Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Not much will be happening here for a while due to what may turn out to be a rather dubious overseas trip to the depths of a European winter. Not that much happened over the last month either, due to a bout of community service. But I will return.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Saturday, November 20, 2004
In my never-ending mission to bring you good people fine food ideas, I offer my very own humble variation on that most wonderful thing of civilisation, The Pizza.
- A couple of slabs of pita bread that have been sitting on the kitchen bench for a while. Don't worry about the fuzzy green bits on them, you'll never notice.
- A fair quantity of Kraft cream cheese spread. It may be wise to sniff the jar cautiously first, as it may have been in the fridge for a while. Any curious crunchy bits in an old jar are just an added bonus.
- A jar of that pesto that's been lurking in the cupboard for so long you don't even remember buying it.
- A few olives (sliced) that you can just see lurking in the milky greenness at the bottom of the jar. Ignore the 'best before' date, they're lying.
- Some water chestnuts of dubious provenance you picked up in that funny little Asian food store a while back.
- Some sliced tinned mushrooms. If you can't find the can-opener to use normal ones, that jar of marinated mushrooms you bought last year will do.
- A handful of chopped strips of bacon you managed to prise out of the frozen tundra in the freezer.
- Grated cheese. Of course. I prefer Watsonia fully matured, as you don't notice such a change in taste as it gets older that you get with lighter cheeses.
- Dried diced onion and garlic granules. Naturally.
- Lovingly spread a generous quantity of cream cheese on each pita bread base. You may have to heat the jar to do this, but don't overdo it, or things get soggy.
- Smear great dobs of pesto onto this. Liberally sprinkle diced onion and garlic granules onto this.
- Bung the various other ingredients carefully onto the first base. Get cheesed off with how long it takes on the second base and just throw them on any old way, so that this one looks like a roadkill pizza. (Never mind, it'll look worse in your stomach.)
- Add the cheese last, grating it directly onto the pizza. Wonder briefly if the blood from your grated fingers will affect the taste.
- Try unsuccessfully to light gas oven for a while. Realise that the igniter must be broken, and get out a box of matches instead.
- Shakingly brush the burnt hair from the back of your hands and reflect on the fragility of life at this near-death experience of an oven full of gas going 'whoomph' in your face.
- Place pizzas in oven. No idea of the time or temperature - a visual check to ascertain cheese-meltage should be sufficient. (NOTE: It is strongly recommended that you use a baking tray. Pizza ingredients that drip off your pizza onto the bottom of the oven, where they tend to burn a little bit will not taste very good.)
- Take pizzas out of oven with hands. Place on a plate, screaming pained obscenities as you do so. Grab cold beer out of fridge to soothe burned fingers. Place contents of beer can down throat to soothe burned hands, and various other existential ills.
- Eat, periodically adding more beer to mouth to soothe discomfort of roof of mouth, which appears to be shedding skin.
A robust meal, not for the faint-hearted gourmand. Care must be taken in the level of cheese spread applied, or you may find your pizza best served in a bowl with a spoon. Best accompanied by beer to drown the nagging thought that perhaps a pizza should not quite taste like this.
As you awake in a cold sweat later that night after dreaming of being chased by giant machette-weilding enchiladas while trying to sing show tunes and wearing a stuffed-potato jacket, reflect that possibly the Italians had it right the first time, and that pizza recipes should not be meddled with.
That, or resolve to use fresher ingredients next time.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
There is not a lot of literature out there on Deb™ Instant Mashed Potato, for some odd reason. The only reference I could find in the WA Public Library system was here. Sounds good – sometimes I think the mashed potato I create is almost sentient too.
I don’t know why Deb is so ignored, there is a lot that can happen where Deb is involved. Like a massive carbohydrate intake, for instance. Or otherwise- as illustrated here, and here. (Although there are some truly sad episodes, like this one. Baked Beans and Deb! – you masochist!) Let me briefly share with you what wisdom I can impart on Deb. Take a normal pack of Continental Deb Instant Mashed Potato (125g), one slightly harried-looking kitchen, and one or two appliances. (Heating is essential for this recipe. Trust me.)
One word: gravy - a must-have; or, if in a position not to have gravy, extra water and a leftover sachet of two minute noodles flavouring and some cornflour will do. If you don’t have that, then cripes, you are hard up, aren’t you? Tough bikkies. Throw in some bits of dried green stuff instead (shredded Astroturf will do in a pinch), and some garlic and/or onion flakes (both if possible), which of course you will have a good supply of. Be generous when shaking the container. (If you have none of these, why then you must be eating out of rubbish bins).
Best result is thus: cook up an onion, some bacon bits or strips (this works fine from frozen), whack in crushed garlic from a jar, some hacked salami (any brand will do, the main thing is the lumpiness and flavour). When this is making uncomfortable noises, get your Deb on the go in the microwave tub with some preboiled hot water. About the time you’re going for your third beer (or second if you’re a slow drinker) things are coming together.
You now have two choices: throw the Deb mass from the tub into the pan of still-frying stuff (really, really not recommended) or heave the wad of Deb into a receptacle and pile the other greasy bits on top, with the gravy-thing you have also been preparing meanwhile. I say ‘gravy-thing’, because that is the only polite term I can come up with to describe my favorite brown topping for Deb.
Grab said receptacle, now filled with artery-swelling goodness, perch self on couch with extra beer (you will not be able to move too rapidly after this lot) and dig in. I said dig. That is not a euphemism. Hack away – it’s good stuff. Two gold stars if you finish it.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Vincent is also his fare tonight. Max, who has been driving a cab for twelve years (“It’s just temporary…”) can usually pick a person’s profession just by observation, but Vincent’s line of work is revealed to him like a bolt out of the blue. Or something out of the sky, anyway.
I enjoyed this movie, despite being no fan of Tom Cruise’s. I dunno, there’s just something about his polished mug and irksome smile that gets to me. Maybe it’s just a hangover from Top Gun (1986) and Cocktail (1988) days. He does a damn fine job here though, both in screen performance and acting. Thankfully. Him and Nicholas Cage, they make my spine crawl usually… but I digress. Jamie Foxx (Yes, who? Is right) does a good job too. No idea where he came from, but we’ll probably be seeing more of him in years to come.
I really don’t want to tell you too much about this movie, because it actually does have a plot and storyline for once. You watch a movie like Speed (1994), and you find yourself thinking ‘Gee, what trite cliché are they going to use next… Oh, yeah that one.’ In Collateral it got to the point where I wasn’t too sure at all what the heck was going to happen - at one point I was fairly sure the movie would end ‘happily’, then I thought no, wait, maybe - and later, yeah, happy endi- no, maybe not… right down to when the screen went blank.
Comparisons? It has the feel of Judgement Night (1993) or Underworld (1996). Ordinary people are hoiked out of their plain-vanilla routine lives and dumped into a dangerous situation over which they have no control; and it all happens over a compressed time frame, without dull bits between that set up the next scene, leaving the viewer to work out what the hell is happening all on their own, the poor dears.
Yes, this movie is not for all - you may have to think on accasion. People who didn’t like this movie did however like Spiderman II (2004) and Catwoman (2004), so work out if you’ll want to see it or not from that. There is an occasional chuckle too, but not what you’d really call black humour or morbid mirth, but enough to break the tension now and then.
Friday, October 15, 2004
OK, that was odd enough, but the accompanying letter approached the surreal. It said, in part “…the CD is intended to increase public awareness of the Air force, and to display the talents of some of its members.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m really not all that interested whether or not Pilot Officer Hackiesac can blow a mean sax or otherwise. I’m more concerned about whether he can land an aging Hercules transport chocked to the gunwhales with a combat load of munitions or not as he roars over my house at 300 feet.
Still, if perhaps you are interested in what these cool cats can blow (apart from our tax dollars at 70 litres of aviation fuel per second), then check the CD out yourself. You can see if it’s available for loan here.
Oh, yeah, and apparently this is just one of the ensembles of the Royal Australian Air Force Band. I await further instalments with bated breath.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
- two mutton chops, largely thawed and with their corners chewed off
- two instant noodle flavour sachets (possibly chicken, possibly not - no packet)
- worcestershire sauce (shake to dislodge chunks first)
- soy sauce (diluted Promite™ may be substituted)
- one can of beer (for the chef)
- dried green stuff for garnish (don’t worry, it’ll vanish during cooking)
1. Walk home through the door feeling kinda irritable and ratty - kick out at cat. Miss.
2. Open fridge and lean moodily on door, decide the one remaining can of beer is not enough in and of itself for an evening meal.
3. Spend a few minutes scrabbling through the deep-freeze with numbing fingers, finally excavating a frost coated lump which turns out to be a couple of mutton chops. Decide that’ll do. Spurn the addition of frozen veges as too complicated and leave them behind.
4. Half-heartedly defrost chops. You may impatiently use too high a setting and too little time, in which case trim off the cooked bits and eat then. The half-frozen middle will sort itself out, I’m sure. (Anything less is for wimps only.)
5. Drop first chop into some sort of dish-thing you found in the sink, douse in soy and worcestershire, then coat with one flavour sachet. Repeat for second chop, then sprinkle a bit of what might be parsley on the top one for the look of it.
1. Chuck this lot in the microwave. Nuke for about 4-5 minutes on Med-MedHigh or something like that.
2. Take dish out to check. Swear and suck at scalded fingers. Wait a bit, then repeat above step, but for less time.
3. Gingerly lift top chop onto plate, and taste.
4. Swear (somewhat muffled now) and wonder where the skin from the roof of your mouth has gone. Leave to cool a bit and try again.
5. Decide to cook second chop for another couple minutes, as first was a bit pinkish on the lower side.
6. Maybe one more minute. The marrow wasn’t quite done either.
What to do with leftover runny stuff? I hear you cry. Drop in a half-dozen frozen mini sausage rolls, leave to soak a bit then turn over. Give them a quick burst on high, wisely leave to cool a bit and away you go. Dish may be put back into sink for tomorrow night’s efforts.
An excellent feed. Might need more beer though.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Right, now for the inevitable whinges - I just don’t feel that Matt Damon is quite up to the grade of the serious hero-type yet. He lacks the crusty brusqueness of Bruce Willis or the whatchamacallit of Harrison Ford. Not that he’s too far off in this one though, but he just doesn’t seem to carry off the tortured, brooding trained killer too well. Give him time, I guess.
And yes, as a bookophile I must make a token protest about the butchery Hollywood inflicts on good books. Fortunately it has been years since I read this one (unlike The Bourne Identity, which I ground my teeth in quite frequently with a muttered “That’s not right…” all too much) and I was unaffected by such puritanical qualms, allowing me to sit back and really enjoy the spectacle unfolding on the screen before me. (I inherited this trait from my father, with whom I saw the movie - and indeed, at one point during a climactic action scene I heard him mutter, “He’s fired about twenty shots already - when’s he going to reload?” I wanted to belt him with my popcorn box, except there was some left in it.)
One thing is unavoidable too folks - Ludlum penned this story absolutely yonks ago, and some updating (read change) is necessary. Ludlum’s heroines (like McLean’s and Smith’s) tend to be a bit ‘wilty’, which would have today’s feminists piqueting cinemas across the country. In the movies Marie (Franke Potente, who we don’t see enough of in this one, damnit) has a bit more gristle in her character than her print version, which is most welcome. And can you imagine what the movie would be like were it still stuck with the technology from a quarter-century ago? Things like mobile phones, integrated high-speed digital computer systems and satellite surveillance were not available to Ludlum when he wrote it - these things make a hell of a difference to the story in themselves, so changes are unavoidable. And they’re pretty gnarly too, if you like that sort of thing.
There’s also a bit of criticism floating out there about the director’s rapid-change and jarring scene shots. Don’t know why this should be so, it’s one of the things that makes the feel of the movie. If you want to meanderingly cast your eyes over a scene, with time to take in every detail of the background and every nuance of the wax-dummay character’s faces, then go and hire out Pride and Prejudice or something, if that’s all you can take, you wimpy peacenik.
In conclusion, it’s a good, fast-paced action thriller, a definite cut above the usual pap we get fed, and not excessively violent. But if you don’t like this sort of thing, don’t bother.
Official site here.
Want to see The Bourne Identity first (or again?) Check availability here.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Q: How do you make a bear cross?
A: Nail two bears together.
I liked that one. What makes this humour? The juxtaposition of expected context and answer, aided by that wonderful thing, the English Language. It's a little obscure, but not quite so much as the following classic:
Q: Why did the boy fall off his bike?
A: He was hit by a fridge.
Right, I'll leave you alone now.
At the moment, the City of South Perth Library Service only has the movie on VHS. You can check it's availability on our catalogue here:
Enjoy. And if you don't, well, don't tell me - you'll just have to live with it yourself.
Monday, October 04, 2004
No idea how long it will take to start getting some content up here - in the meantime, amuse yourself with wandering through the frenzied frothings of an interesting bloke in the States, at http://www.vikarsrant.com/. There's a bunch of jokes lurking on it somewhere, which should keep you going for a while. And do check out his rants.
Right, now about those vole-burgers...