Essentials

Meta

Pages

Categories

This is a test post

Testing testing

Grabbers (movie review)

I just watched this on Netflix and it was pretty good.  It’s just about equal to Tremors in terms of campyness and special effects.  The gore is PG-13ish.  There is plenty of cussing, but this being an Irish film, it’s mostly ‘feck’ and ‘bollocks!’ with the occasional ‘shate!’ thrown in here and there.  The basic plot-line is that this alien species ends up landing in the ocean off of this  island near Ireland.  It is a creature that likes water and has lots of tentacles and a mouth in the center of said tentacles with a full set of pointy teeth.  The interesting twist is that this creature has a specific weakness that made landing in this particular ocean an extremely bad choice.  This monster is basically a giant leech, and high blood alcohol content can render it unconscious or even kill it.  Of course, the main safe haven ends up being the local tavern with the hero being the extremely-drunk-all-the-time police man and his side-kick being the local drunk.  The creature shows some possible intelligence when it uses one of it’s kills to lure a victim outside, but there is no further elaboration on how smart or dumb this creature is, so it immediately reverts back to being a giant leech with tentacles and teeth.  They could have done more with that.  The acting is good, and they manage to throw in a little romantic stuff between the drunk cop and the never-even-had-a-drink female deputy.  Of course, this leads to that particular light-weight  needing to get completely schnockered for the greater good and to save her own skin in the process.  The whole plot and ending is absolutely predictable, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t worth watching if you’re in the right mindset.  It’s campy horror with an Irish accent..I’d say a good solid 3 stars.

Thoughts from Brony-dom

When my wife first told me about ‘Bronies’, I was shocked and a little disgusted.  I asked Lisa “You mean there are actually grown men who are fans of My Little Pony?”  I remembered the cheesy My Little Pony cartoons that my little sister used to watch in the 80s/90s.  They, like most Saturday morning cartoons of that era, were horribly animated and sometimes a little creepy. Lisa informed me that this was a new iteration of the franchise, and not the old ones that I remembered on TV.  I was undeterred in my skepticism.

That was a few years ago.  Fast forward a couple years and Delaney starts watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and loves it.  As any parent knows, you end up sitting through endless hours of children’s shows.  The show Yo Gabba Gabba has become the yardstick that I use to gauge the level of quality for any particular kids show.  That show is just about as preachy and dumbed down for kids as any one you will ever see.  When I first saw this current iteration of My Little Pony, my first impression was that it was not annoying like Yo Gabba Gabba.  It wasn’t painful to watch, and it wasn’t trying to sell my kids on saving the earth if you can just recycle enough plastic bottles.  The themes were simple and were usually tied to characteristics espoused by one of the main characters; those characteristics being honesty, loyalty, generosity, laughter, and kindness.

After watching a few episodes, I decided that not only was this show not incredibly annoying; it was actually kind of entertaining.  For a Saturday morning cartoon, it is surprisingly well produced.  The voice acting is very good, as is the writing and animation.  It wasn’t long before I started watching episodes I liked when the kids weren’t watching them.  That was a first for me.  There is no other kids show before MLP or since that I have actually watched by choice when the kids weren’t watching it.  It wasn’t unusual for me to put on an episode of MLP on Netflix when it was getting close to bed time.  This eventually led to Lisa realizing that she had went to bed after watching Arrested Development on Netflix, and woke up to an episode of MLP being on there instead.  Of course, she was endlessly amused by this, knowing it was me.  She called me on it, which I tried to half-heartedly deny before admitting that I liked the show.

It was strange; realizing that I enjoyed something that was so obviously marketed to young girls.  This got me trying to figure out what it was that I found so entertaining.  Basically, I like MLP for the same reason I like Frozen, Wreck it Ralph, and Tangled.  The animation is done very well, the writing is good, the voice acting is good, the songs are catchy and memorable, and there are pop-culture references throughout the series.  A long time ago, Disney realized that they could target the adult demographic by throwing in these references for the adult viewers.  For instance, Frozen had a reference to an Arrested Development episode that Lisa picked up immediately when we watched it for the first time.  She was extremely amused.  I’m not the Arrested Development fan that she is, so it went completely over my head.  MLP uses the same references to appeal to a wider demographic than their target audience.  My kids have never seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or The Big Lebowski, yet there are those references and a lot of others interspersed throughout the series including a reference to one of the old My Little Pony cartoons from the 80′s (seen in the “Too Many Pinkie Pies” episode).

Another thing that I appreciate about the series is that it does not try to dumb itself down for kids.  For instance, Yo Gabba Gabba has DJ Lance Rock who talks in this comically (not in a good way) slow and annunciated deadpan voice throughout every episode.  Kids aren’t stupid.  They don’t need to have people talking to them like they are drooling idiots in order to get a point across.  Something else is that the series sticks to some core principles throughout.  Everything in the show revolves around friendship.  There’s no ‘hey, lets save the earth by recycling’ or ‘I have two daddies’ nonsense.  The show focuses on 5 main tenets of friendship.  Honesty, kindness, loyalty, generosity, and laughter.   Each episode has a story that illustrates one of these traits.  It’s the simple idea that a good core set of values is what is most important.  Teaching kids about the difference between right and wrong, good and bad does not need to be more complicated than that.  Me and Delaney look forward to every new episode on Saturday.  Friday night, I’ll tell her “Guess what’s on tomorrow?”  Her response is always one word; “Ponies!”.  Then I look up the synopsis for the episode that will be on and read it to her.  I thought my Saturday morning cartoon watching days were long gone.  Apparently not.

The animation style also impressed me.  Being a life-long computer geek, I remember flash animation when it was the new cool thing on the internet.  There was no video streaming on a 56k modem.  If you saw something moving on a web site, it was a pixelated video clip or a gif.  Then Flash came along and you started seeing cool animations when you went to web sites. MLP uses a heavily modified version of Flash 8, and does a very good job animating the show.

Another interesting draw for me in the series is the appearance of mythological creatures in the world.  There are appearances of a minotaur (named Iron Will, and hilariously modeled after Rex, the karate teacher in Napoleon Dynamite), cerberus, manticor, hydra, chimera, cockatrice, and a gryphon (named Gilda).  Of course, several of the main characters are pegasi, unicorns, and alicorns.

So, in summary, yeah, I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  My favorite character in the show is Pinkie Pie, maybe followed by Apple Jack.  I also liked Frozen very much…which is a princess story, when you get right down to it.  Olaf cracks me up.  I feel like because I mocked when I first heard about Bronies, I am due a little mocking myself..so bring it on :)  But don’t bother questioning my sexuality.  First of all, I’m not gay.  Secondly, calling someone gay just isn’t the insult that it used to be.  All you have to do is turn on the news and it’s celebrities coming out of the closet and gay marriages. It’s the “in” thing now.  Beware, though; if you want to mock me, you better watch the first few episodes of season 1 before you do.  You might just turn out to be a Brony too.

Subliminal Messages

i am not senDng sublIminal mEssages

That is all.  I just wanted to post something.

When a Bad Dream Goes Weird

Ok, so I had this dream last night, and it was one that made me wake up and say “WTF????”

Most of this dream was one of your basic “I’m trying to get away from someone who wants to kill me” dreams.  My mind did not fill in the information regarding who this was or why they wanted me dead; I just knew there was a person out there who wanted me dead and had a big knife to do the job.   This seemed to go on for a long time and I actually felt afraid in the dream.  Then, I’m looking down this long hallway.  There’s a single door on the left wall all the way at the end of the hallway, and I know (as you always seem to in dreams) that the one who wants to kill me is in that room and about to come out to get me.  At this point, out comes a life size cutout of Chewbacca with a song playing in the background “Chewwwwbacca!  What a wookie!”   At this point I woke up and said, or maybe just thought,”WTF????”

The mind is a weird and wacky place sometimes..now to download that song…

Chewbacca Song

Yourself to blame

Yourself To Blame

by
Mayme White Miller

If things go bad for you
And make you a bit ashamed
Often you will find out that
You have yourself to blame

Swiftly we ran to mischief
And then the bad luck came
Why do we fault others?
We have ourselves to blame

Whatever happens to us,
Here is what we say
“Had it not been for so-and-so
Things wouldn’t have gone that way.”

And if you are short of friends,
I’ll tell you what to do
Make an examination,
You’ll find the faults in you…

You’re the captain of your ship,
So agree with the same
If you travel downward
You have yourself to blame

The Typo Propensity Over Time Issue

There is a phenomenon that I would like to document.  That is the tendency for typos appearing after a paper, email, letter, etc. has been written and proofread several times before committing to the final document (i.e. letter/email sent, item published publicly or any other means that shows the document to the world or a group of people and cannot be retracted).

The prompting for the review of this phenomenon was a work email consisting of 528 words.  As with every correspondence or anything of more than a few words, I reviewed this several times for typos before sending it.  A few minutes after sending this email I re-read it and found two typos. Bah!

But it gets more interesting.  I went to lunch and came back to work to find that I didn’t have much to do this afternoon.  So, I verified that I had indeed sent this email (to which I was expecting responses), which prompted a re-reading of said email, and I found that there are now, in fact, 5 typos.

Gadzooks! How could this be?  I thoroughly proofread my email before I sent it only to find that typos appeared only minutes after hitting the send button and appeared to procreate more according to the time that had passed since my hitting of the send button.  I can only assume that there are forces at work here that have not yet been fully understood by man.  Perhaps there is a method of procreation that these little anomalies have and two or more beget more of those who beget more and so on.  This would render any such document unreadable over time depending on the rate of procreation (i.e. like bunnies-a few weeks, or elephants-a few years).  As I have just started documenting this phenomenon, I can only hope someday science will come up with an idea of how these annoyances happen and how to eliminate them.  On a side note, I was using a spelling and grammar checker on the email in question, so I don’t have much hope for this being solved any time soon.

~edit~  Only seconds after publishing this, I found a typo.

Candied Ginger

Ingredients
Nonstick spray
1 pound fresh ginger root
5 cups water
Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar

Directions
Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.

Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.

Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.

Original recipe from Food Network’s Alton Brown.  You can find it here.

Good Eats Roast Turkey

This has got to be one of the best turkey recipes ever.  Watching the video that goes along with it is a good idea.  There a lot of little tips and tricks in the video that aren’t covered in the general recipe.

——————————————————————————————-

Prep Time:15 min

Inactive Prep Time:7 hr 0 min

Cook Time:2 hr 30 min

Level:Easy

Serves:10 to 12 servings
FNM_110110-Cover-008-no-dial_s4x3_med.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Directions

Click here to see how it’s done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Totally Awesome French Toast

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
12 thick slices bread
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

 

Directions

  1. Measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom and sugar until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated. Cook bread on each side until golden brown. Serve hot.

This recipe came from Allrecipes.com.  The only change I made to it was the addition of ground cardamom.  It is called “Fluffy French Toast” if you’re looking for the original recipe.