Monday, April 30, 2012

Giant Yummy

Giant Shrimp Invade The Gulf Of Mexico
This story has been making the rounds.
Seems the big concern is that these big shrimp will eat all the little shrimp, thereby decimating the shrimping industry of the Gulf Coast.

I don't know much about shrimp outside of the fact that they are yummier than the President's dog, but my understanding is that they tend to 'school'. Are we seeing the beginning of a scenario where a school of these giant shrimp swoop down on a school of smaller shrimp and gobble them up? If so, this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Instead, we will have schools of giant size shrimp cruising the Gulf Of Mexico, just waiting for a Forest Gump to come along and net them up for market.

It means more plentiful (and cheaper) large-size shrimp for the masses, and my grill.

Maybe the 'failed' farming attempt will prove out to be more successful in the long run than planned.
Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Sunday, April 29, 2012


So how's the new pad coming along?
Steadily and surely.

This is what I walked into, for the most part. Seems the previous occupant had a nasty fetish for pinkish wallpaper. It's everywhere.
Bedroom #2 was a freakish serenade of hideousness.

Not one, but two layers of pinkish wallpaper adored this space.
Seeing as how this same space would be housing my 86 year old father-in-law (a life-long football coach, who was only kept off the Los Angeles Rams O-line by an career ending injury), who isNOT a pink kinda man, a re-coloring was beyond called for.
He picked the color, and I went to work.
Really, I went to work.

Whoever put this shit up (and in this case, 'shit' is the proper term for it, may they rot in Hell) did a damn good job (make that two Hells).
They used a lot of glue.

I scrapped and scrapped. A soaking with a water bottle helps a lot. There's gotta be a better, easier way to remove wall paper. I just don't know what it is yet.

The pic shows half way through the job. If you look into the bag of trash, you see the pink stripped shit that was on top.

Today, I finished the re-painting, most of it anyway. Still gotta add some finishing touches to the trim and drag the vacuum around.

It's looking better, if I should say so myself.
Because all scientists are experts in climatology.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Be It Ever So Humble

Or, from the Big House to the Outhouse.
You may remember, back in 2008 I bought this bitchin cool house at a steep repo discount:

I wasn't over-extending myself. I don't play that way. It was affordable (at the time) and offered a few benefits (like plenty of rooms for visiting family) that made it a sensible choice at the time.

Yeah, well then Bushobamageddon happened... All the world went to shit... And my world went with it.
(This is not a tale of personal woe. It's happened to lot's of private sector worker people, not just me.)

As time went, and half of my income with it, I made a few wrong decisions. The worst of them being of the mind that sooner rather than later things at the plant would turn around. I just needed to 'hang in there.
So I did.
And spent a sizable savings account dry while making up the shortage for the monthly mortgage.
All dried up, I made my last payment in April, a year ago.
I applied for a modification (which are veeerrry slow coming) and received a foreclosure notice in the meantime.
Last December I decided that there was no way in hell this was going to be able to work for me and applied for a Short Sale.

Finally, the mortgage company got back to me (after they had posted an auction date for April 30th).
Basically, their offer was for me get a buyer before a certain date, or they would grant a Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure.
This means that if I just hand them the keys and leave, and they won't foreclose.
This supposedly saves my credit report from having a foreclosure on it, allowing me to purchase again in as short as three year's time.
'Deed In Lieu...' is used when a mortgage holder's income is too small to allow even a modification to take place. It's part of the new rules, I think.

Good news, I found a buyer (who also got laid-off from his job and had to withdraw), and then with the clock ticking down I found another. The approved sale price is 70k less than what I paid, and 260k less than what the previous owner paid in 2007 for a brand new house.

More positive news:
I found another home that I will be renting with an option to buy.
It's a sweet deal for me. Rent is lower by a few hundred a month than would be normal for this place in this area, and a portion of my rent is applied to the sales price should I choose to excercise my option. In three years, I plan on it.
It's good to have a good friend in a position to offer to help a buddy out.
Actually, it's sweet for both for us. A win-win.
I wouldn't accept the offer any other way.
I get cheaper rent with option...
He gets a bigger return than he would get from a bank, with a lot less hassle and bullshit from a tenant whose character he's known for twenty years and who won't fuck him.
That, and I got to pick out the place for him to purchase.

This is my new pad.

It's a permanent foundation double-wide, two bedroom, two bath, exceptionally well cared for with one original owner since 1976. It also has a stick-built addition running along one side, providing a step-down den, step-down office room attached to the master, and a fully enclosed front porch.
The two-car garage also includes another tandem garage structure that was used/wired for a work shop.
The grounds are well landscaped in a clean-looking low maintenance plan with drip irrigation, several fruit trees, flowers and roses, patio slab, and lots of potential for easy cost-efficient modification. Two large trees at east and west provide cover from the direct sun (and heat) lowering utility costs.
It's geographical location within the hills provides plenty of breezes. I like that.
It's located in a development known as The Farm. Lots of citrus groves inhabit the commons and green belts (my property backs onto a green belt. Yeah!) When the breeze blows, you can smell the sweet scent of citrus trees wafting through the house.

It should be a nice, adequate and simple home for the Wife and I, fitting well with our lifestyle together for years to come.
Sorry, out-of-towners. No room here. Wish it could be different, but it ain't.
It also offers me plenty of opportunity to do some of things that turn me on: home improvement. I got plans, yes I do.
The place is nearly forty years old, and nothing has been upgraded since it was built. This will change.
Sure, it needs a lot of work, cosmetic wise. But the home is sound and move-in ready.
First to go is all that crazy wall paper.

I may have fallen far by some people's standards, but the landing looks to be soft.
I know one thing: It sure beats a tent on the pasture in Henry County, Georgia where I thought I would be heading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Lamest Generation

Health officials on Tuesday reported the rise of a troubling new trend in Southland emergency rooms: teenagers being treated for alcohol poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer.

I remember standing outside the liquor store asking somebody to spot for me. And it never took long to get what we were after, either.
Today's kids just ain't as creative as we were back then.
Lacking in the social graces maybe?
Too much time spent indoors and online have left them unable to function publicly among others, I guess.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Canary In The Coal Mine

How do you know when your country is headed in the wrong the direction: When even Mexicans don't want to go there.

If it sucks too much for them, you know it really sucks.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Do I Dismiss This With A Sigh?

Oh Wow, seems I've been switched to New Blogger without my intent. It's happened before, a few weeks ago. Guess I'll have to correct that again.

Maybe New Blogger is better, maybe it isn't.
I'm not much interested in finding out if I don't have to.
I'm a tech caveman at heart. I resist new tech.
It's fine for those that dig it, but I'm not with the 'those'.
I don't want to learn the 'new and improved' stuff when I've been cruising along just fine with the old stuff. New buttons and beepbeeps just confuse me and invade my comfort zone.
I bet if I had been born Amish I would be loving it.
Sometimes I feel as if I'm partly tech-Amish already.
Change is good for diapers, dreamers and politicians to hawk. Not for its own sake when it's only purpose is to disrupt the minds of guys like me.

Speaking of changes...
Looks like it's about time to change the battery in my car. It's getting all fuzzy and corroded along the posts. This will be the first time I ever changed out a car battery before it actually failed me. ya know what's cool about it? It's a factory original. 2004. Yeah, Eight years old. With the exception of brakes, tires and radiator cap, I've had to replace/fix nothing on this car. Eight years. 150,000 miles.
I should probably see to that timing belt real soon, too.
It's a Hyundai. My next car will be, too.
Thank you, Republic Of Korea, and to the veterans who fought for it to be.

Speaking of Korean exports, my dentist is cool. He's a one man operation aided by an English proficient receptionist. No matter how full his schedule is, he can fit me in for a cleaning at an hour's notice. He does it all: Dental work, Hygienist, ex-rays...
When other dentists have all the latest electric comfy chairs and tech gadgetry (like digital x-rays, televisions, and what do you call that thing where you 'sign' your name on a consent form with a pen that doesn't write and it appears on a PC screen across the desk?) Yeah, he got none of that.
It's like stepping back into the 80's or something. Maybe even the 70's.
Best part is the dude is really sweet and he knows what he's doing.
Across the boulevard is a fully technified and modern dentist office with a huge staff and all the whizbang bells and whistles. It takes 2-3 months to get a hygienist appointment. And then they try to sell you the expensive procedures your insurance won't cover. Those guys suck. And their dentists aren't that good, either.
I'll take competent, effective, 'back to the 80's' dentistry from a Korean whose English I can only understand 1/3 of the time over the alternative.
My dentist rocks.

Things have been busy here of late. Really, really busy. So busy, if had a mind left I'd be losing it. I'm moving. Short story: can't keep the house (Yeah, that killer house I used to be able to afford) and had to find another place to live. A big step down, but I'm welcoming it. Really, I am.
But trying to fit a 5br/3200sf house, and a 3br/1500sf house into the 'about' 1800sf I'm moving into (along with my Father-in-Law who can't keep his, either) is proving to be a big bag of suck.

I'm still waiting for the current administrations of the United States and California to offer up a good reason why they both need another term. Like too many others, I'm getting tired of circling the drain.
Today, my plant was toured by Jose Solorio(Mexican-Democrat,Anaheim), a state assemblyman. Supposedly, our union president was there to greet him and inform him of his sins, which include raising the costs of doing business in California. To quote the rep: "I told him, keep driving out the businesses and there won't be anybody left to pay those taxes you wanna raise."
Seriously, we are fighting for our jobs here. Fully one-third of my plant hasn't worked a full, 40hr week since last October. And this worthless shit-for-brains wants to raise business taxes to cover the deficit.
You'd think he would at least have the class to shake a few working-man hands while he was there. You'd have thought wrong.
Doesn't matter, I guess. He'd just stab your back as he shakes your hand. That's what they do in a land ruled by monkeys.
Which we are.
You got that, Solorio? I called you a fucking monkey.
To do so insults monkeys, so I apologize to monkeys everywhere.
But only to the monkeys.
California politicians should be apologizing to me, cause they suck.

Rule by higher-intelligence apes would be an improvement.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Glory Of Spam, A "How To"

It was a couple years ago, during the first year of this administration I think. President Obama had left D.C. to spend some recreation time in his home state of Hawaii.

Of course, the media followed him like flies on horse shit, reporting his every move.
At one point, The President had ordered some grub at a lunch counter where one of his requested items was Spam Musubi.
This was a little exotic for the press corps. By their reaction you'd think it was Romney learning about grits or something.
Buncha morons... all of them.

Begs the question: How does one rise up through the ranks after attending the better schools and still be clueless about a popular Hawaiian soul food dish?

Well, I've finally done it at home. Grabbed a press on-line, and went for it, making Spam Musubi for dinner... two nights in a row. Woo...... Hoo!
Yeah... living the good life here, yes I do.

Here's how it's done:
First, get yerself a musubi press. Try Ebay or something.
I'll wait....

Ok, you got it?
Awright, now you gotta get the ingredients.

You will need:
- One package of nori. Also called seaweed paper, seaweed wrap... or sushinori.
It comes in standard size sheets or half-sheets. In the pic are standard sheets. You will need to cut them down the middle lengthwise.
Use scissors if you want. I just pulled that stack out of the package, laid them on a cutting board and used a soduku, pressing firmly.

- Some teriyaki sauce. Not that much, maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup.

- One can of Spam. Just regular 'classic' Spam. Don't waste your time on the various varieties of less-unhealthy, more-spicy, or fowl-derived Spam. Those ain't Spam. This recipe calls for Spam. The Real Thing. Just get Spam, OK?

- About 1.5 cups of uncooked rice.
Now, pay attention here. Do NOT use Uncle Ben's, Jasmine, Basmati or Minute Rice. For this you will need real Japanese-variety of rice. Either a short-grained 'sushi' rice or the medium-grained, like Cal-Rose variety.
It's gotta be sticky when cooked. Use the wrong kind (stay way from Chinese/Uncle Ben's/Vietnamese/Thai varieties) and this thing just will not work.
I'm using Cal-Rose rice today. Mainly because I always have it on hand, and it is half the price of officially labeled 'sushi rice'. It works just as well.

- One musubi press. You should know what that is by know, since you already ordered it online per my instructions.

Cook the rice per the instructions on the bag, or use a rice cooker. A rice cooker is a standard appliance for me, much like a toaster. It was the 'get the hell outta here' gift from my folks when I moved out of their house the first (and only) time.
Hey, Gardena boy here, raised around sushi take-out and taco shops ... I've said that already.

-- Next: Take the Spam loaf out of the can and slice it into eighths. About a 1/4 inch width per slice.

-- Put a splash or two of the Teriyaki Sauce in a large non-stick skillet, on medium-high heat. When the sauce is hot, arrange your Spam slices and let cook for a few minutes.

The Teriyaki Sauce will burn and blacken a bit. That's cool. It caramelizes the sugars and acts as a tasty glaze for your Spam.
Add another splash or two of sauce as it evaporates away.

-- Turn the Spam over and cook the other side.

<<< If it looks like this, yer doing fine.

When finished, leave the Spam in the pan, because grease and stuff is good for you, and you want your Spam to soak some of that up while yer working on the next step.

-- Place your Musubi mold over a sheet of rice paper. (Actually, the proper word for this paper is 'Nori'). Try to center it, OK?

-- Add some of the cooked rice to the mold, about a 1/4 cup should do.

Press down with the 'press' part of the mold.
Press down firmly. You want that rice packed and holding itself together.

-- Take a slice of Spam outta the pan and place it into the mold, on top of the packed rice layer.

Add another layer of rice on top of the Span slice, same as the first, and pack it firmly with the press.

--Holding the press handle firmly, lift the mold up and off the rice-Spam-rice stack.

Wrap the nori around, sealing the ends by smearing a few grains of the sticky rice around the edge of the nori.

--Slice into finger-sized portions and serve.

Often presented with mayonnaise or mustard as condiments, but this is not necessary. It tastes great on it's own, preferably fresh and warm.

A hint: I prefer an extra wrap of nori on top of the first.
The added crunch is pure awesomeness.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


<<< Don't look at that.

What's wrong with this country when a woman receives an "Atta Girl" from the President for issues concerning her recreational sex life yet when a guy has his own fun it's a scandal to the administration?
"War On Men", anyone?

This is not news.
Access to any White House is a direct correlation to how much one can help it's political ambitions.
The news is that it is the New York Times reporting this while a Democrat occupies the residence.

^^^ Why are you still looking at that? I told you not to.

When he was 5, my Gramps was sent to live in an orphanage for several months after a tornado visited his town of Beaverville, IL. His family's home was destroyed while they took refuge in a neighbor's cellar. I have a pic of the town's aftermath, somewhere.
He always spoke fondly of the orphanage period. Lot's to eat, plenty of playtime, and the nuns were full of love. He referenced it often.
I've never experienced a tornado. Sometimes I wonder what's like after seeing the coverage on TV.
Gramps always told me it's scary, something I could do without.
I know all about earthquakes though. I generally sleep through them.

News Flash:Holding a gun makes you appear stronger and more powerful. Yeah, they needed a study for that.

Just because a babe has made millions modeling cosmetics, designer gowns, high-end jewelry, and stripping naked in movies doesn't give anybody the right to notice her appearance.
Everybody: just stop looking at Ashley Judd. She don't like it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Roger That

On the way home today I decided to get off the freeway and take a frontage road. Too many cars sliding around due to heavy rainfall, I figured I was a bit safer on the less traveled lanes.

A fairly heavy storm had hit about noon and had been pummeling the region without pause. It was now 3:30pm. Even the frontage road was flooded in spots, maybe 6-10 inches of water, several cars stranded in the currents... I was happy for fuel injection and not stalling out myself.
This is why I prefer the SUV over the standard automobile. A higher profile, a few extra inches above the muck, has it's advantages.

Passing through I noticed a car in a peculiar location.
What was he doing there, on that side of the fence, and how the hell did he get there?
Something seemed amiss.
I made a U-turn to investigate.
I also took a picture.
(clickabiggen, and you see the rain drops and how hard they were falling)

Good thing, too.

I parked and got out, trudged through the mud that engulfed my ankles while rain continued to pour down, soaking through my jeans, cap and coat.
By the time I reached my target and climbed over the fence I may as well have been wearing no clothing at all with the degree of wetness I was feeling.

I found a lower twenty-something dude inside the car. He may have been a near thirty-something. It is sometimes hard to tell with Asians. He was clearly a bit dazed and razzle-dazzled.

What up? You O.K.?

He was fine, physically.
Just in case, I looked him over and asked a few stupid questions to gauge a response.

His car had hydroplaned, he lost control and ended up off the road... and down the steep embankment.
I didn't bother to check his drawers. (Somethings he would need to do for himself.)
He's damned lucky he didn't roll it.

I looked the car over, saw no obvious damage, but noticed he was either driving on racing slicks or bald tires.
I mentioned this to him.
Dude, your wheels are bald.
That is why you are where you are.

"I know. I put it off too long."

I'm Gino...
"Thank You for stopping. My name is Roger."

Nice to meet you, Roger.
Tell me... are you stupid or are you crazy? It's raining like a motherfucker. Yer on the freeway with bald ass tires...

" I know, I know... I'm sorry..."

Don't be sorry. Be grateful.
"I'm sorry..."
Shh... listen to me-
I looked him straight in the eye... and I went off.

No seriously.
I went off.

Four years ago, on this same highway, my sister was driving with bald tires. Her tire blew. She lost control. She rolled... and she died.
Get this, bro.
She fucking died.
Right there on the side of the fuckin road.
This road.
She rolled her truck and died.
Popped her head like a fuckin grape.
You want that shit?
She died.
I saw it.
Blood and brains and shit all over the fuckin place.
You want that?
You wanna die?
You want that for you?
For your family?
To hurt your parents like that?

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

Ever seen a parent cry over a child?
Over something that didn't have to happen?
Go ahead, fuck yourself if you want, but don't fuck your parents.
They don't deserve it.

"I know, I know... I'm sorry. It's my fault..."

Roger was visibly shaking now.

Don't be sorry. Be educated.
Roger was now in tears.

"I'm sorry..."

I paused my tirade to let him think... then continued.

Listen to me, Bro...
Today, you stared death in the eye.
Death blinked.
Death don't blink twice.
You with me?

"I'm so sorry..."

Don't be sorry. Just be wiser. Learn from this so it doesn't have to happen again.

"It won't. I promise."

Her name was 'Mary'. Remember it so that next time the name isn't 'Roger'.

We called a tow truck while I sat with him waiting for it arrive.
Sitting in the car with him was a nice respite from the downpour, and we were able to introduce ourselves a little better.
It turns out he lives in the same development as I do. We are neighbors.

He's a good dude. And he's assured me that he will never drive on bald tires again. Ever, ever. He's learned his lesson.

Maybe some good will come from Mary's loss, after all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just for the record: I support unworking women.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dennis, Pt 2

"There's more to driving than steering."
What's your trip?
"You're gonna learn to drive for real. Be in control and stay there."
Dennis in the 'Alpha' position wasn't a normal occurrence, more on that later...
Where we going?
"Camino. Where else?"
He was laughing, and still had the grin of the cat who just discovered the canary's location.
I knew that grin well.

'Camino' was shorthand for El Camino College, the local junior college we would both be attending eventually.
Camino had a large and spacious obstacle-free parking lot. I wasn't the first who learned to drive in it.

The streets were flooding up to the sidewalks on some blocks. Arriving at Camino we find the lot itself is under a layer of water, inches deep in a few places.
After showing me what to do, Dennis had me hydroplaning and spinning all over the lot.
Slamming on the brakes and winding up in a swerving skid...
Practice control, he said.
Don't tense up, Dummy!
Let the car tend where it will, hold the wheel straight, and then use the wheel to nudge it in a different direction.
Wait til the tires make contact again.
Don't force it, Dummy!
Never panic.
Don't fight it, manage it.
Loose your mind, you'll lose the car.

When we were done Dennis was laughing his ass off at me, yet sported this smug grin of a man who knew he had imparted knowledge to an idiot.

Needless to say... I learned a few things that night.
Precious things that likely saved my ass on more than one occasion since.
(Things that would have saved my sister's ass 4 years ago.)
Like Dennis, who drove like he had a Banshee on his shoulder, I tend to push my extremes a bit on the road.

He had taught me the same skills Armando had taught him, and in the same manner.
Armando: Not like other dads.
My Dad would have never taken me out in the rain, in the worst conditions to teach the extreme part of driving, encouraging reckless attempts so as to learn from them.

I don't know of any other friend's dad who did, either.

It was only later, and in some case many years later (like when I rolled my car in '94, or was doing plus 90 when a tire blew out in '99)... I would look back after a hair-raising event... and thank Dennis.
If Zimmerman isn't convicted there will be riots. Bet on it.
A better bet still: he will get convicted, because too much depends on it politically.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Nothing much inspires me lately.

Time to play the Ask Gino meme.

Go ahead and ask me about anything. I'll try do my best with it.

Dennis, Pt 1

It was during one of the baddest rain storms in several years when the doorbell went off. I was tucked away in my room, just chillin, when there was a knock and Mom yelling through the door, "Gino! Dennis is here."
What the fuck...?

The folks liked Dennis. He was always respectful, polite, and viewed them with measurable admiration, as he did all parents... Dad loved 'car talk' with him. Dennis, a car nerd, knew a lot for a kid his age, and was always willing to listen to something new and expressed amazement easily.

Waiting for me in the living room, I see Dennis' travel from curb to door had drenched him through and through.
Dude, what's up?
"Had an idea, let's go..."
He had that grin of a cat who just learned the presence of a canary.
Turning to my folks, he uttered something about a movie.

I got shoe'd, grabbed a jacket and followed Dennis out the door into the downpour. Dad was yelling something about "Careful" and "Don't be stupid".
Darkness had set in, yet it was still early in the evening.

Dennis threw me his keys "You're driving! HA!HA!"
Fuuuuck You. It's raining.

It was April of 1980. I had just turned 16 years old. Dennis had me in the age department by about three months, but his Dad had been teaching him how to drive since he was 13. He got his license, and a car (nothing fancy, a 10yr old Toyota), on his 16th birthday.

My folks weren't near as cool as Dennis' dad:
On my 16th, I was allowed to test for my learner's permit, but not allowed to get a license until I had the cash to pay for my own insurance.
Needless to say, no job yet at barely 16 meant that I wouldn't be getting my license anytime soon.

Unbeknownst to my folks: I had been driving since Dennis got his permit. At 15 1/2, California issues "Learner's Permits", allowing the permit holder to operate a vehicle provided he is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Dennis' dad made a pact with him: he can drive alone to run errands/short trips around town, but if he got cited, he would not receive his license until after his 18th birthday.
Unbeknownst to Dennis' dad: Dennis was picking me up and giving me the wheel, teaching me how to drive.

Yeah, we were sneaky bastards.
Dennis loved pulling one over on The Man. Even if 'The Man' in this case was the single most revered and respected man in his life.
I cannot understate this: his dad truly was the most revered and respected man in his life. A man of Superhero proportions.

To me, Mr. Flores was just another Dad who was cooler than most other dads.
And I need to add... Mr. Flores was also less-cool than most dads in some respects. He was on occasion raw, blunt and vulgar toward them where I didn't see other friend's dads being.

From the outside: Mr. Flores was a man with a smile that lit up a city block who loved his kids with an overt (if less-than-cuddly) passion.
He had a tough act, raising three kids by himself while holding down two full time jobs.
Yeah, that's right. No time for bullshit.
Yet, his kids always referred to him in the second-person by his first name.
I had never seen this before.
He was "Dad" to them, "Armando" when spoken of.
I was like: WTF?
It seemed disrespectful to me at first.
But when you see Father's Day plans being made weeks in advance by three kids as if it was beyond Christmas or something... a joyful event... it was clear that there was a lot more going on among them than met the eye.
"Armando" was a god. He was revered and feared and loved.
He earned every bit of it.

By extension... I modeled a few of my fatherhood techniques from lessons learned while spending countless hours and nights at the Flores home.

(First in a series of what needs to be said...)

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Seems most of us like it.
Hooray for us!

My usual method is served up crisp with fried eggs and toast. This I can do at home.
What I grew up with, back in Gardena with all those Japanese walking around, was a sort of sushi called Spam Musubi, and served warm.
It's a classic Hawaiian treat.

It's still a regular side order for me when I hit the ramen shops back in that town I do not call 'home' when visiting Mom.

If given the chance, try it. The salty sweet of teriyaki-marinated Spam compliments very well with the sticky-style rice wrapped in a crisp and savory seaweed paper.

Someday, I'll make it at home. The idea has been on my bucket list for years.
It's a workable portable snack that travels as well as a sandwich.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pink Slime

Some processors label beef containing 'pink slime'

I don't have a problem eating what is known as Pink Slime. I'm already aware that meat processing can be a messy affair, so... hey, what's one more thing I didn't expect?

What I have an issue with is the not knowing.

When I buy something labeled as 'Ground Beef', my mind immediately pictures bits and scraps of beef too small to be sold as cuts (i.e., steaks, roasts, etc.) that are fed into a grinder. You know... the same thing my deer processor does when I deliver a carcass to be retrieved later.

I assume everybody else is thinking the same thing.

Seems folks are upset with the beef processors when their real anger should be at the government agencies who allowed the obvious/straight forward thoughts/expectations of consumers to be corrupted.

You know that somewhere along the line money has changed hands to make this happen.

That said, Pink Slime is safe.
Pink Slime is protein.
It has a legitimate place in a budget minded food chain.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hunger Games

Several hundred years into the future, two teens (one male/one female) from each of twelve governmental districts are chosen by lottery to partake in The Hunger Games, a national spectacle where the participants fight to the death on national television until there is one survivor.

It's blood-dripping reality TV that takes on a bizarre twist with all the pomp and ceremony leading up to the big event. Creepy.

The film centers on Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a tough and nimble gal who volunteers for the games when her younger sister is chosen. Lawrence is on-screen for nearly every shot, something she pulled off well before in "Winter's Bone". She'll be a big star now.

It's a good story, something American cinema desperately needs to break out of it's comic book fad. Also appreciated is the lack of over blown digital effects, another sad trend.

On the negative side, slow moving. I had hard time focusing my attention to what was going on before me. I'm thinking that I wasn't the only one since there seemed to be way to much conversation happening among my fellow theater goers, many of whom walked out early.
My estimate, maybe 15% of those who started the show did not finish. What started out as a nearly full room produced several empty seats around me before closing time.

Or, it may have been the 'shaky camera' style. This is where stable-image techniques are nearly abandoned for handheld camera work. This element is fine for some things, like the D-Day landing in "Saving Private Ryan", but totally sucks when 90% of the movie is filmed this way.
I think more than 90% of the movie was filmed this way. I was getting motion sickness just sitting there. By the time the end credits rolled, I was sick to my stomach. Almost too queasy to make the drive home. It was bad.

Be warned.
This is a difficult movie to watch, but not for it's subject matter.
Sequels are already in the works. I won't be seeing any of them if filmed in the same manner.