Sunday, November 30, 2008
Download/preview the track here.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
One album I'm quite interested in acquiring is called Don't Hide Your Heart by UK artist Sheila Walsh. When I was a kid, we used to have a cassette copy of this album. It was released in the US on Sparrow Records, whose cassette were an opaque blue color. We called Sheila "the blue tape lady" and I really liked some of the songs, like "Under The Gun" Her music had a new wave rock edge, far more interesting than most mainstream Christian pop of the time. Now, Sheila is known for a stint as the co-host of The 700 Club and a devotional writer, but in the 1980s she was a pioneer female rocker. Her incredible high range made her a gospel Pat Benatar, her open autobiography Honestly made her a source of inspiration for those dealing with depression.
I found two copies on vinyl on eBay, but I'm not crazy about paying twenty bucks for something I can't listen to in the car. So I checked iTunes, no luck. I Googled the album, and found some illegal mp3s via a bit torrent, but I don't feel right downloading that way. One of the out of print music sites has vinyl copies with a CD-r of the album, I may purchase one that way. But not until after Christmas, I really need to focus my cash on gifts for others, not myself.
But I really needed a Sheila Walsh fix after all that hunting! I couldn't find much of her 80s music on YouTube or iMeem, but I did find a live video of a later song called "Fighter" that is just burning within me. So I decided to share! Here, please to enjoy:
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Here are a few things I'm thankful for:
My family. They mean the world to me, even when we argue and fuss. They love me, I love them. It's as simple as that. I'm thankful for Saturday nights at Aunt Tina's, watching her latest Netflix rental. I'm thankful for A'melanie and Aunt Deb who always seem to send me an email when I need one. I'm thankful for my sisters and my mom, even though we bicker like a bunch of tiny children. I love you guys.
My church. You probably have no idea how much I needed a community full of love to accept me. Or maybe you do, a lot of you have been in the same places I have. But y'all have gone above and beyond, even asking me to lead a Bible study. It warms my heart to know you think I'm capable.
My job. Yeah, I bitch about it all the time. But I bring home a decent paycheck, and I'm damn good at my job. I'm respected and liked there.
My music. On those days I feel at loose ends, there is nothing more soul satisfying than opening my iTunes and choosing a fun dance song to get me moving or an acoustic ballad to make me wistful or a heavy rock song to get my blood pumping.
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your turkey (or tofurky. Or ham. Or lasagna. Or whatever...) and I'll see you on the flipside.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Step 2. Eat just one Kandy Kake. OK, two. Drink some Dr Pepper, cause you need some caffeine. Mm, I think I need another Kandy Kake. Oh, so gooood. Yes, my 'O' face and my Kandy Kake face look the same. I can't help it! Turn on oven to like 375 degrees.
Step 3. Peel apples. First, twist off stems and recite the a letter of the alphabet with each turn. Whatever letter it pulls off on is the first initial of your future spouse. I get "F" on most of them. I don't know an "F" Justin Timberlake doesn't even have an F in his name... What was the name of that flirty cashier at Borders? "F" huh? File that info away. Cut apples into quarters, then core that neat way Rachel Ray does. It works! Huzzah! Ouch, cut thumb. Wash sticky hands, put on Band-Aid (R) Brand Adhesive Bandages. OK, cut the apple quarters into three or four pieces. Put pieces in large glass baking dish.
Step 4. Take off sweater, cause it is so stinkin' hot in this apartment when the oven is on. Drink more Dr Pepper.
Step 5. Get cranberries out of freezer. Rinse them off. They look wrinkly. Well, once they back they will look really wrinkly, and Mama said they would keep until next year. Consider using the new ones you bought to fill the centerpiece vase for the table. What Would Martha Do? She would make a fabulous centerpiece, that's what she would do. Screw it, the cranberries will taste fine!
Step 6. Answer ringing cell phone. "Hey, we're going to Ollie's, did you want to come along?" "I'm in the middle of making apple crisp, when are you going?" "We just pulled into your parking lot." "Um, I guess I can put the apples in the fridge and finish later." "OK!" Hurriedly pull sweater back on, turn off oven, cover apples with plastic wrap. Did I turn the oven off? Yes.
Step 7. Get back a couple hours later, cause we also went to Salvation Army Store and had lunch. Get apples out of fridge. They look fine, they didn't even get brown! Pour some sugar in a bowl. Add some cinnamon. Add some more. Shit! Too much! Add more sugar. I think that looks good.
Step 8. Pour sugar over apples and cranberries. Stir the apples until they are covered. Spill some on your jeans. Damn! These are my good DKNY jeans. I should have worn an apron. I should OWN an apron. Something cute, with little dancing chefs or fruit on it. Not a tacky "Kiss The Cook" one, though.
Step 9. Mix some sugar and flour together. Sugar to flour ratio is equal, right? I wish my mom could find the recipe! I called her last year, she told me but I don't remember. Google Apple Crisp. That's right, I can never find a recipe without oats in it. I never had oats on my apple crisp as a kid, and I'm not gonna start now! Screw it, I think it's slightly more sugar to flour. Add cinnamon. Looks good.
Step 10. Cut butter into little chunks, use pastry cutter to blend into crumbly texture. Shoot, the butter is still cold. My pastry cutter keeps bending around the chunks. I should have brought it to room temperature. I'll just use my fingers!
Step 11. Cover apple mixture with flour mixture. I hope this is enough. It needs more sugar, I don't think it'll crisp with that much flour. Pour some sugar on top. Sing loudly "POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME!" Laugh at your own amazing joke. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
Step 12. Bake for twenty minutes. Check on it. Not done. Bake another ten. Almost done. Bake another ten. Looks good, smells heavenly. See, no matter how hard I try to screw it up it comes out great!
Step 13. Shit. I should have bought vanilla ice cream.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The song is "A Christmas Duel" and it's funny, filthy and very classically Christmas. The horns, the beat and the faint jingle bells say Phil Spektor Christmas, but the lyrics say indie rock. It seems Hives lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist cheated on Cyndi with her sister, but she's OK with it cause she banged his brother and went down on his mother. Some records were burned and hit men hired, too; but "the snow keeps on falling even though we were bad... we should both just be glad and spend, spend, spend this Christ, Christmas together." I concur.
Here's the deal. I love Christmas music. And I love old school stuff by Nat King Cole and Barbra Striesand, I love newer songs by Amy Grant and Sarah McLachlan. I love the themes from old Bass/Rankin shows like "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer." Even the trendy bands like Trans-Siberian Orchestra get a thumbs up. If music is my hot, hot sex (which is all the hot sex I'm getting right now) then Christmas music is my kinky Santa hat fetish (SFW). OK, that analogy broke down somewhere, and I don't have AAA anymore. Back on topic! The point is, I own a zillion Christmas CDs, and more than a few vinyl LPs full of the wintery stuff. Yes, I kick it old school when I want some Anne Murray to bring the party down a notch.
Why is a station devoted to holiday music the bane of my existence? Because they choose the most awful Christmas and 'winter' music ever recorded. Shall I prove it? OK, but I'm warning you. Click "play" at your own risk...
The Pretenders: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
I love this song, Judy Garland's version from Meet Me In St. Louis is sublime, and I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm gay. But Crissie Hynde's voice cannot stay on key, the music is sluggish and it's just an awful take on a classic song.
Dean Martin: "It's A Marshmallow World"
It's not just Dino's version of this godawful song that makes me cringe, even the fabulous Darlene Love can't save this overly sweet song from making me want to stab myself in the ears. They play both quite frequently, and I just can't figure out why I hate it so. Is it the sub-"Walking In A Winter Wonderland" lyrics? Is it the catchy tune that worms it's way into your brain so far, you wake up screaming the chorus in the middle of the night - in July? What ever the cause, if they play this song during police interrogation I will crack like a plumber's ass in 2.4 seconds flat.
I'll admit it, the premise of a song about a cute little mouse that helps Santa get ready for Christmas is adorable. I love songs like "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty, The Snowman" but Chrissy, the Christmas mouse must die. I need mouse traps, rat poison, large portions of cheese (too much cheese causes mice to have such high blood pressure that their hearts explode) a Pied Piper, whatever mouse-removal techniques you have to share I will try. This song makes gives me a headache, and I never even heard the song before I started working for this store.
Can I be straight up honest with y'all? I've been single every Christmas of my life, and it does suck. So I get the sentiment behind this track. However, this song is bloody awful. The lyrics are terrible: "No more blue Christmases/No wonder that I thought that they were going out of style/I just had to meet you to make Christmas seem worthwhile" Um, pumpkin pie? Cookies? A new iPod from your amazing sister? JESUS?!? These are the things that make Christmas seem worthwhile, hun. And the sing-talk verses grate on my nerves. When Natalie sings "Last year, when I had to buy... my Christ Mus Gifts" like William Shatner, I just want to scream "God, make it stop!"
Also, I don't hate the song but I need to know: who decided that "My Favorite Things" from The Sound Of Music was a holiday song? Cause it's not, mmk?
|Gay music and video from NewNowNext.com|
Since we're on the topic, I was at the anti-Proposition 8 rally on the Pennsylvania State Capitol steps yesterday afternoon. It was really awesome, there was great number of people there, both members and friends of the LGBT community. I saw a lot of young people, which is very exciting. My pastor from the MCC of The Spirit spoke first, she really drove home the need to start a dialouge with religious communities. I think she also was the one who mentioned that many who voted for this measure voted from fear, not hate and we must respond with love. Cause God is love, y'all! Alanna Berger of the Silent Witness program also spoke. She told how she didn't want to get married when she was younger, with the old "I don't need a paper to say I love you" arguement. Then, she wanted to protect her long term relationship finacially and legally, so the couple went to a lawyer to have papers drawn up. It would cost them a thousand dollars to become husband and wife in everything but name, so they got married. A marriage license is fifteen bucks, and it comes with 1400 laws protecting that relationship. Laws that cannot be challenged. Documents can be disputed in a court of law, we've seen it a million times.
What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now. That's the subversive homosexual agenda. Seriously, you can still marry your first cousin, without any qualifications, in twenty-some states. Seriously, if I can marry my cousin Tara and I can't marry Justin Timberlake, that is pretty fucked up. And really gross.
Anyway, not to get vain on your asses or anything, the local CBS 21 coverage of the rally ends with a shot of me in my fabulous new coat and bright red hair at the 2:04 mark.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Ariane is sitting at the table with Carla, bedhead in full effect. It appears she is eating ice cream for breakfast. There is no judgement in that statement, just an observation. I mean, haven't we all had a pint (or half gallon) at dawn? No? Just me? OK then, moving right along. She is bemoaning the fact that she is one of the oldest contestants. Big deal, it's not like basketball, you don't reach your peak at 25.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Nobody does Walmart-ready rock like Nickelback. I shouldn't like them, they stand for everything I dislike about rock music. But I can't help it, their singles always suck me in. From their last disc I hated "Photograph" because I don't care what the hell is on Joey's head. But "Far Away" and "Saving Me" are just lovely slow rock ballads, "If Everyone Cared" might be a little trite but I can't help but appreciate the sentiment. I even like a few of their old singles, like "Someday." But I started up the hate again for "Rockstar" because it's just so ridiculous.
So I fully expected to pretend to love to hate (but secretly love) the new single from the new album Dark Horse, "Gotta Be Somebody." I expected correctly. It's a perfect tale of desire for connection, it fits so well into my current life state. That search, that longing for somebody... it's universal. I guess that's why bands like Nickelback do so well. It's not something you have to really dig deep to connect with. And that's not so bad...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Declaration: First off, I'm pissed there are no lyrics in the CD booklet. I hate that most pop album nowadays don't have lyric sheet anymore. I sound like an old person, don't I? But the song is great, I think this is the one he did on Saturday Night Live. His voice is hot as ever, the intro with the dueling guitars is pretty cool. I don't know what he's declaring, I guess that I've stole his soul to set him free? That's why I need lyric sheets. I must google some lyrics. Oh, I'm his inspiration! Aww, that's so sweet! This song was co-written by Goo Goo Doll Johnny Rzeznik, and it does have that modern rock sound.
Heroes: It opens kinda like that Boys Like Girls song I half like, half hate. The lyrics sound like a Christian pop/rock song, which weird cause I'm pretty sure David has said he's an athiest. "All these heroes come and go, but you're still standing" but then at the end he's all "there's a hero in us all." Oh, I see why this has such a Boys Like Girls feeling, Chris Lord-Alge mixed it, he also mixed the single version of "Hero/Heroine" Do you think David Cook is looking to get an NBC's Heroes promo out of this track?
Light On: I've already discussed this track elsewhere on the blog, but it fits well with the rest of the album so far. It's one of only three songs he didn't co-write. While I'm listening, I took a gander at the pictures in the booklet. God, he's so hot. A bunch of pics crammed on the center page, some really goofy faces. I love how he's not afraid to look silly in photos. I love everything about him...
Come Back To Me: This starts with a kind of new-wave guitar riff, but when it hits the chorus it has more of a symphonic rock sound. Very traditional Grown Up rock music.
Life On The Moon: A real interesting rocker, the lyrics are either silly or really deep. I like the eastern-sounding acoustic guitar that decorates. I can't tell if the fact that "life I knew is through and I'm gonna need you more than ever" is as strange as life on the moon is a really poetic admission of how fame will fuck you up, or if it's just a crappy metaphor.
Bar-ba-sol: OK, this is the rock star song! This needs to be a single for rock radio, it sounds like the harder stuff from Buckcherry or Hinder, but with better vocals. The guitars never let up, the drum line is hard as nails and the chorus has this ridiculous guitar vamp. I pretty much fake all of my rock'n'roll knowledge, cause I'm a pop boy, but when I talk about rock music this song is what I'm talking about. This guitar solo is sick as malaria! I've never heard an American Idol sound like this.
Mr. Sensitive: Kinda emo. I like it, it has a Fall Out Boy quality, but with a more fluid vocal. I'm not sure how I feel about it, it almost feels like the vocals don't belong with the instrumental.
Lie: The vocals are buried in the mix on this song. It could be a real symphonic rock song, like a Goo Goo Dolls song or his American Idol version of "Always Be My Baby" but the vocals need to be brought to the forefront. I'm disappointed! He has such strong vocal power, he shouldn't have to compete with the shitty production values that American Idol provides. I'll bet this song would be hot live, though. Or acoustic! I think an acoustic mix would be a major improvement.
I Did It For You: Again with the buried vocals. Chris Lord-Alge, I will hunt you down and kill you if you keep hiding my beloved Cookie's vocals under a bushel of generic rock'n'roll trappings. This song is a little meh, which makes me sad. I want every song to just reek of sex and rock and word-nerdiness. Oh, David! I know it's not your fault, you're still hot as fuck. I luh yew!
Avalanche: Still pissed at the poor mixing decisions, but this song is pretty cool. I like the idea of falling in love being compared to being buried in an avalanche. But it seems a little generic again. Oh look, the speed up drums leading to the end of the bridge! So rock star! Yeah, the second half of the disc is getting a little blah... :(
Permanent: Opens with piano. Loves it! God, his voice over just piano makes me wanna cry. Or masturbate, I'm not sure. OK, now I feel bad making dirty jokes, this song is beautiful. I think it may be about his cancer-stricken brother. "When all you know seems so far away and everything is temporary, rest your head, I’m permanent" and "Forget your promise that you'll never see me cry" are some of the lyrics that just break my heart.
A Daily AntheM: No, that's not a typo. The capital letters spell out Adam, his brother with cancer. The closeness between the two make me love David even more. He's not just hot and funny and talented, he's a really great guy too. Kimberley Caldwell better never break his heart, cause I will cut the bitch. This is the only song written just by David, no co-writers. Some of the lyrics are a little iffy like "It's a half baked blessing for the lessons I've learned." What does that even mean?
Now we have eleven minutes left on the track, and it's silence. That means one thing: bonus track. Sweet action! If it's just "The Time Of My Life" like is listed on the back of the CD case, I'll be bummed. Maybe it's a secret message from David, telling the world that he's totally gay for me. I'll bet it is. OK, I'm skipping ahead about twenty-thirty seconds at a time. Nothing so far. Three and a half minutes left. Yay! Rock guitars! Ooh, it's a scathing indictment of skanky Hollywood girls. Really, that's not a joke. David is singing something about a "kiss on the neck." I thought he said "kiss on the dick" at first, and I was
The Time Of My Life: Really, this could be the third least-sucky Idol coronation song. "Inside Your Heaven" was the best, cause the lack of sense it made was coupled with how dirty it sounded. "I wanna be inside your heaven, take me to the place you cry from?" Really, Carrie? That's hot/disturbing/strange. And we can't forget OG champ Kelly's "Moment Like This" which was the first time, and last time, the song pretended to be about any special moment not just winning a reality show. But "The Time Of My Life" sounds uplifting and excited about winner said reality show. "I Believe" is a close fourth, but "This Is My Now" sounds really cocky and "Do I Make You Proud" just sucks. I somehow missed ever hearing "Flying Without Wings" which is probably for the best.
Anyway, even if David Cook starts being a little boring about halfway through, there are some real standouts. More importantly, I'm still in love with David Cook, and will still birth his children someday. Not that I was ever really considering falling out of love with him, he'd have to do faithful covers of the Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up" and Chicago's "Saturday In The Park" for that to happen.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I wasn't sure what I would make of another author taking a stab at these characters, continuing the stories of my favorite of the Austen novels, Pride And Prejudice. But I'm always game to try new books, and if Lydia Bennett was ruined in Jane Odiwe's story I would not be that distressed. After all, even her father finds her to be one of the silliest girls in the land.
Lydia Bennet's Story starts while Lizzie is visiting her cousin Mr. Collins and his wife. Lydia flirts with the dashing Mr. Wickham, as well as any other redcoat that will ask her to dance. When she finally makes it to Brighton, she finds Mr. Wickham continues to tickle her fancy, but she is quite put off by his interest in other ladies. When she convinces herself that she loves him, and he loves her, the elopement plans fall quickly into place. About halfway through out the novel Odiwe begins to continue the story past what we know from Austen's narrative.
Lydia, while still quite silly, cannot help but notice her new husband is not really as perfect as she had led herself to believe. She continues to flirt harmlessly, but her spouse goes beyond flirtations, as well as gambling and drinking. Mrs. Wickham invites herself to her sister Jane's new home, while Mr. Wickham takes himself to Bath. While reconnecting to her old friends, she finds herself at odds with the brother of one. Scandal strikes, and Lydia learns about real emotional connections.
The ending is pretty easy to guess once you get into the second half of the novel, but like Austen's stories, the plot always takes a backseat to tone and wit. Lydia Bennet's Story is no different. While some of the comments are more ribald than dear Jane would have penned, Odiwe really captures the playful social commentary that Austen loved to present. I was quite pleased with this novel, it's light and fluffy but with a lot of heart.
Monday, November 17, 2008
So am I excited for Lost auteur J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek film? Fuck yeah!! The second trailer just dropped this morning on the webs, and it's looking sexy. Did I just say a Star Trek trailer was sexy? God, I need to get laid more... Anyway, watch and let me know: should I be lining up for tickets now?
OK, I'm no David Cook, but I do wanna talk about chicks, man. Specifically new music from the ladies...
First, we have producer-to-the-stars Darkchild trying to out-dream The-Dream with an "Umbrella"-esque feel-good jam. Brandy is back with a new album December, and the lead single is war-time lullaby with a beat called "Right Here (Departed)" The video is ham-handed in it's message, (ala "Pocketful Of Sunshine") but the song is pure joy. The singer/actress releases Human on December 9th.
Speaking of singer/actresses, Beyonce's double disc I Am... Sasha Fierce releases tomorrow. I'm not crazy about the Chris Gaines style marketing ploy, but "If I Were A Boy" is an acoustic soul/pop hybrid. Addressing the double standard between the sexes is not a new pop idea, but Beyonce brings an emotional edge lacking from a track like Christina Aguilera's "Can't Hold Us Down" Others may be all about "Single Ladies" (which is a fantastic track in it's own right, plus gave us a brilliant SNL sketch with my other future boyfriend, Justin Timberlake) but I'm really in love with Beyonce as a boy. Of course, if she was a boy I'm doubting she would "drink beer with the guys" more I do believe she's a better man than I. (Oh, and I'm loving that she used her all-female band for the EMA performance of the song! It's more gender-queer than Katy Perry ever dreamed of being.)
"Can't Hold Us Down" is one of the few singles missing from Christina's Keeps Getting Better... A Decade Of Hits. But the album gives us two new songs, plus two new versions of prior hits. "Genie 2.0" was given a preview at the VMAs this year, and the full version is amazing. I just bought this military-style jacket from DC and when I'm driving down the highway in it and this uber-modern electronic song comes on I fell like a post-apocalyptic general weaving in between mobile storage units. I have to save my boyfriend (played by LL Cool J) and our puppy from a cyborg mad scientist on the way, too. I have a vivid imagination sometimes.
One other album track you should be checking out is from Taylor Swift's new album, Fearless. "White Horse" is the emotional opposite of my previous favorite off the new CD, "Love Story" In that song, Romeo sweeps in to save the day and whisks Juliet off in a storybook ending. "White Horse" is grounded in a more realistic emotional space. Against a light jazz piano, acoustic guitar and a country fiddle a story unfolds of childhood romantic fantasies crushed. But even though "I'm not your princess, this ain't a fairytale. I'm gonna find somebody someday who might actually treat me well... it's too late for you and your white horse to come around." Taylor Swift is growing into one of the most interesting songwriters in the business. "White Horse" actually made it's premiere on Grey's Anatomy, the launching pad for indie singer/songwriters like Ingrid Michealsen. She fully deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as country music's finest female writers like Dolly Parton and Shania Twain.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Let's get recapping! Top Chef is back and it's in New York City, my second favorite
Introductions begin, and we meet this really hot blond egotist named Jeff. In his audition video he reveals he asks his server if his hair looks good. If it doesn't, he has a comb. Lord, I thought I was the only one! However, under that Chase-from-House face probably resides a Grade-A twatwaffle. Speaking of twatwaffles, don't you love Danny's facial hair? So closeted Jersey frat boy!
We also meet Lauren who is an Army wife fresh out of culinary school. She annoys me already, but we also meet her former schoolmate Patrick. They share an excited fruit/fly hug, and Patrick tells us he is on Top Chef at age 21, still in culinary school, to "share his passion with the world." Which I totally believe, if by "share his passion with" he means "be on TV in front of." He's cute though, in a mini-Jay Brannan kind of way.
Oh, but he's not the cutest! That would be my future boyfriend Richard... le sigh. Richard made me laugh right out loud when he told us his "inner queen" wants to know what Padma is wearing. He's friggin' adorkable, and that's not a culinary boner he's giving me. Oh! What? I don't think David Cook minds when I cheat on him with other reality contestants. He knows he's my little Cookie Monster.
Ahem! Where was I? Oh, what was Padma wearing? A fugly wine-colored vest over a white tank and jeans. Now that's Richard's inner queen's curiosity is sated, we can allow our eyes to glaze over while Ms. Lakshmi recites some speech about if you make it in New York... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
Wait! What? Did she just say they were gonna kick somebody to the curb during the Quickfire Challenge? Wha? I guess this is Top Chef getting serious up in this muthafucking jawnpiece. Word! And this life altering Quickfire consisting of what difficult challenge? Peeling apples you say, Padma my lovely? Ok, it's not like anyone's gonna sweat blood over some Granny Smith action.
I spoke too soon! MFB (my future boyfriend, Richard) slices his thumb. How do ya like them bloody apples? But he finishes in the top eight, along with resident crazy (every reality show has one!) Carla, who does this hysterical walk/run from the peeling tables. Next, the bottom eight have to brunoise chop the apples. Boring.
Also boring? The dishes the bottom four chefs make. Radhika confessionals early that we shouldn't assume her Indian heritage would cause her to make spicy curries and things. So she makes a totally not-at-all Indian chutney. And it looked really undercooked for a chutney, but Tom and Padma liked it. Newly reunited gay besties Lauren and Patrick both make salads, cause everyone knows how impressive a salad is. I mean, maybe Patrick tosses a really good salad, but still put a little effort into a close elimination challenge. But Lauren really seals her fate by claiming everything's better with bacon. Which is so true, but it's such a public access TV cooking show line.
They end up in the bottom two, and they clench their little hands and look all nervous. Isn't that a sign of the end of the world, hag will battle against f*g? I don't know if his dish was better than hers really but this is Bravo. The gay stays in the picture. Lauren has to pack up her knives and go wait for her soldier boy to return.
The knife block appears, and the chefs pick knives with parts of New York City written on them. They will be cooking dishes inspired by Chinatown or Jamaica or what have you. But not until tomorrow, now it's time to check out the NYC digs!
Back at the apartments, Patrick, Richard and tatted-up Jamie form Team Rainbow. Bravo thinks this is clever, so t-shirts must be produced. But Team Rainbow is hot. Jamie is my kind of lesbian and I may have dropped a hint about how I feel about Richard. (To quote my gurl Shannan: I luh bby boi!)
But it's not all rainbows and hotties, into each episode some drama must fall. The "Euro Duo" Stefan and Fabio pick one of the most important issues facing the international community to discuss rationally with the only person with a thick accent than themselves, Danny. So we have an Italian, a Swede and a Jersey Tool fighting over whether a vinaigrette is an emulsion. You can't make this shit up! I love it.
Let's go shopping! Two contestants go into their assigned neighborhood to shop for ethnic ingredients. The highlights include Carla revealing the depth of her crazy by admitting all her dishes are inspired by her spirit guide. Also by asking the Russian shopkeeper which caviar was the "yummiest." Special culinary term, y'all. Patrick then shows us why he is not just a 21-year-old student. He knows Chinese cooking, he took a class on Asian food at the culinary institute. Which explains why he buys black rice noodles, but never made them before. Can't be too hard, right? We'll see.
So some cooking happens back at the kitchen, nothing too exciting and then the big reveal. The guest judge is Jean-George Vongerichten, which is a major deal? I don't know, unless Julia Child comes back from the dead for a guest judge appearance I doubt I'll recognize any of these major chefs they get to come in. Unless they are also on Food Network or are grade-A hotties like The Naked Chef or Rocco DiSpirito.
So the first head to head competition is between Stefan and Ariana. They are both cooking Middle Eastern, so there is yogurt and lamb and couscous. I love couscous, it's one interesting food item I do like. Stefan's beef and onion skewers with cinnamon is the winner. Ariana's grain was seriously undercooked, thanks to her having idea what the fuck to do with Middle Eastern ingredients.
Now, I see MFB Richard is nursing a serious crush on Tom. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think Tom is kinda cute, but a little old for me. Richard thinks he has great eyes, which what I'm into also. OMG, we have soooo much in common. He totally likes me! Wait, how did I get "Richard totally likes me" out of "Richard has a crush on Tom?" I have no idea. But the way he says "I think Tom's really cute" is so friggin adorable, you have no idea how hard I'm crushing on him right now. Gah!
Anyway, let's talk food again, shall we? Richard made a Greek lamb slider and Jamie made a deconstructed Greek salad. The lamb was overcooked, which put the win in Jamie's corner. Aww, Team Rainbow hugs all around!
Radhika and Jill had Jamaican cuisine. Both looked kinda icky. Jill's scallop was overcooked, Radhika fish was mushy. Jill ekes out a win here.
Fabio reads from his notes, since his English is not that good. Jeff made a coffee seared tenderloin with black beans and rice and some grilled corn cut from the cob, which was not fully plated. It won over Fabio's Carribean mushroom-covered avocado thingy.
For the Russian portion, Hosea and his unfortunate tiny beard made a smoked fish trio, that looked very pretty with the creme fraiche, caviar and apple chutney. Carla's smoked trout on potato latke. It was missing a nice sauce, so Hosea's dish was the clear winner.
Italian! I know a little bit about that kind of food. In fact, I'm eating some luscious Totino's Pizza Rolls right now! I'm sure they're quite authentically Italian. Leah made a red snapper with mushrooms over risotto. It's a very tiny portion! Not very Italian in my experience. But it wins over Melissa's rib eye with arugula salad and tomato sauce. Not enough salt in the sauce, according to Gale.
Here comes Danny's Chinese dish. Poached chicken salad with bok choy, shitakes and won tons, which is apparently a rip-off of a Wolfgang Puck dish. It's wet, too, according to the guest judge. He even wipes his finger across the plate for dramatic effect. Patrick's sad looking fish and bok choy thing looks like the glossy cover of an '80s cookbook entitled Modern Asian Cooking For The Microwave. It's so very bland, and his black rice noodles were gummy. But he took a course on Cuisines Of Asia! Danny barely won, which leads Patrick to admit to being nervous about being on the bottom again. Oh, Pat, perhaps you should talk to your boyfriend about that in private, not on national TV. (God, the gay jokes are just flowing tonight!)
Oh snap, in all my lusting after Richard I forgot I almost had a crush on Alex! He's my safety school, if MFB gets the boot early. I think it's his hair. Anyway, I will never get this recap done if I keep letting boys lead me down the garden path. Alex's Indian dish is lamb chops with ragout and basmati rice. It looks pretty traditional, but with a little spice. Eugene also used basmati rice and lamb, but Padma tells us it's a classic dish called curds and rice. He wins this round. Eugene is excited about his accidental dish.
Deliberations begin. Patrick is called amateurish. Ariana also gets a drumming. She's shaking in her Danskos. Top three is Leah, Stefan and Eugene. Padma reminds them that in every season but one, the winner of the first challenge also won the whole shebang. Stefen takes the win, and he thinks it would be great for a non-American to win Top Chef. Um, OK?
Ariana's under cooking gets rehashed. Patrick's lack of flavor styling is bashed, it needed scallions or something. When Tom wonders what Ariana would have done if a client asked for a Middle Eastern meal, she snaps back that she would have books to look at. Um lady, I may not have a hard on for Tom like Richard does but you still don't get snippy with the head judge. Both chefs are asked why they should stay, both grandstand about passion and all they have to give. Whatever.
Back in the holding room, Patrick is still talking about "sharing his passion" and I just wanna smack him upside the head. You came to win money or get famous, guppy! It's obvious...
So who goes? Newbie Patrick, or old pro Ariana? You'd think the gay card might get played again, but no. Team Rainbow loses it's first member on the first episode, and Patrick packs his knives and go. But not after a big bear hug from MFB (boy, he just gives it up, doesn't he?)
In the previews for the upcoming season we have a lot of swearing and OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!! MARTHA STEWART!!! I DIE! See you next week for hot dogs and more New Yawkas, kids!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Seriously? Does Tim Gunn know about this hat? I'm pretty sure this is not something he would recommend keeping in your closet,* let alone wear himself. Of course, ever since I saw Tim in a tee-shirt on Best Week Ever my image of Mr. Make It Work has been somewhat altered. However, I'm pretty sure he'd think a Tim Gunn's Guide To Style Ball Cap was tacky. I know this in my heart, where Tim Gunn will always live. As a bobblehead.
*Unless you're a lesbian, which case it's a slight improvement over your current ball caps.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The big news? I will be recapping the damn thing, yo. Yes, recapping is not just for American Idol anymore. So whip out your culinary boners, the recaps go live over the weekend (cause I work a twelve-hour shift on Thursdays, so I shan't have time to recap until Thursday evening/Friday morning at the earliest.)
One of those new tracks was the classic "Sleigh Ride." Now the group is re-releasing Let It Snow, Baby... Let It Reindeer with three new songs and a fun animated video for "Sleigh Ride" The video finds the band animated as rabbits, and lead singer Matt Theissen is smitten with an ice-skating girl bunny. To help him win her over, the rest of the band commandeer Santa's sleigh. Santa proves to be less than jolly, and creates a monster snowman to get the sleigh back. It's all good fun, like the best of Relient K's music. Watch the video below:
Relient K - Sleigh Ride from gotee on Vimeo.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It could be a smart move, after all Christina, Natasha Bedingfeild, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Ne-yo have all had recent hits with a sleek club sound. After the brilliant single "Untouched" was used on So You Think You Can Dance, Lancaster's FM97 put the track into rotation. It's the opener to Hook Me Up - an electro album that deserves a place in every gay man's CD collection, wedged between Britney's Blackout and Lady Gaga's The Fame. "Untouched" is beyond brilliant, the fast paced strings give way to a new wave keyboard tone and a bed of electric guitars while Lisa and Jessica sing at breakneck speed about a long distance relationship before breaking to sing the title against the strings. It's sleek and sexy pop music at its finest.
But there are 12 other tracks on the album! From the emo-riffic kiss-off "Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were)" (in which the chorus thrillingly builds to a crescendo on the title line) to the bi-curious floor-filler "Take Me On The Floor"(recorded before Katy Perry was kissing girls) to the tongue-in-cheek ego-booster "Popular" ("Don't try and hate me because I am so popular" the duo croon on the chorus) The Veronicas prove they are a pop force waiting to be unleashed on the States. The girls make a few mis-steps, like on the overly-crowded "I Don't Wanna Wait" and the uninspired cover of "Goodbye To You" (recently used in a YAZ commercial) but this is one of the better pop albums of the year.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
So, forget the fact that you're overweight, you need a shave and you may never have the right to get married. You are beautiful, no matter what they say, words won't bring you down. Not today. Not any day. You are what you are, you are beautiful...
Christina Aguilera - You Are What You Are (Beautiful 2008)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Now Blake has a track produced by Darude on Dance 4 Life, a techno album benefiting AIDS and HIV charities. Not exactly a homophobic move, methinks. The track features a little bit of his beatboxing and a lot of brilliant European style techno. This may be the beginning of a rise in Blake Lewis's profile in the electronic field. Listen to "Selfless" below.
But wait! There's more Darude-produced goodness available! Besides the charity album, Blake and Darude have also released a single. It's a cover of Flock Of Seagulls 1982 hit "I Ran (So Far Away)" and it's fantastic! Probably better than "Selfless" or anything off of Audio Day Dream with it's heavy sound and a driving pulse. No crazy hairdo required to love it, though. Listen to the radio edit here. Or download the full single, with 5 remixes and a full length edit from the iTunes.
Petula Clark - "Downtown"
When this song would come on the oldies station when I was a child, I always hoped I would live in a big city where I could walk downtown whenever I feel blue. I now live in Harrisburg, but I'd have to drive to get to downtown and I'd rather go to the mall than shop downtown. But the feeling when this song comes on remains the same, that liberating feel of joy that only shopping and music can bring!
Mama Cass - "Make Your Own Kind Of Music"
For some reason the music director of Lost seems to like to place happy pop songs from the 1960s in the middle of the deserted island drama. I'm not complaining! This song just fills my heart with joy, I want to make music, I want to dance, I want be a singing sensation! I'm not sure my neighbors approve, though.
ABBA - "Dancing Queen"
And when you get the chance, you are the dancing queen! Oh, to be a pretty young thing in the 1970s, the disco as my hunting ground. There is no greater expression of joy than to get your ass on the dance floor and shake what your mama gave ya!
Madonna - "Into The Groove"
This is the perfect song to strut to as you're walking your fine self through the mall. You can dance (for inspiration, naturally) as you walk, just giving little twirls and shoulder shakes, and that thing where you switch between your heels and your toes. Try it, it warms the heart! Only when I'm dancing can I feel this free.
Avalon - "Testify To Love"
When I was a home schooled youngin' living in the country, going to church three times a week and immersing myself in the newly revitalized Contemporary Christian Music scene one of my favorite groups was Avalon. The slick and polished pop sounds warmed my gay little heart, I rushed out to buy O2: Avalon Remixed at Walmart as soon as CCM Magazine mentioned it was available. "Testify To Love" remains one of the biggest hits in gospel radio history, the band's first twenty non-holiday singles hit number one. Wynonna Judd covered the song for an episode of Touched By An Angel, it appears on the soundtrack also.
But her new music that has been released or leaked of late has not been as engaging as anything on Kala or Arular. At first blush, Jay-Z's addition to "Boyz" seems unnecessary and uninteresting - just like his verses on Amy Winehouse's "Rehab [Remix]" and Rihanna's "Umbrella" but it is growing on me. The other tracks on the EP are not up to snuff, "Hit That" was a disappointment and I was beginning to think perhaps M.I.A. shouldn't have un-retired. But if you can dig up an MP3 of "Big Branch" it's totally worth it. It's a bonus track from the iTunes version (also on Japanese pressings, if I recall correctly) of Kala and it's filthy and rediculous and brassy.
But here comes a new collaboration with Blaqstarr, "S.U.S. (Save UR Soul)" It's got a great Baltimore club sound with a gospel vocal stamp. The chorus is based on Tom Waits' "Way Down In The Hole" and it almost sounds like Moby producing a hip-hop track. The video cost $9.95 to make, according to YouTube: three Quicktime screens play black and white close up footage of the performers on computer desktop. Cheap and dirty, but fits well with the sound. Kudos to M.I.A. for directing it!
But here's the thing: I still vote every election, I try to keep informed about the government and it's doings, I'm not a total political dead weight. So I had made up my mind a long time ago that Barack Obama was the change we needed. I may have been swayed by his charisma at first, but his plans and his desire to do the right thing kept me on his side.
Last night's acceptance speech was one of the most subdued victory speech I've ever seen. He knows he has a lot of work to do, this country is in bad shape on so many levels. But I got a tiny thrill when he commented on there being no gay or straight America, because I don't know that I've ever heard my president say something so equalizing. But it was this moment (click here for sound clip) when he spoke to his opponents: "To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too." it brought a tear to my eye.
This country has been so divided for so long, we are so full of suspicion and hate for those on the "wrong" side of the "issues" that we forget we are all Americans. And I'm not just talking about conservatives, because I still count myself as one of you. Liberals look down on conservatives as ignorant hillbillies, conservatives dismiss liberals as anti-American and the moderates think they are more level headed than everybody else. I think we all forget that most of us truly believe we are working towards what's best for our country.
We are all Americans... and Barack Obama will be our president, too!