Sunday, July 7, 2019

What that Movie Inspired July 2019

Spudguns!, it's been a long while since I did any of these. This one came about because of a conversation with my friend Heather over at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.  We ended up both feeling nostalgic over a few situations, and movies. The conversation took a weird side road into certain foods, rice being one of them. That lead to this challenge...our Rice and Ramen and $5 Challenge.   Yes, you read that long arsed title right. This movie inspired foodie moment had to have Rice, Ramen and be under $5 total.

Any movie we wanted. But, the rest of the rules had to be followed. I have to say, this was actually one of the hardest ones to manage. Just from a budget point of view.  I instantly knew what movie I was going to use, and had half an idea for the recipe.  Ironically, I ended up using one of the movies I had been failing at recipes for in the last few months. But the second I decided to pair the movie with this challenge, well the "recipe" worked so smoothly.

Okay, so what movie you are asking?  The 1997 comedy The Pest starring John Leguizamo and Jeffrey Jones.

plot:  Pest is a street smart con artist who is in debt with the Scottish mob, and when a German millionaire offers him Fifty-Thousand dollars to be hunted for 24 hours, he says yes. Before long Pest drags his buddies into the mix and still manages to impress his girlfriend's parents.

This is based on the 1924 story The Most Dangerous Game.

I have to admit, I know this is a comedy on the surface, but when you actually get down to it, it's one of the scariest stories out there. When I first saw this movie back in 1997, I couldn't get the original story out of my mind. There's been dozens of versions of this story's main plot over the last hundred years, but Pest is one of my favourites.  This could have easily been a straight up horror film. I know as a comedy it was given a lighter rating, but with the amount of crude jokes and the fact it is not in any way a politically correct film, you would think otherwise. And let's face it, this film would never stand a chance at getting made today.

Notes:  cereal, eggs, toast, coffee, juice, cheesies, chicken grease (mentioned) milk, Lucky Charms (mentioned) potato chips, pizza, pop, pineapple, coconuts, mango, banana, Chinese food, tea, rice, bok choy, duck, oranges, cabbage, MSG (mentioned), stir-fry, soy sauce, whiskey, apple, martini, plum sauce, olives, noodles, dumplings (mentioned) deer, goose, lobster, beer, salt, pepper, Cuban food, ice cream (fabric print) cookies, grapes, burgers

So what did I end up making?   Pest's Bestest Ninja Roll.  There is no way you can call this dish a "recipe".
I started out by making the ramen, removing them from the liquid, and cooking the rice in the ramen liquid.
Chopped up some of the onion, black olives, and cucumber.  And a handful of the pre-made cole slaw (carrot, green cabbage and red cabbage)
Following the instructions on the package of rice paper, I soaked it in water before laying out on a flat surface.
Then proceeded to roll the noodles, cucumber, onions, olives, and cole slaw. 
I served the rice on the side.

So the scenes that inspired this were when Pest is working as a driver for a Chinese restaurant, and is eating both rice and later in another scene noodles. As well, the fact the character of the German hunter; Shank is constantly with olives in his martini.  And the title of it came from a line where Pest has to pick between his friends Chubby and Ninja when asked who his best friend is. The character of Pest tends to add a lot of  extra "s" to his words. (You`re my bestestsssests friend)

When you hear rice and ramen, you think "okay, keeping it under $5 will be easy." Well, it wasn't. Lest not the way I was calculating up the prices.   $2.27 for a bag of rice, $1.97 for the pre made cole slaw, $1.67 a pound for a onion, .47 cents for the ramen package, $2.99 for the container of rice paper, $1.49 for a container of olives, .88cent for a cucumber.  Total = $11.74

Here`s where my brains sort of got stuck. I was thinking in the sense of the total price instead of the fact I`ll only be using a small portion of most the ingredients. All but the ramen which I used the whole package of.  I actually had everything already in my kitchen. Didn't even need to make a trip to the grocery. How cool is that?  I used a cup of the rice and only a handful of the premade cole slaw. (I tend to get 4 to 5 meals out of a bag of the slaw) and only a few slices of the onion and cucumber. And only four of the olives, and one of the riced paper.  Works out roughly to $5 a person.

Okay so that's my movie pick and my dish (yeah don't feel right calling it a recipe) Don't forget to head on over to All Roads Lead to the Kitchen to see what Heather picked and was inspired to make.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Night Bleeds Summer 2019

Spudguns!, how's it where you are?  Spiffy news good to hear that...anyways, it's time to talk about this month's Night Bleeds selection.  The selection this time around, is The Stand by Stephen King.  And it's a super long one, so that's why it's not due till the end of August.

So, if you want to join in here's what you need to know.    You must have a blog to join the online part. Read the novel, (watching movie this time around is optional bonus) and if it inspires you to cook/bake/craft something then add that to your blog post. Your blog post must be within the current month, in this case August 2019.   As always, it's due the last Sunday of the month, in this current case that will be Sunday August 25th 2019.  With a link to my post on the day of, and a comment letting me know you actually joined in.

If you are in the Thunder Bay area and would like to join the physical book club, let me know.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

June book report

It's that time again, where I tell you my thoughts on this month's book club selection.  The book in question was Gerald's Game by Stephen King. I know there is a movie version too, but I decided not to watch it.

plot:  After being talked into an afternoon of S/M style sex, a woman is left alone when her husband dies suddenly of a heart attack. She then starts to doubt everything she sees while waiting for help.

I liked the majority of this novel, up to the last couple of chapters. The introduction of the Boogieman/Joubert sort of put me off the rest of the story.  Which, I think might have been the whole idea of the character.  Up to that point in the story, you are dealing with the lead Jessie, and a stray dog named Prince.

I was expecting a completely different ending than what we are actually given. The story itself takes place over about 72 hours, as we sit with the lead character in her isolated misery. She is faced with the realization that no one is coming to help her, and she needs to help herself. While this is happening, she starts to hallucinate and hear voices. The voices are what gets her through and reveals why she's there in the first place. We learn that she had been abused as a child, and her way of dealing is by not dealing.

The stray dog, which I thought was a brilliant point of view to have, helps to break up the interior dialog. He's the grounding point in the little bit of reality Jessie has left to hold on to. And again, here is another character that has survived a form of abuse.

One of the voices Jessie hears is that of Ruth, her best friend from college. It's hinted at one point that she was actually hearing the voice of Ruth shortly after the original abuse happens. I was fully expecting Ruth to be a split personality, but it didn't seem to play out that way in the final chapters.

Which brings me to the Boogieman/Joubert character. He turns out to be a deformed serial killer/cannibal. Again, another character who suffered abuse as a child.  When the character is first introduced, we are made to believe along with the lead, that he's not real. That he's part of Jessie's hallucinations. Which, made that point of the story creepy as hell. When we finally discover his piece of the story, it just degrades into such a disturbing sub-plot.

This twist ending with the Joubert character ruined the whole first half of the book for me. It grounded it, and took away all the "what if's" that surrounded Jessie's state of mind up to that point. 

Honestly, it was the ending that made me decide I did not want to sit through the movie.

I don't have much insight on this one. I loved the psychological elements with the isolation and the self-loathing confessions, but beyond that, the story itself almost felt like the ending belonged to a different book.

I'm going to end this here. I'll be back later in the week with the official announcement for the next book selection.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Coffee Talk June 27th 2019

Spudguns! I know, I haven't been in just to chat in a long long while. It's a Thursday, and we are 126 Days till Hallowe'en.  

Book club is this weekend, so I will have a post/review on that Sunday.

Though it might not seem it by the sparseness of this cupboard, I have been writing and working on some of the Hallowe'en stuff already.  Which of course, will be hopefully done on time this year. And; again if all goes according to plan, I will have at lest one recipe a month leading up to November. If all goes according to my hopes and dreams. 

You do realize that also means a return to the movie reviews right?   And I'll have one or maybe even both of the blog serials for you too later in July.  

That's about it for now.  I'll be back on Sunday with book club.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Nosferatu Adventures s13 p19

The Nosferatu Adventures
page 349, chapter 349

Jacob's  Daze

1400's

He grunted as he raised the axe, splitting the wood sending shards of it flying. he was angry, adrenaline pumping as he tried not to think. He'd been angry since he'd woken up that morning and there had been no reason for it. Sweat beaded on the werewolf's flesh, leaving a ring at the waist of his pants. His ears twitched as he heard the laughter. They were miles away still, three of the local whores come to keep Vlad's men company. Sniffing shallowly, he wiped his hand over his mouth. They smelled good, sweet in their perfumed clothes, carrying baskets of fresh berries, fruit and wine. To Jacob that smelled even better than they did. But he just didn't want to smell it. Didn't want to know how the tang of sweat and perfume would sit on the edge of his very sensitive nose for the next few hours.  His stomach rumbled as he stopped his task long enough to watch the three women marching arrogantly through the trees. Their feet crunching carelessly on fallen branches. Each footfall an insult to the forest. Jacob's gaze fell across each before settling on a crushed leaf. The green colour bursting like a waterfall. Something wasn't right here. Bringing his hand up to his face, the lycanthrope hid behind his palm as he sniffed deeply closing his blue eyes. It was like a spell gone wrong as it burst around him, slithering across his back and shoulders. He felt as if he were being hugged by a bear, the tightness making him feel the need to rotate his shoulders a few times to assure himself he could move. His senses overloaded with the taste of magick which seemed to be like eating burnt leaves. A horrible reminder that the full moon was that night. Since Rolf and Reuben had returned to their own time, Jacob once again took his place as Oaken pack alpha. And with having to share space now with not just the Blacksmith pack but the Copperheads and the Millersons, he was simply dreading this full moon. It would; he was more than sure, be a nightmare of a bloodbath. Now, this tinge of whatever magick he was sensing was not welcome.  The tall jet black haired male magick misted a clean crisp shirt as he bent to gather his firewood.  He sat a few hours later by the edge of the camp having had no stomach for the dinner, a familiar feeling beginning to creep over him. The sun was less than an hour from setting, and the packs were already beginning to get restless, each holding territory nearby.  Jacob stretched grunting in pain. Something was different tonight, something tugging at him causing every muscle in the shapeshifter to ache and burn. Had been all day. The dark haired male decided not to wait for nightfall as he got up from his seat and walked into the woods. Letting the magick mist surround him, his clothes and boots disappeared leaving him naked as he knelt on all fours. His bones shifted and cracked as he screamed in agony. His voice going from human to nothing more than animalistic gurgles before a howl escaped his throat. He hadn't felt this much torture shifting to his wolf form since he was a kid, since the first time he turned.  Panting, the large onyx wolf shook himself before heading off at a run. The werewolf crossed nearly twenty miles within minutes as he ran deeper into the forest. Something driving him to test his own speed. Stopping at the edge of a lake, he dipped his muzzle into it lapping the cool water. He was thirsty. Good old fashioned thirst from running so long at such a speed. He let his mind drift then to the simple task of quieting that need, when he caught a scent. Turning his eyes up the beast peered across the lake's surface. He stopped drinking jerking his head up to get a better look. There less than a mile away on the far side of the lake was the Banshee.

"Jacob."  he heard her whisper as she stood still her pulse quickening. The onyx wolf raised his face to the sky, one front paw raised as if about to take a step. He hesitated before lowering his muzzle once more to return to the cold water. His amber-grey eyes never breaking contact with Nosferatu's. He then crossed the length of the water in a half heartbeat, without even wanting to. The creature stopped once again distracted for a half a breath by a large trout swimming against the current. Snarling before letting a yelp escape him, the wolf continued to concentrate on the fish. Pouncing his powerful jaws clamped down on the fish as he proudly showed off his prize. His animal mind telling him he needed to prove he could do it without failure. Jacob moved onward to where our heroine was still standing, her skirt hiked up around her thighs as to not get too wet, her bare legs under the water. The wolf past the female dropping the large fish on the edge of the bank before snorting at her.  He transformed back to his human self just as the sky began to become rust orange. The sun starting to set.

"How did you know it was me?" he asked breathless. It was all he could do not to count the beats of her heart as he tried to still his own breath. The female shrugged clearing her throat as she tried not to stare at the still naked man. Jacob smelled the banshee's body chemistry change as she blushed.

"Just something I've always been able to do." She walked towards him splashing water as she did, the waterline getting closer and closer to her ankles, revealing just how pale she was. "Well I was hoping to be at the castle before anyone found me. Should I run?"  the male's gaze was drawn then to a large scar on the hybrid's right leg. He was reminded that in her time such injuries were no longer life threatening to humans. Remembered her telling him about how surgeries to repair broken bones were common place. Reminded that she'd once been human.

"Please do not." Jacob closed his eyes running his fingers over his mouth. "Running will just set things off. Heartbeat the blood rushing which you already know yourself. And I am not sure I can resist with the moon so close to rising." opening his eyes he gave her a sideways glance. "I had no intention of..." he gestured towards her. "I'm already alpha and I have no problem fighting to keep it."

"That will not matter once the full moon is visible completely. All logic and rational thought or good intentions are gone." our heroine said her tone low. "Trust me. I have been through it before."

"If only there was a way to stop it." Jacob said still standing a few feet from her; still naked.

"There is." our heroine moved farther up towards the edge of the bank towards the trees. "Beating it to it. The very first time I witnessed the full moon ritual, I stopped it by choosing a mate." she breathed a deep sigh. "If I were to choose someone the ritual is stopped. Ended before it can begin." reaching her hand up to touch his neck her eyes flashed the pure white of the banshee. The air shifted around them carrying on it the heavy smell of wet dog.  "Damn." she shook her head her eyes returning to their human hazel. "The other packs are coming. I have to go. Try not to get killed."

"Wait." Jacob's words were starting to slur as he reached out for her. His nails sharp glass like points, his bottom fangs already exposed. Grabbing her hand he brought it up to his face sniffing deeply. He trailed his nose up her arm to her elbow as he closed his eyes. Snarling Nosferatu tried to pull away but couldn't. "I think...I think it is too late." Jacob mumbled as he fought back a growl. Her scent was all he could comprehend. It just seemed to engulf him like a wool coat. Our heroine swore as she listened to the sounds of the approaching werewolves. At lest five heartbeats were closing in. Turning to look at the sky, she did indeed see the moon visible beside the still setting sun.  She had two choices; either fight her way out of it getting killed in the process or give in letting one of the lycanthropes claim her. Taking a deep gulp of air, Nosferatu stopped struggling.

"Shack it! Jacob Oaken, I choose you."  her voice was steady and solid as she tilted her chin so that she was talking to the wind as much as to the male beside her.  The involuntary transformation seemed to stop cold leaving the male able to get some control over it and return to his human form. He pulled her to himself before toppling them both to the ground.

"You hear that?" he whispered a few moments later. "The packs they are gone." the strange feeling he'd had all day suddenly vanished. All the odd aches and pains suddenly gone, as if they'd never been. He stretched out beside her wiggling his toes. "I could get used to this." the dark haired lycanthrope said rolling back on top of his new mate, his arms raised over her skull as he flexed and unflexed his fingers kneading the dirt and grass around them.  Reminding our heroine suddenly of a cat and not a wolf. "I feel great!" there was no hiding the joy and shock in his tone. The energy seemed to snake it's way up his spine flowing into his shoulders. "Can you feel that? Like the whole world is humming." his blue eyes seemed to actually glow as the last rays of sunlight gleamed in them. Our heroine said nothing as she examined him, tracing a nail through his hair. Nosferatu half expected to see the grey streaks appear at his temples but the didn't. Unlike when she'd claimed Reuben last time while she'd been pregnant, the Frankenstein curse seemed to have no effect on Jacob.  "You do not look like you feel great. You look like you feel sad." he knitted his eyebrows together in worry. "I know you have been through this process before, but unlike your other mate, I am not that easily killed."  Jacob nodded unable to keep the smirk off his face. "You already had my loyalty now you have got my body and my heart." he leaned in to kiss her but she turned her face.

"I do not want your heart. Save that for when I am gone and you fall in love." she said with a touch of venom to her voice. "You are right. I have been through this claiming process before. a half dozen times. And I knew enough to know that with Reuben gone, it was going to happen. The full moon ritual is a beast all it's own. Given Maxwell is the alpha for the Blacksmith pack again, I figured it would eventually be down to one of you two. You were the better choice." she remarked trying to wiggle out from under him. "Do not look so hurt."  She gave up trying to move as the dark haired male slammed both palms into the ground snarling.


Tune in again for another installment of the Nosferatu Adventures starring your heroine...me(straight up story. Remember, Jacob is Edric past and Edric is Jacob future)

Monday, June 3, 2019

Talking about the book club

Spudguns!, we are a few days into June and currently 150 days till Hallowe'en.

This would be the official monthly announcement for Night Bleeds Book and Movie Club.  I really should have thought of a shorter title, but zombie eaten brains. Anyways, the June selection is Gerald's Game by Stephen King. 

Rules are simple, read the book (watching the movie version as a bonus is optional this month) and blog about it. You must have a blog to join in. Then if it inspires you to cook/bake/craft anything, add that to your blog post. If you do join in, leave me a comment either on this post or on the day of post. Don't forget to link back to either this post or the day of post. 
Blog post must be current; which means in this case June 2019. Deadline is the last Sunday of the month : Sunday June 30th 2019.

And as always, if you are in the Thunder Bay area and would like to join me for the physical book club, just drop me a message.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

May Book Club Day

This month the selection was the novel Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice.  I decided this time around to skip the movie version, as I've talked about it a few times before on here. (last year when I covered The Vampire Lestat in book club I talked about the movie version of Queen of the Damned)

plot:  It's a week until the big rock concert by the Vampire Lestat. Everyone in the world, be it human or supernatural is planning to attend. Some are going to experience the show, others are out to kill Lestat. As the week progresses, we learn that Akasha, the oldest living vampire, has awoken after thousands of years. She makes her way towards the gathering, destroying all in her path. We also learn of a common nightmare all the vampires, and many of the human psychics have been having repeatedly. They keep seeing two red haired twins and a burnt body. No one is certain what the meaning of the nightmare is? It isn't until after Lestat is kidnapped by Akasha, and turned into her personal steward, forced to kill for her, that the remaining vampires come together under one roof to learn the truth of the nightmares and their origins. Akasha feeling affronted by the remaining vampires, gives them an ultimatum.  They refuse, and a final showdown between them and Akasha begins.

Okay, so first off, this is one of those novels that has been studied in university courses and by professionals countless times in the last 30 years since the novel was written. I don't know how much I can actually add to it?

This book, which is book 3 of The Vampire Chronicles, is told through the eyes of many characters. From the main characters like Lestat, Jesse, and Maharet, down to minor "extras" like Baby Jenks. Keeping with a bit of a theme, it's like from Royalty down to the Commoner.
It's also the first major depart from a straightly solid vampire story into witchcraft and the outlining areas of other paranormal issues; with the story of the Twins and the Great Family. (something Anne Rice would expand on in other novels)

For me, the characters of Jesse, The Talamasca and the Twins -Maharet and Mekare, were the most interesting.  These are the witches and the paranormal researchers in the story. And the core of the two major family lines.

It's a very global thinking story. One that tackles the issues that were being faced in the 1980's when it was originally written. Issues we are only now really years later dealing with. A conscious thought that pointed out the flaws. The vampires gathered at the end; the survivors, are almost like a small version of the united nations. Each representing a "nation" so to speak. (Egypt, Rome, Iceland etc) and take on the responsibilities and perspective of such an enclave. A ruling factor advising the monarch.

It's almost visionary in the way Anne Rice describes the way Akasha sits undisturbed in front of screen after screen, connecting to the rest of the world without participating in it. Much like we do now with endless hours of internetting. It's hard to believe it was written 30 years ago before this was the norm. And Akasha's initial response to the images she sees, is equal to a child acting out on impulse learning that the information isn't always as it first appears.  Akasha is trapped not just physically as a statue for thousands of years, but emotionally in her stubbornness. Her need to be right even when she knows just how wrong she is; is one of her only driving desires for so much of the story.

Where as the second novel in the series, The Vampire Lestat, was a clear metaphor for paganism, this seems to be a note on feminism and what one would consider extremism.
It's very female centric. Parallel in the fact Akasha begins killing all the men in the areas she visits, while Maharet ignores all the male family members basically stating that they are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Choosing to focus her attention and wealth on the females of her family.
The story is about evolution as much as it is about political boundaries. It parallels the idea of evolution itself with "two great families", both coming from one root. The human descendants and the surviving vampires. Proving that everyone is connected and all is one. We are given a clearer version of this metaphoric truth through the eyes of Baby Jenks as she sees the webbing of souls upon her final death. The same webbing Akasha claims to have seen when she was turned in the beginning.

Unlike the first two novels, the male perspective is down played to the point Lestat is afraid to use his powers. To test just how strong he truly is. As we're reminded time and again in the story that history can repeat itself. It's almost as if he's not sure he wants to admit he could be capable of falling into the queen's viewpoint/actions on his own. Even the most powerful of the male vampires, seem to be in a more docile role. Khayman being forced to rape the twins by the King's order, while the King being controlled by Akasha. Marius, being trapped in ice and completely unable to help himself as he waits for Pandora to rescue him. Daniel the newly turned vampire, who is addicted to Armand's blood.

Okay, I'm going to end this here. I think I've said all I can without a degree in anything.