Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Me Time.

Within the brackets is a post I started on August 28th. Without the brackets is new stuff.

[What I've Seen: Tropic Thunder, twice. Samurai Jack, first 33 episodes.

Tropic Thunder is very funny. I really enjoyed it, and the first time watching it, I noticed that not only was I laughing a lot, I was also finding it quite brilliant. Apparently an Orlando reviewer said this is the movie that will go on Ben Stiller's epitaph. Not too shabby.

Back when Cartoon Network was playing Samurai Jack, I would catch an episode or two, and I enjoyed it. So when it came up on my NetFlix recommendations, I swooped it up, and after watching the first two seasons, and the first disc of season three, I'm not regretting my decision. Genndy Tartakovsky, aside from having a really great name, is a gift to animation. The plot is that Samurai Jack has a special sword, and just before killing Aku, the shape-shifting demon that has spread his evil to the world, Aku sends him to the future. Now Jack must fight the evil of Aku while trying to find a time portal back to the past. This framework allows Tartakovsky two benefits, which he uses well. First, because it is in the future, the villians are more often than not robots. So instead of blood gushing everywhere, we just have sparks and wires, much more palatable for the Y-7 crowd the show is rated for. The second gem of the framework is that Jack is in a new culture/world/environment every episode. One episode he has to save a medieval type town from a dragon, another he learns how to jump really high from a group of ape type creatures in a jungle, another he is in a Roarin' 20s speakeasy working from the inside in a Capone type gang. But no matter the situation he is still Samurai Jack, which is what makes the format work so well. Even after he's been turned into a chicken by a curmudgeonly wizard, you can still tell he's Jack.

I mentioned before how Genndy is a gift to animation. Just as he keeps Jack consistent in any environ, he adapts the music and cinematography to match each genre. My television has been having issues and occasionally has a green wash, and I wait til it is done with its pouting before I watch another episode, because they are so beautiful to see.

What I've Read: The Hobbit by JRRR Tolkien] I read this because I heard that Guillermo del Toro is directing the film, and while it is a personal point of pride that I've yet to read a word of the LoTR trilogy, I figured this wouldn't be too bad. My assessment of the book is that it is fine. He has fun creatures doing a little quest thing. Nothing too complicated. Maybe if I were younger, I would have enjoyed it more, but I'm not, so I didn't.

What I'm Reading Now: The Watchmen by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons. This is another British book that is being made into a film. It's also a graphic novel that is on Time's top 100 of all-time list. I'm enjoying it. It is funny to me that after first seeing promo pics of the actors in their costumes and the trailer (I saw it in front of the Dark Knight.) that the characters that I was going to enjoy most aren't the same after reading the book. I thought Dr. Manhattan was going to be a really interesting omnipotent and omnicient being, but instead he's just an omni-tool. Rorschach was a character I didn't care for in the trailer and pictures, but whom I really like in the book. I also like how Moore frames his story with supplementary items at the end of chapters, like exerpts from an autobiography from one of the earlier masked heroes, or newspaper clippings, or an exerpt from a book by the scientist that was working at the facility where Dr. Manhattan had his accident, the file from the police department on Rorschach. It is an effective way of providing expository material that might be too dense for the graphic form. He also uses epigrams nicely, blocking a few choice words from a quote into the opening pages of a chapter before including the whole quote in context at the end.

What I'm Imbibing:
Scotch. The first time I had scotch whiskey was at Scrumpy Jack's in Lincoln. I had some Dewar's on the rocks. I didn't care for it. That was about three or four years ago. I recently watched Great Scotch Whiskeys from NetFlix and it did an excellent job of explaining the different regions of production and the different characteristics. Plus I'd since learned that bourbon barrels go to Scotland to age their whiskey after they're done in America. After learning about the differences of single malts, I was more open to them, because I appreciate a lot of different beers because of their provincial origins and characteristics.

So when the time came, I got a bottle of Bowmore, an Islay, which is an older variety and is a balance of some of the characteristics you can get from an Islay. I was happy to be drinking the liquid smoke, but I was even happier as the sea started coming through, just like the narrator said it would. I'll eventually work my way around to lowland and highlands, but I've got plenty to get through before that time.

Dry Soda. I've had the lemongrass and rhubarb, and I have the lavender sitting in my fridge now. I haven't seen the juniper berry or vanilla bean yet. The lemongrass is not that special and the taste and mouth feel is like those dry Clearly Canadian waters that were popular a while back. I really like the rhubarb, and while it isn't potent enough to be made into a sorbet like I was hoping, it is very solid. I'm guessing the lavender will taste like perfume, just like lavender and rose ice creams do. I'll keep you updated.

What I'm Going to be Making:
Russian Cheese Buttons. I finally got the recipe from my old assistant cafeteria lady at DAA, Delilah Treft. The recipe is a quart of dry curd cottage cheese, three beaten eggs, two cups of sour cream, three cups of flour and 1.5 tsp each of baking soda, baking powder, and salt. The tricky part was finding the dry curd cottage cheese in Lincoln.

On my way home from work last night I stopped at three grocery stores, Russ's on Hwy 2, Leon's Gourmet Foods, and Open Harvest. Once I got home I went to Guerrero's Mexican Grocery, then called three more stores, Russ's on 17th, Sunmart on South, and Super Saver on 48th. Still no luck. Then I went to 27th and Pine Lake Super Saver, before getting a really cool ice cream scoop from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. After there, I went to Super Target on 40th.

Finally, at the Super Saver on 56th, I found my dry curd cottage cheese.

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At November 12, 2008 1:06 AM, Blogger Wishydig said...

is it anything like michigan (brand) cottage cheese? it's almost ricotta like in texture. and sooo much better than any other cottage cheese i've had.

At November 12, 2008 11:25 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I did think repeatedly of your Michigan (brand) cottage cheese, but since the only brands available were Viva, Daisy, and Roberts, I can't compare. I was almost tempted to substitute ricotta, as each store had that, but I'm happy I held out.

At November 12, 2008 7:19 PM, Blogger Curly Sue said...

My grandma used to make cheese buttons. I remember them being exactly like you described. I hadn't thought of those in years.

At November 12, 2008 9:49 PM, Blogger Angela said...

I did not read your whole blog. It's past my bedtime and I just don't have the patience AND I just wanted to comment about Samurai Jack because Mat and I have been watching it here too. At least we were. It takes eons to download illegally so we cut Season 2 off. Sadly. It is lovely, and I enjoy the process of him defeating, "the evil that is Aku."

At November 14, 2008 12:04 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Angela, I'm glad you guys like Samurai Jack too.

I've tried the lavender Dry Soda now, and it doesn't taste like perfume, more like a flower.


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