Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another reason to be happy here in Colorado

Hatch green chile! Hooray!
Bonus points for Colorado: it was sold at a roadside stand, by a group of people with a real roaster.
The first summer I was in Austin, Central Market had this huge Hatch green chile promotion. They roasted it over mesquite, which I found perverse. For one thing, the mesquite smoke covered up the wondrous smell of roasting chiles. For another thing, the fire was way too hot, and half of the five pounds that I bought turned out to be char. Finally, they had CM staff outside on a sunny July day, turning these things over by hand over a grill (wrong). I wrote an angry letter to the management, and I got a gift certificate and an apology from them, and for some reason they never did this promotion again.
But now I'm back in the region where people know how this sort of thing is done! I can't wait to buy a chest freezer so I can stock up for a year.
By the way, Pete's folks just got through with a lovely week-long visit here, as visitors to our Flickr site should already know. They brought with them a huge ice chest full of tomatoes, sweet corn, beets and ... some green chile they had grown themselves! I guess the visits to New Mexico have rubbed off on them. The chiles they grew are quite mild, but they have a nice flavor, and we're still enjoying them a week after they left.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just to confirm I'm actually 13 years old...

We move from the excitement surrounding the ensuing end of the Harry Potter series, to the new excitement that they are making a movie out of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The first movie comes out in December. Hooray!
As part of the promotion for the movie, they've got a website that helps you to find out what your daemon would be. Daemons are the physical manifestations of the human soul, and their animal forms reflect the true nature of the human being. Children's daemons are constantly shifting, but the daemons of adults settle sometime around puberty.
So my result was a crow daemon, but I guess you can change that:

Well? I have to say that I felt quite smug about the crow outcome, considering that many of the scholars in the book have bird daemons. However, the first time I took the quiz I got a snow leopard daemon, like Lyra's father. That outcome, as it made me look adventurous and dangerous, was pretty frickin' awesome. Since then, I've taken the quiz over and over, but I haven't gotten the snow leopard response again. pooh.
Like most academics, I guess me and my soul will just have to settle down with the books again, and be content with getting our adventures second hand. Or maybe you all will reclaim my snow leopard daemon for me?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yeah, I got yer wand right here!

Suppose, dwindling readership, that I were trying to jack up my masculine street cred. How much do you think a story like this would help me?

OK, so Cho and Harry finally kiss, right? And right then the punk starts kicking the back of my seat so I just get up and say, ‘Hey bitch! You want a piece of me? Let’s go!’ And he’s, like, ‘Yeah let’s go,’ but he just sits there and I’m, like, ‘If you want I’ll fuck you up right here in the theater, bitch!’
Are you slavering over my manliness yet? Well, sorry to disappoint, but for the record, I didn’t pick a fight at the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the Chapel Hills Mall this morning. The guys sitting to our left and in the row behind us did, however. The frat-boy photograph of the "brothers thug" at right isn't of them, but it captures their attitude. They were shouting out stupid crap before the lights went out, and after the previews were over, they started passing around a fifth of something. By the time Dumbledore’s Army had finished its first round of illicit Defense against the Dark Arts practice, these young white toughs were showing just how bad they were at holding their liquor. The women in the group seemed embarrassed when one guy finally jumped into the aisle and challenged his comrade to a fight. Some date, huh?

And here we were expecting to be surrounded by enthusiastic thirteen-year-olds in wizard costumes with parents in tow. Turns out that the crowd was mostly groups of unsupervised teenagers. A few wore bathrobes and carried light sabers, but only one lone teenager put any effort into a costume, and the crowd made him feel silly. The idiots next to us appeared to be in their early twenties, and I thought I heard one refer to himself as a college student. Hmmm.

As for the movie, Lola and I were a little disappointed. Imelda Staunton gives an inspired performance as Dolores Umbridge, but the film as a whole doesn’t establish a coherent narrative line or maintain a compelling atmosphere. If you have read the book and would enjoy seeing scenes from it rendered in film, by all means go. But if you want a film that stands on its own and conveys the emotional turmoil of Western adolescence and the pettiness of Neoliberal education policy with the book’s effectiveness, you will have to look elsewhere.