Food in the Future!

I'm from the Midwest. A historian might argue I'm from the South. Either way, I'm from the land of cows and pigs and chicken. Fish came in two varieties, cat or sticks. I cannot stand catfish. It is the most bland, boring, flimsy fish known to man and it looks pretty disgusting beforehand (my fish should not have whiskers). After a Tyson fish stick debacle when I was seven that had me trying not to vomit on the stairs and my mother screaming at me for "faking it," I'm not a fan of those either.

So I moved to New England where the fishes1 are. You cannot go to a restaurant without seeing calamari and crab cakes as appetizers. Fish and chips and baked/fried haddock will almost certainly be in the entrées. Lobster of some kind, either by the pound or in a roll (and they put it in pasta too, blarg). Scrod2, mussels, salmon, scallops, swordfish, and so on and so forth.

I come from the land of cows and sausages, but here everything is from the Atlantic Ocean. It has taken some adjusting and a little bit of courage on my part. I overcame the scars of my childhood and tried fish again. The lesson? It depends on the restaurant and how they prepare their fish. (And the sauce they put with it. I'm not a fan of dill and they can really go overboard with the dill.) My preference is blackened swordfish.

Well today my wife made tilapia tacos. Onion, sour cream, lime juice, a spicy concoction of spices, sliced avocados, and grilled tilapia on a wheat tortilla. This is the first time I've tried tilapia, and I discovered something. Tilapia doesn't taste like anything. It has such a mild flavor that really, it's just there for texture. You taste the spices and the condiments, but you don't the fish. As someone who doesn't much care for fish, one might think this to be a great find. But in truth, I discovered that if I must suffer through fish, I want to suffer. How can I wear eating fish like a badge of courage if the fish doesn't taste like fish?

"This is like tofu!" I complained because I hate tofu, but tofu eaters always tell me how it can taste like anything. (It can taste like anything because it tastes like nothing. Someone just made a much cube and convinced people it was good.) "It's firmer and has a different texture than tofu," was my wife's answer. That was all.

And that's when it struck me. In science fiction stories when man is populating deep space and traveling lightyears in ships like Serenity, they eat protein. We'll ignore star trek that has molecule resequencers/computer replicators. Matrix, Firefly, and so on and so forth all eat protein bars that are infused with minerals, vitamins, and everything else.

This is all well and good, except they CALL them protein cubes/squares/bars. And with that, I call shenanigans. No one would eat protein cubes. They eat brand names. If Kellogs or Kraft hasn't smacked a name on the box that carries those protein cubes, then those people didn't come from Earth.

And so, I introduce to you gentle reader, the future. Tilapia® brand protein cubes! Have Tilapia® for dinner tonight and get all the necessary vitamins and minerals for your space voyage.3

1 Grammatical curiosity: The plural of fish is fish when all the fish are the same. When you have different species of fish, the plural is fishes.

2 Scrod is almost always cod, but I can't order something that sounds like it's a euphemism for shit.

3 Obviously that's not really a registered trademark, but I'm definitely going to use it in a story some day.

Vick--Vickie Vale! Vickie Vale!

When I was younger, I loved comic books. Loved them. My friend Jeremy introduced them to me at the beginning of high school and there began a brief obsession with the funnybooks. I won't say that I grew out of them, because that's condescending and inaccurate. There are still books I enjoy even though I don't buy comics any more (Atomic Robo is always the first book I recommend to people interested in seeing what a quality comic book is like).

In most comics, especially the mainstream ones written by an incredibly inbred cadre of writers (meaning that they just move from book to book without adding new blood, not that they themselves are actually inbred), too much of it is written to appeal to the teenage mindset. When Batwoman was introduced as the new main character of Detective Comics, the fact that she was a lesbian was addressed in a way that not only made me less sympathetic to the character (she blamed the victim card to win an argument in her own internal monologue!) but pulled me out of the story because she's unlike any real-life lesbian I know.

More over, I find 22 pages limiting to tell a story, especially when the pacing needs to be kept up and the story needs to be refreshed so that everything feels new (it's hard to get new readers into a comic that numbers in the 600s).

I bring this up not because today's post is about comics (though obviously it is now), but because I want you to understand why I don't like Tim Burton's rendition of Batman. I needed to preface all that because Burton is one of those people (like Gaiman) that has a fanatical fan base. Say you don't like Tim Burton's work and people freak out. I like some movies (Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Fish, etc.) but his Batman incarnations are particularly frustrating. Sure everyone likes the first one, but they like it because it so perfectly encapsulated the '80s, not because it was a good Batman flick. Other than the selection of Michael Keaton as Batman (who looked just like the comic's Bruce Wayne at the time), I just don't care for it (Kevin Smith's comment that Tim told him he had never read a comic book of any kind was particularly telling).

Now, after all that backstory, the reason why I bring this all up, is that because when I'm browsing Twitter or some other online gathering place and I see a picture of a particularly attractive woman, I think to myself "Stop the press! Who is this?" and stop scrolling.

I did not realize I was doing it until I caught myself doing it this weekend on two different occasions. I don't blame the movie so much as I blame the first season of Chuck which included that joke and is a thousand times better than Tim Burton's Batman movies.

(This post had no footnotes in them because Nate Wilson used them all in his blog post today.)

Let's Talk About Sex

Tiffany Reisz is one of Sara Megibow's erotica authors. She wrote a guest post for Fiction Groupie that just blew me away, so I thought I would bring it to your attention.

Now, as a liberal adult, I have been instructed to be open about sex, and I am. So is my wife. We're cool like that. But this post gave me pause because really, few people I know, liberal or otherwise, are comfortable talking about sex, certainly so if it involves a discussion with more than one person. Impossibly so if someone under 20 is in the room and we are doing anything but an instructional lecture of the dangers of sex.

Yeah, not so much.

The specific comment that Tiffany made that I found so profound was:

Really?  I’m the only adult who has ever told a super smart beautiful young woman that sex was good?  That’s troubling.  Sex IS good. Why is that a secret? Marriage is good too. Nobody hides that fact from kids. Nobody thinks that by telling a fourteen year old girl that marriage is good, that fourteen year old is going to run out and immediately get married. So why all the secrecy? Why all the shame? I want her to know sex is good so she’ll know it’s worth taking seriously, it’s worth thinking about, it’s worth doing right.

Dear lord yes! I've known this and have expressed this but never articulated it in such a simple but powerful manner. Anyone that says sex is bad or shameful is either a liar or doing it wrong. This right here is how you communicate the importance of sex, safe sex, self-respect, and respecting others. This is going to be an awesome part of your life, so pay attention.

Kudos to Tiffany.

Hellloooooo (Male) Nurse!

Just to be fare to all the readers out there after yesterday's Julia Stiles pic, I totally have a man-crush on Nathan Fillion. He is, was, and always will be Captain Malcolm Reynolds. My obsession with Firefly is total1 and despite the days where he spams my twitter account trying to make a fad (the double-rainbow thing got pretty extreme for awhile), he's still the guy I'd ask to dinner if given the opportunity2.

Try and find Mal's pistol in the above picture. That made me geek out.

1 Someone left a note under my windshield wiper that says "Shiny" because my license plate says Browncoat. I kept the note. :)

2 We'd totally make out just so I could say we did. My wife would then make out with me even harder so she could say that she made out with Nathan Fillion via proxy.

Echoes of Halloween

This is our first year in our new townhouse and as such, we did not know how many kids would stop by (10-12 was the final count). We WAY overbought on candy. Suggestions of taking the left overs into work have been shot down by the missus. The plan is to keep the bag until we have guests over in January. Now, the only question that remains is whether the bag will actually last until January (peanut M&Ms are no more, as of last night).

This inspired me to make a LIST! (Because it's what I do. I hope none of the candies will be offended by said list.) What are your favorite candies?

1. Twix (after refrigeration, this achieves candy bar nirvana) AND Reese's Pieces (not at the same time, but they're both wicked awesome)

2. Watchamacallit (some people still haven't heard about this one. How is that possible?)

3. Peanut M&Ms1 (I eat all the red ones first)

4. Mars (briefly renamed Snickers with Almond, the Mars bar has recently made a comeback)

5. Krackle (akin to Nestle Crunch which is also awesome, there's something about the Krackle's chocolate that tastes better than Nestle's offering)

Runners Up: White chocolate kit-kat (holy hell, the amount of saturated fat will kill you!)

Thousand Grand (not even sure why, I think I liked the struggle I had as a kid to actually bite off a piece of this bar, so filled with caramel that I felt like an alligator)

1 I got in trouble a lot in 8th grade. Me and detention became good friends (sometimes even when we shouldn't have). In an effort to get me to behave, my Spanish teacher bet me and my best friend, Jeremy, 1 pound of peanut M&Ms each that we couldn't behave for two months.

Two months and one day later, we both sat in detention eating our peanut M&Ms.