Wednesday, 31 May 2006

I just spoke to the board of Neighborhood Housing Services Cleveland [whoa 1994 site de­sign!] about my trip to Nashville. They foot­ed the bill so it was on­ly right that I tell them about it. The board has folks from all kinds of Cleveland ser­vices as mem­bers and the City Council Chairman Martin Sweeney was there speak­ing about a pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Council and NHS. Two oth­er fel­low trip-tak­ers al­so talked about their work­shops.

I ran in­to Lou Tisler from NHS this morn­ing at Lucky’s, pick­ing up bagels. The on­ly thing is, I didn’t re­al­ize he was Lou Tisler un­til I ar­rived at NHS, since I’d not met him be­fore. The NHS build­ing is al­so hous­ing a cu­rat­ed gallery by Bridget Ginley. When com­mu­ni­ty ac­tivism, third-space co­in­ci­dences and lo­cal art col­lab­o­rate, it is a recipe for a hap­py Adam. Sometimes I feel like some­thing huge is about to hap­pen in Cleveland.

Vague Directions

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

I don’t like vague di­rec­tions when I’m try­ing out a new recipe. Not vague like Patrick’s black beans, but vague like this: I made man­go sor­bet this week­end and the recipe called for re­duced sug­ar wa­ter, but the di­rec­tions sim­ply said bring to a boil then re­duce heat and sim­mer for five min­utes. .5C of sug­ar in 1.25C wa­ter. Then you mix it in with some man­gos and or­ange juice and freeze it [adding whipped egg-white lat­er]. Mine end­ed up like man­go ice or a man­go slurpee in­stead of sor­bet be­cause there was [ob­vi­ous­ly] too much wa­ter in it. In ret­ro­spect, I have de­ter­mined that the sugar/​water was sup­posed to be re­duced un­til it was sim­ple syrup, but I guess the recipe just as­sumed I’d know that. Which brings me to my con­clu­sion:

I’d like a Stupid Chef’s Illustrated Encyclopedia that gives you both meth­ods and pic­tures of cer­tain culi­nary tasks. Like what “stiff peaks” means when whip­ping egg whites, and how to sep­a­rate an egg in the first place [which my mom told me how to do when I asked] and lots of oth­er things that cook­books as­sume a chef al­ready knows. The Better Homes and Gardens cook­book is good for some of this, but it isn’t com­pre­hen­sive and is more fo­cused on pro­vid­ing recipes than tech­niques.

Adam Pets a Shark

Monday, 29 May 2006

Adam Pets a SharkI went to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this weekend and took a bunch of pictures. For just $1 extra on the ticket price I got to see the Touch exhibit and feel up some rays and sharks. Did you know that the zoo is free to Cuyahoga County residents on Mondays from 10:00 until 4:00?

Still it is a somewhat sad place because a lot of the habitats look too small for the critters. Man was it hot.

Criterion Serendipity Continues

Friday, 26 May 2006

So I sold a bunch of NES, SNES games and my PS1 to the Record Exchange yes­ter­day and found the Criterion Collection edi­tion of Monty Python’s Life of Brian in-store. Since they re­al­ly on­ly want to give you a store cred­it any­way, I end­ed up buy­ing it. They had a lot more Criterion films there, but I’m pret­ty much pos­i­tive it is cheap­er to buy every­thing on eBay in­stead.

Life of Brian

Thursday, 25 May 2006

A part of this view­ing list: Criterion Collection Spine #61: Monty Python’s Life of Brian.


I’m tak­ing a bit of a break from watch­ing Criterion films I’ve not seen be­fore and do­ing a lit­tle catch-up by writ­ing re­views for films I’d seen be­fore I de­cid­ed to work on this list. Appropriately, Monty Python’s Life of Brian starts off this pseu­do-sab­bat­i­cal. Like most geeks, I’ve been a Python fan since ear­ly high school, and I’ve seen this film on the or­der of a dozen times or so. It has al­ways been my sec­ond fa­vorite af­ter The Holy Grail, but I’ll read­i­ly ad­mit that it is their best cin­e­mat­ic work. In ad­di­tion to the taut­ness of the film the satire and so­cial cri­tique is mul­ti-lay­ered and still mean­ing­ful to this day.

The large num­ber of terrorist/​resistance or­ga­ni­za­tions em­pha­size and reil­lu­mi­nate the fact that Middle-Eastern strife has been a con­stant for thou­sands of years. By point­ing this out in comedic terms, the id­io­cy of such vi­o­lence is un­der­scored. There is anger and frus­tra­tion hid­den be­hind the com­e­dy as well; much of it seem­ing­ly de­rived from the gen­er­al ig­no­rance and sheep-like qual­i­ty of hu­mans en masse. Here too, the Pythons can preach with­out be­ing preachy, and show time and again how peo­ple take lessons from the Bible and twist them to their own ends. We see that every­one has an ul­te­ri­or mo­tive, al­though they might be blind to it them­selves. Extremism is the tar­get here, whether from an ag­gra­vat­ing­ly po­lit­i­cal­ly cor­rect de­mo­c­ra­t­ic ter­ror­ist group or from the speech and mer­cy im­ped­i­ment­ed Roman tyran­ny.

Yet there is al­so com­pas­sion and love in the com­e­dy. Jesus is nev­er a tar­get and be­cause of this it is pos­si­ble to rec­og­nize the Python’s own recog­ni­tion that sheep need a shep­herd, some­one as gen­uine as a Jesus or Brian. There is just the right blend of ham and grav­i­tas in the Python’s treat­ment of the Jews [that joke is prob­a­bly in bad taste] to know that strug­gles against op­pres­sion are re­spect­ed. In fact, the silli­ness serves as a kind of an­them to those who think that com­e­dy is a less­er art than dra­ma or that it can­not tell as im­por­tant a tale. If any­thing, I think it is prob­a­bly even more dif­fi­cult. Life of Brian man­ages it with ease.


Criterion Essay by George Perry.
• A com­plete script of the film and oth­er re­sources.
The Criterion Contraption Review.


Wednesday, 24 May 2006

I need to start ex­er­cis­ing again. The marathon was abort­ed be­cause of my knees and a lack of mo­ti­va­tion, cou­pled with the fact that I was in Nashville any­way. Running and pushups and situps should com­mence now that the weath­er is nice again. If I can run 5 days a week in the mid­dle of win­ter I should be able to do the same when the weath­er is nice. Still can’t af­ford to start fenc­ing again, though.