Sunday, November 30, 2014

Acres of Corn

The New York Times did a fakakta article on the most Goooooooogled Thanksgiving recipes by state. 

Frog Eye Salad (any number of north western states), Pig Pickin' Cake (as you might expect something called this in North Carolina), Dirt Pudding (here in Ohio......never heard of it) or Snicker Salad.

It reminds me of something a former friend would vow to bring to parties: three pretzel salad.

I should probably be more worried with this list of oddly named, and even odder actual list of ingredients, that the one we opted to make for our Thanksgiving was somewhat on the list - from Kansas no less.

They call it 'cream cheese corn'.  Ours was called 'corn pudding'.

Kansas might win on the name: one because it sounds gross and two, because the only people lately talking about 'corn pudding' are Bill Cosby's victims.

What?  Too soon???

Even with all of these ingredients, it was simple enough to make. I just wasn't sure how it'd turn out.

As 710 asked, 'what's the worst that can happen?'.   My reply was, 'it could clog the disposal'.

Preheat oven to 350

3/4 cup - thawed frozen corn (unless you have fresh)
1 15oz can - creamed corn
4oz - softened cream cheese
1/2 - chopped onion
3T - melted butter
1T - sugar
1/2 cup - corn meal
1/2 cup - shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup - milk
1 egg (beaten)
salt & pepper

 Mix all ingredients into one bowl.  Purdy - ain't it????

Mix well. Even that softened cream cheese took a while to incorporate. I should have cubed it first, but I did not. 
 Bake for 50 minutes.  Let it rest for 10 minutes afterwards.
It looks soufflĂ© - y, but it still kind of jiggled in the center. Maybe it's supposed to do that, but it wasn't what I thought. 

We wrapped it up and took it on a 35 minute car ride to my mother's. 
710 added some additional cheese to the top and we put it back in the oven to warm through (and melt the cheese).

It wasn't bad. But in my opinion, it wasn't outstanding. People liked it and I saw others getting second helpings. More importantly, they were people I thought wouldn't try it at all (i.e. children). 

It had a slight savory taste (the onion?), but that tablespoon of sugar now and again would really bring out the sweetness of the corn. Or maybe it was the creamed corn itself. 

The dish was still gloppier than I thought, but it was called 'pudding' so maybe that is just incorrect perception on my part.  

Since there were green beans and brussel sprouts on the table, my mother "claims" to have been thrilled there was a vegetable dish that wasn't green. 

Eh - we tried something new. I don't know I'd go back to it again. Or maybe I would - to one of these neighborhood events. The vegetarian dishes are always appreciated, it seems. 

Song by: Iris DeMent

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Buddy Holly

Animal day.

We are a little Buddy heavy today - and that's ok.

Thanksgiving at my mother's went well. 710's thought was that there'd be so many folks that Buddy would be hiding all, or most, of the time.

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

She was out playing before we got there, and there she remained. Mostly going between my sister and 710 for some fairly aggressive play - on all three of their parts.

Buddy lightly chomping on 710's finger. 
She is pretty good about play biting and clawing. I'm not sure how she knows to keep it in check - but she does. 

A slight moment of being held steady by my sister during play time.
Buddy is now 2.5lbs. She's so small still, but sooooo much bigger than she was. 

This is Petey Porn - so............
Petey looking for attention (or food?) from 710. 

Brother and sister. 
I'm 99% sure he is silently begging for food.  I'm 100% sure Sophie is judging him for it. 

Buddy and me. 

I think she's going to be a camera hog. 

Song by: Weezer

Friday, November 28, 2014

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!

I'm just saying: this is not brettcajun licensed / approved, as it is not a mini-injector.

But feel free to have at it with your own jokes.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wild Turkey

It's that day.

I get that everyone (else) loves Thanksgiving, but as I've said the last 11 years - it's just not my day. Or meal.

I like Turkey sammiches with Miracle Whip, plenty of salt & pepper and lettuce the next day, but that's about where it ends.

The last few years my mother has been exact about buying the right sized turkey. Or meaning: there's been enough for the meal and nothing for leftovers.  .....which would have sucked for my father, as turkey was his favourite meal.

Allegedly, my mother bought and additional turkey breast this year just for leftovers.

My sisters all chimed in before myself on what they were bringing, which left me a vegetable. I was told 'salad' is not an appropriate side for Thanksgiving. Bullocks.  Not only do I find it perfectly acceptable, it is the one thing I know I would eat.

My mother said one sister was bringing cranberry sauce, but I wouldn't eat it because it had walnuts included. Well true - I wouldn't eat it. But I wouldn't have eaten it because it had cranberries in it too.

For whatever reason, there will be this plethora of desserts. Allegedly both an apple and pumpkin pies will be present. A chocolate cake. My mother is making cupcakes too. It's a wonder we even need potatoes or stuffing. If I'm loading up on calories, it will be in desserts, not monochromatic food choices.

I lost out in our selection for what we were going to bring as a side: cauliflower gratin. 710 won and we will be bringing a corn dish instead - one of which I will write up for you later, after I actually make it.

Three-fourths of my sisters will be present, and all their kids (and husbands). Almost a full house.

I already told my mother that my oldest niece wins the round of 'what are we thankful for', as she will request all the grandkids to participate in that farce event. My mom knows enough not to include her own children in such a charade.

But Katie is in her doctoral program at FSU, and last week she can be thankful for not being in the library, thus avoiding another school shooting.

That should top anything with which her brother or cousins can create.

I hope you all enjoy your Turkey Day.

Song by: Jefferson Airplane

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

App of the Month

I was looking for an app that would let one do photo desaturation.

So far, each one has been crappier than the last. But even a bad review is still helpful to someone.

Oddly enough, when I played with these apps ('play' is not actually the operative word, since you have fun when you play), the movie Pleasantville was playing.

Granted, what that movie did with targeted colorization is well beyond the ability of my iPhone, but I thought that maybe technology had come a little farther than this.

Honestly, I don't know what I'd do with a localized color photograph, but I thought it would at least be a tool

My first attempt was with Color Splurge. At first I thought it was a bad app - and it is, but it's not quite what I was looking for. It grey scaled your photo and then from a colour wheel you had to fill in the areas you wanted to have tint.

That didn't work on a few levels. Getting the colour right was one , and on a photo - like the one below - the branches in front of the sign also got coloured red (or blue).  No no no no. That was not what I was looking for.

Secondly, to draw in between the lines you want highlighted, regardless of how small you make the 'brush', it's almost impossible to make exactly how you want it. At least on a non iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

Thirdly, there were the ads. They'd pop up and open your browser, even though you were working in the app. Horribly annoying - at best.

So then I tried iQuickSplash.

This app was even worse - at least on some other levels.

The upshot for this one was, that all you had to do was erase the gray to reveal the colour you wanted exposed.

In theory, that seems easier, but you still have the issue of a big finger on a small iPhone 5 screen. It took a lot of practice to get to the above image - and if you can look closely it's only about a 96% success rate.

The amount of ads on this app was annoying as well, but not nearly as annoying as how many times the app crashed and took you back to the main iPhone screen. And you automatically lost whatever you were working on.


On the plus side, because I had to start over so many times, I got better at navigating the control of my finger on the screen, but still, it was far too annoying to keep beginning again and losing all your work.

I feel there has to be a better program out there. Probably better ones for laptops than handheld devices. But you probably have to pay for those.

These two apps were free - but as they say, you get what you pay for. Nothing gets nothing....or next to.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black & White Boy

Is there any way a good outcome from the Ferguson grand jury?

I think not.

There are no winners. Possibly all losers.

I waited as long as possible to draft this post, but the Ferguson prosecutor held off on releasing the result of no indictment for the police officer.

I have to say, that surprised me. I almost figured that they'd wait until after the evening news to keep the clamour down. But then as night settled, I thought 'would it be wise to announce after dark?'.

From what I could gather to the months leading up to this, that facts of the case meant little to nothing for most sides. This case was all based on emotion. But I worried that with acquittals from Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman, grand juries or trial juries would convict to avoid conflict in the press and / or the streets - regardless of evidence.

I haven't heard how the vote was split - or if it was.

For a MO Grand Jury, it has to be at least nine of 12 votes. Nine of the jurors were white.

The only only only way the Grand Jury vote could even possibly go over with the citizens of the town would be if all 12 voted to not indict.

This decision not to indict won't help a thing racially in Ferguson.

The thought crossed my mind whether a non-indictment would be better than a trial where the officer was acquitted. What would bring more understanding? What would bring less upheaval?

I don't know that it helps that days before a verdict, the mayor, the governor and the president all call for calm. It get that the dominoes are in place to fall, but it seems that the assumption that the first one would fall is already in place.

I don't know how police can help contain crowds when it is the police who are being rallied against. I see a never ending cycle of protests and attempted containment - and nothing good is going to come out of this. Violence on both / either side will breed violence and opportunities for lethal mistakes.

I'm going to bed with too little information and too little known about the fallout.

Again, no good can come out of this. I just don't know if this is the best case scenario.

Song by: Crowded House

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Music Monday

I'm going out on a limb {not} to say none of you saw this one coming.........on multiple levels.

While the song is a good 10-15 years old, it is not one that anyone would expect to be on my radar - myself included.

Actually, it had fallen off my radar.

The reemergence of this would be thanks (?) to NPR. They actually did a story on a new album by.......Bryan Adams.

Yes, that Bryan Adams.

Apparently, he has a new disk of cover songs out, or coming out. I've really really really tried to teach myself a lesson and not buy anymore cover albums - not that me purchasing a disk of Mr. Adams was ever in play.

Yes, NPR mentioned that his "Summer of '69" is a big hit in the karaoke bars - and I'll have to take their word for that, but I could see it being a crowd pleaser. Easy to sing and sing along to - after a half dozen beers. But he was never a thing for me. I don't own one album by him.

But I do have a song by him. One. Singular.

But not just by him. A duet..........and not one with Sting-a-ling-a-ding-dong and Rod Stewart either. Yikes - what forces were at play to think up that pairing?

On paper the duet I'm talking about won't seem much better. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I am very proud to say, except for that one radio hit (though there were probably others), I really do not know of any Spice Girls songs.

I know - you're thinking that last line is out of left field, of the Spice Girls, Melanie C. is Adams' duet partner from a song in the late 1990s...or so. And allegedly it was after the Spice Girls had called it quits.

I don't think it was ever a hit on U.S. radio, but "Since You're Gone", but at the time, our local cable provider carried MuchMusic - Canada's answer to MTV. And it was a channel that actually played music and music videos - and I've mentioned there here often, because I picked up some good stuff that was never on the U.S. radar or radio.

I think MuchMusic was required to play Mr. Adams, seeing he is Canadian. It's probably a law or something. But most of the stuff I picked up via MM were Canadian it's all good.

But I don't mind the Adams/Melanie C song. It's a little middle of the road, but it's not anything I thought it might be. I don't know the Spice Girls, but it seemed like something that they could never pull off or their type of music - but I'm speculating, of course.

If anything bothers me about the video (not the song) is it because Bryan is wearing guyliner? Something is off about his looks and it's not his bad skin.   ....this time.

So yeah - you didn't know that Bryan Adams and a Spice Girl teamed up - and you definitely didn't know that I knew about it, let alone download it from Napster way way way back when.

I'm full of surprises.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Yesterday I went to a funeral.

Back in Seinfeld's heyday, during the Pony Remark episode (easily one of their top 3 shows). There was an almost throwaway comment regarding how long a funeral might last, as Jerry had another commitment - and Jerry remarks, "even Oswald's had to be 45 minutes".

I knew the deceased, but I went for my uncle. Tom was the longtime companion of Marion. They'd probably been seeing each other for 15 years or so, though they've known each other longer.

Tom lost his wife almost 20 years ago to Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, he had to live through the experience again with Marion. Even for the last few years, she did not know who he was - which is sad. Harder for him, I'm sure, as he visited her twice a day - every day! - after she went into a care facility.

Marion's husband, Bob, was injured early in their marriage and he lived as either a paraplegic or quadriplegic....for decades.

Unfortunately, the morning started out with horrible freezing rain, leaving anyone from my immediate family from attending. This I did not know until I arrived, so I was the sole representative from our branch. It made me feel good about showing and talking to Tom for a while before the service started.

I spotted cousins and second cousins hanging out in the back, so I joined them only minutes before things go going. I didn't even have a chance to greet everyone.

I found it very nice that the death announcement and the service referenced Tom frequently. Marion's son has always included him in family events, etc. And he sat right up front with the immediate family. None of "us" really knew their family....hence hanging out in the back.

All was well and good, though I never know what to make of these later in life relationships where all of the sudden, people will say, "now Marion and Bob can be reunited......"   Well where does that leave Tom, was my thought.

....and then there was the eulogy.

Having just given my father's, I fancy myself an expert at what is good and bad. Yes, I have a mighty high opinion of myself and my death talking skills........thank you.

Marion's nephew gets up. He starts off talking about his upbringing on how he was told he had to always be respectful, honest, nice, a light heart.....etc  - things that were unachievable for a child. mmm....ok.

He went on to talk about the area back then - before Wal*Mart, or Wendy's. Or Subway. Or when gas was $0.19 a gallon.

I started rubbing my eyes at this point.....since I wasn't sure what his point was going to be.

He eventually started to ties some loose ends together, talking about how Marion actually embodied those traits of respectfulness, honesty, etc.  Ok....makes a little more sense.

He went on to say, that Marion was so sweet and Bob was so gruff, he never understood why she was with him.

He said this in front of the entire crowd - including their son.

Three times!!!!!!!

Had anyone looked my way, I'm sure they would have seen a raised eyebrow. One declaring impropriety.

This guy, then discussed how he had not been around the last 25 years like his brother had been, and I immediately back-storied that he had been in prison and just recently released.

When he ended his talk with asking everyone to do the Serenity Prayer, I immediately dismissed my imagined prison stay for him and exchanged it with a quarter century of binge drinking and rehab.

I leaned forward to whisper to my cousin Jack - who is almost exactly my age - and told him to keep a straight face and not laugh, as he was sitting next to his parents and his 96 year old grandparents - then I said:  worst. eulogy. ever.

Jack's a professional and didn't chuckle or even crack a smile, even though I know he appreciated my review.

Maybe a new line of service for me would be to contract out my eulogy writing skills. It's a niche market for sure, but one I could corner easily. Because, as when of my sister's asked me how it was, without going into detail and stealing from had to be a Larry David line, I replied, "even Oswald had to have had a better eulogy".

Song by: Joni Mitchell

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Leave My Kitten Alone

Animals. Animals. Animals.

It beats talking about the GOP and immigration reform, no?

Sleeping Beauty. 

710 at the stove. Potential dropage. 

the Dynamic Duo

Handsome, but not always pretty. 

My favourite thing about this: you can see the outline of her ears. 

And we'll add Buddy to the list of stars. She'll make occasional appearances here. 
She's now about 7 weeks old. Here she is relaxing on 710's lap. But I just love the shot of her pads. She is loving my mom and her new place - and my mother is loving her, though she'll faux complain about how energetic the kitten is. 

Song by: the Beatles

Friday, November 21, 2014

Believe You Me

Last night was another Believe In Cleveland yoga event - they've done the Rock Hall events, a museum event and one for the opening of the Gay Games.

Clearly, I'm always happy to attend these, it seems to me that the 'Believe ' folks might want to partner with other parties to create other events. 3-4 annual events based on doing a Balancing Half Moon seem fine, but clearly leave out multiple factions of this fair city.

And, getting into one of these yoga events is becoming increasingly difficult - to the point that I'm surprised I even bother to try.

This one, which was held at the Q (Quicken Loans Arena) was filled up in - what they say was - 35 minutes. I signed in and up at the 22 minute mark and it was already filled, so not sure where they get the additional 13 minutes. I was #3 on the waiting list to get in.

Being #3 on said list, I might have gotten in as time got closer, but when they abruptly changed the date due to a conflict at the arena (really? how did the either organization not know it was spoken for?), people dropped out like flies due to their own conflicts and I was in.

I'm getting to know more people in the yoga community, but ironically, the people with which I normally practice did not sign up, or could not get in - so I thought I'd be left to do a practice without the normal folks. As it turned out four others made it, but I only practiced near two of them.

Everyone at BiC was jazzed about doing it at the Q because of LeBron's return.

Honestly, I think I am the only one in this city that does not give a flying fuck about this man.

Yes, he will help fill seats every single night. Yes, the surrounding businesses will prosper because of the increase in attendance. Yes, he might be a changed man.

But to me, he's still the asshole who fucked around in the play-offs, refusing to take shots, refusing to score and leading the team to an early exit from championship contention. And he was being pissy because (allegedly) his mom was screwing some of his team members. {awk-ward!}

And to me, he's still the asshole who waited to make his decision and announcement of leaving (in a live hour-long proverbial middle finger to Cleveland telecast session on ESPN) after the ability to do any other trades could be taken place.

He knew he was fucking Cleveland over  - and he did it on purpose. Twice.

And now all these fucking people are on their knees kissing his size 16 Nikes.

I'm just not one of them.

Still, I laid my mat down where he goes up and down the court - and for whatever I think of the man (which is little) if he brings a certain positive focus to the town, I'm for that.

2014 has brought Cleveland the Gay Games. It brought LeBron back. It secured the GOP National Convention for 2016. The football team is actually on the upper part of the win-loss section in their division! There is a vibe to the city that comes around about once every 20 years. We're on an upswing.

Because of the GOP thingy, we'll see a plethora of renovations of buildings, infrastructure, urban renewal, etc. Whatever I don't think of the GOP (same lines as Mr. James), that focus will only help Cleveland thrive - and the bottom line is that is always a good thing.

On the super plus side: at least we're not getting a papal visit.

This was an ok event. Nothing outstanding and it was limited to less than 600 folks, as that is all one could it on the basketball court.

I was super lazy and barely took any pics (including the one right above - which is someone else's), and the ones I did were before the event. Nothing during. I figured they had photographers and a drone (yes, indoors). And they live streamed the event so people could practice at home. Allegedly, the filmed event will be posted here.

And somehow I ended up in the front row. Well, not 'somehow', but on purpose. Everyone had two or so inches on either side of their mat. I was feeling boxed in farther into the court, so at least the front gave me one side of no one near me.

The downside is, it is easier for photography and video to capture your practice. I expect to see crumby photos popping up over the next week - with me in them.  (christ - they're already there.)

There was no announcement of the next event. I'll wait and see how it goes - maybe I'll sign up, maybe not.

Song by: Allison Moorer 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Garden of Eden

They paved paradise and put up a..........well........a 'modern green space surrounded by skylights that would flood the galleries with natural light and provide “sneak peeks” of the exhibitions below.'

Such is happening to the Enid A. Haupt Garden which sits behind the Smithsonian Castle.

There is a $2 billion dollar plan to renovate the area over the next few years.

You're probably thinking - 'why does he care about that?'.

The Haupt Garden is where 710 and I got married just over four years ago.

We had our choices of places to tie the knot: the Botanical Gardens (possible), outside the Supreme Court (no!) and even the remote opportunity of saying "I do" at the Naval Observatory (but Jill Biden couldn't get us clearance on such short notice) - but outside the Smithsonian seemed to be the right place.

I have denoted the actual space (w the blue circle) in which we got hitched. I am now required to keep this pic forever as a memento of our where we got married, as it seems that the EAH Garden currently resides on top of the Freer & Slacker Galleries. I've only been in those galleries once - and that was on our wedding day because I was so nervous I had to poop.

What?  TMI?

While it's not like the location is going to be blown off the map, but the physical space will be so different that where we took our vows won't actually exist. It just seems odd to me.

Our plan was to always visit where we became betrothed, but in honesty, we haven't been back to DC since we got married. I'm not sure I've ever been away from DC for this long of a time.

Still, when we get back I'm sure a number areas of the city have changed somewhat. I'm all for progress and moving forward, but I was hoping to retain a little sense of our history. Still, I will go by to see the new set-up when it is done.

Song by:  Paula Cole

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Cut a Long Story Short

I am totally remiss in not linking my cousin's cooking blog in my blogroll on the right of this post. Bad me.

I am also fully aware I've never made anything Laura has posted. Sometimes she is more adventuresome than my tastes and she is a way way way better cook than I can ever pretend to be. I might go as far as to say her recipes sometimes intimidate me.

Either way, both items have been corrected. She's on the blogroll - and I did one of her recipes for short ribs.

Full disclosure, her short rib recipe (one of them) is from Bobby Mark Bittman in the New York Times. I'm calling it hers, because, no matter how many times I read the NYT, I somehow never ever ever see his articles, though I get his recipes from other sources.

I get that a fourth anniversary isn't much to celebrate - though it probably is the half-way point for most marriages. But as I've said, it's our fourth as a married couple, but we're about to hit the three decade mark in two months.

And it has been crappy weather, so I made a plan to make dinner and not go out. But I didn't want the normal fare I usually cook. I wanted something that sounded and tasted a little more special. In my mind, I went to short ribs.

Not that I've ever attempted short ribs, mind you.

I've seen many a cooking show make them, most recently being America's Test Kitchen. And while I like their stuff, if seemed a little bit fussy. Laura's site pointed me in another direction - two in fact. And Robert Frost notwithstanding, I am guessing I chose the one more traveled.

First stop: the West Side Market.

I thought I'd go to a better butcher for a better cut of meat. I went for 4 large short ribs as opposed to eight small ones. It's all about size least with guys. As it turns out - unbeknownst to me - I did not get what I'm assuming were great cuts. It pays to know exactly what you're looking for. I did not.

(oh, I also picked up some cupcakes too..........because I wasn't going to bake a dessert.)

Then it was home to prepare.

While heating a tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven, I chopped a large yellow onion, three cloves of garlic and one dried chipotle chili and one pasilla chili (stem and seeds removed - and there are a lot of seeds!)

Once the oil was heated, I browned the meat on all sides. I lightly floured each piece and used salt and pepper as seasoning.

I then removed the meat from the dutch oven. Turn down the heat and let it cool a little before adding the onions, peppers and garlic. 

Let the onions soften for about 15 minutes. Then add a cup of strong coffee and a cup of red wine. With the heat on high, I reduced the liquid by about half. 

....and place the meat back in the liquid. 

Put the lid on and place in a pre-heated oven at 300F for a minimum of two hours and up to four, turning the meat over every hour or so to help absorb the liquids. 

A little coarse salt and chopped parsley on top and you're good to go. 

Kind of. 

The meat looked and smelled great. I figured for as long as it cooked it would fall off the bone and with the first attempt made, that seem to be true. 

Alas, it was not meant to be. 

While it cooked for two and one half hours, the meat itself was still sinewy. The fatty connective tissues still remained and I'm not sure any more amount of cooking would have  ever rendered away. What looked like good marbling - from a novice's point of view - was just fat laden. 

It took a lot of work to extract what meat there was from the rest of the leftover. But what meat there was, tasted great. I need to befriend a butcher when I do these things. Or at least do more research. 

Next time, I might leave some of the seeds for additional heat. The chilies gave nice flavour, but I might also consider adding one additional of the chipotle and pasilla. 

Yes, the meal did not come out as planned, but it would not stop me from trying again. This was what I might call the test-run. Or a crash test-run. 

710 really thought the ambition and effort were great. He thought, as an anniversary dinner, I went all out for at least the attempt. There was no hiding that it was not a home run. Even he couldn't pull off that whopper of a lie. But he liked that I was really enjoying the craft of making the meal. 

The short ribs were not horrid, but they weren't great. I have some take aways for my next time. And hell, maybe next time I'll make the Korean ones. They seemed more up my alley, but a little more labour intensive (i.e. a lot more ingredients) than my first time out with this dish. 

....and for the record, those cupcakes were just ok. 

I should have learned long ago, that the cupcake trade is like chasing a white whale. I keep trying and they keep failing me. It's a great business model and they keep pulling me in, but by the time I've plunked down $2.50 - $3.00 for one, I find out they are only fair at best. But by the time I figure that out, they have my money and I only have regret. 

Is it sad that I like homemade Duncan Hines cupcakes more than these things? 

Song by: Spandau Ballet

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Save Me

Let's just start off by saying we went to go see Interstellar this last weekend.


...and I'm being generous. Very generous. And I'm way more generous than a number of the reviews I've read since seeing the film.

I went for it being a Christopher Nolan movie because it certainly wasn't for the ability for Matthew McConaughey or Anne Hathaway to act.....that's for sure.

Yes, they have Oscars, but you know my follow-up to that, "who doesn't?" (that remarkable actress Halle Barry has one!)

As with many a Nolan film, he has to make the story more complicated and convoluted than it has to be. That worked with Inception, but in my mind, it worked against him here.

While trying not to give too much away - the story is set in the somewhat near future after the population of Earth and their food supply has been decimated. A new home for humans must be found.

And really, who better to helm this mission than McConaughey (besides just about anyone)? Because he's the one you want to entrust to finding us a better life form. (eye roll, please!)  Colleges are almost non-existent in this timeline and people's career options are farming and farming to try to sustain some type of food source.

Of course, there is SNASA.  SNASA can always help.

Or can they??

A previous team of astronauts went into space before looking for habitual planets - a team headed by one intelligent Dr. Mann.  ......because..........wait for it............wait for it............."Mann can save us".

GROAN.  (my choice of musical artist was not coincidental.)

Because it was filmed in IMAX and not converted to, we spent the extra $$$$ ($17 per ticket!!!) to see it in that format. In theory, it was probably worth it. But I don't know if it was the theater or the sound mixing - but it was muddied. It was hard to understand some dialogue and then with the swelling score just overwhelmed a lot of the dialogue anyways.

No offense to Nolan, but he might have looked to the Big Bang Theory to help him get some of his science jargon down and his ideas across. While that TV show makes it funny and understandable, Nolan made things needlessly cumbersome.

First off - part of the premise is that maybe - the way Relativity works - when McConaughey returns from space, he and his daughter (now 10) could  / would be the same age.

Doing some calculations in my head (because at times it was more interesting than some of the crap up on the screen) that would have placed McConaughey's character at 33 years old. I'm all for testing my level of disbelief on some things, but old Matt-boy trying to pull off 33 was a s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

In that same 23 year time frame, save for a wheelchair, Michael Caine did not look any older. Space and time is a confusing thing.

On the way to meet friends for the movie, 710 tells me the movie is over 3 hours long, to which I dropped an f-bomb.

But relax, it's only 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Again, convoluted. It could have been much shorter without the necessity of seeing Hathaway's Anime eyes always on the verge of tears, and for almost no good reason.  (I pictured Mike having convulsions on the floor - and spilling his martini popcorn - of the theater at being forced to watch her, let alone paying $17 to do so.)

I must have leaned over to 710 three times and go "she has an Oscar, you know!"   Tres tongue-in-cheek. But to be fair, I do it every time I see Nat'lie Portman in Thor.

There are folks in the movie they don't put in the trailer or the poster credits. Ohhhhhh.....surprises.

But why is is that with these "big names" (I did not say "big talents") that the only 'characters' that resonated with me the most were the robots / computers? I likened them to Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. They seemed far more interesting and three dimensional.

We picked apart the loopholes in the stories after it was through, of course. Even the writers in the Big Bang Theory wouldn't have left some of those. Actually, the characters in that should would take scenes to dissect those loopholes themselves.

Nolan couldn't be bothered just breaking the third dimension into the fourth, he went into the fifth dimension (no Marilyn McCoo or Bill Davis Jr, sorry to say). Again, had there been better explanation, or sound, maybe it would have been clearer what he was trying to do - or had done - and why.

To his credit, for a while there, Nolan had parallel sequences in space and on current Earth that seemed appropriate and somewhat thought out - and then the Earth sequence just stopped and the other continues. They eventually picked up Earth one, but it the timing and counter-story was broken by that time. It just seemed like finally a great editing job had gone bad.

I thought the storyline had promise, but lackluster talent (or at least performances, save the little girl and her grown up version played by Jessica Chastain) and crappy script choices, like a fight scene that rivaled the two girl scouts fighting in a bar in Airplane just deteriorated any credibility the movie had left.

The overall theme is saving someone else: be it the planet, mankind, a relationship or someone's life. And you get beaten over the head with Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night".

Throwing in visuals like ones used in Inception just made me wonder if Nolan just had to throw in something more visually interesting than the vastness of space. Or if he's running on fumes.

People compare Interstellar to Gravity - and it's like comparing apples to kumquats. They both had some kind of rockets and space...........annnnnnnnnnd that's it. Except that you feel that Sandra Bullock kind of earned her Academy Award nomination for her film. If anyone gets one from this flick - the system is more broken than anyone thought.

2014 Movie Count / Goal:   9 of 12

Song by: Aimee Mann

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Music Monday

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary.

Yup, four years ago we tied the knot in Washington DC.

I kept thinking I should do something special for this music post, but I'm not sure 710 and I have "a song".

We kind of do, but nothing I'm sharing with the likes of you. It was just a song of the time and that's all that needs to be said of that.

So for fun, I went back to check out top song of our wedding week. It was Key-Dollar Sign-Ha, so there is no way in fucking hell I'll be posting that. And I never even heard of the song, so there's that too.

So I just did the #10 random song on iTunes shuffle - and you're getting Duran Duran and the title track from their album Rio.

As much as "Hungry Like the Wolf" defined Duran Duran as a video band, I always like the video for "Rio" more. The song too.

Back in 1984, while working at an internship in Manhattan, a woman who was in the same office would tell the story of her 13 year old daughter, with a Duran Duran poster on her ceiling, so she could see them as she drifted off to sleep.

Before her daughter could go to sleep, the last words she would say would be, "I love you Simon".

If she had to talk for any other reason after that statement, she would have to repeat the process of proclaiming her love for Mr. LeBon.

Regarding the anniversary, I might fill you folks in on that in a day or three. Hell, it falls on a Monday and is #4. None of that seems very exciting.

And remember, it is only #4 in marriage, but closing in on #30 total.

Enjoy Simon & the boys.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cooking with Blobby

I can't always find decent post titles for the food I make. So I'm going with a generic Cooking with Blobby one. It'll have to do.

Four ingredients.

So simple, Mike could do it. ...though sometimes he struggles with just making reservations. I've heard.

(I'm just checking to see if he still can be bothered to read this blog thing.)

But I was in the mood to make pasta that wasn't spaghetti, so I went with something super simple. In theory.

Like I said - and as you see - four ingredients. Ooops. Five. I forgot to get a pic of the onion. Sorry - Mike's out. He probably can't handle five ingredients. Hello, Papa Johns?

The amounts below are for a serving of four. Adjust as necessary.

2/3lb (or 2/3 of a box) of Penne
5-6 strips of bacon
1/3 of sliced yellow onion
10oz of whole milk ricotta (room temperature)
6 chopped basil leaves

Cook bacon in skillet until it is crisp.  Remove cooked bacon onto a plate.

This is why I said the recipe is easy in theory - I took my eye off the prize to do something else and the first batch of bacon got burned past the point of anything but becoming a bag of doggie treats (for which one doggie is very very happy).

Brown the onions in the left over bacon grease. 
Mmmmm....bacon grease and onions. Perfect. 

Cook the Penne in boiling salted water. Reserve a half cup or so of pasta water for later. 
Depending on how you like your pasta, cook until done or slightly al dente. 

Put drained pasta into a serving dish. 
Add onions and ricotta and blend together. 
Use reserved pasta water as needed if ricotta needs thinned out. 

Add chopped bacon and basil. 
Season, if needed with pepper. Check on salt levels first - as you have bacon and bacon greased onions...and cheese. 

Serve....and eat.

The dish had nice flavours. Nothing overpowering. The basil gave it a nice fresh taste.

The only problem I had was with the temperature. Even though the ricotta was room temp, it cools off the pasta quickly. When eating the food was warm-ish, but not hot. I almost wanted to stick it in the microwave for 15 seconds......but didn't. 

There is probably a way to keep it hotter, but I'm not smart enough. 

Maybe Mike knows how. He thinks he's smart. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Walking Slow

The reason most of you keep with this blog..........

 Best Petey pic of the week - if I say so myself. He's a handsome dude. 

 On one of our 'round the lake walks. It's a panoply of smells. 
A "quick" walk around the lake can take at least an hour. It's worth it. 

 Soph on my knee.  Love it when she tries to get closer to me. 

 What do you mean this was a blanket to keep you warm? Aren't they all for me???

Fido was here. Spot was here. Gigi was here. Sparky was here. Gracie was here.......

What a difference a day makes. Petey isn't fond of the cold, but he does like the snow. 
And that's good because we got about 5" of it. 

Song by: Jackson Browne

Friday, November 14, 2014

Somethin' Stupid

Chalk this one up for the Darwin Awards.

Cleveland native, turned NYC "model" got fried to a crisp - and eventually died - after train-surfing on the Metro-North.

At least last time I checked, there was no word on whether drugs or alcohol were in his system, or just an inflated sense of self, where no harm could possibly come to him.

Clearly that sense of self got a harsh reality check.

Apparently, he didn't see those 12,500 volts in that swinging power arm as an arch nemesis.

Maybe he should have.

I don't know if he was an actual model, or just 'aspiring'. You can't trust what you hear from his friends or family, because obviously they're going to play it up his career and not that he was living in a seventh-floor walk-up, one-bedroom apartment with four other guys who went dumpster diving for their eats on a daily basis.

I look at him and don't see 'model'. As Pee Wee Herman said: "I've seen better heads on boils", but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I am more surprised he actually lived for a number of hours -albeit with burns over 85% of his body - and causing enough damage to make the train lose power.

I am not surprised by the comment on his FB page. Yes, I could not resist to see if he had a page (he does, or maybe did). Certainly, there were the 'I can't believe you're gone......' entries.

....and then there was this....

No Billy. No.

It can't just happen to anyone.

Maybe if you're going to the same Mensa-lite meetings as Billy Peck, it can. But for those of us who are smart enough to know things like, what the capital of Montana (that is a U.S. state, Billy) is, then you're probably impervious to getting electrocuted while riding on top of a commuter train in Connecticut (that's another U.S. state, Billy).

As 710 pointed out - it didn't happen to James Bond or Jason Bourne.

And for my lower cultural reference, it didn't happen to two of the guys from *Nsync.

Even Joey Fatone (I prefer the American pronunciation of 'fat one') survived his day on top of a train, though he couldn't dodge the dessert cart at Hometown Buffet apparently....or the speeding BMI chart coming his way.

Maybe it's just me feeling a little sting of the reporting, but this 'kid' moved to NYC two years ago, but the news outlets must point out in most articles he's is from Cleveland or Ohio - and they do it three or four times each.

Because you know, only rubes from the mid-west do stupid shit like this.

Song by: Nancy Sinatra ft Frank Sinatra

Thursday, November 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 57th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

Created by Chad Darnell and picked up from, what I can tell, any number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just Erik (and sometimes Jim) and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.

I will fully admit to forgetting it was the 12th until the morning was almost complete, so some of the pictures are clustered together. All you really missed was trash day and breakfast. 

What you are also missing is the blog post I drafted two days ago for today, that will now air tomorrow. 

10:25. Stylin' in my 180s.  It was like 31 degrees out. I should have had a full hat on, but je did not. 

10:45.  Walking the dog and came across this construction worker's truck and better yet, his Sasquatch sticker that says "I Believe". 

11:00 Leaves in the yard. With Tuesday night's rain, we are almost done with the ones on the trees. Now we have to get the last ones off the lawn before it snows.

12:45. Is there anything more glamourous than cleaning the dryer lint trap? 

14:30. Mail is here. Well, minus the junk stuff I threw away. 

16:15. A quick walk with Petey around the lower Shaker Lake. It's been grey, cold and gloomy all day long. 

17:00.  Someone's happy to be back in the warm house . I wish you could see how fast his tail was moving. 

18:25. Yes, putting away the laundry is a lot less glamourous than cleaning the lint trap. I don't know why, but I hate this job. This and emptying the dishwasher. 

16:27.  Sophie in the master bath. 
If the radiant heated floors are on, that is where you'll find her on the colder day. But with this pic, it's really about her tongue sticking out a bit that I love. 

18:55. Guess salad will be accompanying dinner tonight (or last night, as the case may be).

20:45. the season's first sighting of Ursa major and pant form.

21:00. I would have liked not to have the electric blanket back on the bed until December, but these nights are now in the 20s makes the cotton sheets chilly. We just warm those up then turn off the blanket as we get in bed.