Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I'll use dried-blood-coloured ink to give you that authentic, meaty feeling. The designer has bloodlike gouts of red decorating every page in irregular bursts. Yum.
But now to the meat of the matter. Literally. Guten Appetit!
Now to what Lily Tomlin, as Ernestine the telephone operator, used to call the "Piece of Resistance"--FROSTED CANNED HAM. This recipe isn't really that different from a Baked Virginia ham though it substitutes 'lemon jelly powder' for honey or maple syrup. It's the name of the dish that makes me want to retch. I had an irrepressible mental image of a ham covered with white artificially-flavoured vanilla icing with cherries on top (the recipe in fact does call for strawberries as a garnish)
Show your pretty dish
off to advantage. Keep the hors d'ouvre hot during pre-dinner relaxation
2 packages SWIFT'S
PREMIUM BROWN N' SERVE SAUSAGE
2 cups (20 fluid oz.)
1 ounce red cinnamon
candies or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 drops red food
Cut each link into 4 to 5
pennywise slices. Brown and heat in the skillet. Shake the pan to turn them so
they brown evenly. Place a toothpick in each sausage piece. PLace applesauce,
candies, and coloring in a chafing dish, then heat until candies are
dissolved. Add browned sausage pieces pick side up to the sauce. Serve
(There's no mention of an antidote. And this cookbook has never been used. I can see why.)
I think that the pre-relaxation-hour gave guests time to prepare to face the horrid reality of the 1956 Swift-inspired dinner table.
Most of the hors d'ouvres recipes tell you to use a 'pick' to hold them together ("Wrap Swift's Bacon around Cracker. Secure with pick")
Maybe they should use an icepick? Pickaxe? Pickup truck?
Who knows. They might taste good.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
RIT has its 'spring break' in the middle of the winter due to its term system. Sheridan uses the semester system, which means spring break is where Spring usually occurs. The faculty do not have a break then; they spend it reviewing student applicants' portfolios.
Anyway, I've got some business to attend to once I am over the slight indisposition I've suffered for about a week now. Grades have to be posted, one student pencil test has to be screened with me present in the audience, and then the real fun starts.
It seems that Australia now requires fingerprints for positive identification of people, so I'm going to have to get to the Rochester police fingerprint division in the very short hours of their operation and pay for another set. I may get two as long as I'm there in case someone else needs them.
Then, packing commences in earnest. There are certain advantages to being at a major university. They throw out a tremendous amount of packaging. I've gotten about forty per cent of my packing boxes from recycling bins in the apartment building and in the hallways of RIT. The uni's trash included some splendid heavy duty computer boxes that I asked for and that the support staff kindly saved for me, two complete packing kits for large screens (one of which was used to pack the very rare animating Mickey Mouse picture, the other will be used for the screen for this computer). Yesterday I found styrofoam inserts for several large Dell screens (three complete sets, I couldn't carry the fourth) and one of them will hold the larger screen for the video system, others can pad the posters. A kind grad student helped me haul everythign in his small SUV (so the things are good for something.) I'll have some additional help with the stereo and its mare's nest of cables, which will be photographed before packing so I can reassemble the mess singlehanded once I'm in Toronto. At least there is one less machine to plug in. I sent back the "Cinea" player that the Academy sent me three years ago. It's been used precisely once, and no one encodes their discs any more, so it was just ballast.
Then at the beginning of March I'm off to Toronto for a presentation or two at Sheridan (topic is fairly casual, but is based on character design this time, not storyboard; I am bringing the student pencil test to compare it with its Leica reel. It will be fun to see how it plays.)
While I'm there I will be searching for an apartment in earnest, walking around some neighbourhoods and exploring side streets. It's important to do this in Toronto when there is snow on the ground, since some streets are not plowed regularly--shades of Rochester! I'll be walking around Port Credit, Long Branch, and possibly Mimico to see what I can see and possibly introduce myself to a few prospective landlords.
Lots of folks in Canada are offering help, and I have spoken to a realtor or two, so that at least gives me some idea of what neighbourhoods are likeliest. Everyone I know in the Toronto area says to live close to the school, which unhappily rules out my dream of living near the St. Lawrence Market since Sheridan is in Oakville and not in Toronto at all. Well, they have a point; the commute can be irregular on the GO train, and it is vitally important to get to work on time. I will listen to them and look a bit farther afield, then go into the city on the weekends.
The computer started to show signs of senility and general cussedness, so I purchased something called the Uniblue Power Suite at Dad's suggestion. I don't get paid for saying this, but if you are on a Windows machine, you need this product. Mr. Computer is humming along now, relieved of about 500 registry errors and 13 infected cookies. If you don't know what a registry is, you REALLY need to use this thing. I am relieved at not having to hire someone to come and pick through it manually.
That's the update for now. Gizmo is adapting to the packing. She has developed a taste for the air pillows that frequently cushion books and printed matter nowadays. I heard a strange chew-chew-stretch POP and got two of them away from her, sadly after the popping. The others are on a high shelf that she can't jump to without knocking over a lot of stuff. Since she's an intelligent cat she never jumps anywhere that doesn't have a clear surface.
This is why many surfaces in the apartment have been cluttered for as long as I can remember. At least it's a nice excuse.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
THERE WILL BE BLOOD has a 95% positive rating on rottentomatoes.com It has a raft of Oscar nominations. And it's a perfectly ridiculous movie.
I and two grad students were laughing hysterically at the slapping scenes--but why go into lurid detail? There was no way I was going to accept Daniel Day-Lewis as an American, and his character had no development whatsoever--we're suddenly told he hates people, but nothing in the previous hour has shown why or how. It just happens.
This appears to be a common problem in modern screenplays; characters don't hold the center of the film, so why watch it? There were some pretty effects and the first hour wasn't bad.
But then I read some of OIL! the Upton Sinclair book that the film was supposed to be based on, and did a double take. Is this really the same story? Where are the female charaters? (In the movie, you never find out what happened to the boy's mother; in Sinclair's novel, she is a major character.)
The book was fascinating, even in brief online increments. The movie was just laughable. We were cracking up at the ending...
I had to explain what OSCAR BAIT was to the two foreign students. THERE WILL BE BLOOD is someone's party piece, or payback for an ego trip.
There are 180 miles as the car flies between Rochester and Toronto. The two cities have similar climates and growing seasons. Both are on or near Lake Ontario. There the similarities end.
Toronto has excellent public transportation. Rochester's is a sometimes-functional bus service that is extremely deficient in the suburbs. (RIT is in the suburbs.) City routes are not coordinated and there are invariably long waits for buses. Schedules are not posted. Formerly they were changed without notice every three months. Lately they have standardized the times but there are never schedules on the buses; you have to download them online. The assumption is that you must drive a car if you really want to go anywhere.
Toronto is ten times the size of Rochester. The latter city is in decline, with a shrinking population and tax base. There are great cultural landmarks here, most of which are not publicized and some of which are underutilized by the city --the best known is probably George Eastman House, one of the finest collections of film and motion picture materiels in the world. Rochester also has the Susan B. Anthony House, two parks designed by Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmstead, an early Prairie house by Frank Lloyd Wright, a mile of splendid turn of the twentieth century mansions on East Avenue, not one but two waterfalls in the downtown core, a river, the Erie Canal, the Rochester Jazz Festival, and of course the city's noble history as the American terminus of the Underground Railroad. Rochester was central to abolitionist publishing --Frederick Douglass' magazine was published here-- the Spiritualist Movement, and the Women's Movement. Rochester has a small yet active Green movement and there are many local organic farms. There is a very good farmer's market and one food co-0p.
Rochester is not even mentioned in travel guides to Western New York. A neighbour called it the 'best kept secret' in the area. It's a secret since no one in the government or Chamber of Commerce manages to get the news out that there is something to see here besides the House of Guitars, which is all that the Canadian travelers on the late ferryboat that ran from Rochester to Toronto came to see. I should know because I asked them. That ferryboat was handled as badly as all the rest of Rochester's public transportation. If there was a mistake to make in transportation, Rochester made it. They even had a subway here! It ran for only thirty years before they took it out to build a freeway on top of it. Rochester is a textbook case of what author James Howard Kunstler called the greatest mis-investment of national treasure in the history of the country--the worship of the automobile and the cancerous growth of suburbia. Rochester is being sucked dry by suburbs that benefit from city services but don't pay city taxes. Some of them, such as Pittsford, are charming and well heeled little villages tastefully restored (an architecht told me they learned from the mistakes of Rochester not to destroy their prime Victorian business district). Other nearby towns are sprawling suburbs with monstrous newly constructed McMansions on the local farmland. There is a concrete wasteland with depressing strip malls.
And it's no coincidence that with the exception of the Wright house and the Eastman collection, most of Rochester's glories were produced in the nineteenth century.
The George Eastman Theatre is lovely, but there is no bright nightlife, cafes or any beauty in the downtown core. It was left to rot after 1964 race riots. And the city was treebarked by an ugly freeway and ring road in the 1960s, dislocating RIT's campus to the boring suburb of Henrietta and further strangling the downtown business district.
So Toronto may not be perfect, but there is a lot more to do there, you can get around without a car, and they make sensible use of their waterfront.
In addition there is the new job, which is a great improvement on the one I have now. Sheridan College is one of the greatest animation schools in the world.
So that's the answer to the question. Next?