Monday, August 30, 2010

...Set: Supernatural's Worst 5 Episodes

Anyone who knows me, or even reads this blog, will have figured out by now that I am a big Supernatural fan. I mean, just look at the plethora of lists I have done over this summer hiatus (you can see the whole list at the bottom of this post)! But let's be perfectly honest, while I love the show, sometimes some episodes are a little, shall we say, dumb.

I tried to find clips of the most ridiculous scene from each episode, but, as usually the better scenes are the ones that people take the time to put on youtube, the resulting clips aren't as bad as I had in mind.
 
5. Fallen Idols (5x05)


I mean, maybe Paris Hilton wasn't as bad as was first dreaded upon hearing of her scheduled guest appearance, but still, this episode really served no purpose, particularly after having such a great one as The End right before it. Such highs, such lows. Honestly I can barely recall what even happens in the episode. Something about actual relics making the things come to life and kill people. And... huh?

4. Red Sky at Morning (3x06)


Look at that, Sam has to get drunk just to make it through this episode about killer sailors and evil boats and hands of "glory." The one thing I will say is that water special effect there at the end was kind of awesome, but really! The best part of the episode was the old lady making moves on Sam. Who can blame her, obviously, but... really. Ghost ship. And they aren't even on the ship, which might have been cool, X-Files style. Rather, the ship just appears in the harbor and then whoever has seen it dies from drowning... or something. And then there was the hand of glory too, to top it all! It was convoluted. It was ridiculous. It was just plain silly.

3. No Exit (2x06)


I must confess, I don't  hate this episode with as much vitriol as I know some fans do. Some fans got awful whiny: "There's no Sam!" "I hate Jo!" Waa waa waa. It wasn't really timed very well in terms of the season, either. Jo wasn't received that well among fans, and then there she was, front and center. Of course by the time the second episode of season two had aired and people had voiced their opinions, this episode was probably already in the can. But it could've been seriously scary. The bad ghost dude was some kind of wackadoo serial killer! But all he really seemed to do was shut Jo up in a box and make some black sploogey ectoplasm stuff happen in apartments. Pretty sure Jensen thought the episode was ridiculous too, if the outtakes are any indication. He tries to say ectoplasm, but can't keep a straight face. And neither can we.

2. Route 666 (1x13)


Ha, just looking at those screencaps makes me laugh. "Why is this happening?" the woman wants to know, teary and putting up her hands in defeated despair. "AAH! Racist killer truck on the loose! I'm just going to run around being dumb ok?!" - Cassie. I mean. A racist killer truck. Do I really need to say more? On top of which, Dean suddenly has some secret past love in Cassie, whom we never hear about again, and whom he had little to no chemistry with, love scene be damned. I think I have watched this episode the whole way through exactly once, ever. That is an amazing fact in and of itself, people.

1. Family Remains (4x11)


I know some people don't hate this episode as much as me. But, seriously. I think my biggest problem with it was the fact that season four was, up until this point, knocking it out of the park. And then there's an episode about creepy wall children and a stupid kid playing with them. What kid would ever throw a ball back to something hiding in their closet?! That would be my cue to run for it, screaming my head off! Some people give this episode a pass because of the side of the road chat between the brothers at the end, but I was also getting rather sick of the side of the road, end of episode, heart to hearts and manly tears. Nearly every episode, yeesh!

Dishonorable mentions: Bugs (1x08), Criss Angel is a Douchebag (4x12), The Magnificent Seven (3x01), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (5x15), Long-Distance Call (3x14)





Next week I will be discussing the best episodes of season five. See you then!

To check out my other various Supernatural lists: Click!


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Monday, August 23, 2010

...Set: Supernatural Top 5 Season Four Episodes

We're only a month away from the premiere of season six and the end of my session of summer hiatus lists! Can you believe it? I definitely cannot. It seems just yesterday I was thinking up the best manly tears! But moving on. On the docket this week we've got the top 5 episodes from season four, which was one of the strongest seasons of the show, in my humble little opinion. We got a serious mix up to the mythology and things really kicked into high gear.

So let's take a look! And, my usual reminder, the title for each one is a link to a clip of one of my personal favorite scenes from each episode.

5. Wishful Thinking (4x08)


Seriously, I love this episode. It's one I can watch over and over again. While the main thrust of the story has to do with the boys figuring out how a mysterious wishing well is granting wishes that go terribly awry, there are also quiet little bits of scenes dealing with Dean's arc as well, played in an understated way that I really liked. Particularly the scene where Sam wakes Dean up from a nightmare and notes that he's noticed Dean's behavior and knows something is up. Aww. But anyway, anyone who knows me knows that my absolute favorite part of the wacky hijinks in this episode belongs to the whole sequence about the teddy bear. So insane, and so hilarious. "Why am I here?" "For tea parties!" "Tea parties. Is that all there IS?!" And, also great: "Kneel before Todd!"

4. In The Beginning (4x03)


This episode was filled with awesome stuff. We got to meet young Mary and John, and also got to know a whole lot more about Mary Campbell's side of the family. For instance, she's from a family of hunters! What! Who saw that coming? You could argue it is on the too coincidental side, but when we later learn it seems the Winchester brothers were involved in lots of fate and destiny whatevers, it makes more sense. Plus Sam Campbell was played by Mitch Pileggi, of The X-Files fame, so you know it was going to be good. The most heartbreaking part of the whole episode, for me, was when Dean asked Mary to remember to not walk into her child's nursery in 1983. Aww, so sad. Because it all happened anyway, and it may actually have been Dean's fault that ole Yellow Eyes caught his mom's scent in the first place. D'oh!

3. The Monster at the End of this Book (4x18)


I used to actually like this episode a lot more than I do now. I think maybe it's because this was the first time that the show delved into self-referential territory, and while it worked well here, I think they overused it later on. But here! Here is when the brothers find out that there is a whole series of books out there called Supernatural that have basically been chronicling many of their adventures. They track down the guy who's been writing them, the lovably scruffy Chuck Shurley, and soon find out he's not some kind of psychic god, he's a prophet! After that, there's all this stuff about Lilith that I could sort of care less about, but the first half of the episode is gold.

2. On the Head of a Pin (4x16)


Oh man. Such an intense, intense episode this was. As well as a bit of a game changer, in that there were many revelations brought forth we had hitherto maybe suspected, or had not even a clue about. Sam's been drinking demon blood! Dean was the one who broke the first seal to release Lucifer when he gave in and started torturing! And Castiel also tells him that the man who starts it is the one who must stop it! Plus, a couple major players get killed - Uriel and Alastair - and Dean is nearly killed himself (again). The emotional torture that Dean goes through is something I wish they would've touched more on, because he seems to be rather okay after the next episode, but at least in this one it was front and center.

1. Lazarus Rising (4x01)


The opening of this episode is one of the best in the series to date, I think we can all agree. Dean is brought back to life and must claw his way out of his grave, then find his way to Bobby's and eventually back to Sam. The opening is mostly dialogue free and just so full of awesome. There is also a ton of stuff revealed by episode's end. First of all, Sam's a lying liar, because although he tells Dean he hasn't been using his powers, we soon find out he has the power hand of demon ipecac working. We also got to meet psychic Pamela, who unfortunately lost her eyes when she got a little too close to finding out just who, or what, brought Dean back from the most unholy of places. And just who or what did bring him back? Why, an angel! What! Angels! Though some people have hated where the angelic introduction took the show, it really amped things up. And it gave us Misha Collins, so can you really complain about that?

Honorable Mentions: Yellow Fever (4x06), Monster Movie (4x05), Lucifer Rising (4x22)

Poll time!





Next week I will be focusing on the 5 worst episodes, because no show is without its clunkers, let's be honest.

To check out my other various Supernatural lists: Click!


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Monday, August 16, 2010

...Set: Supernatural Top 10 Songs

As iconic as the '67 Impala the Winchesters drive is the music they blast from it. While the rest of the shows on the CW play hipster indie pop, Supernatural likes to keep it old school with some classic rock. Since the music has become a sort of character of its own on the show, I figured it could use its own countdown.

As an FYI - each title is a link to a complete version of the song, while the episode title under each image is a link to the specific episode usage. Make sense? Good. I gotta warn you, some of the old videos for the songs are pretty hilarious.

10. Heat of the Moment - Asia


Normally this song would not have made any sort of countdown, but the way it was used in "Mystery Spot" was pretty great. Every time Sam wakes up again, it's that damn song playing, in exactly the same spot... over and over and over and over. The lyrics, which I hadn't much paid attention to before preparing all of this song hoopla, are oddly apropos as well, because we are constantly opening on Sam's eyes, which vary from normal, to confused, to depressed, to determined. He probably cannot ever listen to that song again, huh?



In the opening to this alternative universe episode, we got to see Dean in a completely different life, which was perfectly illustrated with this Kinks song in the background. The irony compared to the real Dean is what makes it all the more entertaining. You gotta love when he hops in his Prius (!), turns on the radio, and flinches when it's some kind of hard rock song, instead turning it to NPR or something. You definitely know this is not the real Dean. Though, we now have to wonder how much this will actually apply to his new life we'll be seeing at the start of season six next month!



For what would normally be a happy little Christmas song for any normal family, for what's left of the Winchesters, it's rather a bittersweet tune. Troubles miles away, gathering friends and family near to you? Through the years we'll always be together, if the fates allow? I mean, whoa. Just stop. It could not be more fitting in a most depressing way, despite it being a beautiful rendition of the song. I feel like I've used this particular scene so many times in my many lists already, but, well, it's just that good. Sniff.



Another bittersweet moment, which I have also featured in another list! Shh! There's a reason these moments are in multiple lists! But here, I'm talking about the music. Well, again, the lyrics hit way too close to home here, particularly for Dean. It starts out with him working to get Sam in a good mood and singing along to some classic Bon Jovi, but ends with him realizing how he's not going to make it back, and he truly is wanted, dead or alive. By demons. Not great things to be wanted by.



The lyrics of the song here don't fit in quite to the situation as some of the other songs on this list. Well, okay, maybe they do in a sort of literal sense rather than speaking to the underlying stuff. But I felt that the song itself just set the tone so much for the scene and what Sam was being forced to do. It's quiet and sad (at least in the opening bits, which is all we hear in the episode) and I don't think the scene would have been as powerful without it.



He wasn't just knocking on Heaven's door, he was actually in Heaven. Details, details. I dare you to watch this scene and not be both teary and smiley at the same time. It's such a touching little thing that, sadly, gets cut short when Dean starts to remember he was actually shot to death, so this isn't a dream but rather a Heaven memory thingy. But, seeing how happy he was to be there shooting some fireworks with little Sammy, it was a beautiful thing, and again the music just helped it become something even better.



Okay, seriously, this may be my personal favorite of the bunch. I remember I was just blown away by how great the song and the editing and the scenes chosen to mirror each other between the two brothers were when this episode first came on. It is by far one of my favorite openings in the show's history. I fear I may be sort of a weirdo in that respect, but I don't know. I just love it.



Well, what is there to say really? I feel like I'm just repeating myself on some of these. But this was another instance where the song really stood out as fitting to the scene. As you can see from the lyrics in the above image, they are practically patented for Dean and Sam. This was really the first time the boys felt a real sense of dread in regards to law enforcement. They'd had run-ins before, but not with the FBI. They had not a clue how much the FBI had been taking an interest in them already. "We are so screwed." Indeed.



The first time we heard this song was actually in the promo for season five. It was such a popular song with fans that the CW made the full version available for download shortly after the premiere of the promo. I may or may not have been one such fan. They used it a couple more times throughout the course of season five, too. Once, in a promo for the above episode, and then in the episode itself. It kind of lost some of its magic for me by that point because I had listened to it so many times on my own. But it's a very haunting song that totally fit the tone of season five.



Well, this was sort of obvious, wasn't it? You may give me crap for choosing this song as it has only been used in the end of season recaps, but hey. Hey! It is something of a Winchester anthem. Sons and weariness and manly tears! I remember at the end of season two wondering whether they'd use the song again after the reception it had after the first season (when it was actually played before the second to last episode, rather than the last! Fun fact!), and lo, they did! And it has been a tradition ever since. Imagine if they ever decided not to use it! That would be sheer travesty. I contemplated using some sort of montage of photos for the series for the above image, decided that was too much, and just kind of did a montage-y thing of the opening title cards. Incidentally, in case you are wondering, my favorite title card is season five's, followed by season two's. Just a little Jen trivia for you.

Honorable Mentions: Back in Black - AC/DC, Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum, God's Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash, Eye of the Tiger - Survivor (simply for Jensen's awesome riff)

And now! A poll! (I'm not going to include Carry On, because I kind of think most people would choose that, but I'm more interested to see what your favorite song is besides that one....so, continuing on!)




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Thursday, August 12, 2010

...Set: SYTYCD S7 Finale

And the winner of So You Think You Can Dance season seven is....

LAUREN!

What! You know, I kind of had a feeling it was going to be her after the big surge she's had in the last few weeks. And good for her! Maybe it's becoming a trend for the ladies to win the odd years (except for season 1)?

Coming in second was Kent, and in third Robert. Honestly I would have been completely surprised if Robert had won, so it was kind of no big deal that he got third place. Really it seemed like everyone was pretty happy with how things turned out. Except for that nagging little voice that whispers: Alex would've won. Yes, he probably would have if he were not taken out due to injury. And they sure like to remind us of that constantly.

The rest of the show felt really incredibly long. We did get to see repeats of a bunch of the favorite routines from the course of the season, but on top of that there were some random guest performances, but also a random Kent and Anya routine that appeared to have no reason for being randomly inserted in there. But first, the guest performances. There was Quest. There was this awesome little tap dancing genius Luke Spring (I think?), a whopping 7 years of age. The Menzari tapping brothers. Lil C and Russell doing some krump. The SYTYCD UK winner Charlie Bruce doing a routine with Neil. And Black Gold performing the exit song featured throughout this season. Sounds like a lot, huh? Yep. It was.

And now for a list of the judges' favorite dances, with bonus youtube links. Because youtube won't let you embed damn near anything anymore. Boo.


Kent & Neil - Shoeless Joe (Tyce Diorio)
Billy & Ade - Mad World (Stacey Tookey)
Adechike & Comfort - Fallin' (NapTab)
Robert & Dominic - Scars (NapTab)
Lauren & Pasha - Argentine tango (Miriam & Leonardo)
Robert & Allison - Fix You (Travis Wall)
Jose & Dominic - Battle for the Beat (NapTab)
Lauren & Twitch - My Chick Bad (NapTab)
Alex & Allison - Hallelujah (Sonya Tayeh)
Robert & Billy - Bollywood (Nakul)
Kent & Neil - How It Ends (Travis Wall)

We also got to finally see who the super special guest performer was for the reenactment of Alex and Twitch's NapTab routine. And it was... Ellen Degeneres. Hrm. I appreciate that she liked Alex and wanted to pay tribute, but I would've loved to have seen that actually danced awesomely. Le sigh. A routine I also expected to see but didn't? The Kent & Lauren prom one, since they featured that kiss damn near 20 times! And they were the top two. 

Well people, that's it. The whole shebang. I have to say, I am kind of relieved to be finished recapping this for a while. It gets rather exhausting!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

...Set: SYTYCD S7 Top 3 Performance Show

Phew! What a night. That was a whole lot of dancing for the top three contestants for this season's final performance show. Each of them had to dance four partner dances, plus a solo. That is definitely the most of any of the past finales, so I salute the three of them.

It's an interesting finale for me, because I would honestly be happy with any of the three of them winning at this point. And, I'm not so sure Kent has it as in the bag as I have stated in the past. Sure, he's seemed a favorite for quite a while now, but Lauren and Robert have been experiencing some major surges lately, and according to Nigel, the vote has been very close the last couple of weeks, so who knows! I voted. I won't say for who. But if you know me, you should be able to guess.

On to the recapping! First of all, everyone had a great night, so I'm not doing these in order of good, bad or whatever, just in the order of their phone numbers.

Kent - Ah, Kent. Kent, let's face it, is a bit of a doof. But there's something lovable about him being such a schmaltz. Most of the time. Kent's night started with a Nakul Bollywood routine with all-star Lauren. Here's the thing. I think the Bollywood pieces have lost a bit of their luster. They've just not been as amazing as that first time we saw it back with Katee and Joshua. This one was danced well enough, but I think it was tailored more to Kent and therefore not very Bollywood-y, if that makes sense. Mia made some similar comment, so it's not just me. Kent's second partner dance of the night was with fellow contestant Lauren in a Mandy Moore jazz piece set to, you guessed it, an '80s song! Way to branch out! It was very upbeat and fun, but nothing spectacular. Nigel basically said it wasn't a finale routine! Whoa, burn on Mandy. But also? Sort of true. Kent's best dance of the night was with all-star Allison in a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. He showed a lot of real emotion in that routine, which I really appreciated, because he doesn't always do that. Of course, he's not always asked to, so maybe he could do it on a more consistent basis if given the opportunity. I loved all the little puppet hand movements, and I also loved that he was still feeling it even after the dance was over. His last partner dance of the night was with Robert in something called a malevos. Which is some kind of male tango fight? In my notes I wrote, "oh man, this could be a disaster or awesome." It was... kind of bizarre. I'm not even sure what to think. Kent's solo was more of the same from him, but he did do more actual dancing and less gymnastics, so that's at least a step in the right direction. Still too much flail though. You know how I feel about flail.

Lauren - The judges were just dripping accolades on Lauren tonight. I kind of think they want her to surge ahead of Kent and take the whole shebang. Her first dance of the evening was with all-star Twitch in a NapTab hip hop piece having to do with a political debate. I'm not sure if other people noticed, but I thought there were some sync issues in part of the routine. And it was good, but not overly memorable. Like is that going to be one of my favorites of the season? Probably not. But her second routine with Robert, in a Dee Caspary contemporary piece involving a pillow, was one of my favorites of the night. It was soft, quiet, pretty. And danced very well by the pair of them. Lauren's third routine was the aforementioned Mandy Moore one with Kent. I don't have much more to say about it so... moving on! Her final partner dance of the night was a cha cha with all-star Pasha, choreographed by Tony and Melanie. And while the judges were just dripping with compliments after this routine, I don't know. I thought her tango last week was so much better. Maybe it was the music choice. I did not like the pairing of the dance with that song. Half the time when I don't like routines, it's because of the song choice! Anyway. Lauren's solo featured a hot little red outfit and was pretty much what we've come to expect from her solos. If there is any advice I could've given, it would've been to do something creative like Jeanine did a few seasons ago, because I'm pretty sure her solo won her the whole thing.

Robert - Robert is like the little engine that could. I never would have expected him to make it this far at the beginning of the competition, but I am so glad he has. Because if I had to pick one person who had the best night tonight, it would be him. I finally got my ever-wished-for Robert and all-star Mark routine, though it was sadly not a Sonya Tayeh choreographed piece, but rather a dreaded Tyce Diorio jazz. I mean, what? These two are made for Sonya. At least it wasn't a Tyce Broadway, I would've died. In any event, it was a fun routine, and the two guys looked nearly interchangeable up there. And though I will always have an undying love for Mark, I gotta say, I think Rob was hitting the moves a little harder! But I still wish it was a Sonya jazz. Man alive. Anyway, Robert's second dance was the pillow one with Lauren, and again, danced beautifully. His third dance of the evening was with all-star Kathryn in a Spencer Liff Broadway set to Cool from West Side Story. And you know, I usually hate the Broadway pieces, but I kind of loved this one. The opening was great, and the two of them had good chemistry, and Rob actually pulled off being cool even though he can be a bit of a cheeseball. Also - split pants. Ha! Robert's last partner dance of the evening was that one with Kent, and even still I don't know what I think of it. Their suits and hats looked really cool? Am I the only one who thought it was weird? Finally, Robert's solo was, I think, the best of the solos tonight. He actually tailored it to the music (The Postal Service. LOVE.)! Seriously people, use your solos like this! They're always better when they have a purpose and it looks like it was planned, rather than the classic flail here, flail there.

And now, I am going to direct you all to an Entertainment Weekly gallery on 10 ways to improve the show. I agree with every single point they bring up. One of the points discusses the judges talking way too much this season and seriously! Tonight was the most egregious example. I started fast-forwarding through them they just went on and on and on. And on and on and on. Shut up already! Show me dancing!

All right. We're at the end of the road for this season. Who do you want to win?

Monday, August 9, 2010

...Set: Supernatural Top 5 Season Three Episodes

I've already talked about the best episodes from season one and season two, now it's time to talk about season three. Though cut short by the writer's strike, season three was still able to produce quite a few quality episodes in its truncated sixteen (regular seasons are twenty-two). While you could argue that the strike made the season a little choppy, there are still a handful of episodes that really stood out as awesome. Here's where they get their due!

Each title is a link to a youtube clip of a favorite scene of mine from each episode.

5. Bad Day at Black Rock (3x03)


There is so much I love about this episode. First of all, Jared gets to do more comedy, which he is actually quite good at, despite thinking otherwise. All of his bad luck, particularly the now infamous "I lost my shoe" scene provide so many giggles and chortles, what's not to love? We also met one of the recurring females of season three in this episode with Bela, and despite what may have come after, her introduction, you have to admit, was pretty awesome. She pulled a fast one on the Winchesters, and even shoot Sam in the shoulder! Anyway, this was one of the lighter episodes of season three, and one that I can watch many times over and never get tired of it.

4. Jus in Bello (3x12)


In this episode, ish really hits the fan. Not only do the boys get arrested by FBI Agent Victor Henricksen, but things quickly go from bad to worse when demons start showing up, wanting their pretty, pretty heads. Much like Nightshifter, of season two, this episode was very taught and action-packed. Also great was how Henricksen started out as a foe but ended up a friend through the course of events. Of course, like most friends of the Winchesters, that meant he was doomed to an untimely and violent death. At least he died at the hands of the newest big bad villain - Lilith. This episode featured her first appearance, and the first time we saw the white light hand of death. But my favorite scene, which may seem weird, was this little bit when Henricksen is taunting Dean. At first Sam is just sitting there behind Dean not really paying attention, but when Henricksen brings up their dad, he sits up and forward in reaction. I don't know why I love that little tiny thing, but I do.

3. Ghostfacers (3x13)


Ah, Ghostfacers. People either seem to love or hate this episode. Personally, I love it. I think it was a brilliant and innovative way to do an episode, and was hilarious to boot. It is basically a send up of all of the various ghost chasing shows that are on TV right now, featuring hand-held cameras shooting nearly the whole thing. What was also great about the episode was that they filmed it with language beeped out, so we got to see how much the Winchesters would really swear were they not on network television. And - Sam in a party hat. Hilarious.

2. A Very Supernatural Christmas (3x08)


Um, sorry, there's something in my eye. No, it's NOT a tear! Ugh. Okay, okay, so maybe it is. This episode had a lot of tear-inducing moments. From seeing a very sad childhood Christmas, indeed, to seeing the adult boys celebrate their own very last (at the time) Christmas with each other, all with that Rosemary Clooney over the soundtrack. Well. You have to be a right old Grinch to not get a little bit of a thing in your eye. Aside from that, though, the episode had a fun mystery with a supposed Evil Santa, that actually turned into a couple of Pagan Gods who did some nasty pulling-of-fingernails and almost pulled out some teeth too. Yeegh! It's basically become a classic Christmas episode for me for that time of year.

1. Mystery Spot (3x11)


One of my favorite episodes of the series, ever. It is such a perfect blend of what I love about the show. You've got your humor, your angst, your brotherly love, your action. Really, what is not to love about this episode? From Heat of the Moment, to Dean's many deaths, to Sam's time spent alone, having to tend to his own wounds (yowza), and seeing the Trickster again? Well, seriously. I don't even know how many times I've watched this episode. The only thing that I wish would've happened was that Sam was more affected by the whole thing after the fact. He had to see Dean die so many times and then live without him for months before everything went back to "normal," but he doesn't necessarily act very differently in the episodes that follow, even though it seems like it would've made a big difference in him as a person. ANYWAY. Sorry, quibble quibble.

And there you have it. Do you agree with my top five episodes, or do you think another episode should've bumped one of the ones I chose?






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Sunday, August 8, 2010

...Oven: Chocolate Sheet Cake

I had seen this cake over at The Pioneer Woman awhile ago and always wanted to try it, but I never had buttermilk, or regular milk, for that matter. Finally I decided to buy some powdered buttermilk to have around for just such occasions as recipes randomly needing it, and I also happened to have some leftover milk from a different recipe that was on the verge of turning, so used it must be. (Incidentally, that's why I never get milk anymore. I don't use it enough before it goes bad. And bad milk is just gross.) 


Now, this makes a lot of cake. So it's a good thing I have somewhere to bring some today, and can bring some to work as well, because otherwise I would either be eating cake morning, noon and night, or I'd end up throwing a lot away. Which would be a real shame, because whoa is this cake delicious. I mean, whoa. It's definitely very sweet and you can only handle so much at a time, but you won't regret it. Unless you're on a diet, then you may regret it after all. But not for lack of yum.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • ½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1-¾ stick Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 6 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.
Cut into squares, eat, and enjoy.

 Here the butter is melting. Melt melt melt. (Regular butter, not unsalted, btw.)

Action shot! Stirring in the cocoa powder.
Dumping the chocolate concoction into the flour/sugar/salt I had previously prepared.

I was working fast at this point and didn't have time to do pictures in between. So here is the cake mixture ready to go into the oven. I just used a regular ole cookie sheet.

And here's how it looks when it comes out.

Meanwhile, you will have made the frosting. If you're going to use the pecans the recipe calls for, I suggest starting the frosting right when you put the cake in the oven. If you're not, then when there's about 5 minutes left you're good to go. This picture shows the frosting all spread out over the cake.

Mmmmm. It'll be hard to resist taking some out when the cake and frosting are still warm, but it will come out a bit of a mess if you try. Trust me, I tried.

Confession time: I didn't use pecans. So those little lumps you're seeing are actually little lumps of powdered sugar that didn't get fully mixed in. Because I was too lazy. And it's just powdered sugar. It won't hurt anyone.

And there you go. I mean, seriously, you'll love this cake. Unless you hate chocolate. But if that's the case, then 1. you're clearly crazy and 2. why are you even still reading this? (Crazy!)



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Thursday, August 5, 2010

...Set: SYTYCD S7 Top 4 Results

Can I express how satisfied I am with tonight's results? SO SO happy! No offense to Adechike, who had an awesome solo as a last dance on the show, but it was time for him to go. And it looked as though he knew it too.

Did we really need an entire hour to find that out? No. There was a whole lot of filler going on, and I fast-forwarded through approximately thirty minutes out of the entire sixty. Sorry, but I just don't care about all of the filler! Just give me the results, damn it! There were two music guests in Janelle Monae (who is somehow 24 when she looks about 12) and Flo Rida. We also got to see Desmond Richardson perform, and while of course his dancing was superb, I was way distracted by those strange pants. Strange pants will distract me every time.

What I did enjoy were all of the solos, except maybe for Kent's, which was just a lot of gymnastic tumbling around. But Lauren, Adechike and Robert all delivered great solos that demonstrated why they had made it this far in the competition. Way to go!

Next week is the big finale. I think it's a race between Lauren and Kent at this point. Cat mentioned how the top vote getter has been changing from week to week, so maybe Kent doesn't have this thing in the bag quite as much as I had thought! Though he is the only one at this point to have never been in the bottom three, so... But I think Lauren actually has a fighting chance.

I don't really care who wins at this point in the game, I'm just glad that Lauren, Robert and Kent made the top three.

Until next week...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

...Set: SYTYCD S7 Top 4 Performance Show

Well, my friends. It's getting down to the wire on this season of So You Think You Can Dance. We only have one performance show left next week before the big finale and winner announcement! It seems like it's all gone by super fast, doesn't it?

First up, I just want to say - um. Cat. That hair? Ridiculous. Also ridiculous was Courtney's hair in the disco number. Now that I've got that out of my system.... I'm going to recap the dancers by way of where I think they stand in the competition. Not in my favorites order, mind you.

Kent - Is there anyone who can stop the Kent train? Even after a lackluster disco number with all-star Courtney, choreographed by Doriana Sanchez, I doubt it. Because then he got to close the show with a Travis Wall contemporary piece with all-star Neil.. Well, jeez. Why don't you just hand him all the votes on a plate? The judges went batnuts over it. I mean really crazy. But I honestly thought it was one of Travis' weaker pieces this season. Maybe it was because it seemed more about athleticism and throwing than about dancing? It did seem sort of strangely sexual too, even though it was supposed to be about a couple of friends. I did love Cat's comment to Neil after though, getting all up in his face and telling him to pick on someone his own size. And this is Neil, who is actually tall! And she's still taller! It's crazy, she is a stick thin Amazon! Anyway, I've digressed. They have all basically crowned Kent the winner, but there's still one week left.

Lauren - I sincerely hope Lauren's presence in the bottom three last week was just a fluke and that she doesn't get voted off this week. Because she was pretty much awesome in both of her routines tonight. Her first routine was with all-star Pasha in a Argentine tango choreographed by Miriam and Leonardo. Sorry, their last names were too long and confusing for me to scribble down in haste. I wrote down three things in my notes: "H.O.T." "Mmm mmm mmm" and "great choreography." And it was great. I think that was one of the best tangos ever on the show, and there has been at least one other great one that immediately comes to mind (Janette and Brandon!). Lauren's second dance of the night was with all-star Ade in a jazz piece choreographed by Sean Cheesman, where Lauren had to play a black widow sucking in her prey. It was another great routine for her that she danced really well. Basically, I've been converted to Team Lauren. I wasn't a huge fan of her in the beginning, but I really like her now.

Robert - Seriously, please please please let Robert make the finale over Adechike! I know Adechike has somehow not been in the bottom three and Robert has been a few times, but if we're talking about growth here, I think Robert is the clear winner. Okay, getting off my soap box. Robert's first routine of the night was with all-star Anya in a Viennese Waltz choreographed by Jonathan Roberts. And it was beautiful. Waltzes can oftentimes be snoozefests, but I have to say I really enjoyed this one, and I don't think any of the other guys could've done it as well as Rob. His second dance of the night was one that had me longing for Wade Robson. It was a NapTab hip hop piece with all-star Dominic, in which the two guys were sad/creepy clowns (see, there's a reason I don't like clowns) who had just been fired or something. It was a very cool concept, and danced well by both guys, but man, imagine if Wade had choreographed that over NapTab! That would've been so amazing! Still, it was great. And again I think he was the only one of the guys left who could've pulled it off that well.

Adechike - Adechike was really the only one the judges were giving a hard time tonight. I think they are trying to get him voted off, which let's be honest, I don't mind. I'm sorry but he just is always lacking something in all of his dances. There's some kind of disconnect, though apparently he's connecting with some of the voting public because he keeps making it through. It baffles me, I tell you. Baffles! Anyway, his first dance of the night was a Sean Cheesman choreographed African jazz with all-star Lauren. And while I think that African jazz fits his strong style better than almost any other style of dance, the judges still had a lot of harsh comments. Do you know what I have harsh comments for? That weird sleeve vest thing. What in the world? Why even bother with that stupid thing, costumers? Stupid. You know what else was strange? That Adechike was the only one whose story clip thing was shown after his second dance rather than his first. What was that about? Speaking of the second dance, his was a Dwight and Desmond contemporary with all-star Kathryn. And I wanted it to be amazing. Because there he was, calling those two his heroes. But it just wasn't amazing at all. I was expecting something completely different for one thing, and found the music really jarring. And he was still holding back. Why are you still holding back, Adechike? It's the end! I don't get it.

Well, that's it, folks. Do you hope Adechike gets the boot as much as I do? Are you wishing they'd give Robert a Sonya Tayeh routine with all-star Mark as much as me? (Seriously, that would be AMAZING.) And do you miss seeing Mia and Wade's choreography as much as I do? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, August 2, 2010

...Set: Supernatural's Top 5 Villains

After focusing on a friend of the Winchesters last week, their angel buddy Castiel, this week is all about those dastardly evildoers - the villains! Supernatural would be nothing if there were no villains. Find out who I've ranked as the top five below.

Each title is a link to a youtube clip of that particular villain's death at the hands of the Winchesters. Them Winchesters like to kill themselves some bad guys, even if it does start the apocalypse. Details, details.

5. Ruby


Now, now. Don't get all in a huff. I know a lot of people hated Ruby. I myself was not a big fan of Ruby 2.0, but I quite liked Ruby 1.0. But you have to admit, she was a rather wily villain. It wasn't clear whether she was really trying to help the Winchesters, or whether she had her own nefarious schemes all along. It wasn't until she had really gotten Sam to trust her that we as an audience saw that something was definitely not right, and certainly not to be trusted. And lo, she finally revealed that she had been working with Lilith all along to free Lucifer. I'm not convinced the writers actually knew that through her entire run, but hey, it was a good reveal there at the end. And at least everyone got to cheer when she was killed, right?

4. Lilith


Don't you think Lilith was a lot more frightening when she liked to inhabit the bodies of cute little girls? The answer is clearly yes. Kids can be so creepy, especially when they are evil, but smiling sweetly about it. I just killed that puppy and I'm covered in its blood, but it's okay! I'm a happy little demon child! Anyway! We never were made to question whether Lilith was evil. Indeed, her entrance, by killing virgin Nancy and Agent Henricksen, after they had just been through a big demon ordeal, made that perfectly clear. And she was the one holding Dean's contract for his soul. Though largely an unseen presence, she came out to play a few times, which ultimately led to her sacrificial death to free Lucifer from his cage at the mighty demon-smoting hand of Sam. Goodbye Lilith, hello Lucifer! Whoops!

3. Zachariah


Angels are supposed to be the good guys, right? Not necessarily, in the Supernatural-verse. Prime example numero uno: Zachariah. While at first he seemed to be on the brothers' side, it soon became clear that he had his own plans in mind. He and the angels weren't trying to stop Lucifer from rising out of his cage, but rather trying to set him free to jump start the apocalypse, so they could get it over with. Not only that, though, he needed to get Sam and Dean to agree to be vessels for Lucifer and Michael, respectively. We all know the brothers weren't so keen on that idea, which led to much evildoing on Zachariah's part to try to get his way. Which eventually earned him an angel knife in the gut from Dean. That's what you get for crossing the Winchesters, buddy boy!

2. Lucifer


The granddaddy of all evil! Satan! The Devil! The one, the only, Lucifer! Lucifer was a much quieter villain than some of the others on the list. He was mostly behind the scenes, and always very calm and collected, though somewhat whiny, when talking about his plight (of evilness). Indeed, for a while there, he didn't seem all that evil, but he started to step up his game when he let loose Death and killed Gabriel. And we saw that in the future, if Sam let him take over, things would go very poorly for the world at large. Sam did eventually let him take over in that rather poorly planned attempt to trap him back in his cage (really? you think Lucifer wouldn't know about the rings?), and that's when he let loose. He even killed Castiel and Bobby! Then proceeded to beat Dean to a bloody pulp. Luckily, he has some easily distracted vision, because Sam was able to take over after catching a glint off the Impala. It's all starting to sound sort of ridiculous. Oh well. Sam got to jump him back into the cage. Is it the end of him? Appears to be, for now. Until a couple of other brothers with destinies come around, I'm sure.

1. Azazel aka the Yellow-Eyed Demon


Ah yes, YED. No one was a better villain than the one who started it all. Firstly known as the Ceiling Demon, then the Yellow-Eyed Demon, we eventually came to know him as Azazel. He was the man (or demon) with the plan. Pretty much everything with the demons throughout the first four seasons of the show had to do with Azazel's plan, which we learned was all about freeing Lucifer, for which he needed to find special children, in particular one wee little Sam Winchester. He was the one who roasted Mary (and Jess) on the ceiling, and made a deal to bring Dean back from the dead in exchange for John's soul. And he did it all with style. Though we all cheered when Dean got to shoot him dead, I think all of us were also a bit sad to see such a terrific villain go. But hey, he did show up a few more times in flashbacks.

Honorable Mentions:

Alastair. I debated giving Alastair the 5th spot over Ruby, but he just wasn't on the show enough. He was an awesome villain, though. He pushed all of Dean's buttons and was not afraid to get his hands dirty. Though I'm sure we all could agree he didn't need that Marlon Brando accent that seemed to wax and wane.

Meg. Meg was the first demon we could put a face to and that the boys could actively tete-a-tete with. I'm sure a lot of people prefer her to Ruby, but then they went and ruined her by randomly bringing her back this season. Boo hoo.

Next week: A look back at season three with its top 5 episodes.

To check out my other various Supernatural lists: Click!


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