Archive for the 'Friday Fare' category

The (Semi)Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Revolution

As it turns out, an attractive young woman can still hope to find a well-fit pair of low rise jeans in post-apocalyptic America. Charlie's parents must have thoughtfully looted all styles and sizes while fleeing after the electricity went off, so that when grown up, she'd be well-dressed to take on the walk through the woods to Chicago.

That was one of my first impressions of Revolution, a new NBC show. Everyone had relatively nice, well-fitting clothes, even after 15 years of no new manufacture, no washers and dryers, and no hot showers for the sweaty bodies laboring in those clothes. My mind wandered back to Lost, and how the characters got sweaty, grimy, soaked in rainstorms and so forth, until Ben Linus gave Kate that nice new dress.  Charlie's mother is Juliet Burke - possibly this is where she landed after the Incident, and not in the future fighting space aliens on behalf of humanity and a sulky teenage boy. Or perhaps they are all alternate timelines. Anyway, she dies offscreen in the first 10 minutes or so.  She's slated for 6 episodes so we'll probably see more of her in...flashbacks!

Charlie is also a sulky teenager, of the female variety, who wants to go exploring, even though Dad says she'll get raped.  The world is dangerous for women! There's nothing out there that's worth seeing! He wants to Taliban her up in the compound and keep her safe.  Joke's on him: he gets shot to death in the compound and she leaves to roam the wider world in search of his brother. It's okay, because he asked her nicely to do it.

The brother, in deep cover, is a cakewalk to find.  Charlie, along with her father's sexy doctor lover and the requisite shaggy-haired glasses-wearing science geek set out together as the unlikely band. Along the way they pick up a hawt archery dude. They fight off two rapists with some poisoned alcohol (did you see that, Deborah Blum?) and a well-placed arrow and boom! they're in Chicago.

Lady walks into a bar, sez "Do you know where my Uncle Miles is?" Bartender says, "No kid, I'm just trying to keep a low profile here." Lady pouts, bartender melts and next thing you know they're in the back room together. Not doing that. Just talking. Then Mr. Z and I got too sleepy to watch the rest of what we'd tivo'd. I think we were pretty far into the episode.  I'm guessing Miles agrees to help her search for her kidnapped brother even though he says he's just bait, and they set out on another leg of the quest next week.

Hilariosity in this episode, there was much. How could anyone stand to be in that bar after 15 years of no air conditioning or plumbing? Seriously, find some ethnic Germans and go to their biergarten. You know they will be brewing up Heifeweisse according to Reinheitsgebot.  Charlie does a dramatic voice-over: "If you were in the cities, you died. If you got out, you survived."  I'm pretty certain that most city dwellers (I include myself tho I'm in the burbs) would drop like flies without electricity of any source or kind.  How would you find food for yourself? Do you know how to produce your own food?  How long would it take you to learn? Could you learn fast enough so that you wouldn't starve to death? How are you going to learn if Google has already scanned all the books and they've been sent to the shredder? If you do make it out to the countryside, do you think Sharon Astyk is going to let every last blessed New Yorker trample her farm and eat everything in her larder? You'll look like a plague of locusts descending.  The farm folk will as soon shoot you as help you.  Okay, I don't think Sharon will shoot you but you never know.

So it takes a major suspension of disbelief to imagine our coddled city dwellers make it to the counstryside, learn how to farm and raise sheep (Sharon would say goats are a better choice), and manage to grab and defend some choice land, all while looting the aforementioned selection of jeans for their children's future needs.  The land looks like it's next door to the former planned community of Sylvania Acres (or equivalent). Maybe the houses were built in the fields so they were good to go. In Terra Nova they solved the pioneer problem by saying moar teknology! and dinosaurs! eating people! which was awesome, but the acting was so awful all you could do was cheer for the dinosaurs to eat moar people.

Charlie's younger brother has asthma, which makes it officially the favorite chronic disease of the post-apocalypse among show writers (Shannon had it in Lost) because a kindly knowledgeable doctor who just happened to survive along with you knows how to make natural remedies! Congestive heart failure, muscular dystrophy, chronic migraines, high blood pressure - none of it shows as well on tv as an asthma attack where a doctor can swoop in and RESCUE! And those asthma attacks are amazingly easy to relieve - just a pinch or two of this or that herb and voila! you wonder why anyone today is using inhalers.

The best part of all is that the laws of physics have completely changed! Not gravity, of course, or any of the physics having to do with the structure and use of items of steel and iron but just, you know, the electrical laws!

I won't mention the 15 year old postcard inside the RV that, exposed to the elements, is nonetheless in almost pristine shape; or the relatively high quality of the RV interior itself for that matter. We can allow that for dramatic license.  In fact, I'll allow the whole crazy bit of it, because this is a goddam prime time one hour scripted drama with actual actors, not another America Can Haz Moar Singing With The Celebrity Apprentices!  I want to cheer on their brave efforts, and hope it survives and is good, and networks don't quit doing this sort of thing. Maybe they're in purgatory...that would explain how they all suddenly know  how to farm and raise animals...and the nice clean clothing...hmmm...

I'll watch the second episode for sure, and see where this goes.

UPDATE: Finally watched the last 15-20 minutes. Crikey! Awesome sword play, and an ending as fun as finding the hatch! Let's not quibble over the laws of physics, shall we?

6 responses so far

Why I Love The Farmer's Market

May 18 2009 Published by under Friday Fare

It's May, and that means farmer's market season again - yay! The pain of having to get up early on Saturday - in order to get the good stuff before it's gone - is canceled out by the tasty joys of all the good meals you can make with that good stuff. And the farmer's market has encouraged me to eat outside my comfort zone. The friendly vendors tell me about vegetables I've never tried before and give me cooking suggestions. Last year one of the vendors offered a great cookbook that has been a great help, too - Simply in Season. There's a Simply in Season website, too.
This past Saturday at the local farmer's market, I bought Jerusalem artichokes for the first time ever. The vendor gave me a taste of them at the market and I was sold - crispy, crunchy, nutty-flavored. The vendor suggested eating them with a fried egg sandwich, which sounded odd, but turned out to be delicious. They were also great sliced up in a salad along with fresh spring onions, some kind of funky tubular radishes, and some yummy local cheese. Mmmm.
Eat local, if and when you can. It's good for the earth, and it just tastes so, so much better.

7 responses so far

Rethinking The Shoe Thing

I've been thinking a lot lately, and it seems to me that I spend way too much time puking on other peoples' shoes and not nearly enough time prancing about in my own fancy high heels. So this past weekend I did some shopping. Here's one result:
cherry pop.jpg
Let me tell you, Mr. Zuska is happy about this turn of events! I also got these:
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Of course, after an evening in those, I couldn't walk at all the next day due to my arthritic toes but it was all worth it, because I knew I had finally consumed my way into modern womanhood. I know this because I was reading Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office, a 1993 publication of the Cooper-Hewitt museum that accompanied an exhibit by the same name. And I came across this quote which explained it all to me:

A person articulates herself as female in part through the material objects and images that frame her daily activities. "Gender" is the set of behavioral norms and expectations that members of a given society attribute to the physical differences between women and men. In the words of anthropologist Gayle Rubin, who has analysed the difference between biological "sex" and cultural "gender," the making of a woman is a social process. Feminist studies of design and technology look at products, buildings, cities, and media in relation to women users. Although the built environment is designed largely by men, much of it is constructed with female consumers in mind; design thus contributes to the "making" of modern women.

I gotta tell ya, I am tickled pink to be articulating myself as female today!

27 responses so far

Pie Day Contest

Mar 10 2009 Published by under Friday Fare, Geekalicious, What They're Saying

If you've been reading the blogs of some of my Sciblings, you know there is this Pi(e) Day contest going on, till March 14. (Get it?) You are supposed to bake a pie, then post a picture and the recipe. Janet in particular has been posting some very tasty looking pies, and her violet custard pie was just astonishing. I thought briefly about submitting an entry but (1) I am no baker, (2) even when I have attempted to bake something, it's never been a pie, and (3) having seen these other entries, I'd be ashamed to even think of submitting whatever shabby thing I could probably come up with.
So instead I'll just share with you this fab Philly Ink article about the Pie Lady.
Also, there's this Rick Nichols piece about Pennsylvania Dutch pies. It is my fond hope to make a pilgrammage to Krumsville in order to sample the pie spread there at Dietrich's myself.

Some were laid out on a table near the cash register. But that was just a smattering: Dietrich started enumerating the full pie line.
There is blueberry crumb, which is her personal favorite of the crumb family, which includes strawberry-rhubarb crumb and apple (Granny Smith) crumb, and cherry and huckleberry - foraged in the mountains - crumb and strawberry crumb and peach crumb. "Did I say rhubarb?"
Then there's a fine, cinnamony apple "with a lid." And a big softball of an apple dumpling. And mincemeat, which is a fine mince of beef and various citrus and raisins they make on premises and which, blessedly, is not cloyingly sweet. There are egg-custard pies, as well - a coconut custard and an astonishingly tasty black raspberry custard, and a red raspberry custard, and blueberry custard, peach, cherry and molasses custard, and a black walnut custard that, frankly, is overly subtle. And a molasses-coconut custard.
There is much more: Lemon sponge and lemon meringue, and coconut, chocolate and vanilla cream, and a crispy-topped local black walnut pie without any dairy that can keep for weeks just like a pecan pie, which it is related to. And a pageant of shoofly pies - wet-bottom, honey, lemon ("which is what they sometimes call Montgomery Pie") and vanilla and chocolate versions of shoofly pie, some cut in halves, the better to reveal their inner beauty.

Oh, pie, how we love you. May I have a slice right now? Mmmmmm....

3 responses so far

Isis, You Should Have Been There At The Philly Flower Show!

Feb 28 2009 Published by under Friday Fare, Geekalicious, Some Good News For A Change

Mr. Zuska and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show today. It's always wonderful to enter the show on a dull winter day and be struck with the glory of a giant convention center in full bloom. The show officially opens tomorrow, but today was the preview for Pennsylvania Horticultural Society members - of which there must be a zillion, because the show floor was mobbed.
One of the biggest - certainly one of the most excited - mobs was around this exhibit:
all shoes [320x200].JPG
Yes: shoes! Made out of flowers 'n' stuff! Close ups after the jump.

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7 responses so far

Witch Hazel at the Morris Arboretum

Feb 27 2009 Published by under Friday Fare, Gardening For Life

A week or so ago I went for a walk at the Morris Arboretum on a day with lovely weather, when it had warmed up just enough to make a winter walk delightful. I came around a bend in the path and encountered a cloudy vision of yellow - a witch hazel in full bloom.
M A witch hazel.jpg
It's not the best picture, but mind you I took it with my cell phone. This closeup didn't come out too bad:
M A ultra closeup.jpg
Isn't that pretty? Witch hazel blossoms are such amazing things.
And yet -why, why, why, I wondered, why is the Morris Arboretum's witch hazel in such a glory of bloom, while the best my witch hazel can do is produce a few straggly blossoms in a sea of bare branches?
my witch hazel 1 [320x200].JPG
Granted I am no professional gardener. Clearly my witch hazel is not as beautifully pruned. But is it too much to hope that maybe next year, I could get blooms on most of the branches instead of just a few?
Note those wooden stakes around the witch hazel in the first photo. I am going to have to add something like that to my shrub soon, to keep the deer from rubbing their antlers on it. The other day Mr. Zuska and I saw SEVEN of them waltzing their way through our backyard.
I bought the witch hazel at one of the Morris Arboretum annual plant sales, for two reasons. One, it is about the only thing that will bloom at this time of year, and it's so nice to have something to bloom when everything is so bare. (That is, if it blooms!) And two, because it is a native plant, although the particular cultivar I have may or may not be close to the properties of the true native Hamamelis virginiana. In any case, according to the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, it has "low wildlife value". Oh well. I still want it to bloom. Maybe next year.
Just thinking about past MA plant sales got me all excited, and I went browsing on their website to get info about this year's. Sadly, there is no Morris Arboretum plant sale this year, due to construction of a new Horticultural Center - plant sales resume next year. Now where am I going to go dump all my plant cash? I know! On that native plant landscaping plan I want from Yellow Springs Farm!
Here's hoping that if you have a witch hazel, it is blooming gloriously for you.

2 responses so far

The Alias Game

Feb 20 2009 Published by under Friday Fare

Spawned by Alice over at Sciencewomen, who dragged it here from Facebook. Because I needed something silly and lighthearted to think about.

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2 responses so far

Engineers + Cats = Funny!

Dec 27 2008 Published by under Friday Fare, Geekalicious

Cat owner? Or just want to be? These engineers can help you out!

4 responses so far

Just for Isis...

Dec 23 2008 Published by under Friday Fare, Geekalicious

By request of the domestic and laboratory goddess, I am posting here a picture of my recent acquisition, a pair of ankle boots, as mentioned in my last post. It's no shoe of the week, but it's the best this hairy-legged feminazi can offer.


The adorable cat next to the boots is Bodhi, who often behaves as if he were a dog, so it's appropriate to have him posed next to the Hush Puppies boots. The style is Windermere, almost sans heel as is appropriate for my arthritic toe joints. I did NOT pay $94.95 for my boots, however. $69.95 on sale at Macy's, plus 15% off for using my Macy's card! Yay! That may still be too much, who knows, but the purchase was absolutely necessitated by the extraordinary savings I made on another purchase, see below.
According to this site,

The 'Windermere' ankle boot offers clean and simple style to perfectly complete any cool weather ensemble.

More importantly, it also offers

Cushioned latex footbed with breathable metallic lining and built-in arch cookie for comfort and support.

Arch cookie? Yummmm......

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17 responses so far

Hungry for Dessert? Talk to Lab Cat!

Mar 03 2008 Published by under Friday Fare

I had lunch today in downtown Philly with the wonderful and always-interesting Lab Cat. We ate at a restaurant whose philosophy seemed to be "why serve a reasonable portion of food when you can serve a GINORMOUS portion of food?!?!"
This is what Cat got when she ordered a piece of chocolate cake for dessert:


Use the fork as your scale. That's a normal-sized fork. That's NOT a normal-sized piece of cake. In fact, I wouldn't even call that a piece of cake. I'd call that a little cake-berg, calved off of some unfathomably large chocolate glacier. Cat ate a portion of it that amounted to a reasonable dessert, and you could barely tell she touched it. The remainder went home with her, to satisfy her sweet tooth for many a day. I hope she didn't strain her back carrying it home.
Here's another view:


I'm afraid the pictures don't quite do it justice.

4 responses so far

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