Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Behold my favorite season in full bloom: Awards Season! The SAGs were Sunday, and the Oscar nominations came out this morning (5:30am PST).
For the last two years, Chrismatica™ has been a rousing success in picking the winners with a 100% success rate. I’m not sure how well I will do this year, but I’m already starting my calculations.
If there is anyone who has a ‘lock’ at this point, it is Ang Lee who won the Director’s Guild award. In the history of the guild only twice has the Academy not followed the DGA—and in those cases the DGA winner wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Before the telecast even starts, Brokeback will already be a winner.
The rest will need some heavy calculations to come up with a winner.
For those of you who do not know the nominees (and, honestly, what is wrong with you—I have them memorized already), here are the nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards:
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Philip Seymour Hoffman - CAPOTE
Terrence Howard - HUSTLE & FLOW
Heath Ledger - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Joaquin Phoenix - WALK THE LINE
David Strathairn - GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
George Clooney - SYRIANA
Matt Dillon - CRASH
Paul Giamatti - CINDERELLA MAN
Jake Gyllenhaal - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
William Hurt - A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Judi Dench - MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
Felicity Huffman - TRANSAMERICA
Keira Knightley - PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Charlize Theron - NORTH COUNTRY
Reese Witherspoon - WALK THE LINE
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams - JUNEBUG
Catherine Keener - CAPOTE
Frances McDormand - NORTH COUNTRY
Rachel Weisz - THE CONSTANT GARDENER
Michelle Williams - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE
TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE
WALLACE & GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
My picks should be out on March 2nd. Oscar Sunday is March 5—5:00pm (PST).
Sunday, January 29, 2006
This weekend, I finally decided to start baking bread. I’ve made candies and cakes, but I’ve never made bread from scratch.
I have a wonderful book by French baker Richard Bertinet titled “Dough.” He’s into a very simple, yet elegant style. The book comes with a dvd, which I watched more than half a dozen times, trying to understand his style.
So, I woke up early Saturday morning and attempted to make the dough…
Let me just say, that I know Mr. Bertinet has many years experience on me, but as I tried to imitate his form, I realized I was failing miserably. Bertinet kept saying, “the bread is alive! It has life!” and mine looked… well, it didn’t look very alive. In fact, it didn’t look like much of anything. It just sort of laid there. Like a lump. Granted, it did sort of look bread-like, but it most certainly didn’t look alive.
I then let the bread rest for an hour and it was supposed to double in size…
It was still just lying there. Lazy bread, is there anything more annoying?*
I decided to continue. Why? I’m an idiot, did you need a reason?**
Back to our story… I “worked” the dough and let it rest another hour, with similar results, and I baked it anyhow. At this point, I decided God hated me and wanted me to fail, and who am I to doubt God?***
I put it in the oven and 10 – 12 minutes later the most heinous pieces of crap came out of the oven. So, the only logical thing to do was to put it back in a little longer. After five more minutes, it still looked bad—smelled good, thought—but no longer heinous! Another ten minutes and it was almost passable as food!
I stared at the hot, hard mess I’d pulled out of my oven and thought, “Damnit, I may just have to read the directions.” (Kidding… Jeez, do you really think I’m so stupid that I’d not read the directions?****)
I made a second batch a few hours later… the kitchen was warmer and I think that helped. My God, on the first rise... THE DOUGH WAS ALIVE! It was pliable and sexy and fucking alive!
I can’t tell you the feeling of having the bread rise as it did. It really was exhilarating. It truly was alive and the smell was wonderful. Four simple ingredients could become a living, breathing thing just amazes me. While I understand the science of it, I am amazed none-the-less.
The smell and the feel of the dough is intoxicating. Pressing it in my fingers with the scent rising up was a luscious sensation which I cannot do justice. I suggest you try it, you will not forget it. I am so glad I worked through the “failure” of my first batch to this second batch. The disappointment was so worth it to get to the final result.
I ended up making two loaves, one as a traditional baguette, the other as a fancy Epis (which looks like a wheatsheaf). A picture of my Epis is at the top. It’s lovely isn’t it? ¥*
My name is Chris… and I want to be a baker.
*I can think of 387 without giving it much thought, so the answer is “Yes. Yes there is.” Move ahead three spaces if you got it right, if you got it wrong, just stop reading right now.
**No you don’t. But while I’ve got your attention, do you really need to keep looking down here? Just keep reading, the asterisks are really pointless. Seriously, you should just ignore them. Seriously. Yet, you’re still reading this. You are still reading this, aren’t you? Aren’t you?! Good Lord, get back to the story… For the love of God, get back to the story!
***Don’t make me kick your ass.
****Don’t answer that. And, seriously, you’ve got to get some discipline and stay up there.
¥* Oh for the love of… just stop, okay? Stop. No means no, you bastard. Just leave the poor little red letters to live their lives in peace.
I wanted to post today, but I've got to help a buddy move... so, I'll try for later. In the meantime, enjoy the young cutie above. Why is he scowling so? He's adorable, in great shape, and appears to be outside enjoying the sun (while it is cloudy and sprinkly* here in Northern California). Maybe it has something to do with where his hands are... does he have hands?
Think up a good tale and email me (no one ever emails anymore). The dirtier the story, the more I'll love you...
*I believe "sprinkly" is a meteorological term... although, I'm not sure "meteorological" is a term.**
**Yeah, it's a term. And I used it correctly... I think.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart turns 250 today. My gosh, to be remembered after 250 years… most people don’t make it past a second generation.* But Salzburg, the city of his birth is planning a huge celebration. Ironically, he was kicked out of the city while he was alive and he died in Vienna (buried in a pauper's grave)—which is also having a big celebration.
Oh, to have the kind of genius that that man had… his first symphony was written before he was 10 and his first significant opera at 12. Plus, he was instrumental in changing opera into the form we enjoy today. Incredible talent, to say the least.
So, if you only go out and rent Amadeus today, you could do worse to celebrate this significant date in music history.
Have a nice weekend… and listen to some music.**
* If you don’t believe me, off the top of your head, do you know the names of your great-grandparents? If you do, what do you know about them? Anything further back from that? You’re an anomaly if you do…
**by “music” I mean classical music. Every music collection should have a decent classical selection. I’m more of a Broadway Musical, Vocals and Classic Rock kind of guy… but I have some classical to throw in when need be.
Friday, January 20, 2006
AP—“Rapper 50 Cent stole some of the lyrics for his 2003 hit "In Da Club" from a song by former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, an attorney claims in a lawsuit.”
Let me get this straight: Rappers steal… uh, borrow? Sample. Yes, they “sample” music from other singers and songwriters, produce it as their work and when someone “samples” their “work” they sue? Is that what this is? I'm just trying to be clear.
Maybe it’s because I don’t listen to most rap music* but the irony of a thief crying “Thief!” is not lost upon me.
“Oh,” you’re saying in that tsk-tsk-tsk-I’m-so-enlightened-tone, “why must you call Luther Campbell a thief?” Well, I reply in my best kiss-my-ass-you-pompous-jerk-tone, it’s because he recently lost a $2.3 million lawsuit for exactly the same thing. In an even bigger twist, the attorney that was successful in getting the verdict against Campbell is his attorney in this case. Talk about job security…
What’s the point? My point is I don’t have a point, but that’s never stopped me from writing. In fact, I believe I’ve sampled my “my point is I don’t have a point” from a number of very funny comedians. Go on and sue me.***
*with the exception of Run DMC, Eminem, and Flavor Flav!** Hey, Flav! Word up for “Fight the power”—Power to the People!
**yeah, yeah, Public Enemy… I know… I know. (However, I'm less sure about the footnote within a footnote thing I just did...)
*** Go on… see if I care. I’ll just turn around and sue someone else.
Anthony Franciosa was married to Shelley Winters* in the 1950’s… she died last weekend.
Coincidence? I think Shelley put a hit out on her former lovers to prevent anyone from writing a book about her the way she wrote about them…
He was also “Matt Helm” on the TV series. I don’t remember the show as much as I remember that title… good title.
*I could swear that I had a post about Shelley dying... maybe I wrote it and never posted.. Shelley, you'll always be "a very skinny lady in the water" to me!
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Every now and again, I look back over previous posts to see what I've written (in an attempt not to repeat the same tales again and again... it's yet to work) and as I read I notice glaring mistakes. When I compare the mistake to my original Word document, I often find that Blogger, somehow drops words, sentences and--sometimes--entire paragraphs of my posts.
CASE-IN-POINT: I was reading the post on that freaky cat lady who wouldn't shut up in "Lion, Witch, Wardrobe" and there are parts of sentences missing.
Damnit! I hate when I look like an illiterate moron. Not to say I'm not, but I try not to appear as such. So now I'm trying to find my original document to make repairs...
Oh, Blogger... you vex me so! Yeah, I said the V word...
Monday, January 16, 2006
I knew it was only a matter of time before the parodies of Brokeback Mountain would start... and I assumed that Bareback would probably be in the title... but these guys did a great job.
Click below (You'll need Flash to play):
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Leonard Pits writes for the Miami Herald and wrote this article about seeing 'Brokeback Mountain.' I've since read a few more of his op ed pieces and really enjoy them. You can Google him to find some more of his work.
Why 'Brokeback' frightens some fans of movies
BY LEONARD PITTS JR.
I went to see Brokeback Mountain last week, mainly to prove to myself that I could.
This was after reading a New York Times piece by Larry David of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame in which he wrote that, though he loves gay people and supports both gay marriage and gay divorce, he does not plan to see this critically praised movie about gay cowboys. David said he's discomfited by the idea of watching two men fall in love and fears it might make him gay by osmosis.
''Not,'' he added, ``that there's anything wrong with that.''
It strikes me that David's essay amounted to the smiley-face liberal version of what is being said more bluntly in conservative circles. 'Gay love story carries a high `ick' factor'' reads the headline of a story on the American Family Association website. It quotes a prediction that people will leave the theater vomiting.
How asinine, I think.
Yeah, says a little voice in my head, but if that's how you feel, why haven't you been to Brokeback Mountain? Well, I protest, right now I'm teaching in this tiny college town in the middle of nowhere. I'd have to drive 90 miles.
Good point, says the voice. But didn't you drive that far to see Good Night, and Good Luck? Now look, I say, and suddenly there's this wheedling tone to my voice, some of my best friends are gay. Heck, my own brother's gay. But you know, we are talking about a love story between two guys, and they might be kissing and, you know, touching and… stuff.
The little voice falls silent. It is a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is silence.
A POWERFUL FILM
So I went to see Brokeback. And I can report that it was as shattering and powerful as advertised. People were moved. Nobody threw up.
Which brings me back to that ick factor. I find myself wondering if this primeval revulsion doesn't speak less to our antipathy toward homosexuality than to our fears about masculinity. I mean, while a movie about two women in love would surely be controversial, I doubt it would present the visceral threat Brokeback Mountain does for some of us. I doubt Larry David would be scared to see it.
Indeed, the idea of women who can't keep their hands off each other is a staple of so-called men's entertainment. Visit a magazine stand if you don't believe me.
The point being, when it's women, we -- meaning straight men -- tend to find it titillating, exotic, arousing in its very forbiddance. When it's men, we -- meaning straight men and women -- tend to react as if somebody dropped a snake in the bed. Small wonder the FBI reports that while 902 men were reported victims of sexual orientation hate crimes in 2004, ''only'' 212 women were.
A PERCEIVED THREAT
We seem prone to find male homosexuality the more clear and present danger, the more urgent betrayal of some fundamental . . . something. Some will say it's -- and I will finesse this for a general audience -- the nature of man-to-man sex that some of us find off-putting. I think it's more basic than that. I think gay men threaten our very conception of masculinity.
The amazing thing about Brokeback Mountain is its willingness to make that threat, directly and overtly. These are not cute gays, funny gays, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy gays. These are cowboys, and there is no figure in American lore more iconically male. Think Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, the Marlboro Man. The cowboy is our very embodiment of male virtues.
In offering us cowboys who are gay, then, Brokeback Mountain commits heresy, but it is knowing heresy, matter-of-fact heresy. Nor is it the sex (what little there is) that makes it heretical. Rather, it's the emotion, the fact that the movie dares you to deny these men their humanity. Or their love.
Ultimately, I think, that's what the Larry Davids among us sense. And why for them, Brokeback Mountain might be the most frightening movie ever made.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Hurray! No Billy Crystal… Not to say that he is not that funny, but I got tired of his shtick.
On the other hand, I love me some Jon Stewart—so I’m especially excited that he’ll be hosting. Chris Rock only got one year of slamming on Jude Law… Does this mean that Sean Penn is the most powerful man in Hollywood? Poor Chris… Poor Jude… (we haven’t heard much from him since the Oscars, have we?)
Let the Nominations (for Brokeback) Begin
It hasn’t been a banner year for The Gays… while we can have civil unions in Connecticut and the UK, marriage seems to be out of the picture. The religious-right continues to slam us at every turn, leaving us with little reason to party…
…and then came Brokeback Mountain.
The Gays (and our beloved friendly straights) filled the movie theaters to give Brokeback the highest per screen average of any picture in 2005.* Finally, a beautiful movie, with beautiful actors that wasn’t porn! …sigh… and for those of you who wanted a little porn, it was nice to see Jake Gylenhaal bottom for Heath Ledger! That was the best Christmas present… ever!
Well, Christmas and New Year’s are over, and for many people it’s time to be depressed that we spent too much over the holidays, ate too much See’s Candy, and gained far too much weight. But for me, it is favorite season: Yes, it is time to roll out the red carpet for the most glorious time of the year: Oscar season! As I’m sure you are all aware—and who wouldn’t be?—the Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 31, thus, a frenzy of activities (and award shows) are marching along—all trying desperately to be the barometer for the Oscars—up until Oscar Sunday, March 5.
The official opening of the season began when The Golden Globe Nominations were revealed in the second week of December, but the frenzy starts now as every possible organization that can hand out some sort of crappy award is stocking up on envelopes and champagne.
This week The Guilds released their nominations and let’s just say that Bareback Mountain… er, I mean Brokeback Mountain is receiving a mountain (pun intended) of nominations and The Gays in general** are racking up the nominations! Ladies and gentlemen: it’s the year of the fag!
And the (gay) nominees (from the nominating organizations) are:
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations were announced on Thursday for their January 29th Awards show:
Brokeback Mountain led the pack with four nods, including Heath Ledger (lead actor), Jake Gylenhaal (supporting actor) and Michelle Williams (supporting actress).
Capote (with lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman) followed with three nominations.
Among those in the television Lead Actress race is Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman, for her role in Transamerica.
The Director’s Guild nominated Ang Lee for Brokeback, Bennet Miller for Capote, and too-hot-not-to-be-gay George Clooney for Goodnight and Good Luck (along with non-gay related Steven Spielberg for Munich and Paul Haggis for Crash).
The Producers Guild of America has Brokeback Mountain and Capote (along with Good Night, and Good Luck, Crash, and Walk the Line) vying for best-picture honors.
The Writers Guild of America nominated both Brokeback and Capote in adapted-screenplay category (with The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence and Syriana).
What does all this mean? I think it means that you can deny gays the right to marry all you want, but we are still going to find a way to party. With Oscar season upon us, you are going to see us partying our pants off—and if you watched any of the above movies, you’d know we’d probably be doing that anyhow, it’s just now we have a reason . It looks like 2006 is going to be a good year for the gays… provided we win.
*Source: Variety.com “Bows Bank Niche Riches”
**Is there a pun there? I’m not sure. Don’t ask; Don’t tell? Fuck it, it’s Friday…
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Dear Reader,* I present to you Father Whatawaste. I wouldn't mind a little "inappropriate groping in the confessional" with him, if you know what I mean.**
This guy can't be real... I mean, I know he's a real person, but no priest should ever be that good looking, there would be way too many sinful thoughts amongst the parishioners.
I had a whole host--no pun intended--of things to say about him and the scandals of late, but good taste*** kept me from including them. I don't need any more reasons to burn in hell than I've already got...
Still... the next time I'm in Confession, I'm going to be imagining Father Hot-a-licious on the other side of the screen... naked.****
*I hope there's more than one of you out there...
****Yep. I'm definitely going to burn...
Monday, January 02, 2006
(Apparently, NOT Boobs)*
Giada has been bumped off the top of the list of what brings people to S&T. The seemingly endless search for Giada’s “boobs” continues—as well as shirtless Chris Evans and Anderson Cooper, with a shirtless Tyler Florence bringing up the rear and providing a “Food Network bookend” to the searches for celebrities—it was a link on I Eat Boys For Breakfast that brought the most eyes to my site. I only hope they weren’t disappointed at the lack of hot man pics…
Miladysa and Evil Gay Lawyer were the other top links bringing eyes to my site. Hopefully, in 2006 I can return the favor to these great blogs. Seriously, Miladysa is a wonderful writer, EGL cracks me up and IEBFB is just lovely to look at.
Thank you for bringing people to my humble little page—and Happy New Year to you all!
The Chronicles of Narnia… with Audio Commentary
I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia last night at the Camera Cinemas and was treated to an “audio commentary” from the idiot woman behind me throughout the movie.
She was not loud enough to be talking, but she wanted her whisper to be loud enough for her friends around her to hear. This made it possible for anyone around her to also hear her inane jokes and her pointing out of the obvious.
The movie starts with the blitz in London… “It’s the London blitz!” she pointed out to her friends, who, if they didn’t know already, were fucking idiots. But, they were with her, so there is some debate on whether they knew or not…
She continued to point out obvious facts: “It’s a Phoenix!” “It’s the White Witch’s Castle” “I bet they’re all going to come alive.” It went on an on. I kept turning my head and occasionally saying “shh,” which is my polite way of saying, “Shut the hell up, you cow!” But she was either oblivious, or talking and couldn’t hear me.
I then I discovered she’s a Cat Person. In this wonderful world of ours, there are Dog People, who love dogs and there are Cat People, who obsess over—and love every stinkin’ bit of ‘the cat experience.’ She’s the latter. Not to say I don’t like cats or cat people, but I don’t like cats or cat people. I had a cat as a kid… he was just like a dog. I loved that cat. It’s the only cat I can stand. I’m sorry, it’s just the way I am: I love Aslan the Lion makes his grand entrance, Cat Bitch cries out, “OOOH! It’s just like my kitty!”
You have got to be fucking kidding me.
Just like your kitty, you say? Just like it? Your cat is a 7 foot Lion? Really? How amazing for you. Or is it really some nasty little tabby cat that you like to pretend is a lion? Good for you and your healthy imagination… except you’re an adult, so your just a head case.
A short while later, at a key moment in the story, Aslan breathes onto a frozen creature to release the White Witches spell. It should be an amazing moment. I say “should” because just at that moment, Miss Justlikemykitty coos: “Kitty breath!” LOUDLY!
Yep, there is nothing cuter than kitty breath, is there? Stinking, smelly, fish-fur-ass-&-cat food-smelling kitty breath. I’d rather remain frozen, rather than have stanky “kitty breath!” releasing me, thank you very much.
Being the non-confrontational bloke I am, I just let her ramble on. However, I did sigh loudly (Oh, Chris, you’re such the rebel!) and I looked back every time she muttered something stupid or ridiculous (which is why my neck is so sore today—I should sue her for whiplash). My only comment was when I was walking out of the theatre I looked at Scooter and uttered in a LOUD AND MOCKING HIGH PITCHED TONE, “OOOH! It’s just like my kitty!”
I doubt she got it… or she thought I was a cat person, too. Which I’d sooner die than be labeled as.
As for the movie? I liked it. I probably would have really liked it had she not been there, but when I wasn’t shushing Cat Bitch, or rolling my eyes, or groaning loudly, I was enjoying what little I saw of the movie.
Please go see it… and if a Cat Person sits behind you, don’t hesitate to tell them to shut up, because once someone starts their commentary, they won’t shut up…
*The title of the picture is "Boobs with Straw Hat"... I kid you not. I'm really hoping for a search next week for "Boobs wearing a hat."
**except for the one I just made, other than that—and the one coming up—I’m sorry, but I just don’t like cats.