Month: October 2014

Au Revoir, October!

Happy Halloween!  Guys, October FLEW by!  It was such a great month, too.  Because it was such an awesome October, I had a hard time picking just 9 pictures for this post! Here are just some of the things that happened:

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[1] pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! [2] I attended the midnight release of Super Smash Brothers 3DS.  The game is amazing!  And you can see how excited I was about it. [3] I took in a lot of fall foliage!  Remember my hike of Blue Hills[4] Gillian Anderson’s first book, A Vision of Fire, came out!  I’m hoping to actually get some time to read next month… [5] I returned to my all-black-everything fashion sense and finally finished/got re-obsessed with American Horror Story: Coven.  That’s kept me obsessed and up-to-date with AHS season 4! [6] I made pumpkin cookies with my little pumpkin friend!  I’ve actually done a lot of cooking this month. [7] I’ve done a lot of eating too.  These are pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes for part of our October birthday celebration at work. [8] Boston College football!  I went to BC v. Clemson, and getting stuck in the Clemson section was okay because cheerleaders are fun. [9] And finally, my Philly trip to visit Stacie & Walker!  That post went up earlier this week.

You can always check my instagram for more photo updates!

Have a fun Halloweekend, everybody!

Top Chef Boston: Fine Dining at Fenway

Padma and Ming Tsai announce the second Sudden Death Quickfire of the season.  It’s Boston Tea Party themed… because that might the be only thing people know about Boston.  Actually, it’s a neat challenge.  Each cheftestant gets a different type of tea to cook with.  There are thirteen different types which include:

  • strawberry white tea, which Gregory gets
  • gunpowder spearmint, which Aaron gets
  • lemongrass pomegranate rooibos, which Rebecca gets
  • Asian pear white tea, for James
  • chocolate & salt herbal tea, for Rob
  • toasted nut oolong, for Melissa

They don’t get to pick, they just open a container and that’s what they need to prepare tea for two with for Padma and Ming.  Melissa, Gregory, and Ron come out on top.  Gregory takes the win and earns immunity for the elimination challenge.  The bottom three are James, Aaron, and Rebecca.  Ultimately, Aaron loses and is up for elimination.  He has to cook for his life.

Aaron chooses Katie to cook again, as she is a culinary instructor and he has some kind of chip on his shoulder for not being able to afford culinary school.  The twist?  The only source of heat Aaron and Katie can use is boiling water.

Aaron does “a spring roll, but a fucked up one,” which Padma asks how he would like her to eat.  Katie makes pasta by hand since she couldn’t figure out the pasta maker.  Aaron’s fucked up spring roll is enough to beat Katie and keep him in the competition.  It’s nice to see no one go home!  But Aaron’s ego, man.

Ming & Padma then announce the elimination challenge and FENWAY PARK home of the Boston Red Sox!  I’m still too excited about that not to type it in caps.  The cheftestants must use a classic ballpark snack as inspiration (peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, friend dough) to make a fine dining dish to serve at Fenway.

Tom, Richard Blais, Hugh Acheson, Padma, Ming, and guests Dennis Eckersley and Dan Shaughnessy sit below the green monster and are served the following:

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Back at the judges’ table, Ming accompanies our regulars.  The favorites are Gregory, Melissa, and Katie.  Gregory takes the win, again!  I’m really starting to like him after hearing more of his backstory.  On the bottom, we have Ron, Kerriann, and Katsuji.  None of these are people I wanted to go home.  Ron ends up packing his knives.  I would’ve liked to see more from him; he seemed like a genuinely good guy.

NEXT WEEK THOUGH features one of my absolute favorite shows, CHEERS!  Special guests include George Wendt (say it with me, Norm!  Did you know I’m the world’s oldest 25-year-old?) and Shameless’s Emmy Rossum!  Every preview just gets me more and more excited about Top Chef Boston!

If you watch in the Eastern time zone, remember to tweet with me next week! @nikkisee

What did you guys think of this week’s episode and the results?!

ANTM Cycle 21: The Road to Seoul

We resolve the cliffhanger ending at the beginning of “The Girl with the Bloodcurdling Scream,” and Chantelle rejoins the competition.  This is what I was hoping for!  Although, results were not quite as expected.  With 8 models in the competition and only 7 tickets to Seoul, people are more determined than ever.

So, the challenge is particularly relevant.  I just went through my first haunted house this weekend, and that’s basically what the model-hopefuls did.  They go through a pitch black hallway with scares along the way, then come face-to-face with the flashing lights of a camera and have to pose without fear.

Chantelle and Shei do the best, but Chantelle is ultimately the winner, already proving she deserves to be back in the competition.  However, she is not acting very happy to be back.

When it comes to the main photo shoot of the competition, Lenox asks her if she’s ready to rejoin the madness.  Chantelle says something along the lines of, I was having a better time out there.  Lenox takes this, understandably, as she doesn’t want to be there.

The photo shoot is (loosely) themed “no glove, no love” to promote condom use to prevent STDs.  This is a noble endeavor, but the only tie-in seems to be that the models are wearing fancy gloves.  They are posing with themselves and I think the shoot is super cool.

Kind of Black Swan, eh?

Kind of Black Swan, eh?

Although I think Lenox has the best photo of the week, her weak challenge score prevents her from taking that title.

Here are everybody’s results:

  1. Chantelle
  2. Shei
  3. Lenox
  4. Adam
  5. Keith
  6. Will
  7. Raelia
  8. Mirjana finally goes home

Mirjana seemed lost this week without Denzel, and the proof was in the pictures.

What do you think about the group heading to Seoul?!

Doctor Who: slightly awkward if the world was destroyed

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I liked “In the Forest of the Night” more than I expected to.  For an episode that takes place entire on (or, for a hot second, around) Earth, it felt Whovian enough.  Even though it involved so much Mr. Pink, (am I the only one who hates him?) he came in tolerable doses.

I really liked Maeve, who feels like an indigo child or a horror movie kid right away.  I knew the funny way she was running with her arms swatting in front of her face would come full circle, though that annoyed me every time she ran.  I liked how precocious she was.  I don’t understand how the disappearance of her sister left her strangely clairvoyant, and prophetic, but whatever.  She was cute and a bit creepy, and that made her interesting to me.

Maybe it’s because I watch too much SVU, but I was certain her sister was dead.  When the tree magic brought her back at the end, I was pleased to see she looked like a teenage runaway.

What I have a problem with is Mr. Pink yelling that Maeve was on medication and emotionally unstable in front of her other classmates.  While it seems that everyone knew full well of Maeve’s trauma, I found this disrespectful, especially for a teacher.  As a foil for Clara who was ready, willing, and able to run off with the Doctor and investigate, I think Danny failed on this account.  He removes the children from the Tardis and leads them through a forest of danger, when he could’ve stayed and protected them.  He’s not as perfect as everyone thinks her is.

I did like the philosophical question he brought up, and I even agree with him.  Spending time with certain people can be worth more than any adventure.  I was worried, though, that he talked Clara out of watching the solar flare.  I’m happy to see that she was still interested in that experience of a lifetime.

My other major problem comes in the form of Clara kissing Danny in front of the Coal Hill students.  That is not appropriate behavior!  Let alone the fact that they whole school already thinks they are in love.  This is an HR nightmare, you guys.

Oh, let’s not even start on how every year 8 student has been on the Tardis at this point.  It bothered me when the Doctor brought Courtney aboard, and it bothered me slightly less this time… but not so little that I wouldn’t mention it.

I do like the trees acting as a giant shield around the earth for an intense solar flare.  I like that Doctor said that humankind will simply forget, as that is our superpower.

Now, the finale, THAT looks interesting.  I’ve been thinking about the origin of Clara a lot lately.  Back int he Matt Smith days, Clara was so interesting to me– popping up in different times as slightly different people.  Clara’s life as a school teacher with her regular boyfriend is so painfully boring to me.  Looks like she’s going to get exciting again!

Any thoughts?

Weekend Adventures: Philadelphia

On Friday morning, I took off for the weekend… literally.  I fly out to Philadelphia, PA to visit one of my best friends, Stacie, and her husband Walker.  They moved to Pennsylvania last summer after getting married.  It was so fun to see my friends’ new home, hang out with them for the weekend, and see a city I’ve never seen before.

  • On Friday night we went to a haunted house at the old Eastern State Penitentiary, which hosted Terror Behind the Walls for the Halloween season.  I’ve never been to a haunted house before and this was a series of 6.  I survived!  And I had a lot of fun laughing at myself every time I screamed.
  • Saturday we toured The Mütter Museum, a medical museum full of oddities which was interesting, educational, and so appropriate for my current AHS: Freak Show obsession.  We saw pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain!
  • We also went to Reading Terminal Market, where I probably could’ve stayed and eaten for the rest of my life, and did a drive by of Independence Hall since we didn’t want to deal with Liberty Bell lines.

Here are my other touristy moments:

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[1] Philadelphia is a much bigger city than my dear Boston! [2] One of the kittens!  This is Rafa.  His brother Rog moved before I could snap the picture. [3] Reppin’ House Baratheon outside of the Philadelphia Art Museum [4] And here’s Rocky Balboa! [5] Sock bun across the USA– here I am in front of the Philadelphia skyline from the top of the museum steps. [6] Beautiful weather and beautiful views behind the museum overlooking the boathouse featuring in the Always Sunny opening. [7] Philadelphia City Hall topped with William Penn. [8] Giant game pieces!  The Monopoly iron was always my favorite. [9] From the courtyard at Philadelphia City Hall.

 

 

Gods and Monsters

Hi guys!  I’m away for the weekend but I promise I’ll have a real post for you Monday.  Until then, I wanted to share my favorite thing in the world.

Jessica Lange’s Lana Del Rey cover is literally the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen or heard.  I love this clip from American Horror Story: Freak Show than anything I’ve seen from the season so far.  I love watching Jessica Lange sing “Gods and Monsters” even more than I love watching her smoke cigarettes.

And that’s saying something.

Top Chef Boston: I eat it; I don’t die instantaneously.

“You say we’re not going to do anything crazy, yet we’ve been here for 48 hours and two people are gone.”

We spend a little time with the cheftestants and see James’s AMAZING Patrick Swayze tattoo.  I love that Patrick Swayze inspired him.  I’ve been nursing a resurgent obsession with Dirty Dancing as of late (more for Jennifer Grey than Swayze, but whatevs) so I especially appreciated this moment.

Soon, it’s Quickfire time!  The lovely Padma Lakshmi and Boston restauranteur Todd English come out to announce it.  Boston is home to the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride.  If you know the poem, you know the famous line: one if by land or two if by sea.  It refers to lanterns in the Old North Church, but in this challenge, one lantern lights up for the land table and two for the sea table in a surf and turf quickfire.  No immunity is offered, but the winner gets $5,000!

The land light signals twice before the sea lights.  If you’re not observant, you could miss out on good ingredients.  This was the fate of Aaron who missed the sea lights and ended up with dried crab snacks.  It works out for him, and we get the quote that titles this post when he tries some.

Katsuji and James get top marks from Todd English, but James ends up winning the quickfire.

Padma then announces the elimination challenge: cooking for Boston’s finest!  The Boston Police Commissioner, Bill Evans, and the Boston Fire Commissioner, John Hasson bring their fabulous Boston accents out and help explain the challenge.  This is near and dear to my Bostonian heart, with all they’ve done for us through the marathon and a scary fire in Back Bay last year.  The cheftestants draw knives to break into teams to cook ~something~ for Boston’s finest.

  • Team 1, the Red Team: Katsuji, Mei, Katie
  • Team 2, the Blue Team: Rebecca, Adam, Gregory
  • Team 3, the Gray Team: Doug, James
  • Team 4, the Yellow Team: Joy, Ron, Melissa
  • Team 5, the Green Team: Kerriann, Stacy, Aaron

This is the order they will serve, and also the order they will pick their mystery boxes to cook.  No planning is involved because they don’t know what ingredients they’ll get.  In spite of that, there’s plenty of fighting on Green between Kerriann and Adam.

Here’s what the teams make happen:

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Tom, Gale, Padma, and Boston’s finest enjoy the first three.  It’s not until we get to Yellow, when the vanilla conditions you to want sweet, but doesn’t deliver.  There’s also an issue with the veal chops being undercooked.

Green is just as flustered in the kitchen as they were before they saw their ingredients.  Kerriann and Adam are so concerned about Stacy’s chicken, which ends up being cooked perfectly.  Tom goes as far as to say that Stacy should be angry with her teammates.  Kerriann’s corn salad and Aaron’s jam do not go over well with the judges.

Red & Blue come out of top, but Blue takes the win!

Green & Yellow, predictably, are on the bottom.

Padma announces that Kerriann and Aaron should really thank Stacy for saving their team with her perfect chicken.  Joy’s undercooked veal sent her home.

While it’s always sad to see someone go, I’m proud of Stacy– my hometown girl– for doing something great for Boston’s finest and saving her team.  What did you guys think of this week’s episode?

I’m so looking forward to next week’s episode when we see Fenway Park and Hugh Acheson!

* * *

Also, bad news if you’re in the Tom’s Glasses Fan Club with me:

quel dommage!

quel dommage!

 

Tweet along with me every Wednesday at 10!

ANTM Cycle 21: I don’t have a lot of experience with emotions.

I can’t believe how much I’ve written about stupid Mirjana and Denzel this cycle.  With this last episode, I think we’ve finally heard the end of that.  After the faux-break-up last episode, and this episode’s kind of role reversal between the two of them, the end was near anyway.  Let’s get on to the competition now, shall we?

Tyra Treat

Lenox has to pick two people to share in her Tyra treat.  She selects Shei and Raelia.  The threat turns out to be runway walk coaching with J. Alexander.  Finally, someone teaches something in this cycle!  Lenox again is afraid to let go, and Miss J tries to make her twerk to loosen up.  Now girl, I get it; I can’t twerk either.  How do I know that?  I tried!  Seriously, I followed Miss J’s instruction and results were questionable at best.  But therein lies the difference: 19-year-old Lenox is just too afraid to look silly.  The treat is definitely beneficial to one girl, though.

The Challenge

It’s LA Fashion Week, and the models have the opportunity to book a couple of shows for Style Fashion Week.  Betsey Johnson books Raelia, Shei, and Keith.  Control Sector books Will and Shei.  The girls then go to Altaf Maaneshia who decides to book all of them.  The guys walk for Civil Society who books Keith, Adam, and Will.  The only one who doesn’t book a single show is Denzel.

Shei kicks this challenge’s ass.  She changed up her walk for each designer and looked so great up on the runway.  Raelia stops like in the middle of the runway for Altaf’s show and Miss J nearly dies.  She gets it together for Betsey, though.  Shei wins the challenge!

bringing that edgy fierceness to the runway

bringing that edgy fierceness to the runway

The Photo Shoot

Denzel is low-energy and grumpy from not booking anything the previous day.  He, I guess, neglects to wake Mirjana up (because that’s something he has to do?) which makes her angry at him.  He doesn’t know how to deal, thus the titular quote of this post.  The photo shoot is for Mitchell Stone Essentials and the models will be paired off– Shei & Denzel, Mirjana & Keith, Will & Raelia, Lenox & Adam.  Since Shei is will sleepy Denzel, she tries to psych him up a little for their joint photo.  However, Mirjana takes this as flirting.  Mirjana is distracted as usual.  She blames him, but everyone around her, who she is stupidly listening to, says she shares blame.  She asks what’s wrong with her, to which the photographer responds, everything.

Judging

Tyra calls Mirjana out for being argumentative on set.  She claims that she was not arguing, just “conversating,” which Tyra lets her know is definitely not a word.  They are called out in the following order:

  1. Will – the clear best photo of the week
  2. Raelia – Will’s partner in the photo was finally able to turn into a model
  3. Keith – he looked great this week on the runway and in photo
  4. Shei – girl rocked the runway this week; her photo could’ve been better, though
  5. Mirjana – took a good photo despite her bad attitude
  6. Adam – took a great photo this week
  7. Lenox – her photo and runway confidence landed her in the bottom two
  8. Denzel – eliminated

but wait–

Comeback Moment

While the models eat soul food, which is a punny way to introduce the international location for the rest of the competition, Seoul, South Korea, she announces it’s time for a model to rejoin the competition.  It’s between Chantelle, the highest social media scoring girl, and Ben, who got the highest score of the guys.  Not Denzel.  Mirjana keeps a stiff upper lip.

Who do you think is coming back?!

I’m team Chantelle.

Doctor Who: A Man in a Box, Literally

I know I said this about Kill the Moon, but Flatline is officially my favorite episode of series 8.  I feel like i’ve been reaching to like this series, but finally this episode completely worked for me.  The Doctor and Clara were in perfect sync, (up until the very end that is,) the monsters were interesting and conceptually scary, and we saw the classic tools of the trade that we love– the sonic screwdriver and psychic paper.  Oh, and we had a lot of fun with a tiny Tardis.

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Never has the statement “it’s bigger on the inside” been more true that when the Tardis, landing roughly when/where Clara asked for it to, turned out to be quite a bit smaller than it was before.

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The Doctor is immediately intrigued, but Clara’s a bit frustrated for ending up in Bristol while she’s hiding her travels from boyfriend Danny.  As Clara goes to investigate, the Tardis shrinks even more to a pocketbook-sized portability, which Clara carries around with her throughout the episode.  The Doctor is full-sized inside, and to indicate the new altered size of the Tardis, its interior door looks like something out of Willy Wonka or Alice in Wonderland.

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This means Clara gets to play Doctor throughout the episode, poking fun at the vagueness of the title and using her new found moral ambiguity to solve a mystery of missing people.

When an Alex Mack-style puddle sucks up a police office, the Doctor makes the connection that the disappearing people are being turned two-dimensional by the episode’s monsters.  Which is to say, they die.

In concept, monsters living in the walls and the floors and basically any flat surface are absolutely terrifying.  We see this as Clara leads a party of city workers through the underground.  In manifestation, they wear the people they’ve killed like camouflage, which sounds really creepy, but look like claymation zombies.

These monsters suck energy from the Tardis so the Doctor is unable to restore its size and functions.  At one point, the tiny Tardis is knocked out of Clara’s hands and onto the subway tracks.  As a train approaches, Clara suggests the Doctor “Addams Family” it off the tracks, as they only way to move it is manually.  He does, but in his short moment of victory dancing, he knocks it back onto the tracks.  It then goes into siege mode: a silver cube with Gallifreyan markings on it that no one could get into or out of.  Clara comes up with a brilliant plan to restore its power, thinking like the Doctor and using the monters’ power.  When the Tardis is restored and the Doctor finally comes out of the box, the moment feels so earned.

Did you guys love this episode as much as I did?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8: Thoughts

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FINALLY all of the inner senshi have gathered!  Well, kinda.  It is beyond me why they can’t make the jump from V to Venus, especially when the others seem to be named after planets.  Since this episode is Minako’s, I’ve got lots of thoughts on her.  Let’s get onto it, shall we?

 

Again, masks rule everything

It is so funny how the senshi can look upon Sailor V[enus] in costume and be like, oh hey that’s probably Sailor V?  She’s wearing a slightly different costume though, so we’re not quite sure.  Minako can pull a thin mask out of her pocket and place it around her eyes and suddenly the vision clicks into place.  Sailor Moon Crystal is seemingly full of this– the mask (and even the Sailor Senshi Make-up) clearly doesn’t magically disguise her as I always kind of assumed it did.  Like Tuxedo Mask’s mask, this disguises are just thin veils that seemingly anyone can see through if they really try.

 

On Minako

Well, she’s not the Minako I remember from the original anime.  I love that Minako, because her outgoing, energetic personality really compliments Usagi’s.  The two of them serve as a great foil for the more serious personalities in the friend group.  Now, if you can’t tell by the title of the anime or the series thus far, *spoiler alert: Minako is not actually Princess Serenity.*  Thinking back to Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the live action series, they fundamentally changed Minako so much that I loved this plot point in that series.  In this representation, I feel that Minako is very confident, but also overly entitled.  I hated hearing everyone call her Princess.  The fact that Artemis knows what’s going on more than Luna does bothered me as well… I always remember Luna being the more authoritative of the two.  Anyway, Minako’s intro story is far from over.  In fact, this episode felt a bit abrupt.  I’m hoping the personality I loved comes out, and I’m looking forward to the real Princess Serenity’s reveal.

I've always thought her Venus Love-Me Chain looked vaguely sex toy-like.  I'm so sorry.

I’ve always thought her Venus Love-Me Chain looked vaguely sex toy-like. I’m so sorry.

We did see a transformation sequence, but without the “Venus Power, Make-Up!” or any kind of summoning call.  Her transformation pen is missing it’s topper as well.  I can’t wait until her tiara arrives instead of the crescent mark which does not belong to her.

 

Speaking of tiaras

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Are we kidding with Sailor Moon’s new tiara transformation?  She looks like she has horns.  Or like, a giant horned bindi.  I hate this one.  When’s the next tiara transformation please?

 

Now let’s talk about these two

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Usako and Mamo-chan!  The relationship between the two of them is really taking off.  Usagi tries to give back the pocket watch she stole accidentally carried off from his apartment, and he reveals that he has something of hers as well.  He tells her to keep it and they will make the exchange next time… meaning, they will be seeing each other again.  Cuteness!

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As Tuxedo Mask (okay, I don’t know much about the rules of honorifics, but why no Tuxedo Kamen-sama in Crystal?) and Sailor Moon, their feelings for each other continue to empower.  Tuxedo Mask is in anguish that he couldn’t save her, and thus jumps in front of her to take the big blast on which the episode ends.  Sailor Moon continues to get braver, more courageous, and righteous in his presence.  She is a better version of herself because of him– isn’t that what love truly is?  She find strength to fight, and tells him to flee, planting this kiss smack on his lips, much to his surprise!

 

Well, with dreams of Endymion and Serenity in both of their heads, I’m sure the details that are bugging me will work their way out soon.  I’m looking forward to seeing V become Venus, though.

What did you guys this of Minako’s official introduction?