Not Your Father's Ramen
Thursday, April 25, 2013
As a writer who works at home I find myself foraging in the 'fridge for lunch -- and on a cold day cheese and crackers and carrot sticks just won't cut it. This is why I have invented what I call the Souper Bowl, which involves packaged ramen noodles .... WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, don't leave me yet. It's better than it sounds.
First of all, try to buy your ramen noodles at an Asian grocery -- they're infinitely superior, sometimes with two to three flavoring packets apiece, with much more flavor than the chicken-soupy ramen from the Boring White Man's Grocery Store.
1. Chop up last night's protein: cold chicken, a pork chop, piece of steak. You can also use cubed tofu (sometimes I use two protein ingredients.) Also, chop up a tomato and, if you like things spicy, a jalapeno or other pepper. Put these in the bowl from which you will eat.
2. When you boil the noodles also add any veggies you can find in the crisper: cabbage, carrots, whatever. If you're using last night's already-cooked veggies, add them to the bowl without cooking them.
3. Dump the hot-and-cooked noodles and veggies over the bowl of cold ingredients. The hot water will warm everything up instantly, and the soup will cool down, which means you can eat immediately without scalding your tongue.
4. Add extra flavor. I like sriracha (rooster bottle sauce), sesame oil, red pepper flakes, soy sauce.
Looks pretty good, right?
A Nashville Mystery
Thursday, April 18, 2013
I've lived in seven states and even more cities, and despite what many folks say this is not a homogeneous, boring country -- there are plenty of local eccentricities out there.
One I can't figure out in Nashville is what I've named the Music City Six-Foot Rule: In any queue at a retail outlet or restaurant ... basically any place where people are standing in line to pay a bill ... the person who is next in line rarely stands closer than six feet from the person who is conducting their transaction before them. There's this huge gap, big enough to drive a car through. And I am so, so tempted to just fill that gap ... to budge.
I can understand this in some venues, like a doctor's office or adult video store, but this six-foot rule is true even in grocery stores. And it's not a Southern thing. I don't see it in Macon or Ashville or even Memphis. Hmmmmmmmm..........
Thursday, April 11, 2013
I've always appreciated Paul Reubens and his persona of Pee-wee Herman. I own the complete set of his brilliant Saturday-morning cartoon, Pee-wee's Playhouse (I WANT a flying bicycle and my own personal genie, damn it!), and for my birthday one year my daughter and wife bought for me a trip to New York to see Pee-wee on Broadway.
I feel bad about his downfall, I really do. I don't care that he was pleasuring himself inside an adult movie theater -- that's his business, not ours ...
Pee-wee, you pervert! ...
... I know you are, but what am I?
Pee-wee loves everything larger than life. Remember his banjo-size toothbrush?
So it is with great pleasure that I share with you this photo of me and my wife in our recent trip to Apalachicola, down in the Florida panhandle.
I loved this chair so much ... I married it!
Matthew Perry and The Third Eye
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I judge TV shows and movies by two things: as an author, I'm always acutely aware of dialogue and how true it may or may not ring. I also judge the actors' ability to control their "third eye."
We all have one. It's invisible and in the middle of our foreheads. When we know someone is talking about or watching us from across a room, for example, and we want to look cool and pretend we don't know it, we continue to look forward, at the person we're talking to, our eyes locked on theirs. But the third eye, meanwhile, turns toward that person across the room to look. It screams: Hey! I see you! Basically, you can always tell when someone knows you're looking at them; their third eye is looking right back at you. I'm not talking about a sideways glance with your normal two eyes -- that's an altogether different thing.
The best actors know how to control their third eyes. They can shut them. Paul Newman comes to mind. Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman. They are very good at acting in a vacuum, shunning the camera from their mind.
Then there are the lesser-talented actors. Some of them have long careers, like Matthew Perry. He's got the most active third eye of any experienced actor out there. The entire time that he is engrossed in dialogue with another character, his third eye is looking DIRECTLY at the camera, screaming, "Hey! Look at me! LOOK AT ME! I'M SO CUTE AND CLEVER."
Good actors know how to close their third eyes. It's hard to do. Pretend to be in an acting scene yourself. You will feel the pull of the third eye, which is always looking for a mirror, a camera, or affirmation of some kind.