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April 2018 Media Diet

I figured I’d start keeping track of media I consume, similar to kottke.org’s and subtraction’s. Here is the inaugural post, a few months late because I forgot to hit Publish.

Star Trek: Voyager – I started this after finishing Deep Space Nine. While I am a huge fan of The Next Generation, I think Deep Space Nine offers a completely different picture of the Federation. TNG’s view was that the Federation was basically a socialist utopia, but Deep Space Nine exposed the flaws of the Federation and the limits of it. Voyager is different. What’s it like in the absence of the Federation? Oddly, I didn’t even know this existed when it was out despite watching TNG a bit. It ended my junior year of high school.

I am a huge fan of the Rocky series so I loved this 1976 behind the scenes look of Sylvester Stallone and Carl Mayweather practicing the choreography for a fight in Rocky.

The Murder on the Orient Express (3 out of 5) – I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s Poirot series and I love David Suchet so much. Watching someone else play the character is rough, even if it’s Kenneth Branagh. However, it was a pretty decent movie and I enjoyed it. Although, not a fan of Johnny Depp and I have been trying to avoid anything that he stars in.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (4 out of 5) – I did not see this in theaters, which I can’t believe. I think it’s the first Star Wars film (that I’ve been alive at release time) that I haven’t seen in theaters. I loved it. I am disappointed that Rey’s parents are nobodies. I hope they come into the next one and tell everyone that it’s a lie.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (4.5 out of 5) – Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies. I wanted to watch it again. I haven’t seen 2049, although it’s on the list.

Power Rangers (3 out of 5) – Maybe 3 out of 5 is too generous but I’m giving it at least half a star for nostalgia. It’s supposed to be campy and weird and it delivers. I used to watch Power Rangers religiously when I was a kid and this did not disappoint. It’s bad in a good way.

“It” by Stephen King (4.5 out of 5 stars) – This was an undertaking. It’s a large book, over 1000 pages, and while it was a great read I had to put it down for about a week to take a break. Now I can watch the movies.

“Not That I Could Tell” by Jessica Strawser (3.5 out of 5 stars) – It’s a quick read (I read it in two days) and it is a page turner. It’s predictable like others in the genre but the twist is a nice one.

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann (5 out of 5 stars) – What a book. It reads easy like fiction. I couldn’t put it down.

“The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah (4 out of 5 stars) – It gets a little weird towards the end but it’s a great story about loneliness, being alone, violence, and perseverance.

“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones (4 out of 5 stars) – There’s a lot to unpack here. It’s riveting. I cried at parts and laughed at others, I was angry as well.

“Annihilation” (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer (4 out of 5 stars) – An intriguing story about a piece of abandoned land called Area X.  The novel follows a biologist as her expedition team sets out to explore Area X.

Instant Pot Blueberry Lemon Infused Water

I’ve been trying to drink more water but drinking plain old water gets boring. I’ve been looking for ways to help flavor it up without adding too much junk to it. Enter infused water in the instant pot. Super easy to make and it tastes delicious (bonus cat approved).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 5 cups of water

Method

  1. Place blueberries and lemon into instant pot. Pour in water.
  2. Place cover on.
  3. Set to high pressure for 5 minutes.
  4. Once finished, do quick release.
  5. Strain into another container using a fine mesh sieve.
  6. Let cool or place over ice.

Haikan in DC

Went adventuring today and almost walked passed @haikandc. What started out as a taco-venture turned into a ramen one and it was delicious. The crispy pork belly was spicy and sweet. The cucumber and watermelon added texture as well as provided a nice refreshing sweetness to pair with the spice. The small shoyu and the large spicy shoyu were both delicious. That egg was cooked perfectly.

Apartment Sessions

The video series “Apartment Sessions” on YouTube consists of a group of roommates clearing out their apartment to make room for a full orchestra, releasing a new video or two every month. This month they tackled “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. Their neighbors also let them host part of the group in their apartment because of the size of the orchestra.

Wow. Mind blown. It’s a beautiful and awe-inspiring arrangement that really shows the meaning of community and neighborliness.

Thrilled to share our biggest session yet as we test the boundaries of apartment-recording; this time featuring our neighbors (Instant Treeline), who graciously and consistently offer their space and gear, and never once complain about the noise. Community starts with neighborhood, and it means so much to be recording this song with these folks, almost a decade after blasting this record in Evan’s car while driving through Atlanta, dreaming of having a giant band like Arcade Fire, but unable to imagine the beautiful, talented, diverse and committed group of people that have somehow made their way to and from our apartment. Thank you, truly, to everyone who makes this community possible.

Consider becoming a patron.

Pizza CS in Rockville, MD

Headed back to Pizza CS in Rockville, one of my favorite pizza spots in the DMV, to fulfill a pizza craving. I always have a hard time choosing toppings because I love them all, but ended up trying the Capri (mozzarella, ham, mushroom, olive, artichoke, basil) and the Jonny (parmesan cream, ricotta, mozzarella, ham, and basil). Guess the theme for tonight was ham! I love the flavor of the artichokes and kalamata olives so the Capri is generally a favorite. The Jonny was a new one for me and I think it now outranks the Capri. I loved how simple it was but still packed a lot of flavor.

Banana Bread 2018

A baking favorite

Who doesn’t love banana bread? It requires very little effort and it tastes amazing.

We made some the other day with the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Butter a 4×8 loaf pan
  3. In mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir the melted butter in.
  4. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pan.

How to Make Tomato Paste in Sicily

Tomato paste was in almost everything that I ate growing up thanks to my Italian American family. I took for granted that it was easily available to me in cans or tubes and never stopped to think how it was made. It takes several days and requires a lot of sun and patience.

Why I choose humanism over faith

Interesting TED talk by Leo Igwe on the power of humans and having faith in their ability to create.

As a humanist, Leo Igwe doesn’t believe in divine intervention — but he does believe in the power of human beings to alleviate suffering, cure disease, preserve the planet and turn situations of poverty into prosperity. In this bold talk, Igwe shares how humanism can free Africans from damaging superstitions and give them the power to rebuild the continent.