My partner is a horror buff. I am more of a science fiction geek, but we manage to make it work. In any case, I grew up watching the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I recall those being the only slasher movies without a lot of sex and nudity, meaning my parents actually let us watch them (they had a strict policy that showing boobs was shameful, but hacking up bodies with razor claws was fine). If only they’d known back then that I didn’t care about boobs, I may have been allowed to watch more movies. But I digress…
Our most recent adventure was a three day journey to Cologne, Germany, with a temporary detour into Dortmund for a horror convention. Yes, we’re nerds (I hadn’t yet started this blog when we were regularly attending Doctor Who cons, so this may come as a bit of a shock). This wasn’t just about meeting Robert Englund (and for some reason John Schneider from Dukes of Hazzard), though. Cologne is a really stunning city, and–as it is only 200 km away–there is no reason not to hop over and enjoy it.
Given the weather had been warmer last week (up into the 50s!), and my partner had just come home after an extended absence, we decided to get out and explore Trier, Germany a bit. It is less than an hour away by train, and–being the oldest city in Germany–is home to a lot of interesting architecture and Roman ruins. On a more shallow note, we both wanted to see the new Oz movie, which was playing there (Luxembourg City theaters didn’t start showing it until today, and I can be impatient sometimes). Though there were a couple of hiccups in our plan (the weather turned out to be considerably colder than we had expected and the movie was actually dubbed in German rather than just subtitled), we still had an enjoyable time. Even in freezing temperatures, it is nice to get out of the house and escape somewhere now and then.
I made blackeyed peas as a side dish last night, and had plenty left over, so I wanted to conduct another cooking experiment. Admittedly, many homemade veggie burgers often end up too mushy and fall apart, or they’re entirely flavorless. Or possibly both. My other problem with vegetarian cooking is that vegetarians and vegans often resort to unhealthy, processed fake meat products that are hardly much healthier than their meat equivalents (I’ll save my rant against seitan for another day). Aside from Morningstar Farms (or other similar products) being quite expensive and contributing to the myth that “healthy eating is beyond my budget,” they are not made from whole ingredients.
This affordable recipe actually forms decent patties that crisp up well, and are quite flavorful. They are also made from scratch from just a handful of whole ingredients you can actually pronounce. Mushrooms are loaded with B and D vitamins (naturally occurring, unlike dairy), and also come packed with antioxidants. Blackeyed peas are loaded with fiber, potassium, iron, and protein. So give them a try!
In 2008, comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote and starred in a one man off-Broadway show based on his life, called Sleepwalk with Me. He developed the show into a book, which in turn became a movie in 2012. I am reviewing both book and movie here, as both provide an entertaining glimpse into the life of a stand-up comic. It can be difficult in autobiographical works to steer through a life without veering into the two precarious territories on each side of the road: silliness and overwrought melodrama. Both book and movie tend to pull this off with ease, delicately balancing Mike’s dry humor and stand-up act with his real world challenges.
There is a concept in physics known as The Observer Affect, which essentially states that viewing an object inherently changes its bahavior. The results you get from observations are thus tainted unless you significantly alter how you view the object. Documentary filmmakers face a similar obstacle, in that the process of walking around with a camera and shoving it into people’s faces tends to produce altered results. This film, produced by Zach Galifianakis and featuring Joseph Garner, utterly fails to overcome this obstacle.