Tag Archives: "American Idol"

“Lost” in Thursday Thoughts

sawyer-dharma doc

Last night’s “Lost” was a seesaw episode . . . back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Three years earlier. Three years later. Three years earlier. Three years later. And where is John Locke?

I liked how the opening with the Left Behinders built on an older episode (when Locke dropped into the well). First they see what’s probably the statue that the four-toed foot belongs to. Then there’s a flash, and the well is back!  Sawyer jumps into the well . . . that isn’t finished yet. So who is building it??

After the flash, headaches and nosebleeds are gone. Juliet wonders if John has succeeded in his quest to stop the island from time traveling. Sawyer wants to wait for Locke to return. “As long as it takes,” he says.

Then it’s three years later . . . cool transition back to the Dharma Initiative.

We know we’re in the 1970s. We hear an unmistakable voice as the head of security. The Dharma guys say it’s LaFleur. But we know him as . . . Sawyer!

Sawyer really takes charge in this episode. Like Jack with the Oceanic 6, Sawyer is ready to weave a lie that will allow the Left Behinders to live. As he says, “I’m a professional. I used to lie for a living.”

But not only is Sawyer in charge, he also is domesticated . . . by Juliet, the fertility doctor turned car mechanic. Even though the passion heats up between them, I had to wonder if Juliet had forgotten about Jack and Sawyer about Kate. Sawyer tells Horace (current leader of the DI) that it is possible to forget someone after three years, that he can’t even remember her face anymore.

As he’s spooning with Juliet, Sawyer gets that fateful call from Jin (who, by the way, speaks great English). I’ll bet he’s about to see some of the Oceanic 6ers! Here comes the VW bus, looking very spiffy. And there’s Hurley, Jack, and . . . (music builds and builds; wait for it, wait for it) and finally Kate.

I think Sawyer remembers exactly what she looks like. What a killer ending again!!

And then there’s the bad news: No new episode for two weeks. Arrgh!!

My Frogurt obsession

neil-frogurtRemember my obsession with Neil (“Frogurt,” as dubbed by Sawyer)? The obnoxious “Lost” survivor who got his just desserts (so to speak) when he was hit in the chest with the flaming arrow? I was watching the 1996 movie “That Thing You Do!” on one of the high-numbered cable channels, and there he was! His was billed as a heckler, and he was obnoxious in that movie, too! He even said “Neato!”

Sean Whalen is the actor’s name. According to Wikipedia, Sean was in a 1996 episode of the “Cosby Show” as the “dry cleaner guy.” In his first movie, “Ferris Bueller,” he played a fast food manager. He appeared as a pizza boy in “Friends” and was in the very first “Got milk?” commercial.

Looks like being silenced by a flaming arrow is a move up the career ladder!

Dramarican Idol continued

TatianaThe “American Idol” wild cards were announced last night. The good news? Nathanial didn’t make it. The bad news? Tatiannoying did. I still think the producers urged the judges to choose her to push the drama as high as possible. All we can hope for is that she keeps her shrieking to a minimum and her good singing to a maximum.

Track update

Yesterday’s meet was moved to today; hopefully, I’ll have some good photos to post for Photo Friday.

Tasty Tuesday’s Aftermath

5260-chicken-3

Wowzer! I’m thrilled to report that the chicken baked using the Dijon honey mustard Flavor Magic Portion Control Sheets was a huge hit with the boys! They said it was the best chicken I had ever made (and, believe it or not, they sometimes actually like the chicken I’ve cooked for them). The entire process was easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Here’s how it worked:

5252-chicken-15255-chicken-2

First, you cut the chicken to size (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because I’m lazy, of course), dampen it, and lay it on one of the sheets (above left). Then you put plastic wrap over it and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for about 30 minutes. Then be prepared to bask in the praise and glory of your ever-indebted family who have crowned you the Cooking Queen . . . as if!

I especially liked that there was almost no mess with the sheets, so cleanup was a snap. I’ll keep using the Dijon honey mustard sheets, as well as the Rivieria tomato and basil sheets, with chicken, pork, and fish. I might even try the Rivieria sheet with tofu, since it’s vegan!

5262-red-pepper-hash-browns

Speaking of vegan

Double-wowzer! While the boys were scarfing down their chicken, I was enjoying my red pepper and spinach hashed browns. They were really good! The recipe was a natural for my limited cooking abilities: It didn’t have a lot of ingredients (red pepper, onion, garlic, potatoes, and spinach), it didn’t take long to prepare and cook, and it wasn’t too messy. I definitely would make it again.

5259-me-goggles1The only problem with the recipe was chopping the onions. I try to chop as fast as I can, but I can’t stand how much the little buggers sting my eyes. If I had only checked out the National Onion Association‘s website! Guess I should’ve figured that the little buggers would have their own site. The NOA recommends chilling the onion before cutting and trimming off the root end last for reducing the tears. Me? I reasoned if the irritant can’t get into my eyes, it wouldn’t affect me. So I grabbed some handy swim goggles . . . and it worked! And it made the #1 son laugh! I did learn that it’s pretty hard to take a quick photo of yourself, so this was the best I could do.

Tonight’s TV watch

bob-harperIt’s an embarrassment of riches on the tube tonight! There’s the second half of “The Biggest Loser” along with “American Idol” and “Lost.”  Whew!

Speaking of “TBL,” there was sooo much crying, especially by my third husband, trainer Bob, on last night’s show. You would’ve thought Bob’s former trainees were moving to Siberia! Man up, Bob!

Get ’er dones

I’ll be spending more time on the phone talking to Applecare. Yesterday they advised uninstalling and reinstalling iLife ’09 to try to solve the GarageBand ’09 problem of not opening GB ’08 songs, but that didn’t work. I remain suspicious of the install disc.

Of course, it’s Kitchen Wednesday, so I’ll at least open mail and shred. There’s always so much more to do with so little energy in the afternoon.

Finally, there will be dinner and TV. How did John Locke die? I think we finally get that question answered on “Lost.” One answer down, 533 more to go!

Photo Friday

CB junior

I’ve got photography on my mind today, because I actually have a paying gig tomorrow night! My usual modus operandi  is to shoot photos, Photoshop and post them to my Smugmug website, and hope someone will buy them. Not the best of business models for making money, that’s for sure.

arrow_of_light6_colorBut this time my friend Karen called asking if I would take photos of her younger son and the other Cub Scouts who are bridging into the Boy Scouts during their Arrow of Light ceremony, which I did three years ago for her older son. There are 23 scouts from three dens; that’s a bunch. Karen said they didn’t want parents taking photos because of time constraints; that definitely would be better for my sales. I asked her to poll the parents to see how many would be interested in buying pictures, and she reported that the majority would.

I know from taking youth sports photos for the last five years or so that some parents think you’re a great photographer only if you’re giving them free pictures of their kids; otherwise, they’re not about to pay you for your time, effort, expertise, and equipment, no matter how good your photos are. Some will argue, “But photos only cost 20 cents to print at Sam’s Club, CVS, or wherever.” They don’t seem to appreciate all that goes into producing a wonderful memory of their child. Kind of like how some people don’t appreciate how hard teachers work. Funny thing . . . one of my friends, who happens to be an excellent teacher and whose sons I’ve taken many photos of, matter-of-factly told me she preferred another parent’s pix over mine simply because they were free. They weren’t better, but they were cheaper. Really hurt my feelings. But that’s what can happen when you give away your photos at first.

smugmug_logo1But I digress . . . . I told Karen she had several choices. I would take the photos, but I would have to be paid for my time and gave her what I thought was a reasonable price. In return, I would burn every parent all the photos on CDs, and they could print out their own photos. I also will consider making 8 x 10 collages that I will sell through Smugmug; just depends on how the pix look and how motivated I am. Second, she could find another photographer to do the job. Third, she could have a savvy parent with a good camera take the pictures and give everyone copies. I told her that even though I felt my price was fair, there would be a handful of parents who would object, and that it wouldn’t bother me at all if I wasn’t hired.

As expected, a couple didn’t want to go along, apparently, but enough did for the scouts to decide to hire me. Because the ceremony is at 6:30 p.m. outside, I bought the CB Junior flash bracket (shown above) to help cut down on red-eye and shadows caused by the flash when the camera is oriented vertically. I’ve used the Stroboframe bracket before with my Nikon D200, but I’ve had trouble with its bulk and the way the handle won’t stay upright. The CB Junior seems to be a better bet. I should have a full report Monday.

So my main get ’er done for today is to learn how to use the bracket and try it out with some probably unwilling young, male models from my household. Here’s the line I’m going with:

“Want Pei-Wei for dinner? Stand over there and smile!” I’ve used the boys before for photo practice, and it’s never pretty. They hate it.

Another “Survivor” blindside

CandaceWow! Two weeks into the new “Survivor: Tocantins” season there have been two tribal councils and two blindsides. Love it! This time it was Candace, who’s an attorney by trade but didn’t learn that trust is everything when it comes to advancing in the game. Here’s a clue for future “Survivor” contestants: The minute you think you’re safe and get all smug about it, you can count on one thing—being voted out and heading down the walk of shame.

Look at this photo of Candace: Think she’s been enhanced in any way (and I’m not talking about HDTV!)?

And a shout-out to Taj: Why in the world would you tell your tribe that you’re married to former pro football player Eddie George? Don’t you watch the show? If the other players think you don’t need the money, you’re also going to be taking that long, lonely walk from tribal council. Better hope you find that hidden immunity idol.

Oh, oh!

I had forgotten that “American Idol” will have the judges pick three wild cards for the final 12. That could mean that Tatiannoying could continue to plague us. Noooooo!

Weaving a “Lost” Web

191
I like how intricate a web “Lost” is weaving to suck us into the story line and keep us captive. Last night’s episode was great! I loved how the opening harkened back to season one’s first episode with Jack’s eyeball. Classic!
As usual, I recommend that true “Losties” go to Entertainment Weekly and Nik at Nite for more in-depth analysis and great comments. Here’s my take on “316”:
• Poor Desmond . . . the island isn’t done with him. I was amazed that the pendulum didn’t clock him.
• Eloise Hawking said they had to recreate circumstances of the original plane crash as much as possible, hence the guitar case that Hurley carried (was it Charlie’s?), Locke in the coffin with something belonging to Christian Shephard (who originally was in a coffin when he was on Oceanic 815), and the handcuffs (Sayid this time instead of Kate, but why is Sayid in handcuffs?).
• It was sweet of Hurley to buy up all the empty seats so more people wouldn’t be killed if the plane crashed. Did Charlie tell him about the flight? Did Charlie get him out of jail?
• Where the heck is Aaron? Did the ghostly Claire take him back? Remember she had told Kate not to bring him back to the island. Or did Kate give him to Claire’s mother?
• Ben says he needs to make good on a promise he made to an old friend before he goes to the airport. It better not be to kill Penny! I really like her character and the love story between her and Desmond. But that would be one way to get Desmond back to the island . . . to seek revenge.
Bloody Ben• Was Ben so bloody because of that promise? He sure is a cold, callous SOB.
• Possible best line was said by Frank Lapidus (pictured above with Jack): “We’re not going to Guam, are we?” Definitely a rhetorical question! I loved that he was the pilot.
• Why would Jack wear a suit on the plane? Does he have a business meeting on the island to attend?
• Anyone else yelling at the TV, “Just read the note, Jack!”? Geesh, what does it take?
• Wow, Dharma Jin! What a great ending! The Oceanic 5 (no Aaron) obviously have gone back in time, because the VW bus looks newer and runs well. Great-looking Dharma jumpsuit on Jin!
Lots to think about and analyze. Can’t wait until next week!
First “American Idol” picks
large-prime-time-in-no-time-logoA quick comment: Thank goodness Tatiana didn’t make it into the final 12! Good voice, too melodramatic. Three solid picks in Alexis, Danny, and Michael from this first round of 12.
Funny line from Frank Nicotero, who hosts the very humorous “Primetime in No Time” on Yahoo TV: He calls her “Tatiannoying.” So true, Frank!
Get ’er dones
We’ve just about got all the iMac problems fixed. Now I know that when the Apple store wipes the hard drive and reinstalls the system, the system administrator’s password is gone and left blank. Logical duh! The mailboxes are working properly now that they’ve been removed and added again. iLife ’09 is installed with one glitch—it won’t play some of #1 son’s songs that he wrote in the old GarageBand. Have to figure that one out.
I’m just about ready for the cleaning crew (today’s #1 get ’er done). The job was made much easier by me doing more around the house yesterday. Lunch at Chipotle beckons, as does grocery shopping. Finally, there’s the mental preparation for watching “Survivor” tonight. Looks like a fun afternoon!

Squashing My Enthusiasm

5150-cooked-spag-squash

Was it hard to sleep last night, wondering how Tasty Tuesday turned out? The wait is finally over! Here’s the 411:

Possibly the hardest part of making the marinara squash was, no surprise, cutting the squash in half. That sucker was rock solid! I almost succumbed to running next door and pleading with JJ, the organizational wiz and accomplished chef, to help with the unyielding vegetable, but instead I just pierced its skin and microwaved it for a few minutes. That helped immensely. As is par for the course for me, I put the halves fleshy part down on the baking pan, popped it in the oven, and then read the rest of the instructions. Duh! Will I ever learn? So I had to pull the pan out of the oven, season the squash skin as instructed, and push it back in for 30 minutes.

Chipotle logoWhen I looked at the baked spaghetti squash, I was naturally dismayed: There seemed to be a lot of work ahead. This is why I’m usually the simplest of vegans: I can live on salads, which are easy to make, and fruit. Or I can live at Chipotle and let them cook for me. Either way, I’m a happy camper.

But I digress . . . I sat down at the kitchen table to deseed the squash while watching “American Idol” (which we never did finish; got to catch up tonight). It was a long, torturous job, with many seeds hiding everywhere. After a long sigh, it was time to rake the spaghetti-like strands with a fork. Raking = gardening = too much work! But I really wanted to eat dinner, so rake away I did. I finally got a bowl full, added the marinara sauce, nixed the chives (too much added work), and sat down for a taste test while watching the lovefest on “The Biggest Loser.” 

The verdict: The best part probably was the marinara sauce. Otherwise, I think spaghetti squash is too bland for my tastes and much too much work for me to ever make it again. I’m glad I tried it, though; now I can cross it off my veggie bucket list. Oh, and #2 son’s comment was, “That doesn’t look at all like spaghetti.” Doesn’t taste like it either, son.

Ten-Minute Tasks

The NuShield is on the MacBook! It actually only took about five minutes to apply. You can see the edges of it, but it’s not too noticeable. The $64,000 question, though, is how does it handle the glare? Quite nicely, I’m happy to report. I think it cuts the glare a good 75-80 percent, making it a worthwhile acquisition for those glossy laptop screens. Recommended!

mac-mail-logo1The iMac’s TMT is stretching for much longer than 10 minutes, unfortunately. The good news was that the Apple store geniuses put the data back on the computer. But there have been some glitches: First, the system administrator password doesn’t work anymore, which means I can’t install new software or certain downloads. That has to be reset via the install disks (hassle!). Second, Mac Mail isn’t working properly. I can set up the boys’ mailboxes and mail comes in but doesn’t go out. Grrrr! Finally, not only did the so-called geniuses not install iLife ’09 like they said they would, they didn’t reinstall iLife ’08, which came with the iMac! Major grrrrr!!

So along with Kitchen Wednesday, today I will be solving the above iMac problems, hopefully, satisfactorily. Maybe I’ll also solve a few of the “Lost” mysteries in anticipation of tonight’s episode!

Happy Veganniversary to Me!

fruits_and_vegetables

Today is my two-year veganniversary! Two years ago I decided to make a rather drastic (for me) lifestyle change and overnight became a vegan. No more eating animal products! I had dabbled with veganism back in 2001, but this time I went into it whole hog (pun intended). The impetus was a high cholesterol reading. I thought I might as well give myself three months to see if I could lower the result strictly with better eating habits. So I went vegan, and 90 days later, my cholesterol reading was down 70 points, still a little high but out of the danger zone. I was sold!

Giving up meat wasn’t all that hard. Eating animal flesh already bothered me. And it wasn’t hard to give up dairy—I’m lactose-intolerant and shouldn’t eat it anyway. There are a few foods that I miss eating, but I’ve really enjoyed having better control of my eating habits. I don’t preach about veganism and try to convert everyone nor do I make the males in the household eat what I eat; I do cook meat for them, and they taste it to make sure it’s done.

I started out being a dietary vegan, and I’ve come full circle and become an ethical vegan. I’ll bet that’s typical of most dietary vegans. I avoid leather products (I’ve got cloth seats in my new Honda Pilot) for everyone in our household. It just makes sense that if I’m not going to eat an animal, I shouldn’t wear it or sit on it.

Lacking a crystal ball, I can’t say if this is a lifetime lifestyle change or just a passing phase. Right now I’m happy eating the way I do, although I would like to learn to cook better. That’s something I’m going to be exploring in the near future, and, of course, I will be reporting the results right here on the blog. Stay tuned!

eat2liveA terrific website for vegan recipes is Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Susan V does a great job coming up with delicious-looking recipes. Unfortunately for me, most of them have more than three ingredients, and my eyes start to glaze over as I read them. A book that I highly recommend for anyone thinking of making this dietary lifestyle change is “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The science behind the eating plan made a lot of sense to me and made it easy to get started on the vegan path. By the way, the book cover claims that one can lose 20 pounds or more in six weeks. Personally, it took me about six months to drop 25 pounds.

 

daniel-charlotte

“Lost” pulls us in deeper

It looks like poor Charlotte, pictured above with Daniel, has had her last nosebleed on the island. But at least she did tell us that she grew up on the island, as we already had guessed. She was the first one to get the dreaded time-flash nosebleed, and it seems like the nosebleeds hit the Left Behinders in the order in which they have been on the island the longest. Here’s hoping the Oceanic 6 make it back before the ghostly Miles (aka Dr. Chang’s son) becomes another victim.

Nikki Stafford on her excellent Nik at Nite blog says that the smoke monster (aka Smokey) mimics Montand’s voice (he’s the guy who left his arm behind . . . ugh!) to get the rest of Rousseau’s crew into the hole and “change” them (if you remember waay back when, Rousseau had said the crew became sick, so she killed them. Glad she’s not my doctor!). That made me think of the old “Saturday Night Live” shows (Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman era) with the land shark who tried using different voices to get into the gals’ apartments and attack them.

Is it just me or does Eloise Hawking (aka Daniel’s mother) look really creepy? I think she outcreeps old bug-eyed Ben! I loved how Charlotte spoke Korean. What in the heck is with Christian Shephard?!? Was I the only one who noticed that he told Locke to give the wheel a push, and Locke actually pulled the wheel. But it looks like it’s going to work, thank goodness. I also loved Christian’s final line to Locke:

“Say hello to my son.”

Locke: “Who’s your son?”

Or did Christian mean to say, “Say hello to Sun”?!?

As usual, a lot to absorb, a lot to think about, a lot to look forward to as the season continues to unfold.

Dramarican Idol

american-idolMy worst fears were realized: Tatiana (aka the drama queen) and Nathanial (aka the drama queen) both moved on to the final 36. Ugh and double ugh. I liked that there wasn’t the silly elevator for the contestants to use to see the judges; I didn’t miss the elevator cam. But I didn’t like the sing-off; it was very awkward for the contestants. And why do they have to drag out the decisions for two hours? Can’t they just say yes or no to these people who are minutes away from a breakdown?

TMT? Need TNT!

family room clutter chair5111-post-tmt 

Here are the before and after photos from yesterday’s Ten-Minute Task (TMT) . . . almost hard to tell which one is which! Ten minutes isn’t a very long time, and I even went past that time when I forgot that the awful, loud, incessant beeping I was hearing was, indeed, the microwave’s timer. Thank you, #2 son, for gently pointing out that it was, indeed, the infernal timer beeping for everyone on the block and in outer space to hear (oh, and thanks for also pointing out that I was trying to lock your brother’s car with my car’s key after school; I appreciate that you didn’t laugh too loudly).

It’s fairly obvious that the family room clutter chair needs many TMT sessions, but at least I’ve made a start. Here’s hoping that the next 10 minutes I spend clearing its field is more fruitful. Looks like Lazy Mom Amanda did a better job than I did!

5115-211-kw5116-photojojo

Kitchen Wednesday

Hump Day means I’ll be spending at least a half-hour in the kitchen, going through the mail, shredding, and tackling a task. I’m going to prospect for gold in the clutter stacker (pictured on the left), a too-convenient place to put paperwork and various sundry items that I don’t feel like dealing with at that moment. I’m sure I’ll excavate some relics among the few treasures. I’m also going to figure out the product on the right. It contains a Cable Photo Holder that I ordered from Photojojo. This is supposed to be an easy way to display photos on the wall; I’ll let you know what I think once I have it up in my office. It has eight magnets for displaying photos, memos, and cards that attach to the thin steel cable.

survivor-tocantins

Surviving While Lost

Today and tomorrow might be the greatest two nights in the history of television: “Lost” is tonight, and “Survivor” begins its new season tomorrow night. We are huge “Survivor” fans, having watched every episode (this is the 18th season). We truly enjoy seeing the different personalities in this reality show disguised as a social experiment. We rate the challenges, try to pick who will be voted out each week, and try to say the Jeff Probstisms at the same time he says them (as in, “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” “Immunity is back up for grabs.” “I’ll tally the votes.” “The tribe has spoken.”). Gosh, I’m getting goosebumps in anticipation! We’re sure “Survivor: Tocantins—The Brazilian Highlands” won’t disappoint.

subway_logo_largeLast night we disagreed with some of the “American Idol” picks, of course; seems like the show just has to choose some obvious looneys to ensure the show has enough drama. Maybe they’ll be booted tonight! As for “The Biggest Loser,” I have only one question: Did Subway pay for the entire episode?!? That had to be the biggest product-placement ploy yet! Well, at least my third husband, trainer Bob Harper, looked gorgeous during the entire show; made it all worthwhile! It’s nice that this season’s “TBL” features contestants who are much nicer than last season’s. It was a veritable lovefest last night when big Blaine was voted off (which he asked everyone to do). I’m sure at some point it might become cutthroat ($250,000 will do that to people), but I don’t think there will be any of the animosity of last season.

Pain in the neck

homedics-shiatsuBefore I could type today, I spent 15 minutes in therapy with our HoMedics Shiatsu pillow. The Mister had bought this over the holidays, because we all seem to have neck pain. Mine is brought about by two things: Working at the computer and stress. This time, I think the culprit  was stress. I felt that familiar stab of pain the other day in Walmart . . . when I walked past Jackson Hewitt’s tax preparation booth. I could swear I heard someone whispering, “Finish looking through those receipts for Romeo!”