February 28, 2007

The Final Result

Here it is in all its glory. The cake looks fine.

Banana Cake

I am foolishly attempting to bake yet another cake in my oven. Our oven cooks very unevenly and I never know what temperature is being achieved inside. Right now, my banana cake is cooking too quickly on the outside and too slowly on the inside. I just knocked the temperature down 25 degrees to see if the middle can catch up. The cake still has another 20 minutes to go.

I was beginning to think that the oven is 50 degrees hotter than the control but now I think it's 75 degrees hotter based on how quickly that cake is cooking. It could be cooking unevenly because I'm using a bread pan instead of a square pan like the recipe spelled out. Who knows? If not all of the cake is delicious at least some of it will be. The last one I made was burnt on the outer edges but perfectly edible once those edges were trimmed away.

What should I be doing instead of baking a cake? I should be ironing. I hate ironing. But I'm starting a new work cycle this week and my wardrobe does need to look somewhat put together. I'm working the first week of previews for Curtains starring David Hyde Pierce. It's a murder mystery by Kander & Ebb creators of Chicago and Cabaret. This may be the first time it's being produced on Broadway, but I'll find out more about it later on. I'm excited to see Karen Ziemba in a show again. I missed her in Contact but did get to see her in Chicago way back in the late 90's. She's a treat, a real good performer. The show also stars Edward Hibbert, most memorably from Frasier but more recently from The Drowsy Chaperone where he played the snippy butler and romantic foil to the character played by Georgia Engel.

Is that the smell of cake burning?

February 27, 2007

American Idol - Boys Night

American Idol asked the contestants to dedicate their song choices to people they felt had the most influence on their decisions in becoming singers. Before every song, we got to see a short film about whom the song was dedicated and hear a little bit more about the lives of the contestants.

The first singer up was Phil Stacey. He dedicated his song to the Navy Band South East. In his film, they showed plenty of photos of him in his navy uniform. I personally dislike when military personnel show up in their uniforms. I find it manipulative. Anyway, he chose "I Ain't Missin' You At All" by John Waite. The song was upbeat and for the most part he sang it in tune. I personally didn't like all the vocal aerobics he pulled out at the end of the song. Randy started his critique with three yo's which is always a good sign that he liked the performance. He said he showed his power. Paula loved his tone. Simon said he wasn't jumping out of his chair. He thought it was a bit unoriginal and that he wasn't hearing anything unique. But he concedes that Phil will most likely be back nest week.
Before the first commercial break, Seacrest conducted some interviews behind the scenes in the area where the contestants sit on red couches covered in Coca Cola upholstery waiting to sing. He asked Sundance Head what kind of feedback he'd received since last week's performance. He replied that he was told to stop singing so crappy. Then he spoke to someone else but there answer was so boring, I didn't even bother to write down who it was or what he said.

Jared "Eyebrows" Cotter was up next. He's the local boy from my hometown of Queens. And I wasn't really too optimistic about his performance because I don't really like him that much. He told Ryan just before they ran his little bio that he was going to be more adventurous this week with his song choice by picking a Marvin Gaye song and that he was channeling Marvin through his suit. He dedicated his song to his parents. While he's singing, I kept thinking how yucky it was to watch him sing the phrase "Let's Get It On" over and over and over again and he kept doing these weird affected gestures. I particularly disliked the final gesture when he dragged his hand down his face. His last notes were complete mess. Randy kind of liked it. Paula blushed and said that he pushed the song too hard. Simon said he was glad that Jared made an attempt but the performance reminded him of something he might have heard on The Love Boat.

aj_tabaldoAJ Tabaldo dedicated his song to his mom and dad. I wasn't familiar with the song he chose and I thought he sang out of tune and that his performance was boring. He butchered the last note of the song. Randy started his critique with a "What's Up AJ" which usually leads to a mediocre critique. Randy liked it better than last week's performance. Paula said he had a real, real, real, real, real good voice. Simon thought he was nearly very good. I personally wouldn't mind if he went home on Thursday night.

sanjaya_malakarSanjaya Malakar dedicated his song to his dead grandfather. He wore the stupidest looking hat I imagine as a style choice that matched Steppin' Out. I thought he sounded really good. He was in tune, his voice was smooth and creamy. But the judges didn't like it. Randy thought it was really weird. Paula noted that he sang in tune but he should pick younger songs. Simon came down hard on him and said it was like a performance a kid gives after dinner at his parents prompting. If America is voting based on the judges' comments he may be going home Thursday night.

chris_slighChris Sligh dedicated his song to his very pretty wife Sarah. His song was called Trouble that had lyrics saying he was saved by a woman. At some point during his song he turned right at her and sang his heart out. It was good and an improvement over last week's performance. Randy liked it better than last week saying his song choice helped showcase his voice. Paula liked it and told him to watch his pitch. Simon thought it was very good but that there was still room for improvement. He'll definitely be back next week. His pretty voice was well showcased by his song choice.

nicholas_pedroNick Pedro dedicated his song to his very supportive girlfriend Caitlin. Because he missed Valentine's Day he was using this dedication as a belated valentine. His song? Fever. Why do contestants ever sing this song? It's soooooo boring. Actually, his performance gave me the same icky feeling I got when I watched Jared Cotter sing his weird song. Simon was shown snapping his fingers along with the performance. As far as I'm concerned, Simon had the only good comment. He said that Nick had a good singing voice but completely lacked charisma.

blake_lewisBlake Lewis dedicated his song to his parents. He sang Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai. He did something very original in the middle when he broke the song down into beatbox and scat. But the beginning of the song sounded almost exactly like Jamiroquai and he kind of messed up on his falsetto in the end. Randy started with Yo, yo Blake which of course meant that he liked the performance. Paula thought it was unique. But Simon agreed with me - that with the exception of the middle section it was a fair to middling performance. But he sure does have stage presence. I like him. I hope he can stick around for a while.

brandon_rogersBrandon Rogers is one of those contestants you really want to root for because his story is interesting. He's been working as a backup singer for years and is taking this opportunity to move up to the front of the microphone. He dedicated his extremely boring song choice to his grandmother. For his boring song selection he chose to sing Time After Time which is actually not a boring song when sung by Cyndi Lauper but in the hands of Brandon Rogers it was a real snooze fest. I guess he sang it well enough, it was just a boring performance. Randy said it didn't do anything for him vocally. Paula uselessly offered that she felt his heart during his performance and Simon didn't buy the performance.

chris_richardsonChris Richardson also dedicated his song to his grandmother. He sang a song I've never heard called Geek in the Pink. The performance was really enjoyable. Randy said "Yo man. Chris is in it to win it" and added that he thought it was hotter than the original. Paula didn't say anything that could be understood by human ears. Simon thought it was the best performance by a mile. I'm hoping that he comes back next week. I'd like to hear what else can do.

sundance_head Sundance Head sang his little heart out and he really needed to because last week he stank really badly. He dedicated his song to his two month old son Levi. He sang Mustang Sally and from the first note you knew that the Sundance Head that we heard in his original audition was back. He opened up his voice this week and finally quit singing through his nose. Wow. Randy said Oh Yeah 3 times and said Welcome back Sundance. Paula said he was awesome. Simon was glad to thave the Sundance back that we fell in love with. But still sees room for improvement.

I'm hoping Jared Cotter and Brandon Rogers go home on Thursday night, but most likely America will send home Sanjaya and AJ Tabaldo.

February 24, 2007

23 Skiddoo or Jim Carrey Dreams

Last night, I had an unlikely dream where Jim Carrey called me in crisis because he needed help making a life altering decision. There were many strange details like using a payphone that doesn't work to return his phone call. That detail was kind of cool. I went to use a payphone that only had the zero button and no dial tone. But when I pushed zero, Jim Carrey answered on the other end. That was actually the turning point of the dream, because I had to leave the imaginary apartment complex where Jon and I were living with two strange female roommates and travel to another state in order to meet up with him.

Once I got to him he was clearly distressed and agitated and interested in signing up for classes at some kind of ambulance school. His course selection book had pictures of ambulances on a football field. So I asked him if he was planning on a becoming an ambulance driver. He said no. He pointed to a picture of a guy in a uniform helping an athlete who had been injured in a game. And said he wanted to be that guy. So I asked me if he meant he wanted to be a paramedic and he replied that he was going to be a preparamedic - the guy who gets the patient ready for the paramedic - which made me think he meant like a physician's assistant but he said no.

That led me to my next set of questions which had to do with making sure he was ready to make the 6 month to 1 year commitment required for the training course. What would happen if he was called to make a movie? The thought occurred to me that perhaps he was trying to be more like Andy Kaufman who liked to experiment outside the boundaries of the entertainment world. I asked him if he was indeed trying to be like Andy Kaufman. He replied something to the effect of not wanting to disappoint his father but started to hesitate. But then he got excited again and wanted me to help him pick his classes.

It was another one of those weird dreams, where the subject is someone I used to fantasize about it but then in the end, I dream we are in a platonic relationship. The feeling when I woke up was that we were best friends and very close and like brother and sister.

Weird huh? It could be because of a recent personal disappointment which has the potential to affect other people in my family. I had a conversation with my brother yesterday that absolutely made me feel better. So I'm sure it's totally related to that. But still - Jim Carrey is such a cool guy. I'm glad I was able to have a nice dream about him that wasn't sullied by non-platonic ideas. Even in my dreams, I am in love with my husband and would never do anything to damage my relationship. He was actually in the dream, as my husband, who knew about my friendship with Jim Carrey.

That's love. When your romantic partner ends up in your dreams as your romantic partner, you know you've made the right decision.

February 22, 2007


Have you seen this video. It's kind of awesome!!

OK Go - Do What You Want (Wallpaper Version)

Buy OK Go - Oh No at iTunes.

February 21, 2007

American Idol - Bored Me To Tears

Last night's episode of American Idol bored me to tears. It was the first time that the 12 men in the final 24 got to perform for viewers at home and with the exception of one competitor, I thought they all pretty much stank last night.

11 out of 12 contestants picked the wrong song. Why can't the producer's just pick the songs for them? Fans are going to watch the show no matter what, so why don't they give those dedicated viewers something enjoyable to listen to.

Who the hell wants to hear an out of tune a cover of Knights In White Satin by the Moody Blues? That song isn't even good when they sing it. Who gives a flying you know what about an out of tune cover of Rock With You by Michael Jackson, a mediocre soft rock balad from the 80's? And when did Careless Whisper by George Michael become an out of tune classic? Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.

Only one contestant stood out last night. Blake Lewis. He sang his good song choice and he sang it well and in tune.

One singer who stood out as sucking so badly that he should go home was Sundance Head but he'll get through. You know why? Because he has that uber-white-guy, slightly trashy bar-room gestalt that's going to bring him many, many votes from the homeland of the mediocre (and by homeland I mean anywhere that people with mediocre taste live on mass).

I really hope the women deliver tonight when they perform. But they won't. The first days of competition on American Idol are always rough.

February 18, 2007

Bald Britney

First it was the astronaut who drove across the country in a diaper to stalk and possibly kill her love rival. Then it was the death of the beloved celebrity, but not really a celebrity, Anna Nicole Smith.

What is the lastest in Iraq distracting news?

Britney Spears has shaved her head. It's sad really. Although it is kinda' nice to get a break from all that depressing news about the war in Iraq, it's tragic that we have to watch yet another victim of fame lose it on TV. The same thing kind of happened to Anna Nicole Smith if you think about it. She got crushed by the weight of her own fame. Heck, Britney Spears probably doesn't even understand why she's famous. That would explain that ridiculous reality show she did with K-Fed.

Here's what I'm wondering. How is it possible that she stll has custody of her children? If she were any other mother going out every night of the week with questionable people (Lohan, Hilton), doing drugs, getting tattooed and putting her baby behind the wheel of her car, her parenting skills would be questioned. Why would Mother Nature allow this moron to procreate when more deserving people have to struggle and wait and struggle some more? And more importantly, why aren't the child service protection agencies all over this very public nervous breakdown of this most-likely negligent mother? Because there are different rules for the rich and famous.

Here's another thing that bothers me. In the footage I watched of Britney in that tattoo parlor where she was spotted without hair, she is wearing a huge Star of David around her neck flung backwards. Under the religious charm, I could see a tattoo at the top of her back. Jewish people don't normally get tattoos. If you are a Jewish person that has a tattoo, please don't be insulted by this. But if you identify yourself as even a quasi-religious Jew then you don't get a tattoo. It's just not something you do - you don't even think about it -the thought doesn't even occur to you. If Britney is going to practice Kaballah, Jewish mysticism (which isn't really something you can practice) she should have more respect for Judaism and its followers. I personally find it insulting. And I don't even go to temple every week but I still follow the Jewish faith. I don't have anything against other people non-Jewish people getting tattooed. It's just who I am.

February 17, 2007

It's Not As Bad As I Thought

Joe Normal
43 % Nerd, 30% Geek, 30% Dork

For The Record:A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored less than half in all three, earning you the title of: Joe Normal. This is not to say that you don't have some Nerd, Geek or Dork inside of you--we all do, and you can see the percentages you have right above. This is just to say that none of those qualities stand out so much as to define you.

Sure, you enjoy an episode of Star Trek now and again, and yeah, you kinda enjoyed a few classes back in the day. And, once in a while, you stumble while walking down the street even though there was nothing there to cause you to trip. But, for the most part, you look and act fairly typically, and aren't much of an outcast. I'd say there's a fair chance someone asked you to take this test. In any event, fairly normal. Congratulations! If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback!

Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 21% on nerdiness

You scored higher than 45% on geekosity

You scored higher than 50% on dork points

February 16, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Anonymous Blogger!!!

May you live to be 100!!!

Snow, Snow Everywhere and Not a Drop To Drink

Is there anything more disgusting in New York City in winter time than left over snow? I went for a walk yesterday around Astoria just because sometimes you feel like taking a walk. Every street corner was puddled with dirty, mushy, brown water and/or grey slush. Most of the sidewalks have been reduced to narrow trails through dirty icy snowed-over pavement. But I was determined. I walked up 30th Avenue, across Steinway and down Broadway until I got home. I estimate the walk to be either a mile or almost a mile. But it felt like an incredibly long walk.

On the way back I stopped at Parisi Bros. to get some butter cookies. I bought a pound. Yummy.

Later in the day, I made a beautiful tomato sauce from scratch. I pulverized 10 plum tomatoes in my handy dandy Cuisinart blender and poured them over some sweet Italian sausage that I had sauteed with onions, peppers and mushrooms.

Whole wheat pasta is my latest obsession. Did you know that it's twice as filling as regular pasta and twice as healthy? Every winter I fall into that trap of eating lots of carbs. It's difficult to completely avoid them and not at all necessary but I did decide to replace unhealthy carbs with healthier choices. White rice is brown rice. White bread is wheat bread. Pasta - well you get it.

To make a short story long, the sauce ended up being delicious with the pasta.

February 14, 2007

Happy Valetine's Day

Today represents the second anniversary of Jon's proposal to me and below is an accurate portrayal of how he looked when he did it.