Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Mornings

There are people who spring out of bed Monday Mornings, ready to face off against the world, renewed and refreshed from a weekend of recharging.  Let's just agree I am not one of those people.  Mornings have never been my thing and Mondays seem to present the most opportunity for procrastination because you've got an entire week to catch up on the things you blew off on Monday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

And the result...

After all the morning multi-tasking, my eventual salade nicoise looked like this.

Food Multitasking

Because of the recent hellish heat in the Philadelphia metro area, I've made the switch to my summer cooking style -- eating in restaurants.  Well, that's a slight joke, but our take-out consumption dramatically increases along with the temps and my oven gets little gas between mid-june and mid-september.  It is with great reluctance that I heat the kettle to feed the french press demon coffee maker. I only do it in the early mornings when the sun hasn't quite turned everything to burning plasma.

However, adaptation is survival, so I've developed some other hot-weather cooking skills.  There are very few things that I haven't tried to grill over the years and I'll make most anything in my Weber Kettle.  Also, I'll make dishes that can be served cold later in the day and do any prep-cooking early in the morning when it's still cool.  Which brings us to today's planned meal -- salade nicoise from the current issue of Saveur.  I think this will be really refreshing come 6:00 PM, with the temp solidly in the 90s.  That means, however, there are a bunch of things to cook this morning -- potatoes, beets, green beans.

The perfect part of the "cooking in the morning" thing is the multitasking aspect of it.

I can throw a couple of pots on the stove and check in as needed, but none of this is labor-intensive, so I can go back and forth with the food prep and writing. "What?!!" you say.  You aren't sitting at the computer, staring at the screen the whole time, sweating blood and dreams onto the keys?  Well, um, no.  My writing process involves a lot of walking around.  I can't stay sitting for too long and when the flow seems too slow, I walk around, fiddle with stuff.  That's why the cooking is good, 'cause I have something to check on when I'm pacing, and I don't get too distracted.

So, right now, I've got two pots on the stove to boil/blanch things, music streaming to a bluetooth speaker, and I'm off-and-on cleaning veggies.  The music is coming from my laptop in my summer home office -- my dining room table.  On the monitor, I've got this blog, the Soulwalker script draft, and the novel draft open on the desktop, as well as all the other usual internet distractions.  When a good thought comes, I type it up, then head back to check on the food.

If it's a good writing day, the food will be done before the writing, so then I need another distraction and I can focus on cocktail prep. I'm going to haul out the juicer to make fresh orange/lime juice for desert sunset cocktails to serve before the salad.  Booze, food, music, and writing.  That's my idea of multitasking.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Thing With Prometheus...

People always ask me about films.

This, despite knowing that part of my academic job is learning and teaching how to rip films apart.  Not necessarily in a negative way, but in a critical way that examines how the films are put together.  This is a core component of know how to make a film.  Also, people ask me what I think about films even knowing what a cynical bastard I am.

So, you know, if you ask me about a film, fair warning: I'll tell you what I think.  Perhaps I overthink it, but you asked.  If you'd rather not have an actual answer, then just asked whether I liked a film, don't ask me what I think about a film.  See, I spend the head time that most people devote to Roth IRAs, stocks, and performance reviews considering movies, so you're going to often get a detailed answer if you ask.

Prometheus is a case in point.  LOTS of people asked me about Prometheus and I kind of dodged an answer because frankly, I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of the film.  However, a bunch of people know my admiration for the original Alien, my fondness for Sci-Fi in general, and my peripatetic admiration for Ridley Scott.  So, they asked.

Let me first say, there is much that is wonderful about this film: the beautiful visual extravagance of the opening 3D images and the imagining of the alabaster aliens in general was stunning, there were some wonderful performances from Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, and the sheer optimism that we will ever be able to build a ship that can travel like Prometheus was refreshing.

It is however, despite all talk of sequels, a disappointing story.

People have argued with me over this, but I bet I can ask you five questions about Prometheus that will change your view of the film.  If you don't want your view changed, then stop reading now.

1. What kind of "doctor" is Elizabeth Shaw?  Many are tempted to say archeologist, but at various points in the film she discourses on astrophysics, medicine, biology, sociology and more.  The real answer to this question is that she's a doctor of exposition -- a convenient mouthpiece to explain whatever plot point needs explaining at a given moment.

2. If you have hovering, wireless, 3d mapping robots, why wouldn't you toss those into the big, dark, dangerous alien ship BEFORE you actually go in yourself?  It may be the future, but apparently no one has ever played a video game.

3. Why are the archeologists forever rushing blindly into new discoveries without any remote hint of site protocol?  Moreover, why are the touching everything, including the moving black goo?

4. I can't imagine ever designing my own trillion-dollar spaceship, but even if you were, would you think it smart to make your quarters look like a spa?  I get the Weyland's are rich, but why must they be stupid as well?

5. Does anyone really believe you can give yourself an auto-surgical cesarian, then just hop up off the table and run around like an action hero?  Talk to a woman who's actually had a c-section, or do some basic anatomical research: cut the abs and you're doing no moving for a while.  Drugs strong enough to kill the pain will also knock you out.  I honestly thought this was going to be a dream sequence it was so outrageous and, when it wasn't, I couldn't seriously stay engaged in the movie.

These are really only the top of the heap.  I could keep asking these questions on and on and that, to me, is the sign of a flawed film.

Now, you asked me what I thought, so what I really think is I'm really no longer too excited about the rumored BaldeRunner sequel.