LenaLoo Has Moved...

... to a new home at http://lenaloos.com/... I will be posting there from now on! Please come by and follow me on GFC!
Also come check out my posts at Goore's Insider.

LenaLooBlog

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On Broadway

I am so sad that RENT is coming to an end this year (in 137,173 minutes to be exact) on Broadway! I told my hubby that I really wanted to see it before it cosed on Broadway, he said "we'll see what we can do." I've been a RENThead since 2000 when my drama buddies introduced me to the wonders of the Original Broadway Cast (OBC) recording. I vowed not to go see it until I had seen it on Broadway, cuz that's the way you do it! I cheated a little by watching the movie. But that's just not the same. I really hope I can go! I also want to take my hubby to see Phantom (which I have never seen it either), because he asked his mom to take him for his 13th birthday and she told him that she wouldn't pay for something that would bore him, he has never forgiven her for it lol. He has not seen The Lion King either, and even my brothers have seen it and thought is was "Super sweet!" I want my Broadway experience, and soon... I really hope it can happen. On a lighter note, I am going to go see Wicked in LA next month! I am super stoked about that! Me and my mama (who is my show buddy) are going on March 18th at the Pantages Theatre (where I saw the Lion King). So exciting! This is what I wrote about it for a speech class (I am doing an informative speech about Wicked because I am using it as a listening event for the class as well).

I have always been a fan of musicals. I started listening to them in the form of Disney movies (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and the writer Steven Schwartz’ Pocahontas) compulsively and memorizing the lyrics and moves so I could “perform” them on the playground with my friends. In middle school, I was really introduced to stage acting with William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (which has a campy musical retelling in the 2001 movie “Get Over It” starring Kirsten Dunst – I also watched this compulsively). In High School, I worked my way up the social ladder that was our drama department; starting as a backstage hand, or cockroach, then understudy, then finally getting on stage my senior year. All the years of being involved exposed me to many shows through our director, but mostly through the other students. I was introduced to RENT, which star’s Wicked’s OBC Elphaba, Idina Menzel, when I was a sophomore in 2000. I fell in love with her big voice, I even used one of her songs as an audition piece (no one told me that using RENT for auditions is a big no no in the biz until it was too late, no wonder I never made lead). I picked up Gregory Maguire’s novel shortly after it hit the shelves and was torn in my feelings about it since I had read all of the original OZ books, by Frank L. Baum as a child, it won me over eventually. One of my students when I was an intern in 2003 begged the musical director to send her sheet music to “Popular” after seeing it with her parents the previous month in New York, he surprisingly obliged and I have it in my music portfolio. She performed it for her 8th grade Musical Review. Last spring, my roommate took our mutual best friend with her to New York (oh was I mad, but I couldn’t afford to go with them because I was getting married a few months later) and they saw Wicked. They were kind enough to bring me back the soundtrack and a poster from New York. I have been listening to it since and can’t wait to see it with my mom next month! My mom (who lives in LA) is taking me as a 24th birthday present, we love going to Broadway shows together. We have seen Beauty and the Beast, Swing!, Mamma Mia!, and The Lion King together all in LA.




Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crazy Crazy Crazy

So after a drama filled weekend involving the military police, the local Sheriff's and a .45 colt, Chinchie and her boyfriend, the Schwartz, are temporarily living in my apartment. He is really the one who needs a place to stay, but since she is my pal, I have no prob letting her stay too. At the moment, since he is still in the job hunting process, he is paying us in free weight training (we have to get a gym membership before it can really get down to business). That is why I call him the Schwartz. It's fun having more people here, but we are trying to keep it from my mother in-law because we know she would really not approve. I have them in the living room, but hopefully I will be able to clear enough room for them in the second bedroom which is currently piled with loads of stuff that we need to sort through and our cat box (stinky pew). That is my project for the week. Pray for us!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Social Networking at its lamest...

I originally liked the concept of MySpace, then it got overrun with adds, so I switched to facebook, and now that is overrun by stupid apps. I don't like that my husbands ex-girlfriend can contact me on MySpace even when I have not made her a friend. I do however like that she can see all of our beautiful wedding pics. Not gonna lie. I just don't like that no one takes the time to call or write real e-mails anymore. If you are not plugged into these sites, you end up missing out on important events because people don't want to spend a little bit of time printing and sending a mailed invitation to an event like a baby shower or bridal shower. But in order to get to these e-invites (and they aren't even delivered to e-mail!) I have to sift through a load of crap to get to them. I think it's stupid and I won't ever use that function myself. I do like that I can take a quick peek into my younger cousins lives (since they enjoy broadcasting them into the internet) and make sure they are not getting into too much trouble (not that I would rat them out, but I would give them a talking to if they were). I think things like sending real invitations and such has become a bit of a lost art and it makes me sad. I say this as my wedding Thank You notes piled up in my spare room make me wish that those were a lost art so I didn't have to write them. Not that I am not thankful, but there are just so many to write and my spaz husband got so excited taking money and gift cards out of the cards he didn't bother to write down who gave us what so I could include that in my note. I am tired an grouchy from a weekend of feeling under the weather and I have a bunch of homework to do for all my classes tomorrow, so I had better be off.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd




Tobias

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
His skin was pale and his eye was odd.
He shaved the faces of gentlemen
who never thereafter were heard of again.
He trod a path that few have trod
did Sweeney Todd
the demon barber of fleet street.
He kept a shop in London town.
Of fancy clients and good renown
and what if none of their souls were saved
they went to their maker impecably shaved.
By Sweeney,
by Sweeney Todd
the demon barber of fleet street.

Company

Swing your razor wide!
Sweeney, hold it to the skies.
Freely flows the blood of those who moralize.
His needswere few, his room was bare.
A lavabo and a fancy chair.
A mug of suds, and a leather strop,
an apron, a towel, a pail, and a mop.
For neatness he deserves a nod,
does Sweeney Todd,
the demon barber of Fleet Street.
Inconspicuous Sweeney was,
quick, and quiet and clean he was.
Back of his smile, under his word,
Sweeney heard music that nobody heard.
Sweeney pondered and Sweeney planned,
like a perfect machine he planned,
Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle,
Sweeney would blink, and rats would scuttle
Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle
Sweeney would blink, and rats would scuttle
Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle,
Sweeney would blink, and rats would scuttle
Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle,
Sweeney would blink, and rats would scuttle
Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney!
Sweeney!

Sweeney Todd

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd!

Company

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd!

Sweeney Todd

He served a dark and avengeful God!

Company

He served a dark and avengeful God!

Sweeney Todd

What happened then, well that's the play,
and he wouldn't want us to give it away...

Company

Not Sweeney
Not Sweeney Todd
The demon barber of Fleet...
Street...

Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd

So despite the massive amounts of unrealistically red blood (an artistic choice, I'm sure) and the horrible close ups of slit throats, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was amazing for many reasons. Number one, it was directed by Tim Burton, god amongst men. Number two, Johnny Depp - singing, granted not a classical trained singer, but impressive to say the very, very least that he kept up with Sondheim, not an easy feat. Number three, the costume designer was 2 time Oscar winner, Colleen Atwood, whose works include Tim Burton's Big Fish, Sleepy Hallow, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, and Edward Scissorhands, as well as non Burton, but costuming masterpieces as Memoirs of a Geisha, Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events, Chicago, Beloved, Little Women, and many many more. Number four, the set design reminded me so much of Harry Potter that when I looked up who the Scenic Artist was, I was not surprised to find that it was Nicky Kaill, whose fantastic works include the last three HP movies, I was glad to see that Nicky is also working on the next HP installment. Number five, and staying on the HP kick, three of the supporting characters were from the last HP film; Helena Bonham Carter played Mrs. Lovett (Bellatrix Lestrange in HP) as crazed as she plays Bellatrix, Alan Rickman played Judge Turpin (Severus Snape in HP) just like he plays Snape, and Timothey Spall played the fantastically nasty Beadle Bamford (Peter Pettigrew in HP); I was also super impressed with the young, but strong voices of Ed Sanders (Toby), who is nominated for a Best Young Actor Oscar, and Jamie Campbell Bower (Anthony), this was a first major film for both young actors - best of luck in their upcoming careers! Number six, but probably most important to a Broadway fanatic like myself, music and lyrics by Steven Sondheim were not changed much from the OBC, except of course leaving out a few ensemble , and not having a company to sing said pieces, I especially missed The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (I will post lyrics in their own post). The whole production was fantastic, but I could have done with out the extreme gore, I guess that's why I prefer Broadway (stage productions) to film much of the time, there are things that have to be expressed metaphorically rather than literally, and blood is defiantly one thing that is better left to metaphoric expression in my opinion. Don't take your kids to see it, and avoid it if you are faint of heart/weak of stomach, but if you are an avid horror film viewer (I am obviously not), you will be able to see past the blood and appreciate everything else about the film.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rocking for the Cure! Relay for Life 2008



On April 5th and 6th, 2008, I will Rock for the Cure at UC Davis! This is my first year doing Relay for Life with my pal Pinkie, who has been doing it for about 3-4 years. Our Team is the Rockstars, and this year we are going to raise money by Rocking for the Cure! I know the night of the Relay we are going to have Rockband and Guitar Hero set up at our campsite to keep people busy and collect extra donations. We are also making cute Purple ribbon sleep shorts and boxers and taking donations for those (I will edit in pics when we have made some). I know that we are sending out support letters and that people can donate on our Personal pages. Visit my Relay for Life page! Does anyone have any ideas on other things we can do to raise funds? I am especially interested in creative ways to ask people for individual support, I don't like asking for money because many of my friends and family members donate money to the many missionaries that our church's (Society of Friend's, or Quaker) send out every year. But this is for cancer research, and that is a great thing to donate money to. I have had some close encounters with cancer in my family: one of grandfathers died from pancriatic cancer in 1991, and one of my grandmothers died after a long battle with multiple myloma in 1996, my mom had a cancerous carcinoma removed from her eye just last year, and my 18 year old brother has battled with a desmoid tumor in his bicep since he was about 16 - it was not officially cancerous but he did have to go through chemo and radiation to get it to shrink and keep it from recurring. In just a few years, cancer research has advanced so much, and it is because of the many donations that have come in from those touched by cancer. I have also recently been really inspired by one little girl, Jenessa "Boey" Byers, to rock for a cure this year. I never met her, but her light shines to anyone who got a glimpse into her life. On December 28th, 2007, "Boey" went home to heaven and her light started shining even brighter as her families episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition aired multiple times on ABC. I saw a rerun of it for the first time in January, but I believe it first aired in October. She was such a fighter. Check out her families website , and see why I am doing Relay for Life this year. I am rocking for Boey! We will help find a cure!

Dorm Room Shu Mai Dumplings


I posted this on the Something Awful Forums in Goons with Spoons, thought I'd share...

Quote: still a child
"So, does anyone have any recipes that can be made using *only* a rice cooker/steamer combo? I would also love to be able to make pasta in this, but I don't know if that's possible. Anyone have creative uses/recipes for rice cookers"

So, I love my rice cooker with steamer basket! My favorite thing to make in the steamer is shu mai dumplings. The starter seasonings cost a little bit more than you would normally pay, but they are delicious, filling, and relatively healthy way to get protein cooked, the ingredients can probably keep for two weeks (if you have a freezer for the meat and onions), plus they are fun to eat.

I have never tried to make them in a dorm room mind you, but let me tell you generally how to make them (I have to edit in the recipe later because I have to get the cookbook from my in-laws house). I will try to keep in mind that you are in your dorm room. A random tool that may help you make food (and is compact) is a small (1.5 cup) inexpensive ($9-$10) food chopper, otherwise you need a knife - can cut a tomato cleanly without it squishing is decent, but you only need one and a strong cutting board - and check school rules for having knives in dorm rooms, wouldn't want you to get the boot for having a "weapon" in your room.

You need a very small amount of ground turkey if you are making dumplings for yourself and maybe one other person. If you have access to a freezer, feel free to get a pound, but otherwise a 1/4 of a lb is good for one or 1/2 a lb is good for two (I think). You will also need salt and pepper (you can buy a picnic pack of salt ond pepper in shakers for less than $5 and they will last you all year, and probably the next) a small bottle of sesame seed oil (found in the ethnic/Asian food aisle of grocery stores), a can of water chestnuts (in the same area as the oil), a small bundle of green onions (produce), and the smallest pkg of raw wonton or dumpling wrappers (I like the round ones, they are usually near the produce in a refrigerated case). All of these things can be found in the same grocery store, but you will pay less for them at an ethnic (Asian) market if you have one near school, be advised that you should understand exactly what you are looking for (hence the links since I don't know how to post pics yet) because there are many variations on these things in ethnic markets.

Basically, you need 2-3 bowls (the biggest cereal bowls you can find would be good, doesn't matter what they are made of as long as they are not paper), three plates (paper is okay - you need one for a prep plate, one for the prepared dumplings, and one to serve/eat on), a can opener, a spoon, and a fork. You need either the food chopper (will make this way easier) or a decent knife and cutting board (this method is much messier).

Open the can of water chestnuts with a can opener and drain the water. Set aside.

In the first bowl, crack an egg, mix it well with the fork, set aside.

If you have the chopper, fill it about halfway with ground turkey, take one sprig of onion and rip it up and put it in the chopper, add about 2 whole water chestnuts or about 6-8 sliced pieces if you bought sliced chestnuts. Add a few drops of the oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and spoon in about 2-3 spoonfuls of the beaten egg. put on the lid and turn it on. Let it run till everything is smooth and mixed up. You should be able to spoon out a clump of the mixture, it should not be runny, if it is add a little bit more turkey at a time until it is not runny. If it is too crumbly, then you can add a little more egg. You can either put the finished mix in a bowl if you are going to make more, or just spoon out of the chopper container.

If you do not have a food chopper, you will have to finely chop the onions and water chestnuts and measure out roughly 3/4 of a cup of turkey and put it all in a bowl. Add a few drops of the oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and spoon in about 2-3 spoonfuls of the beaten egg. It would be better to use your hands, but if you are squeemish about raw meat or are not near a bathroom, use a spoon to mix the stuff up and really mix it well. Again, make sure the mixture is not too crumbly or too runny. You want it to be like a meatball's texture in this case. Roll mini meatballs for each dumpling if it is easier than spooning the right amount into each wrapper.

On one plate, lay out some of the wonton/dumpling wrappers. spoon in a clump of the meat mix and pinch the top closed all around the meat. Transfer to the other plate. When you have formed enough dumplings to fit in your steamer basket, turn it on with some water in the bottom and let it run for about 15 minutes.

While these dumplings are cooking, you can make another batch, because you might want more and the smell will probably attract a few other dormies who will want to try some, you should share, there will be plenty to fill you up. Place the prepped dumplings that are waiting for the steamer on an open plate. When the first set are done cooking take out and enjoy! Place the second set into the steamer while you devour the first set.

Each dumpling is worth one Weight Watchers point (it was a WW recipe that I adapted for your dorming pleasure. This may be a bit of an undertaking, but I found that if I just use up all of the meat I get to fill the wrappers, I have a lot to save. They are better stored uncooked in the fridge and can be cooked within a day or two. They may even be freezable, you would need to cook them a lot longer if they are frozen though.

I like to mix up a little vinegar (if they serve fish and chips on or near campus you can snatch a few packets of vinegar to keep in your room, or pick up a bottle of rice vinegarif you have a couple extra bucks), with a couple of drops of the oil and some soy sauce (also available in packets from the local Chinese take out or you can pick up a bottle of soy sauce for another couple of dollars if you have it, but the sauce is not necessary, just delicious to dip the dumplings in!

I know this is a bit much for everyday eating, but it is fun once in a while and will also feed you for a good 2 days or so depending on how you store the leftover dumplings and products you used. And all you need to cook it in is your rice cooker/steamer!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Foxes are clever and tigers are cunning. So, what's your cat's safety school?

Longer Response to the Random Question on Profile page, because 400 characters is not enough.



Foxes are clever and tigers are cunning. So, what's your cat's safety school?

My cats have no safety school. The will climb anything. Their favorite precarious perch is on top of the narrow computer chair, while someone is in it. They enjoy playing with ant traps, chewing rubber bands, and dragging my husband’s dirty socks and underwear into their litter box when it has not been satisfactorily cleaned. They love to get on top of my table, on my laundry shelf, between my shower curtains while the shower is running, and into any cupboard or closet that is left open for a half of a second. They also like to hog my side of the bed until I am curled up so much onto the hubby's side that he is falling off of the bed. These habits that they have acquired in their less than 1 year of life, have led me to believe that there is no such safety school for cats, they learn by error and that is why they have 9 lives. I am sure they have lost 2 or 3 while being scared to death when my husband rants at them and chases them down with a squirt bottle yelling "Bad bad kitty gets the water", barreling at full speed head first into walls while playing fetch, falling off of the top shelves, and getting thrown off of my bed, table, and anywhere else they are not supposed to be.

ADD is me


Hey, I'm LenaLoo... I am not entirely new to blogging, I have had off and on blogs since around 2002 on different sites, but I am hoping to stick with this one for a bit... I am a newly-wed, and it is amazing... but interesting... I like to cook, but more than that I like to read, watch and think about all things food... I am a Food Network junkie (fav shows are Iron Chef, Next Iron Chef, Good Eats, Dinner: Impossible, DD&D - Guy's Show, Next Food Network Star when it's on, Unwrapped, any of Rachel Ray's shows, but I will watch ANYTHING if it is on FN) and I am a member of Something Awful's Goons With Spoons forum and I LOVE lurking and occasionally posting when I have something good enough to show and tell or have a question... I love film and theater and music of all kinds... A few fave movies: Moulin Rouge, Sleeping Beauty (any Disney animated feature really, but SB is my girl), The Hours, De-Lovely, Spanglish, The Terminal, 10 Things I Hate About You (RIP Heath), Batman movies (I have my faves, but I won't go there yet), Center Stage (almost any cheezy music, dance, theater, or cheer movie is at least watchable to me and many are in my collection), Finding Neverland (anything about Peter Pan, fairies, fantasy), and way to many more to list my entire DVD collection; some more recent in theater recently favs: August Rush, Enchanted, Juno, Atonement... Fave plays/musicals: Secret Garden (Lily Simon version), Oedipus Tyrannous, Antigone, Midsummer Nights Dream, 12th Night, Hamlet, Othello, Wicked (I know the music by heart, but I have not seen it on stage yet - Spring Break in LA I have birthday tickets from mom), RENT (again, still have not had the pleasure of seeing it live, but I have the OBC recording down pact and I quite enjoyed the movie), Jekyll and Hyde, R&H's Cinderella, The Glass Menagerie, Raisin in the Sun, and so many more... A few music faves: John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Vanessa Carlton, Colbie Callet, Aerosmith, Queen, Uncle Cracker, Smashmouth, KT Tunstall, Rebecca St. James, Mat Kearney, Pat Monahan, Train, Steven Curtis Chapman, Shawn McDonald, PAX 217 and a whole lot more... We have two little black kitties, they are named after Kingdom Hearts characters (which I know were Final Fantesy characters first), Riku ("Boy Cat") and Kyrie ("Girl Cat") and I love them to death... My husband, we shall call him "Mr. Loo", is an avid gamer, anime enthusiast, and a sci-fi lover, so I occasionally dabble in such things (I play WoW with him, for example, I like Bleachu, and I just started watching Voyager with him, because otherwise I would be sitting alone on the computer while he watches it with our friend every Sunday night, and I am ashamed to admit it, but I like it)... I am also kind of a TV junkie - I will watch just about anything if it is on at the time, but my favorites and guilty plesures (besides FN shows) are: Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Jon and Kate Plus 8, Little People Big World, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Gossip Girl (my newest craze - I have a season pass from iTunes and I watch them on my iPod Touch) The OC (on DVD and reruns on Soap Network), the occasional season of Buffy (but only with the former roomie, I'll call her CareBear, because she hates it!), Sopranos (sometimes, usually when I am at the grand in-laws; I will call them The Nana and The Papa; they are Mr.Loo's grandparents, but we are very close and I don't have any living grandparents, so there should be no confusion), the odd Desperate Housewives (I watch the first couple of seasons and fizzled, but from what I have seen of this season I want to catch up) and LOST (have only watched Seasons 1 and half of 2, but I think I will get caught up eventually)... I am also a bit of a recovering shopaholic (I am not kidding, I should be following a 12 step program!), a recovering anorectic (once one, always one, but I try extremely hard to verge away from that, or even usually talking about it unless I am having a tough time with it like I am kind of now), a recovering insomniac (not doing so good on that one either, I have not yet gone to bed), and sufferer of ADD (diagnosed, but trying to cope with the label when it has been my life)... I have had many different jobs, never quite lasting even a year (I get bored and quit after about 3 months with many of them), my most recent was as a sales rep for T-Mobile corporate in a kiosk in a very haughty mall (I quit in the middle of January after a stressful holiday season, , I was one month short of my one year mark, the longest job I have ever held)... At the moment, since I am between jobs, I am taking a full time set of classes at my local JC, in my last semester before transfer (I am at my 5th college in 6 year - since 2002) to a State University, I am studying to become a teacher (please don't judge my teaching merits based on my rambling, ranting, raving blog) and this semester I have some really great classes: Concert Choir, The Communication Experience, Structure of English, Tutoring Elementry Students in Reading, and Argumentative Writing - I am having a blast in all of them... I will probably got back to my previous part time job at Bath and Body works which is in a plaza that is very close to my apartment and when the say part time they mean like 5-10 hours a week if you are lucky (ironically I quit that job because I could not get enoughhours, and I quit T-mobile because I had too many)... I have 4 great gal pals that I hang out with when I need girl time (Mr.Loo and I can be homebodies much of the time) all 4 of them were in my wedding, along with my younger cousin (I will call her "Rosie" if I talk about her) and my former University roomie (I shall call her "Bunny," I met her in 2004 when I did one year at a private Christian University that I left after 1 year beacause I decided to move 800 miles North to the city Mr.Loo live in because we wanted to date, but did not want to do the long distance thing - it was a wise decision, but I miss home, we may be going back to my home area when I transfer in the Fall) wow - ADD moment, sorry, going back to my 4 gal pals there is "CareBear" (who I lived with for almost a year before I got married and also worked with at B&BW where she still works), "LooFree" (like Loofreebush from Miss Congeniality - one of her "favorite" movies, I lived with her and her family the first 3 or 4 months after moving up north, she is more like my sistafriend then a roomie, she was my Maid of Honor), "Pinkie" (my shopping and partying buddy, we have a saying "No TMI between Pinkie and I" we spill our guts to each other and are super BRUTELEY honest with each other, and she has intro'd me to her whole cirlce of friends who are so my kind of people, so I hang out with her a lot when I want to see all of them), and last but certainly not least "Chinchie" (as in Chinchilla, I know super weird, but that is what I have called her since she was a freshman in High School when I was a Senior; she moved up North like a month before I did and now she actually even lives in my apartment complex, we are old pals and good drinking buddies :P, even when we haven't talked or hung out in days, months, even years in one case, we can pick up where we left off like hardly any time has passed)... My blog title came from two things, Moulin Rouge and "Stalking the Green Fairy and Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink" by James Villas... I have not yet found the elusive fae vert (absinthe), but when I do finally, I will be all over it... I am a love her or hate her kind of girl... So choose, and then don't complain about what I write or the way I write... please... I am not going to categorize my blog into any one thing, but my posts will usually have something to do with one of the things I have mentioned here in this first post... This is my vent spot, my food spot, my need to talk to people outside of my core circle spot, so feel free to respond and link, I would love to see what other people (especially those who can stand to read what I write) have to say about things in their own spots... Happy reading and happy writing!
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