Friday, December 30, 2011

Movie review roundup: Special disco alien edition

I really did intend to review movies as they came, but... then I didn't. So here you go!

* * * Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: The Legend of Neville's Gold: Better than the first part. In fact, they should have skipped the first part and just done this.

* * * * Super 8 : Super awesome! Saw it with the Princesa de Poder, and we both really enjoyed it. The best part comes after the credits. It's a two-minute zombie movie called "The Case," which the kids were making with their super 8 camera. Worth an entire extra star.

* * Green Lantern : I have a shirt with the emblem of the Green Lantern Corps on it. I can (and do) recite the oath at the slightest provocation. I secretly believe that Hal Jordan faked his death so he could fight evil in another way. I'm a fan is what I am saying. And the only thing I can say about this film is that it wasn't a bad way to pass a rainy afternoon.

* * * The Help : If this movie was just about the help, it would get four stars. They were awesome. But it's mostly about the women who employ the help, and they were a pretty tedious lot.

* * Cowboys and Aliens : I am giving this two stars because I am hoping that the parts I missed while wrapping presents were better than the par--ts I saw. Shame on you, Han Solo. Shame on you, James Bond. Shame on you, Thirteen. We expect better things from you all, or at least more entertaining things.

That's all for now, imaginary readers, but we might see Sherlock Holmes 2 this afternoon. So stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!


(UPDATE: * * * * for Holmes and Watson! Good show!)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Pointless wastes of time

I ought to be writing my dissertation right now. But instead I was checking my email, and a friend asked me to explain the current debt-ceiling crisis and what the Republicans are doing about it.

I share my answer here, so that you, my imaginary readers, can see how uninformed I am and how poorly I understand fiscal matters.

The short version, as I understand it, is that many Republicans believe that the most important long-term solution to our fiscal woes is to slow and/or stop deficit spending and the accumulation of national debt.

Like if I had $100,000 credit card debt on my current (meager) salary, my creditors would want to know that I will not default and leave them with all that debt. Borrowing more money in order to pay my creditors might get me through a short term crisis. But in the long term, I need to stop acquiring debt, which means bringing in more money and/or spending less.

In very broad terms, the various Republican plans want the US to spend less before it can borrow more. Democrats want to keep spending, and hope to bring in more revenue by raising taxes. Both parties say that their way (cutting spending, raising revenue) is fiscally responsible and the other way will not work.

None of the plans are very good, in my opinion. All of them stretch out over a period of ten years or so, with the tough sacrifices delayed so they kick in at the very end. That's ridiculous. If I want to lose 30 pounds this year, I can't plan to lose 25 between Christmas and New Years. The fact that we're discussing such obviously fraudulent non-solutions tells me that this is not a real crisis.

When I start seeing our political leaders behaving responsibly and coming up with sensible plans instead of just play-acting, then I'll be really worried.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Look out, Eternia

Okay, I've been meaning to write this post for the last three weeks. But time flies when you are having fun. And I am having a lot of fun.

On June 17, the Princess and I got engaged. We are getting married August 19. Hooray!

And if all goes well, I will defend my dissertation soon after and graduate in September. Additional hooray!

Sorry for the lack of details, imaginary readers. But there's metric boatloads of work to do before then, so that's all for now.

Hope everyone else has a summer as awesome as mine!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

If I had a wish then it would be

My little brother and I have birthdays that are a week apart. And also ten years. So anyway we just had them.

And he was saying that between 25 and whenever the senior discounts start happening, there's really no benefit to getting older. That's true. But I think I know how we could change that.

I turned 36 earlier this month, which is double 18. And when I turned 18, all kinds of things happened. I was considered an adult, I got to vote, etc. So here's what I'm thinking. Each multiple of 18, you should get more privileges. So at twice 18, I should get two votes.

Now, with great power comes great responsibility. So to balance out getting two votes, my name would go in twice if there was a draft. And the same for 54 and 72 year olds, etc. This would also have the virtue of making sure that America's armies are wiser and more experienced.

I see no downside. Maybe my close personal friend, and noted super-genius, Barack Obama will be able to make this happen. Finally, we can finally smash the tyranny of the young!

Hey, you kids-- get off my lawn! Alte kackers uber alles!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Movie review: Special weather-god edition

Instead of waiting and doing a year's worth of movies all at once, maybe I should do my reviews as they come. That way, my thoughts might help you, my imaginary readers, to know which movies to spend your money on.

Anyway, I saw Thor Saturday night with my buddy Frank. Pretty good! But I have one question: Why do people keep thinking that Anthony Hopkins is going to give gravitas to their popcorn movie? Because that's just silly.

I did like how Thor hit bad guys with his magic hammer. Pow! And Natalie Portman is super cute, despite her many crimes. Plus, I was actually moved by seeing Thor's terrible sorrow at being kicked out of Asgard and cut off.

Worth seeing on the big screen, but you can probably wait for the dollar theater. Three stars!

I would have given four if Thor had said, "My mighty heart is breaking. I'll be in the Humvee." Five if they had included Beta Ray Bill. Maybe in the sequel...


PS - Don't pay for 3D. It just made the fight scenes harder to follow.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Restaurants of Nephi, part 4

Well, this blog post is bittersweet, since it is the final entry in this series-- at least for now. The Princess of Power has flown away to Eternia, so for the foreseeable future I will be taking fewer trips to Nephi.

But I think we've managed to cover the ground pretty well. In the last week, we managed to get two local institutions, Lisa's Country Kitchen, and Reed's Drive-In.

Lisa's was full of atmosphere and local color and all that, and they also gave us a little loaf of hot bread while we waited (briefly) for our food. Yay! They serve breakfast all day, so I ordered biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and an egg sunny-side up. (Unfortunately, they do not poach.) Her Royal Highness got the special, which was clam chowder to start, and chicken-fried chicken with mashed potatoes.

The best part about mine was the gravy, but since that came on the chicken as well, I definitely feel like I got the short end of the stick this time. I mean, the biscuits were fine, but the chicken was really excellent. On the other hand, my hash browns did defeat her mashed potatoes quite handily. So, I think we both came out all right.

On my very last trip to Nephi, we visited Reed's Drive-In. I got the Malibu chicken sandwich, fries, and a soda. S-R had a footlong and tater tots, and we split a Reese's peanut butter and chocolate shake.

The footlong was interesting because it was sliced in half, the long way, and put on a hoagie bun. Interesting, but not nearly as good as my malibu chicken, which was really good. Long story short, I won the food race.

And now, having sampled every restaurant in Nephi (or near enough), I can definitively say that if you are passing through town and want a bite to eat, you should go to Mi Rancherito-- the first place S-R took me. Thanks, babe! And you're welcome, imaginary readers.


Monday, May 02, 2011


Party at my house, America! Let's dance!

Yes, I know there are still terrorists out there, and yada yada yada. But this morning, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans has gone to meet his eternal reward.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Restaurants of Nephi, part 3

Two of our most recent restaurant choices, J.C. Mickelson's and the One Man Band diner, are advertised from the highway, so I had high expectations for them. Or at the very least, I was curious. And so, my imaginary readers, are you. Or at least, that is how I imagine you. CONFORM TO MY IMAGINATION!

Anyway, the One Man Band is a pretty standard little diner with burgers and other comfort food. I did see one novel thing on the menu, a sandwich called a steamroller. It was described as a ham and cheese sandwich that was battered and fried. I wasn't sure what that would be like, but I couldn't pass it up. And it turned out better than I thought. It was fried on the grill instead of deep fried, so really it was like a french toast sandwich, which was surprisingly good, especially once I opened it up and added some tomato slices.

The most powerful woman in the universe got an Elvis omelette, which disappointingly did not include bananas and peanut butter. Although it did have bacon. But I still think this time my meal was superior. Yay me!

Before going to JC Mickelson's, I asked around and heard good things about their chicken noodle soup and their pot roast. So I ordered both, with vegetables on the side. The princess of power got country-fried steak and potatoes. The pot roast was good, but I think the steak was better. A lot of chicken-fried steaks are cheap and tough, but this one cut with a fork just beautifully. I also enjoyed the soup, which had a hearty broth and nice thick homemade noodles.

After dinner, we foolishly decided to order two pieces of pie. The peach was mostly unremarkable, although there was a nice hint of cinnamon. I'm not sure they used fresh peaches, but I don't think peaches are in season, so maybe that's no surprise. The strawberry rhubarb was excellent, though. It was was the right balance of sweet and tart. And the crust on both was good, albeit very substantial, which is not my first preference. Having ice cream on the side was a necessity.

Upon our return home, we entered into a food coma, from which we only narrowly emerged alive, but I still think Mickelson's has been my second best dining experience in Nephi so far.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Restaurants of Nephi, part 2

So we have tried three more restaurants in the last ten days. I think we're almost halfway through our magical adventure, actually.

Tonight was Tomatilla's, which is located in the Conoco convenience store. Even before we walked in, Princess Adora remarked that it seemed a lot like Cafe Rio. I've only been to Cafe Rio one time, but it seemed true to me, too. So I ordered the same thing I got there, a pork salad-- which is a lot better than it sounds. And although the food looked very similar (and cost about the same), it was missing something. It was not bad, by any means, but it lacked a certain zing.

Last week, we tried two different places. One was a restaurant that has Chinatown on their sign, but is listed as Da Huan Jiang on Google Maps. Also contrary to Google Maps, they are not out of business. I mean, somebody took our money and gave us food. Anyway, we did the dinner for two, which gave us soup and appetizers, plus three main dishes, shared family-style. It was certainly plenty of food. The hot and sour soup was pretty good, as was the orange chicken. Neither were terrible spicy, but that's okay for most people. The other two main dishes, beef with broccoli, and twice-cooked pork, I was less impressed with. But when I reheated them, the twice-cooked pork was my favorite. So make of that what you will. It's definitely the best Chinese restaurant in town.

Prior to that, we did Big T's, which is a burger joint decorated with the obligatory posters of classic cars and Elvis. I had a burger and onion rings with a vanilla shake, and Adora had a fish sandwich and fries with a chocolate shake. The rings were the crunchy kind instead of the crispy kind, if that makes any sense. It was all pretty good, but unexceptional. They also advertised corn dogs, which tempted me briefly, but since I was neither in a lunchroom nor at the fair, I ended up passing. Now I wonder if those corn dogs were their secret weapon. Alas, I shall never know.

In conclusion: Three serviceable restaurants, but nothing to surpass (or match) the happy surprise of Mi Rancherito.



Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restaurants of Nephi, part 1

So the Princess of Power and I have decided to try every restaurant in Nephi, Utah. Tonight we ate at Mi Rancherito, a Mexican cafe on Main Street. It was full of white people, which usually is a red flag, but I enjoyed it.

The chips and salsa were nothing special, but not bad. The horchata was sweeter and milder than I usually see it, with less of that taste of burnt rice and cinnamon that I love. It was a little more gringo-friendly, which is not a bad thing.

The real treat was the Carnitas Michoacanas, which I had. It's bits of pork, fried, served with pico de gallo and whatnot on corn tortillas. And it came with rice, refried beans, sour cream, and guacamole. The way the carnitas were fried gave them a kind of crispy exterior that sealed in the juiciness. I thoroughly enjoyed them, especially with the guacamole.

All in all, very tasty. And I'm really looking forward to the next Nephi culinary adventure.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A year and a half of movies

Well, it's been a while since I did any blogging. And even longer since I did movie reviews.

Frankly, I have not gone to see a lot of movies in the last year. I've been pretty busy. And some people think it's a stupid idea to go to the movies, anyway.

But this week I might go catch a flick with the princesa de poder, so I thought this might be a good time to take a look back.

Here you go!

* * Cloudy with a chance of meatballs : Saw this on a plane, and it was a welcome distraction. Also, Bruce Campbell is in the voice cast.

* * * * Invictus : Matt Damon's Boer accent was fun, Morgan Freeman was perfect, and the whole thing was pretty inspiring. An excellent example of Sports Movie Type 3. (Underdogs triumph over favored team, racism.)

* * * Sherlock Holmes : Also known as Iron Man and Gigolo Joe in: Steampunk London: Part 1: The Adventure Begins. Delightful. And when is Robert Downey Jr. going to be on House as Hugh Laurie's long-lost illegitimate son?

* * * How to train your dragon : I would give this four stars, except for one thing. Why do all the adult vikings have Scottish accents? And why do all the kid vikings have American accents? I want them all to sound like the Swedish Chef.

* * * * Babies : Look! Babies! Look at their chubby cheeks! Adorable! Oh! The things we do with ease, they do with difficulty! So cute! I can't stand it! (Would get five stars, but the parents selected to represent America are braindead filthy hippies.)

* * * * * Toy Story 3 : Pixar, when will you disappoint me? George Lucas is dead to me. Peter Jackson has one giant-sized strike. But Pixar just makes me happy.

* Year One : Saw it on a plane. Made me want to jump out.

* * * Tangled : A fun little flick, and better than I expected from Disney. In particular, I loved the non-human characters. That horse and chameleon should have their own show.

* * Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 : Too much teenage wangst. But, better than the book.

* * * * * True Grit : This belongs in a very exclusive club of remakes that improved upon the original. Thank you, Coen Brothers. Thank you, Dude. Thank you, America.