Remaking The Shining 

Monday, January 30, 2006

I've seen parts of The Shining over the years, but the parts never accumulated to a whole. I could never say I saw the movie.

Every time The Shining is on TV, I planned to watch it in its entirety, only to be foiled as soon as the scary music started. Yep, I knew about the bloody elevator flood and the skeletons at the end. As soon as Jack Nicholson looked at the open door to room 237, however, I would flip the channel.

I never knew, for example, just what Room 237 held.

This weekend, I finally watched The Shining from beginning to end. It wasn't easy - the b-movies I usually watch were no training for this fright fest - but I finally learned just who lay waiting in room 237.

Now that I have achieved this film benchmark, I am ready to create my own remake. It's a turn-of-the-century thing, isn't it? King Kong this winter, Superman next summer. It's bound to happen.

Now my version, as soon as I secure the funding, will present the viewer with a few small twists:
  • Cast Johnny Depp as Jack Torrance. In the course of the film, he'll transform from his sweet-faced self of 21 Jump Street days to a sinister Jack Sparrow.

  • Going along with the pirate theme evoked by Depp's Jack Sparrow, Jack Torrance's famous door scene will instead feature Depp clawing through the door with a hook hand.

  • Unfortunately for little Danny, Dick Hallorann fails to come to his rescue. The old man stays firmly planted in Florida, closing his mind to any of this shining nonsense.

  • Danny, however, receives the gift of porcupinicity from the scriptwriters. This talent will come in useful when balloon animals attack him, in the scene both Kubrick and Stephen King left out of the story.

  • In another neglected scene, little Danny first utters "redrum" to his father, thereby driving him back to the bottle.

  • The Overlook Hotel, instead of being on top of an Indian burial ground, will be relocated to being on top of a tiki lounge in remote Wyoming. The motifs will be altered, distant strains of the ukulele will be what slowly drives Jack Torrance mad, a topless hula girl rises from the bathtub.

  • Shelly Duvall reprises her role as Wendy Torrance. While attempting to escape through the bathroom window, an impossible feat considering her exploitation of the hotel larder's bounty, her eyes momentarily pop out.

  • Instead of succumbing to the elements, Jack Torrance in this version runs into a proto-Minotaur in the maze. This Minotaur would have appeared earlier, when a frightened Wendy finds the Minotaur performing oral sex on a famous tv anchorman (cameo appearance not yet worked out).

  • Wendy and Danny escape in the helicopter whose shadow is evident in the righthand bottom corner of the screen at the beginning of the movie.
Not too different from the original. Just different enough to make it a classic.

Knitting for the Morbid 

Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Beutiful art made with kintting," despite the terrible typing, excels in the knitting department. That is, if you like knit b-movie-worthy props.

A cat with its yarny guts spilling out; a crocodile eating a child - fed by a reluctant Southern teen momma we presume; a giant pair of scissors stabbing a happy-in-death schoolgirl; a shark snacking on a hapless swimmer, head first; a Pinocchio that bears a striking resemblance to Michael Jackson with his honker being sawed off (who knew wood could bleed?); a suicide bunny in a masochistic carrot fantasy; Curious George rowing to freedom on a phallic banana - check out the yarn ripples! - conjoined teddy bear twins; and, in a twist on every little girl's fantasy, a unicorn impaling a teddy bear on its trunk.

Which serious knitter created all this? The site has no names. Reminescent of the Unfortunate Animal of the Month Club, it's seriously warped.

The referring blog, Yumlum, has no further information to give. Chockful of the weird (my other favourite is the referral to the Barbie doll dishes) but I will be keeping an eye on Yumlum from now on.

Zombie Recipe 

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cowboy Christmas Breakfast

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing truck
1 (170-lb) package bulk cowboy
1 loaf Italian bread (about 4 inches wide)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 dozen large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 large bunch scallions, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 lb sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 cup)

Generously butter cowboy's bottom. Put cowboy in truck.

Pulse butter (1/2 stick) and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Spread a thin layer of garlic butter on both sides of each bread slice, arranging bread in 1 layer in bottom of truck. Sprinkle cowboy on top.

Tightly cover with a large sheet of buttered foil.

Pour gasoline over truck. Chase it into wall. Let the truck simmer for three minutes. Then carefully remove foil.

Break up any large lumps with a fork.

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until frothy, then whisk in scallions and half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over cowboy (brain will float to the top), pushing down on brains with a spatula to help it absorb liquid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Pour off fat from truck, then cool cowboy to room temperature.

Cut into 12 squares and serve immediately.

Makes 12 servings (or 8 for zombie cowboys).

I Was a Teenage Mad Scientist 

Monday, January 23, 2006

People ask me all the time how I splice and dice genes, kneading toad poison into kittens, saturating ducklings with great white shark jaws and the like.

Yes, I am a genius.

Don't hate me because I'm smart.

Just remember the old saying, it's one percent inspiration and ninety-nine perspiration. It's true.

It wasn't always easy for me. You wouldn't believe it but in high school I was a jock. On the football team by day, a secret life as a champion bowler by night. A groin injury snatched me out of the big league.

I never forgot my love of bowling shoes, though. I spent hours crying into my pillow, clutching my shoes to my chest, trying to recall the scent of the alley as the musty fragrance slowly disappeared, inhaled into my eager nostrils.

Biochemistry class was my salvation. Hypotheses, theories, experiments, successes, it led me to the truths inherent in all living matter. Anyone could combine butterflies and piranhas. All you needed was vision.

Then there is the teacher everyone remembers. Mr. Petri Douche was mine.

One night, when the other students went home, I stayed behind, to see if I could add maggot DNA to canola. A harmless prank. I figured I could infect a few fields the next summer, during my family's annual roadtrip to Saskatchewan. Every kid goes through that stage.

Now Mr. Douche sniffed out my plans. Accused me of harvesting the insects off the fresh dead.

I have no idea how he knew I spent my Friday nights breaking into the morgue. Boy, was I busted. A prison term. Desecration of corpses. My mother sobbing at my hearing. How could her son, the athlete of the family, sink to intellectualism at all costs? Then what? Two years in the slammer sharing a bunk with some dude nursing a fantasy about the high school jock?

"Son, you are in trouble," said Mr. Douche, his bushy moustache quivering above his lip.

He licked his lips before he began again.

"If you continue down this path, in no time you'll be lynched." He paused. "Mob mentality. It's the same everywhere. Soon as people find out you've been messing with dead Aunt Francine, out come the torches and the pitchforks."

The silence as Mr. Douche watched me was agonizing. Just call the police already, I screamed inside my head. A couple of maggots had crawled away from the microscope and one mounted my pen, looking for dead flesh.

"Look, son, you're bright, mad even. But don't let me catch you fooling in the morgue again. Hell, keep away from cemeteries." Mr. Douche nodded. Then he said, "No self-respecting mad scientist does his own harvesting. There's no elegance in that." He rubbed a finger under his nose, ruffling up his moustache. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a rolled-up newspaper.

"Page 49. Right at the back. All your evil sidekick options. Call one of those numbers. It's $3.99 a minute, they'll ask you if you're over nineteen. Say yes. Get yourself some slow-witted freak. And stop risking your life."

That summer, I met Sguk.

For all your help, Mr. Douche, in helping me attain success in my field, thank you so very much. I can't wait to meet you at the tenth year high school reunion!

Taking Tree-Hugging to the Next Level 

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Nobody recycles like I do. I avoid nonrecyclable packaging. I try to buy only what can be returned or thrown into the recycling bin.

This means that I only put out one supermarket bag of garbage every three weeks.

Then the DivaCup raised the bar on me.
In 1998, 7 billion tampons and 13 billion sanitary pads and their packaging made their way into landfills and sewage systems in the USA alone!
Some other brilliant piece of menstrual marketing said:
Many people today would refuse to take their groceries home in a plastic bag, opting for a reusable cloth bag, or paper bags. We are becoming much more environmentally aware, and are always being told to "Refuse, Reuse and Recycle". Yet what about our menstrual products? Most are made from bleached paper (bad for the environment) and a lot of trees go into making sanitary products which are tossed away. Most pads have a plastic layer (if not comprised mainly of plastics) and most use a plastic coated strip to cover the adhesive. Pads and tampons are individually wrapped in plastic and then most of these come packaged in a plastic bag. So not only are disposable pads filling up landfil themselves (although the paper component will break down), they also contribute to a lot of wasted plastic packaging that will not biodegrade.
To make it even worse, as a cheapskate, the DivaCup would be way cheaper in the long run. I don't like change but the solution is obvious.

Watching Night of the Living Dead with the Dead 

Friday, January 20, 2006

After I revived the dead, I was bushed. It's not easy creating zombies from scratch.

Yeah, sure, you get a zombie and turn it loose on a school bus full of kindergarten neophytes, it's easy enough.

But you try doing it when you don't have the initial zombie. It's like trying to pull yoghurt out of your ass without the bacterial culture to make it a done deal.

When the tried and true Haitian methods didn't work, I had to nuke those sorority sisters into rambling slack-jawed undeath.

It was past midnight after I finished. I couldn't really sleep, not with the girls moaning in the basement. I went into the living room to see what was on the tube. Popped open a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Watched a few Girls Gone Wild infomercials. Then I thought, what the hell? I have my own girls gone wild in the basement.

So I went to my lab and unchained the chicks. One of them had her leg chewed off by the others. Oh well. I picked up the leg and slung it over my shoulder - that night's stubble scratching my neck.

"C'mon, girls, let's go upstairs for some fun," I said, herding them up the stairs. Fukkit, why do zombies slobber so much. I'll vaccuum those carpets tomorrow.

Anyhow, we all settled onto the couch. I found us a movie. Some zombie movie.

We got to the part where the blonde chick runs up the stairs and finds the corpse with the chewed-off face. My girls got excited.

Now I'm gonna get me some action, I thought.

The girls just stared straight ahead, unblinking those baby blues.

At least there was still the part when the truck blows up. The girls would get into that.

Sure enough they did get wet. They were salivating at the mouth. Yeah, cooked human flesh gets them going.

I put my hand on the nearest girl's titty.

Cold as an ice cabbage.

Should have known zombie chicks were frigid.


Friday, January 20, 2006

The transcript from a commenting conversation with Chief-Ten-Bears:

I've been to the sporting goods store in Pemberton but didn't browse too much in their hunting section. I'm sure they carry this type of un-sportsmanlike liquid bait.
Chief-Ten-Bears | Homepage | 01.20.06 - 1:53 am | #

I'm glad you pointed out how unsportsmanlike it is, Chief-Ten-Bears. I find the whole idea of hunting, unless you are doing it to eat or clothe your family, a joke. Unless you lose your breath in cardiac exercise, it's not a sport. Sure, some dude can chase down a deer after injecting it with a crossbow, but that's running, not hunting, that gets the claim that its a sport.
Maktaaq | Homepage | 01.20.06 - 7:01 am | #

Right on, and have you seen the 15,000,000 candle watt hunting lights at Costco? Poor animals don't stand a f@*^ing chance.
Chief-Ten-Bears | Homepage | 01.20.06 - 1:16 pm | #

This conversation hit a button. I horrified my new pet-lover boss today when I brought up hamster fur coats for the bitch and famous. Then I remembered that the Japanese still want to hunt whales for research purposes only to turn them into burgers.

"Burgers," replied Matt, "That equalizer of all meat. Why not just eat beef then?"

Yeah, sure.

I work in a museum that has a fur trade display and I pet the Fur Trade Zoo every day on my way to the office, but that's before synthetic fibres. The furs represent an old way of hunting that we don't have to do any more. It should be enough these days that we torture farm animals.

It pisses me off that rich farts can off musk-oxes and polar bears for $15,000 just for a brag rug.

I recall a conversation in grade eight with my white trash friend at my redneck high school. After a successful hunt, her dad would toss her the testicles.

"Then I would play catch," she said. "They bounce."

Maybe what really irritates me is the lack of respect. That there's some poor creature minding its own life, trying to live in a shite world overrun with humans who feel like they can complain shit because some starving animal had the gall to eat their prize lilies, and that then some bastard runs them over or shoots them. That some middle-aged botoxed ex-hooker in Hollywood wears a fur over her bikini. Why don't you grow out your Brazilian instead, ho?

My Maktaaqian solution? If those hunter boys don't eat every part of the animal, I'll shove it up their noses. No. Up other orifices. With a trowel. I'm not getting my hands dirty. I'll be wearing chainmail mittens with surgical gloves underneath. Maybe brass knuckles on my chainmail mitts.

Hamster Emails 

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Recently friends have sent me a spate of hamster emails.

Today Pugshot from Chicago sent me a lovely story about a hamster and a snake who are best friends.
Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows: one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a four-foot rat snake. Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster — whose name means "meal" in Japanese — to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.
Aochan refused to eat the hamster, hurriedly developing a taste for frozen mice and even allowing his new girlfriend to take naps on his back.

Update: The Mugwhump pointed out a much clearer photo of the hamster-snake duo.

of Alabama sends a hamster colouring page by a young NY illustrator. Print him out, colour him and add some hamster dialogue.

Imogene Pix of Portland, the original Mental Office Girl, found me some hamster couture links via Craftster. I think Crenguţă deserves an evil-doing cape.

Small Animal Rescue Society of BC
meanwhile wants me to foster one or two vicious teddy bear hamsters. The Vancouver SPCA is unloading all their hamsters onto this society, consisting of members who care for the animals in their homes until an adoptive family can be found. While Sylvia reassured me that I can tame the hamsters (I am a hamster whisperer, they believe), most of the hamsters are young skittish ones who simply are afraid of the looming human giants. Hamsters make good hipster pets; they are perfect for apartments, clean, need attention only once a day (water, food, walkies) and are fiercely independent. Definitely not a children's pet, unless you have gentle, responsible children that understand a hamster is more of a look but don't touch kind of pet. Like piranhas. That's what you've got to tell your young'uns. Have a look at the hamsters and consider adopting one of the cuties.

Matt sends a hamster masturbatory story. We're convinced Crenguţă, um, handles her own self-pleasure too.

Thank you all, for keeping me in mind for all your hamster news!

My apologies if I have forgotten anyone.

Update: Lee reminded me that Cute Overload! has been in hamster heaven: K. Akagami's hamster tongue shot and delicate corn munching shot and a Baruchito update.

That Bobby Creep Ruined It 

Monday, January 16, 2006

"What shall we do tonight?"

"Banish your crush on Willem Dafoe."

Wild at Heart will do that. Willem Dafoe's Bobby Peru with a row of teeth like corncobs with a dash of fungus - I could smell his bad breath from sixteen years away, that's how bad it was.

For some reason, Dafoe as Nosferatu's Max Schreck didn't creep me out as much as it should have.

F.W. Murnau: Why him, you monster? Why not the... script girl?
Max Schreck: Oh. The script girl. I'll eat her later.

Loveable, really. And, as a vampire, he is practically family. How can I not like family?

The Willem Dafoe crush was based on one film, during a lonely teenage year I spent in the Chinese countryside.

In south China, it was easy to equate the landscape with the Vietnamese one portrayed in Platoon. I adored him so much I dressed up as him for a miserable Halloween. I even named my pet rat for his character, Elias, and, when my rat was outed as a female, refused to change her name from Elias.

Don't worry, during that one year, I also had crushes on his other co-stars: Kevin Dillon and Johnny Depp. Yes, Johnny. We go way back.

Now that Bobby Peru has squelched my teen crush, someone needs to fill the void. A retroactive teen crush.

His mother refused to let him film Platoon. The set was too gruelling. I missed that potential crush back then. His mother came between us.

It started with Sixteen Candles. I finally watched it a week ago, now that my parents don't control my video-viewing privileges. He was kind of nerdy, not the type I would have gone for in 1984, when my tastes already leaned to baby-faced moody pretty boys.

Better Off Dead was next in line. Yes, I could slot myself into the French girl role. I'm European. I can fake French. He was vulnerable and thus charming. A little clueless. The hot French chick awaits you. I can make it all better, sweetie boy.

At the beginning of Say Anything, I noted out loud what a nice guy he seemed to be. I remarked that his character was very intelligent. How he was too good for that brainy girl.

My boyfriend turned to me. "You're allowed to secretly crush on John Cusack. As long as it isn't Willem Dafoe."

It's Delurking Weekend! 

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yes, it's that time I've been waiting for!

Richard heard it's Delurking Weekend through Travis who hear it through Jen. It's the weekend when those blog readers who don't comment or link or send emails can stand up and proclaim their manhood. Or readership. I don't want this place getting too sticky.

Richard's also described the holiday traditions of Delurking Weekend very nicely:
If you're so inclined, I'd love for you to comment and let me know that you read my weblog, and if you have ideas for topics to cover, weblogs or other sites with feeds that I should be reading, or general suggestions for improvement, then that would be nice too. I'm not opposed to a simple "hello" as well.
I'm glad someone invented this holiday. I'm just one of those people who can never wait until Christmas morning to open my presents. I can't sit around and stare at my web stats wondering who my reader in Ljubljana is. I have a burning curiosity to know who these people are (and that there are more than the six or so commenters I have).

To Richard's request, I would also add that people can let me know how they found me. if they find the other details too onerous.

But I'll be happy with just a headcount.


Monday, January 09, 2006

On top of my list of things to see in Texas was Gebo's:
Since 1959 Gebo's has been serving the needs of Texans.

Gebo's provides quality farm and ranch supplies, along with a large assortment of merchandise for the town resident.
The Lubbock Gebo's (at 215 50th Street) provided the best return on my investment of tourism time. I came away with a four-in-one squirrel call; its accompanying instructional cassette reminded listeners that the squirrel call is actually a five-in-one. Aspiring rednecks can try out the grey or fox squirrel calls; I've already mastered the baby-squirrel-in-distress call.

My hands are also silky smooth now, thanks to Udder Balm.

Udder Balm

Udder Balm joins Udder Butter on the teat and udder ointment market. Suitable for raw, chapped udder and teats, as well as minor cuts, abrasions and burns, I am a little reluctant to use the cream on my nipples but I figure I can experiment on other people. If they are as good there as on my hands, I may change my mind.

Udder Butter and Hoof Dressing

Now, Hoof Dressing, there's something I couldn't buy simply because it only came in the one litre container. Hell, if it was in a nice toothpaste-sized tube, it would have been mine.

"All the redneck girls use Hoof Dressing on their nails," said Matt. A passerby, of redneck extraction, glared at us.

"They do," insisted Matt. "In high school, they would show off how nice their nails became since they started using Hoof Dressing."

No wonder then, that in Texas, there are ghost stories about the Donkey Lady and La Llorana with a horse's head. Using bovine and ungulate products must have some side efeects on humans. However, I would've risked sprouting horse parts if Hoof Saver came in more sizes than just the near-litre containers.

Hoof Saver

Gebo's also had other great gift ideas. Check out the Jolly Ball:

The Jolly Ball

The packaging had pictures of horses running around with Jolly Balls hanging from their teeth. It's a fun horse toy. Hours of amusement since they can't play solitaire. Plus it's the original Jolly Ball, not some cheap Asian one constructed out of spare tires in a Chinese prison.

Jolly Ball Perks

I should have bought this weaner. Clamp it to my nose to cover my mouth and it'll help remind me that I'm supposed to be in famine-mode to get rid of the holiday jiggles.


Even though I lost half of my second favourite earrings in a museum parking lot, it was still cheaper to buy myself a new pair than to get myself some ear tags.

Ear Tags

All I can think of is the prostitute who filled out her tax returns and told the IRS that last year she raised 5000 cocks.

Automatic Egg Turner

The label below reads:

Fruit, Berries, & Molasses Flavored [sic]



Pig Out


Concentrated GOO Soaks into the Wallow to Keep'em Coming Back!

Pour Over Grain or Use It Straight!
Pig Out

Stump Likker is a "habit-forming powerful deer attractant." It contains real molasses and it's Paw'n, Knaw'n Deer Lick'n Good!

Stump Likker

The cool thing about C'Mere Deer is that it turbo charges your hunt. It's a natural deer attractant and, according to the container, "bucks luv it." The container insists that your game camera will prove it.

If you don't believe that it stops 'em DEAD in their tracks, check out the little photo of the dudes with their dead deer. They thoughfully placed the one-quart container and the pint concentrate pack in front of their kill to prove that C'Mere Deer really works.

If you still need convincing, go to the C'Mere Deer website and ask Hank Parker! (More photos on their site prove its efficacy.)

C'Mere Deer

Once you have your deer, immortalize your manly prowess and virility by mounting your kill's antlers with a DIY antler mounting kit. Manufactured by the Red Head company, the packaging includes a French translation, showing an international flair.

Antler Mounting Kit

I dabbled briefly in the thought that I would buy my own cattle prod.

The Power-Mite Handheld Livestock Prod seemed like the one for me: Designed for close-in work. Check. Soft moisture-resistant button. Check. Great for use on wet animals. Check. Handy leather wrist thong. Check.

Cattle Prod

Goshfukkit - who knew you needed special batteries for a cattle prod? Even with the value six-pack, the Power-Mite Handheld Livestock Prod would too quickly become a useless knick-knack. I'm going back to riding crops.

Cattle Prod Batteries

Besides if all Texan men look like this Macgyver wannabe below, I'd rather not get me any Texan cowboy action. Geez, I thought they all wore butt-less chaps down there.

Sniper on Duty Sign

Rabbits in Romanian 

Thursday, January 05, 2006

That's it. I am dying. The coughing is not stopping. Any minute now I am going to start hacking up blood.

Tea and vodka, none of them are helping.

I begged my father to make me a glass of gogăl mogăl. Laryngitic actors drink this raw egg white and sugar mixture just before going on stage. One of my favourite drinks of all time, it never helps.

"Have you put garlic cloves in your ears?" asked my mother. Unlike Rurality's bear grease in the ears, garlic's abundance makes it a more likely candidate to go into my ears.

The worst thing about the cold is that I can barely talk.

I phoned Elections Canada to see why I was dropped off the voter's list. They had one of those voice-activated automated answering service, that asks you to say your choice from a list of options. The machine kept saying "I didn't understand that."

Undaunted, I decided to show my mother rabbit pictures. "Look, ma, rabbits!"

"What did you say?"

"Rabbits." Or iepurii, in Romanian.

"Keep your voice down!"

"What? They're just a bunch of rabbits."

"That's not what I'm hearing."

When I asked what she thought I was saying, she gestured an erect penis.

Iepuri. With the stress on the u. That's loutish Romanian for penis.

And I still can't tell the difference, cold or no cold.

Stuffy Star 

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

You've probably had it. It's one of those colds where you feel as if someone dripped water into your ears.

The Romanian cure is to douse cotton balls with rubbing alcohol and stuff the soaked balls into your ears. Which is exactly the state I am in now.

Not only is the world kept at a comfortable muffled distance, I am high on the smell of rubbing alcohol. It's like a three-in-one bonus. Three, because I also seem to feel better.

There's no Romanian cure for this type of dry throat - today's coughing bouts drew blood - yet on the kitchen counter sits a bottle of black cherry-flavoured vodka. Prudence recommends a hot cup of tea and an early bedtime. Hmm, tea or vodka, who will win?

Through the haze of cold, I am buoyed by a piece of good news. As the "star candidate," I got me a spiffy new job. Though I am sad to leave my current museum, the time has come to take this rare opportunity in one of British Columbia's biggest community museums. Plus, I am really honoured to be called the "star candidate." I just like the sound of that on the tongue. Now to work up to that reputation. Then, next stop, master's degree.

Mighty Monkey 

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If you're not afraid of heights, bugs, dinosaurs and surly natives, by all means, watch King Kong.

The biggest disappointment of the night was when my favourite character died. Those of you who've already seen the movie will know whom I'm talking about: the one-eyed cook with the tattoo on his neck. C'mon, he totally won me over when he used porridge for shaving cream.

This blog post will be my angry letter of complaint to Peter Jackson:

Finally, an interesting character and you sacrifice him to the Tremors worm monsters! Andy Serkis, who also played the role of the movie's namesake, as well as Gollum in the film verison of Lord of the Rings, created a crusty old character that, given the chance, would have won over the big monkey's heart as much as that Naomi Watts wench in the lead role. Why'd you have to go and kill the only character with a sense of humour?

Now here's how you can make it up to me; add him as a pirate chef in some pirate movie. I don't care which pirate movie. I just want to see more of his culinary creations.

He's the new Emeril, I'm telling you!

Suddenly Smart 

Monday, January 02, 2006

I am riding a wave of self-confidence - you see, I usually think I suck. I am pretty sure I am stupid or else why would people keep interrupting me when I talk?

Recently, a scribe has been jotting down my antics. Suddenly, I am quotable! I amuse hundreds!

For those of you who have not witness my verbal acrobatics, here are just some of the charming episodes in my recent life:Not to be outdone, Crenguţă has been demonstrating her expertise in mastering the hamster potty.

Texan Expectations Met and Exceeded 

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Texas turned out to be really cool. There weren't as many American flags and hardly any nativity lawn ornaments. There were no Confederate flags anywhere at all. Very few cars had those empty "God Bless America" and "Support Our Troops" magnets. The few around were faded and my plans to steal them all (and attach them to a barb wire fence at city limits) were thus foiled.

Mind you, the ants are ferocious. But the cure is, when picnicking, to douse the periphery of your blanket with talcum powder. There are oil drill thingies everywhere and they look like donkeys. People do indeed have dark wood panelling in their living rooms, complete with animal trophies.

Texas has lots of ghost stories. One night I became aware of the possibility that outside the window was a chupacabra waiting to eat two little poodles. There is also Donkey Lady, La Llorana, phantom stampeding cattle and the wet puddle hitchhiker. I heard about two hidden classrooms in two different schools, one with a frightening secret behind it.

What I really didn't expect was that Texas would be a culinary experience par excellence. Texans know how to fix a good chili, not a pesky bean in sight. Great salsas, sauces, Mexican food, fleshy moist potatoes. And best of all, my new favourite food in the world: Shit on a Shingle (SOS). A military food, the "shit" is "chipped beef," or ground beef in a savoury sauce and the "shingle" is a piece of toast. Served with hash browns made out of those wonderful potatoes, a couple of eggs sunnyside up and a few drops of Cholula hot sauce, and you have the best start to a morning since work-free weekends.

Welcome to Texas 

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The flight was nondescript. Clouds, a whiff of turbulence, soft drinks, the standard issue of a twelve peanuts to each seat occupant. The western side of the continent was buried in white for most of the trip until the Panhandle appeared, in all its flat glory.

Once the plane landed, the plane waited a few minutes for an available gate before the passengers could disembark. As soon as the plane stopped moving, everyone jumped up from their seats.

The pilot's voice, with a distinctly Texan accent, came on the loudspeakers, "Sorry about the wait, folks. You know us woman drivers!"



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