Milk Containers

Via Joanne Jacobs: They are getting rid of the little cardboard half pint milk cartons.

”Those … square containers are awfully hard for kids,” says New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor, who has watched the trend spread to some 320 schools in New England. ”Teachers say you can spend the whole lunch period just walking around and opening those containers.”

The article admits the main reason they are doing it is because the dairy industry thinks kids will drink more milk if it comes in round bottles. But the comment above inspired an eye roll.

Come on. When I was an elementary school kid I figured out how to get these things open. I mean you could give them to a monkey and they’d eventually figure out how to get the contents if they wanted it. You could definitely train a monkey to open one.

Maybe the teachers shouldn’t spend all her time making it easy for the kid to get their milk open and they’d learn to do it themselves.

A Limited Palette

I have many interests, cooking being just the latest. Pursuing one of these I read J. Michael Straczynski’s The Complete Book of Scriptwriting . When discussing writing the television script, he explains the very strict time constraints of TV programs. It breaks every so many minutes and is a specific length. Then he said some people are offended by this because it limits their art for purely commercial reasons (no pun intended). JMS every art has its limitations and an artist learns to work in those limits.

This occurred to me recently in relation to cooking.

To me cooking is an art. Actually I think it is an art and a craft, but for me it is an art. Some cooks are annoyed when they have to conform to a person’s dietary requirements. Those cooks are like the artist above, complaining about the limits of TV. Others look on it as a chance to show their skills.

I used to be a vegetarian and one year I was on a business trip to San Francisco. A large group of us went to a fancy restaurant. I found nothing on the menu that I could eat, which is unusual. So I asked the waiter about it. She said, “The chef can make something for you.”

I furrowed my brow and asked, “Like what?”

“Don’t worry you’ll like it.”

Since I didn’t have much choice I decided to live on the edge. They brought me out a bowl of something. To this day I don’t know what it was, but it was probably the best vegetarian meal I ever had.

That’s art.

All this as a preamble to say I’m going on a diet. I recently went to the Hotze Health & Wellness Center and you can follow the link to learn more. Part of what they want me to do is go on a yeast free diet. I’m not really willing to do that right now, but I am removing all refined sugar from my diet, and all non-whole grain starches. This ends up being very similar to Atkins or South Beach, but with whole grain pasta etc. I did Body For Life last year and this diet will work with that as well.

This means don’t expect any more cookies and ice cream. Much more meat, sauces and vegetables.

I made Pan Steak and Onions from the South Beach diet last night and I was impressed. South Beach actually went to chefs and got them to create quality recipes for their diet.

My first challenge will be to create a menu for our New Years party. I want it to conform to my diet, and still be “party” food. Expect to see a menu up soon.

Dark Tower Series

Mike Williams just finished Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and says it is “possibly the best modern fantasy epic I’ve read”. That seems high praise.

Now that he’s got some reading time on his hands I wanted to suggest my personal favorite modern fantasy novel: The Deeds Of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.

But his comments don’t seem to be working, so I’m going to trackback ping instead.

Update: Amazon has a “Better Together” buy for this book with Divided Allegiance. Which is stupid because Deeds is and omnibus edition that includes Divided Allegiance. Duh.

Why SF Movies Suck More Than Books

My office mate and I were discussing the old and remake Plant of the Apes movies and it occurred to me why science fiction movies aren’t like science fiction books.

I was trying to remember how Marky Mark got to the planet of the apes. I remembered that in the old movie there was a crew of people on a long space trip and in cryogenic suspension. They somehow make a wrong turn and end up back on Earth with out knowing it.

In the new movie they go through a wormhole.

And this is why SF movies have the reputation of sucking. The writer didn’t try to come up with a plausible reason for how the characters get to where he wants to start the story. Instead it pulls a Star Trek, makes up a word or co-ops one, boom he’s where he wants to be.

No self respecting SF writer of books would do this. And if they did they wouldn’t write very many books.

David Gerrod in his book on writing science fiction and fantasy says science fiction is about what could happen and fantasy is about what couldn’t happen. If you don’t give a reason something could happen you are righting fantasy. No matter what the setting. No matter the number of space ships. Star Wars is fantasy. Star Trek is fantasy.

So I guess I should give the new Ape movie a break. It’s fantasy. But it also sucks, so it gets no break.

The old plant of the apes could happen. We could genetically engineer a race of intelligent monkeys and apes. We almost assuredly would try to enslave them. They would probably get uppity and maybe turn the tables on us.

(Of course that’s not the source of the apes. Time travel is.)

You could send a ship on a multi-light year trip with a crew in suspended animation. Probably the ship would know what to do if it didn’t find a place for humans, and if at some point it hadn’t found anything it would turn around and come home.

Bloody Brilliant Movie

Watched Shaun of the Dead last night and loved it. It is exactly what they bill it as, a romantic comedy with zombies. It is hilarious and the main story line is about the relationship of a loser store clerk and his girlfriend’s relationship.

In someways it was like a British Clerks, though with less cussing and poop monster humor than Clerks, and there were no zombies in Clerks. Clerks could have used some zombies. Maybe I should email Kevin Smith and point out how zombies could probably improve the Clerks sequel.

Blogroll Additions

When and looked at the food blog awards site and loaded all the nominees for Best Food Blog – Chef. I already had Burning My Fingers In Boston on my list, but found two more I liked.

One Toque Over The Line Despite the apparent in ability to create a paragraph, the rants here are very interesting and funny. Kind of reminded me of Waiter Rant, but from the Chef’s perspective.

Shiok Food is written by a chef in Bangalore. He has good photography and detailed instructions in his recipes. I want to try out his egg plant recipe.

Armour Thyroid Reaction

I guess I should get a prize or something. I’m having a reaction to the Armour Thyroid. Heart rate is up to 90. Hands are shaking. Feeling lethargic. Those are the signs they tell you to watch for as you are learning your dose.

So I called the Hotze Health and Wellness Center and the on call nurse called me back. She said to stop taking the Armour Thyroid and add it back in last. If you have adrenal fatigue you sometimes can’t take the Armour to start with. So I’m taking nothing till Friday when I add the Cortozal for the adrenal fatigue.

Well except the supplements. I’ll make a list of what I’m taking and post it if I get the chance tonight. I forgot to bring the “power pack” basic set of supplements to take at lunch, so I’ll have to do that tonight.