Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunshine: An interview with Meredith Montgomery

Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" had only four characters: two men and two women. In St. Edward's upcoming performance, one male and one female  role were filled by the professional actors Ev Lunning, Jr. and Babs George. This left only two slots for students. I interviewed the one female student in this production, Meredith Montgomery.

Montgomery will be portraying Honey, a young and petite wife of a new college professor. In the play, two  couples meet for drinks, revealing a history of dysfunction in both marriages.

When Montgomery found out that she had received the role, this was her reaction, she says, "I was really grateful and excited and looked forward to the opportunity and learning a lot. I knew from the beginning that it would be the biggest responsibility and challenge of my life."

Montgomery constantly alluded to her nerves towards the play which opens in less than two weeks. Since there are only four characters, the line load is strong in Who's Afraid? But Montgomery stated, "Lines were the easy part to handle and memorize, but everything else is extremely challenging. There is so much character work in such an epic show. Every day my anxiousness and nerves increase. I am working so hard to tame the beast."

Due to her current status as the sole female student in the production, Montgomery has been a topic of discussion among her peers. While she is proud to have been cast in such a leading role, Montgomery states that she is always looking for a new change in her life and her work. She stated, "Acting is about looking to the future constantly. I may be in a show now, but I don't know what I am doing in the spring."

Being put in a position above her peers is a concern, since the role was desired by many. Montgomery said, "I don't want to let anyone down, it is scary to think of people leaving the theatre saying 'Well, I could have played that role better than her.' I go, perform my work, and create my art. The real challenge is to rise to the occasion. I'm really scared of the reviews, because there is no place to hide. I still don't understand the magnitude of the reviews, and worry that if someone wrote something bad about my performance, all of my positive feelings might disappear."

Since theatre is a career of constant, even daily, rejection, Montgomery finds logical reasoning in the disappointments of the past. She states that, "It still hurts, but I tell myself 'I don't know what the director wants for their project, so I can't analyze it.' You can't get personally involved, and say that if you didn't get his then you will stop auditioning. Sports cliches are true, like 'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.' That's my personal motto, let it roll off my back and get out there and audition."

The play runs November 11-21st, and student tickets are $12. The theatre offers discounted tickets for students on the second Thursday performance.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lollipops: Cooking Cajun Pizza

When a friend from Louisiana came to visit, I automatically suggested that we cook a Cajun meal. When he he agreed, we automatically agreed to do this while watching "The Princess and the Frog," to give it an extra Louisiana feel. The recipe we chose was "Cajun Pizza," filled with spice and tons of meat.

The recipe involved: store-bought pizza crust, Alfredo sauce, "Louisiana Cajun Seasoning," applewood smoked bacon, sausage, and Boar's Head cheese.

We layered Alfredo sauce, cheese, and meat onto the pizza crust, seasoned everything, and put it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

This is not the most accurate recipe, because there were no measurements- we just threw everything onto a pizza. And, the results were amazing.

I highly recommend pairing the movie along with cooking. But warning- it may stir feelings for an impromptu visit to New Orleans!

Lollipops: British food with a true Brit

After spending a summer in England with a real British family, I have eaten a fair share of British cuisine. My summer was filled with sausage, potatoes, and fish 'n' chips. I recently discovered a new British place to eat, and it was small, cute, and authentic.

The outside is not noticeable or glamorous- a spray painted sign reads "Full Breakfast." But what I found inside was an adorable attic-like environment.

I ordered a sausage roll, a large sausage inside of a croissant (NOT a kolache).

What I received was delicious, and reminded me of my summertime.

Check out Full English

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunshine: Halloween...

I own a trunk of costumes that is proudly displayed in my living room, filled with funny hats, crinoline skirts, and red "Wizard of Oz" shoes. And yet, I hate Halloween. I hate the expectations, the excuse for obscene drunkenness in slutty outfits, and the scary factor.
Things like this:
And this:
The one part of Halloween I can get behind is the candy. But unfortunately, I am past the age of trick-or-treating. It is just not cute anymore past the age of 13. Now that I am a grow up, I have to purchase my own candy which I am glad to do. Candy corn pumpkins, Reese's, and other candies fill my house throughout the season.

Sunshine: Rocky Horror, Glee Style

The first time I saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was in the 9th grade, and it freaked me out. Little 13-year-old Ginger's mind was opened to late night rendezvous with transsexuals, weird topless dancing, and people shouting "slut!" at the screen. Since then, I have given the cult film several chances to impress me, but still I haven't quite "gotten it." This week, "Glee" decided to present a "Rocky Horror" themed episode, and it made me much less uncomfortable than the movie.

The show cast many of the actors into roles they would actually play (with a new twist on Dr. Frank-N-Furter).

 The whole gang:

Even thought I do not like "Rocky Horror", I found this episode quite adorable (which is probably a word that has never been attributed to the musical). If television shows must be holiday-themed, I think that this was a nice twist to make for Halloween.

Here is a sneak preview to the episode:

Lollipops: Good Burger

There's a new burger joint open on South Congress...and, no, it is not in a trailer. Hopdoddy's, an all-organic burger/bar, is a wonderful addition to the city of Austin.

The burgers, which range from $5-9 are a huge portion of local beef, mixed with a bun that is baked fresh daily on site. I had the 'shroom burger that combined organic mushrooms with pesto and goat cheese (and, of course, a beef patty). I felt stuffed and delighted after consuming this massive burger.

Though I am no "organic snob," all of the ingredients tasted fresh an natural.

The environment of the restaurant should also be mentioned- it is sleek and modern. It combines the colors lime green, silver, and brown, which gives a natural and new feel to the place.

Overall, I believe that this restaurant deserves a chance. The website is not very informational, so check out this review for more details!

This is my burger after my first bite into it:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rainbows: Is this real life?

Never has an episode of television so perfectly mirrored my life in a significant moment than this episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

Now kids, it all started when I received a photo text message from my mom:

"It's official!"

I was shocked: my 47-year-old mother has only been dating for five months, and she is engaged!?!
I was flooded with more texts about how excited she is, and even got a text from her new fiancee saying, "I truly love your mother. She is the greatest woman I have ever met."

All the while, I am left questioning the entire situation.

The day after I found out about the engagement, I happened to watch an episode from "How I Met Your Mother" named "Home Wreckers."

In this episode, Ted's recently divorced mother announces her engagement to a man named Clint. Her new fiancee, like my own mother's, is not afraid to share his feelings about their affection and altogether give too much information.

At their wedding, Ted says to his friends, "I can't believe she lapped me. My mom is on her second marriage before I even get one of my own."

When I watch TV, I usually have "my character" picked out. This is the person that I like the most because they remind me of myself.

That day, I realized that I am a Ted. Single, snobby, romantic Ted.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sunshine: Colbert and Stewart as court jesters?

When looking at the upcoming Marches to Keep Fear/Sanity Alive, I have realized a comparison between the satirical news anchors Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert with medieval minstrels and court jesters. In history, the only people that could deliver noblemen and kings the truth were the jesters because they were supposed to be funny.  Because they were presenting sad or controversial information in a lighthearted manner, they ran less of a risk of being killed for being the bearers of bad news. Jesters, Colbert, and Stewart are similar in their approach to delivering information by using their comedy to create change and deliver news.
Today in a world of many biases and 24 hour news cycles, people do not know where to look for truthful information. For my generation, the beacon of truth has come from the Comedy Central shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On these shows, Colbert plays the extremist. He is a man that is filled with bias and ignorance, who will not back down for the rational evidence presented to him. While playing the part of a stern, conservative man, Colbert is mocking the way many real people are like in the media. 

Stewart puts on a different show, portraying the rational man in a world of people with crazy opinions. The characters that play his correspondents enter with the same type of energy that Colbert takes on, being stubborn examples of people in the world. The shows are contrasting in their news anchors, but have the same appeal: to educate their audience by theatrically overacting and presenting some of the worst qualities that exist in people.
When I took a class on Parzival last semester, I became fascinated by court life in the Middle Ages. I found it so interesting that a king had the power to send anyone to be killed at his leisure if they delivered him with bad news.  A king would only listen to a minstrel or jester who would give him a performance in addition to the happenings of the country.
Though these performers are centuries apart, their medium of communication remains similar. I hypothesize that in order to be seen as a reliable news source, individuals have to be funny. By presenting information in a humorous context, the sources can make fun of themselves in addition to all sides of an issue. When modern broadcasters are too serious, they can become on sided in their argument, creating an issue with their credibility. As for the Middle Ages, a king would not want to hear up front the problems in his own country. Taking the news of war or uprising with a little fun would make it easier to take the information and decide on a solution.
I have been watching Colbert and Stewart since the 2008 Presidential election. Since it was my first time to vote in such a big election, I wanted to be informed of all the everyday happenings, speeches, and poll updates. After a good two weeks of following CNN and the basic cable news channels, I became exhausted with the content. Someone suggested that I watch The Colbert Report as a funny addition to my news watching. I have not look back since that day. Now, I tend to stay away from “real” television news shows. I found that any radical person can have an opinion, and thus get a television show. I realized that the reason why I was attracted to Colbert’s show was because he poked fun at every type of news source, including his own. Even on election night, I was tuned in for Stewart and Colbert’s special joint show- that is how I found out about the presidential results. 
       Is it possible for two men set out with the goal of creating humor and awareness in the same medium to be compared to individuals from the Middle Ages?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunshine: DC Update

As I have previously blogged, I am planning a five day study tour of Washington, D.C. I think that it is important to inform others of what I am currently working on, because I love it.

This is the schedule I have created:

November 3rd: Fly into DC
                        Meeting with the World Bank
                        Service project: presentation with College Bound

November 4th: Meeting with CropLife America
                        Meeting with the Woodrow Wilson Center
                        Tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
                        Young Professional's Panel
                        Evening Monument Tour
November 5th: Meeting at the Pentagon
                        Meeting with Senator Cornyn
                        Capitol Tour
                        Meeting with Teach for America
                        Alumni Dinner
November 6th: National Mall exploration and Smithsonian's
                        Kennedy Center: Hair
November 7th: Arlington National Cemetery
                       Fly to Austin

During this week, I will be the most insane I have ever been in my life. I am prepared to get no sleep and spend all of my time doing something.

But I couldn't be more excited.

Anyone want some souvenirs?

Sunshine: Just like a pro'

Wearing slacks, a name tag, a tucked in shirt, and carrying a portfolio, I am currently the definition of "professional." It took a while to get me here, but with practice I now know how to dress myself as a pro and talk like one too (but only when necessary).
Throughout my involvement in Hilltop Leadership Development, I have been trained on how to become more like a grown up professional lady.

These are the key things I have learned:
1. Nametags make an individual look way more important.
2. Come up with a question- any question- to ask someone in a meeting or interview.
3. BE ONE TIME. To be early is a virtue.
4. A matching belt and shoe combination class up any ensemble.
5. Always reread an email before sending it to an adult...I have seen so many "i"s and misspelled words.

All of these are going into practice today when I visit the State Capitol and meet with two representatives! I am less than two weeks away from the big show in DC.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainbows: How I Met Your Mother...the next Friends?

A group of best friends, a hang out spot, love affairs, steady couples, and odd situations are components of a classic TV sitcom. Two of my all time favorites are "Friends" and "How I Met Your Mother" (which I abbreviate to HIMYM). With "Friends" slowly slipping into the vortex of the 90's, I think that HIMYM is taking over as the twenty-somethings living in New York City and finding themselves show.

Though the coffee shop Central Perk is replaced by McLaren's Pub, the characters and humor remain intact.

Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily are the new Ross, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey. These eleven characters are not extremely similar, but I believe that HIMYM will be this generation's "Friends."

I was too young to watch most if "Friends" when it originally aired, but now own all ten seasons and continually watch all of them. I have become equally obsessed with watching rounds of HIMYM.

Both have characters dating each other (Rachel dates Ross and Joey; Robin dates Ted and Barney) and have the token "meant for each other" couple (Monica and Chandler; Lily and Marshall).

Throughout the seasons, the characters date, make mistakes, fight, and most importantly, create a ton of catchphrases and iconic sayings.

"Friends" has: "How you doin'?" "OH MY GOD" and "Could I be any more ___?"

While HIMYM has: "Awesome", "Suit up," "Legen....wait for it...dary" and "Slap bet!"

Both are important and hilarious in their own way, and I hope that HIMYM can become as wonderful as "Friends" was and still is.

Inspiration: "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story."

Lollipops: Greatest Cereal

After spending a summer watching every season of "Seinfeld", I was inspired by Seinfeld's love of cereal. He always had a dozen boxes of cereal in his kitchen, and I loved the variety that this added to his life. I found that this simple breakfast food can be used for so much, and at any time of the day.

Corn flakes can be used to make delicious "Funeral Potatoes"
Wheaties can be made into cookies
Chex cereal can be made into "Puppy Chow"
Don't forget about Rice Krispie squares!

I believe that cereal is a fantastic staple to any person's diet. From the "heart healthy" Honey Nut Cheerios to the "is this really a breakfast food?" Cookie Crisps, cereal holds a place in my childhood and nearing adulthood.

Cereal can be used on the go, tossed into a sandwich bag. When cereal gets boring, the milk can be changes, or a spoonful of sugar can be added. When it comes to cereal, adaptability is important.

Now that I know how cereal can be used in other, more practical ways I can continue to grow up with my cereal beside me.

Sunshine: Barbershop Quartets

It is a dream of mine for barbershop quartet to perform this song to be as I drift off into sleep. They would all wear red and white stripes suits, hold canes, and wear straw hats. This sweetness and ongoing melody of this song would send me into my dreams with a pleasant feeling of joy.

I asked my roommate if she could make this possible but she refused.

Barbershop quartets are musical groups that I would always support. Ever since performing in "The Music Man" in junior high, I have wanted to join one. But, alas, I do not have the gender or the voice.

I can still enjoy the different pitches of voices, squeaky clean lyrics, and happiness that comes from a barbershop quartet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rainbows: Tromeo and Juliet...yes, Tromeo

In studying Shakespeare, it is valuable to supplement his works by seeing them performed. I have compared several movie versions of plays like Taming of the Shrew, Richard III, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. In Shakespearean Theatre class, it came time to read and watch Romeo and Juliet. There are two fantastic film versions of this play, a modern take starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, and a more traditional version with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. There is also a third version of Romeo and Juliet that is far less known. This movie is called “Tromeo and Juliet,” and I believe that if Shakespeare were alive today to see this version, he might lose his will to live.

 There were too many signs that I never should have taken this movie home to watch. When presented with this movie in class, my professor said that he lent it to a student before and that she could not get through it because it was so filthy. Rather than let this scare me, I took it as a challenge. I thought that what some might consider filthy, I might see as hilarious. 
Looking back, I was so wrong.
I also should have known from the trailers shown before the movie that this was not going to be the level of Shakespeare interpretations I had seen in the past. There was a movie about slutty female pilots that looked like soft core porn, and another film about a police officer who transforms into a samurai warrior.
In an interview with the director that was shown before the movie, he states that the samurai movie was another Shakespeare interpretation of Coriolanus. Then, he said that it really put the “anus” in Coriolanus. 
 All of these were signs that this movie should not ever be viewed. And yet, I carried on with hope that it would get better.
 The movie opens with a homeless man giving the classic “Two households” speech, then goes to show all of the main characters by flashing their names across the screen. The first appearance of Tromeo is not on the pleasant streets of Verona, but rather in a tattoo parlor where he is watching a female friend get her nipple pierced.
Casually, the camera pans down to her chest. In spite of other dialogue happening in the scene, the camera remains there and the audience sees everything. I never thought that I would see something so inappropriate and disgusting in a movie. For five minutes, I watched clamping, pulling, needle threading, and pain, all the while thinking: How would Shakespeare feel about this?
I was ready to turn the movie off after 10 minutes, but I wanted to defeat the person who had only made it halfway through. I forged on into a scene that showed Mercutio, Tromeo’s friend, at a rave. Mercutio gets in a fight with some Capulet boys, and they take him into another room to beat each other. Mercutio apparently gave the Capulet’s “the finger,” but he claims that this was never given because he still has all of his fingers.
 Because of this, the Capulet’s quickly slice off two of his fingers with a paper cutter…and everything is shown in great detail.
 When Juliet is finally introduced, she is angelically sitting on her four poster bed glancing out to the moon. She is upset because her father never lets her leave the house and also that she is having disgusting and disturbing sexual nightmares. In order to relieve her stresses, the “Nurse” character come in to comfort her. Rather than being an older woman who has been caring for Juliet since she was born, the Nurse is a very young house cook who is in love with Juliet. In this version, the way that the Nurse comforts Juliet is to ferociously make out on her bed.

The creepiest part of this movie is the relationship between Juliet and her father. Whenever Juliet has nightmares and screams in her sleep, her father happens to be lying beside her when she wakes up. He punishes her whenever this happens by dressing her in a hot pink pleather underwear set and locking her in a glass box. She is chained at her wrists and ankles, and he leaves her there in the dark.
It is in this box that Tromeo finds Juliet and they act out the balcony scene. After professing their love in poorly spoken Shakespearean English, the two indulge in some pre-marital bliss.
After this scene, I gave up. I finally understood why others could not finish the movie and why I had never heard of it before. I was upset to see Shakespeare at his interpretive worst.
I know that Shakespeare had a mind that was full of the human experience, which includes sexuality, but the presentation of this movie is not discreet or hidden at all.
This movie is not even one of those “because I know it is bad it is entertaining and hilarious” types of movies. I could not find even one redeeming quality as to why someone would watch this.
The movie was made in 1996, which could be an excuse for the poor production value. However, in 1996 movies like “Fargo”, “Trainspotting”, and “Independence Day” were released. In that year, several good movies were released that did not involve scenes with a pregnant belly expanding and filling with freshly popped popcorn.  
After quitting the movie, I felt the need to apologize to Shakespeare not only for the creation of the film but for having seen it at all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rainbows: Program Review

Get ready for tube instrument playing, basketball bouncing, and drumstick tapping at Post Elementary's "Fourth Grade Program".
I got to see a preview of this performance, and was entertained by the mix of different instruments and songs. The program contains six songs from four different fourth grade classes. The theme is "Around the World with Music," and the students performed African, Asian, South and North American songs.

The show opened with a "Welcome" song, performed in rounds and in different pitches by each class.

Next, a song with no words called "Blue Lightening" was shown. The fourth graders created a beat with plastic tubes, maracas, and tambourines.

The program ends with an upbeat, wild number that is a traditional African song and game. The performers partnered up and sang while doing an intricate hand shake. When the chorus came around, the performers skipped around the space singing, "Jim Way." The best part of the song was seeing how much the performers enjoyed singing and dancing. Their passion for their art made the show a joy to watch.

Even though this program is still in rehearsal stages, it is one of the best I have seen. The mix of music, dancing, and instruments made for an educated and entertaining show.

The program goes up on Monday, October 18th at 7PM in the Post Elementary cafeteria. Tickets are free.

*The photo above is of my brother Clayton Grossman (right) and his friend Trevor. The students are performing the closing number in this photo.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rainbows: John Lithgow. One Night Only.

John Lithgow, an arm chair, a lamp, and a withered old story book. These were the four elements that made last night's performance of "Stories by Heart," a two hour show with Lithgow as the sole performer. The only thought that I had after the performance was: John Lithgow may be one of the most talented actors of this generation.

In the two hour time slot, Lithgow talked about the importance of storytelling in his family history. He discussed his father's exuberant, showman-like personality (a persona that he has inherited), and the stories that he loved to hear his father read. Lithgow goes on to share that his father lost his performer's energy after going through an operation. What made his father survive the medical problems was Lithgow moving home (since he was the only actor in his family and thus "between jobs") and reading these stories out loud. Storytelling raised his father's spirit through the last year of his life.

The background information from this personal reflection gave a feeling of family, joy, and the importance of storytelling that lasted throughout the night.

Lithgow went on to perform the story "Uncle Fred Flits By" from memory, playing all 11 characters (including a parrot). Lithgow was hilarious in his storytelling, and used the entire stage and few furniture pieces as a  performance space. He was able to play a doting young woman, a love struck teen boy, and an elderly woman with believability and captivation.

After intermission, Lithgow began with a personal story about being the new kid in elementary school. Since he was alone at the age of 10, he read his English textbook for fun. There, he discovered a story called "Haircut," a sinister tale about a seemingly jolly barber.

This story had a more somber and dark tone than the first tale, but was another facet to see in Lithgow's range.

I was amazed to see a stage performer use only his body and a few items to vividly tell a story. I felt like a little child at bedtime after the final story, desiring to say, "Can I have another story please?"

Rainbows: My favorite Michael Jackson

I do not know what Michael Jackson did after the 1970's. This isn't meant to be rude, because I simply lost track of his work after he began a solo career and left the Jackson 5.

I am in love with the music of the Jackson 5. Even though it has its flaws (I mean, how could Michael have understood loving the ladies at the age of 10?),
it remains the greatest pick-me-up type music I know.

It is not possible to get more depresses when listening to "ABC," "I Want you Back," or "I'll Be There." There is too much hop and joy to keep a listener down.

My all time favorite is the Jackson 5's Christmas album. The peppiest Christmas song that I know is their version of "Up on the Housetop". Though Christmas is 72 days away, give it a listen right now.

Lollipops: Local "Pub Grub"

I spent last summer eating, drinking, and having a jolly good time in British pubs. I recently felt a longing for fish 'n' chips, a pint, and the ambiance of pub culture.

Then, I found the Dog and the Duck Pub. This little pub downtown gave me everything that I needed, and felt authentically British. From the dart board, to the abundance of beer taps, I felt like I had entered another country. The dark wood decor, scarlet booths, and bottles of malt vinegar amplified my desire for fried food and Guinness. Both of these were soon appeased.

With meals around $10 and specials on drinks, the Dog and the Duck is worth a try. Call it a cultural experience.

I highly recommend stopping by for a quaint, UK-inspired meal (and a beer).

Rainbows: Penny Serenade

I had never heard of the movie "Penny Serenade" before this weekend, but understandably, because it was produced in 1941. What I found was a lovely story starring two classic actors I admire.

The movie's leads are Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, playing a married couple struggling through the adoption process and parenthood.

While the movie is not a memorable classic, it shows two characters acting like real people. They have money problems, they go to work, their baby cries. They are saddened by loss and not being able to get pregnant.

Though it is in not one of my favorite movies made during this age of Hollywood, it is a different glimpse into what life was like in the 1940's.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rainbows: Sesame Street + Old Spice

I felt the need to share this video with the world. In case you loved that Old Spice commercial, "Sesame Street" has done an interpretation of this. Grover portrays the Old Spice man with just as much charm and humor of a foxy actor:

Compare it to the original video here:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rainbows: 90's Relapse

Two of my favorite movies growing up were Big and It Takes Two. I have not seen either of these in eight years, so I decided to look back on them this weekend.

My main thought afterward was: What were the 90's (and late 80's) thinking?

Both movies host ridiculous plots that seemed totally normal for me as a child.

 First off, Big.

While this scene  may be one of the greatest in movie history...

...the rest of the movie is just inappropriate. Why did the "big" version of a 13 year-old boy have sex with his co-worker? If I was that co-worker and found out that I had slept with a 13 year-old I would freak out! When I first watched this movie at the age of 10 i was fine with their romantic relationship...but now, I find it disgusting!

Now, It Takes Two.
Yes, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were adorable children. I was obsessed with this movie back in the day...but now, the plot does not work at all. Identical strangers? Two people falling in love after sepending 20 minutes together? An expensive wedding dress that rips apart from one step on the train? (skip to 5:28)

Not to mention the 90's fashion...high waisted jeans, scrunchines, a touch of shoulder pads.

But for nostalgia's sake, it is a fun romp to watch these favorites at the age of 21.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lollipops: Cookin' Chicken Fried Steak, y'all

That's right.

The one recipe I ever truly mastered was chicken fried steak. I have always been proud of this skill because it was the one way I felt my Texas pride. Unfortunately, none of my friends are fans of this delicious cubed steak coated in cracker batter recipe that I have mastered. They think it is gross.

In spite of this, I will continue to spread my love of this dish to anyone who will listen.

Here's my ideal recipe (published in Southern Living, June 2006):


  • 6  (4-oz.) cubed steaks (1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  egg substitute
  • 45  saltine crackers, crushed (1 sleeve plus 7 crackers)
  • Vegetable cooking spray


1. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge steaks in flour; dip in egg substitute, and dredge in crushed crackers. Lightly coat steaks on each side with cooking spray.
2. Cook steaks, in batches, in a hot nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden, turning twice. Transfer steaks to a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Keep warm in a 225° oven. Serve with Cream Gravy.

And, why not? While you cook, please listen to this song.

Sunshine: Avant-Garde Awareness

Picture 15 college students meeting weekly to discuss life, political issues, and personal stories with the goal of creating art. This is Avant-Garde Awareness, a Brown Scholar project created with the curiosity of seeing what performance and art that students can create together over the course of a year.

The first meeting began in August, where students discussed the thought provoking (and slightly morbid) question, "What would you do if you had one day left to live?" The next week, students brought in their creations including poems, paintings, songs, and monologues.

This past week, the question was, "What ten things would you want people to know about you in 100 years?" I took this question to be my personal advice from the beyond, and would like to share them now:

1. It is very possible to be happy all the time…learn to let go of bad days or mean people or stresses and take in the wonderful things in life.
2. During my life I wondered, “if I was not told what is good or bad, ugly or beautiful and if I was not exposed to prejudice and ignorance, would it be possible for me to love everyone and everything?”
3. It is ok to never act your age. In fact, I think that it is an admirable quality to have the energy of a 5 year old and mind of a 60 year old.
4. My friends get me through everything.
5. Genuineness is the one thing I truly strived for.
6. Adding alcohol to some events is like adding an exclamation point to the day. But do not overuse this to an inappropriate level.
7. Anyone can be a morning person like me, just tell yourself that you have to get up and that it is going to be a wonderful day!
8. I always ate what made me happy and tried not to care too much about my body…just keep it in control.
9. Be aware of making fun of others…if they are not laughing back then it is not fun and you are just hurting them.
10. There is nothing wrong with looking at the past- all I ever wanted was for someone to ask me to “go steady.”

How would you answer this question?

Rainbows: Improv Everywhere!

The comedy troupe "Improv Everywhere" creates fun for all. Through flash mobs, sudden performances, and random activities they create wonderful memories for all.

Their website states that, "We get satisfaction from coming up with an awesome idea and making it come to life. In the process we bring excitement to otherwise unexciting locales and give strangers a story they can tell for the rest of their lives. We’re out to prove that a prank doesn’t have to involve humiliation or embarrassment; it can simply be about making someone laugh, smile, or stop to notice the world around them."

I can get on YouTube and spend hours watching videos back to back because they are filled with joy.

Here are some of my favorites:

Surprise Wedding Reception:

Food Court Musical:

No Pants Subway Ride:

Sunshine: May I Express Myself in Song?

When watching to the most recent episode of "Glee", I began to wonder why people to not break out into song more regularly. I love to watch the show and hear the characters say, "I can't say what I need to, so I am going to sing it." Then proceeds a spectacle of music, singing and dancing.

I believe that everyone should feel more comfortable singing rather than speaking. This would break up the monotony of every day conversations and brighten up days. It is my dream that one day I can participate in an improved musical number in a public place. Bringing stage musicals to life in order to create a day unlike any other.

Why not order a sandwich from the cafeteria as an opera, or answer a question in class as a rap?

This movement is not going very well. For now, it is only me who is willing to sing make up and perform songs for no reason about normal, daily activities.

For now, I will settle for being like Marshall from "How I Met Your Mother":

Rainbows: Theatre at its...

I will preface this review by stating that when I went to see this production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, I had a free ticket and two of my best friends were acting in the play.

In spite of both those factors, it was still one of the worst theatrical experiences of my life (and I have seen a lot of high school theatre). This play was not the real Laramie Project, which is an excellent and moving show about the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Rather, it is another set of interviews and stories from ten years after this crime.

The play began awkwardly, with blue lights coming up and weird beeping noises playing for a minute before anyone enters. I began to feel like I was about to watch an IMAX film about oceans.

Once the acting started, I realized that this play is like having the newspaper read out loud for two hours. The 16 actors play multiple characters, interview each other, and speak direct quotes from citizens of Laramie. The actors stand in place with little movement just quoting interviews from the past. Even the character of the narrator (played by Jackie Harper, my roommate) was unnecessary. She was forced to introduce each character by name before they entered. It seemed strange since this was a live action play and not some form of staged reading.

I do not know who is to blame for this production- the director, the writers, or the actors. All I know is that this is two hours I wish I had back in my life. 

If you are at all interested in seeing this production, or want to give away $20, it will be running for another two weeks. Here is the website:

Rainbows: Where's the poop?

"How I Met Your Mother" is generally awesome, and this week was another funny and smart take on the lives of twenty-somethings in New York City.

At the end of season four, Robin ended a relationship with Don. This was a big moment for Robin because she was finally fully committing to an adult relationship with someone she really cared about.Unfortunately, Don took a broadcasting job in Chicago leaving Robin to be forced to watch his news show every night. Robin admits to her friends that she has been making threatening phone calls to Don. With this information, Lily demands that Robin delete his number.

This is where the conflict arises. Robin pretends to delete his number, but Lily knows when Robin has called Don. She compares this sense to her childhood dog, who had a shameful "where's the poop" face every time he did his business inside the house. Every time that Robin calls Don, Lily asks her "Where's the poop?"

I imagine that it must look like this:
Though this episode did not solve the mystery of Ted's wife, it resolved the relationship between Robin and Don. It was another humorous look into the characters I love to watch, and another expression to use with my friends. Next time I suspect that they are up to no good, I will ask, "Where's the poop?"

If you haven't seen the episode yet, do not worry because it is online!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rainbows: Keepin' it classic

If I could envision a perfect evening, these men would be on my invite list. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra were some of the classiest men in existence. Their personalities, performances, and music give me a feeling like I could be Rita Hayworth in Gilda:

I feel like swing dancing, drinking scotch, smoking long cigarettes, and wearing red lipstick. The instant one of these songs come on, I feel transported into a different era (one that I believe I would have fit perfectly in):

-My all time favorite Memories Are Made of This
-With more sauciness Mambo Italiano
-One of the best Sinatra's I've Got You Under My Skin
-If I was ever going to cry during a song, it would be Moon River
-I could be best friends with Sammy Davis, Jr. For this reason The Candy Man

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunshine: 6th Street

Being the first of my friends to turn 21 has its perks and its downfalls. The perks are that I can buy alcohol and get in anywhere. The downfall is that nobody can join me.
Last night by older sister and my brother-on-law drove all the way from Houston to take me Downtown for a true 21st birthday celebration.
Since I had never been Downtown before, everything was new and exciting. I saw females wearing ridiculously high heels. I saw men puking in the gutter. There were bachelorette parties and birthday parties. The streets were lined with Philly cheese-steak and hot dog stands. Glamor and disgust combined for a whirlwind of fascination.
As for me, I was constantly encouraged to do ridiculous things because it was the one night I could get away with anything.

At the Dizzy Rooster I was forced to get on the bar for a free birthday shot. Then my sister thought it would be funny to tell the shirtless, sweaty, overweight DJ that it was my birthday and that we should dance together. I was not amused.
At another bar I learned how to Dougie with a stranger, and also learned that clapping your hands while dancing is not hip or cool.
This "Downtown experience" was educational and interesting. However, what I still do not understand it why women would wear heels that high in such a dark place.