I'll Get Around To It Later

A tour de force with your host Faith

T-Minus 1 Month

And then I will be an aunt! This is probably a case of appropriation, but regardless of how it make me appear I'll share it anyway – I am SO excited. My feelings are hard to put into words which is why I am struggling with this a little bit.

This was something that really hit home when we had the baby shower.

While I have only ever been to one shower, that being the one for my sister, it was the best one I will ever attend. Mainly because it gave me the chance to express myself without the need for words. I could simply help prepare and choose things that I knew she would appreciate and at the same time she would know that they came from me. It is a sister thing I guess.

Everything that I would help with I did help with. From helping get the guest list together and sending out the invitations to managing the RSVPs. Oh, and I got to "help" pick out the invites as well. Actually they pretty much left it up me.

And that was a lot of fun.

There are a lot of different options which is one of the reason that got the job. It was clear that they were overwhelmed with the choice in invitations and quickly threw up their hands.

I mean it isn't like I am pregnant myself but regardless there is this sort of excitement that is making me antsy. Anticipation would be one way to describe it but then there is more to it. The biggest factor that is making me nervous is that I want to be there for my big sis but it is difficult since we don't really live that close by. We speak more frequently now that when we were in the same house. It is strange how distance can improve some relationships.

One month and counting before baby is here

To make a short story long, in one month from now I will be an aunt. And I am excited and terrified at the same time. That is the most direct I am be. Becoming a mother would probably totally freak me out, but my sister is handling the pregnancy amazingly well, especially considering that it doesn't seem like it was all that easy. Though I think that people that claim their pregnancy was easy are just down playing or forgetting all of the pain and changes it produces in our bodies.

What Is Pregnancy?

Can you really tell somebody what it is like to wait for a child to be born? I don't think that I even completely comprehend the whole process. The changes that one's body goes through during pregnancy are incredible and a little bit overwhelming. At least to me. But my sister has held up well through out the last eight months and has what I can assume would be a relatively easy pregnancy so far without any complications on the foreseeable horizon.

It would be both sort of embarrassing for her to go through them. And I will save you for the details as well because there is a chance some of you may blush as well. Needless to say it was an eye opener for me as well, because as much as I wish some of it would have been left out I got a pretty detailed account of the whole experience.

My Solution

My solution has been simple. Listen. Maybe I won't be pregnant anytime soon but I figure what I learn now will be able to help in the long run. Any information is better than no information and even if it doesn't help in the foreseeable future it might: a) help somebody I know b) be a base to build my experience on.

Right now I am just practicing being the best aunt that I can be for when my niece/nephew is born.

Becoming An Aunt

When I think of everything that has changed in the last five years in my life I am a little overwhelmed. Five years ago my sister was still living at home and didn't even have a boyfriend. Now? Now she is going to be a mother.

The idea of becoming an aunt it thrilling. And it has given me a chance to do some amazing things.

Worst Disney Movie

In color

As far as I know "Home on the Range" is the general answer for Disnerds...

Two words: "Chicken Little"

The animation is pretty rough in "Chicken Little". And I can understand that they just were not at Pixar's level at that point, but they did slap the Disney name on it and gave it a huge release. Though in all fairness they did the same with I don't think there are really "bad" Disney animated features, but I do have some that I didn't like.

Fantasia 2000. Or if I am talking about actual movies and not creepy drug fest packaged as a film then it would probably be Chicken Little. This one was really anticipated - by me - and it grossly disappointed on almost every level.

There's nothing redeeming about the film. To put it differently chickens just aren't good protagonists in films.

Among Disney animated films, I'm partial to: Alice In Wonderland, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Great Mouse Detective, The Lion King, Tarzan, Atlantis, Bolt, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frozen.

Still my absolute favorite is Mulan. It was my favorite Disney movie growing up. And every time I watch it it is exactly how I remembered.

The mixed reaction it got was so fucking undeserved, and I loved the dark tone of it. Was absolutely perfect and it's a shame there was no sequel, but I do plan on buying the books eventually.

But some of you might disagree with me. You would bring up non-classics like:

  • Leroy & Stitch (Seriously ... Leroy?)
  • Bambi 2
  • Pocahontas 2
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
  • Cindarella 2
  • Lady and the tramp 2
  • Mulan 2 (The horror)

I should stop before I go into the Disney channel exclusive movies.

Soft & Moist: The Only Chocolate Cake Recipe You'll Ever Need

Before we get started I am going to make the "claim" that this is the ultimate chocolate cake recipe. If you love moist and soft cake then this cake is what you want. The batter seems very "wet" but I assure you that even non cake people will love it. It always stays super moist too which is a must for chocolate cake.

This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, and it's never let me down.

My friend taught me this brilliant cake recipe and before you turn up your nose to it, do not be fooled by the use of the metric system. Once I started to weigh all of my recipes in grams and measuring in milliliters this got so much more consistent. And I will say that it does take a little getting used to but the technique works so much better. And pay attention to the different instructions, for example the hot water is really important. What does it do? What it does however is ensure that the cake stays moist! Strange as it may sound this is really important.

Oh so moist

And it doesn't use any eggs, in fact, you probably have most if not all the ingredients in your house already!

For the cake:

  1. Butter, for greasing the pans
  2. 210g plain flour, plus more for pans
  3. 2 eggs, at room temperature
  4. 400g confectioners sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  7. 140ml hot water/freshly brewed coffee *
  8. 120ml vegetable oil
  9. 100ml well shaken buttermilk *
  10. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  11. 90g good cocoa powder
  12. 1 teaspoon salt

  13. Coffee is really nice and since I love to eat chocolate with coffee it is really a must for me. Some people like my dad will only eat it like this now, much to the annoyance of my mother. Also shake the buttermilk really well, otherwise it is senseless using buttermilk in the first place.

This was once pretty standard cupcake recipe that was cleverly converted into a cake recipe. The rule of thumb is the larger the cake the lower the temperature. Longer baking will not dry out your cake. This is a little anecdotal but when I first tried to bake cake I thought that it would work better if I baked on higher temperatures.

Also when you convert to a different forms the trick to get the right volume is pretty easy. I will share method my friend uses.

Here is how she did it:

First pour enough water into your cake pan to fill out to the appropriate level for batter. Most times one dozen cupcakes equals 2 x 8" rounds that are 1" high.

Then measure how much water you need to fill the number of cupcake portions the cupcake recipe calls for. You may find that the recipe needs slightly less baking powder if you have to double the recipe.

But, honestly, as long as you have enough batter, it will be delicious. Be aware that cupcakes usually take 20 minutes, a larger cake is usually 30 minutes, and a bundt cake can be up to 50 minutes.

The hot water/fresh coffee is added at the very end because the flour is effectively coated with fat (the oil and eggs), thereby reducing the amount of gluten that can form when flour and liquid are mixed.

The reason the water needs to be hot is because hot liquid (water/coffee) helps "bloom" cocoa powder, creating a deeper, more rich chocolate flavor and it will further infuse the flour with the fat. It also might help extract some flavor out of the ground espresso as well.

Generally, more sugar means more moistness, the reason is because sugar is hygroscopic, this means that it will absorb moisture from the batter.

Acidic ingredients like buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream etc. keep cakes nice and tender when they get older as well. Which is the main reason why this cake is so tender and moist in the first place.

Make sure that you use buttermilk. Normal milk just doesn't cut it.

Oil makes cakes have a more open texture and definitely more moist. You can also refrigerate your cake if you use oil and it won't become hard as there is no butter to solidify. Think of any carrot cake you have had before and how moist it was.

I can almost guarantee you it was made with oil.

That's it. Easy right? Even if you don't get it right the first time you can keep trying. The "bad" cakes are still delicious.

The Great Mouse Detective

I really liked this movie when I was a kid and when I start talking about Disney movies it seems to come up, yet nobody ever seems to remember it. And even to this day I consider it to be one of the great Disney movies. The premise is also spectacular: What if Sherlock Holmes unknowingly had a mouse living in his residence, but he solved mysteries too and was just as eccentric?

The Great Mouse Detective

I remember reading once somewhere that Ratigan was Vincent Price's favorite role. Here is what he had to say about it.

"Shortly before his death, he said that one of his most favorite roles was the voice of Professor Ratigan in the Disney feature The Great Mouse Detective (1986), especially since two original songs had been written for him."

The entire movie was a perfect balance, this is rare, yet everything from songs, to action, mystery, and all of what makes a good all around film especially something adults and children can both enjoy for different reasons. It also has great characters and one of the best animated villains in the Disney franchise.

This film came out the next year after "The Black Cauldron" in 1986 and Disney was having trouble finding a formula for going in more ambitious and different directions while still captivating audiences.

It also has one of the most disturbing villain songs of any Disney movie.

"Even meaner? You mean it? Worse than the widows and orphans you drowned?"

Also, that scene in the clock tower near the end? That's a reference / shout out to "The Castle of Cagliostro," the first film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who would later go on to found Studio Ghibli, whose films Disney distributes in the West.

I feel that both "The Black Cauldron" and "The Great Mouse Detective" were overshadowed by this time in Disney's change in their business model.

I have a lot of respect for Disney going somewhere different and experimental and I feel "The Great Mouse Detective" fared better out the few films that were produced during this time before the next big hits of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"? and of course, "The Little Mermaid."

NetFlix and Well -- Yeah -- Chill

There are so many great alternatives to cable now. Netflix and Hulu are awesome. My parents are still stuck with the cable subscription. But I can say that I never had one. I picked up NetFlix when I was still at home and now with NetFlix, Hulu and some YouTube keeping me busy I am never left wanting.

Netflix

When I am home the amount of commercials on cable can nearly drive me insane. There has never been a time I have been “Oh boy! Good thing I saw that commercial!” And for those that argue my preferred viewing options also have commercials, true. The commercials on YT can get a little annoying I don't have that problem with NetFlix or Hulu. I only watch via streaming with a chrome cast, and have not seen commercials.

On Hulu I pay the extra for no commercials.

But there is the added value of having their own content. I feel like the content keeps getting increasingly better and has come out at a faster rate.

I see an increasing amount of value on the consumer side. Netflix is now more well known for their original programming, shows like Stranger Things, Chef’s Table, Daredevil, Ozark, than they are for streaming other content.

Though it can be hit or miss with some of their content it is important to keep a wide base of users. Something that doesn't interest me was likely not made for me but others will like it because it was made with them in mind.

In order to keep their subscriber base and continue growing, they need to keep producing said original programming. Their content has become exponentially more expensive for them to produce.

The uptick is, they’re a service that is seen as an alternative to cable, and also a recession safeguard.

If the economy begins to slide, it’s more likely that people will turn to Netflix as a cost saving measure than cut Netflix out of their budget. Shows are still shows, no matter what platform they're on. At the end of the day it is like any other content provider, just treat it like what it is and watch what appeals to you.

Aladdin 2 Had Potential

Aladdin 2 was initially going to have a theatrical release, this would have made it one of the few sequels during that Disney era that had a such a release but they decided it was going to be too costly and take too long. And they didn't have Robin Williams on it. It was thrown together from what was going to be the beginning of the TV show.

The TV show was actually pretty good, and I thought the third movie was pretty strong. But the second film had weak and forgettable characters, shabby animation, predictable to just what-the-hell plot, and I really honestly felt like it was a waste of my time. But they killed the show.

In the third one Aladdin finds out his dad is the king of thieves, and the statue that turns everything to gold.

I honestly might like it better than the first movie when I first watched it. But that was a really long time ago.

The Walking Dead Sucks

After about five seasons I was pretty much unable to continue watching "The Walking Dead" for a number of different reasons. I won't go into too much detail, if you have watched the show you will know what I am talking about. Still, a friend of mine decided to pick it up based on my past enjoyment of the show. They like zombies as well but the show didn't have the right something for them to pick it up and start watching it. When they finally did start they didn't even make it as far as I did.

The reason?

The Walking Dead Sucks

At least in their opinion.

The opinion might actually be sound though.

And here is why I think they came to the conclusion. As I said I am not toing to make this about me. Though I will again say that there is some overlap. I was just able to hold it out longer.

It is definitely not the best show ever.

I think you need to watch it week-by-week to appreciate it, not binge-watch.

I was fortunate to start the series from the beginning... having the week long breaks in-between gave you something to look forward to, and you tend to forget about any inconsistencies or clichés, which become more obvious when you binge-watch the show (any show for that matter).

TWD

When the show started I was really excited for a zombie series based on a graphic novel.I had not read it at that time but I felt that the two were a perfect match.

What did I get? Over time a large number of boring clichés, run of the mill series, with a bunch of zombies added in. And while this might save you on the short term it is not a recipe for longterm success. It merely makes it watchable, but they drag everything out and the characters often survive for far too long without any real growth or development. I think that they might have had a strong sense of where to take the show in the beginning but quickly saw that it was easier to manage it with tropes.

And there is a reason why I say this.

The show is written by comittee, not by a writer who has a clear idea of where the story is going.

The character arcs and development are based on shock factor...it lacks the overall narrative cohesiveness that makes shows like, say, Breaking Bad so strong.

I absolutely love zombie movies, and typical zombie tropes, but when they are executed poorly then they just make the sub-genre seem more bland in general, and crowd out other good works people might make. It's kind of like more modern zombie books - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes to mind.

There are honestly so many better shows on both to binge and on television.