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11:02 a.m. - 2010-08-10
The Critical Critic

Taking advantage of the dip in the temperature and have my windows open. We had a brief rain storm just before dawn, badly needed and very welcome for more than just the moisture, it broke the heat. When I went to bed last night a little before midnight it was still 86 degrees. I know for a fact Hell gets cooler than that at night. If I wanted to live in some steamy Amazon jungle I'd move there. Sheesh.

Speaking of Amazon, the other one with the books and stuff, I'm back and forth about seeing 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World'. (An Amazon delivery is how the two central characters meet cute.) Mick would hate it. Wolf would probably enjoy it but he'll be somewhere in Yellowstone when the movie comes out. Guess I'll wait to see if it's still in the theaters when Wolf gets home and go then.

I'm already taking myself to see 'Eat Pray Love'. Mick's got a car show on Sunday so I'll hie myself off for a matinee and save my "Tough shit, it's my turn to pick the movie" for later. Taking Mick to see 'Eat Pray Love' would serve about as much purpose as the Pope's nipples. Not even really because of the movie's overt chick flick-i-ness, it's how and why Liz Gilbert pursues her transformative experience. That, and I'd be stuck making Italian food for the rest of the summer, her time in Italy would kill Mick with carb desire.

Though I did whomp up a hella good eggplant parm last night. It's MIL's favorite meal and I promised her I'd make it as a belated birthday treat as soon as eggplants came into season at the farmer's market. We bought them together on Friday and MIL was drooling the entire weekend. She thinks my eggplant parm is to die for, the best in the universe, and while I'll admit mine's pretty good MIL's food critiques don't carry a lot of weight with me, this is the woman who likes the food at the place with the horse on the roof. But if the best mother-in-law ever wants eggplant parm then eggplant parm she shall have.

The secret to good eggplant parm is to press the eggplant before you bread it. Just slice the eggplant into rounds and stack it in a colander in layers with paper towels between and weight the whole stack down. I use a flat bottom bowl and put a gallon jug of olive oil in it. Smooshes everything nicely without crushing the eggplant. Let it press for a couple hours, then egg and crumb as usual. You'll be surprised at how well the breading stays on the eggplant. Before I knew about pressing I was always in frustrated tears over how all the crumb coat floated off the eggplant when I fried it and I was left with greasy slabs of eggplant and a whole lot of burnt breading in the oil. Some recipes recommend sprinkling the eggplant rounds with kosher salt before pressing to draw even more moisture out, but I've found the salt wasn't necessary and made it taste way too salty anyhow.

One of the reasons Mick and I have such a tug-o-war over movies is because he's a much less critical audience than I am. He's not jaded to the clichés and conventions. The other night we were watching some crap movie on USA, well Mick was watching it and I was dozily daydreaming and making the occasional derisive snort when things got too, too trite. 25 minutes in I was too bored to bother anymore so I patted Mick and said, "Morgan Freeman will save the kid's life. Cusack will eventually find his balls, man up and kill a bad guy thus impressing his kid and putting Morgan Freeman in his debt. They'll make it out alive and Morgan Freeman will slip away ala Hannibal Lecter and Cusack and his reformed kid will live happily ever after." Then I went to sleep. The next morning when we talked about the movie Mick glared at me and accused me of having seen it before, otherwise how could I know how it would all go down? I laughed. "Because that's the movies, honey-bunny. Especially crap movies like that. There's a formula and lazy filmmakers follow it to the letter. Even good filmmakers follow the formula, they're just clever enough to do it well and throw in the occasional surprise."

I rather envy Mick's innocence about movies. He has a much better time than I do when we go to the show. I sit quietly, but sometimes it's a struggle not to shout. At home I'm mean enough to spoil things, Mick claims he doesn't mind this and is actually tickled when my 'predictions' come true. Plus he finds my attention to detail kind of amazing.

"For Pete's sake! They're in Paris! Why is all the graffiti in English?"
"Duh! It's New York! You can't just hop into a cab and demand, 'Take me to the airport'!!! There's THREE airports, you ninny!" (I'm yelling at the screen, not Mick.)
"GAH! Since when can car tires squeal on grass?"
"Oooo, the endless ammo clip! A .38 that can auto-fire 1,000 rounds! Cool!" (Heavy sarcasm there.)
"Oh for fuck's sake, she's been carrying that machete in her purse since the beginning of the movie! She showed it to her best friend in the coffee shop! Biiiiiig surprise ending, you bobo!"

I'm a tough, tough audience.


I'm also hot and sweaty. The temp is back up into the 80s. Time to seal it up and crank the a/c. ~LA

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