Hittin’ the big time

The latest change here at Nat’s TV is, well, Nat’s TV. That’s right, I’m sitting here in the living room with a 46 inch LCD HD monster, obtained for just under three hundred clams, after waiting in line 5.5 hours. When I strode out of Target with this thing, the line of people still waiting to get in actually applauded, I kid you not (I’m not sure how much of it was that I’d scored one of the limited monster TVs, and how much was that I was wearing Superman’s sweatshirt.

However, it’s late, so for now it sits in its box, while the 27″ lowdef tube television it’s replacing glares at it angrily. The smaller set (which I believe cost the same price when it was bought) will be sent to the playroom, to replace the even smaller and less functional set currently on the Wii. It will be a while before I can wall-mount the new one (a wise idea both in earthquake country and in active-2-year-old-boy country), much less arrange for some HD inputs for it. But the first big step has been took. (Main reasons is not that I needed larger at heart, but that the shows have changed visually, to really call for larger sets. Plus, I was feeling guilty having people over for Super Bowl parties and watching a set which seemed so large at the time I got it…

Published in: on November 25, 2011 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

American Horror Story

I was approaching American Horror Story with some concern. Horror isn’t a key genre for me; I can take a good one, but really don’t want to spend my life flinching. Still, I saw Connie Britton; that’s a name I liked even before Friday Night Lights, so I had to give it a try. I hadn’t known that it would have Jessica Lange (and did she somehow skip a major step in her career? From respected, Oscar-winning movie lead to not that visible to support actress in a basic cable series; wasn’t she supposed to be the sassy lawyer or a detective who solves crimes in her spare time or something before hitting this?), but then I saw the name Tim Minear, and I haven’t really been happy with anything he did that did not involve Joss Whedon. And a horror series seemed like something that would have more texture than story, and while I like texture, I need story.

The set-up is basic: a family already in internal crisis moves to a house in the L.A. area, a big, dark, and lovely place that they bought for a fraction of its apparent value. But the house has a history, creepy things occur, and their are neighbors and others around with better knowledge of what’s going on, and with their own plans. The house is a dark, dangerous, but useful power.

The whole dark and creepy thing is done well. At this point, the focus is on revelation, giving the viewer ever more understanding of what is going on…. and they are setting up rules, not a pure physics but at least some structure that creates a consistency that can make story moments meaningful. But can they keep it going when the obvious move is for the family to break up and leave, so it feels stupid when they don’t? Dunno. But I’ve found myself watching each episode (well, except for the one I failed to record), against all expectation. I don’t need it yet, but I keep on wanting it.

Published in: on November 23, 2011 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment  


I like eating kiwi fruit because it’s so fuzzy – it’s like eating a cute little kitten!

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thank you, SFPD

Amidst all the due criticism of police action against Occupy protesters at various location, I would like to give a positive citation to the San Francisco policemen who arrested two of my young friends at the Bank of America the other day. The entire group was treated calmly and with consideration throughout the entire process, and served as clear example that one can enforce the law without degenerating into thuggery. Thank you, SFPD.
Published in: on November 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

The two new legend shows

Playing catch-up here: two new shows are built around fairy tales. It took me a while to catch up with them. Grimm is the more the kind of thing I like; in a lot of ways, it’s a lot like Buffy, with a member of a secret line of monster-stoppers doing battle with legendary monsters, with the hero knowing little about his lineage, and learning as he goes. Okay, it’s really, really like Buffy, if you don’t expect cute girls (it’s a very male series) and fun.

Once Upon a Time is less the kind of thing that I like, but I like it better. This is more a mythology story, spinning a backstory about a land of fairy tale characters and how they became trapped in a more humdrum real world. The writing is occasionally clever, the production value is high (lots of actors from things I’ve liked), and some of the women (it’s a very female series) are quite pleasant to watch. Still, a lot of manufactured darkness that don’t tie into real human emotion. It’s not great, and as with many a big mythology series, one suspects that it will never really get to telling the whole story… or if it does, it will be disappointing. I think I’ll stick with this one a while longer, allow it a chance to breathe and perhaps grow on me.

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Do they listen to theirs ads?

Right in a row, the TV runs an ad for something called “Wrinkle Revolution” (just begs for the next line to be “Your wrinkles will be revolting!”) and one for a health care group using the slogan “Know More. Get Better.” (Nothing like hearing that their services will cause you to “No more get better.”)


Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  

The One With The Potatoes

Last night’s meatloaf was largely free of unusual ingredients, and followed the recent tradition of making them in pie form, rather than as a loaf.

Primary ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mechanically-separated turkey
  • leftover rice
  • a mixture of peas and mixed vegetables, which I suppose leaves you with mixed vegetables, but mixed vegetables with a different ratio of vegetables than what one supposes when one says “mixed vegetables”
  • a handful of raisins
  • some garlic bread seasoning

This was all mushed together and ladeled into two glass pie plates. It is here where the differentiation began:

  • Pie A: topped with leftover pizza sauce which had been gotten with an order of calzones, and some Queso Blanco Velveeta (because they were selling big bricks of it at the 99 Cents Only store)
  • Pie B: I made some mashed potatoes from a mix – bought Betty Crocker Homstyle Creamy Butter, which says on the front “Made with 100% real mashed potatoes With butter”.  Then when I went to make them, discovered that one of the ingredients it’s your job to add to the mix is… butter. I guess I should feel lucky that I didn’t have to add potatoes. Anyway, layered the mashed potatoes on the pie before baking.

Both were thrown into a 400 degree oven for until-they-were-quite-baked, 25 or 30 minutes or so. Also threw into the oven some frozen green beans and some frozen King’s Hawaiian rolls.


Quite, quite good, with everyone asking for seconds. A general preference for pie B, which we were referring to as shepherd’s pie, and to the best of my knowledge not illegitimately. The baked mash potatoes worked out quite well. Certainly my favorite, and even the person who said she didn’t like B then requested B for today’s lunch. Was surprised that the chunks of Velveeta didn’t spread out and integrate itself better into pie A; the lumps of Velveeta stayed in tight little puddles that came easily separated from the meat… but still good eating.

Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm  Comments (2)  

The accurate Shakespeare theory

With the release of Anonymous the room is once again filled with Oxfordian theoeries of the authorship of the Shakespeare plays. The facts hold against them. The elephant in the room, however, is that the facts also hold against that fellow from Stratford-on-Avon from being the true author as well. There’s something damnably obvious that the respected Shakespeare scholars all choose to dance around: the anachronistic language in the work. This may be hard for the modern reader to recognize, primarily because Shakespeare is most people’s first (and often sole) exposure to the language of the sixteenth century… but there’s the rub, Shakespeare did not write in the language of the sixteenth century, and I don’t just mean that it was not the era of iambic pentameter. His plays quite simply use language that just didn’t exist at the time. And I  don’t mean just one or two which may be crumulent coinages of his… etymologists have noted more than 1500 words and phrases which would later be in common use but which have absolutely no recorded uses when Shakespeare used them. If I were to say that “cold-blooded bedroom gossip is my addiction, and the more ruthless the savagery that is used to besmirch the fashionable champion, the more it arouses me and caters to my excitement”, I haven’t said anything that you won’t understand… but I’ve used a dozen words that the sixteenth century didn’t have but Shakespeare nonetheless did. Add in there the occasional obviously anachronistic concept (“Tennis balls, my liege” in Henry V – really? Tennis balls in the sixteenth century when the play was written, much less in the early fifteenth century when it’s supposed to take place?)

All this leads to just one rational explanation: rather than looking among the men of his day, we must look elsewhere… or rather, elsewhen… for the true authorship of his plays. I’m starting to work on exactly who, but I think I’ve got a nail on the when, from a few textual clues: the use of the specific anachronisms moonbeams (A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, act III scene 1), drugged (Macbeth II 2), and zany (Love’s Labours Lost V 2); the fascination with magical dreams (again, Midsummer’s) and cross-dressing (Twelfth Night); and both the anachronistic use of the term and the fascination with the concept of assassination all point to the true author being immersed in the culture of the 1960s. (The way he ripped off the plot to West Side Story is mere icing on the logical cake.)

Additional input on who from that era the author is, and how he transmitted himself or his works back in time, are welcome.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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