Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Foods I've Tried

Well, I’ve had an adventurous weekend, food-wise. I enjoy trying different things, even if it turns out I don’t like them. Like limburger cheese, for instance. I’d heard that it was smelly, but I was thinking strong-cheese smell, like feta, or bleu cheese. But limburger STINKS! Think of the woodchips in the sheep and goat pens at a county fair. And it kind of tasted like it, too. I was very disappointed.

But, on the upside, this weekend, I’ve tried two things I did like. I was trying to find a place that sells mead. That’s an old fashioned drink like beer, except it’s made out of honey. Well, I didn’t find any in Blair, but I did discover a liqueur called Barenjager. The name means “bear hunter” in German. According to the bottle, hunters would use this liqueur made from honey to attract and intoxicate bears. It’s a higher proof than most beers, but it is sooooo SWEET it would be very easy to overdo it. Even if you do have the tolerance of a bear. (enjoy responsibly)

The other thing I tried was sushi. I’ve had it before but not at a Japanese restaurant. Sunday night I was out with some friends and we ate at Baby Blue Sushi in Omaha. I had a spicy tuna roll with wasabi and soy sauce and it was good. If you don’t like fish, you won’t like sushi, but I enjoyed it. By the way, if you want to entertain your friends, order things like octopus and sea urchin. They will stop everything they’re doing just to watch you eat it. Those were good too. The octopus was a little like squid, but not as chewy and rubbery. Of course, it wasn’t cooked, so that might have had something to do it. It was a little like steak, but tougher. By the way, the pieces I had came from an arm. Guess how I could tell. Go on, guess. The sea urchin (served sans spines) was not chewy at all. It was like pudding. But, brother, it did not taste like pudding. I don’t know if I’ll have it next time, since it was seven dollars for squishy echinoderm, but I’m glad I tried it.

Anyways, leave a comment and tell me about unusual food and drink you’ve tried.
See you next time!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scary Bug Movies

Hey everybody, I’ve got a couple more books to share with you; The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks, and How to Survive a Horror Movie, by Seth Grahame-Smith. You’ll find them in the Humor section of your local bookstore. They are so FUNNY! You know, in a macabre, twisted kind of way. Plus, if you have the misfortune to wind up in a scary movie, you need look no further than these books to save your life.

BUT… I’ve noticed one thing neither book addresses. Now, with Mr. Brooks its understandable since his book is zombie-specific. But Mr. Grahame-Smith should have known to include this; “What do you do if you’re attacked by deadly bugs?”

Anyone knows that the Horror genre is rife with stories of deadly swarms of flesh-eaters, giant praying mantids, “eight-legged freaks,” monster worms, and imaginary aphids. Not to mention all the people who’ve suffered horrific accidents wherein they become half human/half insect. So, how can you defend yourself against these monstrosities?

Well, it kind of depends on what sort of bugs are attacking you. One important thing to remember is that fire kills everything. Beyond that, you’ll need to be a bit more specific in your counter-measures. Does bug-spray work? Well, that depends. Odds are, if bug-spray is the first thing you go for, than the writers are going to mess with you and make it so that poison doesn’t affect whatever hideous mutant is trying to eat you. So save yourself the trouble and only try poison as a last resort. You won’t have anything to lose at that point.

So, what about specific cases? Having owned a (regular-sized)praying mantis myself, I can tell you personally a giant one is not something to be trifled with. Like many predators, they are attracted to movement, but don’t think that staying still will fool them. Once they’ve identified a possible prey item, they’ll lock in on it and wait for the right moment to strike. And they've got good eyesight. What can you do? Don’t wait for them. They can only strike at prey in front of them, so try to outflank it. If you have a machete or an ax handy, try to cut off a leg so they can’t turn quickly.

If it’s a giant spider, ignore all the flailing legs and go for the center, the head and the eyes. Eyes mean the brain can’t be far away. Of course, the trick to beating any giant bug is to get them where you want them. Most spiders tend to stay hidden until an unfortunate insect strays into their web. The vibrations of the web’s filaments alert the spider to the presence of prey. So if you want to draw the killer arachnid out, take a stick and poke the web. Or, better yet, don’t.

If you are besieged by giant worms or some other burrower, well, just do what they did in Tremors. What, you say you haven’t seen Tremors? Well, in that case go watch it. The best thing you can do against killer burrowing bugs is to take a page from Michael Grossman, Kevin Bacon, and Fred Ward.

And I know, since I mentioned it above I know you’re thinking “Imaginary aphids? What the heck dude?” Well, there’s good news. If Bug and A Scanner Darkly are any indication, you’re unlikely to be bothered by imaginary aphids unless you are a schizophrenic or a drug-addict. Psychologically it is a common hallucination in real life. Of course, in the movies, there’s always a twist. In this case, if you pretend to see the aphids just to convince the one who’s seeing them that you don’t think he’s crazy, you’ll start seeing them as well. But, in the event that this happens, there is a simple solution. If you become besieged by imaginary bugs because you pretended to see them, then it stands to reason that if you pretend not to see them they’ll go away. If Ashley Judd had tried this, she might not have immolated herself in the end.

Of course, it goes without saying that this only works in the movies. If you really are seeing imaginary bugs, seek professional help. And if you really get attacked by giant bugs, well, you have nothing to worry about. Giant bugs aren’t real. Or are they…?

Please let me know if I've failed to address any other important cases.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Here I am again.

Hey everybody, hope you haven't gotten bored since I promised to post a month ago.

Just watching the debate at the moment. Actually my dad has it on in the other room and I'm just kind of listening. I already know who I'm voting for, so there's not really anything either of them could say to change my mind now.

But, politics bore me, so I'm going to talk about something else. I've been reading the new Inheritance novel, Brisingr. It's pretty cool. The way the story deepens really shows how Christopher Paolini has grown as a writer, and I think I understand why he decided to extend the series, instead of writing a trilogy like he originally planned.

I've also noticed that when I talk to someone about a fantasy series, and I use the series name, like Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, people tend to stare at me blankly, but if I say the first book was The Golden Compass, they're like, "Oooh, right, that one." So I feel compelled to say that Eragon is the first book of Inheritance. You might remember the movie. You should be aware, though, if you decide to read the book, that it is significantly different from the movie. I enjoyed both, though. The guy they cast as Durza nailed it, and Jeremy Irons as Brom? Heck, I'd go to a movie just to see that guy act.

And speaking of movies with actors I really like, I saw The Bucket List awhile back, and if you haven't seen that one, GO and RENT IT right NOW! Sorry to shout, but I feel very strongly about this. Anyways, it has Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and the two of them play terminally ill cancer patients. They come from different walks of life and have different personalities, but they quickly become friends. Since they don't have much time left, they decide to do all the things they've wanted to do before they kick the bucket. Hence, the Bucket List.

Also, if you're familiar with the movie, you might remember them talking about Kopi Luwak. No that's not a person, its a rare coffee beverage from the island of Sumatra. Jack Nicholson's character loves it, but Carter(Morgan Freeman) says he'd never try it. Much later in the movie, he explains why. I won't say what the reason is, for the sake of my readers who haven't seen the film, but I found out recently, IT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE! I can't say anything more, or the joke won't have the same impact when you see the movie.

So anyways, I'll see you all next time!