30 December 2009

Cup Caker: Get Educated!

Welcome to Becklectic Takes Manhattan's very first Best Of list! Past Best Of lists have been, dare I say, the cornerstone of the Original Becklectic Blog Series. (See 2004's, 2005's, 2006's, and 2007's lists.) I truly hope that you enjoy this, but even more, I encourage you to voice your own opinions on where you think I've gone really wrong or really right. Hey, it was your year, too.

Wow, that was the best intro paragraph I've seen this year. Best Intro Paragraph of 2009!!! And that makes the intro paragraph the winner of the Best First Winner of 2009!!! Two best ofs, that's amazing.


Best Car of 2009
Ok, Gabe really cut it close this year. I mean, his inky black finish and glossy tortoiseshell interior are still as gorgeous as ever, but he's been acting like a complete adolescent for the past 2 years. So cranky. No battery is ever enough. If you roll down the passenger window, it won't ever come back up. Yet there's just something about him. Gabe Kotter, you stole my heart. Best '96 Camry of 2009.

Best Chanukkah Present of 2009
The ice cream maker my brother got me! I am literally making my first batch of ice cream right now. That's right this second. Can you believe it?

I went blonde. Most Anticlimactic Hair Color Change of 2009.

My very best dog and little poochie brother of all time died this year. In a bizarrely wonderful twist of fate, I have been seeing schnauzers of all sizes all over the city, and even all-black ones, which are pretty rare, just like Sparkey.

Best LOST-themed Blog of 2009
Why The Locke-Down Plan, of course!

Best Aborted Blog of 2009
For about three days this summer, my friend Dan and I kept a blog. It was terrible.

Best Brooklyn Apartment Acquisition of 2009
I'd say that with three bedrooms, a huge living room, a kitchen, 1.5 bathrooms, and a huge kitchen/living room in-between room, Tess of Curiouser + Curiouser fame will win the Best Brooklyn Apartment Acquisition of 2009. Which also brings me to the Best Informative Blog With Also The Highest Entertainment Value of 2009. It's C+C.

Best New Hobby of 2009
All those crayon portraits! I like them. I still like them, that's the thing.

Best New Job of 2009
My new job!

Best Dates Of Interest Predictions of 2009
This is awkward because I didn't do any for 2009. Typically, I call out dates at the beginning of the year and then wait to see if I was right about something interesting happening. I mean, it generally works because everything I do is extremely interesting, but this is still mysterious and great. I think. So I'll be sure to do it for 2010.

Best Surprise of 2009
Wow, 2010! That is 6 years after the year I hatched The Becklectic Blog Series out of nothingness. Wow! Surprise!

Best Dinner Plan of 2009
Tonight's the night. Check me out: beef stroganoff and steamed broccoli. It really must be 2010 (almost) because steamed whatttttt? Old people have to be a little more careful about the fuel that they eat. That's why. Plus I'm undergoing the most disturbing taste bud change of my life.

Best New Comedy Pilot of 2009
Foster's Kids, the hilarious tale of four twenty-something has-been child stars who must reunite when their tv father's will gives them joint custody of his set-replica mansion. Anybody want to produce a comedy pilot? Suits, are you reading this? Papa can you hear me??

I feel like there are more best ofs worth mentioning, so I'm leaving this open-ended until midnight tomorrow. The witching hour!!!!!

The Flashing Girl From Flushing

Here is some sample dialogue that will (hopefully!) illustrate why I love The Nanny:

Val, Fran, and Sylvia got a flat tire on a back road and have been walking along the highway for about forty-five minutes.

VAL: (whiny, exhausted) Alright, Fran, this is really starting to get scary. Remember that movie we saw where those people are starving, so they start eating things they wouldn't normally eat?

FRAN: (whinier, sadder) Ya mean the tape of my butz mitzvah?


25 December 2009

More Like Soldout Holmes

Instead, we're skipping straight to the home movie conversion. I wish I could go back in time and talk to my brother and myself as cute little babies and pick us up and spin us around and do all the stuff that I remember liking to do whilst picked up, like flying. I guess that's what nieces and nephews are for. PS last night I found out that two of my cousins (really, one cousin and one cousin's wife) are pregnant, which means for the next five years at least we will be having Baby Christmases. Enough of these everybody-is-older-than-13 family get-togethers. Babies make all the difference.

While I was making mashed potatoes in the kitchen this afternoon, I was listening to npr (oh geez), and the main story was about all these homeowners who were slowly getting crushed by their mortgages, right now in particular. The story covered families torn asunder by job transfers, a guy who ate rice everyday and went without a cell phone for 5 years to afford a down-payment on his now-too-expensive house, and a few people who have decided to default on their loans on purpose. WOW. MERRY MORTGAGE.

In Georgia you don't have to pay tax when you buy a Bible, or at least that was true in 1984.

Happiest Holidays!

Just so no one is left out of my merriment, I'll let you know what I won this Christmas and Chanukkah. Thank you thank you thank you! I will review each of these imminently!

And now we're seeing Sherlock Holmes and after that we'll be converting old home movies to dvd format. That's the name of the game in 2009, I guess. 2dvd9!

22 December 2009

Plane, Train, And Automobile(s) (And Crayons)

Back home in the beautiful, glorious, soon-to-rise-again South, it's a sunny 42 degrees F. I didn't even have to wear a coat today! I must be a quite a heel because I spent the past week telling everyone in New York how cold it could get in Atlanta. Boy, was I wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Ever since my computer had to get wiped clean a year ago, my iTunes play counts have been super depressing. Finally, finally, I've waited long enough to observe my new most-played songs, which I feel must tell a lot about my overall personality. I don't know what it says about me that Cat Power's "Sea of Love" used to be my most played (by a large margin), but I swear I didn't get it from Juno. At any rate, now that I have a fresh start, my most played song (48 so far - that's 12 above #2 (a true most-played!!)) happens to be Roxy Music's "Mother of Pearl." This says everything. It says I watch how i met your mother (I first heard the song as it played in season 1 Ted's imagination when he was picturing his wedding with someone other than Robin), and it says I love Bryan Ferry (which is an ongoing effort). It says I like great music. It says, "Come listen to me again, Beck!" AND I DID, JUST NOW.

Also I went to 2 Targets today and made purchases at both. One of the things I bought was a box of 120 crayons for the low, low price of $6. There are incredible colors that I've never seen before in my old box (24 new ones, actually), and you're going to spend some time with the new crayons right now:

You may have noticed that keeping watch over the new crayons is a beautiful red crayon man sharpener. I assume he'll be a great asset soon. Here are the new and RIDICULOUS crayon names, left to right:

Shadow - slightly less black black
Antique Brass - like copper but more brown
Beaver - I guess it's technically better than "Doody Brown," but how much better?
Desert Sand - redundant. There's already one called "Tumbleweed" and nobody does desertscapes anyway
Fuzzy Wuzzy - perhaps they had to replace "Beaver II" with something else?
Sunset Orange - indeed
Cotton Candy - not really
Pink Flamingo - I can't wait to make a 40 year old's lawnscape with this one
Blush - this might come in handy for portraits
Pink Sherbert - my fave flave of sherb!!! Just kidding. I wish I liked sherbert. I did once. I will again.
Razzle Dazzle Rose - my soon-to-be stage name
Radical Red - Joan from Mad Men's soon-to-be stage name
Neon Carrot - Carrot Top's soon-to-be...oh. NM!!!
Piggy Pink - this is outstanding. The wax is so much lighter than the paper surrounding it that it looks like a super tanned woman with white lipstick on. It's SO MOD.
Sunglow - probably goes with Sunset Orange
Unmellow Yellow - they uncall me this
Banana Mania - I might have called this Banana Mana. Sure, it doesn't make sense. Does Banana Mania?
Almond - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Canary - like the paper!
Electric Lime - is that redundant? Aren't most limes electric? That's why they taste the way they do. Everybody knows that.
Screamin' Green - feh
Caribbean Green - I'll give it a whirl (if I may quote Home Alone)
Fern - fat chance! It won't get a chance to fern now that it's mine! Yeah?
Mountain Meadow - that explains why there's a headstrong nun singing on the side of it
Aquamarine - like the jewel, I guess. But it's not like gold and silver and all those. It's just normal.
Manatee - manatees are grayish blue? What I don't know about manatees astounds me.
Blue Bell - this will probably look like Cornflower Blue. I haven't tried any of them yet!
Outer Space - the darkest blue I've ever seen. I know this because I actually did try this one. I will draw at least three spacescapes with only this crayon.
Purple Heart - did they get the military to ok this?
Eggplant - makes a lot a lot a lot of sense.


19 December 2009

Taylor Lautner Remembers Tiger Woods In A Very Special SNL

Today I finally watched last week's Saturday Night Live, and I get to watch a new one tonight - get ready for a double-header! Seriously, get ready because otherwise the potential for disorientation could be staggering.

After a Tiger Woods themed cold open, Taylor Lautner walked onstage and I thought to myself, "I have never seen this person before in my life." I hadn't, so I was therefore ready to give Lautner a perfectly unprejudiced audience. Then he did a back flip and staged the Taylor Swift-Kanye debacle the way he wished it had happened, ending with Kanye's head getting roundhouse-kicked off. I was extremely pleased. Then a bowstaff came out.

The first sketch depended on Lautner's unexpected rubberface for laughs. They were filming promos for all the Bowls coming up, and Lautner played a football player who couldn't handle looking at the camera. He committed in a way that reminded me of Taylor Swift's episode - while they're not comedians, they certainly earned their laughs. And a host earning a laugh is a thing of beauty.

Next came Kristen Wiig's "Ohh myyyyyy Godddd!!!!" lady. I enjoyed hearing a few new lines this time around and hearing about Wiig stepping on someone's neck offstage. It made me think of those old "Don't Tread On Me!" American flag prototypes. Then it was JENNY SLATE TIME and her big return happened to be in a show choir sketch whose best line was a death threat to this poor foreign exchange tenor after the principal grounded everyone. Detention-inspired death threats are hilarious. "I'm gonna kill you, Mikosh!!"

Things I Liked in Weekend Update:
  • Swanson's Tiger Woods Side Dishes - that's funny.
  • Nasim Pedrad is pretty great.
  • What Was Up with GAGA and The QUEEN of ENGLAND. Neither of them could have had any clue what they were doing there. When Seth Meyers is right, he's really, really right.
  • Cats trying on my clothes and checking my email!!!!!!!!!
When the second set of sketches came on, it remained the Jenny Slate Show. She and Lautner debated their sincere yet opposite beliefs in the Twilight Boyfriend Debacle. Someone was doing a miserable job directing the cues all night, and I made a note of it here but can't remember why. Then Jenny Slate sold some custom-made doorbells and it reminded me very much of a good, old-fashioned Fruit Paunch rehearsal: "Ding dong, Chanukkah house!"

Bon Jovi performed but there was absolutely no Jon Bovi present all night. And also no digital short, but they're probably just saving up for tonight.

And now, I leave you with my favorite part of the episode. I'm pretty sure it was "I'm gonna kill you, Mikosh!"

18 December 2009

Perhaps It Would Be Worth Our While To Recap Last Night's Celebrity Jeopardy

Last night was the fourth installment of the first round of this year's Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. Let me tell you folks, they're going all out. Here's who's been on it so far (and the hilarious charity he or she played for):

Wolf Blitzer (American Cancer Society)
Dana Delany (Scleroderma Research Foundation)
Andy Richter (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

KAREEM ABDUL-JABAR (The Skyhook Foundation) - missed a clue whose response was "Kareem Abdul-Jabar."
Soledad O'Brien (Her own charitable fund)
Michael McKean (Intl Myeloma Foundation)

Julie Bowen (The Michael J. Fox Foundation(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))
Jane Kaczmarek (Clothes Off Our Back)
Robin Quivers (complete loser)

Chris Meloni (Smile Train)
Harry Shearer (Common Ground Relief)
Joshua Malina (Archer School for Girls?)

So last night I got to watch Det. Stabler and Handsome Dan battle it out as Joshua Malina from who-knows-what just sat on the wall and did nothing. It was great! Obviously, Shearer pulled it out at the very end. That could be taken in two ways that are both apropos, but what I mean to say is that, despite Meloni's excellent game, Shearer will always win these games of wit. And by the way, with Shearer and McKean as winners, WE'RE HEADED STRAIGHT FOR A SPINAL TAP EPISODE. THIS IS NUTS!

Here's a reason to watch Jeopardy! these days: Alex Trebek is such a jerk. He overarticulates everything (as some Canadians are wont to do, I guess), then uses a mixture of condescendingly complete sentences and one-word variations on "no" to make contestants feel ashamed of getting a question wrong, or worse, not getting the question at all. I'll make a note to transcribe some of the things he says, but for now, I'll leave you with this close approximation:

Alex: This six-letter word for a literary pooch rhymes with a bird who ought to join Hair Club for Birds.

Contestant 1: (buzzes in) What is buzzar-

Alex: THAT is ab...solutely, pos...itively in...correct. Jason? Linda?

Contestant 2 (Jason): (buzzes in) Lark? What is lark?

Alex: Nuh-uh. No. Nada.

Contestant 3 does not buzz in.

Alex: Linda? Linda? Going to buzz in? Looks like a ...no... from Linda. The response, of course, was...beagle. Beagle was the correct question for this clue.

All 3 Contestants fall over their podia. In full-body war paint, Harry Shearer dances around the studio, doing somersaults. Trebek stands in the background, arms akimbo.



15 December 2009

how i met your nonsmoking mother

Last night's himym was one of those plot-free episodes that literally could have been inserted anywhere, but I personally loved watching it last night. New York cold weather smoking, what a topic. I remember passing by all the freezing smokers on my way into my freshman year dorm and thinking, "You poor idiots, look what you've gotten yourselves into this time." Yet it's basically unavoidable for them, and as time has passed, I've realized that the only real alternative to freezing to death is literally to quit smoking in winter. Yet no one does quit, and our population thins as does the crisp winter air (with smoke in it).

I appreciate that himym figures out signifiers for the maturation process (buying the DoWiSeTrePla apartment, Barney entering into a relationship, everyone's gotta quit smoking sometime), then tap dances around those maturity points to give us laughs. It's much better than their old Seinfeldian phenomena nickname ruse (e.g. "relationshipphobia!" "relationship sweater") because, while both tacks are recognizable to our real lives, I personally prefer my television shows to represent ideals that I can aspire to. I want my life to have a first real apartment, a first real career-related job, and a solid end date to all my small vices. And with the himym gang struggling towards and achieving these milestones, it feels like I don't have to be as worried that those points will never happen. So thanks, himym, for showing me what it looks like for an adult to try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, and eventually succeed. I plan to do the exact same thing.

12 December 2009


8:51pm: Becklectic temporarily goes Christmas Colors

8:53pm: To be fair, it's Chanukkah this very day. Blues and silvers, now that's a tribute to the miracle of the festival of lights!

8:54pm: Becklectic releases a press release

8:54pm: My foot falls asleep!!!

8:55pm: I start episode 4 of lost

8:55pm: Becklectic releases a press release about episode 4 of lost

8:56pm: My fingers start feeling way too big, like they're filling up my skin too much. It must be the heater.

8:57: Becky's fingers explode, The Great Keyboard Cleanup begins.

Things I Want For Christmas

It's only a few weeks to Christmas and I know how stressful gift-shopping can be these days, so to make things easier on you, I'm posting a Christmas list right here. Now you don't even have to guess! Hey, no problem.

a wishlist in list format.

1. a tape player with its own speaker, sometimes called a shoebox recorder
2. glove-knitting lessons / some really tiny knitting needles
3. brown hair again
4. an ice cream maker
5. back rub
6. hair time - interpret however you please, but I'd like at least some of the focus to be on my hair
7. seasons 3 and 4 of himym (are we on season 5? if not, that's on the list, too)
6. craught supplies
12. anything that you have drawn, painted, composed, performed, etc. I like the things you do.
5. acrylic paints/canvases are always welcome
4. it's always sunny seasons 3 and 4
3. only seasons 3 and 4 of a variety of other shows
2. little britain
b. cool looking children's books that I can make clocks out of
4. a small- to mid-range keyboard
5. a new laptop - 13" macbook pro with the smaller amount of hard drive space
6. stationery that will go with my brand new typewriter!!!

Right now I'm watching episode 3 of Lost. It's for the locke-down plan, which is a countdown to the final season premiere. Two eps a day, every day - it's the way John Locke would want it. Plus, this way you can miss a day and then you get to watch four episodes the next day! Alright!!!!!!!!!!

If you want a present from me, just leave your wishlist as a comment. Nothing would make me happier than to look lovingly at a list of things you might like.

10 December 2009

Scatology & Co.

I found this article about toilet paper folding on curbly and think it's quite useful. And might I add, very easy to follow.

Also today I learned the word "janky" and will now use it to prove it:

"Gee thanks for this janky teddy bear. I can tell it was loved a lot."

That's a great example because it also uses sarcasm, which always proves that you understand a word's meaning.

09 December 2009

Train People Babies

Today on the train everyone looked like they did when they were 3. I started noticing it when this guy in the corner yawned and his eyes did the exact same thing they would have done when he was just a little guy. Suddenly I looked around and every person's face was pretty easy to imagine as a baby. Then I came across one of those older guys with lines lines lines in his face, but it was basically just as easy once he looked up. Everyone was a baby today.

It made me try to come up with related sketches (since I adore a good baby sketch), but I don't quite see any of them happening:

1. Everyone on the train is played by a baby but is an adult character - trench coats, scarves, etc. The train stops and a delay is announced. Everyone bursts into tears.

2. Two years ago I came up with a pretty great video idea where a college lecture is taught by a baby professor, but the babyfessor is like, so hip. So hip. He's like "Alright everybody, get out your texts...who here had no clue what Whitman's talking about with this passage? Alright, then let's unpack it!"

3. I remembered that I used to have a character in mind that hadn't really formed yet. Her only real trait was that she had NO interest in child care and yet because of the recession, she's a babysitter. So a woman with no sense of humor and who hates children has to be with children all day. And you KNOW she'll be really haughty about it! I'll keep working on this one.

This week, none of the New Yorker cartoons make sense. Don't even try!

08 December 2009

Make Adjustments Go Get It Energize!

Here follow a few items that crossed my mind as I watched last night's how i met your mother:
  • Robin looks HAGGARD lately - it's probably the baby, right? Probably the baby (keeping her up at night).
  • Marshall has to pursue his dream job eventually, right? He's just staying at GNB forever now? Didn't he say it would just be for a little while? Oh no! OH NO!
  • Which girl in Ted's class is the Mother? Didn't they say we'd meet her in that class? Please tell me it's not the one with the squeaky voice and Lily hair. Oh please no. *CORRECTION: Bob Saget said that the mother was in that first classroom, but I figured that since (a) we never revisit that big room and (b) Ted thought it was his class at the time, the mother would still be in his class...and maybe one day we could meet her, finally. How on earth are we going to get back to that other classroom? Wasn't it phrased "That classroom is where I first met your mother?" or something like that? Or was it just that she was there for that? Either way, there's your correction.
“None of us wanted to see Barney wearing a sweater-vest and going to bed-and-breakfasts,” says Bays, adding that it makes sense the relationship would “flame out fast” given that “neither of them, at their core, really wanted to be tied down.” Bays also believes that, deep down, viewers prefer single Barney to attached Barney. “It’s one of those things where you can give people what they think they want, or what they really want.”

I'm going to frame-by-frame it:
  • A. Barney would never end up in a sweater vest, and it's pretty lazy to pretend that all monogamous couples will end up in sweater vests. I was looking forward to a different depiction of long-term relationships. One that Swarkles carve out on their own. The first episode of this season seemed to say that they would write their own romantic rules. Why didn't they? I would've liked to see that.
  • B. Robin and Barney didn't "really want to be tied down at their core" BEFORE they got together. What made them put away that principle and start dating each other in the first place? Couldn't a character's reluctance to be "tied down" actually represent a solid starting point for a tremendously successful character arc? Nah, not in this case.
  • C. Nobody but NOBODY prefers Single Barney these days. Scuba gear? Overalls? Whatever happened to Ted Mosby, Architect? Single Barney Post-Robin is a real loser compared to Single Barney Pre-Robin. An event like a serious relationship could carry enough influence to give Barney an entirely new dimension, or at least more rounding out. Now it's like they've taken the one thing they can remember from the Good Old Days and are trying desperately to revive it. And Costumes-on-Barney seems to be what that one thing is. Eeeeeeesh.
  • D. “It’s one of those things where you can give people what they think they want, or what they really want.” Here's a third option: Give people what they actually want, which would be a well-written sitcom LIKE IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING.
I was reading a few other himym recaps after I wrote the above and can see that most articles this week cover Marshall's eightieth instance of dashed dreams. It's sort of funny that the show keeps hitting on the same points (Marshall hates not saving the planet, Robin is from Canada, etc) in a very similar way to how real life makes you keep hitting the same points. Being from Canada would be a repeat problem, and Not Fulfilling Your Childhood Dream Career would present a constant source of anguish. But just because something on television mirrors something from real life doesn't make me want to become Chuck Klosterman, so I'm ending here.

06 December 2009

Saturday Nightly Lively

Last night's brand new episode of SNL showed Upper East Siders that Blake Lively can indeed go goofy. After a cold open starring Bobby Moynihan's Amazing Face (which is starting to give me a real Lutz feeling lately, and that's a great feeling), Blake gave a Muppetonologue. What was funny was that the muppets started flooding out one second after my friend Tess suggested that Blake's closed eyes would make her a perfect Janice.

Next came a rerun of the old swine fever "sorry we have to re-run an old swine fever commercial" commercial. Metabonus. Then there was a lady bowling sketch wherein Will Forte's announcer had no clue how bowling works ("Two more strikes and she's out!") and an obligatory Tiger Woods bit. I noticed throughout all of Blake's sketches that she holds up well as a host. She's nearly as devoted a performer as Joseph Gordon Levitt without any of the desperation behind the eyes.

The music video, "Shy Ronnie," might take me a few more tries, but it's abundantly clear that Rihanna has some great timing: "Move the mic away from your face." I think I need to think more about why Ronnie is dressed like he's from the 70s. Perhaps it's his personal homage to rap fashion, like Rihanna's 80s gear. After the video came "Gossip Girl: Staten Island," which I wish had been called "Gossip Mook" or "Gabbin' Girl" or something else. Then there was a commercial for a strange underground music festival that could have been hosted by Jenny Slate but wasn't.

Here's something I will say again: I hate it when anchors look at the Weekend Update graphics. Aren't graphics supposed to be pretend pictures on the wall behind the anchor? Shouldn't the anchor's glance then be backwards? Or are the images transparent, and Seth and Amy are just looking at the graphics through the back? Either way, I'm distracted. Whatever happened to those lazy days of letting graphics help out quietly in the corner? Kevin Nealon, where is your nonchalance? Then, just when Abby Eliott's absence gets noticeable, she pops in with a great Brittany Murphy impression. Bring it on home with "two and a half episodes" and what a finish!

When the sketches get going again, Blake spends ten minutes in a pink camo turtlenecked swimsuit doing booty-go-round-and-rounds in a store that's clearly owned by a rascal-driving, mini-cell-phone-talking Will Ferrell. Then there's a great Keanu Reeves impression and a stick figure's boner on television. The final sketch (Don't Eat that Nasa Guy's Chips) seems to suggest that the writers must have watched exactly what I watched this week: the Simpsons where Homer eats chips in space and that marshmallow experiment video. And then suddenly there's a chair donut and my brain explodes.

I've never done an snl recap, so I don't know how I want to wrap this up. With antm it's easy - I just have to figure out who actually won the episode and if Tyra actually beat that winner. But with this? Maybe I'll re-mention my favorite joke. It was the chair donut.

03 December 2009

Lessons Learned From Young Comedians

This article chronicles the extraordinarily lucky path of one young comedian. Since nothing like this ever happens to me, I suppose I'm going to have to kick it into full gear on this goddamn comedy blog. Get ready to see me REALLY TRY.

02 December 2009

Holy Smokes

It's December and you guys didn't even tell me! You guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just kidding, of course I knew it was December because just yesterday it became the coldest winter on earth.

Too bad there wasn't any tv on last night. Is anything up tonight? Obviously I'll be reenacting my favorite parts of past antm episodes, but is top chef still on? I guess I'll give you my thoughts on that:

The Brothers - both jerks. The younger one is obviously jerkier but probably a better chef. The older one seems much nicer to talk to but how did he make it this far?


Kevin - hooray! Kevin's the better version of that southern Top Chef Master who cooked for Oprah. And he's from the hot, hot city of Atlanta. A clear winner.

Yeah, that's that on top chef. Meanwhile I tried to watch Chef Academy but everyone was SO stressed about leaving lemon seeds in their dishes that I could never really relax. And I think there's an ex-adult movie star in the competition, which is (ironically enough) a real turn-off.

Well if we're going to have to go for two days without tv, the least we could do is give three cheers to the New York state senate for officially closing down gay marriage for the year. hip hip no-gays!

Things I Will Have Done By The End Of This Week:
-bang on a drum all day even though I'd rather be WORKING!
-joke around about Todd Rundgren tunes
-not ride a bike
-mayyyyyybe finish all the Fridanksgiving food. We are already out of: sweet potato pie and crescent rolls (duh) and we're getting REALLY close to the end of the gravy oh no!
-zoom through naptime
-licked and sealed thirty envelopes
-that's all.

And also I'm watching Bad Romance by gaga more and more and more and more and more on youtube. I can't stop. I'm becoming more and more aware that you can't stop gaga. And she started out in a musical theatre conservatory not four years go!

30 November 2009

A Very Thank-Der-Woodsen-Giving!

Tonight I witnessed a sizeable explosion of turkey feathers and elevator indiscretion on the CW. It was Gossip Girl, and it was Thanksgiving. And let me tell you, Blair had her pie indeed.

  • First of all, it's highly unlikely that Serena's grandmother would deign to involve herself in a Thanksgiving dinner ichat. And yet she does it anyway, and apparently she's just survived cancer. Just give her the emmy already!
  • I was astounded by Serena's newfound ability to lie UNTIL OF COURSE I remembered she's been lying to Nate. Which is not to say that Nate has lost any of his newfound ability to think, or at least to give witty quips at apropos moments. Case in point: "Threesomes, man, don't believe the hype!"
  • Eric begins the episode by sulking around the apartment doing his best tight-flannel, floppy-brown-hair, sucked-in-V-shape-body Dan Humphrey impression. Classic older brother syndrome. Remember when he started Chucking out right after Bart and Lily's wedding? That was hilarious.
  • Tonight showed us a lot of slap-dash "crushes" whose groundworks really haven't been laid yet:
    • (1) Nate is in love with Serena? Since when? I guess the very beginning of the series showed us a lovelorn Nate, but that was clearly because he was still in a post-virgin haze. Why does Nate like Serena now? Have they been spending more time together than usual? Nope. They all spend time at the campaign headquarters, but I usually just see Serena and Tripp hanging out by themselves. Shouldn't Tripp be signing documents at least once in a while? Either way, Nate's never there. Although I must admit, it's really sweet to see Chuck so clearly in on Nate's secret crush, which is only natural since they spend so many boy-weekends together.
    • (2) Dan likes Vanessa...because he looked at her in a new way whilst threesoming with her? Here's a tip: if you like someone, you know. You're not, like, taken by surprise by your crush's loveliness for the first time in the middle of a gross college THREE-WAY starring Hillary Duff. Perhaps this new crush Dan is experiencing is actually a crush on threeways. It seems funny that no one would consider that, even though every single person responds to anything Dan says for the entire episode with "...and how long have you been in love with Vanessa?"
I'm just saying that unrequited love storylines usually provide the most effective drawn-out tension, but when they're founded on nothing, the effect is the lamest.
  • These act breaks are THE GREATEST. First, Lily invites every single worst possible guest to Thanksgiving (I can think of a senator's favorite wife who's about to get a BIG surprise). Then there's a huge SNL-quoting "MM Whatcha Say" remix punctuating each miniature explosion - Vanessa hates her mom! Lily just saw Serena kissing a senator on a video phone! Jenny lost her appetite (ha-ha?). I can't believe that it's 2009 and television is going where I want it to go already! A truly intertextual tv schedule! First SNL speaks to the OC's Coop-shoots-Trey scene, then Gossip Girl puts her two cents in on that. Who's next? Mad Men? Perhaps a birth-story-confession followed by another birth-story-confession punctuated by the Beach Boys singing "Yeah! Whatcha Say!"? Only in my wildest dreams. Also I suppose Josh Schwartz would have to have his finger in amc, too. All in a matter of time.
  • And I want to add that the scene leading into the explosionthon suggests that Lily might be a burgeoning alcoholic just like Kirsten...until every single other person in the scene takes a long, hard sip of wine, too.
  • Serena must emit some pheromone that keeps boys from ever having a logical thought ever again. Sure, she's no college student, but for a senator to forget that elevators have cameras? That's pretty stupid. He must be in a haze, and that explains why he couldn't wait to divorce his wife until maybe a month after his election. You know, maybe to avoid the headlines he's still in. In the newspapers.
  • Blair's obsession with her mother's will is upsettingly boring. I guess it adds to my observation that she's becoming more of a child as Chuck matures. She's interested in the boringest stuff ever and everyone else has to play with her - even Dorota, who's actually pregnant. Then Blair invites Serena to Paris with her that night because when we play pretend, that's what we do.
  • Which brings me to Serena's routine international vacation-retreats. Is she living in the 90s? Is there really still this much money in the world? Every time she takes the SAT or almost sleeps with a senator or can't go shopping, she gets to fly out to Europe. When I wanted to run away in high school, I had to settle for driving to QuikTrip.
  • Jenny looked a lot like Dakota Fanning in one scene, which makes me wonder if any casting directors would consider a mid-season switcheroo. I'm pretty sure she could still pull off the patterned tights. At least more than Blair or Vanessa have been able to.
  • Although it was odd to see Blair herself carry a smoked salmon platter into the Van Der Woodsen's, the image was easily replaced by sweet memories of Chuck immediately serving up some maturity nice and rare to Tripp and Serena. "Get serious," Chuck's new haircut seemed to say. "You want to have an affair? Try growing up." Whatever he actually said, ManChuck strikes again!
  • PS Serena's wearing a jumpsuit to Thanksgiving. Someone's getting some mileage out of the failed Lily-80s-show costume closet!
  • Here's what I think Serena's dad's letter says:
Dear Serina,

Hi! How are you???! I am still a doctor without borders. I am helping tons of tribes. Our post office is in Switzerland! What a kick!

Are you nice? I don't know because I have never met you. Did you know your mom came to get me in September and October? Then she told me I could never meet you, even in the future! What's that all about I don't know.

I guess I love you! I'm off to go do surgery. Vive le Switzerland!

nice to meet you,
your namesake

So I'm guessing next week we'll find out if I'm right. And maybe we'll find out who Tripp's favorite wife is, once and for all!

28 November 2009

How I Met Not Your Mother, And Then How She Started Dating My Friend But Stopped Just As It Was Looking Like It Might Be Something Interesting

I still have notes sitting around from how i met your mother's two most recent episodes. I was going to throw them into a hilarious recap for you, but instead I think I might go more philosophical on himym. For instance:

Why on earth would himym insist for two years that Barney's hopelessly in love with Robin only to have them break up like it didn't matter at all? In other words, What was the point of Swarkles?

My thoughts: I mean, clearly they were trying to set up a plotline with story-changing consequences. Everyone's always tacitly wondered what's going to happen to Barney in his old age. Will he insist on staying the Wedding Singer Limo Driver Ladies' Man, or will he try to settle down with someone and figure out that there are other joys in life? And which option would Ted choose?

So finally, after planting the Barney & Robin Would Make Great Friends episode in season 1, and after having them "accidentally" sleep together, and after making every single solitary Barney joke about HOW MUCH HE LOVES ROBIN for a year and a half, those two lovebirds get together. They slip into it with the greatest of ease, even if they don't want to label it. Their honeymoon period ends, which signifies the beginning of the actual relationship. And now, eight episodes into their relationship, that's enough. Kill it.

I heard from a friend that Carter Bays et al said the writers had just simply ran out of Swarkles ideas, and Swarkles had just seemed like the thing to do at the time so it's no big deal to take it away. Either Bays has been trained to say this because the finale will bring them back together, or he's lazier than I ever picked up on.

With the end of Swarkles came a return of ladies' man Barney - i.e, the two-steps-back Barney. Who really loves to see Barney back the way he was? They've already shown us all the hilarity that ensues from his hijinx. Now we just get to see more slap carnage? (cut to Slapsgiving 2) Not a great payoff. And Robin, wow, don't get me started on that. She walks around like she's an actual character, even though the show has already made it perfectly clear that she's only really there for Ted or for Ted via Barney. Her own storylines are so lame - she dates Sandy Stormy or whatever, she goes to a Canadian bar (which WAS hilarious but was quickly followed up by not ONE but TWO greencard episodes AND a guess-the-canadian-sex-position episode)
- not interesting stuff here. Just be with Barney and stop shoving Canada in my face every time I open my mouth to eat!

So they got together, and then they got apart. Obviously there's still time for fall-out. All I'm saying is I was SO against Swarkles back when it was just Barney's one-sided pathetic obsession, but they got me to like it eventually (!), only to take it away before the end of November.

I guess I always knew Lily would end up with Barney, Marshall would end up with Ted, and Robin would end up alone, "just like she always wanted." I just didn't count on my heart getting caught up in the mess.

27 November 2009

UPDATE: I didn't do anything I set out to do

...and yet somehow there's a Fridanksgiving meal on its way! Right now it's hanging out around the kitchen. It's not ready yet.

I just figured for your sake I'd mention that I didn't get a haircut, didn't get a turkey until Thanksgiving morning, only BARELY watched tv (come on), and came up with an outfit 7 minutes before dinner last night. So if you skipped a few items on your own to-do list, you're just like me: still great!

Also I purchased a typewriter on ebay for just under $30 (that's including shipping) and boy oh boy, are you getting a great-looking Holiday Card this December!

In preparation for the holiday season, I've begun to put red noses on every moose head item in my house. This includes my toothbrush holder, a majestic poster in Colin's room, and the shower curtain. And the barbie horse with brown pipe cleaners around its head that stands atop the printer. Pictures to follow.

22 November 2009

A Handy Thanksgiving Honey-Do List, Just For You!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the glorious holiday feast that must happen four days from now? Are you feeling the extra pressure, seeing as it's FINALLY Thanksgiving on November 26th (aka Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving (probably because the first Thanksgiving I remember fell on the 26th))? Do you even have your turkey yet?

IF you answered yes, yes, and no, then this is the list for you. I figured if I have to get a list going to get myself ready for Thanksgiving, why not make it public? This way we all win.

Now, my Thanksgiving feast will happen on Friday, as I have a family Thanksgiving to attend on Thursday (one which will not yield me any leftovers BUT AT ALL). This means I must look good on Thursday and cook good on Friday. Here we go.

Honey Do!
  • figure out who's going to give me a haircut before Thurs
  • watch a lot of tv
  • maybe I'll try to grab a turkey today wouldn't that be smart!
  • look for recipes for Friday's cookstravaganza. I already have a turkey/gravy recipe. Check!
  • watch tv
  • Finalize menu for Friday. There is still time to change the menu before Weds. Do not panic.
  • Think of something to wear on Thursday
  • Try to watch tv even though there's nothing on on Tuesdays. Perhaps watch Food Network for menu ideas
  • enjoy my final day of work before Thanksgiving
  • go food shopping after work for friday's feastravaganza
  • rewatch last week's antm finale to lessen withdrawal
  • prepare a pie thing? early? this will be more clear after my monday/tuesday recipe legwork
  • watch the parade (on tv)
  • shower and put on makeup and clothes, plus perfume
  • do hair
  • get to dinner on time
  • maybe make some more things in the morning for friday
  • Cook it all up
  • Watch tv
  • Eat
  • Stuffed and passed out by 8pm!
Preliminary Menu:
Turkey and Gravy (my first whole turkey YIKES BIKES)
Yams with pecans
A vegetable or two, but preferably not green bean casserole
Cranberry sauce
Rolls or Cornbread
How could I forget?! A nice festive soup to begin with! Probably squash based. With white wine and peanuts in it.

Feel free to use the list in any way that will optimally help you plan your Thanksgiving week. Just don't try to show up to Thanksgiving wearing what I'm wearing. That would be "going too far."

18 November 2009

Top Scallop

At first I thought I might recap Top Chef just as thoroughly as I'm recapping other shows. Then I realized it's a seriously boring recap, and I don't have fast enough fingers to capture each menu that appears on the screen. Look, if my fingers aren't fast enough, whose could be?! So instead of doing a proper recap, I'm just going to give a few observations.

Padma Lakshmi made a grammar error. She said "the criteria for this challenge is this, this, and that." What must Salman Rushdie think of subject-verb agreement?

My dream is that one day, I'll be able to watch Top Chef and recognize the "famous chefs" before the bottom third has to explain who they are/why they're "famous."

Hey look at this: ELImination! This seems like something people might bring up.

My roommate Colin thinks that the Train Wreck Woman ("Great, now I'm shaking") might just be a cyborg that's short circuiting. Somebody call Steve Gutenberg, quick!

ANTM Crossover:
There is a certain rule of thumb that works similarly for both Top Chef and America's Next Top Model:

If you try to defend why your meat was undercooked, the judges are just going to say, "there is no excuse."

and similarly,
If you try to suggest that you gave better poses during the shoot than the chosen photo, Tyra Banks will cut you off with a strong, beautiful "I chose this frame for a reason!" Remember earlier this cycle, when she was like "YOU FORGET YOUR EYES, JENNIFER!!!"

That's basically it for me and Top Chef, not Top Scallop. I wish Fabio were still on.

Laura's Still On Top

America's Next Top Model: The Cycle 13 Finale.

Here are my thoughts on the two finalists:

1. Nicole is a Colorado artist with a bloody eyeball that she BRAGS about and a "subdued personality." Naturally, she's going to win.

2. Laura has everything going for her - vivacity, charm, an accent that just won't quit, and phenomenal photographability. But she wears homemade clothes in judging, so of course she's going to lose.

Thoughts from the beginning of the episode:
  • There's finally going to be an Erin-free episode!
  • Has anyone ever figured out if the theme song background singing says "NA nana nana na" or "MODel model model"?
  • Listening to Nicole and Laura try to give usable dialogue for the editors is like watching two kindergarteners having the first conversation of their entire lives. "I want to win." "Me, too."
Thoughts from the Challenge:
  • Probably the best cycle 13 moment is when Nicole and Laura are trying to memorize lines, and as dyslexic Laura struggles in the background, we see Nicole in front, proudly biting her lip and smiling as if to say "YES! Fully memorized. Laura's never gonna know what hit her."
  • The girls shoot a Covergirl commercial wherein they play two friends hiking in Hawaii with makeup. I wish I could see these commercials while I'm watching regular tv.
  • Bringing Teyona back is like a slap in the face. Can't we all agree to forget?
  • Classic Nigel: As soon as Jay Manuel introduces him as the photographer, Nigel hulks towards the girls and slurs "HIII, LADIES."
  • Nicole on set, giddily: "I'm not wearing sunscreen and I don't care!!!"
  • Nigel to Laura, during her shoot: "Just think of your emotional inspiration. What inspires you?" Laura: "Milkshakes."
Thoughts on the Time Between The Challenge and the Runway:
  • As Nicole rubbernecks to see Laura's runway walk across the bathroom, her VO says, "It's hard because we ARE friends...but that has to end now."
Thoughts on the Runway:
  • Nope, no Erin-free episode in the entire season. Maybe next time, Becky.
  • Beautiful, not only do the last six contestants walk in the show, but Eddie Murphy's daughter Bria does, too. Why wasn't she on Top Model?
  • The Walks: Nicole refuses to do any walk besides the Cowboy-with-bruised-testicles. Laura always needs a little bit more attitude. Laura wins the runway, but not before writhing in gales of wind and glitter with her former co-contestants in the middle of the catwalk. This ought to go over well with the Parents Association of Improper TV That I Watch.
  • TYRA TREND, CYCLE 13: She's obsessed with scarves and bleached eyebrows. Next cycle prediction: she'll be obsessed with tie-dye and dreadlocks...in my wildest dreams.
Thoughts on Final Judging:
  • Nicole says that she wants to win because, "it would be the biggest bummer...to lose."
  • Josh is still convinced that "Laura" is a character piece, and that win or lose, she'll end up like "Oi! That's alroight! Back to the outback where oi started!"
  • ONE OF THE FEW INSTANCES WHERE TYRA IS COMPLETELY WRONG: Suggesting that Nicole's Clomp Clomp could be called a "signature walk." Come on, Tyra, don't do this!
  • Classic Tyra, talking to Laura: "Hold on, hold on. Dyslexia who?"
  • During deliberation, Miss J sits there with two huge shoulder poofs and somehow still manages to ask if Nicole can "control her shoulders." Really.
  • Then Miss J quickly follows up with a clever, implicit suggestion that America's First Petite Top Model will actually be his penis. Take that, cutting room floor!
  • Tyra's consolation speech to Laura was like watching two kindergarteners break up for the first time of their entire lives. "You are pretty." "I really wanted to win."
In conclusion, clearly Laura should have won. Actually, I would place it like this: Laura gets first place, and Tyra and Nicole share second. Miss J can have third.

And don't forget, we now have two champion Nicoles to keep straight. Will the next cycle be a Championship cycle, wherein each winner returns to compete against the rest of the winners?! I WOULD PRODUCE THAT MYSELF.

16 November 2009

It's Gossip Girl's Cabaret, And It's Invitation Only

Here we are! Sitting together, reading Becky's first recap post. Sure hope it's great. Hey, it's starting!

EPISODE: The Cabagagaret.

I was told Lady Gaga would be narrating the entire episode, rather than appearing in just one awkwardly-placed concert insert. I was told wrong.

Reading through the notes I took during the episode, it seems that various storylines occurred this week: Not only did three very-close college students maintain a surprisingly unsloppy relationship, but Blair lost a my-diddums-is-more-powerful-than-yours match, and Jenny did some stuff! I'm still experimenting with format here, but I think I'm going to basically say a few things in paragraph form and then go through my notes in perhaps a bullet-point list. Hey, that link to the right doesn't say "potentially stolen from" for nothing.

  • I forgot why Nate and Vanessa broke up in the first place. Maybe here would be the perfect place to introduce my gossip boy/girl theory. I propose that each character on the show can be accurately described in a few adjectives (e.g. Blair is Rich, Conniving, and In The End A Good Friend). Using these adjectives, you can pair up the boy characters to their precisely equal girl characters. Chuck is also Rich, Conniving, and In The End a Good Friend. See? They're the same! The rest pair up like this: Nate & Serena (Rich, Ditzy, and Moderately Slutty), Jenny & Eric (Outcasts, Experimenting with Looks, and Too Young To Know Anything Yet), Rufus & Lily (Old, Parents, Each Other's True Love), Dan & Vanessa (Pseudointellectual, Brooklyn, and In Love With The Rich, Ditzy One), and hmmmm who else? Is there anyone else? Who would Georgina match up with? Wow, I'd hate to find out.
  • Which brings me to Nate's line near the end of the episode: "You can count on me always" Wow, well said, Nate. And totally untrue, and you're too dumb to notice.
  • Lately people are addressing Vanessa by her last name, which happens to be my last name, and it's weird when she just had an unplanned (yet surprisingly unsloppy) threeway with the people who keep shouting "Abrams!" across NYU's various coffee shops.
  • Jenny's reading Nylon. +3
  • At some point, apparently Chuck says something to Rufus. Cut to Josh on the couch next to me: "Since when has Chuck deigned to speak to Rufus?"
  • I guess Blair's trying to replace the headband with A BERET. Rock Bottom must be around here somewhere!
  • Regarding the scene during which I missed LITERALLY two words:
    me: wait, Lizzie McGuire's going to have Dan write a play?
    colin: Dan will take her to the cabaret.
    me: Dan and Blair?
  • Serena's shoulder pads: Doing their best to keep the neckline up while also keeping the hemline WAY up.
  • Trip's wife "Who wants to take their favorite wife to brunch?" - yikes, she already acknowledges that there's more than one "wife" in the picture
  • Nate's apartment window opens up onto a fifth grader's interpretation of THE BIG APPLE painted onto a shower curtain:
Look, review the play on that one. This camera phone image takes it all down to the backdrop's level.
  • I had a note about Vanessa looking like blue Stevie Nicks. That probably makes sense for something.
  • Serena was 13 when Jude Law's Alfie came out? Solidly born between 1990 and 1991. Mystery Solved.
  • I was kind of hoping the Belgian with the Dinghy would give Jenny some of that E he's selling. On a remote controlled boat.
  • Nate: "Post Threesome Stage One." Suddenly, Nate is becoming something. Perhaps it's the Core Curriculum. Either way, he's accessing the knowledge in his brain more easily, and he even makes mean jokes to Dan's face! If that's not the sign of increasing intelligence, I don't know what is. Tess: "He's like a freelance musketeer."
  • I forgot all writers could jump back and forth among forms. Dan the novelist/essayist is now also a playwright. Which suggests that my next move will be menopause-prescription-fine-print-copywriting. If Only!
  • Update: Jenny & Drugs. Tess: "It's about time Jenny got involved with drugs." Josh: "Does she still go to school?"
  • Some mean-girl extra, in response to Lizzie McGuire's accusation that Vanessa is in love with Dan: "It is true."
  • "Alternachick Abrams"
  • I liked the Serena/Nate "What are we doing" scene better when it was Zack Morris and Jessie Spano rehearsing their kiss for the Snow White Rap.
  • Once again, Chuck saves the day. His new leaf has remained turned since Lily's near-rape at the opera bathroom last season.
  • I'm pretty happy that Chuck is turning into a third adult on the show. It's a shame that Blair has to turn into a baby in order for this to happen. It also throws off my gossip boy/girl theory, but I can keep working on that.
NEXT WEEK: Thanksgiving episode! with an elevator sex tape.

And Now For Something Really Hard To Sit In

In grade school, it was the desk with no basket underneath for me to rest my feet. In college, it was the molded plastic chair that routinely chopped off my feet at the ankle whenever I chose to sit indian-style. You know what IT is. And although you may share my troubles, here follows a list comprised solely of:

Chairs I Have Exceptional Difficulty Sitting In

1. The Papasan Chair.

I mention that I can't handle a Papasan chair and people look at me like I'm crazy. "But it's so much fun, Becky!" "Just sit still and maybe you wouldn't fall so much, Becky!" If I could sit in this chair, I would, but as it stands, the Papasan is a Very Difficult Chair for me to sit in. And if I am sitting in it, it's most definitely facing the ceiling, which means I need help getting out.

2. A Chair Made Of Cardboard Rolls.


3. The Hanging Chair.

What, for when I go hiking? I might as well be wearing a full-body cast if I'm going to try to look natural in a hanging chair.

4. The Tub Chair.


5. The Loop Chair.



6. The Naked Lady Chair.

Not even in private!!!

7. The Musical Chair.

Obviously the most comfortable chair in the world. Prepare to keep your own nether regions hoist up!

8. Lamb Chair.

What if you sat down in the dark and felt this chair's wool and you were like "wow, what a dreamy chair!" and then suddenly the lights came on and it was this complete sheep face nightmare!?!

9. The Gun Chair.

Why don't they go ahead and install that inflatable donut thing on it, too, for when I inevitably shoot my buns off.

10. The Ultimate Slap In The Face Chair."No, you may not."

And just to make chairkind feel a little less self-conscious, here's my favorite chair to sit in:

The Lovebird.

Positive Press

"and those were yummy, too!" - Julia, my roommate, upon seeing this post.

15 November 2009

In The Meantime, It's Pistachio Day

Josh and Colin have entered into a Wonderful Pistachio video contest. This means they brought home five million prop pistachios. After we put literally as many pistachios as would fit in our bodies into our bodies, we had leftover pistachios. And so today became: PISTACHIO DAY.

To celebrate, I ate more pistachios and made pistachio sweets two ways.

The first:
Pistachio and Raisin Caramel Cookies, via cooks.com (All photos courtesy of MYSELF, BECKY ABRAMS).

Here is the recipe:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. stone ground flour
3/4 c. oats (old-fashioned or quick cooking), uncooked
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. golden or dark raisins OR 6 oz. chocolate morsels
1/2 c. coarsely chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts or pecans)

In large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg.

Stir together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add to mixture and mix until blended. Add raisins and nuts mixing well.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to racks to cool. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies. (Freezes well.)

Here are more pictures:


Pistachio Cupcakes, via In Jennie's Kitchen.

The recipe:

Makes 12.
You need a very clean, dry bowl for beating egg whites, so I do that step first. They’ll be fine standing for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the batter (and you don’t have to worry about cleaning the bowl twice).

1 cup flour
½ cup pistachios, very finely ground
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pistachios, baking powder and salt; set aside. Stir extracts into the milk; set aside.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Carefully transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Add the butter and sugar to the mixing bowl; fit mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until mixture is fluffy. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture. Slowly pour in milk-extract combination, and beat until just mixed (at this point, the batter will be very thick – do not over beating or it will create a tough crumb).

4. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Evenly spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Top with Pistachio Frosting.

PISTACHIO FROSTING (by ME, Becky Abrams!):
Mix confectioners sugar, ground pistachio, and cream together until desired consistency (start with 1 c. sugar : 1/3 c. ground pistachio : 1-2 Tbs. cream). Add ONE drop of green food coloring. Sprinkle top with ground pistachio.

Here are more pictures:

In closing, your honor, I didn't do any tv recapping today, but I certainly did honor Pistachio Day. And then I let you in on it, which is half the secret. What's the other half of the secret to blogging? Nice try. Great try, really. Even I don't know the other half. I would assume it has to do with html. I still think html is l33t speak for hotmail.

It's not, right?


13 November 2009

Maybe Becklectic Is A TV Recap Blog Now

In the good old days, Becklectic was all over the place. You might have said it was rather eclectic! That was the point of naming it Becklectic. That it was about a lot of things.

Then after three great years, we had a real stinker year. Everything was "I hate health insurance" and "with the younger girls it's always 'let's go camping.'" I mean, even I stopped reading it. And I don't blame me.

Then suddenly I graduated college and spent a year doing NOTHING but reading television recaps. Probably to make it look like I really am going to have a career involving television, even if I have nothing to do with the industry in any way. AND SO:



That's right, I'll be recapping all the television I watch. It will be like you're Nielsen and I'm every family with a box. You might not even have to watch tv anymore!! I wouldn't recommend quitting tv, but you're obviously allowed to do whatever you want, now that we're not married anymore. God, it's like I can't even say the word! This is ridiculous. Divorce. Divorced! We are divorced! But you can still read my recaps.

I'm projecting recaps of the following series:
America's Next Top Model

as well as occasionally:
Must-See Thursday (including It's Always Sunny) (not including Community or Parks & Recreation, or at least not yet)
Gossip Girl MAYBE
how i met your mother
I would have done Dollhouse but it JUST GOT CANCELED.

Prepare yourself.

And maybe Top Chef!

27 September 2009

A Defense of Tyra Banks


Although I can't chalk it all up to the writers' strike, the amount of America's Next Top Model marathons I watch is OFF THE CHARTS. There was nothing on tv for so many months in 2007-8, and there are so many cycles of antm, and there's SO much packed into each episode...it was the only reasonable alternative. Of course, I watched it insanely before the strike and god KNOWS I kept it going strong after the end. For this reason, I have a great idea of why Tyra Banks deserves more consideration than just the yuck face and snarky comment anybody would automatically make upon hearing her name. Here comes a defense of Tyra Banks.

First of all, yes, Tyra comes off as very full of herself. She's always using herself as an example for the girls, and she gets self-righteous to the point of screaming at least once every two or three cycles. This sort of thing would be totally out-of-control behavior for a normal person. It would be completely obnoxious for someone to act this way in the real world. That's why we have to remember that it's TYRA. She had to get to the position she's in today somehow. I mean, you know her name. Big Time. She set herself apart from normal people a long time ago. And by the way, she's not presenting herself this way in reality. She's presenting herself this way in reality tv. It's her name all over antm, and it's her name on the talk show. She might as well make it look like she's in charge.

Tyra got to where she is, by the way, by figuring out things for herself that worked. She smiles with her eyes. She improvises. She's definitely not afraid to look like a huge moron. She sells it. Every piece of advice she gives the competitors is clearly something she had to figure out for herself. In the world of modeling, she's freakin Einstein over here. If the show were America's Next Top Thinking Person, hosted by Genius McGee, I'd be surprised if I could bring myself to watch it once, nevermind in a series of marathons. In a modeling competition, I think I'd trust any advice Tyra Banks cared to throw me.

Have you ever seen Tyra in a tabloid, besides that super fat swimsuit picture? Have you heard her say something stupid outside of the bounds of her own shows? She's not looking for any more attention than she already gets. She doesn't comment on other celebrities, and I don't think I've ever known about her dating anyone (even though I found out from her True Hollywood Story that yes, she does date, and they don't seem to be losers). If you choose to tune into her stuff, you ought to expect what's coming. She'll give a LOT of unsolicited advice, and she'll make a fool of herself almost without fail. Then again, she is a (if not the) judge of antm, and at least she's willing to realize she's sort of a joke.

So on the surface, Tyra is a narcissistic, idiotic barbie. Obviously. You're not the first person to figure it out, and neither am I. If we could just look into the facade to evaluate the functionality of her personality, we find that she's not out there to offend anybody, but instead, she's there to distribute everything she can give. How wonderful would the world be if each of us could pick out someone truly annoying and find out that he or she serves a purpose that way. Don't be hatin- try appreciatin.

04 August 2009

Birthday's a-Comin'

For my birthday this year, which will be in the ides of September, I would like to celebrate for an entire week. I came up with the weeklong birthday plan three or four years ago, when I realized that the nearly unavoidable birthday blues can be lessened with time. Think of it as a ratio: birthday blues = a few hours of acute depression / time. Increase the time, lessen the blues.

I know I'd like to spend one of the days at the Titanic exhibit in Times Square. I'm also toying with the idea of a karaoke party. Probably I'll have dinner with my dear family one of the nights, and I'll want the daytime to make myself look very nice for dinner. That leaves four days and COUNTLESS presents!

Speaking of presents, do you have any ideas yet? I mainly like any present, as long as it isn't a direct insult or too gaudy or anything. Here are a few examples of REAL things I'd like for my birthday:

1. headphones for public transportation (i.e. ear buds) - nota bene: my ear holes really start hurting after a while with those disc shaped ones. And I HATE it when my ear holes hurt, I really do.

2. headphones that are AWESOME and cancel noise and would be way too showy for the subway (I'm talking ear-covering)

3. a typewriter! A mere pipe dream, unless you and I get lucky with craigslist.

4. stationery that reminds you of me (and hopefully reminds me of me)

5. stickers stickers stickers!

6. 6 long-necked, sapphire blue, Japanese puffer fish! Very rare, very delicate. They're poisonous! That's why I want six - we're probably going to lose a few.

7. spy/detective gear

8. professional or semi-professional portraits of me/you/me and you/us and others

9. a board game or party game! nota bene: I already have twister, connect 4, operation, and scene it. I DO NOT have trivial pursuit, cranium, scattergories, taboo, apples to apples, or monopoly. OR clue!!!!!!!!!! I don't have clue?! What world is this?!

10. An interesting cook book.

11. a copy of The Little Mermaid on dvd

12. maybe some blank miniDVs, if you're into that

13. actually, professional lighting equipment could be awesome, but I haven't ever looked into it or its price range. So let me get back to you on this point.

14. "real estate"

15. pretty scarves

And the list will go on in a few days. I need more time to think, which is great because I have about six weeks to think!! But that also means you only have six shopping weeks left. I also like homemade things. Mix tapes, songs, all that.

31 July 2009

Snevejret O'Clock and All Is Well

I made this clock using only a clock kit and a foreign language children's book I found at a street fair. I also tore some pages out before I made the clock so I could make signs later (you'll see).

Here it is from the side!

I drilled a hole all the way through the book with a screwdriver. Eventually, the peg from the clock kit I bought (below) could fit through the hole. Then I put everything together and suddenly it was time for numbers. I couldn't believe it!

Here's that clock kit I was talking about. I painted the numbers and clock hands black because I thought that might make them more visible on the busy, busy Swedish cover. One day I'll ask Philippa what it means, and she can ask Johan. BECAUSE JOHAN IS SWEDISH!!

Here Follow Things I Have Made

(or: Arts 'n' [farts 'n'] Crafts)

Here is my makeup shelf, upon which I constructed a blue and white intrashelf.

I used two paper towel rolls and two straws trimmed to the same length. Then I painted everything blue except the outside walls of the little box I used.

I glued the edges of the tubes to the box with elmer's glue, which dries clear.

Et voilà!