!!

Warehouse 13:

The 2 agents were sent to a prison in Florida as a number of inmates had recently killed themselves, and none were considered to be "at risk." The agents tried to find an artifact that would cause people to despair, but they were unable to find anything. They did happen upon a prisoner who had killed his wife but was now somewhat of a spiritual leader, and they thought that perhaps his medallion was the culprit. They learned that decades earlier there had been similar accounts and then on the night of a bad storm (as the prison is near the coast) there was a full scale riot. As it turns out, another bad storm is approaching and the ionic charges are known to be able to amp up the effects of most artifacts.

They soon realize that the mostly steel prison is built on top of an old quartz mine. Quartz also acts as a magnifier for artifacts, so a metal building atop of a quartz foundation surrounded by an electrical storm is a recipe for doom. Worse, both agents are experiencing hallucinations. Pete sees his father who died on the job in a fire when Pete was young and Pete had one of his "hunches" before his Dad left for work but didn't act on it. Myka, meanwhile, sees her previous partner who died on the job and she blames herself. She had just received the Final Report on the "incident" before she left for the prison, but she didn't open the package to read the report.

The agents discover that the violence and suicides were way down during the reign of the prior warden who had died about a month earlier and that's about when the activity flared up. Artie guessed that he must have had something that could cancel the effects of the quartz underneath, which also would have to be something of quartz that was attached to the building in some way.

The Warden also flipped out and barricaded herself in her office while the staff and prisoners also had been severely affected and a riot broke out. Pete found a large quartz cross amongst the prior Warden's stuff that had been put into storage. Pete remembered seeing a photo on the wall of past Warden's that the cross had been on the wall of his office. Pete and the spiritual leader broke down the Warden's door, but in her frenzy, she shot the inmate. Pete got the gun away from her, but then he and Myka both had intense visions. Pete was able to tell his father that even had he tried, he wouldn't have been able to stop his father from going to work that day as his father was duty and honor bound to work and wouldn't have just blown off work because his son had a bad feeling. his guilt resolved, he tried to tell Myka to do the same. In her vision, she was able to tell her dead partner that his recklessness that day is what got him killed. He didn't wait like he was supposed to, and if he had, the killer might have been stopped but since he rushed in early, he walked right into the trap that had been set.

Guilt resolved, the agents hung the cross back where it was, and suddenly all the mayhem ceased. The Warden didn't understand what had happened, and was horrified to realize that she had shot the spiritual inmate. The inmate was not sorry, he felt that he had made peace with what he had done and was "forgiven" and now it was time for his "journey" to continue "elsewhere."

The other storyline concerned Claudia. She was still doing inventory, when a flickering light was bothering her. She complained to Artie that it needed to be changed, and he said that those bulbs never needed changing and had been invented 109 years ago. Back to inventory, Claudia just couldn't get past the flickering bulb. She found a lab coat and goggles amongst the artifacts that once worn together, they attracted to metal. Claudia used the outfit to Spiderman climb up a steel girder and tighten the bulb. It then blew out and Claudia noted that apparently, 109 years was the limit. She then changed the bulb, and found that she was stuck, and dropped the old bulb.

Suddenly, metal objects from all over started flying up and sticking to an old bike amongst others. She knew she'd be in trouble, but she began yelling for Artie, and then began banging in Morse code. Artie finally heard the code and tracked her down. By now, the effects of the coat, which increase the longer it's connected to metal, had started dragging a large Hummer towards her, and was causing the metal frame of the warehouse to buckle.

Artie tried several ways to get her down, but finally was able to harpoon her and got her down. They quickly got her out of the coat and goggles and the effects ended. Later, she was shown writing over and over on a blackboard. I couldn't quite make out what she was writing, but after filling both sides of the board, Artie erased one side and had her continue.

Top Chef 6 - Las Vegas:

The Quickfire involved making a dish with potatoes, and the guest judge was Mark Peel who had competed in Top Chef Masters...and mentioned that to the cheftestants to let them know that he understood the limits of the challenge, especially "time." Ashley, Ash, and Jen were the favorites with Jen winning, but alas, no $15,000 casino chip.
The Elimination Challenge was for the full group, as a group, to prepare a meal for 300 Air Force Servicepeople and their families. Some had just returned from war, and some were heading off, so they were implored to try their hardest and do their best.

Since Jen won the Quickfire and had immunity, the Cheftestants was decided that she'd run the kitchen. The rest would be paired off and be responsible for ONLY 1 dish per pair, but they could do 2 if they wanted and had the time. It was a smart decision by the Cheftestants as it allowed for the kitchen to be managed more efficiently as they'd soon find that they'd need.

They arrived at the Air Base and found that the kitchen was stocked with bulk foods, mostly in bags or cans, and there weren't any pots, pans, or burners...only large scale boilers, fryers, and skillet like surfaces. Jen kept them on task and figured out the order that each "team" would get in using the various equipment. So the Cheftestants actually did the right thing and made it much easier on themselves. When they paired up, though, the sad thing was that Jesse and Ron, who hadn't been doing so well, ended up with each other when nobody wanted to work with them. Ouch. So, in the Nevada heat, they decided to make Clam Chowder. Oy boy.

Actually, the Air Force Personnel liked the chowder and for some of the "east coasters" it was like "comfort food." The judges were less thrilled, and weren't sure it was a good idea, but ultimately decided that it was decent. They also noted that spicy chili had been made, so the "hot" argument would have to apply for both, and chili is very much cooked even in Summer in Nevada.

The tops, no surprise, were Kevin and Eli who made southern food including a potato salad that got raves. Michael V, one of the brothers, took Slab Bacon and turned it into a sort of taco inside a lettuce cup with some nuts. it proved to be the winning dish and in their blogs for this episode, Tom and Gail raved about it, especially Gail.

In the bottom, again no surprise, were Preeti and Laurine who made a weak and uninspired pasta salad, and loud moth Mike I. who was paired with winner Michael V. Mike I was pissed, thinking that if his "partner" won, then he should be safe. But, the judges pointed out that the challenge didn't pair up the cheftestants, they did it themselves. As such, Michael was judged for his dish which Mike I admitted was Michael's while his dish was an uninspired Greek salad. Tom accused Mike as just making a "throw away' dish and didn't put any effort into it, and it was bland. The women, though, were ravaged. Not only was it a weak dish for a competition of this level, but it was just poorly made, bland, underseasoned, poorly presented, just terrible. Preeti said she thought it was good and it seemed to be a "crowd pleaser." The judges noted that it wasn't a "judge pleaser." Laurine noted that she realized where they went wrong and was embarrassed by having put it out. In the end, to the shock of nobody, Preeti was kicked off...making her the third woman in a row to go.

At this point, it's clear that the Final Four SHOULD be the 2 brothers, Kevin, and Jen. Either Jesse or Ron will probably be the next to go, and if they're both in the bottom, I see them booting Ron only because just woman have gotten the axe so far. Pretty much everyone else is just somewhere in the middle, they may win a Quickfire or Challenge here and there, but as Tom alluded to in one of his blogs, the chefs stay pretty consistent with the best near the top, the worst near the bottom, and the rest just middling through.

Big Brother Soilers!!!:

That's right, this week these are Big Brother SOILERS not SPOILERS because I feel dirty just typing them. Ick.

NataLIE won HOH because Jordan sucks at comps and Michele choked, and then as HOH she nominated Michele & Kevin. She wore a robe, a crown, and carried a pool cue bridge as a scepter for the nomination ceremony. She laid into Michele, calling her evil and said that Michele "caused" Chima to throw her mic pack and get expelled. Again shows that neither Chima nor NataLIE accept personal responsibility. NataLIE also went on and on about how she never lied...yeah, like she's really 18, and Big Brother just gave her Mike's Hard Lemonade for her HOH fridge. Pandora's box allowed her to have 20 minutes with her boyfriend, who proposed to her. There are reports that Kevin told her to make something up so that she had "something" to tell the others, so the boyfriend and engagement may all be another NataLIE. But, by opening Pandora's box, that meant that she couldn't play in the Veto comp. Whoever wins the Veto, will have the sole vote to evict. Kevin is acting like he's not happy that she put him on the block but is mad that now he HAS to win Veto since NataLIE isn't playing. NataLIE might actually be less intelligent than Jordan since it made no sense to nominate Kevin and tick him off (if he really was mad) since it all comes down to whoever wins Veto...and by electing to not play, she ticked him off even more. Kevin won Veto. Now he has to decide to vote out Michele and make NataLIE happy, or vote out Jordan and keep Michele in the game and hope that she eliminates NataLIE for him because he doesn't think he can beat NatLIE in the Final 2. He will most likely boot Michele because he thinks he can beat Jordan in the final 3 part HOH, while Michele has a much better chance to win. Also, he wants to take Jordan to Final 2 because he doesn't think she could win the Jury since she's only won 1 Veto comp (Jeff "gave" her the HOH she had.)