January 25, 2015

Food for Thought

Time for some random food-related thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head lately.

Here's a new recipe we tried this weekend.  I doubled it for us, figuring that one 13x9 pan wouldn't be enough for 7 people.   It ended up really filling the casserole dishes, so we have one pan left for lunches this week.  :)


Next time, we'll cut back a little on the garlic powder.  Also, we don't typically use hot sauce, so I left that out of the marinade; the dish still had great flavor, though.  Definitely a keeper!

I've decided to stop price matching groceries at Wal-Mart.  For many months, I've been checking 10 - 12 regional circulars and making a list of things to PM.  I had developed a streamlined system, and I love finding a deal on something I needed to get anyway.  But lately it's not paying off in savings for the time it takes to make the list.

It seems like, in my area, other stores are not putting their best deals in their circulars; they are listing them more on the shelf instead.  Also, many times I find that my local WM suddenly doesn't have certain things out on the shelf, when there is a PM for it.  It was there last week, and it will be back next week, but it's not out when I can PM it.  :(  I don't know of any official policy to "hide" PM items, but it's awfully coincidental, don't you think?

Even though my local WM management claims that there haven't been any changes to their policy in months, it seems that the checkout employees don't know this.  It's such a hassle sometimes, that I don't even want to bother with it.

But, on a better note - no price matching means I can go through the self-checkout!  I *love* bagging my own groceries.  :)

So, we do the bulk of our two-week grocery shopping trips at Ruler and Aldi, and only pick up the few things left at WM.  I love the convenience of WM, but they've lost a lot of money when they make it less appealing to get groceries there, IMHO.  Ah, well.....

September 22, 2014

The X Files and Critical Thinking

I am slowly and nitpickingly making my way through The X Files, which is on Netflix right now.  (I don't watch every episode; my favorites are the ones with monsters in them.  I'm a sucker for a good Loch Ness creature or Sasquatch.  ::grin::  I know, I'm hopeless.)

Can you believe that I never watched them when they were "in season"?  I saw a bit of one once when I was younger, and the antagonists of the episode scared me so much that I never wanted to see more.  It's very funny to watch them now, because they are so excessively campy and dramatic. 

Sometimes it makes me think though.  I have a tendency to extrapolate and overthink things, but it sometimes seems to me that the believer/skeptic dialog between Mulder and Scully could sometimes be taken as a metaphor for the dynamics between Christian/nonbeliever schools of thought.

Sometimes there are snippets that make me think of the way the government seems to view its citizens nowadays, like this exchange between the Cigarette Smoking Man and an alien dude who's decided not to help the cabal take over the world, or whatever.  ::shrug::  I don't follow it that closely!

CSM:   “Who are you to give them hope?!”
alien dude:  “What do you give them?”
CSM:   “I give them happiness; they give us authority.”
alien dude:  “Yes, in order to give them freedom under the guise of democracy.”
CSM:   “Men can never be free, because they are weak, corrupt, worthless, and restless.  People believe in authority.  They’ve grown tired of waiting on miracle and mystery.    Science is their religion.  No greater explanation exists for them.  They must never believe any differently…”

Doesn't that last paragraph kind of encapsulate what society is like, for the most part?  A bunch of sheep, keeping in line, doing what they're told.  Believing what the "experts" tell them with no pause to evaluate it for themselves.  Depending on the "benevolent" powers-that-be to protect, educate, provide for them.  Offering up their freedoms right and left for the most transient "benefits".
I think sometimes that Satan is probably rolling on the floor laughing at how mindlessly we go through life, and how easily we are deceived.  I'm speaking in generalities, of course, but sometimes it amazes me how little effort people expend to THINK for themselves. 
I'll step down off my soapbox now.  :)  Before I get a bunch of comments along the lines of "who are you to judge," let me say that I realize I am as guilty of this as the next person; we're all human, and flawed.  But at least I'm trying!

September 20, 2014

GND Movie Review: Transformers, Age of Extinction

I have decided to start giving you movie reviews that actually tell you the truth about movies, from the perspective of an ordinary girl who happens to love action movies. 

I do not intend to give you exact counts of profanity or nude scenes.  I will not explain the director's or producer's intentions, as revealed in their latest interviews.

I will tell you whether it was worth sitting through, or not.  And whether I would show it to my kids.

And there will almost certainly be spoilers, so be warned.


Saturday is movie night here at the Home Front.  The whole family settled in with plates of delicious pizza and turned on Vudu to see what movies were available.  Transformers, Age of Extinction was there - to buy, but not to rent.  This didn't seem to be an issue, because:  it's rated PG-13, we've seen a couple of the previous ones and enjoyed them, and the trailer looked pretty awesome. 

I feel that we were misled.  Seriously.

Here's what I was expecting:  Bad humans are hunting the Autobots.  Good humans (a father and daughter this time, instead of annoying teenagers awash in hormones) step up and fight to defend the Autobots.  There are epic battles and cool CG effects.  The good robots defeat the bad robots.  And there are Dinobots. 


The Good:  Some neat CG scenes.  The obligatory scenes where Optimus Prime (and the other Autobots) swap their old style for fresh new paint.  Lots of roaring engines and cool cars.  Optimus laying about wickedly with his cyber-sword and beating the heck out of the bad robots, while yelling "Charge!"  Some Dinobots (If you actually survived the first 95% of the movie without a) your brain leaking out of your ears, or b) giving yourself a hernia from laughing so hard.)  The guy who stupidly trusted the government to reward him for turning in the whereabouts of Optimus Prime got blasted, which he deserved, IMO.

The Bad:  see The Ugly (below)

The Ugly:  I caught 2 really bad profanities (or at least, it sounded like that word, so in my book, it counts) and I literally cannot number how many other "milder" profanities there were.  How this movie got a PG-13 rating, I cannot fathom.  --And I should note that I am not a purist when it comes to profanity; I don't like it, but usually if it is sparse enough to be muted out, or if it clocks in at a "conversational" level (not the way I speak, but the way many people speak, sadly), I can deal with it.  This movie was atrocious, and most of it had that we're-writing-this-language-in-to-seem-really-bad feel to it.

The plot was so unnecessarily convoluted and stupid.  Really.  Really.  Horrendous.  My 8-year-old could and has come up with better stories.

I thought by swapping out the annoying teenager mainstays of the franchise, we'd be avoiding the boyfriend-girlfriend banter, the short shorts, etc.  Nope.

The trailer seemed to present the father and daughter as a family taking care of each other, sacrificing to keep each other safe, etc.  Actually, they fight and squabble through the whole movie.  Once, when the dad has risked his life to save his totally helpless, whiny, obnoxious, and rebellious daughter, she totally bypasses him and runs into the arms of her boyfriend.  Gag.

Final Thoughts:  It was like they set out to make a parody of a Transformers movie.  It was so bad that half of my sons didn't even stick around to see the ending.  I find myself  wondering why I wasted 2 hours of my life watching it.  (Or maybe it was longer than that?  I don't know.  It felt like an   e   t   e   r   n   i   t   y.)

And I feel very guilty that we put $18 in the pockets of the people responsible for this movie.  I mean, really, you have cool CG and Transformers; how hard do you have to work to screw that up?!

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