Friday, October 22, 2004

A tribute to Deb

Deb – yes, Deb. I love her. There are so many things she is good for, yet nobody really knows her that well. Certainly no-one in my immediate circle has any appreciation for her qualities in the same way that I do.

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.
All hail the mighty Deb Instant Mashed Potato!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Movie Review - Collateral (2004)

Max (Jamie Foxx) is a taxi-driver. Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a hitmen.

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.
Well worth seeing, particularly given the alternatives at the moment.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Air Force arias?

A rather unusual item has turned up in the mail here at the library. Now, unsolicited material for our collection is not new, but this one was a little different. It was Walpurgis Night, the new Air Force [RAAF] Jazz Ensemble CD.

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

Mutton Chops for the Real Man

- 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.

Bon appetîte!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Movie Review - The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

OK, all up I enjoyed this movie - it was a hoot, as far as the carchasepunchupshootout action movies go. The obligatory car chase sequence at the end is one of the best I’ve seen in a while - I’ll never feel quite so comfortable using a subterranean vehicle tunnel again.

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

A cut by any other name would still be as deep

Here's a thought - why do people say completely bone things like "Ooh, a paper-cut - they're the worst sort!"
No, no they're not. I would hazard a guess for 'worst cut' to be somewhere more along the lines of, say, the eviscerating sweep of a broadsword, or the not-really-a-cut-more-of-a-gnawing that comes from an incorrectly juggled chainsaw where the kittens forget the script.
And why do Band-aids(TM) come in such a weird colour? If you ever actually saw anyone with skin that colour, they either a corpse or in a carnival sideshow. Make them nice fluoro colours, something that says to the world "See! I hurt myself, everyone, but I'm not crying anymore!"

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


CAUTION: If you are a tree-hugging greenie-type, don't read any further.

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.

Movie Review - Ladyhawke (1985)

Yes, it's an oldie, but by my reckoning, a darn goodie too.
I'm not sure what it is that attracts me to this film - perhaps it's just one of those movies that sticks in your mind from a formative part of your life. When I saw it I can remember thinking that the hero's sword and armour was pretty cool, as I was at a stage of making my own gear like that and running around the back yard with some other neighborhood loonies, hacking and slashing at each other... but enough of that.
The filmography and visuals are excellent (directed by Richard Donner, who did such diverse projects as Kojak (TV), The Goonies, the Lethal Weapon movies and The Omen, among others), but the soundtrack (Alan Parsons Project) has come in for some criticism, although I think it works OK. Hey, it was the Eighties after all. If you can ignore the one or two jarring spots of American accents, then Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick put in fine performances, backed up by the supporting cast who are either delightfully evil or look as if you can almost smell them from your couch.

I won't tell you how the story goes, you'll just have to see it for yourself. For years I thought the movie was made from a book by Joan D. Vinge, as I read it before I saw the movie. However, I have since discovered that this was an adaption, which probably explains why they are so similar, right down to the dialogue. I haven't read the book for years now (only two copies are still available in the WA State Library system, and one of those is in Portuguese), but I have a vague recollection that Vinge may have added a scene or two. If anyone knows one way or the other, please let me know.

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

And so it begins

Hello, my name is Danny, and I'll be your chiropractor for this evening. Feel free to help yourself to some complimentary lentils if you wish. Please sit back, relax, and keep your shoes laced up...

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 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...