What the Boss Likes – update on the remodel, random things I’ve enjoyed

The kitchen is finished all but for the painting. Since this was nice fresh drywall, I had to give it two coats of sealer/primer and now am *finally* getting the color layer on, a lavender called “garden fairy” (I want a job naming colors). I’m doing a high gloss finish since it’s a kitchen and we’ve had splatters appear on our 9 foot ceilings by evidently some spaghetti sauce trying to hit escape velocity (like this steel plate may or may not have done). Now for two hours of waiting to see how it looks on one wall before continuing.

Right now, I’m making some pasta puttanesca, resting my very sore body (using all sorts of muscles I don’t usually use) and unfortunately just crushed a chili pepper for it in my fingers and touched my nose. Whee.

Now onto the random bits.

We had a bottle of Evolucio Blaufrankisch from Hungary. Very good red wine with a very cherry taste. Also had a bottle of Primal Roots California Red Blend. This doesn’t have any cabernet sauvignon, so it is light on the tannins.

Baked some triple cream brie.  Very good with cherry preserves, roast beef (a leftover) and fig and olive relish from Tait Farms.  All with baguette like bread.

I watched Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. This is a Dreamworks animated film from the early 2000s. Though it is not a “real” Sinbad movie (those are the ones from the 60’s-70’s with Harryhausen stop motion animation), it was good. A strong female character, a good villain and fun dialogue, some of which may generate uncomfortable questions from children to their parents. A good adventure flick.

Also watched Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Just beautiful and a good story. nothing particularly new but are there really any “new” stories?   I also loved Besson’s The Fifth Element.

I got a copy of What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. for Christmas This is by the fellow who does the XKCD webcomic. I chortled over it as I was reading it and had a great bit of fun learning new facts, like exactly how amanita mushroom toxin works. You can see what if questions and answers on the website if you follow the “what if” up in the left corner or here: https://what-if.xkcd.com/

The weather has been colder and snowier than usual (we’re getting a touch of the nasty noreaster coming up the coast of the US), at least usual for the overly warm winters we’ve had recently. I have a pair of Carolina wrens as visitors and have given them a stick of butter to peck at, as well as some bread and cat food.   Two years ago, we had a nest of them in a roll of carpet I had put out to dispose of. They are notorious for putting nests in silly places, and this was right outside of our kitchen door too. We went out once without paying attention and there was a sudden explosion of fledglings. We tried to catch them and put them back but they took off under the hostas, never to be seen again. No idea if the little critters survived. We never saw this species before until that incident two years ago.

Well, that’s about it. Next post will be about a recent discussion I’ve had with a theist and some information about how facts and evidence work in supporting claims. Fair warning, if you don’t want to see my unvarnished opinions on politics and religion, avoid blog post starting with “Not So Polite Conversation”.

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From the Bar – a few Belgian ales and a movie

beerI have now been on this planet for 50 years.   I really wish I had been on some other planet during this time but alas technology has not cooperated.

For my birthday, we went to have really good cheap french fries (cooked in beef fat) and expensive Belgian beers. This was an extra treat since we’ve also been on the South Beach Diet for the last 4 weeks and haven’t had much in the way of carbohydrates (I’m happy, I’ve lost 10 pounds).

I had two beers. One was a Rochefort 8. This is a trappist ale, not quite as sweet and complex as the Rochefort 10 (or as alcoholic 9.5% as opposed to 11.3%) but very much the dark beer that tastes of caramel, dried fruits and rich yeasts. My second was Bink Bloesem, another rich beer, not quite so dark or strong (7.1%) but wonderful with the tastes of fall fruit and spice. It has pear syrup in it.  I love that our local Belgian café, Café Bruges, uses all of the fancy glasses for the beers. I have a bit of a thing for fancy things to drink out of. My mom had a cordial set that she never used and kept at the top of a tall cabinet. My younger self risked life and limb climbing up to get a little glass to drink from when she wasn’t around.

My husband had Echt Kriekenbier and a Boon Kriek. The Echt was excellent, 6.8% alcohol, a touch sour with a strong cherry aroma. It is based on an ale, not a lambic   The Boon was wonderful, like cherry pie and it has cherries in it, and is a lambic.   It is a low alcohol beer, only 4%, eminently sessionable. The only kriek we’ve had that we like better is what we’ve had up at the Selin’s Grove Brewing.

We watched Jupiter Ascending this weekend. I really liked it. It was fun, fast and was pure space opera. I really have no idea what people are looking for in a movie like this. Movies don’t need deep plots, or world-moving emotional displays. I’m more than happy to have a strong female character who likes science, who doesn’t freak out more than necessary, and who can take care of herself along with her friends. The movie is just beautiful, btw. Watch this and John Carter to see the good guys win and the bad guys lose. That seems to happen so little anymore.

From the kitchen – some tasty entrees and a small rant about a movie

(warning: a few movie spoilers appear at the end for Iron Man 3 and The Winter Soldier. You have been warned)

Having no good ideas for a big meal to make for the weekend (and little time to do so with a retail schedule), we decided to get the stuff to make some quick meals.   We found a couple of tasty things that you can put in your freezer for a treat.

Barber Foods Crème Brie and Apple stuffed chicken breast – This s a lightly breaded raw chicken breast (in the freezer section) stuffed with brie, mozzarella, a very mild cheddar, chopped apples and dried cranberries. Bake this and you’ll have a very tasty dinner with a slightly sweet filling. We paired this with a chicken flavored rice and pasta mix. Barber also has a wonderful Chicken Kiev, stuffed with butter…mmmmm butter…. and garlic. Once baked, you have a pool of hot melted butter in the center, excellent for spooning over a pile of cooked rice.

D’artagnan Venison and Pork sausage with cherries – The local Giant grocery store has a new display of a lot of D’artagnan fancy foods, including venison, rabbit, etc. I picked up the venison and pork sausage since I’ve been curious about them after seeing them on the D’artagnan website. Here I didn’t need to pay shipping 🙂   They cook up with a slight sweetness from the cherries, and the juices made a lovely pan sauce. There is a hint of heat to the sausage but not much at all. We served this with a beef flavored rice and pasta mix. (I like the Knorr brand best).

Both entrees run about US$6 for a pair of breasts and a quartet of sausages.  Not bad for pretending to be a gourmet 🙂  I would happily get both again.

We also watched Iron Man 3. I’m glad a friend lent us the DVD because the movie is quite crappy. I can over look a lot of things in a movie, but bringing in a child character for no reason *plus* logic holes is just insulting. I know, Winter Soldier had some logic holes too, like why the hell can you access the servers physically from outside the helicarriers? I’m writing that one off to making up this excuse: Fury knowing something was up and placed one Achilles’ heel in the design, kinda like a 12 foot wide direct pipe to the reactors that power your entire killer space station…..

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – A review of the Noah movie trailer. Oh my, the silliness and this is only a few minutes of an hours long movie.

look, a scary snake!
look, a scary snake!

Haven’t seen the movie yet probably won’t, because I have no desire to add to the box office hits for this stinker. But I thought I’d take a look at the trailer and the movie website.  I do enjoy showing how ridiculous the flood myth is, and have done so multiple times on this blog. Just use the search box and type in “flood” to find those old posts. (following images are screen captures from the trailer here)

Open on Noah looking at a mountain, and stepping in what appears to be blood. Then we get a rapid sequence of images from the story of Adam and Eve, including mutant evil snake almost as good as the effects on a SyFy movie!  :p   Noah has just had a vision that tells him his god will destroy the world. noah wasteland

 

The world has evidently been deforested. Which presents a problem in where Noah gets the huge timber for his magical boat. Yes, I know, it’s silly to require internal logic in such a story.  🙂

 

 

World’s silliest boat. This is made from raw tree trunks. I grew up on a farm where the barn was made from hand cut timbers. Most of the tools for this were still around, adzes, drills for peg holes, etc. These are not complicated tools and we do get glimpses of a few on the website. Noah evidently did not use them at all. We get Noah, making what looks like a box with lashed tree trunks, and painted with what I will assume is bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon that comes from the ground in various sites in the Middle East.   There have been Christians who claim that this movie is not “historically accurate”. Considering that they vary in how they think the ark was shaped, perhaps this is one of the “historically inaccurate” parts.  We also have Ron Wyatt, he of “I have evidence but can’t show you it” fame, who is sure that a huge geological formation is the ark.

 

Alas the bible doesn’t give much description at all and there is no reason to think that this ludicrous structure is any more wrong then the usual boat with tapered hull and keel illustration that many Christians are familiar with and use in their claims of finding the ark. It would indeed take magic to make such a mess float, survive the explosive water spouts, waves, etc. And what a fire trap. animals and arkThen the loading sequence. There are quite a few birds in that circling swarm above the ark, plus we have the herd of every other animal approaching it.

ark doorAs they enter, we see that the boat can perhaps have one extra deck other than the top of the box and the bottom. Looks like we have an okapi, quite few brown bears or grizzlies, maybe a water buffalo, etc. This is confirmed the bit of the website called “The Ark Experience”, where there is an avian deck, a reptile deck and a mammal deck.  Oh and don’t forget to check out the “furnace”, an invention that keeps Noah and the animals warm. This is one of the problem with trying to make a reasonable explanation for a myth, why not just have magic do that too rather than having a fire on board a boat made from logs, and tar.

 

Then we get snakes and frogs, and the birds are still flying around and loading up. I love this one “problem” with the movie that a TrueChristian mentioned “In some cases, it looks like two of every species are packing into the ark rather than two of every biblical “kind.” That would make a very tight fit.” – Jerry Johnson, NRB. No kidding. This shows that Christians have to make up nonsense like “kinds” (some type of animal that all other similar animals can magically come from) to excuse their myth.

Finally we get the lovely all explody water from the “springs of the earth”, and the desperate people who want to get on the ark. Unsurprisingly, no kids seem to be around at all. The only kids on all of the earth seems to be Noah’s. It does help that believers don’t show this god drowning children and kittens, koalas, and pandas. It’d be a little hard on their god’s PR. Now, again, I have not watched the entire movie so I could be wrong in that it does not show children. If anyone has seen it and can show me differently, I’d much appreciate it. This depiction of how the water arrives again may be one of the parts that some believers say is “historically inaccurate” because it depends on who you believe for what caused the flooding of the world to the top all of the mountains on it. We have many silly hypotheses from believers, the hydroplate hypothesis, the canopy hypothesis, runway subduction, comets, or those who just want plain ol’ magic. One can also see more details on how other claims about the ark itself fail here in an analysis of “magic flood is real” claimant Woodmorappe’s book. (Woodmorappe does try to refute this analysis: link found on the analysis page. Like many TrueChristians, it seems that he thinks that the more fonts and colors he uses, the more true his claims must appear.)

There’s been a lot of excuses that this isn’t the “literal” story from the bible so one should not accept it as the “truth”, per the National Religious Broadcasters association. The problem is that the literal story *is* the bare bones that this movie is built on. Those bones are still as ridiculous as ever and still without a shred of evidence. The claims of the “springs of the earth” exploding with water, the huge boat that can hold all of the animals of the world, etc. It all depends on magic nonsense. I do think that this movie does have a purpose, to show just how ludicrous the idea of a monster boat and a global flood is and how horrible the idea of genocidal drowning is. I do wonder how “outraged” these believers would be if they did indeed show children drowning to be “historically accurate”.  One of the more offensive excuses for god killing children and animals is that they would have died anyway and it’s fine since they would have been distressed to see their parents die.  (evidence for this: here, here, and just google “did god drown children” to see even more)

Another thing that could be “historically inaccurate” to some believers is that they back off the biblical claims of a world-wide flood and say that it could have been only regional. So, we need only a flood that maybe was from a good hard rain or at most from a wall of debris coming apart and allowing a lake or sea to escape its basin. Which does make one wonder why one magical event can be reduced to the mundane and not all of them? If believers can’t agree on what “really” happened, why believe anything like this happened at all?

I will have to say that I give props to the movie’s producers in that they have a section of the movie website dedicated to artwork about the flood. Some are less than flattering of the event and the god who supposedly did it, especially this one: http://www.noahmovie.com/art-show/antonio-sandoval

For a more thorough review of how silly the flood story is and why, Talk Origins has a good compilation of all the problems with it and all of the retrofitting that believers have had to try to make it sound plausible. You can also see a great video on how geology shows that the flood didn’t occur thanks to Potholer54.

From the Kitchen, from the Bar – pork shoulder, ales and kibitzing about music, movies, etc

???????????????????????????????The weather has finally decided to be lovely and not the sauna it was a week and a half ago.  So, it became time to cook since I could have the oven on for hours and not feel like I was committing hara-kiri by sweating.

Since it was on sale ($1.49/pound) and we love it, I got a whole pork shoulder aka “fresh ham” aka a lot of other terms.  In this cut you have no choice but to admit that meat does indeed come from animals since you’ve got the skin, bone and it’s quite recognizable as a leg.  This one ran about 8 pounds, so this isn’t one of the big hogs I grew up with on the farm where their legs were probably double or triple the weight .  All told, I got about 4 pounds of useable meat and fat from this beastie, the bones being quite large.  You also lose weight when it comes to the skin. Some of the skin on this roast did crisp up into cracklings but the majority didn’t.

How I made the pork roast:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Place shoulder in pan that will hold it (we used our speckled roaster with the lid).  Pour a bit of water around the meat, a cup or so.  Leaving lid off for now, place in oven, and roast at temp for about 20 minutes.  Then lower temp to 350 degress F (177 degrees C), place on lid and roast until bones are loose and skin is golden (about 4 hours total in our case).  Replace water if you’d like, that’s where the juices for the gravy comes from.

I would not suggest that you give the bones or skin to a dog since pork bones have a tendency to splinter nastily and the skin isn’t that easy to digest.  Cats, being obligate carnivores, seem to have no problem with the skin and these particular bones are too big for them to do anything with other than perhaps lick them. Continue reading “From the Kitchen, from the Bar – pork shoulder, ales and kibitzing about music, movies, etc”

From the Kitchen and bar plus a movie – Schnitzel with panko is like jaegers with kaiju… trust me on this one

cat no cure for case of stupidThe movie for this week is Sharknado!  No, no, I can’t even joke about that.  What a purely stupid movie (yes, we watched about 15 minutes of it).  Ah, if someone would have told my teen-age self that there will be a channel called the Science Fiction Channel and that I would hate it with a passion, I would never have believed them.  The Syphy Channel is just that, a diseased thing, a graveyard of washed up 80’s pop stars who have not aged gracefully.

Okay, after this there will be spoilers. So consider yourself warned!

What we saw was “Pacific Rim”(IMDB about it) and it was AWESOME!  Kaiju, giant mechs (they’re called jaegers but I grew up with calling all giant robots “mechs”), what else could a smart savvy nerdy girl want?  And a strong female character who wasn’t a love interest.  Hurrah for Mako!  I have to say, it takes a moron to give a movie like this a single star just because it wasn’t Shakespeare or some gawdawful “meaningful” chick flick.  It’s a freakin’ monster movie that has appealing characters, no slow spots and delivers *exactly* what it is supposed to. So, screw the supposed “reviewers”.  Go see it, it’s FUN!  I spent many a Sunday morning watching kaiju movies on the local TV station.  It was always a lot of whining when I wanted to stay and watch Godzilla or Gamera and my parents thought I should go to church. (hmmm, Word recognizes Godzilla but not Gamera   🙂   )   Added:  Incidentally, this movie is LOUD.  I’m a bit deaf in both ears from old ear infections and I still stuffed tissue in my ears to reduce the noise to bearable levels.

Ron Perlman has a great bit part and I sniffled through the very well done and still manly 🙂   goodbye scenes.  They did a fabulous job at making the jaegers and kaiju seem huge and heavy.  I did love how they did not make them fly but had to have heavy lift copters lift and fly them to the battle.  The movie even treated scientists well.  The fish flopping scene at the end is one of those good “wait for it….wait for it” scenes. Continue reading “From the Kitchen and bar plus a movie – Schnitzel with panko is like jaegers with kaiju… trust me on this one”

What the Boss Likes – meal and a movie again

wannabee klan twits
wannabee klan twits

This weekend we had fajitas again (beef this time, just follow same recipe here maybe adding a little more cayenne) a couple of bottles of wine and watched Django Unchained.

First, the movie ROCKS.  It does a fantastic job of ridiculing and reviling the slaver culture of the American South.   It’s surprisingly funny (oh the scene with the wannabee Klan and their hoods is worthy of Blazing Saddles or Monty Python. Be aware that the video is full of hateful and ignorant language) and not as bloody as some Tarantino movies. It’s still plenty bloody though. One forgets just how good an actor Samuel L. Jackson is and then you see his character Stephen, versus, say, Nick Fury. I do love a good violent revenge movie, enjoying High Plains Drifter immensely.  Another great movie with a surprising Mr. Jackson is Unbreakable.  I’ve heard that some think this movie is racist.  I don’t see that, other than the idiot racists being displayed.  It shows that people, no matter what shade of skin, can be good guys and bad guys.

The wine was a foray into “what’s cheap at the store”.  First, is Hey Mambo Swanky White.  I bought it because of the bit of purple prose on the back lable.  Husband and I enjoy blends and this is very good, though don’t drink it after eating sweet corn. It just doesn’t taste good.  The flavor has a nice strong musky muscat flavor.

Second, Flipflop Left Coast Pinot Noir.  It was a very nice pinot noir, not too tannic.  I’d buy it again.  Both were around $7 on sale.  Definitely a lucky set of choices this week.