Friday, July 27, 2007

Top Chef Reunion Episode!

I have no response to that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top Chef: Miami, episode 5: the Joey gets his head out of his ass episode!

Joey: "I can't do nothin' right."

Well, maybe you could start with your grammar.

We get a long montage about the amazing friendship between Casey and Lia. They will be best friends forever. Obviously, one of them will be going home tonight.

OK, so Maria Frumkin tells the chefs they have to make something using frozen pie crusts:

Chefs: "But we aren't pastry chefs!"

Oh, my god! Will you shut up about not being pastry chefs?! Just make something!

Padma: "Maria, can you give the chefs some advice for making something really good with these crappy things?"

Maria: "I would be happy to. You will really have to do something in order to make something good out of these pie crusts."

Well, armed with that invaluable advice, most of the chefs do a pretty good job. They make some really interesting things; a couple of desserts but mostly savory dishes. I don't remember many of them but I think the judge liked Tre's, Dale's, and Joey's. Hung used the recipe for a chocolate pie from the label of a Cool Whip container. The judge didn't like it:

Hung: "The flavors were all there."

It may have tasted fine but it was boring and it looked like shit.

Joey wins with a trio of tarts:

Joey: "I told everyone I had no dessert experience. But guess what ... I LIED! Suckers! Don't tell anyone."

Don't worry; your secret is safe with me.

Padma: "For the elimination challenge you will be preparing Latin dishes for the cast and crew of the telenovela Dame Chocolate. Obviously, they know their Latin food so they will hate everything you make. Good luck! Oh, and the schedule of filming can be very erratic so they never know exactly when they will need food to be ready for meal breaks. You will have three hours to prepare your food."

Chefs: "Woohoo! Three hours is so much time! This is great!"

Were you not paying attention? Padma basically just told you that you are not really going to have three hours because the filming schedule is going to change. But try to act surprised when Tom comes in and tells you the time has been cut.

Tom: "Can I have your attention, everyone?"

Chefs: "Oh, my god! That is a shocking development! What are we going to do?"

Tom: "I haven't even made the announcement yet."

Chefs: "Oh, right. Go ahead."

Tom: "It turns out the meal break has been moved up and you will only have an hour and a half to prepare the food instead of the three you were originally told."

Chefs: "Oh, my god! That is a shocking development! What are ..."

Tom: "Oh, shut up."

The chefs have to speed up their work. Hung is rushing around like a maniac. And he runs like a girl:

Hung: "Are you sure you want to say that while I'm holding this knife?"

You make a good point.

America votes on whether Padma, Tom, or Gail is sexiest. Personally, I would have picked Gail. She's pretty and has huge breasts; even bigger than Tom's. But, being the only man, Tom wins out among Bravo viewers. Congratulations Tom, you big, bald grouch!

Lia, Asian Sara, Casey, and Hung are the bottom four. Sara made guacamole and called it ceviche. Lia made some weird Mexican polenta. Casey's and Hung's dishes just weren't very good. Lia is out:

Casey: "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Poor Casey. How will she go on?

Casey: "Oh, it's alright. I've gotten over it."

Howie and Joey are not fighting anymore. In fact, now they can't stop professing their love for each another:

Howie: "Your dish was the best!"

Joey: "No, your dish was the best!"

Howie: "Oh, stop; you're making me blush!"

Geez! Will you two just get a room?!

Howie wins a bottle of wine:

Joey: "OMG! I am so happy for him! He totally deserves it! Howie is such a great chef! And he's so cute!"

[OK, I made up that last part.]

Anyway, Joey won the quickfire, came in second in the elimination challenge, and stopped fighting with everyone. And that's the story of how Joey got his head out of his ass.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just for Laughs! It's the Freshmaker!

Did anyone see the show "Just for Laughs" on ABC? We didn't intentionally watch it. It's a practical joke show but the soundtrack is only music and enough canned laughter to lead you to believe that something funny is happening.

Other Eric: "Is this show European? Why is there no dialogue?"

Me: "I know! It's like a Mentos commercial!"
Well, we figured out why the show is so weird. It's from Canada!
Thanks, Canada!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Top Chef: Miami: Episode 4 Recap: Group Therapy!

Did you enjoy that little break from Top Chef? Well, vacation's over, suckers!

Tonight's episode is brought to you by Alcoholics Anonymous and the guest judge for the quickfire is master mixologist Fat Boy Slim, the favorite DJ of middle-aged white guys! OK, let's mix it up on the dance floor and get those records spinning!

Padma: "What the hell are you talking about? A mixologist creates cocktails."

Oh. Well, in that case, I'm a little embarrassed about making Fat Boy Slim come all the way down here for nothing.

Fat Boy Slim: "Don't worry about it. It's not like I had anything better to do."

We are then introduced to Bombay Sapphire gin, that comes in a "plethora" of vapor-infused flavors. Everyone ignores the fact that they are standing in the middle of an extended commercial. I wish they had just brought that elephant from the commercial into the kitchen. Then, at least, the elephant in the room would have been literal.

The chefs are assigned cocktails and they have to pair them with appetisers. Casey knows how to pair wine but not cocktails. Hung says no cocktail is good enough to be paired with his food. Dale seems shocked that there is alcohol in his cocktail.

Hung is told by the guest judge that his dish isn't paired very well with his cocktail.

Hung: "So sweet doesn't go with creamy?"

Oh! Burn! He did NOT just say that! I don't think the guest judge will ever recover his dignity after being slammed like that!

Hung: "Well, I think he was confused so I had to call him out on it."

It really, really pains me to say this but I think Hung is kind of an asshole.

Hung: "YES! Finally! Thank you!"

Casey wins immunity with her foie gras french toast and, according to the editing, spends the rest of the episode eating sandwiches, laying in bed, and hiding in the walk-in refrigerator.

For the elimination challenge the chefs will form four teams of three, with each team creating a trio plate consisting of one main ingredient prepared three ways. Got that? They pick names out of a pot to see who is in each team and then argue about what each team is going to make and whether they need dessert.

Dale: "I'm switching teams!"

You're going straight?

Dale: "No, I'm going to make dessert."

Well, that's even more ridiculous. Dale manages to find two other chefs willing to try to make dessert. I have to say that if I'm eating a multi-course meal I want some damn dessert! So I'm glad they are going for it, even though it is a suicide mission. Seriously, every season the chefs always make a big deal about how none of them is a pastry chef. I completely understand that baking is a very exacting science and it is difficult to do without a recipe. But if you are going to go on a competition show like this, you should take the time to memorize a few basic dessert recipes. Even I can make a simple cake batter without a recipe. And, of course, there are plenty of desserts that don't involve baking at all. Of course we've seen some decent desserts on this show (last season had a few) but everyone always acts like they are being asked to perform brain surgery.

Anyway, they are sent to the market without enough money to buy ingredients, for some reason.

The team doing the first course is Lia, Brian, and Hung. They went to get scallops but the scallops were frozen so they bought shrimp instead.

The team doing the second course is Casey, Joey, and Howie. They were going to do duck but they couldn't figure out how much the duck costs so they bought salmon instead. They have to change all their plans so Casey has a snack and takes a nap.

The team doing the third course is C.J., Asian Sara, and Tre. They are doing filet mignon and truffles. Surprisingly, this is expensive.

Dale: "They are not taking risks. Just doing a little seared piece of beef? Hung's monkey could do that."

Hung: "Leave my monkey out of this!"

The team doing the fourth course is Dale, Cheesy Sara, and Camille. We are told, "they didn't have to do dessert but they chose to do it anyway," about two dozen times. We get it! Dale thinks he is the one who chose pineapple:

Dale: "I said, 'make it fun, make it fruity, make it gay!'"

Everyone: "Make it gay, make it gay, make it gaaaaay!"

I love it when everyone sings!

OK, so they are making dinner for the Shane Rotisserie-Chicken Dining Club, or something like that. Who are these freaks? They are wearing ribbons and medals like they just won best in breed at the Westminster Kennel Club. Other Eric and I are pretty sure one of them is Chip from The Amazing Race. I guess eating live octopus qualified him to be in this club.

Everyone loves the shrimp course. I'm not going to mention Hung's foam, though.

Ted: "The shrimp course was like poetry. But, like, good poetry. Not like most poetry, which is shit."

All three parts of the dish were good but the judges chose Lia as the winner:

Guest Judge: "I'd like to invite you to the Hamptons."

Padma: "Well, that's a little inappropriate."

Guest Judge: "No; I'm inviting her to participate in a charity event."

Padma: "Oh, that's alright, then."

The beef course was pretty good. The salmon course was bad. Casey's was apparently terrible but she has immunity so she may be responsible for sending home either Joey or Howie:

Casey: "You've laid a guilt blanket on me."


Casey: "You know; like a blanket but instead of being made out of yarn, it's made out of guilt."

Oh. Right.

The dessert course was total crap. Camille's cake was like English desserts, which I would have taken as a compliment but which Chip meant as an insult. No one mentions Dale's dessert, which sounded delicious; but he gets blamed for making the decision to do dessert in the first place and for choosing the totally gay ingredient of pineapple. Cheesy Sara did not fool Tom by freezing her pannecotta and calling it semifreddo:

Tom: "I'm not as stupid as I look."

Well, this has been a good group therapy session for Casey, Joey, and Howie. Joey and Howie patched up their differences through their mutual disdain for Casey during most of the episode and then they made up with Casey at the end when she apologized for making the worst dish in the history of food.

Ah, everyone is happy! Oh, except for Camille, of course. She's gone.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shout-Out Time! It's link-a-licious!

It's been a little while since I've lavished praises on everyone!

I was tagged with a Thinking Blogger Award (started at The Thinking Blog) by Doralong of What Would Jackie Wear so I just wanted to thank her for that. I'm supposed to tag five other thinking bloggers but I think I'll just mention some people here.

(This reminds me that the HoInMo tagged me a while ago on International Blogging Day to write about why I blog but I didn't get around to it then.)

First, let's go back into the mists of time, to the prehistoric period of Eric Three Thousand: January 2006:

The quick and yet still amazingly boring story about how I started blogging: It started with Other Eric (of Everything Eric) forcing me to watch Project Runway and me becoming obsessed. While reading Manolo's Shoe Blog I learned about Blogging Project Runway. At some point I had to create a blogger account in order to comment on BPR and that is how Eric3000 came to be. It turned out there was already a blog called Eric3000, though, so I had to actually name my blog Eric Three Thousand. I didn't really think much about it since I was the only Eric3000 commenting on BPR. Why Eric3000? I had a little crush on André Benjamin. Simple as that. (Oh, I've subsequently done searches and learned that there are a number of Eric3000s on the web. I've been thinking about finding all of them and doing a post about that.)

Anyway, my first actual post, in September of 2006, was about how disappointed I was in the stupid television show Fashion House! I know! Such humble beginnings. Soon after that, however, I started writing recaps of Project Runway, to which the wonderful people at BPR were kind enough to link. I got most of my early readers through BPR. I also have to thank the boys at Project Rungay for their early support!

But enough about me! Let's talk about you. What do you think of me? OK, seriously, as far as other thinking bloggers, I'd like to mention a few that I read regularly who write about serious as well as fun topics. One of my favorites is Lynette at Big Ass Bell. She updates her blog constantly and always finds interesting things to write about. There are two others who, like me, were writing a lot about Bravo programs and recently have been covering more political topics: Trixie at Kora in Hell and Ms. Place at Dishin' dat. (Let me also take this opportunity to mention Ms. Place's Jane Austen blog, Jane Austen's World, which I also love. I keep forgetting to add it to my links.)

Also check out my other links. I'm sure they are all thinking bloggers!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My, What Big Carbon Footprints You Have!

Six hours of Fergie at Wembly Stadium weren't enough for you last Sunday? Well, lucky you, she's screeching the same songs today for 22 straight hours in order to combat global warming!

OK, so while watching Madonna, Al Gore, Robert Redford, and (of course) Snoop Dog save the planet, I finally decided to try and figure out my carbon footprint. Have you tried to do this? Frankly, I was scared to do it, which is why it took me so long. I know I'm probably more eco-friendly than your average American but I know I can do a lot better.

Anyway, I tried about a dozen different carbon calculators online and they are pretty disappointing. They don't go into much detail and the results vary widely. I produce somewhere between four and ten tons of carbon a year and am somewhere between "below average" and "average" for an American. That's not very helpful. Actually, most of the sites said I was below average so that's good. One said I produce nine tons while the average American produces 18! I know, right? I've been holding back on my carbon emissions but I guess I can go crazy now!

So, like I said, I'm not very impressed by the accuracy of these calculators. But I did learn two interesting things. First, I took two flights in the past year and that could be responsible for as much as forty percent of my carbon emissions! Two flights are almost equal to a year's worth of driving and air-conditioning! I knew airplanes created a lot of pollution but I still found that surprising.

The second interesting thing I learned is that you can buy off the environment. Cheap. That's right, just like indulgences in the Catholic church, you can send money to environmental groups to make up for your carbon sins. One organization told me that I would be carbon neutral if I just send them $29 a year! Cool; that's much easier than conserving energy!

I was really hoping the calculators would go into more detail about my eco-friendliness. Instead, I'll write about what a horrible/saintly person I am here.

Flying: Like I said, I had no idea my holidays were quite so terrible for the environment. It's not like I'm flying on a private jet. But I don't make lots of short flights and I don't fly for business so think I'm pretty good compared to many people.

Driving: My annual mileage is pretty low: around 8,000 miles. My commute to work is only about 12 miles. Unfortunately it takes me about an hour to drive that 12 miles. I know everyone complains about their commute but I'm proud to say that I actually get to drive on officially the worst freeway interchange in the United States: the intersection of the 405 and the 101. I'm not exaggerating; it's the worst in the country! God, that transition sucks! What was I talking about? Oh, yeah; the point is I don't get great gas mileage because most of my driving is in that awful traffic. But I do have my new Honda Civic. It's not a hybrid but I get about 28 miles to the gallon (it's supposed to get 40 highway) and that's almost twice the mpg of my last car.

I feel pretty good about the improvement in gas mileage over my last car. Of course, I could do much better by carpooling or taking the bus but I just don't do it. I've tried carpooling and it's just such a pain in the ass. I tend to stay at work longer than many people want to because I use the gym there. I also like to be a little flexible in my hours; I don't want to worry about running a little late in the morning or leaving late one night to make up for leaving early another night. I know I'm just being selfish. Also, I tried carpooling with a girl from France who drove like a maniac. I assumed it was because she was European but it turned out she had just gotten her driver's license. And the day after we stopped carpooling her car went spinning out of control on Sunset Blvd. (don't worry, she was fine). I lost my taste for carpooling after that. And don't get me started about the bus; I'll just start sobbing uncontrollably.

Power: I don't think we are too bad here. In my last little studio apartment I didn't have air conditioning so I hardly used any electricity. Eric and I use a lot more electricity because we have central air and we have to use it much of the year. We both have trouble sleeping and need it quite cold. We do turn the temperature up during the day. And we almost never have to use the heating in the winter because, our apartment being on the top floor and getting lots of sun, gets really hot in the summer but stays pretty warm in the winter.

We finally went out and bought those funny curly light bulbs that use something like 80 percent less energy. You're welcome! Unfortunately, we can't use them in all our light fixtures because they only seem to come in one size and some of our lights use smaller bulbs. I'm sure they'll start making smaller ones soon.

Recycling: I don't recycle very much. I feel terrible about it! This apartment is the first place I've lived in Los Angeles that doesn't have recycling bins. I think we live in one of the few places in the city that doesn't have a program. I don't have the energy to drive all over town trying to recycle old magazines! When I first moved to Los Angeles I used to take my recycling to the grocery store and then I recycled at home when the city started supplying bins. But because most of the city has bins now you can no longer recycle at the grocery store. This is very annoying but I just keep telling myself the city will start a program soon. In my defense, I don't actually produce that much trash. I don't take the newspaper and I drink filtered tap water (so I don't have lots of bottles to throw away). And supposedly my trash at work is recycled.

[Update: a neighbor told me I can take my recycling to Whole Foods so I'll start doing that. Eric also says we should be able to get bins for our apartment soon]

Water: This isn't included in the carbon calculators but obviously it takes a lot of power to clean and transport water to our homes. I'm sure I waste a lot of water; I could take shorter showers, for instance. But at least I don't have a lawn and I share a swimming pool with a couple of dozen people so I don't feel too bad.

Work: I have no idea how much energy I consume at work; and I don't think the carbon calculators take this into account. I work for a nonprofit and I think the organization tries to be environmentally conscious but I have no idea how it translates to my personal responsibility. Apparently the organization recycles and tries to use some low-water landscaping. The library where I work is kept freezing, however. We are told this is to preserve the books. We try to explain that humans have to exist in the environment as well but they don't seem to listen. It also doesn't explain why it seems to be over-heated in the winter. I don't know how green the buildings are. I do know the air conditioning involves some sort of evaporative water system. It's pretty amazing; I saw it once. It's like this series of waterfalls in an underground cavern! It's so beautiful that it's a shame it has to be hidden under ground! Anyway, I don't know if that kind of system uses less energy.

Well, that's it. Am I forgetting anything? Let me know if you have better luck calculating your carbon footprint. All I determined is that I'm better than average. But I already knew that.