I don't hide the fact that I dislike television. Detest is a better word, really. It's a time-suck, second only to the Internet (which I'm trying, rather unsuccessfully, to wean myself from). Every second one spends plopped in front of the ol' boob tube is a second of living they'll never get to do. It's a huge temptation to me; I can waste hours sitting there, zoned-out, absorbing millions of ads and jokes and inane gossipy bits of information, all aimed at the lowest common denominator. So I try very hard to stay the hell away from it. I'll get my Flight of the Conchords fix from DVDs, thanks. I don't have to pay for HBO that way, and I can do it on my own time. (I love movies, by the way. There is a rather marked schism in my mind between daily television as junk and film as art.)
I think my mom has the right idea. When Friends was big and everyone was feverishly glued to the tube every Thursday night, she wasn't the least bit interested. Why not? We'd ask. This is the biggest thing! Ross and Rachel! She'd shrug and say that it was funny when she did see it, and that she had it on her "nursing home list," for watching when she was very old and didn't have anything else to do. If she saw them then, great, she'd get a laugh. If she didn't make it that far, well, at least she didn't waste those precious hours of her life on it earlier. A wise woman, my mother.
So there's the bottom line, I'm admitting my bias right upfront. I'm an asshole about TV. I hate TV. Kill your TV. Don't let your kids watch TV because they'll grow up to be bloated uncreative morons who have to be constantly spoon-fed entertainment in 10-second sound bites. etc etc etc. But let me be more specific. I loathe, with the white-hot scalding fire of a thousand suns, reality TV. I had really hoped it would go away, but it shows no signs of waning in popularity. (This public interest directly relates my possibly controversial views on Darwinism, eugenics, and the spot-on nature of the film Idiocracy. It's mostly better for me not to bring them up in public. Someday I plan to get deliriously drunk and blog all about it, to see how many people I can infuriate in one post. I plan to name names and cite specific examples.)
So of the brain-rotting reality TV choices, the aging rockstars with their groupies and the spoiled teens with their faux boobs, there is really only one offering that really gets under my skin. I mean it wriggles a manicured nail underneath my flesh and digs until it hits muscle, then continues burrowing through the sinew until it scrapes on my bones, chalkboard-style. You know, figuratively. That show is the child exploitation-fest that is Jon and Kate + 8. Everything about it gives me the willies, from the "kids as mealticket" mentality of the parents to the way that awful woman treats her children and husband (seriously, tyrant lady. Give the poor dude his balls back. I see them in that jar behind you marked "Jon's Nads").
Mostly I have trouble with Kate herself. She rules everything around her with an iron fist, and it has nothing to do with keeping order- she just has to have her way all the time. It's the whole reason they ended up with such a houseful; even though her own sob story is that they couldn't afford a family that large, she still insisted on the IVF because she wanted more kids and refused to adopt. Hell, it paid off. TLC and their advertisers are footing the bill now. (Note: I'm not criticizing their reproductive decision-making, that is certainly a private matter. But then, these are people who have chosen to make their private matters very public. But why should she demand that everyone in the world cater to her because of her actions and whims?)
She is selfish and greedy, and she has sold the lives of her children to a television station without their consent, whored out their innocence to the highest bidder in exchange for perks like a fancy new home, fame, and plastic surgery. She utterly disgusts me.
Oh well, maybe their gravy train is coming to its terminus. Octo-mom Nadya Suleman just whelped, and she isn't merely a grand high bitch, she's certifiably bonkers. I'm sure TLC is foaming at the mouth at the thought of the advertiser $s and ratings that Procreate the 8 will pull from the American public.
I know, I know ... I haven't blogged since I was on another tectonic plate, but I've been really busy. Hopefully I can get back into this writing business soon. I'm going to try.
But what brought me back? Was it the burning need to describe the raw historical beauty of the crumbing ruins of Ireland? Was it the excitement I feel about branching out into a new career endeavor? Was it the restarting of my favorite hobby? No. It was that damn bear cake.
Yeah. Well DJ was out of town the past week, and I've been playing Sally Homemaker (which is not to say I've cleaned up much, but I've been my own half-assed version of Sally Homemaker). I decided I'd give that Williams-Sonoma build-a-bear cake another go.
I made a double recipe of devil's food cake batter (last time I didn't make enough), and poured it in. I popped it in the oven for what seemed like forever, and sure enough, the cake rose about the edges and needed to be leveled. Well, the leveling didn't turn out exactly right, so when I put the halves together, there was a weird lumpy seam all the way around. I didn't have time to worry about it, though, because the icing that SUPPOSEDLY is strong enough to glue the cake together really wasn't all that adhesive. So once again I was left with two halves of a bear.
Getting frustrated, I made another batch of icing and slathered it on the halves, then smooshed them together and stuck the whole mess in the fridge. I was so annoyed that I left it in there for almost 24 hours, willing the icing to set.
It seemed to work. But the seam was still there. Annoyed, I took scissors to it and evened the whole thing out, which was not mentioned in the W-S instructions, but seemed to work.
Then it was time to decorate. Remember the icing? And that the cake was devil's food? Right, they were different colors. So I tried to tint it using the "icing glaze" recipe on the instructions, then paint it over the seams. FAIL. I scratched that idea and used chocolate buttercream instead, using my fingers to smooth the brown icing over the brown and white bear. Then I rejoined the "official decorating instructions," and set about covering the whole shebang with turbinado* sugar so it would look exactly like the bear on the box. Yeah, notsomuch. It turned out looking more like the bear had some kind of mange, or perhaps lyme disease. It did, however look sort of like Salisbeary, with the added touches of the little smirky smile and foot pads:
However, all was not right in Teddy Bear Kingdom. Cakebeary was already showing signs of stress, especially on his backside. It was clear that he was not long for this world. (If we'd only known how short his time really was ... ):
Pookie was quite curious, so we brought her up to see. She was delighted and compared her bear to the cake bear, jabbering happily in her own language the whole while. We put the cake plate down on the floor for her to examine it. She leaned over it, she walked around it, she sniffed it, she compared it some more to Salisbeary. And then:
ALSO: I twittered about my cake frustrations, and received a phone call with a tip ... to use pound cake instead. Apparently pound cake is less moist, and absorbs less of the icing "glue." Cue that "The more you know" star.
If you haven't had enough, and you don't feel sticky enough yet, there is a photo gallery over there --->
* - "Turbinado" or "Demerara" sugar is just raw unbleached, big ol grainy sugar. Basically,it's chunky and brown. It's also known as "raw sugar," and you can get it anywhere (called creatively "Sugar in the Raw"). But leave it to Williams-Sonoma to have to make it sound uppitier and make me go to the expensive organic food grocery store to get the stuff.
We visited the Cliffs of Moher today, and there just isn't any way photographs can do this place justice, though millions have tried. It's almost surreal; it looks like a movie set instead of a real place.
(Note to Photographers: I'm really sorry about the sky in the second photo. The sun was just RIGHT THERE, there were no clouds to help, the cliffs were godawful backlit, and my polarizer didn't fit on my lens. As a result, the sky is just all blown out all to crap. I did shoot in RAW, so hopefully I can pull out something from it when I get home in PS.)
And here is proof that we're there, and not drinking and gambling in Vegas:
Here I sit in the DC airport, waiting to get on the flight to Dublin. There were several times over the last 2 days I didn't think I'd be getting this far (and we may still be delayed a bit from here), but here I am.
Pookie had some breathing issues (turned out to be bronchitis, not the dreaded Return of the Coughing Disease) Sunday night. So I didn't know if I was going to get to go on the trip, but I asked the doctor straight up if I should go or not, and she said to def. go. So .... here I am.
There was also a blizzard. That happened too.
Ooh, I think we may be about to get to check in (we've been sitting like abandoned, rained-on puppies at the Aer Lingus counter since our flight got here at 11am). More later.