Thursday, April 23, 2009

Left Coast Zombies

TODAY's lunch is Jamaican style beef patties, in our household referred to as emp-anadas, because, well, I guess because we think it sounds better than Jamaican style beef patties. I used to purchase abrand of these that, served as shown, with white cheese and two fried eggs with ketchup and mustard, made a perfect meal. This brand, consisting of smaller patties-- if you look closely, you'll see that there are two patties under there-- makes for a little more than I can comfortably consume in one sitting. Additionally, the filling here is a little more . . . rustic. The previous brand was clearly formulated to be a little more gringo-friendly. The filling in these puppies* is a little rougher, spicier (for the species designated "mild"), chunkier and, well, funkier. In that there are clearly many bits of the whole animal in here. It is not evident in every bite, per se, but once in a while you'll catch a bit that clearly was more than the grinder could stand up to, a chewy bit that was DEFINITELY part of one organ or another, and then there will be the belch that reminds one that one has been ingesting a barnyard critter.

It's all good.

The beer is the Magic Hat Not Quite Pale Ale, which got old yesterday and then grew on me today after behaving reasonably well last Tuesday. This is a slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, lighter-bodied brew that went along well enough with a grilled tuna salad sandwich, got thoroughly buried under a spicy beef stew and tasted, well, almost like a Budweiser, but then served the spicy patties quite nicely. It probably did something to mitigate the organ flavor factor, but time will tell. It will require reflection to make that judgement.

The movie of the day is most definitely not-- NOT-- Quarantine.

In fact, it was not even the movie of the night when the Wifey and I put it in the DVD player Tuesday night. The first fifteen or twenty minutes were reporter-cameraman-firefighters-fooling-around-at-the-station, which was meaningless and silly and mildly fun, but, most of all, vapidly believeable. Then they went out on the call and got trapped in the building. For the next ten minutes, the Wifey yelled at-- yelled at, screamed at, cajolled, ABUSED-- the television. To the point that I was almost sure that the neighbor mowing his lawn up around the corner might have heard her. We stuck it out for a half an hour before I finally had to shut the thing off or risk the Wifey killing someone out of sheer frustration, and, given that the lawn mowing neighborn was some ways away, that someone would most likely end up being either me or the dog.

The next day, we both went and read spoilers for the thing that confirmed what we had suspected the previous night: we hadn't missed a goddamned thing. This was thievery, through and through, not a single original idea in the entire goddamned thing, and it was stupid thievery at that. The two things that needed to have at least decent, simple reasons got whole-blown bullshit explications that might have made a good movie on their own had the full 90 minutes-- and some modicum of gray matter-- been devoted to them. Suffice it to say that, in the view of these hollywood swingers, zombies require exactly as much justification as big, naked boobies.

The film of the day is, most decidedly, this. Which is proabably as stupid as Zombie Strippers-- sorry, Quarantine-- but at least has a better soundtrack. And a real sense of fun as well. And a history with me, actually. When I first caught this on HBO back in the 80's, I loved it, but knew that, on some level, I ought to hate it. The bullshit science, for instance. The plot revolves around the invention and building of a giant laser for use in a weapons system designed to assasinate a single human being from space, which was loudly talked about by Star Wars proponents, CIA buffs, conspiracy theorists, and members of the Southern Baptists Convention back in the days before 90% of the world concluded that such things were not feasible and any such speculation on such things was, at root, bullshit. And then a buddy of mine taped it for me, unbeckoned and unbeknownst, and gave me carte blanche to let this wonderful little pile of treacle wash across my consciousness.

So if you like Zombie Strippers and Quarantine, so be it. I like Real Genius and Cloverfield. Which makes me right and you wrong, but don't take that as a value judgement or a moral argument. It's jut the way things are.

*Don't for a minute think that I wasn't tempted to write " . . . the filling in these puppies is made of . . . well . . . puppies!" I was. But these aren't made of puppies. At least I don't think they are. They didn't taste like that last time . . .


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuna Piano?

ONCE IN A great while, the fish sandwich enthusiast will run up against a specimen that is just damned perfect.

This is one of those times.

Your basic canned tuna salad sandwich probably doesn't sound like anything all that special, and, most of the time, it probably isn't. This just happened to turn into the prime specimen: the fish isn't anything special in and of itself, but after combining it with mayonaisse, Plochman's yellow mustard, about a tablespoon and a half of minced shallot, and about two tablespoons of dill relish, it turned into . . . Well, just magic. Slightly fishy, tangy, savory, just lovely.

The analog (and again, we're speaking of fish sandwiches here) would be the fried cod sandwich I had in New York a few years back. The Tale is on here somewhere, I am pretty sure, but the point would simply be that the thing was so gaddamned perfect that I have not had a completely satisfying fried fish sandwich since then. Here's hoping that this will not be the case here.

The first beer was the brown lager, and it snuggled up against the fish sandiwch like a suckling pig. The second, the Adirondack lager, was a shade too sparkly, at first almost shrill, but it went along well enough in the long run.

The film of the day was Leatherheads.

Not on purpose, mind you. Prior to lunch I had a couple of minor errands to run, and when I got back, turning on the TV in the office, this was on, about twenty minutes in, and a quick run through the guide verified that there wasn't anything else I wanted to watch on. So I watched it while I made and ate lunch, which is probably the best way to do it.

We saw this in the theater when it first came out, on the grounds that we like George Clooney, we like John Krasinski, and parts of it were filmed in Charlotte. Two hours later, as we emerged, blinking, into the light, I observed "Well, we've often said we would watch George Clooney paint a fence."

And then the wife and I concluded, in a single voice, "Aaaaaaaaaaand we just did."

Not that it's bad. It's a fine little movie. It's plenty of fun. It's closer than anything I can think of in recent times to what you might call a screwball comedy. As such things go, it makes for a simply fine tuna sandwich companion, which would be a great name for a rock band.

On the other hand, HBO 2 West (why 2? Dunno? Why West? I got nothin'.) followed it with Ocean's Thirteen, which is just plain wrong. When it comes down to ensemble fence painting, as Mr. Twain most ably demonstrated, is best kept to a single scene, and ought not to take up the entire narrative.

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