mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
The unexamined world building that occurs in older books is sometimes nothing short of amazing. I happen to be reading The Darksword Trilogy by Weis and Hickman* and there is a sort of shoggoth in the corner**. In a world (cue deep voiced friend) where the population for some reason has decided to forgo sex for procreation as in Demolition Man there apparently is not a single homosexual relationship. Living in the 21st century I keep on seeing the remarks about deep friendship between two male characters*** and going, "Yes! Now we get to the good bit." Also I am going to say that the outlawing of sex is... crazy unrealistic for lack of a more graceful term. I have actually read short stories where the end of sex was a part of the story that did not seem totally crazy. Or at least the story was short enough that the cables in my suspension of disbelief bridge were not excessively strained.

I seemed to have strayed from my point. Right. If males and females are not having sex why the devil are the same sex relationships not all over the place like in Ethan of Athos? The real answer is that this was a poorly designed world is not particularly satisfying. I am also considering just jumping to the end rather than reading the book and a half remaining.

* I have no excuses as to why other than the book was part of a pile I am attempting to deal with. This is a poor excuse, I know, so do not ask for a better one unless you are prepared to pay for it.

** A shoggoth in the corner is, of course, when a person is not acknowledging the giant amount of racism present in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I invented this term at the Discussion of Cuthulu portion of the Dasfa New Member Greet & Chit Chat last Saturday. I think everyone should adopt it.

*** Also, there is just one female in the books other than as background characters until the middle of book two. The one female who appear earlier? A crazy controlling mother who kept her son imprisoned in her ramshackle house brushing his long curly black hair in a sort of gender reversed Rapunzel until she was killed setting the boy on his path towards vengeance. Really, I was seeing so many gay stereotypes there it was not even funny. The long hair, crazy mother the only one he's close to, keeping secrets from everyone... It is a sorcerous Norman Bates!
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Of all the ice creams a person can currently get from grocery stores in America Häagen-Dazs Five Lemon is my second favorite. Right after Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee. The whole thing with just five ingredients is somewhat gimmicky in a way, but in another way it is exactly what I want my ice cream to be. It's ice cream damn it. No low fat anything, the ingredients are milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and lemon. Other than the little bits of lemon peel, which I rather like, it is a nice smooth ice cream as well. I like dissolving ice cream on my tongue and letting the flavor spread out rather than chewing it with my teeth. It makes me think of cold lemon custard, which is exactly what I expect and want. It is not quite up to the awesomeness of fresh lemon custard from my local ice cream parlor, but it is fantastic.
mishalak: Mishalak with short hair wearing a blue shirt and looking upwards. (Blue)
I like it. The ice cream is a bit chunky without being hard to get through. The flavor is a bit like cake batter with other good stuff in there. I don't know that I would identify the the flavor as Boston Cream Pie without the name, but I like its interestingly different flavors. I may buy it again when it is not on sale, though it won't replace Häagen-Dazs "Five" Lemon, Häagen-Dazs "Five" Mint, or Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee from their special place in my heart.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
Subtitle: "Book One of the Ninth Day of Man"

"The story does not seek to instruct, nor to proselytize or influence, or to make judgments. It is a story to entertain through magic of the engagement of your imagination with mine. And, perhaps it also to remind us all that we might consider on occasion, each in our own terms, that within the vast Universe that we mostly ignore, indeed, we are part." From the Prologue.

In reviewing this story (I use the term loosely) I first need to address the author. Buy a dictionary because by saying this book does not seek to proselytize you are either lying or do not know the meaning of the word. You contradicted yourself within two tortuously constructed sentences of your declaration by saying it was to remind, us, the readers "we are part". A trite phrase repeated twice in the postscript after the epilogue just in case we missed it. That is just the first of many abuses of the English language throughout your text. I do not mean what you probably think of as the 'charmingly naive but scientific' dialog from the "guardians of Sanctuary".

I'm now going to do the same thing the author did by saying that I am not here to point out the basic science flaws in this 'story' as it would be far too easy. Since I just lied here are a few choice phrases from the book. "Scientists first detected the armada of rogue asteroids advancing from the Alpha Centauri star grouping in the year 2214 of their chrono-calendar system." That bit of laughable science is on page 11. With quite a number of listening adjetives since this is a 'Chronicler' reading a file to a character named Josuah the novelist continues to dump phrases like, "one thousand kilometers or more would pass through the coincident orbit of Earth", "calculated to be-certitude", "volumetric holograph", and "Limited human and other carbon life", for the next three pages. Other amusing mistakes include putting earth into a deep freeze/ice age sort of thing due to all the clouds for 600 years with no oxygen. Anyone who understands global warming want to take this error? Here's a hint, it isn't cold on Venus under all those clouds. Next up learn something about DNA variation rather than assuming that differences in phenotype are indicative of huge amounts of diversity. Hint: There is more genetic diversity in Africa than all the rest of the world. And calling people things like "Negroid", "Caucasian", "Indo-Caucasian", and "Mongoloid" has not been good science since about 1945.

But that's not the worst thing about this book. The worst thing is leaden writing that would not be out of place in a high school creative writing course from the pen of an adolescent badly imitating the style in his favorite roleplaying game tie in novel. It is atrociously bad and not in the bad but funny way that is sometimes fun to read, just deadly boring. Which is why I'm having trouble figuring out what to say about this novel of clueless people resurrected "re-incepted" 600 years in the future by dippy techno mystics who declare any bits of life to be a sign of "the ninth day of man", even though they frequently say they don't know what that means.

I'm a person who actually likes reading history textbooks. Comparing this prose to a textbook would be an insult as the average textbook is much more engaging and has more plot. Vigil's End is less readable than Battlefield Earth, more preachy than the average didactic libertarian tract, and has less plot than the novelization of a porno movie. If anyone wants DASFA's signed copy sent by the author please claim it soon as it would probably be more valuable for the energy content of its pages.
 
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
First off the rating of Beowulf from the evil empire (the MPAA) is wrong. They gave this film a PG-13 when it should have been rated 18+ for violence. Sensitive parents will be dismayed at how much sexual innuendo is in this film, but I really think that the primary reason children should be kept out is the violence. This film is inappropriate for teens without parents and completely inappropriate for children under the age of 12 with or without parents. Given the more idiotic than usual rating that this warning needed to come first to help get the word out to movie goers.

Do not expect family friendly fair you can go to with the kids. Additionally if you're the sort of person that hates seeing men literally torn to pieces this is not the movie for you.

Read more... )

Over all I recommend this movie to people who like action movies of an over the top variety particularly younger viewers who liked the battle sequences in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It has, in a way, a similar feel to epic fantasy movies of the 1970s like Dragonslayer, though the lines were better.
 
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
"We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and read." -Anton Ego, food critic in Ratatouille

I like to think that I am not nearly so harsh as the wonderfully named critic Anton Ego, but his words about negative review and the safety of being a critic did strike a cord within me. It is very fun to write a negative review of something. Somehow the sharp turns of phrase just come out better when being cruel than when praising a work. In the thinking critic this is tempered by the knowledge that those being criticized are real human beings with feelings doing their jobs. So too are critics doing a job, one I suspect is minimally paid until one reaches the very apex of the profession where it will be a mere comfortable living with the certain knowledge that the great hordes of the public, and amateurs like myself, think we could do a better job than they do and will stop paying the minute they stop producing.

That said I am vastly disappointed in the quality of the criticism of Ratatouille. Where are the well turned phrases? Or the insightful commentary about the stereotypical vampire critic, Anton Ego? If you did not like a movie it is license to let loose with every sort of criticism rather than a bunch of milquetoast, and I dare say, cowardly weasel phrases about this being "the worst Pixar film in a decade". I know some will take this the wrong way and say I am advocating being needlessly or pointlessly cruel, trust that I know the difference and move on.

First off these egoists need to learn that just because something has been done before does not mean that doing it again is automatically bad. It makes it predictable to someone who has seen those previous movies but not everyone has. In addition predictable is not in of itself bad in entertainment that does not entirely dependent upon The Twist or mystery to engage its audience. It would be the height of conceit to think that just because a play has been staged very successfully before it should never be done again because it won't compare with the golden memories of that great night you had in your youth, so to it is the province of self centered myopics to think that movies should not be remade or ideas used again. Criticize on the grounds that the new twist on the old formula does not work and give reasons or compare it to something similar.

To continue teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, which really should not be necessarily but manifestly is given the weak little synopses given by the likes of Jason Ferguson of the Orlando Weekly, a commentary on not knowing who the movie is aimed at or other box office punditry is not a review. That sort of stuff should be left to marketing executives in departments of movie distributors rather than reviewer who allegedly are writing to an audience of ordinary people.

Finally with a movie a synopsis is not the same thing as a review. This can as easily be aimed at the positive reviews of Ratatouille as the negative ones. Over and over I saw the same facts that seemed to be rejuggled bits from a press packet about the movie. I know original writing is hard, but if your biggest problem is that the movie is not original then the critic had better be saying something original himself or he's no better than the hypocrite politician who partakes of vice while publicly excoriating it.

This movie is not the sort that most audience members or critics will come out saying that it was one of greatest ever made. It has a simple premise using one of the oldest what-ifs in the cartoon book, "What if rats/mice/rodents are more clever than they are in real life." Of course in real life this is ridiculous. The trick is to so engage a majority of viewers in so that they'll only think about such logical questions after the movie is over. Under difficult conditions of many children, including a crying baby in the same theater who's parents utter lack of concern for their fellow humans make me fear for civilization, the movie succeeded admirably with this viewer.

After the first few turns I was so sucked in that I only felt what the filmmaker intended, fearing for the life of the little gourmet, Remy. And now I must include another digression aimed at far too many other critics, gourmand is emphatically not the same thing as gourmet, buy a dictionary you illiterate word slingers, and back to the review. I saw only with the eyes of a child as I feared for his small life in a very big world full of dangerous things. It was so visually perfect that the artistry of the digital animation disappeared into the background completely. The makers of live action films should take note of this and learn that visual wizardry should not stand out, it is distracting from the story.

It is a movie in the tradition of Tom and Jerry cartoons or The Pink Panther. A lot of wacky and impossible things happen surrounded by an ordinary background. There is also a fair amount of physical comedy and pratfalls. But there is a lot of dialog between the rats or between the humans. I think this movie is most appropriate for children older than about age seven.

And Anton Ego is a wonderful and principled critic who is not merely a voice for hurt artists, but a fully formed and humble person who is aware that he is playing a role. I give this movie high praise (for me) in that I want to go see it again, preferably with a plan of eating a fine meal immediately afterwards.
 
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I have spent parts of the last week in the company of a 13-year-old boy, myself 17 years ago. Read more... )

In the end I found that while the way and reasons I did it was wrong putting down these books after just reading just one may not have been such a bad idea. Between the vacillation over if the angst is okay or silly and the troubling ways love is presented I do not think I would recommend these books to even a young gay man. While it has been interesting as a way to visit a younger self these are not the sort of popcorn stories that a reader like me can go back to over and over every time I need a particular sort of reading experience.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
I'm going to have to stop reading this book. It is making me very frustrated. Over and over there are basic mistakes of fact about biology and evolution. Being realistic I shouldn't get frustrated. It isn't like the writer would have changed his mind if he'd encountered the actual arguments instead of some sort of evangelical cliffsnotes version of the research into altruism and genetics by evolutionary psychologists.

Here is my understanding of where the research is at combined with my knowledge of bee biology from reading too many books on the subject because I used to keep them.

Bees and Altruism )

Still I hoped for better from a scientist writing on god. Something that would actually challenge my atheism rather than the same arguments I'd read in Mere Christianity about how humans are different than the animals. We are, but we're on a continuum. Animals have many human traits to a lesser extent. And part of that is that we can't get inside the minds of animals to prove what they are thinking very easily. I suspect in some animals we would find they are just as generous and horrible as humans in a tribal state of existence.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
This is... that... er... well it is a comic book. Beyond that I am having some trouble coming up with a review of a comic that is 100 pages of high pulp era weirdness with a high silliness quotient. I mean a time traveling Teddy Roosevelt using teamed up with Thomas Edison's ghost. And that is about as serious as this little book gets. For seven dollars plus tax the reader gets smoking (as in hot, not tobacco using) blue chicks, more time travel, Abe Lincoln saying to the bad guy "I'm going to emancipate your teeth", and the most rubbery SCIENCE! of all time. I have had great fun reading it and I think I recommend it.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Distant)
I bought this vodka a while back from my local liquor store in Castle Rock solely because I noticed that it was distilled in Palisade, Colorado. In addition I was charmed that they proudly said they flavored their vodka with real Palisade peaches. Needless to say when I opened this bottle at a party some weeks ago with was with favorable expectations that were soon dashed. Peach Street Distillers has managed to make the worst vodka I have ever had the misfortune to imbibe and the second worst liquor of any sort to ever pass my lips. If I save even one consumer from purchasing this vile concoction I will have done a lifetime's worth of good deeds. It is that bad, no exaggeration.

When smelling this liquid the first thing that assaults the nose is a sort of hospital smell, one part bandage one part rubbing alcohol. No vodka should smell like this. The peach note is hidden under this overwhelming foulness. The taste reminds me of rotting peach fruit mixed with a burning contaminated alcohol. I don't know if this is a result of their flavoring attempts or because of some fault in their distilling of the base alcohol and given the expensive price I'm not curious to find out by buying their unflavored vodka.

Don't buy it, thumbs down. Avoid this distillery forever!
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I never learn about things when the first come out. Well almost never. This book was not one of the exceptions though. I found it at the library and checked it out because I couldn't pass up the opportunity to legitimately read something I would be interested in, but not brave enough to buy, down at All In A Dream Comics. Wowie. I like this image comic. That might be a first by the way.

This is a superhero story. If you can't stand the rubber physics and the insane villains, read something else. Beyond the surface layer of a young hero coming into his powers and the trials of also being an ordinary teen, which are good, it tells a story where even the secondary characters have a story. And the pretty darn good art doesn't hurt either, this isn't a Dr. Who situation where you need to use your imagination to cover up cheezy art so you can enjoy the story.

I've noticed things on my second reading like the artist drawing characters with flipped out shirt tags, little details that make them more real. Mainly I really love it because it is telling a story that brings up lots of emotions for me, things that resonate. It isn't just boy with powers beats up bad guys along side his superpowered father, I see things over and over that make me happy or sad about everyone from the hero right down to the random people he saves. I have felt genuinely sorry for the victims of the villains rather than seeing them as just a cardboard cutout of a figure that was there to show how bad the bad guy really is. Best of all we readers get see what happens to a lot of people and things later, a little but of follow up on what ended up happening after a person was saved or a villain was dealt with. I might have to buy it simply to check and see if it is true that nothing gets forgotten in this book.

Be warned though that a lot of bad things happen in these stories. People do die and sometimes in pretty horrible ways. However, I think it was needed to tell a story like this, it is not violent for the sake of the violence of porn like the the truly crappy work of Frank Miller. And unlike most major superhero titles it seems to be actually progressing through a story rather than changing only to be reset when the next writer comes along or sales don't meet their target. With those caveats, I strongly recommend this collection and this comic in general.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
This is a movie that everyone's inner libertarian will enjoy. It is too bad for me that I stole my inner libertarian's gun and shot him years ago so that I could join the human race. But I'm going to have a very fun time reviewing this movie.

This movie has the perfect metaphor for a dream, a big rocket ship built in a barn. Well it is a perfect metaphor for the dream that the title character, Charles Farmer, has or the way that Hollywood writers or NBA stars think of reaching for dreams. Unlike an experimental fighter jets rockets cannot have ejection seats, just wouldn't work. Once lit the dream, er, rocket either goes up just fine or something goes wrong and anyone on board or possibly even nearby dies in the tragic accident. And that's exactly the sort of way that Charles Farmer goes for his dream through this whole movie.

It makes sense that Hollywood writers would think this was a good movie. After all they are living the dream. Each one of them is one of the few who made it into the lofty orbit of the movie system while so many of their comrades failed in their attempt to reach the heavens. So naturally they don't think about, "Well what would have happened if I didn't make it?" If Farmer was just a crazy single building a rocket out on his ranch and going bankrupt as a result of his overspending I probably would not react quite as negatively to this movie, but he has a family. And he has put everything at risk for the his dream, offered up all of their lives on the altar of the sacred dreamer, not just his own.

This movie is the epitome of the selfish, irresponsible idiot who believes in platitudes like, "It is important to reach for your dreams." A sane person who was unhappy with his life would not simultaneously try to keep the life he hates and putting it in hock for a joy ride. But he wants his joy ride in space more than anything and he doesn't even try to excuse it, as NASA does, by saying that he's doing science.

Through out the movie he says he never wanted to be a rancher, that was his father's dream. So why the hell is he doing this? Why not sell the ranch and take the money to start a new life working with Burt Rutan? For that matter this movie seems about three years too late. There already has been private space flight, a fact that the movie just ignores in favor of the tired old plot line of the big bad evil government standing in the way of private citizens. And there are a lot of other tired plot devices that are picked up and toyed with for a few minutes before being dropped without being resolved. The overprotective social worker after the children of the big dreamer she doesn't understand. The menacing government agents using whatever law they can to stop the hero. And, of course, the stupid hyperactive 'news' media.

Now for some physics criticisms and Spoilers )

In short I found this movie to be a big ol' pile of steaming clichés and characters I hated. I recommend this movie to no one.
mishalak: Mishalak with long hair and modified so as to look faded. (Faded Photo)
Bleah! This is more like an IPA than a Stout. It commits the usual American sin of using too much hops in the brew. It comes off as bitter and not in the pleasant way like a chokecherry or coffee. A beer is like music. This piece is dominated by one loud off key trumpet loudly blaring, "Yes, we use a lot of hops in our beer! That sez quality! Quality!" If you usually find beer too subtle for you then this is the beer to try, nothing subtle about it. And the barley tastes more burnt than roasted, and I usually like dark beers. Thumbs down.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I now have a more complete review having uploaded 50 books into the Library Thing website (my catalog). I've gotten better at knowing how to pull information for weird editions of books, even from the Library of Congress. Part of the secret is to use what is unusual about it, like if it has an introduction by another author. The information still is not as complete as would like, but it simplifies the process. Of all the providers I still think I like Library of Congress information the best. It tends to be the most consistent so far. The ISBN thing works very well except where the publisher has done something strange like put two numbers in because it is part of a multi-volume work. I also wish the site had some sort of "condition" field for people like me who care about such things.

It still isn't a totally thrilling process. I suppose that if I started going for my full 4000 (or whatever) books I should buy a scanner. Yes, among other things I discovered that it will export the information to excel and that if you have a barcode scanner that hooks up to your computer by the USB port you can just scan books rather than typing in numbers. I'm pretty good at ten key though so I am reluctant to buy something.

I am still looking to see if there is some sort of way for collectors to share information about books so that we could, say, enter the Hill House information once and not have to do as much information entry. The collection of cover scans is remarkably complete. So far I've had just a few very rare books that were not scanned in by a previous user.

So I'm happier with the experience now. Don't know that I'd recommend it yet, but it is becoming more useful as I go on.
mishalak: Mishalak reading a colorful book. (Reading Now)
I've tried it out using the first 24 of the books in my collection. So far I am less than thrilled. For those who do not know Library Thing is a website that allows you to catalog your personal library. It is free for your first 250 and then it costs if you want to do more. If I was just a reader, a person who accumulates books, this thing would be great. But for someone who tries to pay attention to things like edition and so on it has been less than thrilling. It is hard to get the particular edition information right. Particularly for books that are sold outside the usual channels like items from Easton Press, The Folio Society, and Hill House.

So is it useful to me? Probably not much more than using a database program would be. And I've discovered that one of my books has been quietly disintegrating in the dry air. Old leather bindings don't like Colorado's climate much. Good thing it isn't a terribly valuable one. Just a copy of The Prince from 1954. And terribly frustrating to try and enter in. No ISBN number on such a book.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason with the text, "No, I think I'm happier mocking you than helping." (Mocks You)
You know I kept thinking that Batman Begins was just a temporary title that would eventually be replaced by something good by the time it came out. About three months ago I realized I was wrong and that was what they were sticking with. Likewise watching the movie the first third got my hopes up that they might tell an interesting tale full of subtlety and nuance that would be more than just a trailer on steroids. By the second round of overdone explosions I was getting bored and finally realized that this would not be the case. Batman Begins is just another summer blockbuster movie full of the required amounts of over the top explosions, corny dialogue, and guy doing anything to rescue the girl (even risk the lives of innocent bystanders in a way I thought most un-Batman like).

What was wrong with it was that there were no slow moments. This was one long popcorn moment to popcorn moment without a bit of rest for introspection or background along the way. I don't mind movies that don't explain and don't excuse what is going on, but this is something different. This is one long breathless action movie from start to finish without any of those little moments before the storm that make movies like The Professional or The Incredibles great. Either people will come back and wonder why they enjoyed it so much years ago and not now or else this is a sign that movies have been permanently kicked up another notch so that no one will want to bother with a single slow moment again and future generations will look back upon action movies like Die Hard and wonder why people of my generation like such slow movies. Also very bad in this movie was the complete lack of memorable lines or just plain good dialogue. It was all recycled Hollywood Zen Wisdom or else junk that makes sense in context but not alone. I can remember almost everything that was said in that movie, but I can't remember one good line. Merciful Zeus.

There were some good bits, of course. Even though I knew it was coming, being a Batman aficionado since I was about 14, I cried when Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife, Martha, died. That I don't consider a spoiler as to not know that Bruce Wayne becomes Batman because his parents die one would have to be as unaware of common culture as the teens that don't know that the Titanic sank. More serious fans will immediately pick up on the big plot twist that is supposed to drive the latter part of the movie. Which I suppose could make one feel good and smugly in the know about what's going to happen next, but that didn't happen for me. It was an interesting origin story for the Batman yet it just was not working.

The computer-generated bits were well integrated, the whole movie was pretty (especially Mr. Bale's frequently bare abs), and I even liked the actual twist to the guy and girl thing that they did at the end. But I did not like this movie. I didn't even like it as well as the first Batman movie from way back in 1989. And that's saying something since as I've grown up I've grown to dislike it in a vague sort of way. No actual hate here, I'm just bored by the whole enterprise.

Of interest was the DC attempt to make a brand for itself like Marvel comics using a very similar opening credits motion trademark. Also interesting was the sort of origin story that was worked in as to where a number Gotham's colorful criminals could have come from, the evil experiments of Dr. Crane. And a nice little bit at the end alluding to the Batman's arch nemesis. And a kudos for having Batman fight terrorism without explicitly making it a movie with a message about terrorism.

Don't get me wrong. For what it is this is a good movie. I just didn't have fun at it.

What: Batman Begins
Available June 15th at your local Cineplex for around $10.
Who's if for: Summer blockbuster fans who like explosions and pretty much standard Hollywood movies with just a few twists to the standard plot, well within regulations on summer fare.
Who won't like it: Fans of Batman (except possibly the Frank Miller cultists), people who want more than superficial movies (snobs like me), and those who are annoyed by trite "deep meaningful lines".
Personally: Thumbs Down
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
A friend of mine was looking for suggestions of good but inexpensive wines. As it happens she's in luck because Colorado produces some good wines and because they are relatively unknown they are good bargains.

Carson Vineyards- A good all around winery, but where they shine is with their fruit wines. Especially their Peach wine, which is 100% peach not a wine mixed with peach juice. It has a fuzzy semi-sweet and fruitful taste that is excellent chilled or just cool.

Colorado Cellars- Another good winery, I particularly recommend their Millennium Port Wine. It is a sweet port so there is a good chance that connoisseurs will not care for it as most of them like drier wines. However it is a very nice item with dessert.

Grand Valley Vineyards- Their Viognier is excellent. Their other wines are also very good, but for my money their spicy with just a touch of sweet old viognier is their best value.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Firmer than Brie and softer than Gouda this is a cheese with a nice texture. It has a mild fruity sort of flavor with a touch of a sharp taste. I suspect that is from the thin line of charcoal in the center. I read about that part of its making later, when I bought it I had not idea what that line was, I just assumed it was supposed to be there. This isn't a cheese where one is supposed to eat the rind I think. It has an unpleasant fine sand like texture. (That's me learn by doing.) I do think this will become a regular cheese for me. I love the taste of this one and the price is not too bad, just about $8.29 at Sunflower market.

I tried it for the first time last night after I shut off my computer. The rain was coming down hard and the sky lit up with blue flashes. After I'd been outside with my crackers and cheese for just a little while all the streetlights went out and took a minute to come back on. It was a lovely experience to be watching the storm and eating a fine cheese.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (The Colorado Peach)
Rooibos tea, also called red tea, is from South Africa. The main reason for it being a hot new entry on the tisane (herbal tea) scene is the health benefits attributed to it. I've no idea if those are real or not; I'm more interested in just trying new foods and drinks for their own sake. I'm always excited when it seems a new plant is entering into the general food supply. It is an enrichment of life far beyond finding a new way to package something we've had for a long time.

I'd been told that it is very similar to regular tea without the caffeine. So I bought a box of NOW Brand rooibos tea and I've had two cups so far. The taste is not un-tea like, but it also has a taste of milk or vanilla. Not bad, though I'm not sure if this will become a regular part of my beverage menu. Provided you look around it isn't terribly expensive. If I remember correctly the brand I found was about the same per tea bag as black tea. Not bad for a plant that only grows in one corner of South Africa.
 
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Well it was only $9 at Costco and I knew what I was getting into, so I don't feel cheated. However I do want to warn any potential buyers of the recent Last Unicorn release in the US. The quality is very low as it was apparently taken from a videotape master that had already been reformatted for standard television aspect. Or in other words it is total crap and unless you get it very inexpensively it is not worth it at all. I suspect they did this because it is "only a children's movie", though given the production values of most releases these days I would wonder what child would be happy to watch this video quality item.

I think I shall write a calm and collected letter telling off Lion's Gate. I would have really enjoyed finally being able to see the full widescreen version of this movie and would have given them much positive ink had I gotten it.

If anyone somewhat nearby wants to see it and not spend the money I'll happy loan my disc out.

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mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
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