Sunday, January 31, 2010
I Haven't Won Anything Lately
(I haven't thought of them since the nominees were announced, but this morning I got a good feeling about them!)
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Saturday Nightmares in Jersey City (03/19) (I'll just stop by and put my stuff on the freebie table and try to get Gaylen Ross's autograph)
Lunacon in Rye, NY (03/20) I'll be on some panels
Mo*Con in Indianapolis (04/30-05/01) Time to see my good buddies Kyle and Doug and Gary and our fine host Maurice!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Appetizer - Ingredients = chicken wings, sake, grapes
I'd know to cook the wings first. That's a given, though I'd give them 5 minutes marinating in the sake while I gathered the other ingredients, then I'd start sauteeing them (Justin had the right idea to keep turning them constantly, though he was wrong to keep the tips on). I'd puree the grapes and some more sake (smushing the grapes was a good idea from the fireman) and cook that down as the wings fry. I think some orange juice and soy sauce would get thrown in the glaze then, along with something to redden it up - maybe tabasco, but maybe just some paprika (I think the trick was to avoid making buffalo wings like the fireman) then I'd add that to the wings to coat. If I had time, I'd serve it with a spicy, creamy dipping sauce on the side - I was thinking horseradish, but that would put me in a bind with the next challenge, so maybe a traditional bleu cheese.
Entree - Ingredients = catfish, something they called "treviso" that I always called radicchio - it just looked bigger, Japanese eggplant, horseradish
You got to bread and fry the catfish, pretty much. I'd say some parmesan and garlic powder in the breading, but make sure the oil's hot enough when you start and just a thin coating (almost knocked out Justin with bad breading). Meanwhile I'd blanch the raddichio like thing til it softens (to be honest, I'd be winging it, I've only made endive or radicchio a couple times, and I thought blanching it was the right way, but everyone on the show fried theirs), after boiling thin slices of the eggplant (again, I'd be winging it, as I always cook with the big Italian version). I'd stake everything on my last ingredient, which I do have a more definite idea about: I'd grate the horseradish with some ginger and carrot. If they had it, I'd grate in parsnips too, since those are so neutral. That'd make a big pile of orange and white stuff that I'd mound on top of the fish and the eggplant/radicchio. I think the plating on this would be much better than I usually do.
Dessert - Ingredients = cherry tomatoes, ginger snaps, silken tofu, coco nibs
I wouldn't know what to do but make a goop, like the fireman. BUT - plating killed him again. You put it in a tall, glass sundae dish, so you can see the layers! So I make a goop out of tofu and - ? I'm thinking whipped cream, since I think ricotta would make it too tart and chunky. But hoepfully there'd be time to try it before it went in the dish. Meanwhile, I'm cooking down the tomatoes to a red goop (and yes, like Justin, I think Liqueur would be the way to go, though maybe a port would be better than the orange - and some more red thing like raspberries or cherries if they had them). Pulverize the snaps and nibs into some trail mix looking concoction (if they had brown sugar and raisins, or even granola, that'd be fab. Layer the white goop with the crunchy stuff and top with the red goop. That'd be my best attempt I could make with those things.
And I'm not a chef, BTW. I am, as my lovely and talented former neighbor (and defeater of Nazis) Julia Child would always call herself, "A COOK." (And yes, she really was our neighbor in Cambridge.) Which means, I don't know how to conduct and orchestrate a staff of people - I do know how to cook things by myself with some distinction, esp after 30 years or so of doing so.
But, with more modest plans for tomorrow night, and in good cook fashion, we'll be serving a lobster and broccoli quiche (mostly because I have some leftover lobster and broccoli, and the supermarket gave me a coupon for a dozen free eggs). Bon apetit!
But, part of their fun is to ask me how I'd make the dishes. I don't think I could come up with it as fast as the contestants, but here's from Tuesday's episode.
Appetizer - Ingredients = mortadella, peppers, soft-shelled crabs
I'd make some crostini as I roast the peppers (brushed with olive oil). Probably steam the crabs while that's happening. Take the toasted french bread and lay slices of mortadella across it. Shred the crab, pile it on the mortadella, and pour a hollandaise sauce over it. Red pepper slices on top of that.
Entree - Ingredients = baby bananas, black-eyed peas, poblano peppers and ostrich steaks
At first I was gonna fry the bananas, but maybe I'd go for broke on this one. I'd broil the steaks (and now I know to make them really rare when I do). Roast the peppers with them. Boil the peas. Okay, then the peas and peppers go over a bed of mixed greens. The steaks are sliced into thin strips that go on top of that. Finely chopped bananas go into a creamy sauce (maybe with bleu cheese, definitely with something spicy or pungent to offset the sweetness) that's poured over the whole thing.
Dessert - Ingredients = lychees, phyllo, canadian bacon, candy canes
Bake layers of phyllo with ricotta and the ham (I don't know what the ham's adding to it really, so I'd try to get away with as little as possible). I'd cook the lychees with something red - cherries I thought at first, but I'm thinking if they had a can of cranberry sauce, that might work really good. I'd try to carmelize the candy canes and fold that into the lychee mix, but if that didn't work, I'd just have to crumble them on top (as did both the finalists on the show).
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Where Horror Meets Critical Analysis
My essay is on the rather subdued and oft overlooked THE FUNHOUSE, directed by Tobe Hooper, much better known for his Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, and Salem's Lot (TV). He has a certain sense of composition of shots (at least, that's how I feel when I watch TCM - it's not the EEK! jump scares, which are pretty standard, that fascinate me, but the oh-so-balanced frames), but with FUNHOUSE, he shows more sensitivity to the characters, and a real poignant nostalgia for the vanishing carnie world.
We've Been Rebranded!
I love the line where the one person says "It's not cool to hate America now."
Of course, we go on torturing people, heating up the planet, and giving the country away to corporate interests, but now we look like cool urbanites as we do it, instead of the former brand of swaggering, cowboy yahoos. Go us!
(Thanks to MattC for providing the link as usual! Though I've reciprocated a few times, I have to say - the dude's way more up on the leftist rants than I! Go Matt!)
Friday, January 22, 2010
I Want My Country Back
Arise, my zombie minions! Take control - for we, the living, have relinquished all hold on freedom or justice or decency, and we await your undead wrath!
Or, so I feel this afternoon.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Back from Hawaii!!
Here are the highlights, with whatever helpful observations I can offer future travellers!
Airport food (on the way out) - way better than I remember. We saw Maui Taco and took it as a sign that was the right place to eat and it was a great choice for airport food.
Airplane food (both ways) - way worse than I remember. Despicable.
Waikiki - beach a little too calm, and we were there so early in the morning because of the jet lag that it was still chilly. Stores much more upscale than when I visited as a teenager - it used to look more like Times Square did, with lots of arcades and X rated theaters, but now it looks more like Beverly Hills or Fort Lauderdale (Burberry, Coach, Yves St. Laurent, etc.). International Market was the one concession to low price, and it was looking kind of seedy and dilapidated, selling mostly t-shirts.
Perry's Smorgy - boy, mediocre food at half the price of anything else in the vicinity, served outdoors in a jungle setting - not a bad arrangement!
Diamond Head - the women punked out before even starting the trail, as they were wearing flip-flops. I made it a third of the way before I was panting too hard to think it worth continuing. The boy did make it to the top and took some pictures.
Ono Hawaiian Food - regular visitors know I like to eat lots of different stuff, but I'm afraid all I could say of Hawaiian food (and this restaurant is universally recommended as authentic) is that it reminds me of Mexican, only without spices and way oversalted. Sorry.
Hanauma Bay - even for someone who doesn't snorkle (I'm sorry, I could probably try it, but I'm just not confident in my swimming to enjoy it) it's pretty beautiful and awe inspiring. I waded out to hip deep water and was surrounded by fish most of the time. The rest of the family who snorkled saw even more sights, of course.
Polynesian Cultural Center - presentations more respectful than I remember, less of the chest thumping warrior stuff (though you'd still leave thinking the New Zealanders were the most warlike tribe ever, given the volume and vigor of their chants). And the Mormon influence was fairly subdued: you could take a tour of the temple (we didn't), but no one said "Lamanite." Though the whole climactic floor show makes sense in a Mormon context, once you look back on it: who else would put on a Vegas-style show (with exploding volcanoes and all) whose overwhelming message, that it hits you with every scene, is to extol the joys of marital devotion, the fulfillment of the raising of children, and the endless bliss of dwelling in heaven with your ancestors and descendants? But - flame dance, Hawaiian hula, Tahitian hip-swinging - they hit all the things you want to see at that kind of show. And the kulua pig tasted pretty much exactly like it did the night before at the Ono restaurant, so I wouldn't slam the dinner too badly, though there really weren't many choices other than that, some white rice, and regular salad.
Pearl Harbor - our one wipe out. Got there by 11am and all tickets to the Arizona were gone for the day. Little disappointed by that, but forged ahead.
Snorkling with dolphins and sea turtles - the ladies went on that excursion while the boy and I tried to get into Pearl Harbor. They saw lots of stuff up close and seeemd to get their money's worth out of it.
I almost forgot! I went into the Waikele Borders store and signed all their copies of D2L, D2L2, and History Is Dead! The manager and staff were so nice!!
North Shore - big waves and sea shell collecting, made more enjoyable by it being about the only thing on the island (other than the Arizona Memorial) that was free.
Chinatown - we chose Little Village House of Noodles. Nothing too exotic, but for your standard fare (beef with broccoli, fried rice, honey-walnut shrimp) it was some pretty excellent batches. My wife paid them the rare compliment that, although she usually doesn't like Chinese food, she would eat there anytime.
Dole Pineapple Plantation - this is one goofy, overpriced tourist trap, but my wife insisted on stopping. My son enjoyed the maze, but we didn't do the other overpriced activities.
Haleiwa Farmers Market - more the kind of thing you like to run into. Very hippie, Green clientele and merchants. Ate a bag of tomatoes and some fried green tomatoes, while the others ate pesto pizza. Everything organic, all natural, very tasty.
Airport food (on the way back) - more like I remember, and made less pleasant by Continental beginning boarding AN HOUR (?!) before flight time, when we'd just gotten food.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
But, I must say, since the last time I saw it (10+ years ago) - Harry Dean Stanton and Lea Thompson in bit parts?! That gets my attention! Wow, some people, whether they're gorgeous or horrifically ugly, are just fun to watch!!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Not Enough Zombies!
“Augustine and Philosophy is a welcome addition to this highly regarded series. Key topics in Augustine’s philosophy and his influential legacy are examined with rigor and sensitivity by leading scholars. Without advocating a settled agenda, the various essays cut across disciplinary boundaries and constitute a needed corrective to the relative neglect of Augustine in contemporary philosophical circles.” —Eric Gregory, Princeton University
I really like leading a double life! It's like Batman, only I get 8 hours of sleep and I don't get beaten into a near coma each night! FTW!!
Friday, January 08, 2010
Top Books of 2009!
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Dawn of the Dead
Saturday, January 02, 2010
a copy of THIN THEM OUT, the great chapbook written by Julia and RJ Sevin (and me)
Shroud Magazine #5, with my story "Buddha in the Box"
Good luck! Thanks for all your support! (All the books are in my office at work, BTW, so I won't mail out prizes for a few days, so don't be alarmed.)
1) Love is never selfish
2) The weak shall rule the earth
3) Drink it. It’s not bloody
4) Everything else had been accomplished
5) (final words) "Finished"
FIRST WINNER (1:30pm, 01/03/10): Danny Evarts, who even gave a better verse for one than the one I had in mind when I wrote it, which is extra cool!
SECOND WINNER (4:20pm, 01/03/10): Jeffrey Nicholas!
THIRD AND FINAL WINNER (11:30pm, 01/05/10): B. K. Lusk!
Jesus Said to Love Your Enemies
Friday, January 01, 2010