Sad Songs Are Nature's Onions

"For the sickness, that be spreadin with the quickness Remedies, cousin I be doin on my enemies Penalty, then I drink forties to they memories" - "Release Yo' Delf" by Method Man

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Is there much cuttlefish flavour in this soda?

Here is a blog chronicling one brave soul's journey through the mystical wonderland that is Japanese snack food.

Make a point to take a few minutes out of your day and read some of these. It's funny stuff. I've been thinking about doing something like this as well, seeing as how there is an Asian grocery store just down the street from me. I'm not sure I have the constitution for this sort of thing, though. Maybe I'll start by reviewing weird British food. Baby steps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dear Santa...

... Or Crazy Blog Reader With Lots Of Expendable Cash And A Kind Heart

Here is a list of things that I have absolutle no need of, but if any of you out there get caught up in the consumer side of the Christmas spirit and want to make a nice young man smile on the 25th, here are some suggestions:

Pop-up Hot Dog Cooker - I was just thinking about how hard it is to cook up a hot dog. I believe that it's up there with making the perfect souffle, or the perfect roast turkey.

Egg Poaching Toaster - I like this because I like things that do more than one thing. I like my machines to be multi-tasking.

3-in-1 Rotating Game Table - Once again, multi-tasking here. I also like things that rotate. And tabletop hockey is rad.

Home Arcade System - Show me a guy who doesn't want a full-size arcade system in their house, and I'll show you a fictional construct who only exists inside your imagination, because every guy wants a full-size arcade system in their house.

Remote Control R2D2 - This is useful, because if I'm ever being held hostage by an evil inter-galactic warlord, I could send this puppy out with an S.O.S.. It could happen.

Robosapien V2 - Unlike R2, Robosapien has the opposable digits necessary to perform such important household tasks, such as "Fetch Iain a beer.", or "Fetch Iain a Snack", or "Fetch Iain The Remote, Even Though It Is Only Two Feet Away And He Could Easily Get It Himself." He will be an invaluable asset to my currently nonexistent household robot collection.

Roomba Discovery Robotic Floor Vac - Roomba will clean up all of the messes caused by Robosapien's shoddy work. He's infuriating, but I just can't stay mad at him.

Desktop Carnivorous Plant Set - I like the idea that I could have something on my desktop with the power to kill.

Swiss Army USB - Aw, even the venerable Swiss Army knife could not avoid our societies need to store digital information in every frigging device ever made. I like the little scissors, myself.

Ambient Weather Beacon - I like to imagine my friends walking into my house, looking at this weird glowing box in the corner, and asking "What is that thing?", to which I reply, "Oh, that... that's just my Ambient Weather Beacon. Now, if you excuse me, I've got to go take the Turbolift up to the roof. My jet pack is just sitting on the helipad, and I think that it's going to rain."

M400 Skycar Prototype - Kind of makes your neighbours new Land Rover look like a piece of shit now, doesn't it?

Indycar Series Simulator - Here's the plan:

1. Invite friends over.
2. Tell them you have just bought a new videogame system.
3. Show them this bad boy.
4. Have maid mop up floor, as friends have likely pissed themselves in astonishment by this point.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Old Ladies + Big Crowds = Bad Words, Or "How Iain Lost The Christmas Spirit"

Yesterday was mine and Kathryn's 6-month anniversary, so we got our asses out of the house to celebrate. Kathryn treated me to brunch at Saege, a new bistro here in Halifax. I had the Huevos Rancheros, which involved a couple of fried eggs, some tostadas (crispy fried corn tortillas), some fresh salsa, cilantro, and some bacon. Good stuff. We then spent a few hours getting a jump start on some Christmas shopping. After that, we went to the theatre to see Walk The Line, the new Johnny Cash biopic. I thought that the movie was fantastic, and both Joaquin Phoenix (he played Johnny) and Reese Witherspoon (she played June Carter) did an excellent job with the singing and whatnot. The drunk guy in front of us did not share this opinion, unfortunately. Dude spends the entire movie making "funny" cracks about the movie, then wobbles out of the theatre yelling "Nobody go see that Johnny Cash movie, it sucks!" at anybody within earshot. A walking, breathing anti-drinking ad, I tells ya. After the movie was out, I was excited, because it was time for the annual Christmas parade. Well, I was excited, until we actually got out to the street. What we were greeted with was a throng of cranky ass people moving at the speed of snot. Kathryn and I positioned ourselves down by the road, behind a young mother, her baby, and the grandmother. They seemed nice enough at first, but that lasted about 2 minutes. Some theatre goers were trying to get home, and politely asked the people in front of us to step aside for a moment. Unbeknownst to the poor couple, they had crossed a line in asking what seemed to be such an innocuous question. After a few terse refusals, the trapped couple started to become a little agited with Mommy and Grandma. I'm not exactly sure what happened next, but I all I know is that the discussion ended with Grandma calling this girl, and I quote, "A slut." This is about the time where Kathryn and I made a mutual decision to skip the parade and get to dinner. Parades suck anyways, right? Anybody can put some lights on a minivan and wave at kids. We made our way through the mob and finally got to Opa Taverna for dinner. Some kalamata spread with pita, some lamb ravioli in tomato sauce, some wine, and the bitter memory of "The Christmas Parade From Hell" was washed away from our memories. The topper of the evening was a viewing of the fifth edition of TV Carnage. A great day, no doubt. And god bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Arrested Development's Development Arrested

So it looks like Fox is cancelling Arrested Development, one of the only decent shows left on that godforsaken network. If five Emmys and countless other awards and critical acclaim aren't enough to keep a show afloat, I don't know what is. Lamesville.

Here is David Cross' succinct take on how the Fox network has failed the show.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Getting sauced over the long weekend...

For lack of anything better to post, here is a recipe for an easy red clam sauce I made over the weekend. I should probably give some credit to TV chef Michael Smith and his show, which gave me the idea for this. Coincidentaly, my girlfriend is totally in love with this dude and his show (despite the fact that he sometimes wears a ponytail, the saddest of all male hairstyles), and he's going to be in Halifax on Wednesday for some sort of book signing/cooking demo thing. I fully expect that she will take off with him to his P.E.I. home and leave me here alone, crying into my sub-celebrity chef clam sauce. Such is life, I suppose.

Iain's Baco-tastic Red Clam Sauce

Start off by cooking some chopped up bacon. I used some Italian bacon, pancetta. Once the bacon is browned, take it out of the pan, reserve the drippings (mmmm, drippings), and saute some chopped onion and garlic in them until the mess is lightly golden in colour. Dump in a can of diced tomatoes, and the liquid from one can of clams. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer away. Add the bacon back into the sauce, along with the clams, salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs and spices your little heart desires (stay away from cinnamon though... I don't think that would work). I also added a chopped up roasted red pepper, for shits and giggles. Put the pasta on (don't forget to salt the water), cook it, drain the pasta (don't rinse the pasta, or the sauce won't stick to it), toss with sauce, eat, then phone up your local East Side Mario's and tell them that their fridge is running and they better go and catch it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Old And Busted: Chef Boyardee

New Hotness: Me

Final Verdict on "Iain's Meatier Than Meaty Super Fantastic Pa' Scetti Sauce":

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Wanna make it yourself? Wha, you think you're betta than me? Here's what I did:

First, I sauteed some celery, carrots and onions in oil, until they were soft (that's what us chefs call a "mirepoix"). Then I added the meat (1 pound extra lean ground beef, 3/4 of a pound of lean ground pork, and about 1/4 of a pound of sweet Italian sausage), and browned it off. While the meat was browning, I dumped in a few cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, and some crushed red pepper flakes. Once the meat was browned, I drained off the fat and added a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, a 19-oz can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, and some red wine (about a glass or so). After that, I just let the mess simmer for a few hours, stirring and tasting every now and again. And that was that.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Of Meatsauce And Men...

I can't wait until tomorrow. After an early (and I do mean early) trip to the farmer's market for some provisions, and then maybe a stop at Pete's Frootique to pick up whatever I can't find at the market, I plan on spending the better part of the afternoon cooking up a batch of spaghetti sauce, of the meaty variety. This is going to be an all day jobby, and I ain't fooling around. Ground beef and pork (and maybe Italian sausage, if the mood strikes me), onions, garlic, a good can of Italian tomatoes (it's actually worth paying an extra dollar for a can imported from Italy, believe me), red wine, a few hours of simmering to enhance the flavour, all that nonsense. I think that tonight I'm going to bust out the Ouji board and call upon the spirit of a long-dead Italian grandma to come in and possess my soul for a few hours. It will be the kind of meal that gangsters partake of while planning their next hit. Fuggedahboutit.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I am not the monkey.

So my girlfriend had a strange dream last night, and I feel that I must share it all with you, to clear up any future misconceptions. In her dream, there was a white, gangly monkey, and this monkey was terrorizing Kathryn. This monkey would bite her and generally was being a little bastard, but whenever anybody was around and looking at it, it would act all nice. The monkey was owned by friends of Kathryn, but no matter where she was, or who she was with, the monkey was there. It kept on changing hands, moving from friend to friend, haunting poor Kathryn all the way. While trying to dissect the dream this morning, we both came upon a disturbing thought: since I wasn't in the dream, maybe the monkey was a representation of me. Maybe it was me all along, giving her a hard time and then acting all nice around her friends. Let me state something here for the record:


I am going to get a t-shirt made with that on it. I think that Kathryn is the monkey, and I was represented by Kathryn in the dream. She thinks that's rubbish. Well, that's just like, her opinion, man.