Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emmy Post 3

Today’s Creative Arts categories will be Directing for Nonfiction Programming, Hairstyling, Interactive Television, Lighting Design, Main Title Design, Makeup, Music, and Nonfiction.

Directing for Nonfiction Programming.

Directing for Nonfiction Programming


  • Gasland, HBO
  • American Masters – “A Letter To Elia/Reflecting On Kazan”, PBS
  • The Amazing Race – “You Don’t Get Paid Unless You Win”, CBS
  • Top Chef – “Give Me Your Huddled Masses”, Bravo
  • Becoming Chaz, OWN

My Vote: Top Chef. I actually saw this episode.

Hairstyling. There are three subcategories for Hairstyling: Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series, Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special, and Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Movie

Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series


  • Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire (Pilot)”
  • Mad Men, “Hands And Knees”
  • Glee, “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”
  • Game Of Thrones, “A Golden Crown”
  • Mad Men, “Christmas Comes But Once A Year”

My Vote: Mad Men or Game Of Thrones. I will lean towards Mad Men because of the style and personality requirements needed for the decade and the show.

Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special


  • America’s Got Talent, “Episode 529”
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Anne Hathway”
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show On Broadway
  • Dancing With The Stars, “Episode 1106”
  • iCarly, “iStart A Fan War”

My Vote: Interesting nominees. I would give it to SNL or Dancing With The Stars. But now I wonder what the Pee-Wee show entailed…

Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Movie


  • Mildred Pierce
  • The Kennedys
  • Cinema Verite
  • The Pillars Of The Earth

My Vote: The Pillars Of The Earth. I think doing convincing hairstyles for this period in addition to different social class levels would be difficult.

Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. I’m not really sure what this is. I’m assuming it’s dealing with websites of the shows. However, I don’t participate in any voting shows (except for a couple of times on Biggest Loser).

Creative Achievement in Interactive Media


  • Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
  • ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy Sync
  • Fringe: Division
  • Oscar Digital Experience
  • Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco

My Vote: Fringe. I bet the website is as awesome as the show.

Lighting Design. There are two subcategories for Lighting Design: Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series and Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. I think Lighting Design is a crucial element to any televised media; however, I will admit that I have not developed an educated eye for it. As such, take the following opinion as a novice’s view.

Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series


  • American Idol, “Finale”
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Justin Timberlake”
  • Dancing With The Stars, “Episode 1204A”
  • Conan, “Love Gets Liposuctioned”
  • So You Think You Can Dance, “Season 7 Finale (Part 2)”
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live, “Michel Gondry Directs”

My Vote: I can understand the difficulty of lighting multiple moving objects in the cases of DWTS and SYTYCD, but I can’t bring myself to award dancing shows. It seems horrible to me, just awful that we would reward something so worthless. So, SNL it is.

Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special


  • Lady GaGa Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden
  • 83rd Annual Academy Awards
  • The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards

My Vote: No. We are not giving out awards to other awards shows. That’s stupid, nepotistic, and incestuous. Congratulations, Lady GaGa.

Main Title Design. Yes! What a wonderful category. The main title design and sequence can be the very first thing a viewer will see, orienting them and introducing them to an entire world, and thus has to be done expertly. I strongly encourage you to check out The Art of the Title Sequence, a great blog that dissects the main title sequence and offers insightful interviews with the designers. Check out some of the opening sequences.

Main Title Design


My Vote: Rubicon. A lot of you probably don’t know what Rubicon is. Rubicon was an AMC show that aired for one season earlier this year that was about a national security think tank. Instead of focusing on the more adventurous outings of a secret agent, this series took the point of view of an analyst who slowly uncovers a conspiracy. The show had a slow start, but ended with a strong finish and should have been given a second season. Alas, the ratings did not agree. I only wish Rubicon had gotten its second season instead of The Killing. Honorable mention is Any Human Heart which seems to share the same aesthetic as the Catch Me If You Can sequence with a dash of Saul Bass.

Makeup. Kind of self-explanatory. There a four subcategories below.

Makeup for a Miniseries or a Movie (Non-Prosthetic)


  • Mildred Pierce
  • The Kennedys
  • Cinema Verite
  • The Pillars Of The Earth

My Vote: The Kennedys.

Makeup for Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)


  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Jon Hamm”
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show On Broadway
  • iCarly, “iStart A Fan War”
  • Dancing With The Stars, “Episode 1205”
  • How I Met Your Mother, “Bad News”

My Vote: Ok, this is the second nomination for Pee-Wee Herman. I’m going to have to check this out. Anyway, HIMYM gets it.

Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic)


  • Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire (Pilot)”
  • True Blood, “9 Crimes”
  • Mad Men, “The Rejected”
  • Glee, “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”
  • Game Of Thrones, “Winter Is Coming (Pilot)”

My Vote: Hmm. There are a lot of good nominees here. I don’t know. I don’t remember seeing True Blood anywhere else, let’s throw something their way.

Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Prosthetic)


  • Glee, “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”
  • The Walking Dead, “Days Gone Bye”
  • The Cape, “Razer”
  • Grey’s Anatomy, “Superfreak”
  • Game Of Thrones, “A Golden Crown”

My Vote: Clearly, the prosthetic award has to go the zombies of The Walking Dead, but I think it would be hilarious if The Cape actually won an Emmy award considering how ridiculously bad the show was.

Music. Also kind of self-explanatory. There are blank subcategories

Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score)


  • Mildred Pierce, “Part Five”
  • The Pillars Of The Earth, “Anarchy”
  • Any Human Heart (Masterpiece), “Part 2”
  • Sherlock: A Study In Pink (Masterpiece)
  • Thurgood

My Vote: Sherlock. This was a fun episode and the music added a lot to it.

Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)


  • Family Guy, “Road To The North Pole”
  • American Masters, “John Muir In The New World”
  • The Simpsons, “Treehouse Of Horror XXI”
  • Family Guy, “And Then There Were Fewer”
  • 30 Rock, “100”

My Vote: 30 Rock…just because.

Music Direction


  • 83rd Annual Academy Awards
  • Hitman Returns: David Foster And Friends (Great Performances)
  • The Kennedy Center Honors
  • An Evening Of Stars: Tribute To Chaka Khan
  • Harry Connick, Jr., In Concert On Broadway (Great Performances)
  • 2011 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

My Vote: I actually record the Great Performances off PBS and the Harry Connick concert was pretty good. Let’s give it to him. (Do we really need a tribute to Chaka Khan? Really?)

Original Main Title Theme Music


My Vote: I think The Borgias and Camelot themes sound similar not only to each other but to better themes I’ve heard before. The Kennedys is boring and sounds like a poor man’s Born On The Fourth Of July theme. Mildred Pierce’s theme is more introspective and mature. However, Episodes theme is performed by trombone. Episodes wins.

Original Music and Lyrics


  • Family Guy, “Road To The North Pole” (Song Title: Christmas Is Killing Us)
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Jeff Bridges” (Song Title: I Just Had Sex)
  • Robert Klein: Unfair & Unbalanced, (Song Title: An American Prayer – Hymn II?)
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Justin Timberlake” (Song Title: Justin Timberlake Monologue)
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Tina Fey” (Song Title: Jack Sparrow)
  • Saturday Night Live, “Host: Justin Timberlake” (Song Title: 3-Way (The Golden Rule))

My Vote: I really like I Just Had Sex and Jack Sparrow, but I will have to give it to Jack Sparrow for Michael Bolton poking fun at himself and dressing in those disturbing costumes.

Nonfiction. There are two subcategories; Nonfiction Series and Nonfiction Special

Nonfiction Series


  • Moguls & Movie Stars
  • Biography
  • American Masters
  • 30 For 30
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
  • Pioneers Of Television

My Vote: Um, I’m at a loss here. So, let’s spin the wheel…ok. 30 For 30 it is!

Nonfiction Special


  • Jaws: The Inside Story
  • His Way
  • Becoming Chaz
  • Stand Up To Cancer
  • Gettysburg

My Vote: History Channel usually does a good job. Congratulations, Gettysburg!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I will update some point

I've been terrible at blogging lately. Mostly it's because my computer at home has decided to self-install some sort of firewall that prevents me from posting. It let's me write posts and save them, but I can't actually publish them to the blog. I have no clue how to fix this so if any of you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

A few weeks ago I had big plans to start working my way through the recipes in my cabinet. Since, I have sorted through them and it turns out that there are quite a few I actually have made before. I was pleasantly surprised. For the ones I haven't, I promise I will get to them soon. This is actually a goal I have set for myself and I always meet my goals! However, we've had some unexpected expenses come up on fixing things around the house lately so I'm putting us on a strict grocery/food budget for the next few weeks. This means no extra money to go buy all the ingredients I need to work my way through those recipes. I should be back at it by late September, I promise. And hopefully I can sneak in one or two with ingredients we would normally buy anyway.

In the mean time, I'll try to be better about blogging, despite my laptops refusal. And I'm still holding out hope that some day, in the near future, Chase will write a post or two to finish out his Emmy series. I'm not holding my breath though, because I don't think my lung capacity is that good.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No more boring water!

Since I challenged you all yesterday to drink less soda, I was really excited to find this article today! No, we aren't breaking new ground with these ideas, but we all need some reminders of simple options once in awhile.

Here are some ways to make water a little less boring, courtesy of TheKitchn.

1. Limes: Lemons are the norm, but limes are sublime. Simply add a few limes slices to your next pitcher of ice water, along with the freshly-squeezed juice of one lime.

2 Mint: Muddle a little mint in the bottom of your glass or pitcher before adding lots of ice and clear, fresh water.

3 Oranges and Basil: Sliced oranges and basil leaves make a light, citrus-and-herb infused drink. Add a few basil leaves for garnish on each glass for a nice touch.

4 Cucumber: That's it. Just sliced cucumber. They're crisp and cool as - well, you know - making the water seem even more cool and refreshing.

5 Strawberries and Kiwi: This favorite combination is sweeter than the citrus fruits mentioned above. Kiwi slices and strawberry halves make for a pretty drink, too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Ill Effects of Soda

Soda is bad for you. It’s no secret. None of us drink soda thinking that we’re doing our body a favor. We drink it because we “need” the caffeine. We drink it because it tastes good. And yes, it does taste good. We all have our own preferences to what kinds we like (I am a Diet Coke girl, with the occasional Diet Dr. Pepper thrown in there for variation), but the fact is, it’s bad for you. Check out this diagram to see just how bad. You can click on the link below the picture to see a larger image.

I found this link on one of my favorite food blogs this week, TheKitchn, and immediately decided to share it with my sister. I honestly don’t know how much soda she drinks; I don’t see her drink it a lot. However, I have seen her give soda to my nephew and it bothered me. Don’t we have enough sugary treats in this world without introducing soda to a 22 month old? The response I saw from her friends and our family is what really surprised me. One cousin took it to heart and has not had a soda since. She’s on day 4, and while she admittedly had a craving, she chose to drink Crystal Light instead (way to go Sus!) Another cousin shared this diagram with her 8-year old daughter and the daughter declared the whole family was giving up soda. An 8-year old that LOVES soda just gave it up and told the whole family to do so as well! It’s great seeing a kid making a healthy choice all on her own!

Have I given up soda for good? No, probably not. I’m sure that I will drink soda on occasion still. But I am being very conscious of my decision to drink a soda and the frequency in which I do. One thing that helps in this decision is a rule I have with myself. I don’t allow myself to drink a soda unless I’ve had at least 60 ounces of water that day. I also have read enough articles about the effects of caffeine and the time it stays in your system that I don’t allow myself soda after 4:00 in the afternoon. I have enough trouble sleeping through the night; I don’t need the extra caffeine disrupting that!

I have a lot of friends that drink at least 1 soda a day. Do I think they’ll give it up? No. But hopefully they’ll at least think twice next time they reach for that can in the fridge. Plus, think of the money you’ll save by drinking less soda!

Believe me, it’s not easy giving up soda. I gave it up completely for Lent my senior year of high school because I was working at a place where it was free and found myself drinking 1-2 per day! And in my current work situation, there’s a QuickTrip right across the street from our building. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about running over there for a fountain drink (or some candy, I have a HUGE sweet tooth), but I make the decision not to. And you can too!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cake Dice

We love game night. Chase and I have been blessed to find a few other couples who love game night as much as we do, making it a monthly priority. And what better opportunity to try out party food recipes and bite sized snacks than on game night?

I made cake pops at Thanksgiving. Not because I thought they were a good Thanksgiving Day dessert, but because I really wanted to make them and this was the time I had to do it. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to make them again but just haven’t had the time. I had the idea to make cake dice awhile ago and was extremely excited to make these for the game night we were hosting.

If you’ve ever made cake pops before, you know they have a lot of steps. Lots of mixing, baking, cooling, crumbling, mixing, rolling, freezing, dipping, freezing, etc. Given the time commitment these were taking, I opted for a boxed cake mix and store bought icing. I know it’s not as delicious as homemade, but these still got devoured pretty quickly.

What you’ll need:
A Baked cake-you can do this anyway you like. I use 2 9-inch pans because they bake a little faster than making one large cake. You can bake a 9x13 if that’s the pan that is available to you.
1 Container of Frosting
A mixing bowl
Square/rectangular freezer safe dish (I used a 9x9 inch baking dish)
Parchment Paper
Almond bark
Double boiler or microwave safe bowl
Writing Icing tubes or icing bags to make dots

Once the cake has completely cooled, crumble it into the mixing bowl using your hands and a fork. Take out any “overcooked” pieces that won’t crumble. Mix in the icing until the crumbs stick together well and balls could be formed. I usually use about half-3/4 of a container of icing.

Line the freezer safe dish with parchment paper, leaving ends overlapping for easy removal. This part is key as it will be nearly impossible to get the cake out of the pan in a neat fashion otherwise. Press the cake/icing mix into the freezer safe dish, packing it as tightly and smoothly as you can. Place in freezer for about 15-20 minutes to allow the cake to firm up.

Once the cake is firm, remove it from the dish by lifting the parchment out. You did leave it overlapping, right? Okay good. :)

Trim the edges so they are nice and straight if needed. Slice a grid pattern across the cake. I chose not to take the time to measure these so my dice are all different shapes and sizes. You may want to measure if you're more concerned about this.

Melt your almond bark in a microwave safe bowl or over the double boiler. Add Crisco or a slight amount of vegetable oil to the bark to thin it out a bit. This will make it easier to coat the cake. Hold 1 cake square on a fork and using a spoon, pour the almond bark over the cake. I tried dipping at first but this method got more cake crumbs in the bark. Pouring it over the top allowed for a smoother finish. Place the cake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment to allow the almond bark to set.

Note: Depending on how long this process takes you, you may need to refreeze the cake for about 10 minutes, allowing it to reset as it gets soft the longer it sits out.

Once you have coated all the cake squares (and it has hardened), add the dots in a fun color! I only added dots to 5 sides, but if you were really adventurous and wanted to make fondant dots, you could probably do all 6 sides. While I would love to do this, I just don't have the patience to do that for all 30 or so dice I made. It would be really cute for a few big dice though!

Wheat pasta with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes

Chase was out of town part of last week, which meant dinner for one. That evening I decided to make one of the recipes that's been sitting around in my recipe cabinet, with some modifications. It was super easy and really tasty. I love pasta, but we try not to eat it too often because I will undoubtedly eat more than 1 serving and be miserable most of the night. Since I was cooking for 1 that night, I was careful only to cook just enough for 1 bowl, but it still proved to be too filling.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes


Tomatoes (I used 1 large beefsteak tomato but I think Roma tomatoes would be good too)

Fresh mozzarella-about 1-2 ounces

1 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 Tbsp of oil olive

Minced garlic or garlic powder (use as much as you prefer. I LOVE garlic so I used more than most probably would)

1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and toss with the olive oil.

2. Chop the tomatoes into bit size pieces. In a small sauce pan, heat the tomato sauce and tomatoes until simmering. Add the basil and garlic and continue simmering about 2-3 minutes to let the flavors blend.

3. Toss the pasta with the sauce and add the fresh mozzarella. Give it one more stir to mix in the mozzarella and enjoy! As you can see above, I had mine with a beer that night, but I think red wine would be a better option. I just didn't feel like opening a bottle since I didn't have anyone to share it with.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Who is excited for Monday? This girl! I have nothing in particular to be excited about today (except it is the 3-year anniversary of my first date with Chase-that's exciting). I'm just feeling really good today. Maybe it's because I went to sleep at 9:00 last night. Whoa that was early, but much needed. Maybe I'm excited for the new couch Chase and I bought yesterday. He was a real champ in helping pick it out (fabric and all!). That excitement is a little overshadowed by the 6-8 week waiting period though.

I think I'm just excited about all the productivity in my life this past week.

I'm happy to report that I accomplished ALL the things on my to-do list Thursday night and then some! It probably helped that Chase was out with a friend that night so I had the house to myself to focus on my little projects. He'll be gone a couple nights this week for work stuff so let's hope I can be just as productive! Chase was even really productive this weekend while I was out with some friends. He hung some shelves (which was no easy feat given the type of shelf and the measuring involved), did laundry, fixed my Chi (thank you!!!) and ironed his clothes. It was a big week for both of us really.

Remember a few weeks ago I said I was going to start working through those recipes in my cabinet? Well, I haven't done a very good job. It turns out that August was (and still is) a busy month. I've made one or two meals that were inspired by the recipes sitting in my cabinet, that counts right? Either way, I vow that I will start this by September at the latest. Who knows, maybe I'll start next week. But it definitely won't be this week. With Chase's work schedule this week, dinners will be pretty minimal in our house. Except tonight. Tonight we're having burritos!

Also, if I'm lucky, I'll maybe have another post from Chase about the Emmy's before the week is up. Hopefully it'll be shorter than the last one.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random thursday thoughts

1. It's Thursday! Yup, my favorite day. I have found lately, that I am most motivated on Thursdays. This is the day of the week that I come up with about a gazillion things to do that evening because I somehow think I'm super woman and time will just slow down and let me get these things done. I'm so determined when I leave work. I think it's because I've spent all week not doing much around the house and by Thursday I'm really itching for some productivity and progress. Unfortunately, something usually comes up that takes longer than I anticipated, or traffic kills my mood and by the time I get home, I just want to sit down with a glass of wine and some chocolate and do nothing. Here's hoping tonight's To Do list is successful.

2. Did you see that I used the work "gazillion" up there? I'm pretty excited about it. This isn't usually a word I use. In fact, as Chase will tell you, usually when I'm exaggerating a number, I use the number 12. Yes, 12. I realize this is not a big number, but it's a realistic exaggeration and can be used in most instances effectively. For example, "I'm so hungry I could eat 12 sandwiches." See, everyone knows you won't really eat 12 sandwiches, but it'd be impressive if you could. Unfortunately, once in awhile I forget what I'm talking about and use the number 12 to exaggerate when it actually is a really low number for that topic, and in some cases, an underestimation. Like "I ate 12 olives." I always eat more than 12 olives. Olives are delicious. Anyway, someone at work sent me an email the other day saying "we have a gazillion of these in stock" and I liked it. So now I'm using it. Don't worry, I'm probably not abandoning the number 12 though.

3. Sandwiches. I had a BLT with turkey bacon and tomatoes from my mom's garden for lunch. I love having leftovers from dinner to bring in for lunch. However, I also learned that you should not microwave bacon wrapped in saran wrap. Why is it okay to microwave corn on the cob wrapped in saran wrap but not bacon? Oh well, I just picked off the pieces with melted plastic and ate it anyway.

4. My font is all screwy. Chase was messing with the font and style on my blog for his posting and now it looks different. I don't think I like it. I don't like change.

5. My work team is taking a field trip across the street to Culvers for a little team building time this afternoon and I'm super excited about it. I love ice cream. Knowing this has been on my calendar is what has gotten me through the week. It's also probably going to help motivate me to workout harder tonight. Hopefully.

6. Today is my parents anniversary. They have been married 32 years. Isn't that amazing? They are truly inspiring. Here's wishing you happiness for the next 32 years! 64 years is a long time. Seriously.

7. I don't really have a 7th thought. Apparently there is only room for 6 random thoughts in my brain today. Thinking about Culvers is taking up a lot of space.

*On a special note, blogging was one of my "to do" list items so I can check it off the list! Sorry there's no picture, I'm writing this on my lunch break at work.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post: Creative Arts Primetime Emmys Part 1

Chase here again. Let's get started.

In structuring the posts for this series, I was going to address each individual category with a separate post. Well, there’s a lot of specific categories and I think it’ll be better to group them for post purposes. All of the posts except for the last one will be from a related but technically separate set of awards: The Creative Arts Primetime Emmy (single or multi-camera). These consist of everything that goes into completing the tv experience except for the major categories of acting, writing, and directing. The first eight categories will be Animation, Art Direction, Casting, Children’s Program, Choreography, Cinematography, Commercial, and Costumes. (Disclaimer: For this post and all subsequent posts it should be noted that I haven’t seen all the nomination material. So, my opinion will be biased, naturally)

There are five sub-categories for Animation.
1. Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)
  • Futurama, “The Late Philip J. Fry”
  • Robot Chicken, “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III”
  • South Park, “Crack Baby Athletic Association”
  • The Cleveland Show, “Murray Christmas”
  • The Simpsons, “Angry Dad – The Movie”

My Vote: Futurama. This has been one of the best episodes since Futurama was resurrected. Futurama usually treats the time travel trope with great care since it’s been done many times. This was no exception. This episode ranks right up there with “Roswell That Ends Well” for me. The science jokes are on point and structure holds together under the episode’s internal logic unlike most time travel stories.

2. Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or More)
  • None. I’m guessing either nothing qualified or nothing was submitted.

3. Voice-Over Performance
  • Bob Bergen as Porky Pig, The Looney Tunes Show “Jailbird And Jailbunny”
  • Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Barney Gumble, Louie; The Simpsons “Donnie Fatso”
  • Seth Green as Various Characters, Robot Chicken “Catch Me If You Kangaroo Jack”
  • Maurice LaMarche as Lrrr, Orson Welles; Futurama “Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences”
  • Christopher Plummer as Narrator, Moguls and Movie Stars “The Birth of Hollywood”
  • Brenda Strong as Mary-Alice Young, Desperate Housewives “Come on Over for Dinner”

My Vote: Maurice LaMarche. You may know LaMarche’s voice as one part of a duo. He was The Brain of “Pinky and The Brain” fame. This episode further explores the marriage of Lrrr and Ndnd showing that even though women are from Omicron Persei 7 and men are from Omicron Persei 9, Lrrr and Ndnd still love each other.

A few comments on the other nominees...I’m sure Bob Bergen does a good job as Porky Pig, but if the voice isn’t Mel Blanc then there’s no comparison. I know that Blanc is the standard for more than one generation of kids who grew up with Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. If you’re not familiar with Mel Blanc, “The Man of A Thousand Voices”, he is the voice you hear whenever you’re watching classic cartoons. He was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, Speedy Gonzales, and hundreds of other characters.

I know Dan Castellaneta and Seth Green do good work, but I’m more impressed with LaMarche.

Brenda Strong? Really? Doesn’t she have like two lines and the beginning and end of the episode? Is that really voice acting?

4. Individual Achievement in Animation
  • None.

5. Short-format Animated Program
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, “That Sinking Feeling”
  • Robot Chicken, “Robot Chicken’s DP Christmas Special”
  • Regular Show, “Mordecai And The Rigbys”
  • Disney Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa
  • Adventure Time, “It Came From the Nightosphere”

My Vote: Adventure Time. Hands down. This is every boy’s fantasy, to travel around with your best canine friend and have adventures fighting ogres, evil kings, and saving princesses. Very well written and animated. I also have started watching Regular Show on Cartoon Network. It centers around two slackers, a blue jay and a raccoon, working with a yeti, a gentlemen from the 1920s, a muscle man, and a ghost at a park who all work for a gumball machine. Yes, it sounds stupid, but it works. Think Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but not as mean-spirited. I also have to mention the creativity and heart that Disney was able to achieve on Operation Secret Santa, a sequel to the original Prep & Landing.

There are five sub-categories for Art Direction. The Art Direction oversees a large portion of the visual aspect of the show. They can be responsible for locations, set construction, set design, props, etc.
1. Art Direction for Multi-Camera Series
  • Hot in Cleveland; “Sisterhood Of The Traveling SPANXc”, “I Love Lucci: Part Two”, LeBron is Le Gone”
  • Rules Of Engagement; “Last Of The Red Hat Lovers”, “Singing And Dancing”, “The Set Up”
  • How I Met Your Mother; “Subway Wars”, “Natural History”
  • The Big Bang Theory; “The Love Car Displacement”, “The 21-Second Excitation”, The Agreement Dissection”
  • Mike & Molly, “Pilot”

My Vote: This is a toss-up between How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. How I Met Your Mother has to represent many different characters through its sets and the references to past episodes hidden in the sets are well done. I really appreciate The Big Bang Theory for its attention to detail. In every episode there will be something written on the whiteboards related to the episode’s narrative. If you’re interested, the science consultant for the show has a blog called The Big Blog Theory that discusses what the science content is and how it relates to the episode in a very clear and understandable manner.

2. Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series
  • Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire (Pilot)”
  • True Blood, “Beautifully Broken”
  • Modern Family, “Halloween”
  • Mad Men, “Public Relations”
  • The Borgias, “Lucrezia’s Wedding”

My Vote: Mad Men. Even though it’s the only nominee I’ve seen, it still has a good chance given the amount of incredible detail and sophistication that is given to each episode.

3. Art Direction for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
  • The Kennedys
  • Upstairs Downstairs (Masterpiece)
  • Mildred Pierce

My Vote: The Kennedys. I’ve heard a lot about Mildred Pierce so I feel like I’m missing out on it. For the Masterpiece nominees, I’ve always felt that it’s harder to recreate something the audience is intimately familiar with like the 1960s. Could any American audience really tell if the Masterpiece sets were more 1910s than 1900s?

4. Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program
  • 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
  • 83rd Annual Academy Awards
  • Saturday Night Live, Host: Russell Brand
  • American Idol, Episode 1018
  • Gettysburg

My Vote: Awards shows giving awards to other awards shows? Doesn’t that sound incestuous? It just seems really lame to me. So, my vote goes to SNL.

There are three sub-categories for Casting.
1. Casting for a Comedy Series
  • Modern Family
  • The Big C
  • Glee
  • Nurse Jackie
  • 30 Rock

My Vote: 30 Rock. The guest roles that this series casts always work well and bounce off seamlessly with the regular main cast.

2. Casting for a Drama Series
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Mad Men
  • The Killing
  • The Good Wife
  • Game Of Thrones

My Vote: I would choose either Mad Men or Game Of Thrones. I’m very familiar with Mad Men, but Game Of Thrones’ casting looks like the actors have been inhabiting their characters before the show even started pre-production.

3. Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
  • Cinema Verite
  • Too Big To Fail
  • Upstairs Downstairs (Masterpiece)

My Vote: I haven’t seen any of these. I’m guessing Mildred Pierce wins.

There are two sub-categories for Children’s Program.
1. Children’s Program
  • A Child’s Garden Of Poetry
  • Degreassi
  • Victorious
  • iCarly
  • Wizards Of Waverly Place

My Vote: Even though I’ve heard of all the nominees, I’ve never watched an episode of one. So, how about Wizards Of Waverly Place? Because I’m sure they’ve done a Harry Potter crossover, right?

2. Children’s Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program
  • Masterclass
  • Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Under The Influence: Kids Of Alcoholics

My Vote: Um, Nick News?

1. Choreography
  • So You Think You Can Dance (5 times this was nominated)
  • Dancing With The Stars

My Vote: No. No. No. No. No. No. This is stupid. Choreography is not tv. I am not answering this with a guess. This category is worthless and meaningless. Destroy it.

There are six sub-categories for Cinematography.
1. Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series
  • Two And A Half Men, “Hookers, Hookers, Hookers”
  • Rules Of Engagement, “Uh Oh It’s Magic”
  • Wizards Of Waverly Place, “Dancing With Angels”
  • Pair Of Kings, “Return Of The Kings”
  • Retired At 35, “Rocket Man”
  • How I Met Your Mother, “Hopeless”

My Vote: I’ve actually never heard of Pair Of Kings and Retired at 35 is an original show on TV Land, but does that really count? So, I’m casting my vote for Rules of Engagement because I like David Spade.

2. Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series
  • Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire (Pilot)”
  • Boardwalk Empire, “Home”
  • Boardwalk Empire, “A Return To Normalcy”
  • The Good Wife, “Double Jeopardy”
  • The Borgias, “The Poisoned Chalice/The Assassin”

My Vote: Probably any of the Boardwalk Empires. HBO seems to be doing an excellent job on this series. Plus, Steve Buscemi!

3. Cinematography for Reality Programming
  • Intervention, “Rachel”
  • Deadliest Catch, “Redemption Day”
  • The Amazing Race, “You Don’t Get Paid Unless You Win”
  • Survivor, “Rice Wars”
  • Top Chef, “Give Me Your Huddled Masses”

My Vote: I’m not a huge reality fan. If I am watching a reality program then it’s one where something is actually being created. Plus, I enjoy food. So, Top Chef it is.

4. Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie
  • Mildred Pierce, “Part Five”
  • Downton Abbey (Masterpiece), “Part 1”
  • The Kennedys, “Life Sentences”
  • Too Big To Fail
  • The Pillars Of The Earth, “Legacy”

My Vote: Reading the synopsis for The Pillars Of The Earth sounds interesting. It chronicles the construction of a cathedral in a fictional 12th century English town. I would assume some impressive camera techniques could be employed in this type of story, so I’ll give it to Pillars.

5. Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming
  • Gasland
  • If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise
  • American Masters, “Troubadours: Carole King/James Taylor & The Rise Of The Singer-Songwriter
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, “Haiti”
  • Whale Wars, “To The Ends Of The Earth”
  • Gettsyburg

My Vote: I’m only familiar with the foul-mouthed Anthony Bourdain, so that’s a good a vote as any.

Commercial. Did you know that Emmys were given for commercials? Me neither.
1. Commercial
  • Conan, “American Express”
  • Baby Driver, “Subaru”
  • Questions, “Old Spice Body Wash”
  • Polar Bear, “Nissan LEAF”
  • Baby, “McDonald’s”
  • Born Of Fire, “Chrysler 200”

My Vote: Since I couldn’t immediately remember each of these commercials I found them on YouTube. Luckily, commercials can be watched and assessed pretty quickly. Check out the commercials below.

Baby Driver
Polar Bear
Born Of Fire

I think Conan and Born Of Fire both do a very nice job; however, I’m going to vote for Conan because I prefer funny commercials over “inspiring” ones.

There are two sub-categories for Costumes. Recently, I added the blog Clothes On Film to my Google Reader. I had always recognized costume design with a kindergarten sensibility; e.g., the action hero probably shouldn’t be wearing a clown suit. But when I started reading this blog it prompted me to think much more intellectually about costume design and how it can reflect character identity, themes, and enhance the story.
1. Costumes for a Series
  • Boardwalk Empire, “Anastasia”
  • Mad Men, “The Beautiful Girls”
  • The Borgias, “Lucrezia’s Wedding”
  • Game Of Thrones, “The Pointy End”
  • Glee, “New York”

My Vote: I still like Mad Men for this even though newcomers Boardwalk Empire and Game Of Thrones will probably win.

2. Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Mildred Pierce, “Part Two”
  • Downton Abbey (Masterpiece), “Part 1”
  • Cinema Verite
  • Upstairs Downstairs (Masterpiece), “Part 1”

My Vote: Mildred Pierce. You can blame the aforementioned Clothes On Film for influencing my decision on this.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cheesecake is delicious. I’ve heard there are people that don’t like cheesecake. But frankly, I don’t want to know those people. I think those people must be crazy.

Chase and I love the Cheesecake Factory. We don’t eat there a lot, but when we do, there are always 2 items we order: Tex-Mex Eggrolls and Cheesecake. And every time we go there, Chase complains that they no longer have his favorite flavor of cheesecake, Coffee Heath Bar. Maybe if he complained to the Cheesecake Factory people instead of me they might put it back on the menu. Possibly?

A few weeks ago, I’d been pretty stressed out and unfortunately took most of that stress out on Chase since he’s the one that vowed to love me for better or worse. This was definitely one of those “worse” weeks. I felt bad and wanted to do something special for him, so when I found this recipe I thought it was the perfect opportunity to break in my new and completely unused spring form pan, and show my husband that I do love him, even when I’m cranky.

If you’ve never made cheesecake before, you should look up some tips before proceeding. I did not follow this advice. I just mixed the ingredients and threw the thing in the oven like I would have with any cake or cookies. This huge crack across my cheesecake is what ensued. Luckily there was a chocolate topping poured over the top that filled the crater.

Even though it didn’t look as pretty as it could have, it still tasted delicious. Use this as an excuse to have friends over, because I make no claim to the healthiness of this dessert and do not condone eating the whole thing on your own. Or bribe your neighbors into doing favors for you in exchange for cheesecake. That’s what we did.

Heath Bar Cheesecake (adapted from
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. melted butter
8 Heath toffee candy bars (I think these come with 2 per package in the candy aisle)
3 tbsp. instant coffee crystals
3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. Heavy Cream
6 oz. chocolate chips

Early in day, combine cookie crumbs and butter and press into 9 inch springform pan. Chop 4 candy bars in food processor and sprinkle over crust. Heat 1/2 cup cream until just warm enough to dissolve coffee crystals. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until blended. Beat in 1/2 cup cream, eggs and vanilla. Add coffee cream mixture and continue beating until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Mine had to bake for closer to 1 hour and 45 minutes but I think it was a little more liquidy than it should have been).
Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips and remaining 1/3 cup cream in saucepan over low heat. Stir until dissolved. Spread over cooked, cooled cheesecake. Garnish with remaining crumbled candy bars.