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2013.03.04: "...And if your sister is your aunt and your mother marries your uncle ..."

Monday, March 04, 2013

"you'd be your own grandpa!" (exclaims Scully)

And that was "Synchrony", which we watched last night; tonight it was "Small Potatoes". No potatoes to eat, though!

I.

Weeks ago Ms. S. picked up two packages of tempeh (Lightlife), and while stored in the fridge, nice and cool, it was still getting 'old' in a sense. We also have/had one carton of tofu (along with a box of silken tofu ... somewhere) and a container of "crumbles", and so it was thought -- wisely --, we should eat these items, starting with the tempeh ( www.lightlife.com/Vegan-
Food-Vegetarian-Diet/Organ
ic-Tempeh
).

An 8oz package lasts us two meals, as we split it in four, so two servings each, at about 115 calories per 2oz serving. Sometimes I 'marinate' it a bit (usually things like soy sauce, cider vinegar, garlic, and perhaps ginger or similar), and other times, like this evening, I just simmer it a bit in vegetable stock before drying it off and finishing it in the skillet with a little oil.

It pairs very nicely with roasted carrots (I'm sure that at some point we'll get tired of them, too!) and brown rice.

II.

Given that I now have two healthy sourdough starters, which I've now shuttled off to the fridge, it means I can bake easy, delicious bread about any time I want (the current boule? 500g flour, 300g water, 2tsp salt, not quite a cup of starter, stirred down; kneaded, then left to rise until double, punched down, formed into a boule, and left to rest overnight in the oven before being retrieved, left to return to room temperature, and then baked in a Dutch oven (with lid) about 20 minutes at 450F and then at 375F until nicely browned and about 200F on the inside). It also means that whenever it's time to feed the starter I have a good amount of leftover/lost starter ... which can be trashed or used.

And so the past two days I've used it for waffles, a variation on my vegan waffle recipe. Here I take half a cup or more of starter, sprinkle in a little baking powder and pinch of salt, at most a teaspoon each of oil and sugar, plenty of cinnamon, a quarter cup of frozen blueberries, and enough soy milk to reach the consistency I want for a batter -- at most a quarter of a cup --, and cook normally on/in the Belgian waffle iron. If I have extra/leftover batter, it makes good pancakes. I've been known to sprinkle in a teaspoon or two of cornmeal and add a chopped walnuts, as well.

III.

Last night we had "Synchrony" post-'Millennium' (a more serial storyline, following up Bletcher's death the previous episode with an appearance by Richard Cox, whom I recognize as Crusher's captor from ST:TNG), and Ms. S. figured out the majority of the plot by the time the first extra got killed by the bus.

Thereafter we had plenty of time and Ms. S. wanted something mostly light-hearted while she knitted, so I put in "Bolt", which I hadn't seen for a few years. The "Truman Show" parallels were obvious to me here, though when I first saw "Bolt" I hadn't seen the other film. As Ms. S. pointed out midway through, part of her problem with animated movies in general has to deal with how manipulative they frequently are; this is probably more a genre and audience rather than medium issue, but that's neither here nor there.

Rather: what makes several moments in "Bolt" work so ... effectively ... is that you recognize the formula and the coming manipulation, and yet it still gets to you. There are three such scenes that I'd identify: (1) when Mittens has her angry freak-out and tells a 'generic' tale of pets (cats) and owners that is, of course, actually about her; (2) when Bolt almost runs to Penny, but instead she's practicing a scene with Bolt 2.0; and (3) when Bolt and Penny are in danger and Bolt comes through to save them both. The middle scene is 'ironic' and telegraphed; it tugs but does not tear the heartstrings, and is just too formulaic to work. But the 1st and 3rd, while even more so scenes precisely from movies like this -- vs. a scene commenting on scenes in such movies, as the 2nd, you might say --, are things you see coming a mile away, it's hard, especially as a pet owner, not to watch those and tear up.

I do that around a number of movies and television episodes, though.

And in a weird way it now makes me want to rewatch (a) "Where the Red Fern Grows" (1974) and (b) "A Boy and His Dog" (1975). And then write about them, using the movies to bookend a more personal meditation on pets and such ... but, again, that's neither here nor there.


IV.

And tonight, after a somewhat depressing yet still fascinating episode of 'MIllennium' -- Frank Black is in North Dakota dealing with someone escalating from mutilating and killing horses to killing people -- we got "Small Potatoes" ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sm
all_Potatoes_%28The_X-File
s%29
). As for 'Millennium' ... again, and in this interesting way, we have the anti-Law-&-Order.

The scene shifting tone in 'Millennium' -- a muted thud-thud -- almost serves as a parody of 'Law & Order', and in its formula it provides a kind of mockery. Here it's not like the usual police procedural; it's not about keeping the audience nominally in the dark while it's clearly the best-known guest-star and/or one of the first potential suspects who 'did it', though we have to wade through half and hour of red herrings to get back to that person. And that's not a problem; that's how these things work. It's enjoyable. It's nominally plot-centric even though the plots all run together and repeat in such a way that plot is beside the point after a while. Crimes and suspense and being more and more shocking ... that's what's important. We must also feel moral outrage, or superiority. Or both. 'Millennium' exists in a similar -- or perhaps mirror -- moral universe to police procedurals, but thus far in its run it's focus is clearly on the psychology of the perpetrators. Motives are not to be found in singular crimes of opportunity or revenge or passion or monetary reward. Instead it's a tension between some sort of inherent sense of 'evil' and something more naturalistic, either social or a matter of illness and disorder. 'Who' is often obvious in 'Millennium'; 'why' frequently takes longer for Frank Black to figure out.

'Millennium' also serves as an anti-X-Files. In 'The X-Files' the questions are epistemological, Mulder and Scully's disagreements are epistemological, and even conspiracies are about the truth and hiding it, not about good and evil, or even regular notions of power. "I want to believe" and "The truth is out there" ... those could serve as the show's mottos. 'The X-Files' is a science-fiction type anthology show about the limits of what's possible, but not about right and wrong. The world, even with witchcraft and the like, is essentially amoral, even though many characters have moral beliefs. But more often than not their driving motivations are about duty; Mulder and Scully and even Skinner find themselves frequently on the 'wrong side' judged by what we might call right-and-wrong (see: Vietnam War veterans but protecting guilty generals, and so on), and when they do break regulations or even laws, it's frequently -- at least in Mulder's case -- in order to 'find out the truth', not to achieve revenge or justice, though these notions clearly exist on the periphery. In contrast, despite spiritual plot invasions in 'Millennium' (all the religion/church/millennial-spi
rituality) what is 'true' is frequently a 'given' and struggles to find it are not motivating factors; instead it's moral understanding that drives Frank Black. In addition to doing her job, it's empathy and a moral sense that drives his wife.

And, finally, Frank Black is the anti-Sherlock-Holmes. Whereas Holmes claims to work by deduction, not in the sense of logical deduction-induction (top-down vs. bottom-up), mainly through observation of facts, generally separate impressions, which he combines in a chain of logical inferences, Black works intuitively. He grasps a whole scene and puts together more of a Gestalt. Both Holmes and Black see crime scenes 'differently' than other investigators, but with Holmes and other characters modeled on him it's about -- nominally if not actually in plot and practice -- seeing "better", in greater details, and reasoning "better" than his peers. It's important that Holmes come across as a kind of genius or even savant. Frank Black, though -- let us disregard the possibly 'supernatural' aspect of his 'gift', which at this point in the series has no real ties to the supernatural or religious/spiritual --, sees qualitively rather than quantitatively differently than others. The 'information processing' aspect of reasoning is outsourced to databanks and registries, to the booming Internet and the like; what Frank brings to the table is a kind of intuitive insight, seeing the whole and seeing more deeply. Or, when dealing with other officers of the law, entertaining less biased points of view, what we might call 'thinking outside the box'; Holmes is too frequently just a better box.

But back to "Small Potatoes": Darin Morgan returns and David Duchovny gets to ... 'stretch' ... his acting muscles a bit (which is meant as a pun of sorts, I admit).

And this was a delight.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPKRAUSE 3/5/2013 1:30PM

    ... the past few episode of 'The X-Files' have been a bit weak when it comes to quotable lines.

I'm hoping for better in the next few days.

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OBIESMOM2 3/5/2013 1:05PM

    your blog title reminded me of Mary Kay Place explaining the family lineage on Big Love. I think she came to the conclusion that she was her own grandmother.

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