Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The lovely and talented Donna George Storey recently shared a recipe for almond tea cake that I tried and loved. So when she asked if I had a recipe for tiramisu, I felt kind of bad, because I kind of don't. It's more of a clusterfuck of what I feel like doing, with some basic steps, but I passed it along to her, so go ahead and check out her blog if you want to check out one of my favorite standards that's never really standard.

Also speaking of food/beverage, I know I'm pathetic at this point, but damn right I'm a gonna try this. I'll mix anything with vodka at least once. Between this and Dexter, blood oranges are really getting some play these days.

Monday, July 27, 2009


It was alternately a very bad, and then a bad that became okay night for betas on HBO last night.

On Entourage, Turtle's birthday increased his post-adolescence funk as he decided it was time to become his own man. While Ari helped to propel E more towards business savy independence, he also had to play dad to Turtle and show him some tough love. We've seen Turtle try to make his own way before when he discovered Saigon, but that turned out fairly disastrously. But now that Vinny's back on top, life should be easy for Turtle. But does this look like a guy who was just given two cars (including one Ferrari) for his birthday and has bagged Jamie-Lynn Sigler?

Oh poor Turtle. The show was in full-swing douche mode when all four guys got to race Ferraris around a track. But, you know, it's Entourage, and I was glad Drama got to do it. When they were done, he mused about getting himself a Ferrari, but Turtle called him out, saying, "In this economy, you'd look like a douche." Of course, two feet away sat Vince's birthday present to Turtle -- a Ferrari. It was one of those insanely over-the-top Entourage moments that make me simultaneously sigh in disgust while also warming my heart. But poor Turtle got little satisfaction from the gift, and then even less from Ari when Ari reamed him out and told him to man up and prove his worth before coming and asking for his help.

In stark contrast was E. I have to say I'm really glad that I finally warmed up to E last season, because he was -- no pun intended here -- gold this episode. Under Ari's coaching, he suited up and went in to fight for his client against a network exec, and then, when all seemed lost, he owned the line of the night by going Omarosa on the executive and saying, "Well, maybe you're racist." Even better was Ari, giggling about it with him over the phone, telling him he was proud of him even though he blew it.

While E took another step toward independence, poor Lloyd kept sucking it up, proving his worth to Ari by memorizing insane amounts of info and greeting all clients more professionally. "Good afternoon Mr., uh, Turtle." But Turtle too, didn't buckle under Ari's challenge and decided to take the first step to bringing his ideas to fruition by going back to school. What the fuck, man? Is this Entourage or an after-school special all the sudden? All I can say is good for Turtle, but he BETTER be hitting the books while being baked, or this whole plotline just lost all cred.

Though I'm sure it wasn't intentional, Hung's Ray finally manned-up last night and turned his first successful trick. Quite a big leap from last week when his client stole his wallet and maxed out his credit cards. (That really does make me giggle, even a week later.) Not as funny as last week with him getting played like that, but nice development.

Meanwhile, the weird and wonderful True Blood got its mojo back this week. How bad can an episode be when it starts off with Eric drinking hooker blood in a hotel bar and being too bored to endure it?

That's Eric for you, alright. I'm rapidly becoming enchanted with Alexander Skarsgard. He plays Eric with such calm composure, and yet there's a nearly palpable difference between his lazily bored demeanor and the times when he's quietly pensive, and then the dangerous, coiled and controlled monstrous strength he simply projects, and it's enough to intrigue and scare the shit out of you, considering we have seen him rip people limb from limb. And he did, of course, get snippy with the hooker when she called him "baby" because, say it with me people, he is "over 1,000 years old."

I also loved Lafayette's hallucinating Andy as Eric. Skarsgard nailed those Andy facial expressions, and it was made even funnier when later in the episode, Sam mimicked Andy's voice talking about the pig. As an aside, Terry taking care of cowering, PTSDing Lafayette was about the sweetest thing ever. But back to Eric...

As awesomely threatening and yet supernaturally sexy as Eric is -- and he is sex on film, the country of Sweden has crowned him their sexiest man six times now

(Can People magazine and their beautiful people issue be far behind? Now that they've run through the cast of Ocean's Eleven, maybe they'll go slumming in the southern vampire series and discover some new sex next year) -- I was alternately scared by and then scared for Vampire Bill. (and yes, that was one hell of a fucked up sentence, but I do this shit for free, so let it go.)

Bill. BILL! What the fuck! I finally get what Malcolm and the rest of the ratty pack meant last year when they called him out for being buzzkill now that he's mainstreaming. With last night's flashback, we finally got a glimpse of pre-Sookie, "adolescent" Bill. He and his gorgeous-yet-nasty maker Lorena owned the bloodiest, most disturbing scene of the night as flapper-era vamps who terrorized and slaughtered a couple and then fucked in blood-soaked bed while the woman kept oozing blood around them. So gross! (awesome!) But truly disturbing, considering it was Bill, who we've recently been lulled into thinking of as a "good" guy. But, you know, he was still Bill in the scene. Though nastily mocking the man, he was still decidedly dorky about it, repeating the poor fellow's stutter and shouting "Au revoir!" Then, of course, back in the present day, he gets beat up by a girl. Oh, Bill.

But the best little touch last night? A couple eps ago, Bill got cutesy with Eric. Knowing Eric was picking up the tab, Bill ordered a $45 bottle of TruBlood, and when Eric said he hoped that Bill would at least enjoy it, Bill smirked as he said he had no intention of drinking it, he was just wanted Eric to pay for it. Eric called him immature and moved on, but I thought it was pretty funny. Last night, fully frustrated, Bill's progeny Jessica checked out the room service and saw the price of TruBlood being $45, and, assuming Bill was paying, she snottily took two bottles from the mini-fridge and dumped them down the drain. She is SOOO his "daughter!"

Apropos of nothing, but Anna Paquin does about the best screaming of anyone.

She's got a lot of different screams, for all different occasions. Last night, it was high-pitched and mewly, short burts while she struggled to get away. Totally different from her pain-filled, nearly whistle scream, and a whole different category from her shock/surprise/scared scream. Good job, Anna. I also loved Sookie's observation that Mrs. Reverend Newlin looks like "vanilla pudding." Particularly funny considering the infamous "Sarah doesn't whip out her pudding for just anybody" line earlier this year.

The entire last twenty minutes of the show had insane mounting tension, and not least of all because they waited until the 52 minute mark to finally give us shirtless Jason. Back to that pudding being whipped out? We knew it was coming. I don't care how tight the pudding lockdown supposedly is. He is Jason fucking Stackhouse and if he wants pudding, he's gonna get it. And he got it, even though he really doesn't want it.

But it was our perpetual beta dog, Sam, who finally had it all collapse on him last night. I knew it was a bad idea to sleep with another employee. Turns out, this time, it's because she's a minion -- and the pig! She's the infamous, motherfucking Paul Bunyan, lacking a livestock permit pig! And she led him straight to Maryann. That vibrating bitch! I was so concerned about what she wanted with Tara that I forgot that Tara was just a pawn to get to Sam. I still don't get why, but poor old Sam. Unlike Turtle, I don't think a few adult education courses are going to get him out of this pickle. (though I still recommend that sexual harassment seminar, dude.) The poor, scruffy, plaid-wearing son-of-a-bitch. (<--probably literally, hee!) The best part that makes it all so True Blood? Yeah, he was kidnapped and taken to an orgy! WHY exactly aren't you watching this show yet?

Monday, July 20, 2009

True Blood Drinking Game Season Two Addendum

Okay, anytime someone mentions that Godric is two fucking thousand years old, don't drink. Vomit up everything you've been drinking. Seriously. Godric is 2,000 years old! Did you know that? Has Eric mentioned this to you? Ask him about it. He's sure to let you know that he's 1,000 years old, and that Godric is twice as old as he is, and twice as strong. So that means that Godric is 2,000 years old!

Now look, Alan Ball, I TRULY do appreciate all the shit this brings together on the show, what with Jason being "made" into a warrior by the radical Christians. You know, Christians, people who believe in Jesus, a guy who lived 2,000 years ago! And now, our resident super-Vamp, Eric, with all his seemingly feline disinterest, is all uppity because his 2,000 year old maker has been stolen by this church! But this all became anvilicious last week with all the repeated utterings of age. This week? Just ridiculous.

That said, I absolutely cracked up at Barry giving Sookie the smackdown about her being from some "burnt corncob of a town and hanging out with candy-assed vampires." Truly, the funniest yet reference to Dallas being rogue and all generally Texas in their 'tude, while also getting in the weekly jab about Vampire Bill being a lame-O. Poor fuckin' Bill. No longer just a dork, now also a candy-ass.

This week had to be the most boring episode ever of this show. It had been laughable that it had been overlooked by the Emmys for show/writing/acting categories, and yet I wasn't at all surprised. For as popular as this show was last year, it was hugely un-watercoolerish, in that no one was talking about it. I mean, I did, some. But I think most of us had the same guilt over it, so we'd huddle in our darkened rooms and drool over the episodes and then be embarrassed to talk about it, being as it is, after all, a freaking vampire show. It just sounds so silly. But then something happened after the season finale and viewers couldn't stand it anymore and started to make little asides until it built, and the anticipation over Lafayette's fate was too much to keep secret once the new season got close. Then, this summer, it just exploded the way a staked vampire can and suddenly it was a Bloodbath in the media and on the streets. But that was a little too little and a little too late for Emmy consideration, and the Emmys DO go with the flow of chatter instead of actually picking stuff up on their own. But then, sadly, after the noms were announced, instead of this episode making it seem ludicrous that it was left off the list, it just made the whole show seem ludicrous to any new viewers. I mean, seriously.

What the fuck? ZERO bloodshed and gore content. They totally ignored the murder mystery that opened the season. Even though it has obviously been back-burnered what with the 2,000 year old Godric problem, we could've at least had one shot of Andy working on it, or the pig problem. Worse, Bill and Sookie have hit "Schmoopy" territory with their relationship. THIS is exactly the shit that people are talking about when they call you a bitch, Bill!

Worse yet, at the end of the show, vibrating bitch Maryann shows up looking like she raided Big Love's Juniper Creek wardrobe department and Tara didn't say SHIT about it! I realize that Tara must be spellbound or something, but STILL. Without her saying, "Bitch, what are you wearing?" it just seemed even more bizarre.

Also? Whenever that once-unintentionally-creepy-assed-now-turned-hilarious-due-to-overexposure photo of Tara/Gran/Sookie appears onscreen -- DRINK. Oh my God, y'all. That thing has become so funny to me.

Not funny any longer? Eggs/Maryann/Carl. They now bore me. No orgy this week. Call me fickle, but I missed it. Just all of a sudden they're like displaced Katrina refugees, looking for someplace to live. You KNOW Sookie is gonna go total bitchcakes when she gets back and finds remnants of that damn party/orgy, but she will then lose her shit totally to find them camped out in Gran's room while she's stuck hearing Maryann's inner thoughts of chanting to Dionysus so she can grow talons. What horseshit. Also? Bill will be PISSED cuz Sooks will be pissed. And I just want to smash Eggs' stupid guitar over his head, playing lame-ass shit even John Mayer would think was pussy.

I'm also pissed that it's two weeks in a row with no Pam. That's what Sookie should do! When Tara drops the dime to Sookie about the un-fab trio hunking down at Chez Stackhouse, Sookie should make Eric get PAM to go over there to chaperone.

Another Drink add on? Whenever Sam has sex with an employee -- drink. I know we'll all be plastered, but it needs to be said at this point. I have never seen anyone so happy to dip his pen in the company ink. Or, in his case, I guess, dip his straw in the bar's mixed drink. Christ! (Or, er, Godric!) Someone please get this guy to a seminar about this kind of thing. Terry? Lafayette? Bueller? ANYONE!

On the upside, I'm sure next week will be a return to the gore and action and sick sex. (And no, that holy-water handjob Jason got doesn't count for this week. That was funny, alright, and weird, but )
Hardcore fans only for the next paragraph, cause I've got a major spoiler I can share with you:

A very reliable source has confirmed to me that it's true -- Godric is 2,000 years old! Shhhh, don't tell anyone, I think it's a secret!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Evil, Orgies, and Growing Up

Finally, Entourage returned for the summer last night. HBO is obviously gunning for a big Sunday night with True Blood, Hung, and Entourage. Hung, I'm still undecided about, as it's got this annoying habit of starting at the end and flashing back to reveal each episode. I don't mind non-linear storytelling, as long it's done well. (Pulp Fiction) But it can also be a shortcut to try and keep the click-happy viewing public engaged by putting the climax upfront and then making us sit through the build-up. The problem with this trick, when it's done repeatedly, is that it's needed only if the episodes are consistently THAT boring in the build-up. Also, the "hook" or climax had better be good enough to keep me watching to see what caused it, and I'm not sure Hung is doing that. But it's happily (and luckily) sandwiched between Blood and the boys, and not only is Thomas Jane still cute, but Jane Adams is interesting, so I may as well give it a shot. I just hope it doesn't become a chore, the way that Weeds and Nurse Jackie feel.

Those two shows are definitely living off audience goodwill. Weeds at least culled its own goodwill with a few very funny seasons, but Jackie is leaching off the goodwill of Edie Falco and The Sopranos -- and neither show is delivering.

Entourage, of course, has built up gallons of good will over the seasons, and it has cemented itself as a thing of summer. The first episode wasn't bad, but it did coast a bit. There were a few funny bits, and they've thrown down the gauntlet for the season, as the whole first episode was hinting at the end of this protracted adolescence for the guys. Drama was hard at work, Turtle was in a good relationship, E was managing his now successful company and thinking of moving out on his own, and even Vinny took a huge step toward independence by finally getting his driver's license. As if that's not enough, Lloyd is finally making his stand and demanding Ari consider promoting him. I remember high school graduation, and how bittersweet it all was, because while everything was good and it was exciting to commence onto bigger and better things, it was also sad because I knew nothing would ever be like high school again. Friends would drift apart and move away, and we'd start doing things instead of fucking around at the beach for days on end. Seeing Vince come home to his empty house was a bit sad, like going home after the prom. He's back on top in the town, but here he was, all alone. Luckily, they didn't play this heavy-handed, as it IS Entourage and it wisely knows its place as a COMEDY. And I assume we can sidestep the sad thing of friends drifting off, considering this season's tagline is simply "life changes. friends don't."

Even luckier, True Blood also knows its place, particularly in the most recent episode written by Alan Ball himself. It's not a drama, it's not a horror show, it's not a comedy. It's all those things. Admittedly, the horror barometer dropped this episode. In fact, I don't think I had to turn away from the screen due to squick factor even once. But the comedy was high and Ball got the ball really rolling.

Prepare yourself, because the following sentence is one that I never thought I'd type, and you probably didn't either. I'm really a little sick of the orgy scenes. Gah! Can you believe it? A little part of me actually died at having to type that! But that's how good Blood is overall. Unlike Hung, which has been using the jumbled timeline to build more interest, Blood has been exquisitely good at keeping each episode ended on a cliffhanger, picking up the next one at exactly that spot, and then keeping the tension/action superbly taut. But for three episodes in a row, we've gotten prolonged orgy scenes, and they were really starting to weigh things down because it just wasn't new. FINALLY this episode we got not only the orgy, but an epic sex scene between Tara and Eggs as that crazy vibrating bitch finally revealed something new, too. And, instead of just sex and dancing in a Matrix 2 rave-like manner, this time the orgy goers started doing face plants in plates of sandwiches and eating dirt. I can give that a thumbs up.

Something else I give a thumbs up? Whoever does the makeup and lighting on this show is top notch. I mean, I know we're dealing with pretty girls to start with. And they've always used the lighting in an almost film noir way in this show. But all I know is this -- if any female is asked to appear on this show, she should say yes immediately, because they are going to make her look supernaturally beautiful.

I've had enough of the crappy curls on Sookie so far this year. It's made her look a little over-made-up, but I did love the hell out of her fancy yellow traveling outfit this week. So Sookie.

But it was the boys who stole the show. From LaFayette's regenerated libido-laced dance to Jason Stackhouse laying down the ultimate in idiot logic at church camp. When his nemesis tries to end the hilarious discussion about who the first biblical vampire was by simply saying, "All I know is that you can count on God to make sure evil gets punished," Jason was able to shut him up with this gem: "Oh yeah? Then how do you explain Europe?" So beautifully Jason Stackhouse.

And, finally, I have to succumb to Vampire Bill. From threatening sweet Hoyt with "Are you going to leave or do I have to throw you out? Of a window! That is closed!" To slyly telling Sookie, "I am a vampire. I am supposed to be tormented." I have finally come around to Stephen Moyer's deadpan deliveries and lack of contractions. He, more than anyone else, cracks me up. He had me last year with his damn Frescas for guests, but this year I'm getting quite a charge out of him. Maybe it's because he's the resident "Johnny Drama" of the show, constantly beleaguered, always played the bitch by Eric and Jessica and whoever else. But he has this strange delivery that I guess maybe only the Brits can master, cause he really does remind me a bit of Cary Grant when he says offhanded shit like, "I will need your credit card number" and it cracks me up. Well, you know, if Cary Grant was painted in white chalk, wearing fangs, and was a Louisiana southern gentleman-come-deadly predator. And I love when people call him "Vampire Bill" instead of just Bill. And this episode, Ball wrote him the best lines to bring out his wry humor while still sticking it to him at every opportunity. Him trying to navigate the tutelage of his young progeny Jessica is just comic gold, as is watching her struggle to not only grow up, but grow into her new life, er, or, undeath.

I am just so glad the holiday is over and we get our Sunday nights now. Of course, I'll probably pitch a fit once Labor Day rolls around. Not just because it is a bittersweet time -- both fun with the big picnics and parties and fireworks (though probably no orgies at casa DiPlacido -- probably), but also sad because it is calling an end to the fun of summer, but mostly because it will once again interrupt my addiction, and I'm just not grown up enough to handle it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Summer Reading

The new issue of Eclectica is live, and it features a great interview with Ellen Meister and Saralee Rosenberg about the creative/writing process. It also features a great new story by William Reese Hamilton.

I am also interviewed by the talented Ashley Lister in the newest issue of ERWA. I truly feel for people who have to interview me, as I am a terrible combination of utterly boring, and unreasonably aloof. But Ashley asked great questions which made it easy to oblige.

Also over at ERWA, you'll find Donna George Storey's latest column, which is perfect for summer, as it features picnics and porn. Enjoy "Naked Lunch" with Donna.

Last but most certainly not least, I've been reading the new book by Ron Currie, Jr., Everything Matters! I only started it two days ago, but I'll be finishing it up tonight, which is a little sad. (I get sad when something I'm loving comes to an end.) As for finishing it so quickly, well, I think we all know how I can get a bit obsessed when I'm given some good material. This book is no exception. It's not genre that I usually slip into for summer, but it grabbed me from the start with the strong premise. While still in utero, Junior Thibodeau starts getting introductory messages from a strange voice. Though the voice is rather cheery and informative, it also drops the major buzzkill on him that the earth will be destroyed by a comet when Junior is 36. It then takes an unusual -- and very ambitious -- direction by placing chapters in the various family members' perspectives. Junior's mother, father, and brother advance the time and story, along with splices of The Voice. So far, it's quirky and endearing while being shaded with darkness. Too dark and not nearly whimsical or quirky enough to be like a Tom Robbins tale, though the message part is reminiscent of some of his stuff. Overall it's much more in style and tone to Vonnegut, and there's just nothing wrong with that. So if you're looking for summer reading with a little bit more protein than the usual junk food fare, consider checking it out. I think you'll find yourself engrossed and glad you picked it up.