“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes you get disappointed, but sometimes you get happy.

My husband emailed me while visiting the US, "I just bought you the greatest thing. You will love it." He didn't reveal what it was, but said it was taking up most of his luggage.  I was advised by a friend to not get my hopes up, since this was a GUY buying a gift.  I was impressed when he unpacked it back in Auckland, and extremely happy when I got to use it the first time. What is it you ask? Check out the photo below:

That's me giving my dog Fargo a bath, with Ruby behind me.  The gift is a portable, propane water heater. 

You connect the hose from the faucet, the propane tube into the heater, and the white tubing in the center pumps out hot water to a shower head.  The temperature and water flow rate is adjustable.  The beauty part about it is the not freezing water! Much more comfortable for me and the dogs, and the soap seems to work better as well.   Usually doggie bath time is when we are all tired and sore, so to have the warm water takes away a bit of the discomfort. Also, Darin and I can take it up to our land in Maungaturoto and use it up there.  I really do love this little water heater! Isn't it adorable? It's so practical. Never underestimate the power of hot water!
This past week Guy Faukes day was celebrated. As Nov 5 fell during the week, the fireworks were scheduled for the weekend. We went to Kumeu to see the fireworks show on Friday night. We saw many fireworks going off from people's yards on the drive home.  As we turned onto Scenic Drive, we saw a dog running downhill as fast as he could go, down the middle of the street.  Darin stopped the car and I got out and tried to get him to come to me. He was so scared, and I was so worried about him in the middle of the street. People drive pretty fast coming down this hill, and sure enough, one was coming. I flailed my hands and yelled, Darin flashed his lights, but the jerk didn't even slow down. I saw the dog go on the opposite side of our car, into the oncoming car's lane, and fully expected to see a dog's body go flying through the air.  When he reappeared behind our car, I called to him again and he came to me. Whew! He was a sweet red Staffordshire Terrier, and had his tail tucked firmly between his legs.  I got him into the car, and we drove up the hill. We put him in a dog crate on our front porch and called the Waitakere City Council phone number on his registration tag.  Amazingly, someone answered the phone at 10 pm.  They called the owner and connected us. His wife showed up to pick up Simba a few minutes later; they live about 200 meters uphill from us. How great is that? What a happy ending! But it gets better:

The neighbor showed up with her daughter to deliver this sweet thank you. 
The disappointment I refer to in the title was the recipe for Rogan Josh I prepared from a slick new cookbook I borrowed from the library, Curry, Classic and Contemporary by Vivek Singh. I had some goat meat from the freezer which I used in place of lamb, but the recipe called for leg and I had loin and shoulder, still on the bone. 

You would think that Rogan Josh made from scratch would be pretty awesome, right? I made a special trip to the market for whole cinnamon stick and black cardamom pods and ghee.  I cried my way through two large onions to make this, even doing the beetroot-in-a-soaking-bag trick to make the sauce red (didn't work so hot).  The result was edible, but not worth the effort it took.  I did have fun trying it though, and I recommend you listen to Metallica's S & M while preparing all the ingredients in advance.  I also recommend reading the recipe in full repeatedly before following it.  I didn't have any problems with the recipe but in the past I have had the unpleasant experience of burning the onions- that sucks.
Anyway, I have photocopied some of the other recipies and will try them. I bought some yellow splilt peas awhile ago and will have to try that some time.

Much less disappointing was the book Watchmen, the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Recommended!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Incredibly Strange 24 hour Movie Marathon 2009: the 10th anniversary

I nearly missed out on the 10th annual Incredibly Strange Movie Marathon.  I wasn't paying attention to when it was going to happen this year, but I found out a few days in advance that it was going to be on Halloween. I was sad to find out that it was sold out. No tickets were being sold on the NZ eBay, TradeMe.  The day of the event, I joined the Facebook fan page, and found that some members had tickets available. I managed to get a ticket and attend for my second year in a row. I blogged about this event last year, but it was stuffed in with lots of other interesting stuff, and I left out some important details.

For example, one of the cool things about this movie marathon is that the Hollywood Cinema has a balcony.  This is where I sit.  Also, they are sponsored by V energy drink, so they give you free cans of it.  The seats are moved from the central floor of the theatre, and people are allowed to bring in bean bag chairs.  I brought in a pillow. In addition, you are allowed to bring in food. This is useful because the breaks are usually short, and there's mainly just carbs and caffeine in the lobby. 

The following is the list of movies shown, in order, and my comments. 
1. The Secret Four 1952
Film noir. Good crime drama.
2. Zombieland 2009

A clear highlight of the marathon. Like it was made just for me. They managed to make a film that was both familiar and novel. Loved Bill Murray in it.
3. Roadhouse 1989
There are some hysterical scenes in this movie! An homage to the recently deceased Patrick Swayze.
4. Forbidden World 1982
 This was an able attempt to repeat the success of Alien (1979).  Amusing and rediculous, taking itself far to seriously. Good stuff.
5. Vice Squad 1982
Another, and not the last, 80's film. This was a good film, despite the repeated scenes showing us was a "heart of gold" the prostitute has, and the evil pimp played fabulously by Wings Hauser.
What a disappointment this one was, but it has gotten pretty good ratings. The film begins rather slowly, and after watching night after night of some little thing happening in their bedroom, I began to hope that the couple would die soon.
7. Maidens of Fetish Street 1966
I groaned when this film was introduced as being similar to Moonshine Woman, from last year, but this was surprisingly watchable.
8. Mill of the Stone Women 1960
I napped during the end of this one. Reminded me of the old Vincent Price House of Wax.
9. Night Train to Terror 1985
This was amusing and gruesome. 3 separate stories tied together by God and Satan debating the afterlife of different people, involved in some crazy shit. Some mind-bending mid-80's pop and breakdancing that is extremely incongruous.
10. The Visitor 1979
I also napped during this one.  Normally I'm a big fan of movies about evil children, but this was too complicated, with the whole alien visitor aspect.
11. The Informant! 2009
Really good story and capable acting.  Amusing as well. Incredibly Strange- not so much.
Bigfoot movie! Pretty fun to watch. Sadly I fell asleep for the final fight/escape scene, but awoke to the final thrill of the film- I won't give it away.
13. Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf 1985
The best part about this movie is that at the end, we see the scene where the evil werewolf master bitch tears off her top repeated about 20 times.  Boobies.
14. Commando 1985
Arnold! Totally gratuitous violence, but set in a lovely garden, so that was nice. I hated the kid in the movie, totally spoiled brat. She is superficial to the story anyway.

I've previously posted on the Mt Eden Prison, which immediately next to the Boston Road train station. It's an awesome old building, so I'm really sad to see that some chucklehead spraypainted, badly, some illegible shit. Generally I am a fan of grafitti, but this crap is just pointless, ugly, vandalism.

So now, instead of noticing the cool little plants that are growing betwen the rocks in the wall, I get mad about the ugliness.  Supposedly, there are CCTV cameras operating 24 hrs, so with any luck, they caught the offender. I have no idea how the paint is going to be removed, with the surface being so uneven.