Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Family Members!

Have been meaning to blog this for a bit, but life got in the way and the child wasn't sharing her pics!

Anyway, I blogged earlier in the year about the loss of Keiko. I didn't blog about another loss only a few months later of our other cat Claudia. (She died while we were at A-kon.) Claudia was at least 13 years old or more. She was one sweet, loving, shy, tough old broad.

So, with my daughter insisting, and only poor Mr Boots left, we decided to get a kitten to replenish the feline population. (I must have Feline Masters. I must keep my arm muscles in shape with petting and serving them! The addiction must be fed!)

As always happens, we end up with more than intended. Son-in-law had a friend/sister who's cat was having kittens. John was determined we would only get females. (Mr Boots gets too rough when he plays with boys but can be easily cowed by girls. Don't ask...) So pictures and questions went back and forth (the family lives 2 hours away). Much ooing and aahing ensued over all the cuteness. So began the whines that we could not only pick one, it was too hard. We had to at least pick two.

Here's Mr Boots in a Centerfold photo.

So say hello to Subaki and Mithril! The latest feline additions to our Feline driven family.

Mithril is the gray and white kitten. Subaki the black and white. Mithril has longish hair, Subaki short. The white patterns are almost identical. Definite sisters. They also have very different personalities even as many traits are the same.

Mithril loves to be loved. Occasionally she will drape herself over my neck like a vibrating collar. She even enjoys being picked up. Unless she's playing, then we don't exist. She also loves the soft food we give as a treat in the morning and before bedtime. So much so she paws at my legs when I am working on doling it out and gobbles hers down as fast as kitty possible so she can then steal the rest of Mr Boot's.

Subaki, on the other hand, is a major touch me not. She's got to many things to do and no time to do them and you better not get in her way! However, there are occasions when she will feel magnanimous and allow love to be lavished upon her. But not too much. It cracks me up how she will hunt me down to lay on me when I'm watching TV yet make sure to lay down by my feet so I can't reach her to pet.

Subaki and Mithril play and explore together. For the longest time Mr Boots fled from them and they ignored him as if he didn't exist. Now they acknowledge each other and even play together a little. They even sleep together! Yet there are a couple of places Mr Boots does not enjoy or want their company. Like my bed at night. I am all HIS. (He pretty much claimed me when Keiko was no longer there to force her will upon him.) First time I ever heard him growl was when one of them came on the bed while he was there. Wow! (Mr Boots is a giant brick but a totally laid back dude. Normally...)

So please join me in welcoming my new master to their home! Huzzah!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tostones - Puerto Rico's French Fries

Something great about writing and reading is getting to learn all about customs and foods of other people and places. Sometimes though, your own recollections and experiences can seem new and different to others. So I thought I would share one of mine with you. :P

I was born in Puerto Rico, a small island, 100 miles by 50 miles, out in the Caribbean Sea. And while PR is a property of the US and we have many of the same fast food restaurants you find there, we also have unique foods all our own.

A lot of these unique foods come from vegetables and fruits not normally found in the continental US. One of these unique vegetables/fruits is the plantain. Though plantains look somewhat like the bananas you might be used to, unlike the yellow variety you see at the grocery store , you can't eat plantains raw. They must be cooked, even when they're ripe . (If you don't, you'll get a heck of stomach ache!)

Depending on how mature the plantain is will depends on what you can make with it. Also the more mature it is, the sweeter the dish will be.

A normal plantain is about two to three times the size of a yellow banana. They're also kind of hard, unless they're ripe.

To make Puerto Rico's version of French Fries - tostones - you want the plantains to be green (unripe). Peeling the plantain's outer layer, you'd then slice the fruit of the plantain into thick chunks. (Think of peeling a banana and cutting it up to put into your cereal. Except the banana is much bigger, the slices thicker, and the peel harder to pull of.)

Each of the chunks will get dipped in salt water for a second (to help them not stick) and then get placed in a frying pan with a half inch of oil or so. They'll be cooked until they start to turn golden then be pulled out and redipped in the salt water.

That's when they'll get crushed pretty flat by a tostonera, then get fried it some more.

When the tostones are golden brown, they get pulled out and set aside to cool for a minute on a paper toweled platter (so the excess grease can be absorbed). At my house, we NEVER wait. When Mom makes them at family gatherings we're all dashing into the kitchen off and on when she's not looking to snatch one, sometimes even burning our fingers.

Do they look awesome or what?

Just like fresh made fries, they smell wonderful when freshly made! Tostoner are usually served as a side dish, just like French Fries.

A lot of people like to dip them in mojo/mojito, which is a garlic/tomato sauce. But that's too bitter for me. I use straight ketchup instead! Just like with my fries.

My mouth is watering just thinking about them! YUM!

I hope someday you too can get a chance to taste some. (And don't even get me started on Amarillitos Fritos (sideways sliced fried plaintain when they ARE ripe. Taste so sweet! Super YUM!)(Salivating even more now). Mmmmmm...

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Movie Review - Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Staring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Meris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke, and more...

Premise: Picking up mostly from the last film, Alice and her clones invade the Japan offices of the Umbrella Corporation. After an impressive battle and show down with Mercer, Alice goes looking for Arcadia and the friends who went before her seeking this last place of hope and survivial. Yet all is not as it should be.

Review: I have watched all the movies in the Resident Evil saga because of my husband. I entirely liked the first of them more than I expected. But, though the budget of each subsequent film seems to sky rocket each time, the writing, on the other hand always takes a steep dive. And this fourth film is no exception.

The first ten to fifteen minutes of the film, the attack on Umbrella's Japanese HQ is, however, totally worth it! I'd thought they'd written themselves into a corner in Resident Evil: Extinction and would never do another film because there were so many copies of Alice around it would be a filming nightmare. Yet they did it. For a bit. And it was GREAT! Better yet, in the beginning title sequence you get to see what looks to be the T-virus patient Zero. Which you see again four years later before she's killed. And the destruction of the facility by Mercer was a wonder to behold. Something akin to the destruction of Neo Tokyo in the Japanese anime Akira, but made live. Wonderful!

After that though, things degrade. The HQ destruction was a cheap way to get rid of ALL the Alice clones so they then didn't have to deal with them. As if Alice or her other selves would be stupid enough to put all of themselves into the one location, especially knowing how those places operate. Worse, for the plot they decide to take away Alice's powers she's derived from the T-virus yet she seemed to pretty much still have them through most of the movie anyway. (She would have been dead several times otherwise. If tiles break, bones break!) *sigh*

Visually the movie is stunning. The Tokyo segment, the awesome switch between pre T-virus and current time, LA's burning state and the sea of zombies around the prison. Slow motion action moves. The film is filled with great stunts. The stark white interior of the transport ship. The music also totally rocked. If you ignore the thin plot and implausible situations and cliched bits, it's worth it for the rest.

There is one giant zombie dude with the biggest hammer ever (which reminded me of one of the baddies in the game Plants vs Zombies) that was never explained and made absolutely no sense aside from something bad for them to fight. Oh and the zombies suddenly get stealth skills. An oxymoron if I ever heard one. However, the concept of them slowly regaining intelligence is not.

Weirder still was the fact that though they hunger and gather around the last seemingly alive humans in LA, the zombies never fall to cannibalism on their own kind or actually seem affected by the fact they haven't been able to feed for sometime.

Also beware there's a cliffhanger ending. And sit through part of the credits as there's a bit more to be shown. (I had a feeling the woman there should mean something to me but it's been too long since I've seen the other films.) :(

Mr. Paul W S Anderson is a great director in this film, but should not have written the movie. The love does shine through though.

Rating: Visuals 4.5 out of 5, Storywise 2.5 out of 5
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