Menschenjaeger (menschenjaeger) wrote,
Menschenjaeger
menschenjaeger

Intensity

I figured I’d start by singing the praises of Colman’s English Mustard. I found this stuff by accident: I was out of mustard the other week, and I remembered Bernie Neufield telling me that if I want mad, spicy mustard like I got at Chinese restaurants, to go with English mustard. At the time, maybe ten years ago, I struck out. Or maybe I found some other brand and it was crap. Come to think of it, that was it. But I rembered his advice again, for some reason.

Colman’s is actually mustard flour, so you mix it with water to get fresh mustard whenever you need it. I’ve used mustard powder before, but it’s never had the impact of this stuff. This is truly hardcore, and yes, that Chinese stuff that blows the top of your head off when you eat it on those noodles, this is it. They must make it up daily, because Colman’s also can be had in a little, pre-mixed jar, and that is spicy, sure, but not put-you-in-the-hospital spicy like the original flour. They mention on the label that it loses potency quickly once mixed, and is best (read “at its most brutal”) made fresh in small amounts when needed.

I made some with just water, which was intense, and some with sake (Sho Chiku Bai, classic Junmai, a damn fine cheap sake), my other cooking ingredient of choice. Yeah, Colman’s is now an official must-have in my kitchen. I can’t wait to make a Caesar with this stuff. There was a noticeable flavor difference, making Colman’s one of those indispensably versatile seasoning. And it burns like napalm.

INGREDIENT: MUSTARD FLOUR

You’ve got to love that. I had it with some truly wicked bockwurst.

Spoilers Ahoy, me hearties!
Melissa and I saw Cloverfield last weekend. I highly recommend it, but be prepared to be at least disturbed. Part of me doesn’t want to say HOW it should be viewed, but apparently, there are a lot of people out there who are unable to see layers below “surface.” Three words: Tragic love story.

I’m talking to YOU, salon.com. They posted a ludicrous review where the movie was heavily faulted for “packaging 9/11 imagery” for the purposes of creating a “thrill ride.” I don’t even know where to start with what’s wrong with that. First of all, I think perhaps the statute of limitations has run its course as far as it being uncool to show falling buildings. Or dust. Or scared people in New York City. Maybe the location was too much – it could have been set in some other coastal metropolis like New Orleans…or…oops.

Anyway, FOUL! Horror was what they aimed for, horror was what they hit. A man looks beyond his own safety, marches directly into horror, to get to a woman he loves. The kind of leap-of-faith one has to make for love, according to the brother of the character in question. Admittedly, that advice was delivered a little BEFORE a giant monster comes out of the bay, killing thousands.

Horror is all about where it hits you. We’re still shaken up by our memories of 9/11, and many in the news media work hard every day to keep those fears fueled. Something big, terrifying and unknown got us, and it could get us again, any second, is the subtext to every newscast of the past six years. We all got a big look at what helplessness and terror looked like, and maybe those images will never leave our minds.

Godzilla was Hiroshima. And Nagasaki, and the terror that it might happen again, and the terror OF terror itself; of this great, unknowable fear lumbering around Ishiro Honda’s internal Japan forevermore. Cloverfield is, undeniably, 9/11. I feel stupid even saying it. The sky is blue. Richard Nixon was a “flawed” president. Cloverfield is 9/11.

So, screw you, guy whose name it isn’t worth my time to look up, for being such a sissy that you can’t deal with the fact that things DO go bump in the night. 9/11 repacked as a thrill ride? Screw you for packaging it and collecting a paycheck by using it as a crutch, you utter pussy.

Back in my high school days, I wondered aloud to my friends if it were possible to make a “good” movie about a giant monster. Cloverfield gets about as close as possible. Rob loves Beth. Rob could get the hell out of the city, or he can go get Beth, who is trapped, hurt, or maybe even dead. He’s already seen someone close to him die. What do you do? He’s going to go get her, just like his brother said. Along the way, things just get worse, more dangerous, more horrifying, and he has plenty of chances to change plans. In the end, the important thing is that he went for it, whatever the risks, whatever the final outcome. Gee, gosh, “human condition," anyone?

It’s not Citizen Kane, that’s for damn sure. But there’s a little more to it than “fuckin’ aye, did you SEE that?!” and “ZOMG 9/11!” Unless you’re an utter pussy, I mean.
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