Friday, 30 November 2012

Tra-la-la, something about Christmas.

So, yeah! It's December 1st tomorrow, how the hell did that happen? I know it is, but only because I did the song in my head, otherwise I never know how many days a given month has. It's probably a requirement for being a grown-up, knowing things like that. Sort of proves that even though I've just turned thirty, I'm unlikely to be an actual, proper grown-up for, well, never. Thirty days has September, April, June and Novemb-- Ah! November has thirty days, result.

I'd usually have enraged the Spy by already having the decorations up by now, flashing and twinkling and driving the electricity bill to as yet unseen dizzy heights. The tree would have been up a fortnight ago, already looking like Christmas vomited on it, but I'm angling for a NEW TREE this year, so it's still up there in its sad battered box.

We can't have a real one because the animals would use it as pissing post/scratching thing/excavation dig site/feast of needles. I'd come down one morning and there'd be poop and wee everywhere, the dogs would be borking up needles and the cats would have found some raptor bones in the pot and would be conspiring as to how to grow claws that big. Oh god, the horror.

The Spy was telling me earlier about how one of his co-workers has a WHISKEY ADVENT CALENDAR! How amazing is that? Instead of gross chocolate shaped vaguely like bells and evil santas, you get a wee dram o' whiskey every morning! I mean, sure, not so great for the kids I should imagine, but for us?!! (Oh, see how I suddenly want to be a grown-up. Hypocrite.) INTRIGUED by this, I set off to find my own Mecca of advent calendars, which clearly would be one with a wine bottle for every day.

They don't sell them, so I'm going to fucking trademark it. I'll make them. They'll be classy as fuck, all done in the finest plywood Homebase can sell me on the cheap, and the Christmas day bottle of wine will be vodka, because families are hard, y'all. Well, I'd like them to be super classy. It would probably turn out like some kid's failed woodworking effort.

I tried to find a photo from the internets to illustrate what I mean, but my Google-fu failed me. Between pictures of Lady Gaga, Dame Judy Dench and still from some movie thrillingly entitled 'Bad Kids go to Hell' (Bear in mind, please, that my search string was 'Terrible kid's school woodwork projects'. Dame Judy Dench, really?! I mean, Gaga, I could maybe buy that, But DJD is National Treasure) I found this picture which more or less captures the spirit of what would happen:

Classy as.

Oh, oh - and I like that Google things THIS is a failed school woodworking project:

"If only you'd applied yourself!"

That's all I've got for you today. The Spy will be shaving off his 'Mo later on, I'll be cracking open a bottle of wine, and we'll see if my favourite Blogger Amber wants my help wading through the shitefest that is 50 Shades Freed.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Today is an asshole.

Today, I am in mourning.

My hamster, Hurley, is a master of escapology. He's been found in various comical places since I got him: cupboards, beds, bookcases, lampshades. I've always marveled at his ability to safely navigate a house full of other animals who instinctively want to chase small furry things.

Last night, his luck ran out.

I am the saddest girl in all the world.

I buried him with his wheel and his bed.


Okay, okay. I'm okay.

In other news, American Horror Story continues to impress with its sometimes campy, often terrifying tales from the asylum. Today's episode had all the AHS staples: awful Pseudo-oedipal rape (no really), suicide both real and imagined, Frances Conroy as the Angel of Death, and melty-faced monsters eating nuns.

Good times.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Don't Wanna. Can't make me.

I've watched four minutes of Liz & Dick and I want to shoot myself in the face. With my face.


In other news, the stupid dog got lost in our own backyard today. After calling her for ten minutes, I went out in search and found her behind the shed, quivering in fear at the sight of a garden hoe.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Dominoes, bitch.

So, I'm watching The Mentalist, and we jog onto a typical stakeout at a gang-house scene. As usual, the cops are parked outside in those vans that they must sell somewhere in bulk, doing their last minute serious talks about strategy and what-not. (Not that I'm being picky here, because I love The Mentalist, but honestly guys, if you're going to take down a notorious gang hideout, get your shit planned and sorted out before you're sitting outside in the vans.)

Then they all peel out of the vans with their guns and their vests and their shouting, kicking down the doors, all "FREEZE, CBI!" and then, and then I dissolved into a pile of giggles, because someone somewhere in the writer's room or on the production team decided that poker was too much of a cliche for the hardened criminals to be clustered around a squat table playing, and that they needed something fresh and unsullied.




DOMINOES! Dominoes aren't tough. Dominoes are things you stand up and make a line with then enjoy the satisfying noise they make when you push them down. No one actually knows how to play dominoes, especially not these bozos.

My Grandpa and Magneto, they're the only two people who know how to play dominoes.

And Billy Connelly. I don't know why.

Fucking dominoes. Hilarious.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Oh, those pesky teenage pranksters.

The dogs didn't want to walk far because it's raining and they're afraid they'll melt.

So I get to watch an random episode of Glee! Haven't seen this show since the start of the third season, and this one I'm watching is episode six of season four. They're doing Grease! Whee! What fun.

Glee is so easy to watch, I don't have to think about anything, just l--

Wait, did that Poor Man's Quinn just tell Rachel 2.0 to binge and purge? Oh, GREAT. ISSUES. I just wanted to watch some pretty people fling themselves around to the songs of musicals. Now I have to look at this:

I don't want to be picky or anything, but throwing eating disorder triggers around on a teenage TV show isn't the best idea, no matter how much inspirational music they throw over the heart-to-heart which will inevitably happen next. I had issues with food until my mid-twenties, and if they wanted to show off what bulimia REALLY looks like, that girl would have her fingers so far down her throat her knuckles would be scraped bloody on her top teeth. Her eyes would be bloodshot and watering so much that it'd dribble down and mix with the bork on her chin.

JUST SAYIN', Y'ALL. Fuck, no one wants to see that anyway. Still, this girl is fishing around in her molars for that last delicious piece of Doritos, as far as I can see.

Apart from THAT, Glee is being super fun. I might recap it at some point, if anyone's interested. I like all the new players, and it's fun that half the old cast are around in various ways. Half? All. It's grand. And KATE HUDSON'S ABS should be credited separately. I think I got a new girl-crush. She just gave me blue tubes.


Dumbest dog EVER.

A few weeks ago I posted about the new addition to my family: Sophie, the five month old Springer Spaniel. I may have mentioned about how intellectually-challenged she seemed to be, from getting lost in moderately sized cardboard boxes to licking the TV to try and figure out if it was food.

You guys - this dog. I'm not even kidding. I thought perhaps her startling idiocy was due to some kind of settling in period. Everyone acts a bit weird when they go to a new house. I overcompensate too when hurled into an unfamiliar place; toss my hair, laugh like royalty, tell too many off-colour jokes, drink too much wine and fall into plant pots. So I was willing to accept that she was just finding her feet.

Turns out that, no, actually. She's just brain-dead. When Jester (my Lab) looks at me, I can see that she's working things out, or that she's feeling especially loving at that moment. When Sophie looks at me, all I can see is: "????" It's a very happy "?????!!!!!" but it's indicative of the fact that there's nothing knocking around inside her skull at all. I wonder if it has something to do with her pedigree. That many years of inbreeding really has to leave a mark somewhere down the line.

I tried one of those doggy IQ tests with her and Jess. You know the ones, you put a bit of food under a can and time how long it takes the dog to find it; you put a blanket over their head and time how long it takes them to free themselves, that kind of thing.

One of the tests has you call your dog 'Refrigerator' and then 'Movies' - the idea being you're calling them by a different word than their name, but using the tone of voice you generally use to call her by.

In my house, Jester went first. Sophie was put in another room. This test went like this:

Me: Refrigerator!
Jester: [Puzzled stare. Didn't move.]
Me: Movies!
Jester: [Gave me an odd look. Lay down.]
Me: Jester!
Jester: Christ, finally, I thought she was having a stroke. [Trots over to accept some lovin'.]

Then I took Jester out of the room and brought Sophie in.

Me: Refrigerator!
Sophie: OH, ME, ME ME ME! THAT'S ME!
Me: No, you beautiful idiot. Go back and sit down. Right - Movies!

She also failed the blanket test. You're supposed to drop a blanket over the dog and see how long it takes them to get out of it. It took Jes about a second. When I dropped the blankey on Sophie she immediately lay down and started to eat it. A minute later, still no sign of freedom, I took it off her myself. She's special.

I'm obsessed with this iPhone game at the moment, which is MAD because I am terrible with mobile phones. Since they tend to break, combust, explode or ignite in my presence, I deemed it a duty to society to just not have one. Computers are great, I love them, I can fix them, use them, I need them. Mobile phones? IDK, it's like they're from a different plant. They probably are.

Anyway, the Spy made me have this iPhone after a disastrous night wherein I got lost coming out of a club and had to walk through Birmingham on my own dressed like Sookie Stackhouse. It was a Halloween thing, I'm not crazy. I have to say this phone is pretty awesome. I've had it for like two years now and it still lives. IT LIIIIVES!

I recently discovered the joy of apps, after thinking they were  for idiots who didn't have any proper computers. (Sorry! I'm educated now.) I did the Temple Run thing until it made me scream bloody murder in frustration. I did the Draw Something thing where everything I drew had some kind of sexual innuendo embedded, because I am secretly sixteen. Now I'm on to the WORD games. I'm not ready to play other people yet (I have to practice in secret until I become some kind of Arch-Pirate Knight-Captain Grand Champion, then I oh-so casually say "Oh, what's that game you're playing? Looks interesting.."

I'm playing Whirly Word.

It's addictive. I feel a little discriminated against though, because twice today I have seen words that are in my personal dictionary, but clearly don't exist in theirs. Arl, for example. (ARL HOWE, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, YOU SONNABITCH!) Ogg. Ogg should be a word recognised in ALL dictionaries.

Time to take the dogs for a walk. I mention it only because it's raining, and I realised today that when I put my hood up or down I don't do it like normal people. I do it in that fantasy movie way, you know what I mean? As if I'm revealing my identity, or hiding it. You know? I like adding a little bit of mystery to walking dogs in miserably cold rain.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares: Season Six, Episode Three.

Season SIX? My God, Ramsey gets a lot of money for calling people donkeys, and apparently he's not going to stop any time soon. I watch this show from time to time for a giggle, primarily because Ramsey seems to be aware that the whole thing is ludicrous and he doesn't give one single shit. He's getting paid.

The beginning of this show is always RIDIC. Thunder rolling, lightning striking, the-apocalypse-is-now kind of melodrama, and this week is no exception.

TONIGHT! ON! KITCHEN NIGHTMARES! Ramsey is shining white in his chef's coat against the black night behind him. Brutal camera cuts combined with bursts of white noise give him a kind of Supernatural ghost vibe. Quick! Get the salt! (Kidding, we know Gordon can't be a ghost, he LOVES salt.)

He also looks chilly.

CHEF RAMSEY! HEADS TO BROOKLYN! A ambulance screams down a street, Ramsey opens a freezer full of Tupperware (the horror!), mauls an awning-canopy thing, chucks a planter full of water on some customers. Wait, what? THERE'S NO TIME FOR EXPLANATIONS! This is the weird beginning of the show which tells us everything that's about to happen. The VO guy is telling us that the Italian restaurant has been open for fifty-five years, and apparently it's not doing so well. Obviously. Ramsey declares in front of the staff that he's just eaten one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. The owner's name is John and apparently he's clinging to the past, also he's in desperate need of a chin. John works in the pizza place attached to the restaurant, and so when shit goes wrong he's all "IDK what's going on in there, LA LA LA!"

Or something. I'm paraphrasing.

Various cuts of sad-looking frozen spaghetti, John is nowhere to be found, Ramsey is shouting and grimacing a lot. Quick shots of the food going out. It looks beige. It's all beige and damp and not appetising in the least.

One of the chefs is embarrassed to work there! Ramsey finds mould on what looks like a little cake! He smashes a frozen Tupperware of something beige on the ground! POW! Apparently it's moudly AND frozen. Oh dear, he doesn't like that at all. More quick cuts of John being elsewhere, Ramsey rubbing his forehead, horrible food going out.

Reaction shots of almost everyone in the damn world as Ramsey announces to the kitchen staff that there's someone vomiting in the loo, RIGHT NOW. Gross.

The VO guy promises it will be a Kitchen Nightmare's inspection which will have me in shock. I dunno, dude. You seem pretty stoked about really remarkably mundane shit. I reserve my judgement until I actually see it. Speaking of which, START the damn EPISODE already. Stop with this "Oh, this is what you're gonna watch in a minute" bullshit and let me watch it.

The conditions! Are so bad! That a customer! Pays the price!

The ultimate price? Ooh, maybe it will be worth watching after all. Kitchen Nightmares takes a dark twist. Although, being a reality TV show, he'll probably just be complaining about having to pay his bill or something entirely boring. Like, they won't take his coupon or something. THE DRAMA!


John weeps us into the titles.





No, seriously. That's the titles. Just mildly evocative words bleeding into scenes of people crying and throwing food and/or tantrums, and Ramsey yelling a lot. People sob, food is gross (DISGUSTING! Oh God, that's so good. From here on out if I see something that's even a tiny bit gross I'm going to yell 'DISGUSTING!' at the top of my lungs.) At some point, a distressed woman squeaks: "Mimi takey me mo!" That's all I can decipher. Ramsey points, Ramsey shouts, Ramsey hugs. He really is a modern-day Jesus.

Over shots of the Brooklyn bridge, the VO guy tells us that they're in the historic location of Cobblehill, which is a hip, thriving area home to Sal's Pizzeria. (Note: I presume he means 'hip thriving' as in 'a place enjoyed by those ballsacks who like giant prescriptionless glasses', and not 'hip-thriving'. Pfahaha, can you imagine? It's where post-op elderly folk go to recover. I would prefer the latter SO much - old people are fucking awesome - but by the quick shots of the fedoras and skinny jeans parading around, I think it's safe to say it's the former. Boooooo.)

Sal's Pizzeria is run by Sa-- Oh no, my bad. It's run by John. John looks defeated already, and kind of like he's in the middle of a Terms of Endearment, Beaches, Sophie's Choice marathon.

Alternatively, he looks as if someone just diagnosed him with cancer of the puppy.

John made the A+ decision to flunk out of high school at fourteen and go work for his Mama and Papa instead. At the time, their pizzeria was flourishing, probably because you could get away with mouldy, frozen whateveritwas in the 60's. Maybe John should grow a Hitler mustache because he looked way fucking happier when he was rocking one.

"I was happy once. It was awful."
By the 90's, they bought the restaurant next door. THRILLING, isn't it? Let's fast-forward all this talky rubbish and get to Ramsey insulting the food. The gist of it is that after his parent's passed, John was left alone to deal with both places, and it began to take its toll on him. First his moustache fell out, then his chin left him. He'd rather do that cool thing flipping pizza dough around than deal with asshole people in his restaurant who don't like his beige food. Aint nobody got time for that.

Lori the waitress tells us that John is always making pizzas and covered in flour. At no point this evening will I see John covered in flour. I can only conclude from this that Lori is a lying whore. I have to say, I don't really understand why the owner of the place can't do what he wants to in it. Hire a restaurant manager, leave that shit to him. Stay where you're happy, regrow the toothbrush mustache, whatever.

The staff bitch a bit more about how pizza places and restaurants are totally not the same thing, one of them uses a dumb accountant analogy, I don't know. Lori is whinging about how John uses the places like a second home, and how his (adorable) kids are always there. Well, FUCK YOU, lady. If I had a restaurant I'd have my imaginary kids running around in it as well. You know why? Because I own it. Go carry this plate over there and shut your hole. The kids are never mentioned again in the whole episode, leading me to believe that not only is Lori a lying whore, she's also barren. She ends that weird kid-hating segment by saying that it doesn't look good for the restaurant. You know, children smiling and playing, creating a family feel, yeah, NO ONE would want to eat THERE. Yuck.

(I feel it only fair to add that I probably wouldn't eat there because I don't have kids. But I live in England, so it's not like I'm their target demo.)

Oh CHRIST, I was right about the hipsters. The area used to be old school, and (probably drawn by the scent of something pure to corrupt) the fucking glasses and slouchie hat brigade moved in. To prove my point, some lackwit in thick black-rimmed glasses sort of oozes up to the counter and drawls about his spaghetti not tasting right.

John wins 10 internet cool points from me by saying he's not going to put on any fucking plastic glasses to please these a-holes. He then loses those points by saying he's not going to get a funky haircut or earrings either, both of which I have. This week, my hair is cotton-candy pink. John would not like me.

All of this, of course, serves to remind us that John is stuck in the past and doesn't want to change anything, and yet remains baffled as to why the shit that didn't work twenty years isn't still working now.

Ramsey arrives and is immediately repulsed by the awning outside of Mama Maria's. (That's the name of the restaurant, did I say that yet? Trying to repress it as I'm typing.) There's holes in it, and the letters are falling off, and it kind of looks like a place you might be stabbed in. Chef Ramsey does what any rational human being would do when faced with such an eyesore: he dubs it 'Ghastly', then jumps up and down trying to tear bits off. Whee!

"I'm going to yank it down and throw it at his face. With my face."
John's nowhere to be found when Ramsey walks in; instead he's greeted by Fabio, who is the manager of the restaurant. Oh, okay, so John did hire a manager - he's just about twelve and sporting a really unfortunate goatee. He's also a big snitch, since he gives up John as the culprit behind the Sign of Doom without even a little bit of water boarding.

[CAN I JUST INTERJECT TO SAY: It's really, really hard to watch this TV show at the best of times. It's ridiculously hard while one of the cats is sitting on my shoulder like a parrot and eating my hair.

INTERJECTION OVER -----------------------------------------------------------------------------]

Fabio says something incomprehensible about how John cut the letters out of the awning because it was tearing, and he wanted to complete the whole thing. I don't know. He's scratching his neck nervously while he's talking to Gordon, as if expecting him to suddenly attack and go for the throat. Ramsey is a modern day vampire Jesus.

Man, the Foley guys just go all out on this show. Ramsey can't do anything without someone adding a wacky sound. I'm presuming that's the reason, I've never met Gordon in person so I guess it's technically possible that his head makes whooshing noises when he looks around, or that his fingers go 'tinkle-tinkle-tinkle' when he taps them against his brow in consternation.

Chef wanders off to Sal's to find John, who is treating Ramsey with that muted blend of distrust and terror that I've come to recognise in these owners. Gordon pretends he doesn't know shit from shit by scratching his head cartoon-style and wondering if John's in the pizzeria because someone called in sick. He also quizzes him on the canopy, which John blames on the wind. Foley adds whimsical plinky-plonk to Gordon's smirk.

Ramsey and John sit down to talk and it's so interesting that I cZZzzzzz...

Oh, when I wake up, Gordo's ready to order food. Yaaay! My favourite part.

Gordon is going to be waited on by Lori, which means I have to watch more of Lori, and I am kind of sick of Lori's raggedy face already. Her mouth goes down when she smiles. She opines that the problem in the restaurant is lack of leadership. She calls John both frantic and chaotic, behind his back of course.

Then there's this:

Pretty sure the top portion is in some bastardisation of Comic Sans, too.
Homemade pasta.

Who here wants to bet that Gordon is going to immediately hone in on that? And that when his food is beigely delivered, the pasta will taste frozen and not, as the menu boasts, homemade? Congratulations! You've seen this show before! He confirms it with Lori, but since we know she's a lying liar who lies her 'Yes, that's right,' doesn't mean a damn thing. A damn thing.

I have a thing where I really like to pause on the menus to read what's on offer, but I can't here because most of the page is taken up with that bullshit HOMEMADE PASTA declaration. Now I'm in a bad mood. Good move, Mama Maria's.

Ramsey orders tortellini de patate, spaghetti meatballs and a Margarita pizza. Ten pounds says it's all beige.

In the kitchen, at least one of the chefs has caved to the influx of hipsters - either that or he was wearing thick-rimmed black specs before they were cool, which kind of makes him the hipster that hipsters worship. They toss green leaf in a pan, and do other chef-y things, including grumbling at each other and declaring that although the food at Maria's sucks, it's not their food. The head chef tells everyone in earshot that he's cooking for Ramsey the same way he cooks for everyone else, every other night. The Hipster that Time Forgot lets out an entirely hilarious "Oh, boy."


A girl wanders out to Ramsey's table and introduces herself as Fran. Fran is the desert-shower-girl! I didn't know that was a thing. Clearly, I'm going to the wrong restaurants. Or the right ones, whatever. Fran presents him with a plate brimming with slices of various cakes and desserts, and says "Everything is made fresh on premise," which makes me giggle, because oh, Fran. 'Premise' is not the same as 'on the premises'. Don't worry about it though guys, she's pretty, she'll be fine.

This is the first thing Ramsey picks up. It looks like a chocolate cake topped with a slab of butter (???) and garnished with a strawberry:

Garnished as well with what looks like limp lettuce. Or mint leaves? Christ, I don't know.

Ramsay asks about the blob of butter and apparently it's there for display to represent ice-cream. Okay. If I can tell from a video it's butter, people can probably tell in person. Just sayin'. Oh, and it's also there to hide the mould. No, seriously.

Aw, it almost looks like it has a smiley face.

Fabio goons on by and Gordon calls him over to EXPLAIN THIS BULLSHIT. Fabio doesn't look in the least phased by the mould and butter decoration, instead echoing what Fran has already said about it being for display purposes only. Ramsey's head spins around all the way as Fabio goes on to derisively insist there's no need to make a new dessert plate every day, because they'd just have to throw it in the garbage after dinner service was done. He also says that as long as it's fresh, it's good.

DUDE. FABIO. THERE'S MOULD ON IT. Ramsey's eyes glaze over a bit as he asks Fabio if he has lost the plot. Fran stands there looking prettily confused. Fabio would like Gordon to know that he has not, in fact, lost the plot, but as Ramsey pulls out more and more gross, rock-hard, culture-growing examples from the plate, it would seem otherwise. Also, apparently it stinks. Yum.

During all this, John is darting around in the background clutching his pearls and fretting about Ramsey laying into Fabio. He doesn't actually do anything about it, I hasten to add, he just mutters to himself and goes to comfort himself with a pizza dough pillow.

Ramsey excuses himself to 'go wash the pus off [his] hands' and when he's back, it's time for the eats! I can't even remember what he ordered now, after that dessert tray fandango.

Oh, right. The beige thing. The bland, beige thing, according to Gordon. Visually, he says, it looks like someone ate the whole mouldy dessert tray and shat it out onto a plate. Mmm. He has such a a way with words. He identifies a grainy texture in the dish and thinks it down to something [Read: Everything] being frozen. Lori, the liar, tells him nothing is frozen at Mama Maria's. After suffering a skeptical glower from Gordon, she scuttles off to check with the kitchen and - suprise! - turns out all the pasta is fresh-frozen. One of the chefs mutters something about that being the most mind-boggling thing about the whole place. I dunno, dude. That dessert tray was pretty gross.

Ramsey bitches about how they advertise in giant letters on the menu how all their shit is fresh, but that apparently Lori isn't the only big fat liar in this place, since all of their food is frozen. He thinks something is very wrong here, and the cameraman treats us to a lingering shot of Fabio looking creepy, leaning against the bar. Lori goes to tell him about her conversation with Gordon, and Fabio apparently didn't even know the food was fresh-frozen, and bemoans it not making any sense. Come on, dude. If you're the manager, manage this shit.

Gordon, apparently bored with picking apart the terrible food, gets up to bitch about the dirt festooning the place. Fabio has no idea how often it's cleaned because Fabio doesn't actually know anything. I kind of suspect Fabio was hired this morning for reasons unknown.

Following his nose to a funky smell sees Gordon manhandling one of those decorative urns people put plants in, and then dumping the rotten, stinking water inside it over an innocent couple just trying to enjoy their beige meals. At least Ramsey offers to pay for their dry cleaning.


Ramsey tucks into his spaghetti and (frozen) meatballs. Fabio's whole body is cringing now that he's discovered that everything in the place is frozen. He's a broken shadow of a man, grimacing and fighting the urge to hang his head. John, on the other hand, keeps shrugging and looking generally sort of limp.

At least it's not beige. Well, more or less.

Frozen! Rubbery! Disgusting! (DISGUSTING! Heh heh heh.) Gordon isn't a fan of the meatballs and sends them back with nothing but negatives. To their credit, the guys in the kitchen seem to know that they're being forced to serve up shit and accept the damning reviews with resignation (I mean that they're resigned to it, they don't throw down their coats and walk out) and mutterings of 'He's right'.

One of the chefs folds his arms and grumps: "Everything here is frozen. When I first started here, I cut up a leg of veal and I'm still waiting to use it." I don't think that veal is still good, my dude.

It's pizza time! Oh hell, no. That doesn't look tasty at all. Did John make this? John who claims he's been making pizzas since he was eight years old? Yeesh.

It's all burny and blobby. It looks sad. It makes my tummy sad.

Gordon declares the pizza waaaay too greasy, while John peeks out from the bar and makes little voodoo dolls of him. Lori is over this bullshit by now, so when Ramsey tells her to go take the greasy pizza to John and make him taste it, she hops right too it. Gordon is scratching his head as to why he's even there if the owner doesn't care to do anything other than play peek-a-boo with him.


Lori tells John he should be tasting all this shit before it gets sent to Gordon. John proceeds to flip the fuck out. It's amazing. Oh my God. It's this weird, slow-burn of a freakout. I've never seen anything like it. I didn't know it was POSSIBLE to lose your shit in such a passive-aggressive loser-y manner. First he slides the pizza REALLY FAST YOU GUYS into the bin, without even tasting it like he was told to.


Then he walks perfectly normally into the kitchen while all the chefs do the kitchen equivalent of taking the expensive bottles from the top shelf when a drunk blazes into a bar. He starts to stomp around muttering "I've had it. I've had it with this. Fuck this. Fuck this." He sort of contorts himself into a display of anger that looks more like a really serious dance move, while the alien from the first Men in Black movie stands in the background and waits for him to stop acting the damn fool.

I can dance if I want to.

In his BLIND PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE RAGE, John picks up a stack of cardboard pizza boxes, stomps across the floor, trips on something and the boxes fly everywhere, including an innocent server who's doing something in the corner on a desk. SO ENRAGED, is John at this ill turn of fate that he flails his arms trying to catch all the boxes, and when that fails miserably, he grabs one, lifts it above his head and HURLS IT AT THE GROUND WITH ALL HIS MIGHT.

Yeah, take that, world.

I hate everything, especially these boxes.


There is no coming back from this.

I will take out my anger on this box. Because that makes sense.

When we come back from the adverts, John's calmed down. Phew, I was starting to think he was going to do some real damage for a moment there. Ramsey marches everyone out of the kitchen to explain themselves, noting that he just had the displeasure of eating one of the most disgusting lunches he's ever had. I think 'tasting' would be a better word to use, Gordo. It's not like you actually powered through it, like some of us have had to do in the past when faced with a Grandmother's soggy Sunday lunch.

All of the chefs are on Gordon's side and aren't afraid to be vocal about it. When John mutters something about them not having the time to make meatballs every day, his chef makes an adorable snorting noise and says it takes ten minutes to make ten pounds of meatballs, actually. John counters with the old chestnut 'It's the way we've always done it', and Ramsey shouts him down because it's not 1969 anymore.

John makes this face, it's ace:

"I'm imagining you as a pizza box right now, Ramsey."

As you can probably imagine, the rest of the conversation doesn't go well for John. His chefs are mutinying, they think his menu and his methods stink and Gordon agrees with them. John has his heels dug in in and head in the sand while listening to all this, repeating his mantra of 'It worked before, why can't it work again'? Gordon tells him he's running on nostalgia and that he's in love with the memories, which don't pay the bills now that the rest of the neighbourhood has moved on. He tells John he should be nowhere near this business and tells him to shut it down, before prowling off to take a shower in a bid to rid himself of the 'plant juice' he spilled over himself and half the restaurant earlier.

John sulks and doesn't agree with Ramsey.

It's supervised dinner service time! You know what that means, right? Flocks of people attracted by Gordon's presence in the town [Read: Bribed by the production company] pack into a restaurant that hasn't seen more than two people a night since last Christmas. The food will be shit, people will be waiting forever, Gordon will swear a lot and rub his brow.

Okay, GO! Things hustle and bustle. Gordon embodies consternation  John is pounding dough behind the counter of the pizzeria (don't be crude) and when Gordon quizzes him about his usual dinner service behaviour he confirms this is it. Ramsey grimaces and goes off to glower at something else. John glances to make sure Gordon's gone, waits an extra five seconds to be sure, then says in a passive-aggressive micro-whisper: "You can leave." Amazing.

Things in the kitchen are rolling, they're getting food out at a quick pace. It's a pity it's all beige and tastes like crap, really. Complaints come hard and fast: the food is bland, part is frozen, all one guy can taste is rosemary, a girl finds a bone in her vegetarian sauce--

WRRRRKKKKKK. The needle comes off the record.

I choke on my mouthful of wine a bit (Shut up, I need it for this show) while some poor vegetarian girl tells Ramsay that there's a shard of bone in her tomato sauce. Since plants don't have bones (and if any do, I don't want to know about them) something is amiss here. Ramsey curses his way into the kitchen, where Joe (the chef, I suppose I had to learn his name at some point) tells him they put pork bones in the tomato sauce and always have, and that's it's another case of John's way or the highway.

Ramsey boggles at this. He actually boggles.

Once he's done boggling, he screams for John, who slouches his way in from the pizzeria to explain that they've always put sausage and pork in the vegetarian sauce to add the flavour. I actually half fall off my chair laughing at this point, and that's only partly because of the quarter bottle of wine I've ingested. Gordon is about an inch away from throttling John Homer Simpson style and shouting "VEGETARIANS DON'T EAT MEAT, YOU DONKEY!" but instead he tries to explain how feeding vegetarians pork sauce isn't A+ behaviour. John just whargarbles and shrugs a bit, and when Ramsey stalks off in disgust goes back to pounding his dough. I know I said no innuendo, but the angle they've shot this at makes him look like he's furiously masturbating. Bork. If I knew how to make GIFS, I'd do it.

A customer is talking to someone through a closed toilet door, which almost never means the person inside is pooing because they're so freaking happy about their meal.

"You okay in there?"
"Fine! It was just so delicious!"
So the guy had the lobster tail, and when Ramsey makes Joe cook him exactly what the sick man ate, turns out the lobster is bad. Like, really bad. Like Joe and Ramsey can smell ammonia coming from it in waves, which apparently is the smell decomposing bodies give off. MMM, ANYONE FOR LOBSTER? Joe clarifies for John - this sort of shit kills people. John calls an ambulance (at Ramsey's insistence), then goes to take a shot of vodka, because only pussies deal with life-threatening food poisoning with clear heads.

Predictably, the rest of the customers are somewhat perturbed at the arrival of an ambulance. Hilariously, John tells the EMTs that someone had the lobster and 'reacted badly' to it. Yeah, someone ate lobster and the ammonia it was saturated in didn't sit well with him. John ponces round and is all "We need to kill the cameras, kill the cameras.." I think you're doing a good enough job killing the customers, leave the cameras out of it. He also does the throat-cutting gesture when he asks them to turn the cameras off, which for some reason makes me want to punch him right in the face. With my face.

Ramsey SHUTS IT DOWN. The kitchen, not the restaurant. Yet.

It's serious talk time. Ramsey talks seriously. John sweats a lot and looks pasty. I don't know, I'm not really paying attention when no one's almost dying from ammonia poisoning. That reminds me, I have recently been trying to harden myself to horror movies because I can't watch them without shrieking and staying up for a fortnight with terrible nightmares. I feel like this is a skill I should master. It led to a terrible hour on Youtube watching all of the Saw 'games'. By the time the Spy got home I was a gibbering mess in the corner, rocking quietly and weeping about my own mortality. Moral of this story? Don't watch horror movies if you don't like them. Their plots are usually lame anyway.

It's the turning point for John, or something. He calls HIMSELF a donkey, which is a startling change for a Ramsey show. John says he loves his family and wants to provide for them, which is fairly adorable. He's tearing up. Gordon gives him some tough love, and tomorrow will be a new day.

The next day, Gordon throws himself into the freezers. There is a lot of frozen food. Like, all the food. In the world. Maybe John is preparing for a zombie apocalypse, ever think of that? It doesn't matter if your shit isn't named and dated if you're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

TUPPERWARE! Chicken, freezer burnt, five years old, oh my God! All words like this. A lot of shit is frozen AND mouldy. I snicker into my wine glass and watch Gordon pick stuff up and throw it around.

He decides a good idea is to bring all the frozen shit upstairs and chuck it all over the tables. Oh, and the vomiting diner from the night before is OK  I know everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Gordon says he's never seen so much frozen stuff in his cooking career.



And there's more downstairs, apparently! John, at least, accepts responsibility for it all. He says he's buying as if they're still busy, and Ramsey looks fairly sympathetic. The specials menu has been around since his parents died, and that's why he hasn't changed it. Gordon says that he's 'still treating this business as if Mum and Dad are here' which is pretty heartbreaking, really. Oh GOD, now I'm feeling sorry for fucking JOHN? UGH. CHRIST. Stupid manipulative plinky-plonky reality TV music!

There's a weird lightning shot next to the Statue of Liberty as John talks about growing up in the kitchen at the restaurant and that he doesn't want to be there anymore. Gordon basically tells him to suck it up, because he's not going to have much of a TV show if every fucker went around quitting every time their parents died.

Oh, fine. There's also some motivational speech-ifying by Gordon, where he appears very sympathetic to John's plight, especially when the poor man starts crying and has to take his specs off to wipe away tears, choking back his sobs as he talks about wanting to do better for his kids and to not fight with his wife anymore. Ramsey promises to help him turn it all around as long as John promises not to hide behind the pizzeria anymore - to start making the dough instead of just, snigger, pounding it.

Tomorrow, is as promised, a fresh new day! Boy, an apocalypse would have really put a dampener on things. Especially since Ramsey threw away all of John's frozen zombie plague supplies! All the staff are wearing sleep masks outside of Mama Maria's, which means that either Gordon changed the sign, or they're all about to get hazed.

Bring in the hooker-clowns!

Ramsey greets them all and seems genuinely peppy. He welcomes them to the new Mama Maria's and invites them to take off their masks. John is the last one to take off his mask, so while everyone else is 'Wow!'-ing over the new sign, he's still processing it. It's pretty hilarious, to be honest, that I've been waffling on about the apocalypse during this recap, and by the looks of it someone in the production/design team decided that they could just run a search for 'apocalyptic' on daFONT and whatever came up would be good to use. It's not classy. It's not special. It's not inviting, except I suppose if you're an asshole hipster writing his zombie version of Twiligh-- OH WAIT! The whole neighbourhood is comprised of asshole hipsters! Well played, Gordo.

"Make it look like it has bullet holes. Or make it look old-but-new, hipsters love that shit."

Anyway, what do I know, because everyone loves it. Oh, synthetic happiness. Gordon goes on to say he's made a few minor changes inside, which we know means two things:

1) 'He' did fuck all. He went to a hotel and drank the minibar while the production team made children and puppies do it for tuppence an hour.
2) 'Minor' changes means the whole thing will be unrecognisable.

Apparently we're going to 'shit our pants when we see it'. Why? Is it covered with lobster tail?

Look at Gordo's mischievous little smile as he leads them in. WHY, YOU LITTLE-- You're just a big teddybear, aren't you?!

Whenever I write 'Gordo', I accidentally and without fail type 'Grodo'. I'm telling you, The Fellowship of the Ring would have been WAY different if Ramsey had the One Ring. "What do you mean, 'what's taters', you plonker?"
In they traipse and there are gasps and squeals and general exclamations of surprise and glee. I mean, yeah, it's very nice. They've opened it up a bit with light and better colours on the walls, they've replaced the old twee tables with ones that appear to be made out of papier mache, but somehow they work just fine. They've got some nice new lighting and a painting of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the word BROOKLYN down the side of the restaurant in case someone really forgets where they are. What's particularly nice is that Ramsey's [Read: The production company] had arty black and white photos of his parents blown up on big canvases and hung on the walls, doing a fair enough - if heavy-handed, but I like a bit of heavy-handedness from time to time, just ask the Spy - job of mixing the old in with the new. Also, the newspapers printed onto the tables are all about Mama Maria's through the years. N'aaaw, John gets all teared up.

I know you're just dying to see, and I am ever your wililng slave:

Of course everyone is delighted with the results.

Everything starts to happen super-fast now that there's very little chance for anyone to breakdown and/or throw pizza boxes around. Ramsey rolls out the new menu, complete with dishes (no mould, not for display purposes only.) I can only see it from afar, and it's already making me hungry. I'll kill the hunger pangs with wine, don't you worry.

Everyone oohs and aahs over the food too, and Ramsey runs them through the menu. The music in the background is very "LALALA BRAND NEW DAY, SOMETHING ABOUT A BABY PROBABLY, AND BIRDS FLYING, LALALA". I mean, there's no lyrics, but that's the gist.

A VIBRANT bruschetta. Earthy, rustic and charming. Like a barn.
Incredible mussels to 'get the juices flowing'. Oh Grodo, there's no time for romance, we must get to  Mount Doom!
Margarita pizza. Doesn't ring my bell, but whatever.
Ossobuco, served in the cooking jucies over mashed potato, gremolata and a demi-glace. I don't know what any of these words mean. 'Ossobuco' according to Chef Google is also known as 'the bone with the hole'. IDK, man.

Gordon promises to push John in the pizza oven if he sees him anywhere near it. Now THAT would make for good viewing. Hansel and Gretel his ass, Gordo! John is delighted with the whole menu (well, as delighted as John gets. He sort of smiles) and takes the black chef's jacket Gordon offers him with good grace, only grumbling once about having to abandon his bitchin' teal polo shirt.

Gordon's brought some very influential journalists and bloggers coming in for dinner service. What the actual fuck, why wasn't I invited? I want to eat on papier mache tables too, you know.

Once they're all changed and ready for dinner service, Gordon amps them up and freaks them out by listing his 'big hitters' who'll be coming to dine tonight. He wants every hipster in this damn neighbourhood to know that Mama Maria's is the new cool place to dine in Brooklyn. I don't think Gordo understands how hipsters work. Also, I was wrong about John's new jacket, it's not a chef's one, it's just a black shirt. It's also miles better than the sweaty pizza one. Coming to critic the restaurant are:

RATHER TELLINGLY, I can find not a-one mention of Mama Maria's on any of these sites. (Can I just say, in doing a bit of research to try and find out WTF is going on with that radio silence, I stumbled across a site where Gordon was referred to as a 'wrinkly shoutbot' and giggled myself into a puddle. Whoever wrote that, marry me. Don't worry about the Spy, he'll be fine.) ANYWAY! It's the moment of truth, the post-makeover, relaunch dinner service! If it doesn't go well, Gordon's going to cut a bitch, I can just tell.

Diners file in to take their seats, including the hallowed bloggers, none of which are me. Not that I'm bitter or anything. I mean, sure, do I know anything about food? Only that I like it. Did I have to look up all the names of the dishes Gordon was rattling off earlier by typing them into Google phonetically? Yes. An invite would have been nice, that's all.

So dinner service starts off really well. Chef Joe is killing it, pushing out really good food at an admirable pace. The diners are all making yummy faces and saying nice things about the food. The sauce is delicious! This meat is just right! Everything is unicorns!

But then John, oh John, drunk on his own success, starts to slow things down by chattering away to the customers about the history of Mama's. I understand why, he hasn't HAD a lot of success, this is probably what he thinks being a popstar feels like. Still, the kitchen is starting to back up because he's too busy flirting. OH NO! The weighty influence of the NY Observer food blogger who has only ever written four things for the paper is being soured by the wait! (It's four more things than I've written for a newspaper that big, or you know, any newspaper, so I should really shut my mouth there.)

"It's a blogger's table, guys!" Gordon shouts with aplomb and annoyance.

I wish that was a thing. I wish people shouted that at the chefs when I go to a restaurant. That would be the best and most hilarious moment of my life. BUT I DIGRESS!

Gordon pinwheels off the walls in his search for John, and finds him - in a giggle-worthy moment of serendipity - when John's saying to the couple he's been chatting up roughly forever: 'There's this guy, right, he's around here in a white chef's jacket, blonde hair--'

Ramsey's sharp: "JOHN!" makes him fill his pants a little and he scuttles off after him, accepting all the mild abuse Gordo throws his way and also the metaphorical kick up the arse. The kitchen starts moving again, hurrah!

Once all the food is out, John does the rounds and asks various people how their meals were. All the answers (THAT WE'RE SHOWN) are positive and full of praise, as is Ramsey as he slaps Chef Joe about his shoulders and congratulates all the chefs on a job well done. Aww, it's like those movies when they're at odds at the beginning, but a wacky series of events and some life-changing conversations leads to one of them saving the other one's life at the end! Speaking of saving lives, I can't believe they led with that whole 'one of the customers pays the ultimate price' bullshit. I didn't see bodybags. Ugh, MANIPULATION. Explosive diarrhea is not the ultimate price. That's a Tuesday in a restaurant.

Ramsey and John have a nice conversation and then Gordon peaces.

Outside, he says that Mama Maria's has belonged to John's parents for the last 55 years (ghost cooks would be an amazing TV show, by the way) but now it belongs to John. Gordo's rooting for him!

Well, that's that, more or less. We get some parting shots of John being manger-y once Gordon's gone, keeping away from the pizzeria and mingling with people. The VO guy says that Mama Maria's is well on its way to becoming a fixture in Brooklyn. Sweet.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of wine to finish.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ready, steady, ARGH!

Time for this week's episode of American Horror Story.

Ready to cack your pants? Me too.

Too much sun can cause skin damage.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I wasn't here, I was over there!

I have been quiet for a while on account of being relaxed to an almost criminal degree in Ireland with my BFF. Well, most, of the trip was remarkably relaxing, save for the flight there and back. I have developed an irrational fear of being trapped in a giant steel contraption that weighs far too much to make its propulsion into the air seem possible.

Now, I'll grant you the flight from England to Ireland is only about forty minutes long. But I spent every minute of that time with my fingers digging into the armrests so tightly that my nails turned blue from lack of circulation. I actually asked the flight attendant near me to repeat the part of the safety instructions about the inflatable part. I actually shushed the chattering idiots sitting along the row from me. I mean, let's put to one side for a moment that I was pretty sure we were all going to crash and end up on a magical Island powered by magic that turns out to be-- Wait, has everyone here seen the conclusion of Lost? I'll leave it out, just in case.

ANYWAY! I was pretty sure I was going to spend the next six years dodging polar bears and finding hatches occupied by Desmond (mmm, Desmond) and cavorting on the beach with Sawyer (mmm,Sawyer.)

Wait, what's wrong with flying again? I should go next week!

I mean really, it's not actually the flying part of travelling by plane that terrifies me. It's the other thing. It's the flaming ball of twisted steel and tortured metal falling from the sky while I'm pressed up against a window with the oxygen mask on my head like a hat because I COULDN'T HEAR THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS, THANK YOU SO MUCH, OVER-PROCESSED HAIR LADY SITTING IN FRONT OF ME.

Normal hyperbole and snark will resume once I'm over my near-death experience.


Monday, 12 November 2012


In other Once Upon a Time news, Red isn't having a great day.

She wakes up alone in the woods, draped in that curtain she insists on wearing.

Seriously, my Nana had the same pattern on her rug.

Then some douchebag in leather snatches the curtain while she's washing her face in the stream.

Maybe there's some kind of drape shortage in the Enchanted Forest.

The douchebag in leather decides to be an extra large prick about the whole cloak thing.

Magically appearing torch! Be a giant dick and things will happen for you.

They tussle when it transpires he knows about her special condition, and - I shit you not - he says: "I know a Child of the Moon when I see one." Oh, dude.

Still a better love story than Twilight.

Quinn (we learn, after he introduces himself) is a wolf as well, and he takes Red back to his cosy, sunken castle digs, where she's faced with a woman who is in dire need of both a hairbrush and a stylist.

Oh, she's also Red's mother.

I'll stop distracting myself now and go back to writing that HoD recap.


Don't you wanna know how we keep starting fires?

Just a quickie while I work on the Hart of Dixie recap. I watched Once upon a Time this morning, and though I'm sure Henry's nightmare was very disturbing to him, the odd choice of flooring puzzled me.

DANCE, Henry! Dance for your life!

All I could think of was this.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Hart of Dixie: Season Two, Episode One.

You know, Hart of Dixie is one of my guilty pleasure shows. Yes, it's kind of ridiculous; yes, Zoe Hart is a very silly doctor; and yes, George Tucker kind of looks like a potato. But dear Lord, the dresses are pretty, Wade is ripped and I find the whole concept of Bluebell sort of charming. In fact, that would probably be how I would describe the show, if ever someone had a gun to my head.

"Hart of Dixie," I'd say, "is kind of charming." 

Let's suspend our disbelief long enough to entertain a scenario wherein someone would hold a gun to my head to find out my opinion on this show, and I think if we're in a world where Zoe Hart is some kind of prodigical surgeon, we can certainly manage to dream up a crazed, TV-obsessed gunman.

Season two cracks on with the inevitable previouslies...

Wade gives Zoe some hard truths about George and Lemon. They're getting married! No matter what occurs! Zoe decides to stay in Bluebell and intuitives that George still has feelings for her. Lavon tells Zoe that George chose Lemon over her, and that isn't likely to change regardless of whether Zoe Shreks her way into the wedding. Lavon puts a hand on George's shoulder as the ex-groom turns into a sodden potato in the rain, after coming to the conclusion he couldn't marry Lemon while part of him was in love with 'someone else'. Uh-huh. We all know who that someone else is. Also - you're in LOVE with her? Dude, she's all over the place, and also not a very good doctor. I'm just saying. Lemon punches George in the face. Wade and Zoe get busy gettin' busy. George potatoes about how he doesn't want to put Zoe out of his mind and gives her a starchy kiss while she's still bathing in sexy-afterglow. Zoe walks back into the bedroom where Wade is stretched out on the bed wearing only a bit of blanket and a rakish grin. Zoe blinks her way into the new season.

Nautical horns, lazy boats painted in various pastel shades idling by, a heron taking flight. A rolling fold-away table reveals Bluebell's town square, where people are still trying to clear away the remains of the wedding-that-never-was. Everyone seems to be helping out. So charming! I can't even get someone to help me move my sofa. Twangy, sassy country music leads Tom and Wanda (hand-in-hand) across the devastated square. Tom is upset. Until today, he tells Wanda, he never really knew what 'torn asunder' meant.

Wanda knows who is to blame, and Tom points his finger at the Lord, but Wanda isn't talking about Big G.


The camera pinches in on Zoe's pensive face, then pans out to reveal her tapping her fingers nervously, wearing a fairly sturdy-looking bra for a girl with so little up front, and lying next to a naked, sleeping Wade Kinsella.

Zoe, sweetheart. don't look so concerned. Wade is ripped, he's no potato. You're good.
Her phone rings and starts her out of whatever reverie she was in, and OF COURSE, it's George, with the goofiest personalised call-photo-thing I've ever seen. Oh George.

OH SUPER, I'm only a minute into the damn episode and I have to bugger off. It's midnight, the dogs need to pee and I have to sleep in order to get up at 5am ON A SATURDAY. Some strange and wonderful kind of torture, that is. Also known bridesmaiding for a cousin. Ruh-roh.



So I was watching TV the other day, as you do. I can't really remember what the show was - I was pretty deep into an insomniac fugue state at the time and only vaguely recall moving objects and the occasional shiny thing. At some point during the evening, the words 'super body' were said in relation to a pretty person. I remember that because my brain stirred and created a new superhero.

It's a really shit superhero, mind you. It would be really embarrassing and disappointing to cry out for help and be answered by a dead body. Oh, did I not mention Superbody is a corpse? He's a corpse. He tries hard but there are some challenges that can't be overcome. You know, like being dead.

I'm not entirely sure how it would play out, but I think it might go a little something like this.:

Don't get your hopes up.

Superbody flies through the night, buffeted by the wind and rain.

Gadzooks! A cry for help in the long dark!

What do you expect? He's dead.