Saturday, April 27, 2013

Masha and the Bear Children's Animation Episode 2: "Bon Appetit" Teaches How to Make Chinese Dumplings

I was on YouTube and came across a very entertaining animation called "Masha and the Bear" and the episode is called "Bon Appetit."

The actual animation is in Russian, but the animation is so entertaining, that you don't have to speak Russian to enjoy it. It has been viewed over 40 Million times on YouTube.

Masha and the Bear Make Chinese Dumplings

Here is a summary of the animation in English:

In this episode, the Brown Bear and the Panda Bear decide to make Chinese Dumplings.

The two bears start making the noodle for the outside of the dumplings. The Brown Bear chops the flour paste into the pouch balls. Then they grind the meat for the inside of the dumplings.

Meanwhile, Masha is outside in the Sunflower field with her butterfly net. All the butterflies are hiding, but an unsuspecting green caterpillar is crawling along on the dirt road. Masha spots the caterpillar is begins chasing it around the Sunflower field with the net. The chase brings Masha back to the cabin where the two Bears are busy making the Chinese Dumplings. Panda Bear is flattening out the noodle pouches when the green caterpillar hops from outside the window onto the table where Panda Bear is rolling out the noodles balls.

Masha jumps into the window with her net. Brown Bear is horrified as Masha runs across the cooking table, squashing all of the noodle balls as she runs. The green caterpillar hops from the table into Panda Bear's cooking hat. The caterpillar jumps off quickly, but Masha swings and captures Panda Bear's hat with a miss.

The green caterpillar crawls up the rolling pin, and Masha grabs him off of the rolling pin. Brown Bear pulls the butterfly net off of Panda Bear's head. Masha tries to convince Panda Bear to eat the green caterpillar. He declines, acting as if the caterpillar will make him sick. Brown Bear grabs a jar off of the shelf, and gives it to Masha, so she can put the green caterpillar in the jar. She does, and the caterpillar is mortified that he is in a jar with Masha watching him closely.

Panda Bear then begins to clean up the mess that Masha made. He looks at Masha with a scowl. She looks on innocently while holding her prize -- the caterpillar in the jar.

Masha sees the giant ball of flour paste and reaches for it. Brown Bear puts it behind his back. Panda bear hides a smaller ball behind his back. Masha then goes to wash her hands, because she wants to help make the Chinese Dumplings. Brown Bear and Panda Bear then pull out an apron and Chef's hat for Masha.

Masha is excited. The two bears then bow to Masha ceremoniously before they start again to make Chinese Dumplings. While Panda Bear is bowing, Masha reaches for his dumpling ball. Panda Bear then comes out of his prayful state and does a karate chop, dividing the ball into three balls with one chop. Masha is impressed. She grabs a flour paste ball and it transforms into a snowman. It reforms into flour paste and then shapes into a duck.

Panda Bear watches as he rolls the flour paste, and Brown Bear cuts the flour paste into balls. Masha seems to have rolled her flour paste into what appears to be sausage links. Brown Bear inspects, but does not approve. He then takes the knife and corrects the mistake by chopping them into balls. He then hands Masha a rolling pin.

She doesn't know what to do. Panda Bear shows her how to roll the flour paste balls into flat circles and sets them aside. Masha takes all five of her flour paste balls and rolls them all at once into one large flattened circle. Her rolling pin is now stuck in the flour paste. She pulls it free and she flies off of the table. The two bears shake their heads.

Masha pops back up. She is having fun. She pulls her flour paste up revealing a scary mask. Panda Bear is frightened. Brown Bear is not happy, while Panda Bear is hiding out of fear. Brown Bear gives her a rolling pin and another flour paste ball to try again.

Now Masha starts hammering small flour paste balls. The table is pounded so hard that it knocks the green caterpillar back down as he is trying to crawl out of the glass jar on the table. Panda Bear feels each shockwave from Masha pounding out flour paste balls.

Masha continues to pound out the small flour paste balls in succession and the other two bears watch on as she uses her rolling pin like a sledgehammer. The last flour paste ball is smashed and the ground meat is next in line. Brown Bear grabs Masha's rolling pin right before she smashes the ground meat.

Masha falls back into her chair. Panda Bear looks at her stack of balls now mashed into flat circles. Masha sticks out her tongue at him because she rolled hers and his. Panda Bear doesn't look happy. Brown Bear then distributes the rolled flour paste on the table. They each get a pair of chopsticks. Panda Bear shows how to get a ball of meat and wrap it with the flour paste. Brown Bear then does the same.

Now it's Masha's turn. She clumsily drops her chopsticks. She picks them up, one in each hand, and attempts to get a ball of meat. Meatballs start flying at Brown Bear's head. Meatballs start flying everywhere. One knocks the green caterpillar back in his jar. Panda Bear starts grabbing meatballs out of the air, and putting them on the flattened flour paste to correct the situation.

Brown Bear has had enough. He takes the chopsticks from Masha. She is surprised. He gives her a spoon. She takes a heaping spoonful of meat and loads it onto the flattened flour paste. So much meat is on her flour paste, that she tries to add more flour paste on top, but it still doesn't cover the meat. Masha think about what she did wrong, while Panda Bear literally spins out Chinese Dumplings with the twirl of his chopsticks.

Masha rolls her giant meatball on the table and it picks up flour paste as it rolls. Panda Bear's Chinese Dumplings come undone in the middle of the table. Masha's over-sized meatball comes back to her, covered in flour paste, and she claims a victory.

Brown Bear doesn't approve. He pounds a fist on the table, and Chinese Dumplings wrap themselves mid-air. He then distributes more flattened flour paste to Masha to try again. He then spoons the flour paste out to her flattened flour paste and she folds them over with her hands. Panda Bear then asks for meat for his dumplings and he closes them up with ease.

Masha begs for more meat. Brown Bear fills another row with meat for her. She closes them faster as she gets the hand of it. Panda Bear moves fast doing the same in a competition to get them done. Masha and Panda Bear meet at the last one. They playfully fight until Masha pulls his hat down and closes the last dumpling.

Brown Bear puts a pot on for the dumplings, while Masha discovers that the green caterpillar has escaped the glass jar. She looks in a cupboard to find a white rabbit chewing on carrots. She walks off and the rabbit re-closes the curtain. Brown Bear opens the refrigerator only to find a wolf eating the sausage links. Brown Bear closes the fridge. Masha is looking for the caterpillar by shaking boots. Brown Bear finds a porcupine under the pillow of his bed, while Masha looks under the bed. Nothing there, either.

Meanwhile, Panda Bear is left to cook the Chinese Dumplings. He is using a large cooking shovel to scoop the dumplings from the table to the pot of boiling water. Masha continues to look in pots and pans. She only finds a squirrel and continues looking. She comes up on the boiling hot pot of Chinese Dumplings. She almost falls forward but doesn't. Brown Bear is looking around with a magnifying glass for the green caterpillar.

Masha making a noise to "Shhhhhh!" and points to the boiling hot pot. Brown Bear opens it and hundreds of butterflies fly out, leaving only the dumplings to finish cooking. Masha is excited and chases after them with her butterfly net outside.

The two bears then enjoy the fruit of their labor, each having a bowl of Chinese Dumplings. Panda Bear eats his with chopsticks, while Brown Bear inhales them off of a wooden spoon. Brown Bear gives a thumbs up of approval, and Panda Bear nods his head in satisfaction.

Masha chases a flock of butterflies around outside while the two bears watch from the doorway, while eating Chinese Dumplings. Everyone is happy. The End.

Masha and Brown Bear and Panda Bear in Kitchen
Masha and the Bear; Butterflies coming out of the Chinese Dumpling pot

See what happens in the woods when no one is around...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avoid Penalties with the IRS Tax Extension Deadline

Liberty Tax building
Liberty Income Tax

Now that the April 15th tax deadline is over, we can all relax again.

April 15, 2013 was the deadline to file individual tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This includes Form 1040, 1040A, & 1040EZ.

If you live in the U.S. and did not file by April 15, 2013, then hopefully you filed a six month extension – which can be done with Form 4868. Even if you file an extension, you still have to file your payment by April 15, 2013, or risk paying the late filing penalty. Now if the IRS owes you, you could be entitled to some interest on your money.

With a six-month extension, the last day to file individual tax returns to the IRS is: October 15, 2013.

Due to the Boston Marathon Bombing, residents of Suffolk County, MA are granted an automatic 3-month extension along with anyone who was in Boston area on April 15th. More information on this can be read here.

What is the Late Filing Penalty?

The IRS calculates the late filing penalty and charges interest based on the amount owed. If the IRS owes you money, there is no late filing penalty, and they may even pay you interest on your refund money.

If you are concerned about a late filing penalty, visit’s IRS Tax Penalties article, which explains how the following are calculated: Failure to File Penalty, Failure to Pay Penalty, and Interest.

I know many tax professionals that file extensions for themselves. They are sure to mail a check in to the IRS by April 15, 2013, because they know they owe money. They write a check over the amount that they think they owe, since they have not actually computed the actual amount owed yet. This is done to avoid paying a penalty or interest for any money owed to the IRS.

Then, when they file their own tax returns, they simply account for the tax payment, and they get the difference back from the IRS.

That's how the pros do it.

How did you do it?

Image source: MorgueFile; (no attribution required)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Andrea Killed by Zombie in the Walking Dead Season 3 Finale

The Walking Dead; Andrea

The Walking Dead Season 3 finale ended with a bang. 


Andrea was killed off in the Walking Dead Season 3 finale, which has been one of the biggest liberties taken by the TV show that may have a backlash from fans of the original graphic novels written by Robert Kirkman. She's done been eaten.

Andrea was played by actress Laurie Holden. 

Sadly, Andrea on the Walking Dead is dead, and she is not coming back, unless she comes back as a zombie. Don't expect to see her in Season 4 of the show.

Maybe Andrea’s fate could have been avoided. After all, in the comic book, she had a relationship with character Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln). But that will not be played out on the television show because she is dead, and it is The Governor’s fault. He is the one that stabbed Milton. He is the one that unleashed zombified Milton on Andrea. Poor Andrea. She had nothing against Woodbury or the Governor.

Unfortunately for Andrea, she allowed the Governor to escape, and as irony has it, he is the one who is responsible for her death. Life isn’t fair sometimes. Especially on zombie apocalypse television shows.

Some critics of the Walking Dead believe the show is out of imagination and the story lacks creativity.

On top of that, the Governor seems to be running around, taking out good people, while Rick is left with a crew that keeps losing people, not counting the new Woodbury folks that are comprised of old people and children. Should Rick really consider keeping this vulnerable crowd at the prison?

Robert Kirkman says this about the Walking Dead to “There’s definitely some improvements to be made on how we did things in Season 3, but I don’t necessarily regret anything because it’s all part of learning and moving forward and trying to make the best show possible.”
He also says: “Moving through the story quickly is something that is essential to this show. You want to keep viewers on their feet. You want to keep telling as much story as possible in each episode and keep the story moving forward at a quick pace. I think that’s what the audience wants and that’s something that will continue into Season 4. I think we’ve perfected things a little bit more. The show is a learning process to a certain extent because it’s such a different kind of television show.”

The biggest head scratcher to date is killing off Laurie Holden’s character, Andrea, without exploring her relationships with Rick or Dale.

Will the Walking Dead lose viewers because of this?

Only time will tell.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us is an Awesome iOS Phone Game!

Injustice: Gods Among Us game cover

Last night, I downloaded Injustice: Gods Among Us. It is a free iOS app available in the Apple iStore, from Warner Bros. I started playing, and couldn’t stop. It is a lot of fun, and it reminds me of Mortal Kombat, except without the blood and gore.

This game features your favorite DC superheroes, and offers many ways to customize characters with different outfits and boost the character's health, and super-powers with in-game currency upgrades.

You start out with Cyborg, the Flash, and Deathstroke. You have a team of 3, and can trade out your heroes when one is getting weak.

After playing for about an hour, I received Nightwing and then Catwoman. If you sign up with the WB for free, you receive the New 52 Green Lantern. Other characters include: Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Superman, Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Bane, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn, Batman, the Joker, and more.

The various superheroes are controlled by tapping the screen on the bad guy for multiple hits. Then, you can do a Knockout move at the end of the sequential hits by a swipe in a particular direction, which you are told on the touchscreen. If you do a swipe left or right on the screen, you do a power attack, which is somewhat slower than your tapping attacks. If you touch two fingers to the touchscreen, your superhero blocks.

Your attacks on the other character build up, and you eventually get a power move, indicated by a full bar on the bottom of the screen. Touch the bar to do the move. It may require you to tap very fast on a spot of the screen, or a repetitive swipe on the screen in a particular direction.

Cyborg and Nightwing’s power moves require tapping. Catwoman’s power move requires swiping up or down, the Flash’s move requires a swiping, and Deathstroke’s requires a swiping motion.

After each battle, the experience points are added to the characters in play, leveling up your superheroes. At a certain point, extra abilities are added to the character. For example, Catwoman gets razor sharp claws that induce bleeding in her attack.

Overall, I found Injustice: God’s Among Us to be pretty awesome for iOS. The loading screens show close up of the superheroes outfits with ripped muscles. If you are a fan of superheroes and particularly of DC comics, this app is a must download. Awesome game and awesome app by DC and Warner Bros.

Watch the video below.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Shia LaBeouf is Done with Alec Baldwin Feud on Late Show with David Letterman

David Letterman interviewing Shia LaBeouf (with Joaquin Phoenix beard)

Shia LaBeouf thinks Alec Baldwin is a great guy. At least that’s what he says on the Late Show with David Letterman in bearded form. He reminds me of when the Joaquin Phoenix interview when Joaquin Phoenix is in character and David Letterman roasts him in front of his audience.

The interview takes place on April 1, 2013, but Shia LaBeouf is absolutely serious in everything he shares.

As you watch the clip from David Letterman’s Late Show (available on the CBS website), you sense that David Letterman is trying to get laughs at Shia’s expense. That’s a no-brainer. Shia LaBeouf appears to be in the hot seat. I also get from this interview that Shia LaBeouf sincerely wants to put this feud behind him so that it doesn’t affect future relationships in the business.

Bearded Shia LaBeouf laughing

The Feud Between Shia LaBeouf and Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin called Shia LaBeouf a “celebrity chef.” Shia LaBeouf responded by leaking two personal emails. The two actors had been going back and forth on Twitter.

Shia LaBeouf said on Twitter: “The theater belongs not to the great but to the brash…”

Alec Baldwin replied on Twitter: “Some of the greatest movie stars had really serious theater careers and still do. And many film actors, though, who are purely film actors, they’re kind of like celebrity chefs…You hand them the ingredients, and they whip it up, and they cook it, and they put it on a plate, and they want a round of applause. In the theater, we don’t just cook the food and serve it.”

Interpret that as you will.

On the Late Show, Shia LaBeouf chalks up his feud with Alec Baldwin as tension between men, not artists. Shia describes himself as passionate and impulsive, and that Alec is also passionate, creating fireworks between the two actors.

Shia LaBeouf revealed that he did go to see Orphans on opening night, and got a seat in the front row, because that’s all that was left. He seemed happy for his replacement, Ben Foster, as well.

Shia LaBeouf wants to end the feud. He now says [Alec] “He’s a good dude…he’s a good dude. He’s terrific.” Dave says, “He’s a tremendous actor.” Shia agrees, “Yes.”

Shia LaBeouf and Alec Baldwin had "tension as men," as explained to Dave

Dave asks Shia how he felt going into starring in Orphans. Shia says he felt pretty strongly about it.
Dave then asks, “Then why did you get fired?” “Because me [Shia] and Alec had tension as men. Not as artists, but as men. When you got tension as men, it’s a hard thing to deal with…its cool for increments, but I think to do that for a long period of time, it’s tough.”

Dave: “Had you known Alec before?”

Shia: “I met Alec briefly before we started.”

Dave: “And how would you describe your relationship with him now?”

Shia: “Uh, I hope it’s pretty good, I mean he’s a pretty…he’s a good actor, and I wish him the best of luck.”

Dave: “Can I suggest a couple of scenarios?”

Humble Shia LaBeouf on Late Show with David Letterman
Shia: “Sure.”

Dave: “Alec went to the producers and said, ‘I can’t take it another day, fire him.’”

Shia: “I think that, I think that might’ve been what had happened.”

Dave (acting shocked): “Really?!?”

Audience reacts with laughter, because Dave is trying to get a laugh out of the situation.

Dave: “No, I just made that up, how could that be…I mean, what happened?”

Audience is still laughing.

Dave: “Creative differences?”

Shia LaBeouf looking away as audience laughs on Late Show
Shia LaBeouf: “I think that’s what you got to say as a business-savvy answer. What…what the…(Shia looks to the audience because their laughter distracts him from his thought)…what actually happened.”

Dave then attempts to suggest that the situation is similar to Jeremy Piven, who had to cancelled a theater show due to mercury poisioning. Shia knows what Dave is trying to do here, and shrugs it off as nothing similar to the food poisoning situation.

Dave then wraps up the interview by saying how badly he wants to mend this broken relationship and if he could arrange them to meet on his show. Shia doesn’t think it to be very realistic, but offers some final words toward Alec Baldwin.

Shia: “I mean…I think that would be a tough one to pull off.” Audience laughs. “I’m all for it, but…”

Dave: “Will punches be thrown?”

Shia: “No punches thrown, no.” He looks serious and audience laughs again. Awkward moment ensues, very reminiscent of the Joaquin Phoenix interview.

Dave: “Well, I don’t know what to say because I, I admire your work, I don’t know you as well as I know Alec, but Alec to me is like…the guy…”

Shia: “He is the guy.” Shia says very seriously.

Dave: “…and I’d like to see this reconciled, somehow.”

Shia: “Here it is, right here.” Shia looks straight at the camera. “Alec, I think you’re awesome. That’s it, you know, that’s it. That’s it. That’s it.” The audience claps.

After watching this video, Shia LaBeouf appears to be sorry for his actions in the feud, and really looked like he meant every word that he said to David Letterman. It takes a man to apologize when you have done wrong, and I believe Shia LaBeouf took the first step in resolving this issue as a man.

Shia LaBeouf apologizes to Alec Baldwin

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