Thursday, December 24, 2009
But I have a few things I want to say about Avatar, a movie which I didn't think I'd like, but then I liked very much. Despite my love for the movie, though, it's still undeniably a hodgepodge of every movie epic to be released over the last thirty years, with little new in terms of plot (it's breakthroughs are in art, design, wonder-fabrication, and Cameron's knack for strong female leads).
In that vein, here's a less-than-comprehensive list of Avatar influences:
The Last Samurai: A white man is sent by the attacking white-man army to subdue the natives, finds himself captured, and then ultimately leads the natives in a war against the white conquerors, having learned the beauty and purity of their ways. Two very similar scenes: the samurai first encounter Tom Cruise defending himself with a spear against a half-dozen of them, and they spare his life because of the extent of his bravery and pluckiness. Avatar's space marine does exactly this, down to the waving of a stick 360 degrees about him. That, and the final scene where the samurai on horse-back are charging at the soldiers, who mow them down with rifles... again, this is in Avatar.
Pocohontas: The blue alien girl is Pocohontas, the space marine is John Smith, and if you keep your eyes closed and retro-fit the dialogue, it's the same movie.
Aliens: Also directed by James Cameron. Aliens climaxes with a dramatic battle between the giant, vicious Alien and a pissed-off Sigourney Weaver in a large mechanized robot, while in Avatar, an American space marine cimaxes in a sexy blue alien. Another similarity lies in the final battle between a large, reptilian alien and a mechanized robot, but that comes second (and that's another play-on-words, my friends).
Star Wars: Every great epic fantasy film since Star Wars owes everything to Star Wars. An awe-inspiring parallel universe with its own cast of interesting species, languages, fauna, customs, mysticism; a male protagonist who starts the movie with little understanding of the world around him, so that the viewer can be slowly eased into the world as the hero is gradually shown to be the only person with the cojones/magical aptitude to save it.
The Matrix: Jacking into another world with bodies that allow you to do things never dreamed possible... On a separate note, how interesting is it that Pandora's native humanoid race has fiberoptic cables growing out of the back of their heads?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My curious passion for whisky and other drinks has, as its consequence, curious to-do lists. Consider the following:
1. Smell the sap of a tree
2. Eat a honeydew melon
3. Smell the sugary crust of a crème brulee
4. Find out what the hell a blackcurrant is
Never before have my interests necessitated an olfactory education… which is a shame, because now I’m already in my 20s and I have an amateur nose. I cooked dinner the other day—an act I’m proud of—and as I was sifting through unmarked containers of corn starch and measuring out exact portions of Thai sweet chili sauce, I had the idea of, or at least finally got around to executing a dormant plan to… smell my spice cabinet.
Which went something like, “oh—rosemary, so that’s rosemary,” and maybe once or twice I gave out a ”hot damn!” in excitement. And anyway there was much ardent sniffing that took place.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Few men other than Anthony Bourdain can make claim to such an eclectic assortment of experiences and qualities as those which I will write about in the following sentences.
This is a man who has, for example, found it acceptable to dine upon an unwashed warthog rectum. He has consumed a seal eyeball raw (though a gentleman would have put it over fire) and has, on a separate occasion, eaten sheep testicles. To provide a more tabloid-esque account, this is a man who has "conceptualized" his trendy
While I cannot ever advocate the use of LSD as a culinary inspiration, I do admit to championing Mr. Bourdain’s cause to just about everyone I speak with ever. I think he's awesome. He is quite honestly the only television I will watch, though I’ve only watched a few episodes of his show (all this trivia so far is courtesy of Wikipedia--sorry). He is also more or less the inspiration for this blog, hence his cameo in the intro.
To more precisely describe the origins of this bullshit experiment, the blog-idea was an offering of a friend of mine, responding to my sincere desire to become Anthony Bourdain. We were making small talk over a pair of Brooklyn Lagers when I revealed my love for Mr. Bourdain and his show, No Reservations, and my idea that I should one day become the Anthony Bourdain of alcohol.
Let me explain: I would be a true globe-trotter who penetrates a society by experiencing the richness and depth of its alcohol culture; over the course of my travels eventually touring the scotch distilleries of Scotland, the pubs of London, the beer and sake breweries of Germany, Belgium, Japan, the vineyards of Napa Valley, ad infinitum for so long as network execs should continue to buy it. With great sincerity, I think this would be an incredibly baller way to live.
But I have no idea how one gets into television, anyway, and that’s one thing Wikipedia won’t tell me, those fuckers, so, whatever, fuck it—it was never intended to be more than day-dream fodder, and it only entered into my conversation because it seemed like the kind of thing that makes for good conversation. But my friend suggested I run with the idea, lone-wolf-style, by making it into a blog.
I thought: Blogs and television shows are very different things, chiefly because blogs do not pay the bills.
She thought (in so many words): But it could be a good start, and a lot of critics and journalism personalities are indeed discovered this way, as any anyman can have a shot at minor fandom by way of the blogosphere.
Now, that last bit is bullshit, but I was eventually won over as to the possible fun-to-be-had in writing a blog. The concept for the blog that I’ve newfangulated goes like this: I’m going to write about topics that interest me, tie it in with a drink, make that drink, take pictures of that drink, and then post it all on this blog. If I have interesting experiences in any interesting drinkeries, I’ll note those, too. Even if no one reads it (though you better fucking read it or I will cut you), it'll be a good creative release for me in this creatively desolate period of my life.
As this is a post of introduction, meant to herald in something new and wonderful, I have decided to write about the negroni, which, aside from being one of my favorite classic cocktails ever—not to mention a real drinker's drink, something of which Anthony Bourdain himself would approve, something that will even put some hair on your balls, please pardon this vulgar run-on sentence—is also the cocktail that began the giddy descent into my current euphoric, obsessive odyssey toward the eventual accumulation of all alcohol-related knowledge.
Sorry about that last paragraph. While I do love, and hope to introduce in this blog, most of the rich varieties of alcoholic beverages available (save for vodka, because I bloody hate vodka), cocktails are my specialty. I mean, I greatly respect scotch, I heart beer, and more and more lately I’ve been delving into wine. But cocktails are my raison d'etre.
And away we go:
3/4 oz. gin (for the same price, I prefer Beefeater, but Tanqueray is what I have)
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. Campari
The Negroni is a special drink, insomuch as everyone who tries it the first time dislikes it, but for some reason you stick with it anyway, until it eventually becomes a part of you, like cigarettes, or religion. The key ingredient in it is Campari, which is an Italian apertif bitters. Unlike cocktail bitters, like Angostura or Regan's, an apertif bitters can be imbibed straight as an after-dinner drink. Campari is commonly recognized to be the 'bitterest of bitters,' hence its early unapproachability. But it definitely grows on you.
All the ingredients are combined in equal measure in a glass with plenty of ice, capped, shaken vigorously, and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. The most appropriate garnish is a flamed orange peel or twist, though lemon works too, or even a marascino cherry in a pinch. Here you see it unadorned, because I was out of citrus.
The sweetness of the vermouth offsets the piquant notes of the gin and the bitter flavor of the the Campari. It's a fucking awesome drink, one of the best.
Future posts will not be this long, but somehow the introduction was demanding of it. I hope you'll check in from time to time, and I'll leave you with a quote:
"Stay thirsty, my friends." --The Most Interesting Man in the World