Archive for October, 2007

LMW Day One: The Lambening

This post is late because I’m a freaking idiot. Jon now has permission to lord this over me for a maximum of one (1) year.

Luncheon Meat Week: Day One

The tale of Lunch Meat really begins with the tale of the sandwich; legend tells us that the First Sandwich was the work of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who created the snack so he could eat fine meats and play cards at the same time. Truly a noble cause.

However, recent scholarship (i.e. stuff I just looked up on Wikipedia*) tells us that the sandwich is actually much older, dating to the time of Hillel the Elder of the 1st Century AD. These early proto-sandwiches evidently had something to do with Passover, and were generally filled with lamb; this makes lamb the first luncheon meat.

Thus, on this first day of Luncheon Meat Week, we celebrate Lamb: Lunch Meat of the Ancients!


Baaa….

Of course, nowadays it is quite uncommon to eat a lamb sandwich (except perhaps in England or the Mediterranean), and almost impossible to find shaved lamb meat at the Supermarket. Lamb’s popularity as a sandwich filling has been largely eclipsed by other, more delicious things. Tune in tomorrow for discussion of some of these other meats, and their deep, delicious secrets.

*The Wikipedia search that told me this also brought up results for “Meat Analogue”, which despite being a fairly common thing strikes me as being quite ominously named.

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October 30, 2007 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

Weird Things

Time for tales from my life! Yay!

*****

You know, I do a lot of weird things I don’t immediately recognize as weird. People get so used to their actions that they seem normal, and it takes an outside observer to say “holy shit, what the hell are you doing?”.

In my case, one of the weirdest things is my compulsion to jump. Whenever I come across a new object, my first reaction is almost always “Can I leap it?”. This in itself is strange, but more often than not I’ll make the situation stranger by actually attempting to leap it. I just love jumping over things. It really doesn’t make any sense at all.

*****

The other night a bunch of us decided to go out to a place downtown that apparently makes the best poutine in the city. It was cold and I had forgotten my coat, so one of the girls in the group lent me one. There are two important things to note here;

1) The coat was tight-fitting and looked ridiculously good on me. I seriously think that may have been the best I’ve ever dressed.
2) The Poutine store was in the middle of the city’s gay district.

Though I didn’t notice it at the time, my friends later explained that I was eyed up by a guy in the Poutine shop. Apparently that coat made me attractive enough that people would literally stop and stare. Had we been in a part of the city that wasn’t the gay district, this may have done me some good.

I later tried to bargain with my friend so I could keep the coat, but to no avail. It’s a shame; it was a really kickass coat.

*****

A general notice for all readers; due to an agreement with Jon, next week’s blog posts will be dedicated solely to luncheon meats. Five posts in five days, explaining the secret art of the sandwich. This is easily the worst agreement I’ve ever made.

Be prepared, readers; Lunch-Meat Week is on the horizon!

October 28, 2007 at 7:51 am Leave a comment

DANGER DANGER DANGER!!!

The streets are full of raccoons.

No one is safe.

Editor’s Note: Pro-tip for those considering attending UBC; that place is full of raccoons. It wasn’t uncommon to go out at night and see six or seven of them crowding the streets or hiding under a tree next to the sidewalk. More than once they blocked my way home and I had to decide if it was worth risking my life to get past seven deadly, hissing raccoons.

For some reason, this lead to a running joke about how the sound raccoons make is actually “Raccoon!”. They say their names like Pok√©mon, it seems.

October 25, 2007 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

This May Be the Greatest Thing Ever

Remember when I said I was going to talk about comics today?

It turns out I’m a terrible liar and I hate you all.

However, I’m not changing the subject out of spite. No, I’m changing it because something came up today that I can’t let go by without comment; Uwe Boll, the most reviled filmmaker alive, will be coming to my school to give a talk and answer questions.

The question we all want answered? “Why ya gotta do it, Boll?”

Seriously, this is the man who directed House of the Dead (4% on Rottentomatoes.com), Bloodrayne (another 4%), and Alone in the Dark (with an astonishing 1%). He’s bastardized more video game franchises than any man alive. Rumours persist that his films exist solely to exploit loopholes in German income tax law. And he’s coming here, of all places, to talk.

Ladies and gentlemen, this may be the greatest thing ever.

I would love to get a chance to talk to him and ask what the hell is up, but there are certain dangers involved. This is, after all, a man who challenged his critics to a series of boxing matches, devastated them in the ring, and plans to include footage of his brutal victory on his next DVD release.

What I’m saying here is that if I take Uwe Boll to task for sucking, he may beat the shit out of me. That’s something I’d like to avoid.

Still, an opportunity like this can’t be passed up. I’ll have to do all I can to meet with this man, who seems to make it his goal to destroy the medium I love.

It’s going to be grand.

October 23, 2007 at 7:21 am Leave a comment

This is actually kind of embarrassing

Tonight, walking back from the Student Union Building, I realized that I can pinpoint the exact time and place the worst moment of my life occurred. It was a long time ago, and happened at 3:02 AM. Nothing good ever happens at 3:02 AM.

Rainy nights, with long lone walks under the orange glow of streetlights, tend to instill in me a certain sense of melancholy and drama. Thankfully, this blog will have no more of it.

I apologize for the lack of updates last week. Now that midterms are out of the way, I’ll be returning to my former sporadic (but greater) output.

I also apologize for today’s post. I prefer to avoid angsty Livejournal posts, but here we are. Don’t worry; I intend to talk all about comic books tomorrow.

Til then.

October 22, 2007 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

A Quick-Draw Tale

I’m currently in the midst of Mid-Term season, but I have taken a quick break from studying to let you know about something that happened twenty seconds ago; I just got the weirdest greeting I’ve ever had.

For the record? The proper response to “Hi” is never “Hey, how big do you think penises can get?”

I have no idea what that was about, but it’s about to screw up the hits this blog gets pretty quick.

October 15, 2007 at 7:16 am Leave a comment

In Which I Review A Movie

Funny story about my film review; I finished it at 4 in the afternoon yesterday, then kept editing and revising it until 11:30PM. Needless to say, a lot of time and work went into it. And when I went in to the news office today, it turned out they decided not to run it. This proves two things:

-I spend far too much time on things no one gives a shit about
-Journalism is a harsh mistress.

But enough of that! At least you, dear readers, can enjoy my review!

My Kid Could Paint That

What is art? Who gets to define it? Who gets to define anything? My Kid Could Paint That doesn’t try to answer these questions, but it is revealing in how it deals with them. The documentary focuses on Marla Olmstead, who at age 4 rocked the art world and earned tens of thousands of dollars with her abstract paintings.

Much of the early discussion focuses on whether a child can produce art. Several people argue that if a child can produce it, it proves that abstract art isn’t ‘real’ art. Things are further complicated when a 60 Minutes report suggests Marla isn’t an artist at all, alleging that her father creates the paintings. Director Amir Bar-Lev is tactful in examining this; rather than trying to force a conclusion on shaky evidence, he shows how everyone interprets the story through a different lens.

After watching the film I showed a friend several of Marla’s paintings; she said they might be art, “if [they were] made with a message and a purpose.” But who gets to decide what that message is? Who gets to decide anything about how we view the world? My Kid may not have any answers, but it does ask all the right questions.

*****

Some notes:

-The friend in question is Alyssa, who will probably dropkick me if I don’t give her the name drop. She claims I took her quote out of context, while I maintain that I don’t care.

-Here’s a few of the paintings in question:

Burning Blue Ball

Asian Sun

Lollipop House

Ocean

-For the record, “Ocean” is the only one of this set that it is certain Marla painted (there’s video evidence of her creating the painting). Does this strike you a bit as “one of these things is not like the others”?

-It seems clear that Marla is at least partially responsible for the paintings; in an early scene she tells her parents that her little brother actually did one of the paintings in her art show; “the green one”. They are, needless to say, surprised. How could something like that slip through if someone else was creating the paintings? Clearly the kid has some level of involvement.

-On the other hand, it is a distinct possibility her father plays some roll in the creation, though to what degree it would be difficult to say. Certainly the 60 Minutes interview (in which he gives her verbal prompts to use certain colours and techniques) raises questions. In another scene, Marla even asks her father to finish the painting for her.

-One thing I wanted to get into with the review but didn’t; if it turns out her father did create the paintings, does that somehow change the nature of the work? To what extent is the significance of a piece of art determined by it’s origin?

-Part of the problem surrounding Marla’s father is the fact that he’s obviously so invested in her fame; he’s the driving force in getting her to do shows, create new paintings, etc. One question that’s constantly raised is “is this good for the child?”.

-Marla’s mother, on the other hand, is much more concerned about the exposure her child is getting and expresses a wish for it to just end. But then, she’s also involved in trying to prove Marla is the real artist, and she has a significant financial stake in affairs (though to be fair, all the money does go into a trust fund rather than the parent’s pockets).

-In the end, the parents come off as either incredible con-artists or very naive. It’s hard to say which is closer to the truth.

I’ve barely talked about how the film examines media, and the way it shapes stories and thus reality. Suffice to say, it’s an important part of the film, and you should think about it if you see it yourselves.

Because Dani asked in an earlier comments section, the best way to see any of these movies would probably be DVD. I know a DVD for “My Kid Could Paint That” is currently in production, and Radio Star has been out in Korea since 2006 so it should have something.

In closing: I for one would love the comments section of this post to erupt into a discussion of the validity of abstract art. Any takers?

October 11, 2007 at 5:48 am 2 comments

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