Rachael Vs Guy — The Final Four

28 01 2012

On Sunday, January 29, 2012, the 2-hour finale of Rachel Vs Guy Celebrity Cook-Off will be aired on the Food Network Channel. The 10 celebrity contestants, playing for various charities, have been filleted down to the Final 4.

The underdog, Taylor Dayne, should not be underestimated. She has had the “Floor on Fire” and will try to “Carry Your Heart” to the finish line. However, “You Can’t Fight Fate.” She will be “In the Darkness” “Upon the Journey’s End.”

Coolio, a surprisingly inventive think-on-your-feet cook, has had a “Fantastic Voyage” in a “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Even though he is “Bright As the Sun” I think he’ll be seeing “The County Line.”

Joey Fatone has impressed with his skills in the kitchen while he was “Dancing With the Stars” but “This I Promise You”, Joey, you can “Do Your Thing”, and “I’ll Be Thinking of You”, but it will be “Tearin’ Up My Heart” when I say “Bye, Bye, Bye” and you will be “Gone” leaving….

Lou Diamond Phillips, for the win. Having been crowned King of the Jungle, “The Beast” of the kitchen, this “Young Gun”, having shown “Courage Under Fire” is within “Striking Range” of the finish line and will “Stand and Deliver” and “Takedown” the competition for the victory. It’s his “Destiny!”

Actually having seen the Rachael Ray Show the Friday prior to the show commencing, Joey and LDP were guests. This leads me to one of two possible conclusions: Joey and Lou were in the bottom two and Rachael had them on so they had an opportunity for their charities of choice to receive some money, or Joey and Lou were in the final 2.

This show has been a pleasure to watch. Even though they were competing for their charities, they exhibited great team effort without the backstabbing you see on other cooking shows. They were rooting for one another and this was quite obvious when Summer and Taylor had to compete against each other last week. The blind taste-testing was a segment I enjoyed because it allowed the contest to be fair, based on the food only. During the team competitions, Rachael and Guy deferred to guests as to which were their favorites to decide who had to go to the 10-minute cook-offs.

Here is a list again of the charities. If you are a fan, consider making a donation to their choices below and don’t forget to watch the exciting conclusion of this fun show.

Alyssa CampanellaSusan G. Komen for the Cure

Cheech Marin Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Aaron CarterKids Beating Cancer

CoolioMusic Saves Lives

Joey FatoneFatone Family Foundation

Lou Diamond PhillipsNo Kid Hungry

Summer SandersRight To Play

Taylor DayneCambodian Children’s Fund

Rachael Vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

1 01 2012

Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off (or Guy versus Rachael depending on with whom you speak) premieres tonight with some of your favorite celebrities. Film, television and Broadway star, Lou Diamond Phillips will be joined with Alyssa Campanella, Cheech Marin, Aaron Carter, Coolio, Joey Fatone, Summer Sanders, and Taylor Dayne to compete for $50,000 for their charity of choice. The show will be divided into teams, Team Rachael and Team Guy. There will be competition among the individuals, but Rachael Ray said on her talk show on Friday that the team dynamic changes things from a regular cooking competition. Rachael also stated she and Guy put their teams through hell. To give us a taste of what we might see Lou Diamond Phillips and Joey Fatone appeared on the show for an 11-minute competition called, “Sauce Boss.” Although Joey Fatone put up a good fight, the well-seasoned, nerves-of-steel LDP won, as did his charity, “No Kid Hungry” (a sweet $5,000). If the banter on the show is anything like the exchanges between Joey and LDP on the talk show, this show will be a joy to watch.

Lou Diamond Phillips was most recently a star on the show Stargate Universe. He hosts a series called “An Officer and a Movie” on the Military Channel, and will be seen in 2012 as Longmire (TV) and Filly Brown (movie). Anyone following LDP’s Twitter feed or seen him on Iron Chef and Iron Chef: America knows what a big foodie he is. He often shares what he is cooking at home, and sometimes gives out the recipe to create it. He also has a terrific sense of humor.

Alyssa Campanella is the 2011 Miss USA. Cheech Marin also has a long history in film and television with fans from the show “Lost” remembering him as David Reyes. Singer Aaron Carter is currently working on The Fantasticks off-broadway and can be most recently remembered as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Hip-hop artist, Coolio, has been in a long-list of movies and has a cooking show called, “Cookin with Coolio.” Joey Fatone, formerly of the band ‘N Sync”, was recently in The Producers on Broadway and fans will remember his appearance a few years back on Dancing with the Stars. UNICEF Goodwill ambassador, Summer Sanders, is also an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, and a sports reporter and commentator. Singer powerhouse, Taylor Dayne, has been on several reality shows of late, being paired with Jai Rodriguez in Fox show, “Celebrity Duets.” She released her last CD in 2008 to critical acclaim.

These are the charities the contestants will be playing for over this 6-episode show:

Alyssa CampanellaSusan G. Komen for the Cure

Cheech Marin Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Aaron CarterKids Beating Cancer

CoolioMusic Saves Lives

Joey FatoneFatone Family Foundation

Lou Diamond PhillipsNo Kid Hungry

Summer SandersRight To Play

Taylor DayneCambodian Children’s Fund

With the guest-star line-up, along with hosts, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray, both known for their rowdy enthusiasm, Rachael Vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-off will be a wonderful way to kick off the New Year with your family. Be sure to watch it starting January 1, 2012 at 9 p.m. eastern, 8 p.m. central time, on The Food Network. Check your cable/satellite providers for the exact channel.

Guest-stars on Rachael Vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, Jan 1, 2012 on Food Network at 9 ET/8 Central

Takedown (a.k.a. Transparency)–A Virtual Stargate Reunion

17 05 2011

Having made its successful world premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival to much critical acclaim, Transparency (known as Takedown in Europe and the United States) is now available for purchase from Amazon.com.


Click on picture to go to Amazon.com to order

Without giving too much of the story away, it is a dark tale about human trafficking. Channeling Charles Bronson, Lou Diamond Phillips nails the character “David,” the movie’s antihero. He is joined by the talents of Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes, Law and Order) and Deborah Kara Unger who give the film its warmth and chill respectively. Transparency (a.k.a. Takedown) is filled with outstanding stunt work, beautiful production quality, amazing dark humor, and unexpected plot moments that had the Dallas audience startled in their chairs or had them gasping in disbelief, with a complex, contemplative ending.

Raul Inglis wrote this outstanding script in a mere 2 weeks, the original idea for the film having been pitched to him by Matt R. Kelly. Galvanized by real video footage about human trafficking, Raul made sure to include some of disturbing, resonating comments into the script. Later he signed on to become the director. The research became another source of inspiration that gave the film an element of authenticity. Originally it was planned to have the women just speak with Serbian or Russian accents; however, when women during the audition process spoke in their native Serbian or Russian language, the script suddenly became alive.

Lou had been involved with Matt on a previous Hallmark Channel film called “The Angel and the Bad Man.” Matt came up to Lou on set during that time and told him he was a producer. Lou was thinking, “Yeah, yeah, good for you; so is everyone else in Hollywood.” A year later, Matt pitched his film idea, and after reading 5 pages, Lou was hooked, feeling like it had a mixture of “Death Wish” and “Taxi Driver” with a retro-70′s vibe about it.

Shot in Vancouver, British Columbia in a mere 13 days, the film tapped into the wealth of talent from the region. Not only did the cast list read like a Stargate reunion (including Aaron Pearl, Kendall Cross, Michael Kopsa, Vitaly Kravchenko, Emma Lahana, Jonathan Walker, Anna Galvin, Aleks Panuovic, Dan Payne, and Bruce Crawford), Leo Award winner Michael C. Blundell did a stellar job as cinematographer, bringing his Stargate Universe production crew, who were on hiatus at the time, with him to make this tightly budgeted movie look like a million bucks that would rival any at the box office.

Other gifted performers rounding out the cast, many of whom can be seen in other favorite Vancouver productions, include Jordana Largy, Dariya Parakhnevych, Matt Kelly, Adrijana Blauhorn, Anja Savcic, Alberta Mayne, Emma Sutton, Bill MacDonald, Alexander Mandra, Taras Kostyuk, Andrei Kovski, Vadim Oskolkov, and Michele Cummins.

This is a movie worth the investment, not only to support this wonderful film, but to help support the independent film-making community as a whole.

Farewell Stargate

9 05 2011

Be forewarned, this is a very long blog post.

On Monday at 9:01 p.m. central daylight time, original Stargate programming will end.  Stargate, with Kurt Russell and James Spader, aired on October 28, 1994. On July 27, 1997, Stargate SG-1 premiered on Showtime where it ran for 5 seasons before moving to Sci-Fi Channel where it continued until 2007, having completed 214 shows and earning the title of longest running North American science fiction series on television. With each passing season, fans just could not get enough of the main cast: Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O’Neil (with varying command titles along the way); Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter; Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson; Christopher Judge as Teal’c. Don S. Davis (rest his soul) was cast as George Hammond. Corin Nemec was cast as Jonas Quinn after Michael Shanks left the show for a short period of time. Later, when Richard Dean Anderson needed to take some time-out for his family, Ben Browder (as Cameron Mitchell) and Claudia Black (as Vala) were extraordinary choices to add to the team.

Families would sit down and watch the show together. They would attend conventions together. They felt like the cast and crew were like extended family. The cast became role models for children.

With the huge success of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis was born in July 16, 2004, with SG-1, and SGA filling out a wonderful line-up that eventually added Battlestar Galactica for a power-packed Sci-Fi Friday line-up. It was ambitious to do two Stargate shows concurrently. Cast in season 1 were stars Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrel, Rainbow Sun Francks, Torri Higginson, and Paul McGillion. As the show evolved we said goodbye to some cast members (Rainbow and Torri) and welcome others (Jason Momoa, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite and Robert Picardo).

The show had a slightly darker edge to it. Some fans loved it; others did not. In the background, ideas were being presented to make a third incarnation of the series. After 10 years of SG-1, fans did not understand the decision by the now Syfy Channel not to renew Stargate Atlantis after a mere 5 years. When the announcement about the third incarnation of Stargate, Stargate Universe (aka SGU) was greenlit for production, fandom split in a bitter divide. Some felt SGA was not renewed so that SGU could proceed even though the creators and writers and producers assured fandom this was not true.

I remember hearing about the loose premise of SGU on Gateworld. It was somewhere around 3 a.m. my time and I remember posting, “Oh great, Stargate Voyager.” Being an avid Stargate fan since the beginning, loving both the movie, SG-1 and SGA in different ways, my reservations were put at ease.

Through Joe Mallozzi’s blog, I discovered David Blue, who was to play Eli Wallace, was on Twitter. I had resisted Twitter (and Facebook) up until that time, but the idea that I may actually be able to follow along his journey as he went through the production process, and possibly even have a remote chance to ask a question or share my thoughts directly, was very appealing. In those early days, he did not have as many followers as he does now and I did get more responses from him back then. As he recruited more and more of the cast to join Twitter, my addiction to this show was sealed. Even some of the extras, Herb Sommerfeld, Bill Butt, and the actor known as J.C. Williams on Twitter were getting into the fun. Still lingering in my mind was: Oh God, what if I don’t like it.

I watched intently October 2, 2009 along with everyone else. It was a difficult first show to follow with all the cutting in and out, going back and forth between the present time on Destiny versus what transpired before Destiny. I worried about the shaky camera because I had a very difficult time watching Cloverfield. There was so much information being relayed in those first three episodes (Air I, II and III) that I had to go back and watch it several times. I could see right away I was going to enjoy Eli Wallace’s journey. I had never seen such a complex character as Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of Dr. Nicholas Rush in the Stargate franchise before and this excited me.

These first episodes were also not without controversy. Aside from the split in fandom about SGA and SGU, the sex scene in Air I between 2nd Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson) and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian Jacob Smith) lit the internet on fire. Parents were upset that they did not get a prior warning that this was in there so as to be able to make an informed choice for their children about whether or not it would appropriate to watch; prior to this time, they argued that they never had to censor their children from the Stargate franchise. The scene was actually cut from the United Kingdom’s airing. There was a PG-14 stamp at the beginning with appropriate warnings of content, but like everyone else, I did not see this until I went back and watched a second time.

While SGA had turned a bit darker from the SG-1 universe, this was even darker. For some, they stopped watching because of it; for others, it was the shaky camera. But like every television series, first seasons are all about discovering the characters, establishing the story. People were feeling like SGU had gotten off to a slow start.

I loved the idea that this was a show more closely tied to reality. Everything was not delivered in a perfect package. We finally had imperfect heroes. It was a healthy reboot of the franchise.

This show also doubled its main cast. Joining Robert Carlyle, David Blue, Brian Jacob Smith, and Elyse Levesque were Louis Ferreira (as Colonel Everett Young), Alaina Huffman (as Lt. Tamara Johansen, aka TJ), Jamil Walker Smith (Master Sergeant Ronald Greer), Ming-Na (as Camile Wray). Many of the guest-stars did such an outstanding job that they were showcased regularly: Patrick Gilmore (Dr. Dale Volker), Peter Kelamis (as Dr. Adam Brody), Jennifer Spence (as Dr. Lisa Park), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James) and Lou Diamond Phillips as (Colonel David Telford). Later, Mike Dopud (as Varro) was added to the cast. The show had many notable guest stars who gave terrific performances.

It seemed that each episode was a new personal best not only for the actors/actresses, but for the writers and the production crew and the visual effects team. After the first 10 episodes of Season 2 aired and Season 2 had finished production in December of 2010, the Syfy Channel announced that it would not pick up this show for any more seasons. Fans had hoped perhaps we could get closure from a movie, but alas that was not to be. Fans are still holding out hope that a season 3 will take some other form, like in a comic or a book, or that one fan will win enough at Lotto to fund another full season.

I would like to thank everyone who ever touched Stargate to bring us magic over these last 17 years . You brought wonderful action and adventures, held my heartstrings in your hands, brought in enough comedy when things seemed too dark, made me gasp in awe of the special effects and set designs. The Stargate wormhole was the glue that held many people together, both on-set and off. The fans who have been here will still be here to follow your careers as you set off to blaze more trails wherever you go. The friendships we have created are because of you and will continue because of the love we have for these shows. Maybe somewhere down the road, someone will pick up Stargate the original movie and do a remake of it; I can already hear the crack in fandom. The cycle begins again.  For now, I will need to leave what happens to the Destiny’s crew up to my imagination. 

T H A N K   Y O U  F O R  T H E  M A G I C !!!!!!!!!!!!

Reflections on 2010

30 12 2010

Reflections of 2010


As we near the close of 2010, most of us look back and reflect on the year, vowing to make changes in the next year. I have never been big on making resolutions. Oftentimes we make resolutions so impossible to achieve, we set ourselves up for failure as soon as we write them and commit to them on paper (or in our heads). I downsized from resolutions to a “it would be nice if…” list and downsized from there to a “why bother” list. As the year progressed and I saw opportunities for growth and change, of course I took those paths. Perhaps it is the free spirit in me that did not want to get tied down to a list, wanting to bend and move the way a tree does in the wind.

Most of you who know me can already guess what the worst part of 2010 was for us.  Our relationship with Conroe Independent School District and its administrators. The corruption of these people runs deep, even a 2007 lawsuit brought against them for political racketeering and a violation of the false claims act.  

 The second worst part of 2010 was linked to that relationship and it was my health. Despite a pleading letter from the chief of rheumatology at three different hospitals in our prestigious Medical Center of Houston, a doctor who had treated me for 11 years, they continued to escalate the situation.  At one of our last meetings, I had a neurological event which landed me on the ground, unresponsive.  Do you think they called me an ambulance?  Nope.  They got a wheelchair, wheeled me in, let me rest for an hour and then wheeled me in with a wheelchair to the meeting, a meeting I have very little recollection.  Thank goodness both sides tape-recorded the meeting.  You can hear me slurring my speech, pausing for no particular reason, talking and making absolutely no sense, yet they still did not think anything was wrong.  They even knew about my pseudotumor cerebri and my brain aneurysm.  I still have trouble wrapping my mind around this.  I had no one with me and obviously was too impaired to advocate for myself.  Most of the rest of the summer I spent trying to regain my health.

For a school district who claims to have zero tolerance on bullying, they did not see any problem bullying the parents.

Not really the worst thing, but definitely an inconvenience has been these frakking kidney stones (now going on 3-1/2 months and 3 surgeries, anticipating having another conversation about more surgery on January 12).


The stent (aka) the coils of death


So now onto the awesome things about 2010.  By far, getting Patrick into a school that saw a child with potential and not limitations is at the front of the pack.  Let me give you an example of just how intellectually incapable CISD thought my son was:  At our meeting with Conroe in the spring, when we were talking about goals for the next year, when we got to his sign language goal, they suggested that 10 signs might be “too much” for Patrick.  I said, no, he learned 70 signs in 1 year (2002-2003) in their district with the right teacher who had the right training, so they can be learned, and again we got back to lack of proper teacher training and the desperate need for it to implement Patrick’s individualized program.  They felt that 6 signs for an entire year would be as much as he could learn. Within 9 days at his new school, he was signing 3 and 4-word sentences and had already learned 3 new signs. The best thing was to be able to drive to his new school every day and visibly see the progress both there and at home.  For the first time, we needed to catch up to them instead of me saying the school needed to catch up to us.

Another wonderful thing this year was my friends. Facebook friends, Twitter friends, friends from high school, friends from my childhood, new friends I’ve made this year, acquaintances I hope to develop friendships with, my immediate neighbors, friends I had lost touch with because I was always preparing for and sitting in meetings about my son that went on without end for nearly 5 years.  I was ready to join the human race again, and they were ready, able to willing to support us in the game plan for Patrick. Love wrapping you in a blanket, feeling wanted, needed and protected.   Through one of these friends, we were able to attend an Adam Lambert concert, a first for Patrick. 


Patrick's favorite: The laser lights.


One of the highlights of the year was getting to personally meet Lou Diamond Phillips, Matt Kelly, Raul Inglis, and Glenn Morshower at a screening of the movie Transparency at the Dallas International Film Festival. The coolest part is, after asking if any of his Stargate Universe fans were in the audience, and we “woo-hooed”, he recognized my face from my avatar and said, “PBMOM—NICE.” It made a tired mom fighting for her kid with autism refreshed and ready to go back and fight round 2 part 2 with those people. Gentleman, you were so kind to us and just class acts. (Side note, word is that Transparency is being released in 2011, so stay tuned. It is a action-packed movie. All my autism moms should buy one because Lou Diamond Phillips happens to be on the Board of Directors of ACT-Today out in California and has been from the start. I’ve found many sweet videos on You Tube where he is with the kids on stage. So please support his career and buy a DVD when it comes out because he is helping families with autism. 


LDP & I raise funds for FEAT-Houston

 This is Matt Kelly:


Matt Kelly, the producer (and original script idea)



 This is Glenn Morshower and me: 

Mr. Glenn Morshower and me.

One of the best moments is when Patrick came and sat down on the bed beside me. He took his arm and tapped my chest and said, “Mom” — not the sign for “mom” but said “Mom” (not Ma as he would do in the past while biting his hand). Tears of joy. I have been having many of those moments recently.

The kidney stones and reduction of stress in my life might have worked hand-in-hand in helping me to lose 20 pounds, a full dress size, without any exercise.   A definite highlight. 

After 18 years, Jeff and I have rediscovered ourselves after all the distractions of the school district were gone. That in turn led us to rediscover our marriage.


PBMom & PBDad 18 years ago


 Looking forward, 2011 will be remarkable. Patrick has made astounding progress in just 4 months; the sky is the limit. We will try to cultivate his newfound love of running into perhaps fun runs and see what happens. Or perhaps his love of planting things.

I hope to get my production levels up at work so I can make a part-time wage again at the very least. I hope to lose another 20 pounds by the spring when I need to attend a fundraiser and I’d like to purchase a very sexy dress.

And then the laundry list (so to speak) by cleaning this house from top to bottom.

And, joy of joy, for the first time, since I do not have to spend 6 months fighting with the school district, I can actually get started on my tax returns like Saturday, January 1.

I expect also that in 2011 the kidney stone issue will be PERMANENTLY resolved.

 At the end of January, we’ll be meeting the lovely Women in Sci-Fi up in Plano, Texas, a weekend of respite for Jeff and me. They have a great lineup and I am looking forward to spending as much time as I am allowed with each of them. Last time we were only gone 27 hours; this time, we’ll be gone a full 48 hours. We’ll see how well Patrick does with that.

2011 is already blowing my mind. Can’t wait to welcome the baby New Year.

Do you have any resolutions for the new year? Are you glad that something is over in 2010 now? Do you have any traditions to share? Post them away in the comment section.

Happy New Year to you all. May the year 2011 be all that you make of it.