Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ABC Obviously Thinks I am Deficient....

So, tomorrow night, LOST will have its Season 4 premier. This fine evening, ABC is playing the finale from Season 3, yet....

I believe that while they're trying to make this a well-informed segue into the fourth season, it plays like a pathetic episode of VH1's Pop Up Video. For example. The episode in question is entitled "Through the Looking Glass."

Any moderately educated person knows that this is a reference to Lewis Carrol's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (Alice in Wonderland for all you Disney brats) and his "Through the Looking Glass." This is Literature 101 people. For serious.

Now, in the second scene, the "pop ups" tell us that this is called Through the Looking Glass and that this means things are "mirror images" of real life, like how in this episode happy-go-lucky confident Jack is exhibiting despair - his "mirror opposite."

Aside from being distracting, it assumes that even first-time viewers are kind of stupid. Its' not like Ariel making snide asides in The Tempest. Oh no.

In spite of the pandering that the "pop ups" do, what's even sadder is that the people who wrote them (ha ha new viewers!) still use the show's own slang to refer to The Others, stations, The Dharma Initiative. So it's not even all that useful. "The scary dude is Ben Linus. Leaders of the Others... he's about to get some news he won't like." SHOW DON'T TELL!

Maybe if blind people were watching that would be an excuse... "they can't see that he's obviously pissed!" but no. Blind people couldn't see the captions either.

Have we lost all powers of interpretation? Are we that reference-deprived that we can't even understand when a show makes MAJOR literary references? At this point I'm pretty sure that they'd start captioning Romeo and Juliet in case we didn't realize they weren't really supposed to be together... Forgive my rant but I hate when television executives assume that everyone is stupider than they are. For example, Jack is now in a hospital getting STITCHES. First caption "Jack is injured..." No shit, Sherlock. Nice work!

ABC, you have a spot-on brilliant show. Give your viewers the credit they deserve for being able to follow it. And if they've missed out, adding the captions just embarasses everyone.

If you really want to catch up on Lost, read Television Without Pity.

** While I may have jumped the shark and posted this before re-watching the whole episode, I now think ABC thinks people were actually born yesterday. And they think "Bad to the Bone" is an awesome song for a commercial about Sawyer. ABC. Please. Fire your advertisers.

Inappropriate subway behavior?

So, I'm riding on the Q train this morning, listening to a podcast of This American Life, and I'm standing next to this beautiful man. He's tall. Has these light blue eyes. Absolutely adorable. No wedding ring. Reading The New Yorker and, unfortunately, listening to an iPod!

Are iPods ruining my potential subway-based date seeking? It's not like you can tap someone on the shoulder and be all, "Hey! Are you single! Take that shit out of your ear!" Or can you?

Is it inappropriate to kiss a stranger on a train?

Just curious.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When being nice pays off

Now, those of you who have met me before know that I love a good glass of wine. Heck, I even love a mediocre glass of wine, but a truly delicious wine is a rare and delightful treat.

I shop my neighborhood wine stores as they have a varied selection, and when they do carry the same wines, there's one that I know will always beat the other 2 on price. Sometimes, however, I like to use Fresh Direct's grocery and wine delivery service to re-stock my 9-bottle Cuisinart Wine Cooler, i.e. my mini booze fridge.

Now, recently I had 2 roommates, one of whom had a taste for a delightful Malborough Sauvignon Blanc from a wine maker in New Zealand called Crossroads Winery. I took a liking to that particular breed of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, my current favorite variety, even though its winter and I'm supposed to prefer reds. One night recently, after being out with some friends and having a few beverages, I returned home and poured myself a glass of the Crossroads white.

Sitting in my apartment watching The Daily Show, I decided I'd look up the vineyard and they had a "contact us" button. So I sent them an email telling them that their wine was perhaps the best, at least my favorite, of its kind so far.

Now, there's a budding wine writer named Eric Hazard who keeps a blog of wines he's tasted from Fresh Direct, and he seems to have a lesser opinion of this wine, objecting in part to its $15 price tag. Having tasted around, I think it's a good wine at a good price. I've also discovered Kim Crawford and WhiteHaven Sauvignon Blancs, which have more subtle crispness and slightly different high notes, which make them equally delightful.

I almost forgot I'd done it. A quick little email dashed off in an altered state, telling someone I liked what they did for a living.

Then, a few days later, they wrote back! How lovely is that?

Even nicer, a day or two later I then receive this:

Hi Jennifer

Thanks for your kind e-mail which the winery has passed on to me as we are the US importers and distributors of the Crossroads wines here in NY. It’s always so nice to get positive feedback about the wine! I’m assuming that you order the sauvignon blanc through Fresh Direct and wanted to send you a bottle of Crossroads Pinot Noir to try (which Fresh Direct is also now selling). Please let me know the best address to send it to.

Best wishes
M** F***

Me** F***
South Pacific Wines

How fantastic is that! So, I sent her back my work address lest my gift wine be taken by thirsty vagrants prowling my neighborhood. I'll let you know how it is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Welcoming in 2008 with beer, cheese and chocolate

Beer, cheese and chocolate?

Yes indeed. Beer, cheese and chocolate at a tasting held in a basement establishment in the East Village by the name of Jimmy's No. 43, and hosted by the New York City Degustation Advisory Team.

Now, while you may not associate the words "tasting" and "beer", when combined with the right foods, beers really do have a lot to offer to discriminating palate. Although I might advise one not to meet up for a beer before going to a beer tasting. Those last beers were pretty delicious, but I fear they were mostly lost on me.

Beer and cheese and chocolate can all have similar characteristics that in the right circumstances can enhance one another and leave your mouth wanting more out of sheer deliciousness. A stout, for example, made when barley is cooked dark before used to make the brew, goes well with nutty and smoky foods like a smoked gouda, a sharp cheddar or a chocolate hazelnut truffle. Beers with creamy heads that froth in the mouth combine well with creamy cheeses or rich milk chocolate. How delicious can beer and chocolate and cheese be when consumed together with intent? My companions were doodling stick figures having sex on the program. 'Nuff said.

Try a Chimay with a milk chocolate truffle and a hint of a smooth cow's milk hard cheese and tell me I'm crazy. I dare you. You'll have a most exciting and unexpected dining experience.

The Degustation Advisory Team introduced us to a self-styled chocolate critic, Charles Gordon, who attempted to tell us how Belgian chocolate could come from Peruvian beans that were treated in Italy, but all we really paid attention to was the delicious melting nuggets of Maya Gold on our tongues as we sipped an ale.

I have to say it transformed the way I thought about beer. For the first time, the mainstay of frat boys the world over had developed the air of a delicacy. I've had good beers before. I know that there are excellent Belgian ales and then there is Milwaukee's Best, which is a sad and sorry misnomer. But never before had I considered that a beer had characteristics and nuances like a wine could. I was actually tasting the beer, almost like it was the first time I'd had a beer, and savoring its individuality.

Next month, a friend and I are attending a Bacon, Beer and Cheese Tasting. I'll let you know how it goes, although I'm bound to appreciate anything that involves the word "bacon."