Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Menacing Lens Flare

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm last October, some fans were concerned about what that meant for the franchise. Having the Mouse in charge didn't bother me one bit; Disney typically does a good job managing their brands. But with the announcement that J.J. "lens flare" Abrams would be directing Star Wars VII, my opinion has changed. I went from knowing Star Wars would be redeemed to worrying that it couldn't.

I suppose that's not really fair to Mr. Abrams, but I've just never liked his work. As much as I liked the concepts behind Alias, Lost, and Fringe, I was bored by the shows themselves. Although some of his screenwriting credits disturb me, see Taking Care of Business and Gone Fishin', I'd be willing to cut Armageddon more slack if it wasn't directed by Michael "Explosion" Bay. Wow, did I just say that?

I haven't seen the bulk of his directorial work, but I did see Star Trek, and I actually liked it. I'll boldly state it's my favorite J.J. Abrams work to date. Unfortunately, it's just not a very good Star Trek movie. Remove Kirk, Spock and McCoy, replace with characters from any other space-based Sci-Fi franchise, tweak the universe-specific plot devices slightly and POOF! Yes, I'm aware that J.J. didn't write the movie, but I can't be bothered to allow reason and logic to prevail while I'm building my case against him.

Looking to the future, I've lived in a world where Star Wars has disappointed me for more than a decade. While I'm still hopeful Star Wars will be redeemed, even if it means the human lens flare is in the director's chair. And if it does get worse, at least I have LaserDisc rips of the unspecialized Original Trilogy.

To steal a line from Han Solo, "Good luck... You're gonna need it."

Photo credit.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fry, Tempura Fry

I have no idea why January 7th is National Tempura Day, but any reason to eat fried shrimp, sweet potatoes and green beans sounds like a great day to me. We made ours Alton Brown style; it was fast and easy. Get the recipe.

Fun Historical Fact of the Day: Tempura was introduced to Japan by Portuguese Jesuits during the sixteenth century.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Goodbye RockMelt, Hello Chrome... and Feedly.

For the past eighteen months my browser of choice has been RockMelt, a Chromium flavor with an emphasis on social connectivity and synced content. Unfortunately, for the past several months the RockMelt folks have focused solely on their mobile platform, allowing there desktop platform to fall out of date.

I spend 90% of my day with one of three screens in front of me and I've grown accustom to having those screens are synced. RockMelt's sync feature has been buggy for a while and completely non-existent for the past several weeks. A switch was necessary and after some reading over the holiday I settled on Chrome with extensions for Twitter, Facebook, gMail, SoundCloud and YouTube.

My favorite extension by far is Feedly; it turns your Google Reader subscriptions into an easy to read magazine format. It also lets you manage subscriptions, share stories and save articles for later. Most importantly it syncs between all of my screens and is web accessible. I'm completely addicted to it after only one week and, although it's very early in the year, I'm ready to declare it the Best Web App of 2013.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Phở. Pure and Simple.

A lifetime ago I lived in Los Angeles and phở was one of the first "exotic" meals I had. One of my closest friends was Vietnamese and his parents were considering opening a restaurant that he insisted would be called Phở King. When Morgan and I started dating, I introduced her to phở at Tay-Do, still the best place in Cleveland to get a nice hot bowl of phở.

Last year we decided to try making it ourselves and it actually turned out pretty good. The broth is a labor of love, but it's more than worth it. Armed with eleven pounds of bones from Lance's Beef at the West Side Market and some specialty ingredients from Tink Holl, it's really just a lot of waiting around.

We traded the knuckle and marrow bones for whatever assortment of soup bones that Dave and Grant had on hand and reduced the overnight soak to just thirty minutes. What we lost in clarity, we gained in eating phở today.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013! After spending the night at Fat Head's for beer and bacon, M and I got up and had biscuits and gravy at Happy Dog. It was exactly the pace we needed to ring in the New Year with close friends and great beers and without extensive hangovers. As much as I'd love to say that I don't make resolutions, I do. This year I plan to be less lazy; I always have ideas and I rarely do them. So this year, I plan on making them happen, because if I don't, no one someone else will.