Letters to Holly

Thursday, September 18

A New Game

Our NFL Bet
Her Teams
Patriots (2-0), Chargers (0-2)
Panthers (2-0), Giants (2-0)

My Teams
Steelers (2-0), Jaguars (0-2)
Panthers(2-0), Cowboys (2-0)

A new Star Wars game, Force Unleashed, is out for the major gaming systems, and the first five minutes of it surpasses everything we saw in Clone Wars. We get the blue text, the horns blaring, the shrinking logo, crawling yellow text, and the camera pans down to a planet and a Star Destroyer. I smilled and smiled and smiled.

The game is between Episodes 3 and 4, and it, so far, involves Darth raising an apprentice from childhood. Players learn the game basics by playing as Darth leading an Imperial assault on the Wookie homeworld. The game allows you to grab a wild variety of objects with the Force and toss them. This includes dead Troopers and attacking Wookies. You can force choke, you can block blaster fire with the lightsaber, you can throw your saber and kill specific targets. This is as far as I've gotten so far because I went back to do it again. It's glee.

Asheville comes to Mayberry tonight for a football game, and we're going. The weekend looks open so far.

The garden is winding down. The cold seems to hit the tomatoes hard, and we'll be lucky to get three ears of corn. I think I planted too late. But the soil will have plenty of nutrients for next year.

Picture of the Day
We didn't pick the Vikings this year.

Tuesday, September 16

Cooking With Villainy 4

Because we now officially have no play running this fall, I find myself with lots of free time. I'm going to run in the annual Halloween run, and I intend to improve my 5k time. I ran Saturday and Monday, thanks to the iPod and decent weather. A school bug may have hit home. I think I have a mild flu. It hurts to move my eyes.

We double-checked our money-market accounts in light of the Wall Street news. We're OK, I believe.

And since this is a puny post, let's wheel in our regular guest blogger, Iron (Face) Chef Doctor Doom.

It has indeed been a hectic time here at Stately Doom Manor, what with alien Skrulls getting all up in Doom's bidness. These interlopers dare hope they can conquer Latveria and exploit the populace for nefarious ends. That's Doom's job! Doom commands them to step off, and Doom would single-handedly thrash them from ribbed chin to funky green toes if Doom were not otherwise occupied with his new recipe -- a formula that verily drips with genius and skill, traits unknown to that Accursed Reed Richards!

Tonight, Doom deigns to grant you Chicken Tetrazzini!

Doom commands you to boil one package of spaghetti noodles. Oft times this will equal 7 ounces. This shall suffice. For convenience, Doom prefers to snap his noodles into thirds. Doom likes to imagine they are the very bones of the Accursed Richards. Doom relishes the loud cracks. Doom screams aloud "Crack your bones, Richards! Crack your bones! Doom lives for the sound!"

[Somewhat famous English transvestite comedian Eddie Izzard walks in]

Eddie Izzard: Oh, hey, Doom. That, um, that sounds a bit like my chiropractor bit. You know -- oh, nice apron, by the by. I like the little design. What is that, a retarded iguana?

Doom: This ... This is Doom's family crest. What are you --

Izzard: Oh, sorry, love. Anyway, yeah, I do the "crack yer bones" thing in my act. The joke is the chiropractor prescribes the same medicine for every problem, you see. "Hangnail? Crack yer bones. Smelly pits? Crack yer bones." And then I make funny faces and pretend I'm in a crazed state as I move their spines. "Make the noise! I live for the noise!" It goes over like --

Doom: WHO LET EDDIE IZZARD INTO DOOM'S HOUSE?! Doombots! Throw him into the sun!

Now then ...

Doom commands you to melt 1/4 cup of butter in a 2-quart pot. When the butter is entirely liquid, Doom commands you to mix in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and pinches of salt and pepper. Doom commands you to stir this on low heat until it is smooth and bubbly.

Doom commands you to add to the pot 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of heavy cream. Doom commands you to bring to this boil. Doom commands you to to stir constantly.

When the noodles are al dente, Doom commands you to drain them and add them to the mixture. Doom commands you to add 2 cups of cubed chicken, 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons of cooking sherry.

Doom commands you to pour the mixture in a 2-quart baking pan. Doom commands you to preheat your paltry oven to 350 degrees. Doom commands you to sprinkle 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese atop the mixture. Doom forbids you from greasing the pan first. Heed Doom always. Doom commands you to bake the mixture for 30 minutes. When the cheese bubbles, Doom permits you to remove the pan.

Doom commands you to relish.

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You can probably replace the chicken with fish and the chicken broth with fish stock. Probably. I added a new Cooking With Villainy page on the bottom-right links list so you can find the recipes.

Monday, September 15

Ever the Drama.

We ate dinner Friday with some theatre buddies, and I got more news. The renovation project is going in a bad direction. The tiny subcommittee talking to the architects thinks it's a good idea to spend a full third of the total funds on the dressing rooms. Instead of, maybe, the stage. When we produced the courtroom show, we changed in teh law library. All you need in a dressing room is a toilet, a mirror, a sink, a table and some clothes hangers. That's it. It shouldn't cost more than $50,000 -- their proposed amount. The people I had dinner with are considering leaving the group over this and other weak decisions. There's no cohesion on fund-raising. For these concerns, he held off sponsoring me for the board of directors.

It's a small theatre, and they seem to have exceeded their grasp with this major renovation project. They need a space to present shows to make money, but they need money to fix up that space. I had the idea of a paid Banned Book Week reading. Get folks to sign up for 15-minute readings from a banned books and sell snacks for money. We could partner with the library or local bookstore. Barnes and Noble used to do this, and I once found myself reading Where the Sidewalk Ends to half the store.

Our season of plays still isn't public, and the expected backlash from vocal theatre mainstays is still on the horizon. I've offered to field the complaints, and I stand by that.

Again, there's always more drama backstage.

The squash vines are fading fast, and I plucked up all the gourds. We have one pumpkin still growing, and I don't think it will mature before Halloween. The tomatoes might keep going for another month, and the corn --- well, we'll see. We'll be lucky to get four ears off them. Next year's garden will be much better.

We walked into a local store and found a comic spinner rack. They wouldn't sell it to me, but they offered to pass along the name of the company from which they bought it. I'd love to have one in the big living room. I also bought a GI Joe comic for Your Sis. The cashier thought she knew her from Earth Shine, and we suspect she recognized you in Your Sister's face.

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The Sarah Palin interview made one thing clear: Framing yourself as an outsider suggests you don't know how things work. Palin didn't know about discretionary spending versus accepted budgets, and that's significant if you pledge to fix government expenditures. She also wouldn't definitively answer a question until she was prompted two or three times. She has to step up.

Picture of the Day
I have to work to stay pretty.