Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tales From The Crapped

SO THE RESULT of multiple coin tosses is not a cheese-burger, not a ham sandwich, but grilled tuna salad on rye, something I had been meaning to get back to for various reasons, not least of which that I have fallen hopelessly behind on my scheduled mercury poisoning. This should get me back on track.

The Longboard Lager had been aquired earlier in the week to accompany dumplings and noodles from the local Chinese take out, where the counter chickie knows my order by heart and now has but to ask the Wifey which incarnation of broccoli in garlic sauce she prefers that afternoon. The result of combining it with the Sara IPA was almost like eating two completely different sandwiches. The lager emphasized the fishiness of the tuna, while the IPA punched up the spikey black pepper and the zing of the mustards. (For those of you just joining Our Hero, tuna salad is made with dill relish, mayo, Plochman's yellow mustard, Grey Poupon dijon mustard, Ka-Me Chinese mustard, Celtic sea salt and both black and green cracked peppercorn. This iteration also featured chopped shallot, which I love.)

Sorry I haven't been blogging for a bit, but my sister-in-law borrowed our camera for a week and a half, so I have not been able to take the ubiquitous lunch pics. This whole thing started witht he habit of taking pictures of the day's lunch to show the Wifey via IM, and for whatever reason I have become convinced that I absolutely cannot blog without a lunch pic.

Which is either a shame or a blessing, depending on how you look at it. We have watched a whole bunch of movies of late that were not worth watching. Not including the little beauty to the left here, which I watched all by my lonesome over lunch, with the result that, man, they just don't make propaganda like that anymore. Of course, this particular propaganda had one hell of a raison d'etre. This film happily points out that the Nazi impulse began with a simple trumpeting of the value of conformity, in the interests of national solidarity and the restoration or the German empire to its rightful place at the top of the historical heap. Mucho scary stuff. It also gives me a pair of new possible perspective on the tea baggers: either these guys are the new Nazis, or we have nothing to fear because these guys don't even have the wherewithall to be Nazis. I think either perspective is worthy of consideration.

The movie of the Chinese take out, which we indulged in Monday while recovering from an overnight trip to Roanoke, Virginia, by which I mean we had left at 1 in the afternoon Sunday and got home at 4 AM the next day, was this. The Wifey had put it in the Netflix queue because it had someone famous in it, which we eventually concluded was Eric McCormack, although it could have been almost anybody in the cast, which was one of those where-have-I-seen-him/her ensembles of actors who have been great in all kinds of minor things. (Had I put it in the queue, I would have done so because it had Dan Lauria in it, or Robert Patrick, also known as the Liquid Metal Terminator.) Once again, the Chinese take out was instrumental.

As Ebert said, this was obviously a labor of love, but why? There is certainly nothing like it, but just because something's never been done before isn't always a good idea to make it. The acting was universally superlative, with pretty much every actor having an opportunity to shift from melodramatic satire to pure dramatics somewhere along the way. (Lauria, in particular, did an ultra fine job, playing it like it was all a joke he alone was in on until one moment late in the film when he lets loose and just freakin burns.) And there were some hi-larious bits involving badly made fake monsters and using green screen to simulate in-car shots when they had just moments before been shooting on location. (The latter of which is really funnier in retrospect.) But when we got to the end of the film and discovered that the Special Features consisted of material designed to reinforce the flick's whole film-within-a-film central gag, well, goddamnit, enough was goddamn well enough.

So do I recommend it? Re-discover your old loves. Tuna salad, anti-Nazi propaganda, and far over the top rec reations of 1950's sci-fi fare are all worthy of your attentions and affections. And if it takes tossing in a couple of specialty beers or Chinese dumplings to keep the flames of passion burning, so be it. The heart wants what it wants!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sometimes, You Just Want Pizza

THIS IS Freshetta's Pizza Amore 10 topping deluxe pizza, something I never would have tried had it not been on sale one time last month when I was in a bit of a funk and didn't have any idea what I wanted for dinner. I think in part I was looking for something that would pretty much be guaranteed to dissapoint, and while most Freshetta products I have so far found satisfactory, this is touted as coming with it's own heating tray, and my experience has been that nine out of ten emerging frozen food technologies do what they claim and are wholly unimpressive. But this was good. The first one I burned a little, but the subsequent ones have been rather nice, garlicy and spicy and slightly sweet in the sauce and buttery in the crust. Also, half the pizza-- what you see here-- makes a fine meal, and the leftover reheats admirably, so that comes out to a pair of decent meals for two to two and a half bucks apiece, beer not included.

I don't recall whether I have followed the Sara B&T with the Black Forest, but they went along fine, both with the pizza and each other. The slight sweetness of the pizza brought out an earthiness in both beers that was pleasing.

This was all after spending a productive morning driving myself completely insane.

Apocalypse Now has long been one of my favorite movies, despite having watched Apocalypse Now Redux. Apocalypse Now Stupid, Stupid Gaddammed Redux. The version wherein they added scenes that just made it seem more like they were just wasting a bunch of time and money screwing around in the Philippines rather than going about the serious business of making a movie about a very serious and rather tragic war. Still, I have managed to go back to the original version with some satisfaction from time to time, and what I see is a tightly coiled, nicely paced meditation on duty and madness and the toll war can take on the souls of men. I knew pretty solidly that I would eventually come around to this, but given that no review I have ever read gave it a complete rave, I held off for quite a while, But this morning I gave in, and there were many facets of it. Long periods of Coppola meditating on how to be a film maker without being pretentious followed by footage of Coppola being a pretentious film maker. Huge swaths explaining how hard they tried to stay authentic followed by complaints that the Philippine government helicopters they had been loaned were suddenly called away to help quell an uprising in the South. ("Hey!? Where are our helicopters goin!?!") One big reveal in which we discover that, had they stuck to the original ending in the script, this thing would have sunk without a trace.

But also it revealed that all those scenes in the French Villa were scrapped before they were even done filming it. They didn't reference the stupid surfboard stealing scene, but I get the feeling the same thing happened there. The things didn't belong in the Goddamned film, which is why they were Goddamned cut to begin with. Redux, my pasty white ass.

And, again, something I was going to do sooner or later, no doubt about it. And I think I was probably in about as good a mood as I could have been. Still, an extraordinarily mixed bag. There were alot of amusing bits, but alot of them were repeated, not quite ad nauseum, but not far from it. The narration and the rules gimmick were overused, to the point that the former became tedious and the latter, when it's big moment came to be used as a punchline, had completely worn out its welcome. And while Woody Harrelson was defintely the man for the job, it seemed really, really, insultingly clear that the director really wanted Jessie Eisenburg to be Michael Cerna, and he's just not. (And shouldn't have been. Cerna's mush-mouthed sincerity isn't really what the film needed; it needed a bitter, self-loathing misanthrope who is completely aware that the only reason he's survived is because of his life-long practice of deliberately separating himself from the rest of humanity.) The girls were fine, although little Abby Breslin being a steely eyed con artist wasn't nearly as shocking as I imagine the people behind the product imagined she would be. ("But it's Little Miss Sunshine!?!") Oh, and when you select a media that completely allows you to make up the rules as you go along, you have to draw your own lines. If you don't, eventually, you just end up looking like an ass.

So: Freschetta. They do good work. It ain't Ray's on West Houston, but it'll work. Saranac is good for the soul, I'm convinced of it. You probably know everything you want to know about Francis Ford Coppola and his partners in crime as you'd ever want to, and if you don't, yyyyyyyyyou probably don't want to. There are better zombie movies to watch, so unless you are the kind of person who likes to sit around snickering about how much smarter you are than other people (and trust me, you're really not) . . . well, there are other zombie movies to watch.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sara Smile

I SHARE this happy sight in order to please my fellow beer drinkers, and to drive my good pal Doc Nagel insane with jealousy. Say what you will about the wonder of wonders in California, you can't get Saranac out there.

You can get Sierra Nevada, which made me very happy for a good while last month, when I had a fridge full of Saras and Sierras, which is a fun thing to wrap one's mouth around. This should be fun as well, finding Saras to go along with the Harpoons. At some point, I wanna try the brown ale with the Harpoon IPA, but I gotta figure out what sort of lunch that would go best with. Something grainy, perhaps.

Today's lunch was the cheeseburger at the local. Normally I do that on Tuesday, but the lady who now manages on Tuesdays, whom I thought to simply have a slightly bland personality, and then considered a bit of a weirdo, and thought might just have man issues, turned out to be a psycho hose beast. Evidence of this is forthcoming, but first: this conclusion was reached when I went in on Wednesday rather than Tuesday and found out my pal Jaimie, the hostess, actually went so far as to cancel her Tuesday shift so that she wouldn't have to deal with this nutzoid.

Quod Erod Demonstrandum. Thus it is proven.

The process actually started last week, when I was observing the last bit of foul weather the month had to provide, which was foul indeed: nasty, rainy, windy, cold, just rotten, this in the middle of some classically bodacious North Carolina Fall weather, with blue skies and temps in the 60's. SO I started in jotting down lines for a variation on the Eliot bit. I read a couple of them to Jaimie, who, despite not being what you'd call a big reader, has proven to be a valuable sounding board on such matters in the past. She liked the first few lines, so I went back up front and got her to kibitz as the first few improvements revealed themselves. As this went on, I started getting a weird vibe from the manager chick. Towards the end, when I was all but done eating my burger, I approached the front to share another couple of lines. Jamie said, and this is a direct quote, "Dude, if ****** sees you up here talking to me, she's gonna yell at you."

At this point, Jamie was madly doing the standard hostess-up-front-cleaning that is the fifth business of any restaurant hostess trying to avoid catching crap from a batshit manager. That put the writing on the wall. Manager decides she's gonna yell at a customer? Whacko. Manager giving Jamie grief? Batshit. Everybody likes Jamie.

So at that point, I decided, after another brief chat with Jaimie, that maybe my Tuesday tradition was at an end. Heck, I figured, I guess I could start coming in Fridays. On Fridays, the Red Oak (locally brewed lager, yum) is on sale. So, just as an experiment, last Friday I went in, and my pal Jaimie was not working. And who was manageing? ******. I don't know which God I pissed off, but I must have done so on a holy day.

So today was better, I got to see my pal Jaimie and have a cheeseburger and a couple of Sierra Nevadas, and the manager was someone who actually likes me.

So anyways. Here's the fuckin' poem:


Far from being the cruelest month,
April is a moody bitch, lovely in her shapes and ways,
But coarse in her shifting manner.
Sun-coroneted days
Turn to steel-cold rains
As April gets her last licks in.

All things are opposable
From thumbs and spindles to reasons and rhymes,
Weather and seasons and lives and times,
Moods and musings mutable
Changing and inevitable
As day winding down to dusk.

As clouds break loose on the broad horizon,
Spreading rose-tint glow far and wide
As cool moist winds breeze and glide
Tousling the treetops along the hilltops,
Painted pink and green leafy lollipops.
April can be a pretty cool chick.

Labels: , ,