Monday, November 30, 2009

More fun IMDB trivia

I found another nugget on IMDB today.

Pamela Adlon, who plays Marcy Runkle on Showtime's Califionication, also provides the voice of Bobby Hill, the teenage son on Fox's King of the Hill.

For reals?!  Maybe these things are common knowledge for some (okay, probably not the Thundercats thing), but it's the little things that make me happy, and this is just one such little thing.  Using the term "cuppy cakes" instead of cupcakes is another.  Hi Curt.

And while I'm at it - Californication is a GREAT show.  I was not an X-Files fan, and therefore not a David Duchovny fan (the two go hand in hand, do they not?) prior to seeing this piece of brilliance.  And to this day, I haven't seen the first season but for a couple of episodes here and there, but I've now watched all of the episodes in season three twice.  So now I guess I like David Duchovny, but I have a TV crush on Hank Moody, his character on the show.  Recurring guest appearances this season by Kathleen Turner and Rick Springfield have been brilliant, and this season as a whole has caused me to adopt the word "church" as a term of agreement.  Adlon's character of Marcy is one of my favorites on the show; she reminds me of Susie Essman's Susie on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is another great show, by the way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random trivia for today

I was just playing around on IMDB and discovered a fabulous piece of trivia!

GUESS WHO composed the original Thundercats theme song.  James Lipton!  He's the dude that does Inside the Actors' Studio.  I get such a kick out of him and his dry sense of humor.

I will not get into how I came to discover this information, i.e. how I came to be on either James Lipton's or the Thundercats' IMDB page (I won't say which I was on), but I'm kind of excited to have learned this new piece of useless knowledge.

Have you learned anything useless today?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This school year, I'm participating in a program called In2Books.  It's an online pen-pal reading program for kids in 3rd through 5th grade.  You can sign up on the In2Books website, which involves paying a $5 or $6 fee to cover the expense of a background check.  Once you have been cleared, you are assigned a pen-pal, or e-pal as they call them, who you immediately start corresponding with through the In2Books web interface.  Your responsibilities as an e-pal involve writing an introductory email to your student, and then reading five books, selected by the student, over the course of the school year, and exchanging discussion emails with the student about those books.  The emails are exchanged using the In2Books website, so there's no actual email addresses exchanged, and all emails are screened by the teachers in the classrooms before they are exchanged between the student and the e-pal.

My student is a 3rd grader in Washington state named Glory.  From her letters, she seems like a really sweet girl, and really excited about reading and writing about it.  We have some of the same favorite foods in pizza and broccoli, too.  We just read Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech, which was Glory's selection for the fiction unit.  I sent my email about it last weekend, and I'm expecting my letter back from her any day now.  It was a cute book about the dynamic nature of friendship, and it even inspired me to make chicken soup the other day.  The In2Books program has five units over the course of the school year.  We just did fiction, next is social studies, then there's biography, traditional tales, and science. 

This is a great program.  I love that it gets kids excited about reading, gets them to read thoughtfully and to write about what they read.  I love that it lets kids have discussions about what they're reading with grown-ups that are really excited to read with them, and who they only know because of their reading with them.  Unlike a parent or teacher or tutor, who read with them because it's their job.  Here, the kids know that their pen pal is really excited about reading with them, and is looking forward to reading the books and hearing what they think of them.  This is my first year participating, but I can foresee myself staying involved with it for years to come.

Adventures in Baking, Part one

Red Velvet Cuppy-cakes

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to make cupcakes this weekend.  I was torn between cupcakes baked in ice cream cones, some kind of filled cupcakes, and red velvet.  Had I decided on the cake-in-a-cone or filled cupcakes, I was planning to use a boxed mix, on the grounds that the act of baking them in a cone or filling them was unique and fun enough to justify not making them from scratch.  In the end, though, I decided that I truly wanted to bake something this weekend, and for me, that means from scratch.  So I went with the red velvet.  This is the recipe I used, thank you Cupcake Blogger, whatever your name may be.


They came out great!  Jimmy and I each ate one as soon as they were cool enough to put frosting on, and both agreed that they're delicious. He's not usually a fan of cuppy-cakes, either, so for him to say they're delicious is a pretty big deal.  My only criticism would be that they could stand to be a little more chocolatey, so I think next time I make them (and there will be a next time), I will use an extra tablespoon or so of cocoa.  I'm not sure how much this'll change the consistency or anything (I'm totally not a baker), but I'm going to do it anyway.

I also didn't use cream cheese frosting.  Red velvet cupcakes are so rich and heavy as it is, I just didn't see the need to up the decadence level any more by slathering them with cream cheese frosting.  So, while I baked them from scratch, I then used spray Cool-Whip to frost them.  Honestly, they don't even need frosting, they're so moist and delicious as they are, but what's a cuppy-cake without frosting?  Mom says she has a delicious boiled frosting recipe, so I'm going to snag that the next time I visit, and I'll actually make it and properly frost the cupcakes next time I make them.  For now though, spray-and-enjoy works just fine for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gospel choirs

I believe that any artist that can pull off a performance with a gospel choir deserves respect, and has mine.  I hate to beat a dead horse and talk more on here about how much I love Jason Mraz, but his performance on Conan last night inspired this post.  Mr. A-Z performed Live High on Conan last night with a gospel choir, and it was great.  I just tried to find a video to link, but apparently I suck, because I couldn't.  Who else comes to mind when you think of non-gospel performers effectively bringing a gospel choir into their act?  U2, in Ratle and Hum - which was brilliant.  Jay-Z, I think?  Snoop?  It's not just rappers, either, there are plenty of others that I just can't think of because it's Friday night and I've had a few drinks.  Anyway, I love gospel music, but only live.  I mean, by live on TV, I still mean live, but I'm just not into gospel on CD or radio. Anyway, my respect for a musician doubles, if not more, if they're able to perform meaningfully with a gospel choir.  I'm just saying.  If you can find JM's performance on Conan last night, it's worth 5 minutes of your time.