Sunday, September 28, 2008

The cake to end all cakes

Let the record show, that this is the most fantastic cake I have seen in a long time.

Muppets! All present and accounted fondant!

The Electric Mayhem!

Statler and Waldorf!

I found this glorious number on the the Cake Wrecks blog. Clearly, today they took a break from the disaster cakes to feature an absolutely perfect Muppet-themed cake.

And, it's only a bit belated. According to my Muppets desk calendar, Jim Henson's birthday was earlier this week on September 24th.

As if all that weren't exciting enough, this cake won first prize at the Kentucky State Fair. Now, I've been to the Kentucky State Fair...and let's just say that I bet this cake blew all the other entrants out of the water!

So, Happy Belated Birthday, Jim! And way to go Kentucky!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pixie 101

Since it has now become common knowledge in the English department that I cut my own hair, the requests have been rolling in from my shaggy haired friends. This is not surprising for several reasons.

Number One: We are graduate students, and therefore, most of us would just go without haircuts rather than give our hard-earned money away.

Number Two: Those of us who have bitten the bullet and paid for a haircut in Maine have been sorely disappointed. See any pictures of me late last fall. It say the least.

For some reason, I have gotten three requests for haircuts just this week. I saw a fourth coming last night and ducked out of the room before she could get the words out. I know it might be rude, but I just couldn't handle one more. A lot of my reluctance has to do with the fact that my superstellar Rhianna cut of late summer is now...well...shaggy.

In my research [read: pop culture mags, tabs, tv, etc. that I follow continually now that I can rationalize it through 101], I have been noticing all the adorable haircuts that I should be having. Or at least trying.

So this is what I've been most taken with:

Victoria Beckham has done it again. This pixie is flawless. Who knew her hair was perfectly curly? By the way, J.Lo is still boring.

Now, I never EVER thought I would take style cues from Samantha Ronson. Anyway, her new pixie is soooo cute. She looks like a girl again. And there is nothing wrong with that. Rock on, Ronson!

And...oddly enough, this joker impressed me this morning.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Sid Vicious' mugshot. But...his hair is amazing.

So, determined to be at least as attractive as Sid Vicious, if not Ronson and Beckham, I inspected the canvas. Here is how you can tell if your short haircut has gotten shaggy. It might look something like this:

Finally, after a lot of chopping and reinspection and rechopping and evening and randomizing and blah, blah, blah, I now have a haircut I can live with.

So, what do you think? Did I approximate the Beckham/Ronson/Vicious?

Please also note the fact that my face pitched to the left today. Ugh. I was incapable of taking a better picture. :) Also, wind and rain influenced my hair before I took the after picture. So many excuses, so little time!

And...for those of you who are keeping track, I'm having a haircutting day next weekend. So far there will be three haircuts, but who knows what could happen in the next seven days!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just spent the last three and a half hours of my life skimming Angels in America, making note of every mention of and reference to blood.

Ho-ly cow. I did not know what kind of an undertaking that was going to be. I did not realize in my previous readings that most everything in this play is described in terms of blood.

Harper wants to move so she can have a change in scenery and some new blood. Prior is easy; his blood has turned against him. His bloodlines, on the other hand, are returning to him through the ghosts of prior Walters. Louis leaves Prior because he can't handle the disease only to find redemption in the end through his own bruised and bleeding plea for reconciliation. Belize seems to act as the caretaker of everyone else's blood, both physical and familial. Hannah and Joe fight to avoid their mother/son ties, and Hannah finds something of herself in mothering those left in her son's wake. Roy's blood attacks him - as does everyone else in the play - and and unlike Prior and others who are only affected by their blood, Roy is overcome and gives his last speech from the undetermined beyond.

Bear in mind that I also have many notes about the situations and relationships in which there should be blood but for some reason there isn't. Like the angels. Or the baby that Harper will never have.

But all of this blood doesn't add up to much. Yet. The course for which I'm preparing all of this is on the staging of history. So I still need to pull something meaningful out of this and relate it to the presentation of history in Angels.

I'm a little bit worried about this happening. By tomorrow at 2pm. But a close-reading of blood references in a contemporary play will not be the most difficult thing I've done of late. Not even close.

Here's to sunnier days ahead!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Out, and About [the Outness] is a big one for celebrity gays. And normal gays too, but I'm concerned with two celebs in particular.


I turned my computer on to be confronted by an AIM homepage that I keep forgetting to disable. Anyway, right smack in the middle of the AIM homepage was an article proclaiming "YES, I'M GAY" in a very Ellen way on the front of the new issue of people. The newest out celeb? None other than Clay Aiken.

Oh. Really? Really, Clay? I'm sorry, but does he think this is news? I guess it is exciting that he is finally giving in and selling his story to People, which I will certainly buy and read and then take to my 101 classroom, but this was not a shock.


The Clay article mentioned the forthcoming People expose and then moved on to the more exciting sound byte in which Lindsay Lohan finally admits to being in a relationship with Samantha Ronson.

Again, not shocking, but totally cute. I love this couple, and have you seen recent pictures of Ronson? She looks adorable! She's not nearly as busted and she has decided to chop off those awkward bleached strands and opt for an auburn pixie that looks absolutely gorgeous on her. Her hair has the perfect amount of curl to make her hair look perfectly chic and styled even though we know she sleeps on it for sure.

So, I try not to bore others with my pop culture excitement, but today was a big day, apparently! By the way, "apparently" was used in the not-so-enthused title for one of the Clay articles I found. Ha.

Anyway, my own day was filled with business, meetings, student papers, and blah, so this vacation into the life of people more fabulous than I has been lovely.

Remind me to tell you why when I have more time. It has to do with one of the books I'm reading with my students in 101. It's brilliant, really.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Race for the Cure

Today several of us from the English Department (and a couple of friends) participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Our illustrious team, partially pictured in the shots that follow, was aptly titled the Running Readers. Our name was alright, but I think the award for best team name should go to "The Breast of Friends". I don't know any of those people, but I saw them at the finish line in their spectacularly lime green t-shirts. Excellent.

The race itself was actually more emotional than I thought it would be. A lot of the racers had little signs on their backs that said "In memory of..." or "In support of" or "In celebration of..." their loved ones who have or have had breast cancer. There were even some signs with photos and messages written to loved ones who have died. I was alternately walking and running, but I was doing both alone, so it was nice to be able to silently reflect on everything around me.

After I completed the race, I joined my faster teammates on the sidelines and cheered on the survivors as they crossed the finish line and had their names read over the loud speakers. It was a hopeful end to a really meaningful event. I'm really glad I decided to participate in the Race for the first time this year. I'm going to be sure that this isn't the last time either.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

and now for something kind of different...

Tonight I made my sister's superfancy oatmeal splenda cookies. And, just to make them my own, i made a dozen cupcookies. Observe:

My roommate - probably correctly - pointed out that I was so uncomfortable with the cookie baking genre that I had to translate it to a form that I felt some control over.

So...voila! Cupcookies!

In other news, today was the official last day of summer. In Orono, Maine we had really appropriately chilly weather around 50 degrees. At least it was an improvement over the 30s we reached earlier this week. Ah, life in the everlasting winter. I guess I should dig my winter gear out of the attic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

recent cupcakes

Since I've been without internet, I've been collecting pictures of my cupcake experimentations.


black and white cupcake. like the cookie, only a cupcake. very complicated with the two batters but ultimately rewarding.

these are the banana splits. black and white cake with vanilla frosting on top and banana pudding filling in the middle.

this is a vanity shot of an arnold palmer cupcake. tea & lemon in both the cake and the frosting.

mimosa cupcakes. orange cake soaked with champagne glaze. in the background: mimosas frosted with a mixed fruit mascarpone icing.

amaretto cupcakes. they weren't very amaretto, however, next time i'll use more of the flavoring.

amaretto cupcakes with raspberry cream filling inserted with new bismark tip.

cupcakes in the fridge. some have vanilla amaretto frosting; the others have raspberry frosting made from the leftover filling and added powdered sugar. the amaretto frosting was good, but it got too dry in the fridge.

glamour shot of one of the raspberry on raspberry cupcakes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chronicle Shmonicle

So, if I had been able to type faster, or to obtain a reliable internet connection, or to be smart enough to type my post in Word and then copy it to the blog, then you would have read that #3 on my list of reasons not to blog is my obsession with chronicling my life.

#5, that I only just now realized, should be that I write embarrassingly long sentences.

Anyway, I am, indeed, obsessed with keeping track of my life. Obsessing with living it? Not so much. Obsessed with listing the things I completed even after I have completed them? Most definitely. And, honestly, this even applies to things that I meant to do but failed to do.

For example, my planner tells this story of today:

Tuesday, September 16
9:30-11a T'ai Chi
- type up EGSA meeting minutes
- read and respond to student papers


8p House

It's spectacular, I know. But just hear me out. The t'ai chi I took care of. It was wonderful; I gathered and stored a lot of chi for the coming week. My hour and a half of t'ai chi is quickly becoming my favorite part of the week.

The EGSA (English Grad Studies Association) meeting was last week. I still have not typed up those minutes and oh, wait, I didn't even take notes at the meeting. Should be fun. So, as I've done the last five days straight, I'll just add that to tomorrow's list of things to do. And, let's be serious, I'm not going to do it then either.

The student papers. Ugh. I just finished the last one.

Cupcakes? I just want to bake them. I've fallen into the habit of baking cupcakes weekly. My fellow teaching assistants and classmates love it. I love the domestic bliss associated with the baking. However, I'm starting to worry that people will soon start refusing my cupcakes. That's the stuff of its own post though.

House - yeah, it's the show. I use the datebook function on my phone to store the premiere dates of my favorite shows. It's true. I'm just that lame. Lamer still, I went through my phone and added the premiere information to my planner so I'll be extra sure not to forget.

And Tuesday's are my off days, so just imagine what the rest of the week looks like. I'll tell you - it's not good. A lot of parentheses and arrows and question marks and notes with stars...

So why do I love to keep track of things? Why?

This is a question. I don't know why I do this. But my planner is only the latest in a life of chronicles. I have kept journals. About five actually. I have blogged. Four of those to my name. Here is the most embarrassing effort, in my opinion: I briefly kept a video journal. I sat down in front of my video camera and talked about my day. Gross. Who would ever be interested in that?!

Only God knows why I feel such a need to keep track of the most mundane life events, but so be it.

This weekend I decided that my 2" x 5" planner was just not cutting it. To Staples I go! No success. Apparently no one buys a 2008 planner in September. No tardy organizers? I can't imagine that. Whatever the case, I was forced to ruffle through the "Outdated Calendars" bin. Of course I left displeased.

In Borders though, I found the Mecca of plannerdom.

I know own a massive 10" x 5" x 1" planner. This baby will carry me from August 2008 all the way through December 2009. It has room for my lists and wide margins (which I'm currently using to for my television programs) and month-at-a-glance pages and room for phone numbers and my thoughts.

And do you know what almost brought me to tears about this planner? I had to make a conscious effort not to cry when I realized that I will be writing in this planner for a solid 6 months AFTER I leave the state of Maine.

So, yes, people, there is now an official end stamp on this adventure.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned.

It has been 5 months and 10 days since my last posting.

I'm not sure what happened back in April, probably exams and student papers and catastrophes of a personal nature. The usual. But I've been inspired by Kate's NYC updates and the ever-faithful cupcake blogs I read religiously to rejoin the blog world with some of my own thoughts.

Today I was thinking about why I make so many failed attempts at blogging.

And then I typed them all out in vivid color and detail. Only to have my internet connection fail. I lost the entire post following "Today I was thinking about why I make so many failed attempts at blogging."

Typical. Perhaps I'll retype later.