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2013.01.24: "You bet your blankitty-blank bleep I am!"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Reflections on the night before, lunch out, shopping, etc.


This morning and afternooon we got a nice opportunity to enjoy lunch with Ms. S.'s father.

Last year -- last spring -- this occurred frequently. For a while it was just Ms. S.; she'd go to lunch with him on Wednesdays while I was teaching on campus, and often I'd come home shortly after she left for lunch. Then my schedule was such that I was done before noon and could be home in time to go with her. Then the semester was over and I had no scheduling conflict. But then her schedule became busy and lunches were cancelled.

Recently they've resumed, but not on a pre-arranged, regularly-scheduled basis. Usually he has something to pass on -- some mail, documents (it's very spy-like!), etc. -- or the other way around. And today she wanted him to look at her tax forms, and so after picking up her paycheck we hit the road to his place of work.

I sat in the car while she went inside. I then move to the back seat when he shows up -- we take one vehicle -- and this time I thought, "wouldn't it be smart if I were already in the back seat when they got down here?" I undid my seat belt, opened the car door, and prepared to re-seat myself.

And that's when her car alarm went off. The only time it has every done so (that I'm aware of). And she hadn't left the keys with me.

What if I shut the door?

Nope ... still going off.

What if I lock or unlock the doors?

Nope ... stil going off.

I get out, shut the door, and walk away ... not merely to distance myself from this embarrassing situation ... but to go inside and find Ms. S. (somewhere in a large, sprawling building, the layout of which I'm not familiar with). I get to the top of the stairs.

And the alarm stops.

This is good, as I don't know my way around, and I could go straigh ahead or turn left. I don't recall which way I went the last time I was here. Instead I turn around, go back downstairs, and enjoy some sunlight and imagine that my body is synthesizing vitamin D in the winter air.

Ms. S. and her father arriv, I relate the tale, and off we drive.


Last night we took in "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'", Darrin Morgan's last 'X-Files' script. It's his most 'meta' and even smarter than, say, "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (notice the possessive in each title).

Mulder barely shows up in the 'main' or 'framing' narrative; the Mulder who appears to us appears only though (1) Scully's recollections, (2) Chung's notes (of, for example, Mulder's own words), or (3) in the recollections of other characters. It also goes 'deep' into the nesting/layers. The frame is Chung talking to Scully; we then get Scully recounting what she observed; but her observations are often of someone else's testimony; and that testimony is often filtered through hypnosis, and frequently recounts that person's experience with some other character. Not only do Scully and Chung discuss the inherent subjectivity of it all and the potential and likely unreliability of such witnesses, the episode goes to lengths to demonstrate, not just argue this.

On the side of the cast, we get Jesse "The Body" Ventura (with hair! before becoming governor of Minnesota!), Alex Trebek (spoiler!), and Charles Nelson Reilly (1931 to 2007 (and who here resembles nothing less than a cross between a good friend from graduate school and Ms. S.'s mother ... all in a good way ... it's about the eyes and the looks given)). We also get Jaap Broeker returning as 'The Stupendous Yappi' and Alex Diakun, who had already appeared in a couple other 'X-Files' episodes ("Clyde Bruckman's ..." and "Humbug"). On top of that characters were named for crew members (e.g. Detective Manners - director Kim Manners), and through the layering and referencing Scully and Mulder's behaviors are both parodied.

In terms of plot and story structure it's a so-called 'Monster of the Week' episode, as it has no (direct) connection to the 'Mythology Arc' (i.e. The Syndicate, 'Purity Control', alien bounty hunters, and so on). Yet it ties in to previous alien and abduction stories, as well as the cover-ups, the technnology, and the like that it feels like an 'alternative mythology arc' story, if Monster of the Week episodes were linked together into something larger. Furthermore we get external references, such as to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

It's almost the perfect 'X-Files' episode for people who don't know the show but love good -- and whimsical -- television.

What "Jose Chung's ..." accomplishes is not just an entertaining most-of-an-hour of television, but an episode of 'The X-Files' that is also the perfectly self-contained commentary on, criticism of, and interpretation of 'The X-Files'.


Mexican it was.

It's usually Mexican, though we've been know to stop for Japanese (sushi for me and Ms. S.'s father, tempura for her) from time to time.

New on the menu was a 'Mexican pizza,' one of those culinary hybrids that has always fascinated me. As a child the local Mexican-American restaurants -- always three kinds of salsa: one red and thin, one red and chunky, one green and grainy -- had a 'Mexican pizza' that was very much a thin-crust pizza with toppings you would usually find in a taco. While living in Budapest I instead experienced a different kind of 'Mexican pizza', which was a slightly breadier, rectangular crust served at corner imbisses, and whose main 'Mexican' feature was the presence of kernels of corn. A local drive-through place -- Taco Casa -- recently added a 'Mexican Pizza' to its menu, but this is fast food, and while I haven't had it I'm pretty sure it's to pizza what their taco burger is to burgers (and to tacos).

Thus I was intrigued and so I ordered the one with steak.

No pizza dough here, oh no! Instead we had steak queso anejo or similar, and a slightly less sweet than usual (but sweeter than salsa) pizza sauce sandwiches between two corn tortillas. In a way it was more of a corn tortilla quesadilla, but greasier and thick enough to require a fork and knife.

And totally declicious, if not exactly "good" for me.

Meanwhile we chatted, and Ms. S. regaled her father with some tales from work (generally from the graveyard shift). There was the guy who showed up around midnight looking to make waffles. There were the 'youths' (we pronounce it as Schmidt does in season 1 of 'New Girl' when he ends up in the not-quite-right part of L.A.) who held a party they shouldn't have and the police who had to arrive three times to take care of them. There were the Minnesotat hunters who didn't think "non smoking" applied to pot. And so on.

We then had an unexpected surprise when Ms. S.'s mother showed up and joined us post-meal for some chatting before we all went our separate ways.


Afterward we went shopping.

Near Ms. S.'s father's place of work (it's all about chaining possessives) there's a relatively nice Publix, one of the best grocery stores we can get in this city. Alas, they have no bulk bins, but the produce section is well-stocked and includes plenty of organic options, and they also have a good supply of tofu and tempeh.

After visiting our local "Asian Market" (name and description!) a while back I became mildly obsessed with dates. There I bought a package of "red dates," which are not actually dates but an unrelated (botanically) fruit from which tea, too, can be made. When I went shopping last week at a large store, I found a couple brands of dried dates, one of which was rather econcomical, 'Champion'. The box was 4.25oz for $0.98 ... and the same price of the same amount of dried figs; I got one of each. They lasted a few days ... they were delicious ... and my intent the next time I went shopping to was to buy more.

If possible: many more.

But I had nothing else I really needed to get; still, we were at a store today, and I was out of baking powder and starting to run low on eggs ... and out of greens! (got bag of mustard on this trip) ..., so while Ms. S. perused produce I found the dried fruit section and found the dates and figs. The former were about $4 for a package, the latter $3, but the figs were 14oz and the dates a whole pound, I think. The prices are competitive.

Since I had such a large lunch, dinner will have to be smaller ... no reason not to have some dried fruit!

V. Notes

"José Chung's 'From Outer Space'" (quotes) www.imdb.com/title/tt075

"José Chung's 'From Outer Space'" (X-Files Wiki) x-files.wikia.com/wiki/J

Reopening The X-Files: "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" www.tor.com/blogs/2012/0

Figs Vs. Dates (just because!) jerileewei.hubpages.com/
: "Among all fruits, there are two that stand out conspicuously for high food value. They are the date and the fig. Weight for weight, dried figs are more nourishing than bread. A pound and a half yields four-fifths of the nourishment required daily by a grown man. Additionally, a half pound of dates with a half pint of milk makes a most satisfying meal."

From NPR: "Small Meals, Big Payoff: Keeping Hunger And Calories In Check" www.npr.org/blogs/thesal

In honor of Lawrence Wright's new book, "Going Clear," we have "The Hubbard is Bare" from Operation Clambake (1992) www.xenu.net/archive/lrh
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