Thursday, December 24, 2009

Apple Cider Cupcakes

So today, I decided to continue my powdered drink mix adventure and make apple cider cupcakes! These also turned out well, and the house smelled amazing for an added bonus.
Again, I had a hard time tasting the flavor I was trying to add. If any pro bakers out there know of a site or a shop that sells a large variety of extracts, please let me know. Apple cider extract might have worked with this.
I decided to use a spice cake mix with this one. I figured a white cake mix would be to sweet. I also considered a lemon cake mix, but figured the lemon flavor would drown out the apple flavor.


You will need:
1 box spice cake mix
3 eggs
3 packets (or 3 oz) powdered apple cider mix
1/3 cups vegetable oil
2/3 cups water
1/3 cups apple cider (The non-sparkling, juice kind)
1/3 cups sparkling apple cider
2 cans whipped white frosting (The logic behind this is you don't serve hot apple cider with whipped cream, but it could potentially be foamy. Maybe. And cupcakes need frosting.)
Cinnamon sugar mixed with festive sugar sprinkles (As much as you see fit)

egg beater
large mixing bowl
enough cupcake tins to hold 24 cupcakes
24 festive paper cupcake wrappers
pastry bag with round nozzle

Prepare cake mix according to directions.
Pour apple cider mix into cake batter
Line cupcake tins with paper wrappers
Pour batter into tins
Bake according to directions on box
Remove cupcakes and allow to cool
Frost cupcakes
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar/sugar sprinkle combination to desired taste
Refrigerate remaining cupcakes not devoured

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

This holiday season, I decided to make cupcakes. I flipped through one of my mom's Women's World magazines and saw some recipes. It then dawned on me that you could probably add any flavored mix to white cake mix and get your own unique cupcakes.
This recipe did not come from that magazine, but rather my own mind (I was so proud of my brain). They turned out pretty well (they certainly got a great response when I passed them out-- thanks, everyone). Unfortunately, I couldn't give them out to everyone, but I can post my recipe! I'm going to add my notes as we go along.

You will need:
1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 packets (2 oz) powdered hot chocolate mix
54 mini marshmallows
2 cans vanilla or white frosting

egg beater
enough cupcake tins (or silicone cups) to hold 18 cupcakes
large mixing bowl
pastry bag and nozzle (I don't know the specific name for the nozzle. You'll want one that makes the frosting look like whipped cream on the top!)
18 festive paper cupcake wrappers
sprinkles if desired

Make the cake mix according to directions. Add hot chocolate packets into cake mix.
(You might be wondering why I chose white cake mix instead of just going for chocolate cake mix. I tend to make my hot chocolate with milk and it never turns out super chocolatey. I was going for that with this recipe. That being said, the sweet flavor of the white cake mix drowned out most of the chocolate flavor, in my oppinion. You could try replacing some of the water with chocolate syrup. At the store, I found chocolate-covered mini marshmallows! But they were naturally a little over-priced.)

Line the cupcake tins with paper cupcake wrappers.

Drop 3 mini marshmallows into each wrapper.
(They tend to rise during the baking process, but it's okay. Once they reach the top they melt, and then the top of your cupcake gets crunchy!)

Pour the batter into the cupcake tins.
(I just used a laddle. It was on-hand and simple.)

Bake cupcakes according to the directions on the cake mix box.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Cover with frosting from pastry bag.

Sprinkle with festive sprinkles.

Refrigerate cupcakes you don't immediately devour.

Makes 18 servings.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baking Cookies

     My dad and I baked some sugar cookies from scratch, last night. As he was pulling the ingredients out of the cupboard, he whipped this out:

     I was struck by how old it looked, and dad said it had been grandma's (who has not been with us for almost twenty years). So I had a look at the can.

     Ooh! Special recipe book offers? Do tell!

     Okay, I know you can't read this, so here's what it says:

This beautiful collection offers our 200 most famous chocolate and coconut recipes (many illustrated in full color) for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Candies, Beverages, and Frostings. To get yours, send $.25 in coin with your name, address, and ZIP code to: (They're old address, which I'm not putting down.)
To get more than 20 illustrated pages of plain and fancy recipes, pretested by General Food Kitchens, send $.15 in coin with your name, address, and ZIP code to: (Same as the first one.)

     How amazing is that? Fifteen cents for a book? And they wanted you to put the coins through the mail? Who does that?
     On a side note, there is actually a cent sign after the "25" and the "15" on the can, but we don't have that sign on our keyboards anymore. Weird, huh?
     So I did a little research on this product. The can says it's made by General Foods Kitchens, which I was fairly certain no longer existed. It turns out it was owned by the founder of Post Cereals, but was taken over by Phillip Morris (now Altria-- they sound less evil that way) in 1985 and then merged with Kraft foods when they got Kraft. There's some really interesting back-story on all of that, including centuries-old products, biblically-offensive cereals and suicide, which I will let you read on a separate page devoted to it: General Foods History. So this product is at least twenty-four years old, but I would guess longer, considering the prices for the books.
     As for the cookies, we over-baked a tray of them. The ones that were safe seemed a little off. But the good news is no one died from eating cookies with 40-year old ingredients!

Recent Extra Work

     After "House", I worked on "Bones". It wasn't anything super-exciting, but it was also at the Fox lot. It's nifty, because they have murals of some of they're best work painted on the studio buildings. Also, my inner-geek squealed for joy as I walked past an orange piece of paper taped to the column of a building that read, "Futurama Table Read"!
     The next show I worked on was "Cold Case". It was pretty nifty and was shot at Warner Bros. studios (my favorite!). I was supposed to do a car call, but they changed to a cocktail waitress and still used my car as a parked car. There was a Baldwin in this episode! I won't say which one, but we shared this exchange inside the bar while we waited for the shot to be set up.

Yeah, I've been doing that, too, ever since the time change.

Time change? What, are you from out of state?

No... Daylight Savings Time.

Oh! Daylight Savings Time...

     Yeah. It was pretty special.
     The next thing I worked on was "Sons of Tuscon", which will premier next year. It was shot in Santa Clarita, and I decided to drive there by way of Pearblossom Highway. That was the worst thing I could do, apparently. I got so horribly lost; missing turns or taking them way too early. But at least the scenery was beautiful, and I managed to keep my cool. If you're ever going to get lost, try Soledad Canyon. It's gorgeous! Fortunately, I was allowed to work the show, despite showing up an hour late. I kept in touch with Central, who kept in touch with the studio, and I guess they really appreciate that sort of thing ;) But from now on, I'll be using the freeways.


     This Halloween, I went to Disnyland (surprise) with my friend, Hottie*. This was not my first time at Disneyland on Halloween, but it was my first time going at Halloweentime. I was wonderfully uncrowded, until about 6pm (I think) when DCA let out.
     We went as goths. One thing I learned from the last Halloween I attended was Disney does not allow adults to enter the park in costume. That year, I went as a Greek goddess and my friend went as a monk. The security guard wouldn't let my friend in until he promised to buy regular clothes inside (this was back in the day when DCA was still a parking lot. Soooo long ago). As for me, the old man said I "looked cute" and allowed me to go in.
     Going as goths made sense, because it seemed Halloween-appropriate and it was an accepted, normal wardrobe choice at the same time. Win/win. We had barely walked ten cars away from ours in the parking structure when a mom at a minivan confronted us and told us we wouldn't be allowed inside. I told her our strategy of not really being in costume, to which she claimed her family wasn't that dressed up, either.
     "Yeah, we were pirates." She said.
     Now, unless you believe that everything in the movie "Dodgeball" is true, or you live in a renaissance fair, dressing as an 18th century pirate is not an accepted, normal wardrobe choice. Maybe I just don't live in the right town, but I think even she realized she was reaching.
     Either way, we were allowed in.

     Hottie wore these red contact lenses that I like to refer to as the sleeper-hit of Disneyland. Everyone was looking at her eyes. Many asked her if that was her real eye color! One man took her picture (and then took mine, to be polite). One woman, while we were standing in line for the Haunted Mansion, even asked her if she could tell her son that is what happens when you don't eat your vegetables.
     Even after we were inside, people were asking us why we were allowed in the park in costume. We'd usually point to other goths in the park when they asked us. You could tell they were real goths, though. They're wardrobe looked way better.
     Hottie and I had noticed this one girl in the park who was allowed in wearing a slutty halloween costume. Yes, I know I have pictures of me on here wearing my provactive Strawberry Shortcake costume, but the big difference is I am an adult. We encountered this girl later with her parents in line for Indy. The mom swore up and down that she was shocked that her 12 year old daughter was almost not let into the park in her cute (slutty) doughnut shop costume. Okay, 1. The girl had definitley hit puberty and 2. Her nametag read "Kristy Creams". Stupid mom.
     But enough of my angry I'll-tell-you-how-to-raise-your-kids rant. We had lots of fun. My favorite part was taking our pictures with all of the characters.
     The Fairy Godmother was out! How lucky was that?
     Hmm. Hottie took a picture of me doing the Thriller dance with Mickey, but I can't seem to find it. It was fun, though. Mickey, unfortunately didn't know what the Thriller dance was, so he had to copy my pose. ;)

*Hottie is not her real name, but rather her name on my blog. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sorry I've been away for quite a while.

I've been busy. With what, you ask? Well...

Sometimes I do this thing called acting...

...Which can occassionally branch out into singing and dancing...

...And it almost always results in a show.

For those who haven't figured out by the costumes, I was in a local production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". It was loads of fun and it completely took over my life for three months. I forgot how shows can do that :)
(Well that and facebook games. What can I say? I'm a farmer!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

House, continued

This was my lovely outfit for the following scene. It took place after a concert in a hallway of the hotel. I really liked the jacket and the tights had gold sparklies in them! Then they gave me shoes to wear...

These boots are admittedly cute. Unfortunately, I do not possess the skill to walk in heels this tall. The muscle strength isn't there, and I need to build my core. Wardrobe was concerned, but I insisted I could walk in them. I staggered around and was able to walk in them after a while (at least a little better). The biggest pain came when I would stand still in between takes for the scene. It felt sooo good to get out of those hours later!
Other than that, it was a great gig. Apart from one woman at breakfast making a comment about daring to eat half a doughnutand getting glared at after I suggested she eat the whole thing because the crew said they weren't going to feed us for six hours. Also, when we were checking out, I got to see a fellow extra have a freak out moment. This can unfortunately be a common occurance among background, and I've been guilty of having one in the past. They can come in all sorts of forms (I started organizing the chairs in holding very aggressively for mine), but the most popular is lashing out at people. This guy was complaining to the PAs checking us out that they never called lunch, which they did. He then went in all directions and was thwarted at every turn. I think he was aware that he should've just shut up, but decided he was commited and forged ahead. He then complained that there was nowhere else to eat, but was told there was a restaurant in the hotel. Then he complained that some people couldn't afford that, and they told him that the show had provided food (mmm... tuna). Then he complained that there was no vegetarian option, which there was in abundance. Not only was there what I had, but there were also two salad bars, pasta and a build-your-own taco bar! Oh, I was so bummed after I'd loaded my plate and saw that I'd missed that. They were also carving prime rib...
I mentioned that extras tend to judge shows not on the quality of entertainment, but how well they feed you, right? House is an amazing show!
So, I've gone slightly off track. When I got to the front of the line, I thanked the lady who signed me out and told her I had a lot of fun. She thanked me right back and told me that meant so much (brownie points! Next time, I'm going straight for the taco bar!)
Posted by Picasa

Working on House

On Friday I drove many, many miles to work on House. I will not divulge any spoilers (well, not any huge and obvious ones), so I'll just stick to the people stuff.
The first thing I discovered is what a big difference an attitude adjustment can make! When I used to do extra work, I was mainly focused on getting SAG vouchers. That affected the way I viewed everthing: the quality of the show I was working, the crew, the other extras, the food, etc. Obviously, I didn't get me three vouchers, so it made me very bitter. But this time I went with no expectations for that, and it changed my whole outlook on the situation. I was working on a popular tv show, getting dressed in fun clothes (more on that in a moment), eating well and generally having a good time. The upside to this attitude was that I became more aware of the people around my (imagine!) and everyone was very nice to me.
For breakfast I had eggs and tea. For lunch I had tuna steak with mango salsa, seasoned green beans, cous-cous (that's hyphenated, right?) and a pretty pudding cup with a cookie straw for dessert! We ate in the hospital corridor, which is pretty cool when you think about it. One time I did a Saturn commercial and a small part of the 134 freeway was closed off for shooting. While we were waiting as the crew prepared, a lot of us laid down on the road and took a nap. How many people can say they've taken a nap on a freeway?
The first scene was shot at an actual hotel restaurant. I sat with another gentleman with real (questionable) food before us. They asked us to eat, but if my fusion flatbread pizza was bad and they shot us again and again, I'd have to match all of my shots by eating the same amount of food. I know I'm just background, but I think like an actor ;) Fortunately, there was a bowl of (stale sourdough bread at our table, so I nibbled on that during our take. Even better, they only needed to take one shot of that scene, so they sent us back to holding.*
*Holding is where the extras go when they're not being used. Holding can be anything from a separate soundstage in studios, a tent on location or a parking lot with folding chairs and no protection from the elements. This time it was a large conference room on another floor of the hotel.
Once back at holding, we were left alone for two hours. It was then when I realized I'd commited a cardinal sin: not bringing anything to do. I talked with a few people, but we ran out of things to say. I tried to write but couldn't. I took a nap but woke up. I texted and emailed some friends, but received little response because they have "real jobs" (whatever).
Finally the PA (production assistant) came in and told us to go to wardrobe so we could change for the next big scene. I wasn't supposed to in that scene, but I brought clothing options just in case. Out of the clothes I brought, I was allowed to wear my top. Everything else was theirs. Here's what they dressed me in.
Okay. I'm experiencing difficulty adding my pictures from here, so I'll add them in the next post.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I will be working on a show that rhymes with "mouse".
I'll be a upscale patron of a fancy New York diner.

I'm an Extra Again!

On Wednesday I signed up with Central Casting again. It turns out that if I had renewed my status with them every 2 years, I wouldn't have to pay the $25 fee. But then, I didn't think I'd be doing extra work anymore. Three years of full-time extra work will turn anyone off of it, especially if you only get two SAG vouchers and your third one keeps getting taken away from you.
There are some things I'm going to have to explain for those who know nothing about extra work. If you know about these things, just skip ahead.
First thing you should know is why most people do extra work in the first place. It is not for exposure, although that is fun. Extra work doesn't exactly have a very positive connotation in the entertainment industry. It takes no skill, only a way to get there and adequate costume changes. Therefore some people tend to look down upon those who do extra work as simply taking up space and eating all the food.
The main reason people do extra work is for the SAG vouchers. Most people doing extra work are actors and want to get into the union. When you arrive at a gig, you are handed a non-union voucher (presuming of course that you're non-union). Sometimes, for various reasons (nothing illegal) they might give you a union voucher! This is great because not only will you be paid twice as much for the gig, you can also join SAG once you have three union vouchers and pay an obscene amount of money for the initiation fee.
I spent three hours at Central standing in line to register, but everyone was very nice and I was relieved to get through it. I will be working on Friday.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Work is slow...

So slow, in fact, that I'm going to do something I haven't done in a long time: extra work.
I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I need the money, and that's guaranteed money. No worries about whether my tables are going to tip me or not. No hoping I'll get to work longer than two hours this shift. I will make some money.
It's not the best work to have. It's not that it's hard, but it can be grueling. But I need to do something, and at this very moment an actual second job is not an option.
On the plus-side, I may just blog about my gigs. I probably won't give away any spoilers (studios tend to frown on that sort of thing), but I may blog about stupid people and situations. We'll see. Could be fun.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One of the best things about living where I do...

...Is being able to wake up to this:
Can you tell I was excited?
I tried to take a picture of a humming bird in the tree. I think I'd need a better camera for that.
He's right there!
And then they started landing. The end.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've been taking the time to read the classics. Currently, I'm reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I know most people read them when they were children, but better late than never. I read other books when I was a kid (The Baby-Sitters Club series comes to mind) and they just never topped my reading list.
Honestly, I'm enjoying them very much. I think the creators of Stargate enjoyed the first book, "The Magician's Nephew". The Wood between the Worlds makes me think very much of stargates, and it's just a good story overall. Recently I finished "A Horse and His Boy", which is the third in the series. It's a sweet story and strongly emphasizes importance of humility to me.
So there's this chapter in "A Horse and His Boy" called "The Hermit", and one part of a paragraph struck me:
"...It was all open park-like country with no roads or houses in sight. Scattered trees, never thick enough to be a forest, were everywhere. Shasta, who had lived all his life in an almost tree-less grassland, had never seen so many or so many kinds. If you had been there you probably would have known (he didn't) that he was seeing oaks, beeches, silver birches, rowans, and sweet chestnuts..."
I suppose C.S. Lewis wrote this with British children in mind. Preferably British children who had been in the country and were part of nature groups that went to forests and parks and taught the children to point at trees and correctly say "That is a silver birch," or "That is a sweet chestnut". Or perhaps he was kindly encouraging children who didn't know their birches from their beeches to go out and research them.
I suppose it's too bad that I didn't read these books as a child. Growing up in a tree-less sand hole myself, it occured to me after first reading that paragraph that my classification of trees is essentialy pine/not a pine. I thought about it later and consoled myself that I can tell a palm and a joshua also. But for the rest it's pretty much pine/not a pine.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Orleans Square, part 2

This is the fountain before the Haunted Mansion and in front of the train station.

They changed the storyline to the Haunted Mansion recently, or at least they did in one room (the attic). Now, apparently, the mansion was owned by a woman named Constance who beheaded all of her husbands for their money. No offense to the actress who plays Constance, because I'd go nuts if that were me, but I don't know how I feel about that revision. I don't hate it, but I sort of had my own storyline in my head for the ride, since it was always so open to interpretation.

I was an extra in the Haunted Mansion movie. You wouldn't be able to recognize me, because I'm wearing a wig with this huge dress. I have a picture somewhere from the wardrobe fitting (sans wig). Also, I wore a mask over my eyes and my back was turned to the camera. I guess you'd just have to watch the movie with me and maybe I could point me out to you. I haven't actually seen it yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm in one shot. So, um, the point of me bringing this up was I really enjoyed the set that was used and all of the people I got to meet. (If you see a woman in a big gold dress walking away from the party while Eddie Murphy's wife is walking into it, that's me!)

I rode Haunted Mansion as the last thing I did in the park. Disneyland closed at 8:00pm that evening. Getting to the parking lot was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. The CMs running the trams ran them way better that night than they did the last time I was there. But driving home was rather lonely. Next time I go with at least one other person. I'll probably try to wear my big blue hat again, so if you see me there, say hi!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Orleans Square

Seriously, there are just some places in Disneyland where you cannot take a bad picture. And as I said before, there are just some things you might not even notice when you're in a group. I wonder if this spot has always looked like this? When I say that, I mean since New Orleans Square has been there. I guess before it was there, the place was just covered in flowers, or so I've read.

This little area is called the Court of Angels. I was not aware that it had a name until later, and sure enough when I took this picture there was a little metal sign on a wall near the ground that proclaimed this. The Court of Angels is just a nice little place of the park that seems very intimate. I remember when I first found it (when I was about twelve, I think) I felt as though I'd discovered a part of the park that no one else had. I imagine it gives a lot of people that feeling. It's also a rather romantic space in the park, as I've seen quite a few photos of couples getting engaged there.

This is just a window of a shop opposite of what you see in the previous picture. I don't think my camera did the window justice, and I couldn't edit it any better. I just liked the ornaments hanging and how the blues in them compliment the blue window frame.

There I am. I bought this hat at Target for sun protection, and it was great, except it kept threatening to blow off my head (there was the teensiest of breezes that day). My solution was to bobby pin the heck out of it onto my head. Unfortunately, I only had one bobby pin with me. This prevented me from going on any fast-moving rides. Of course, when I spoke about the experience to one of my friends, she said roughly this: "There's this thing you can do called removing your hat when you go on a ride." See what friends are for? I guess my brain just doesn't think that way when I am alone. It can't be bothered with sensible stuff. :)

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There is a man next door...

...And he's in a bulldozer. And he's singing like he's had a few too many beers on his lunch break. I don't know what language he's singing in, but he's louder than the bulldozer. That's one talented diaphragm.
My favorite part of his songs is when he ends each verse with "Oww!" Think of the way a construction worker might exclaim when a pretty woman walks by and you've got it.
Wow. Sometimes there are experiences that you think could only happen in the movies, but no. Sometimes you're just lucky.

Odds and Ends

This is a photo I took between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. I just loved the speckles on the flowers.

It's hard to tell in this pic, but sitting on the rocks are live ducks. I just enjoyed the combination of audio-animatronic birds next to live birds.

This picture at the Matterhorn is nice. It's accross from the Tomorrowland Terrace, and I just think the bridge makes it feel as though this is a separate little world.

I think this is supposed to be Tinkerbelle's house. Either that, or it could be a random fairy house. I flipped through one of the Disney Fairy books once and discovered that Tinkerbelle's house looks like a giant teapot (or cooking pot, I can't remember). So this could just be a random fairy house. Either way, cute.

Posted by Picasa