A (Not So) Quiet Place

I saw A Quiet Place II in the theater last night and, as someone who loves film, it was great to be back! I’ll probably stick to seeing any films I can see at home actually at home, but what a treat to see something up on the big screen once again. Vaccines/science are great! The sequel was also just as good as the first one, in my opinion. Are you excited to see something in person?

A Shot in the Arm

This weekend I’ll be receiving my second COVID-19 vaccination dose. I’m super excited to be able to say that! I’ve been happily helping others find appointments, including co-workers.

While we’re here, I wanted to share this piece from CNN:
Covid-19 vaccine myths: These reasons for not getting a shot don’t hold up. In fact, they’ll set the US back

This isn’t about vaccines, but I had to!

Pad Thai

This was not my first time making pad Thai, but was my first time working with tamarind, palm sugar, dried shrimp, and zha cai (I maybe didn’t even buy actual zha cai?). I also had to pick up a few different kinds of soy sauce (sweet and black). My first attempt was fine, so I want to give this a try again to see if I can improve. I’m fairly certain I know where I went wrong, too.

This is the first video I’ve watched by Joshua Weissman and his delivery is… interesting.

Full recipe here: https://www.joshuaweissman.com/post/homemade-pad-thai

Chipotle Weekend

Over the weekend I decided I wanted to cook something a little different from the usual. The answer was obvious… a bunch of copycat Chipotle recipes! This looks like a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. There’s a bunch of downtime while making some parts… the carnitas takes a little time and the broiling step can wait. The corn salsa is better with some time to sit as is the guacamole. Lastly, I covered the rice to keep it warm while I finished other pieces.

  • Corn Salsa:
    • I dialed back the jalapeño a bit, but the rest if the same.
  • Beans:
    • I used kidney beans instead and still great!
  • Carnitas (for Ninja Foodi):
    • I may reduce the agave next time, it was rather sweet, but really great overall!
  • Guacamole:
    • I watched the video mentioned in the post (see below). Chef chad says keep the stems in the cilantro. I removed the thickest parts, but kept the rest. The video differs from the written recipe, so I followed what was written and just grabbed some tips from the video.
  • Cilantro Lime Rice
    • The only difference is that I used the Ninja Foodi to cook the rice.
  • The assembly:
    • The end result was basically a rice bowl with (in order from the bottom) rice, beans, carnitas, corn salsa, guac, (vegan) sour cream from Forager.
    • There was enough for more than one meal, so there was also a round of quesadillas with carnitas, beans, and Violife vegan cheddar.

Chef Chad of Chipotle demonstrates how to make guacamole:

The Weeknd: After Hours

If you’ve been paying any attention to The Weeknd for the last year you may have noticed a few things: the same red suit jacket and black clothes and a bloodied nose and face. You read right, he’s been making live appearances wearing the same outfit and with makeup and prosthetics to appear bloodied. He’s essentially been telling a story over the course of 10 or 12 music videos and live performances. I’m not sure I can think of a case where someone has sustained a character AND story arc across this many videos.

I’ve compiled those videos below in what I think is the correct order. Some are, uhm, explicit. I’m not sure if this is the last of the videos, but if any more are released I’ll add them to this post.

Album Title

The character is seen driving and we learn the title of the album.

Heartless

Arrival in Vegas. Perhaps some inspiration from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a touch of Casino? At this stage there are no injuries.

Blinding Lights

Starts where the last one ends, lost and stumbling in Vegas. The character is again seen driving and beaten by bouncers, acquiring his facial injuries. He also dons black driving gloves see in (almost) all of the remaining videos. This feels heavily influenced by both Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker performances.

Until I Bleed Out

The character appears at a party, injured, and somewhat out of it. He winds up unconscious in the desert, still wearing the gloves and has now added tape to his nose.

Snowchild

Snowchild appears to mostly be in the character’s imagination while he’s unconscious in the desert from the previous video. Includes flashbacks to The Weeknd’s past and career. The nose tape is present, but the gloves aren’t.

Heartless (feat.Lil Uzi Vert) Intermission

This is most likely unused footage compiled to make a video, but it works here. Why? It’s called Intermission and because we’ve already seen most of what’s occurred. There’s a jump from Until I Bleed Out/Snowchild to the next video, so this helps bridge the two.

Blinding Lights (Live on Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Technically fits in before After Hours (Short Film), since that video starts with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live

After Hours (Short Film)

This video serves as a bridge from one video to the next and does not include a performance or a full song. We see the character’s emotions and motivations change.

In Your Eyes

This video picks up where the last one ends, The Weeknd is see boarding an elevator with a man and a woman. This one is basically a slasher/horror theme.

Too Late

Picking up where the last one ended, the story continues the horror theme. Whereas the previous video was fairly ’70s/’80s influenced, this one feels more contemporary.

Save Your Tears / In Your Eyes (live)

Given the bandages, this could probably be slotted here (between Too Late and Save Your Tears).

Save Your Tears

The character is back and looking a bit different (including the red jacket).

Other notable live performances and videos

Probably one of the slickest late night TV musical performances I’ve seen

This doesn’t quite fit in to the story like the others, but the scale is impressive!

Even this duet holds a key to the story!



Update:

I compiled all of the videos into a YouTube playlist from the sequence outlined above.

Halloween III

Continuing on my horror movie and TV kick (see also Halloween and Halloween II, here are some more recent watches:

  • Phantasm (1979)*
  • Prom Night (1980)
  • The Funhouse (1981)
  • Chopping Mall (1986)*
  • Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)*
  • Sleepaway Camp II (1988)
  • Sleepaway Camp III (1989)
  • Body Bags (1993)
  • Hereditary (2018)
  • Lovecraft Country (2020)*

*Currently watching or started

I’ve slowed down a bit on the scary stuff as Die Hard and Home Alone season is in full gear. Maybe it’s time to fill in some of my Christmas/horror flick gaps!

Halloween II

Continuing on my previous post, I’ve watched even more horror films. With Halloween and a Friday the 13th so close together, it seemed only appropriate to watch a certain franchise (plus a few others) to stick with horror films.

  • Friday the 13th A New Beginning (1985)
  • Friday the 13th Jason Lives (1986)
  • Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
  • Jason X (2002)
  • Friday the 13th (2009)
  • Sleepaway Camp (1983)
  • Ready or Not (2019)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Maximum Overdrive (1986)
  • Children of the Corn (1984)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Halloween

I’ve been on a bit of a thriller/horror kick lately, given the season. I’m normally not a huge horror fan, though I like it when it’s done well. There are a few more I will probably try to squeeze in over the next few days. Anything I need to watch? Right now I’m curious about Overlord – seems like a good combo of WWII and zombies!

Over the last few weeks I’ve watched the following movies and TV shows:

  • American Horror Story 1984 (2019)
  • Dark (2017-20)
  • Raising Cain (1992)
  • Sisters (1972)
  • Evil Dead (1981)*
  • Final Destination 5 (2011)
  • The Thing (2011)
  • Creep (2014)
  • Creep 2 (2017)
  • Poltergeist (1982)*
  • Midsommar (2019)

*Previously seen

Faith Middleton’s Monday Night Flank Steak

At some point during the quarantine, I came to the realization that I wanted a steak night once a week. With that, I’ve been trying different cuts and experimenting with what works. Marinating flank steak was one that just didn’t work (maybe it does for you, but it didn’t for me). I found this recipe randomly and, as I often do, I made a couple of quick substitutions, noted below. The original recipe suggests some side options, including a horseradish sauce or tomato and arugula.

Recipe

  • Servings 4-5 people
  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time 8-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (calls for sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, ground into a paste (calls for garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 flank steak: 1-3/4 to 2 pounds and about 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix together all the spice-paste ingredients.
  • Brush the paste evenly over both sides of the flank steak. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the sauce.
  • Pan fry the flank steak over medium-high heat, until cooked to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cut the steak across the grain into ¼-inch-thick slices. Taste the meat and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

I don’t really do reality TV. I watched The Real World when it started in the ‘90s because it was a new thing, something different from the norm. That said, I have a bit of an obsession with the original Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares that was broadcast in the UK starting in 2004.

If you’re unfamiliar, the show is hosted by chef Gordon Ramsay as he visits struggling restaurants in Britain and Europe. I find the UK version far superior to the US version (in the sense that the US version is unwatchable). Each episode of the original series is shot like a documentary and, while things get heated between presenter and restauranteur(s), the final product is much more reasonable than its American counterpart. The music is better, the filming is better, the editing is better. It feels like a thing that really happened, as opposed to an exploitative TV show.

Haven’t seen it? Almost every episode is on YouTube for free!

A playlist of all free episodes

I’ve only cooked one recipe from chef Ramsay from another show of his, F Word, and it was years ago… sea bass with pepper sauce (see video below). I paired it with baked rice with star anise (I can’t find the recipe now). It stands as not on one of the best thing I’ve ever cooked, but maybe eaten, too!