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Week 7 of the Dancing With the Stars brought us a Halloween special complete with special effects, themed dances, and elaborate makeup and costumes on the dancers, hosts, judges, and even the band members.

To start the night, David and Kym performed a cha cha (complete with magic tricks) to “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller Band. David is still working hard, but taking plenty of time to let his goofy side out. Len said his dance provided lots of tricks and lots of treats, Bruno shouted some inscrutable praise, and Carrie Ann was impressed with David’s phenomenal improvement. Triple 8s gave the pair a 24.

J.R. and Karina tangoed to the theme from “Ghostbusters.” Karina was undoubtedly the sexiest ghost I’ve ever seen, and J.R. was a crowd-pleaser as usual. Bruno said the performance was solid, even though J.R. lost his timing a little bit. Carrie Ann loved the tone of the dance, but Len thought that it was substandard compared to J.R.’s previous weeks. The pair scored a 25 (9, 8, 8).

Editor: please welcome back guest author Suzannah!

Tuesday night I ventured over to Epcot for one of the Culinary Demonstrations for the 16th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The demonstration I attended was sponsored by Ocean Spray’s Craisins – not only a sponsor of the Food & Wine Festival, but also an official sponsor of both Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks. The chef for the evening was Ming Tsai, owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, author of two cookbooks: Blue Ginger and Simply Ming, and host of the PBS programs East Meets West and the Emmy nominated Simply Ming. Originally from Massachusetts, I’ve always been a fan of Ming Tsai and loved his cooking shows, so I was excited to see him create a dish for us.

Guests were greeted at the Festival Center (former Wonders of Life pavilion) with samples of Ocean Spray Craisins as they waited to be seated at tables in front of a demo kitchen stage. This was actually my first-ever culinary demo during the festival, I’m almost embarrassed to admit for the past 16 years I’ve been attending the Food & Wine Festival, I’ve only ever taken part in the Marketplace Booths and their delicious offerings, never a demo or seminar of any kind. I was pleasantly surprised at the presentation. For a mere $11-14 per person (depending on the chef), guests get an exciting cooking demonstration with a celebrity chef, either nationally known, or famous within the Walt Disney World Resort or local area. I had no idea we’d actually be seated at a table and get to enjoy the dish being prepared. I would definitely do this again and am now looking into future demos I can bring my husband or family back to.

Editor: Please welcome back guest author Estelle with a review of ABC’s Revenge.

Beware of the spoiler. (Unless you are like me and can’t help yourself.)

Like Billy Joel says, it’s a matter of trust.

And Emily doesn’t have a lot of it. Who can blame her? The second episode of Revenge introduces us to the next “victim” in her take downs: Bill Harmon, a hedge fund trader, who seems to have been one of her dad’s best friends before he testified against him in court. (Anyone recognize Matthew Glave from his Miami-Vice portrayal of Glenn in The Wedding Singer?) Bill was even around when her dad gave her the adorable golden retriever (with a stellar memory) when she was a little girl. Emily, of course, does what any girl on a mission does… she convinces Bill to invest all of his money into AllCom, a cellular company that her old buddy Nolan is rumored to be joining forces with.

This is why I don’t invest in stocks because I didn’t see this coming. Nolan decides to invest in another company and Bill is basically screwed. All the money, gone. Not as glamorous as revealing the affair last week but hey, Emily won… again.

Editor: Please welcome new guest author Jenny who will be recapping Castle episodes this season. I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s no mystery, Jenny’s a great addition to the team.

Finally! It’s finally here! The Castle Season 4 premiere. We left off last season with Captain Montgomery’s final stand, Detective Beckett (Stana Katic) getting shot, and Castle (Nathan Fillion) confessing his love.

In a most satisfying fashion, we come back after months of waiting to find that only minutes have passed in the Castleverse. With so many shows that like to fast-forward through what are admittedly the most problematic bits of plot arcs and sometimes showing what happened through flashbacks (Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Rizzoli & Isles, to name a few), it was really refreshing to rejoin the show right where we left off. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the former technique distances the audience from the show and the characters because they didn’t get to go through the traumatic period with them. Not Castle. The audience gets to be part of the precinct family in the hospital, waiting to hear Kate Beckett’s fate.


Stana Katic on twitter: http://twitter.com/stana_katic

Maybe showrunner Andrew Marlowe and the rest of the crew on Castle just understand this show’s audience’s need to feel involved. Twice in just this episode they have characters playing the part of the audience by proxy: the first time is Alexis yelling at Josh and angrily trying to shove him after he accuses Castle, her Dad, of being responsible for Beckett’s shooting, the second time is when Ryan and Esposito refuse to let Beckett escape into the break room for coffee after she tells them she hasn’t spoken to Castle in months. They ask question after question on the tips of the audience’s brains while watching. Even though the audience doesn’t get to directly participate, there’s a real sense of satisfaction about having these questions and then characters on the show asking and getting answers.

Editor: Please help me welcome our latest guest author Amanda Correia.

Since the release of its first film in 2005, Chicken Little, Disney Digital 3-D has been quite busy. In fact, every year since, it has released at least one original or adapted 2-D animated film, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story 1,2 & 3, Up, Cars 2, and in September 2011, The Lion King.

It may not make much sense today to think that Chicken Little was one of the most significant and controversial decisions that the Walt Disney Company has ever made. However, given the state of affairs around the time of its release, it is clear why this film and its marketing were immensely influential. It was a time of war, an open-fire battle between all of the major animation studios and, the newcomer, Pixar. After the recent successes of Pixar’s The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, and DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek 1 & 2, it was clear that Disney, the supposed category king, was lacking: Where was their CG animation?