Moonlight Returns Brighter

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 30, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

Then gets cancelled, along with Men in Trees, Shark, Journeyman (though I knew that one already), and Bionic Woman (that too) among a smattering of others that I felt I ought to watch because of the cast but which were too dumb out of the gate (Big Shots) and a sprinkling that I no longer have to feel guilty about not even trying.

Too bad about Moonlight–it was just picking up steam and making the most of the characters. The scene where Mick begged Joseph to turn him back into a vampire so that he could save Beth (again!) was masterful and showed why people need to keep casting Jason Dohring.

I’ll miss Men in Trees. Cuteness without saccharine and with just enough substance is hard to come by, and there are a few people in there who need to be hired again right away as well, notably Emily Bergl.

Okay, It’s Cool, but …

Filed under:Toys, Adults' — posted by Anwyn on May 29, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

…if you must have your model that big (second video down), I’m thinking the ratio of work to reward there must start to compare unfavorably to that of actually getting in a real plane and learning to fly it.

Plus, why does more than one guy have a remote control? Are some of them controlling the engines/throttles while one of them steers? Weird.

What Are You *Wearing?*

Filed under:The Fug — posted by Anwyn on May 27, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

A disco bathrobe? More like a gold lamé Hefty bag. And shoes that resemble the business end of a pair of shackles.

…which, maybe that was the point? She’s doing a tribute to the previous three Indy movies–round, ugly gold idol statue from Raiders, ankle fetters from Temple of Doom … yeah, I got nothin’.


Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by Anwyn on May 26, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

Robert Knox, Actor in Forthcoming Harry Potter Movie, Stabbed to Death

Filed under:Movies,Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on May 24, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

Protecting his younger brother from a knife-wielding thug.

Judging by some of the facts laid down in the story, it appears knives are becoming guns in Britain. Knives are a lot easier to use, people, and a lot harder to ban. Unintended consequences of gun bans go on and on.

I have a British friend, husband of a friend I love dearly, who during dinner at my house actually uttered the sentence “You Americans have too many freedoms. Like guns, and that.” I swallowed my rejoinders and acted the hostess. But thugs and crazies, inexplicably, it seems, continue to find a way, even in Britain. It is not our freedoms that are the problem. The Bible can be paraphrased: Outlaws and nuts you will always have with you. And that’s why we ought always to have our guns, as well.

RIP, Rob Knox.

I Got Nuthin’

Filed under:Heh — posted by Anwyn on May 23, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

Everybody remember this?

Have a great long weekend.

Kristi Yamaguchi Wins Dancing with the Stars

Filed under:Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn on May 21, 2008 @ 8:12 am

…by being as rock-solid in her dance routines as she ever was in her figure skating. I’ve never seen a physical performer less liable than she is to slips, trips, or goofs. Fantastic!

Caring for Cast-Iron Pans–Seasoning and Mythbusting

Filed under:Food,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on May 20, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

Almost everywhere I look up information about caring for cast-iron pans, people are hollering at you not to put soap in your pans. They say in the most definite terms that this is extremely undesirable for your pans and will ruin the seasoning. This just isn’t true–I wash my pans with soap after every use, like my mother before me, and our pans are in perfect condition. Dish soap does not destroy the seasoning–it merely removes the layer of grease that you just cooked in, which is the point of washing something to begin with. As long as you oil the pan after every washing, at least for the first few months after the initial seasoning, you will build up a fine layer of season and your pan will last you indefinitely. You should see the way wash-water rolls off my most frequently used pan–the seasoning is almost waterproof at this point.

How do you get it seasoned like that in the first place? Easy: wipe it with a thin layer of lard or shortening (I use lard; I tried liquid vegetable oil the first time and it gummed up and I had to start over) and put it in the oven for an hour. Some people recommend an extremely high oven temp for this (450-500); others say 350 is fine. Both will work, but the key is a thin layer of grease–if the grease pools it will harden into a stubborn little nodule on your pan. Check the pan 20 minutes into the process and again at 40 (these times are for 350 degrees; if you use higher heat, check at shorter intervals), and if there are grease beads standing on it, wipe them away with a paper towel. Then, each time you cook in the pan, wash and thoroughly dry, then set the pan on a burner to heat for a couple minutes, put more lard or shortening in, wipe it all over the pan (again, thinly) and let the pan sit on the burner a couple more minutes, until the grease is very hot and well soaked into the pan. Turn the burner off, wipe pan with paper towel, and let it sit until cool. It’s okay if the pan remains slightly greasy to the touch.

For especially crusty, old, or rusty pans (or to clear off a botched seasoning job): I cleaned all the gunk of the ages off all my heirloom pans by putting them in the oven during a cleaning cycle–put the pans in the oven while cold, then turn on the cleaning cycle and leave them alone until many hours after the cycle is over, so that they cool gradually. Warning–some people say their pans have warped or cracked during this process, but mine withstood the heat and came out clean as a whistle–well, clean under the flaky ashy stuff, the remains of the formerly crusted-on stuff. From there, just wash, dry, and season. If they’re rusty, take some fine-grain sandpaper or a sanding sponge, sand on them for a bit, rub them with your seasoning medium, then wash with soap and dry thoroughly. Repeat sanding, oiling, and washing until rust-free. Then follow seasoning procedure outlined above.

This is what has worked like a charm for my pans–your mileage may vary.

Amen and Almost Amen

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn @ 10:24 am

Mr. Sippican’s Top Ten Things Not to Do to Your House. I agree with all of them except #8 and #10:

10. Blue and Brown.
I’ve lived through this three times now. I’ve ripped all this stuff out twice with customers muttering “What were they thinking?” Powder Blue and Cocoa Brown DO NOT go together under any circumstances, anywhere. Except of course in every room on every show on television.

Chocolate brown and pale blue do go together decently well. Blue/brown overload is a different story.

8. Ceiling fans everywhere.
Do you all really think you live in Casablanca? If I go into another ranch house with a ceiling fan hanging down from a 7 foot 6 inch ceiling, I’m going to go postal. If I can’t stand up in the middle of the room without getting a bruise or a haircut, you’re doing it wrong. There is no stratification of air in a house. Doesn’t happen. You’re screwing a window boxfan sideways to your ceiling. Stop it. Your house has AC anyway. And you live in Wisconsin. Cut it out.

I do have a horrible stratification of air in my house–with a thermostat set to 71 degrees, the downstairs stays borderline cold and the upstairs stays borderline hot (or, in the winter, the downstairs stays borderline toasty and the upstairs stays borderline cold. Which is not so bad since I prefer to sleep with heavy covers). We’re looking at steps to fix this (I got tired of blocking the downstairs air vents with phone books to force more air upstairs), but meanwhile the ceiling fans in the bedrooms are highly efficient comfort-savers. And if you’d get a haircut from one of our ceiling fans, well … sorry, those of us who live here just aren’t that tall.

The morons who built our house with the sucky airflow also put the cooktop in the island, and like Mr. Sippican I hate hate hate it. We don’t even bother having seating on the other side of it.

A Quick Dancing Note

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn @ 7:21 am

Dancing with the Stars finals last night; results tonight. Kristi Yamaguchi for the win is nearly a foregone conclusion, but those have been upset before. We’ll see.

Their newest finals mechanism is a faceoff-style dance, in which one dance and one song are selected and each of the three couples dances one minute of it. It was entertaining and, as the judges remarked, definitely allowed them to see who’s the best, but it seems to build in a hefty amount of unfairness–as was pointed out right on the show, cha-cha-cha is so far away from being Jason’s best dance that you’d never know how he got to the finals if that dance was the only one of his that you saw. Shouldn’t the finals be the moment when the couples choose their strengths for themselves and bring out the very best they have, rather than dancing a preselected style that may set their opponents up to shine at their expense? Even Kristi has an Achilles heel–it was samba, but they’d never choose that dance for the finals because it’s a killer for everybody. So her weakness is off the table out of the gate.

They’ve tried a number of different finals styles, including having the judges pick which dance each couple would do. By far the fairest and leading to the most robust competition is allowing each couple to pick their own.

I May Be Dumb, but Amazon’s Rude

Filed under:Good Grief,Need a Good Editor?,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn @ 7:07 am

So I joined the Associates program, thinking to pick up a few cents here and there on people’s Amazon orders. I was aware there are no referral fees on items I buy myself, but stupidly overlooked this part:

This includes orders for customers, orders on behalf of customers, and orders for products to be used by you, your friends, your relatives, or your associates in any manner.

Okay, that’s pretty restricted–my mother almost never orders from Amazon because she doesn’t like wrestling with a click system rather than just picking what she wants and filling out an order form. She orders through Amazon specifically because I set up the portal on my blog–thus essentially referring a new customer to them, the ostensible purpose of the program–and her purchases don’t count because she’s my mother?

It’s understandable, if a bit narrow. But what really got my goat was the offensive and condescending expressions of the Amazon flunky who wrote back to my query about why there were several orders but no referral fees in my account. He accused me outright of ordering all the items myself, when actually some were ordered by my mother as aforementioned and some were ordered by Daddyman. He then snidely mentioned that Amazon is not running a “discount program” here. Yeah, no duh, moron.

And because their system is “proprietary,” he condescendingly declines to explain to me how they “know” I ordered the items myself. Hey, Sherlock? My mother has my same last name and Daddyman lives at my same address, though we aren’t married and thus aren’t even related. I pretty well grok on my own how you “deduced” these items were nefariously purchased by me. But you’re dead frackin’ wrong–I have zero interest in old episodes of Doctor Who.

So while I understand that you have to protect yourselves from being taken advantage of, and that orders from the same household should probably be restricted from the program, still, that’s not the same as me ordering them myself to try to hoodwink you. When you accuse people of that, you destroy a lot of goodwill and good faith. Yeah, it’s embarrassingly stupid of me not to have noticed the “relatives” part, but it’s offensively condescending for you to send a lengthy, rambling email accusing me of acting in bad faith instead of simply pointing out the problem and the restricted items. Thus my membership in the Associates program is finished. Hire some people who know how to respond to emails without acting like people who invite their friends and family to use their Amazon portal are deceptive little weasels who really are only after discounts for themselves.

Hero to Zero in One Week Flat

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 19, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

**SPOILERS** for the Bones season finale below.

Perhaps the best two episodes of Bones, ever, were the last two: Bones’s father’s trial showed us both sides of the Boreanaz coin, the breezy Booth and the choked-up Angel, and last week’s hilarious open-micfest seemed like it would open the way for Brennan to get in touch with a few of her feelings.

Tonight they brought down the balloon with a sniper’s bullet. Brennan falsely thought Booth was dead for two weeks and everybody’s supposed to go on and be okay with it, and Zack is revealed as Gormagon’s apprentice.

Zack Addy.

Hey, writers? Some of us actually like this show. If the kid needed to depart, just kill him. You certainly wrote the rest of them as if Zack is dead. I assume he’s not returning; that’s merciful enough, given the horror of what he’s headed for, but the demolition of everything he was seems totally unnecessary and as gratuitous as all the gore shots of melting intestines and bugs crawling through eye sockets.

To add insult to injury you made one tremendous bloomer, almost as bad as during the trial when you made Russ Brennan out to be a witness for the prosecution. Bones’s “logic” conversation with Zack babbled about killing members of secret societies as good for the experience of humanity, yet Gormagon and his apprentices constituted a secret society, as the people they targeted did not.

Just because we like the chemistry between Boreanaz and Deschanel doesn’t mean we’re stupid.

Hire better writers.

Update: Eric Millegan isn’t leaving the show of his own accord, but he is leaving. In one of the most unbelievable, disbelief-unsuspended maneuvers ever. The character of Zack as drawn for the last three years would have amputated both his own arms rather than betray his mentor, Dr. Brennan. It’d be nice if the writers could at least pretend to have watched the show before. Zack’s character had a lot of completely untapped possibilities, all now wasted.

Lucas Gone Round the Bend

Filed under:Good Grief,Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 16, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

Well, all right, he was round the bend when Episode I was made, but now he’s so far gone I can’t even see him any more: Shia LeBeouf as the new Indy, with Harrison Ford coming back as the elder statesman a la Connery.

“I haven’t even told Steven or Harrison this,” he said. “But I have an idea to make Shia [LeBeouf] the lead character next time and have Harrison [Ford] come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out.

I guess I’m dumb even to be surprised and dumber still to be sad about this kind of thing. This stuff is aimed at the generations following on to mine, and they don’t care if things we treasured are ruined–they’ll plunk down their money and Lucas will gather it up.

But I doubt Lucas has come to terms with that in his own mind. He still seems to have no clue that these are not good ideas from a creative/story point of view. I haven’t seen the new movie yet; it doesn’t matter whether Shia LeBouf is the new Ford or spends all his time chewing scenery. It’s not about that. It’s about a creative institution: Indiana Jones. Don’t show him to us getting old, sitting around, giving advice to the new protege. We don’t care about that. He was a man at a moment in time, and we don’t want to know how Lucas thinks he ages. We don’t want him to age at all. Enough, already. Connery worked because he was a static character also: Introduce him, boom, he’s old, he’s Indy’s father, accepted, he’s a name actor with charisma coming out his ears and we all love him. Wild cheers. Exit to applause–a lesson Lucas has never learned. His lesson is more like “wring out every last drop.” I thought it was only television execs who were supposed to be so heartless to their product–execs who have no hand in writing, casting, or shooting the work. Lucas should know better. Why doesn’t he?

As for Lucas’s comment that the current Indy movie will be the “exact same experience” the other three were, all I can say is, actually, I hope so.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace