Sunday, January 31, 2010

Writing Reviews Can Bring LULZ

Not often (and I'm a scathing reviewer, BTW, so much so that I almost felt bad last year, until I got two manuscripts to review in a row, and both were just awesome, and that made me feel that, yes, I can give bad reviews to the bad stuff, and save good reviews for the legitimately good stuff - as it should be) - but while writing a (mostly negative) review of a book on science and religion, I had a couple LULZ. When trying to type "Creationism" I had the Freudian (Darwinian?) slip of typing "cretinism." Then today, on a completely unrelated blog, I saw this awesome pic of Flaming, Angry, Never-Ending Story Jesus! Then a friend showed me the Jesus Loves Baby Dinos pic! Laughing out loud!

I Haven't Won Anything Lately

And it might be a while yet, but The Black Quill Awards will be announced Tuesday!

(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

Spring Cons

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chopped II

Okay, I guess if I have to watch this, I might as well keep blogging about it!

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!


For some reason (and I really don't "get" cooking shows myself, at least not for more than 15 minutes or so) it's the family's new favorite show. So much that I'll now be watching it instead of Law and Order on Friday nights, which I really don't understand.

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

Final contributor list announced for BUTCHER KNIVES AND BODY COUNTS anthology (Dark Scribe Press):

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!

Yay us!

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

Or, perhaps, we should just be honest and rename it the United Corporation of America, since the government seems to have no other purpose now, than to further the interests and grant privileges and advantages to the corporations that own and run us. Kaufman, in Land of the Dead, didn't have a better, cozier set-up for his machinations.

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!!

And wow - I guess it goes w/o saying, but that's a fun place to be, esp. in the middle of winter! Thanks to Chaminade University and Prof. Steiger for inviting me and showing so much hospitality!

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

Red Dawn

A truly evil movie, I've thought since the first time I saw it. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching it, the way I might enjoy smashing a mosquito, over and over, till it's unidentifiable as a biological form, or some other unsavory activity I might enjoy. But it is truly the kind of movie I'd ban if I could. There's just something so childishly evil in the violence or in its perspective in general (look at the scene when Swayze kills the helpless Russian and think back to when you read the equivalent scene in All Quiet, or saw it in any of the film versions, and think how those two versions affect you differently and make you a different person; or look at how the old guy hands his daughters over, all Old Testament style, to those of his own tribe rather than those baddies, and what effect that'd have on your attitudes). I seldom say I'm sickened by a movie (this is zombie Guy, after all) but I always feel dirty after watching a couple scenes.

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


Off first thing in the morning to give a talk at Chaminade University in Honolulu!! Should be fun!

Not Enough Zombies!

That's how I'd blurb my most recent academic book, Augustine and Philosophy, but I'm glad Eric didn't!

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

Marriage Laws

Dawn of the Dead

Saturday, January 02, 2010

D2L3 Contest

Okay, I was smoothing over some of the literary references in D2L3 and thought of how to do an easy contest. Below are five quotations from D2L3. All are paraphrases of New Testament verses (four from the Gospels, one from a letter of Paul). Email your answers to kimpaffenroth at msn dot com. The first THREE people to get all of them right will be able to choose:

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.)

The quotations:

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!

Thanks all!

Jesus Said to Love Your Enemies

I'm trying, Jesus! I'm trying!
I won't ask for an A for effort. Maybe a B-?
I doubt you would've said Michael J. Fox was faking, Jesus.
And I think we both know, if this clown walked by you on a certain Friday afternoon, he'd probably say, "Damn hippie peacenik Feminazi should quit belly achin' and take it like a man! We need more security and order in this Empire!" while his twelve Dittoheads trooped behind him making hooting noises and pumping their fists.

Friday, January 01, 2010


D2L3 Complete!

At 82,800 words! Now for some final edits and proofreading!


Triumph of The Walking Dead