Ginger Ale

November 21, 2009

As regards the last post, I watched the first two episodes of The Prisoner. They were pretty good, but when it comes right down to it, I didn’t feel like sitting and watching the same show for 2 straight hours three nights in a row. So don’t spoil the ending for me.

Anyway. I’ve been making ginger ale from scratch. Just water, sugar, ginger, and yeast. Alton Brown’s recipe makes 2 liters; I made it once in philly, and once here, and it turned out pretty good but never got as fizzy as I liked.

Yesterday I’m at the grocery store, and I see that the sell canning supplies. So I pick up some mason jars. 2 liters is enough for about 5 jars; so I made a batch of ginger ale, added raspberries to one, blackberries to another, mint to the third, cloves and cinnamon to the fourth, and I left the fifth as a control. Also, because I fubared my grater during the first batch, I added a strip of ginger to each one.

Overnight, every jar has become very fizzy. I think the 2 liter bucket I had before wasn’t quite airtight enough. But these are good. And the mason jars are small enough that I can keep them inside a stock pot, in case they explode.

The ginger ale with cinnamon and cloves is mocking me. The cinnamon has swollen, and there’s sort of a murkey look to it, but it is absolute solid tasty gold. I want to leave it another day just to see if it gets better, but it’s hard not to just drink it all down right now.


Premature Anticipation

November 15, 2009

Damn. I just watched some of the clips on AMC’s website. My excitement is somewhat dulled, now. In about ten seconds, I realized that a) I was right about them throwing some titties in, and b) there’s a scene where ‘Six’ has a grenade in his mouth as a punishment. I thought that was stupid when it was on Lost, and I still think it’s stupid. As far as the sex scenes, that’s not what the original The Prisoner was about. If you are angry that it didn’t have more love scenes, you might as well be angry it didn’t have more pirates. Or dinosaurs. Or zombies.

The one writer said “the original series is great, but that was 40 years ago! This is The Prisoner for today.” That’s a messed up sentiment. What’s great about The Prisoner is that the one from 40 years ago is just as relevant today as it was then. It is The Prisoner for today.

Also, someone said something about ‘focusing on the relationships’ in this iteration. In my opinion, there is one important relationship: Number Six and Number Two. Us vs. them. Opression vs. freedom. Conformity vs. individuality.

I want it to rock very much, and I’m not one of them fans that is going to claim everything about the original is a million times better just because it’s the original. I hold high hopes that it will be awesome. But, for sound philosophical reasons, I am very much jaded just from the previews.

The Prisoner

November 15, 2009

So, a number of people have mentioned to me that AMC is making a new version of the prisoner. It airs tomorrow night. Now, some people who know me well, and some who hardly know me at all, have speculated that I’m probably very excited for it. I am. But excited in a very cautious way.

It has a lot going for it, right off the bat. Ian McKellan is going to be Number 2, and let’s face it, if I had done the casting myself, that’s who I would have chosen. The guy is solid gold Number Two material. And if anyone is going to make a new prisoner, one could do a lot worse than AMC. I mean, A&E released the box set, and we all know that if A&E remade The Prisoner, it would suddenly be a procedural cop drama about a team of sassy forensic investigators. Finally, special effects and fashion have changed a little bit. Because of the era in which it was made, a lot of things about the original Prisoner seem goofy today. A version with today’s sensibilities has the possiblity to be a distinct and delicious permutation.

But you may have noticed that I said I was cautious in my optimisim. Oh, there are many possible pitfalls. First of all, Jim Caviezel is playing Number 6. Patrick McGoohan was an awesome Number Six because he was a proper, old-fashioned gentleman. In one episode he actually gets mad at a guy for trying to light a cigar with a lighter and not a match. Number Six was the incarnation of all the essence of proper manliness. Which to me, I suppose, is something along the lines of stoic defiance, traditional values, hard drinking in underground caves, and snappy comebacks.

On the other hand, I will admit I know little about Jim Caviezel. From pictures, though, he’s less the everyman and more the underpantsmodelman. He’s what commercials for hair gel want me to think a man is. A few days worth of stubble isn’t handsome. It’s stylish. But as I mentioned, I know almost nothing about him. Perhaps judging him on the fact that he looks the way I’m told a man should look, and not the way a man really does look, is unfair.

Anyway! On the website and commercials, they’ve also done away with the word ‘number.’ Caviezel plays ‘six,’ not ‘number six.’ I guess that’s why their tagline isn’t “No man is just a number.” I’m not sure why this makes me so suspicious. Calling someone ‘number six’ makes them a faceless statistic without personality. Calling some ‘six’ means that their parents were hippies. Harumph.

And finally. I will wager gen-u-wine american cash money that they shoehorn a love interest into it somehow. Now, I’m not necessarily against this. In the original series, Number Six treated women with a respect that bordered on distaste. But he showed affection a number of times, and went so far as to drive one of the Number Twos completely mad in retaliation for harsh treatment of a woman.

The problem, at least for me, is that in today’s society, a love interest automatically means the characters need to have a shirtless makeout section and rub their sweaty beefs against each other. Seriously. Every movie I can think of that has a love interest goes something like this: boy and girl meet. Boy and girl smile at each other. Boy and girl are lying naked in a bed. I guess you just can’t have any sort of a relationship on TV without juggling the porkmeat around. It’s so cliche that it, frankly, irritates me. If I want to see people make time, I’ve got like 50 channels devoted to nothing else. That’s cable for you.

Anyway. They’re going to shoehorn in a love interest, and they’re going to do it stupidly. That’s my main worry. I think it’s great that people are taking an interest in TV’s first masterpiece, and I am really looking forward to tomorrow, but I am looking forward to it in a cautious way. And for the record, I am calling it now, the day before: they’re going to drop some cliche turkey slapping in there.

Update about Revell!

November 4, 2009

The mean woman asked a guy to look into it for me. Today I got this:

“Since you did not specify a kit number we have no way of knowing which P61 Black Widow model you’re referring to. While instructions are being added to our website, the P61 has not been added at this time and is not in our PDF files.”

There then follows an exact duplicate of the email that the woman sent me. I guess it’s a form letter they send automatically when they get requests? If so, Revell, re-word that letter to sound less dickish. I don’t care if you want proof of purchase to send me a set of instructions. I care that you haven’t apologised for not including them in the first place. If I wanted someone to talk to me like I’m an asshole, I’d call my ex-girlfriend. Or go to the DMV. Or a Walmart.

Is there really such a huge market for duplicate copies of instructions anyway? How big of a burden could a request like this be? Do they get a lot of them? Are they, apparently, all fraudulent? And if you don’t have them in PDF format, how do you print the ones you include with the kit? Are the instructions inscribed in granite someplace? Perhaps they were hand-drawn and you have but one copy? That you apparently aren’t allowed to Xerox and mail on over here?

Oh. And for the record, one way to tell the kit number would be ask me, rather than telling me ‘there’s no way to know.’ Except that apparently your time is super valuable and you don’t need to, you know, be bothered servicing customers. Or be polite.

If I ever have an alternative to Revell, by lord I’ll buy that. I might start putting together model cars instead of model airplanes just so I don’t have to put up with this bullshit.


A note to the people at Revell

November 4, 2009

So, I find myself with an abundance of free time, as there are no pubs within walking distance of my new place. At the local craft store, where I was buying picture frames, I was startled to see an entire aisle filled with plastic model kits: mostly cars, but some aeroplanes. I decided that, for the first time since I was 12, I’d get one.

I’ve had a lot of fun putting it together, but there have been some substantial shortcomings. The kit was for a P61 black widow, a twin-boom fighter from the end of WWII. First: the kit came without the first page of instructions. The first instruction I have is “take the cockpit you assembled on the previous page and glue it into the hull.” I also suspect the page with where to put all the decals is missing. Revell has many PDFs of instructions for free on its site: I emailed them and asked for the P61 plans, as they weren’t listed. I was informed that spare parts required proof of purchase in a rather snitty email. After replying I need data, not parts, they forwarded the email to their technical department. But still, that was the pissiest email I’ve gotten in a long time.

So, the plane. It’s hard to say what issues are due to my lack of skill, the design, or to lack of the instructions. I actually looked up photos of the real-live airplane on the internet to figure out how to assemble to cockpit, which was sort of fun and sort of… not. Oh! The three crewmen are about 200% too large to actually fit in the plane. What am I supposed to do with them? Pose them outside in some sort of airfield tableau? There’s also, for reasons that defy logic, two extra peices that form a barrel. I assume this is set dressing for the tableau?

So, they give you decals for nose art, but, the nose of the plane swings open to reveal the radar setup inside. But if you want to add the nose art, it crosses the seam between the nosecone and the hull, so your naked dame’s legs will get torn off the first time you move it.  A landing gear mudflap quite clearly seen in the photo on the box is not mentioned in the instructions. Also, the plane is so tail-heavy that it needs a clear rod cemented to its underside to have it stand up straight.

Overall, I’ve had a gas putting it together. It came out much better than the ones I did as a child, though I still made some sloppy mistakes. Because I used too little glue (in an effort to avoid overdoing it as I always did in days past) the hull and the tail booms aren’t held together very well, and have a pretty obvious seam.

I’ll probably make more, but that pissy email from the Revell folks makes me wish I had an alternative brand to try. Oh! And the store only has allied WWII aircraft. I guess I shan’t make two and hang them up on the roof as though they were dogfighting.