Category Archives: tv

Vampires are the new Harry Potter

So, we went on “vacation” and I even took pictures of most of the things we did because I felt like that’s what people do on vacation.  I only took one picture of food, though, as my habit of digging into delicious dishes before thinking about pictures is kind of ingrained into my brain.  Sorry.  The point is, I have pictures on the camera and had the best intentions of getting them posted here, but I got sidetracked.

As usual, I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve been sucked into the Twilight series, no pun intended.  I’ve seen that a lot of people have been mesmerized by the books, stealing them from their teenage kids, coveting them in secret, and whipping through them at breakneck speed.  And I thought, “Meh. Like I need more books to read. I have a shelf full of books that need reading.”  But then my curiosity got the best of me and I kept seeing Breaking Dawn at Costco, so I went ahead and ordered the whole series (and The Host) from Amazon.  T saw the stack of books and asked if I really liked the author.  I had to tell him I’ve never read any of her books, but I know how I am and if I get into the first book I’m going to want to know how it all ends.  That’s why I just ordered all the books all at once.  So when I finish the first one, the next one will be right there.  And I’m almost done with the first one, after just 2 nights of reading.  I actually stopped at the Epilogue last night because it was really late, even though I was so close to finishing the book.

I like the story.  I can see why it’s a young adult book – the main characters are teenagers (more or less) who don’t really fit in with the high school crowd, find forbidden love with each other in that heart-pounding fashion that teenage girls like to dream about, and form a bond that (I’m guessing) lasts a lifetime on their first try.  I read books like that in high school, dreaming of falling fast and hard in love with some dreamboat.  Except my books didn’t involve vampires.  Honestly, if the characters were 5-10 years older, it wouldn’t be any different than the adult fiction novels around.  Well, the tension between people probably wouldn’t be over something as small as a kiss. 

Having said that, I started watching True Blood on HBO.  I don’t know if I like it.  I hear a lot of raving about it, maybe from fans of the books?  Maybe the people in the books are being well portrayed on screen, but they kind of annoy me.  I watch it and it annoys me, yet I keep watching.  It’s like I feel I’m supposed to enjoy it and I’m just waiting to figure out when that will happen. 

Anyway.  That’s why you haven’t been told about what we did on our vacation.  Because I’ve been swept up by vampires.

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Vermin hunting

Okay, before I start my rant on rodents and why they all need to vacate my yard (please go to the neighbors!) or die, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some tv shows that have been introduced.

All summer, we have been eagerly awaiting Hole in the Wall, some wacky show ripped from the Japanese game network (those wacky Japanese!)  I am sad to say that, after watching the sneak peek and then the other sneak peek (?), I do not like it.  It’s not very funny.  There’s a lot of dumb chatter and not much potential for wacky incidents.  They either make it through the hole, or they fall in the water.  Yay.  Now, Wipeout I find hilarious.  I can’t get enough of the Big Red Balls.  The Sweeper is my all time favorite.  Love that show.  It always makes me laugh.  Hole in the Wall?  Not so much.

I was on the fence when I heard about the new 90210.  Then I watched it.  And I discovered the only reason I was watching was to see Jennie Garth in her old role, all grown up.  But the new kids?  It’s like they’re trying to be Gossip Girl but not succeeding.  So, I’m just not into the show.  I think it would have had a chance if it had come out before all these snarky, spoiled, sometimes-rich kid series had emerged, but now?  It has some real competition and I’m not sure it’ll prevail.  I mean, if their target audience is the demographic who is too young to have watched the original show, then the new version isn’t edgy enough to keep up.  If it’s trying to draw in fans of the old show, then there’s not enough tie-in to that era to keep us interested.  I don’t know.  Maybe next year I’ll end up watching an episode and actually be interested.

I am currently hooked on Mad Men.  I think you should be, too.  The sets are gorgeous, the cast is gorgeous, and it’s fascinating to watch their lives play out in this era where it was perfectly reasonable to have a suburban wife and a city mistress.  Where everyone smoked and drank, everywhere and all the time!  When wives were just starting to realize that maybe their voices counted for something and life offered more thanjust raising children and having dinner on the table.  I don’t know… it’s just drama and fun and addictive.  The show, that is.

Okay, on to the mice.  We have mice in the yard.  Or meadow mice.  Or possibly moles.  Whatever they are, they are not gophers.  They are not things that make a big mound of dirt leading to their tunnels.  They do, however, leave little puffs of airy dirt in top of holes 1-2 inches in diameter in my garden and in THE NEW SOD.  I don’t know what they are.  I don’t even care if they live in the dirt.  I just want them to stay out of the grass.  Is that so much to ask for?

We are skeptical about hiring an exterminator to gas the holes.  Even though we think that’s how the gopher was killed, I just don’t know if it would work with these rodents.  Also, every time we have someone gas the yard, we have to put up a temporary fence to keep the dogs from getting too close.  As I’m sure you know, poison gas isn’t picky.  And while certain dogs can be a pain, I certainly don’t want to gas her to death.  So we’ve set up mouse traps.  But who knows how many mice are running through their underground network?  I’ve had mice before, as pets.  I know how quickly they multiply. 

I have learned one thing about setting mouse traps outside.  Well, a few things.  They may benefit you someday, although I hope you never have reason to use them.

  1. Peanut butter and oats sometimes acts as good bait.  Apple works better, but can be pulled off without setting off the trap, apparently.  Apple pushed into peanut butter does a much better job.
  2. Ants will find your bait faster than you even though possible.  Ants are gross and also carnivores.  Did you know that?
  3. The trick to catching mice is to place the trap right outside the visible hole.  Arrange the trap so the mouse essentially has to cross it as soon as it exits the tunnel.  Placing it any further does no good.  I guess outdoor mice won’t go investigate food, but they may be lured out of the tunnel by it.
  4. It is best to dispose of the mouse as soon as you see it.  Otherwise, the ants get to it.  See #2 above.  Eww.
  5. If you leave traps in the grass and the sprinklers go off, it will rust.  Happily, a rusty trap still works just fine.
  6. There is a trick to setting traps so they don’t snap and hit your fingers.  It’s good to either learn this skill or know someone who does so you don’t end up with sore fingers (like I have).
  7. Mouse traps are not really resuable.  That’s why they’re fairly cheap.  I don’t know why I thought we would be removing a dead mouse and resetting the trap.

And now, my question.  Why do mouse traps design the bait-placing piece to look like a piece of yellow Swiss cheese?  Is that for my benefit or the mouse’s?  It doesn’t even make sense because cheese isn’t really the best type of bait. 

T is the one who can set traps without getting hurt.  I’m the one who has figured out where to place them for maximum body count.  We make a good team.  He’s also the disposer.  I just take a look in the morning and come in to report the findings.  In general, he gets rid of any dead animals in the yard for me.  I’ve tried to do it, and I seriously end up squealing and running away.  It’s just too much.

If anyone has suggestions on what to do, I’d appreciate them.  I’m all for living in harmony with creatures, but they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.  They’ve crossed the line into the garden and grass and that’s not okay.

Wacky Japanese

So, I watched Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show the other night.  We really enjoy MXC when we manage to catch it, so I was curious how these American shows would play out.  Wipeout kind of resembles MXC with the crazy obstacle courses, but it lacks the totally odd hosts and crazy Japanese people.  Plus, somehow tv is just funnier when it’s dubbed over.  However, there were enough people bouncing off large red balls and flailing into the water to make me giggle, so I’ll probably keep watching.  MSN commented that they thought it was unfair to make women and men compete against each other.  Well, some women are more agile than men, giving them an advantage on some stability-type courses.  On the other hand, some of the courses are so ridiculous I don’t think it matters what gender you are.  Plus, on MXC you see everyone compete against everyone in waves, so I think it’s just a moot point.

ISAJGS, on the other hand, I’m not too sure of.  Sure, the contestants are playing on a real Japanese game show, complete with crazy audience members and host, but it’s like ABC picked the most uncultured people to be on this show.  There are so many points in the first episode that I’ll just have to list them for you:

  • When the contestants find out they’re going to Japan, what’s the first thing they yell out?  “SUSHI!”  Yeah, that’s pretty much all Japan is known for, the raw fish on rice.
  • They get to the house and the one diva chick is all, “No way am I sleeping on the floor.”  Let me tell you, honey, you’re lucky they gave you an actual mattress and not some roll-up pad.  Then again, you later see people sleeping in bunk beds, so maybe the floor mattresses were a hoax.
  • Someone discovers the remote for the toilet and they all gather around to watch it flush.  The black guy is in awe. “The Japanese are so far advanced from the US!”  Yeah, it’s like the Japanese are really aliens with the fancy foreign technology.
  • Then, of course, they bring in the ultra-Japanese-sterotypical “Mama-san” who immediately yells at them to take off their shoes.  They find this funny, being yelled at and then sent to bed.
  • Nobody knows what mochi is.  And then it’s described as being akin to molding clay. 
  • When the game show host tells them that they have to be crazy to be on the show, what happens?  You get 10 people looking like really stupid Americans. 
  • When the winning team gets to go on a tour of Japan, what does the tall blonde wear?  A shirt with a V-neck down to her bellybutton (seriously) so her boobs are peeking out in the middle.  Nice.

It just goes on and on.  It’s a reality show that’s less about crazy Japanese game shows and more about what happens when you put ignorant Americans in a foreign country.  As a fan of MXC, I think I’ll be watching Wipeout this summer.

CSI has made me sad

I have been slowly going through the tv shows on the DVR from when we were on vacation.  This means that I’m way behind on a lot of season finales (but not Lost, that’s tonight!) with exciting endings.  Well, actually, I take that back.  I guess there weren’t too many cliffhangers that I’ve watched.  Desperate Housewives kind of wrapped things up (not neatly, but wrapped up nonetheless).  Umm… maybe that’s the only finale I’ve watched.  I just finished watching CSI: Las Vegas, a show that I’m oddly addicted to even though I don’t like the spin-offs it’s produced.  Maybe it’s the wacky cases they get, being in Las Vegas.  Anyway, I don’t consider the ending to be a cliffhanger.  But it still sucked.

(spoiler below, although I can’t imagine how you can be more behind in tv watching than I am. Continue reading

Random tidbits

If you watch American Idol (I kind of just watch the auditions and part of the Hollywood episodes), could you please vote for David Archuleta?  He’s that adorably cute (as opposed to smokin’ hot cute) 16-year old kid.  I just adore him and every time he opens his mouth on tv I go, “Aww… he’s so cute!” and T is probably getting tired of it.  Anyway, we DVR the shows, so I’m never watching when the voting window is open (I assume the voting window closes within an hour or something?) so I don’t ever vote.  But, if you vote, would you please vote for him?  I would buy his CD over that Australian guy any day (although, I’d take the Australian guy whenever).

Also, I noticed someone Googled “recipe for shoes that dogs will not take” and I have to say that no such recipe exists.  If you have a shoe-taking dog, that dog will take any shoe it sees.  It doesn’t matter if you mix pleather with metal grommets and add a splash of rubber.  The dog will still take the shoe and chew on it.  Trust me.  The only true shoe protection is a cabinet or a closet.  I cleaned out half the closet in the dining room to install shoe racks from The Container Store and I’ve never been happier.  I don’t leave any shoes out, ever.  Sometimes I think about it, and then I remind myself to take the 3 seconds out of my life and put my shoes away on the shoe rack.  If dogs even hear you thinking about leaving shoes out, you can practically guarantee those shoes will be gone by morning.  Just don’t do it.

Other Googles:

trader joes detox” (and variations thereon) – I did read in the latest flyer that TJ now sells a set of detox pills designed to take over a 2-week period.  I haven’t tried it, nor have I even seen it, but I put a lot of faith in TJ and trust that they wouldn’t sell a product that might be harmful.  As to its effectiveness, I can’t really say.  But I am willing to give it a try at some point in the future.

tiny dogs” – I have no tiny dogs!  My dogs are not tiny!  The husky alone is a big (to me) hulking bunch of fur who steps on me all the time.  I think I have found that I’m not even a fan of tiny dogs.  My dogs are just the right size that when they place their head in my lap, calmly and rarely, they emit enough heat to keep me warm.  Tiny dogs don’t do that.

tapas picasso happy hour monday” – Actually, Tapas Picasso holds their happy hour every day of the week, which makes it a pretty good happy hour.  I think it’s from 5 to 7 pm.  Get the fried potatoes and fried chorizo.  And the baked garlic (which isn’t on the happy hour menu but you get $1 off and it is so good).

That’s about it.  People search for funny things and I always wonder what they think when they click on a link and end up here.  I can’t be that helpful, I don’t think.  Except when it comes to the Mr. Hummos searches.  Because I have written a post!  It’s the most information on the internet concerning this eatery! 

The Next Iron Chef

Okay, I realize that The Next Iron Chef is not the huge sweeping sensation like Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen (I’m not fond of Gordon Ramsey, by the way), and I also realize that I really just don’t have many readers. However, in the event that someone who reads me and watches The Next Iron Chef has not yet watched the latest episode, I am using the “more” feature so as not to spoil your DVR watching pleasure.

Continue reading

Local “Next Iron Chef”

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Gavin Kaysen on the set of the ‘Next Iron Chef.’ via Poway News Chieftain

I promise there are lots of real food posts coming. I made some lovely peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours (which also illustrate why sometimes Skippy is better than natural peanut butter), I have a super easy tiramisu recipe that doesn’t require raw eggs and has an amazing texture, I made a tomato pie that captures the best parts of fresh tomatoes, and I have a recipe for my mom’s caramel corn puffs (with a secret ingredient) that would put a distributor out of business… if they ever returned her phone calls.

But, today I want to tell you about the first person on a tv reality show that I would sincerely watch and be rooting for. Chef Gavin Kaysen, of Rancho Bernardo’s El Bizcocho, is competing to be on of the next Iron Chefs on Food Network. If you’ve been to his restaurant, you know he can cook spectacular meals, but to be chosen among so many fine chefs throughout the country has got to be an exciting honor. The show was taped over the summer, so he already knows who the next Iron Chef will be, but you can bet I’ll be watching (on the DVR, to skip through commercials) to find out how far he gets.

He’s already been mentioned in Food + Wine magazine as one of the Best New Chefs of 2007 and been on the Today Show. I’m hoping his new bout of fame will quiet down certain snobby people (ahem, Chowhound) who seem to enjoy telling us how bad San Diego food is. Please see here to read about how I feel regarding comparisons between our food and that of NY or wherever. I also feel territorial loyalty towards him, as he is from Thousand Oaks, just a hop away from where I grew up. And he’s pretty cute, too, like my favorite chef at Thee Bungalow.

The Next Iron Chef starts this Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 9:00 pm on the Food Network.

At 8:00 am Saturday (the 6th) on Bravo, however, you can watch a Food + Wine special that also showcases Chef Kaysen.