MSF&T Adventures #21

Our heroines fearlessly face The Oracle in pursuit of their noble quest! What information will this entity impart? Where will they go next? What will happen? Will they ever find their phones?


Southern Goth in a Northern Town-September 2018: It’s Almost October and That Means It’s Movie Time! (And Also Some Television)

I love movies. I love fantasy, science fiction, horror, action, gothics, even the occasional thriller. That said, there are tropes I do not like.

For instance, I said I like horror movies. However, no gore or torture porn, please. I like ghoulies and ghosties and monsters, not a naked, screaming co-ed getting sawed into bite-sized bits, beginning at her toes. I’ll walk away from that every time. If you love it, yay – go you! I am not here to criticize anyone’s taste, just to talk about my own. Besides, there’s definitely a niche there to be filled. There wouldn’t seventeen gazillion Friday the 13ths or Halloweens if there weren’t!

Fantasy and science fiction – well, what more really needs to be said? Space, magic, aliens, witches, unicorns, starships…yes, please, and can I have some more?

Action movies are not a huge favorite, but they’re fine for what they do. I don’t mind some big explosions and car chases. I have a secret love for Bond movies, especially the Daniel Craig ones. But I really love the ones that have an element of Other in them, such as Predator. These movies blur the line between action and science fiction/fantasy, giving everyone a bit of what they like. I mean, arguably, the Marvel movies are action movies – lots of car chases, and things going BOOM!!! But they’re action movies with that element of Other. Superheros. Magic (see Loki and Dr. Strange). Futuristic technology (Hello, Black Panther and Ironman). Space (hi, Starlord). Very blurred lines there, and a little bit of everything for everyone, and of course, depending on your preferences, you’ll prefer some Marvel movies over others. I know that I certainly do.

Then there are the Gothics, and oh, how I love them! I don’t mean Goth, I mean a Gothic in the true sense of the word. Victorian. Dreary moors. Gaslight and fog. Phantasms. Mad people locked in attics – or not, as it may be. Ghosts…so many ghosts….

Some Gothics are horror as well, like The Woman in Black. Some have horrific elements, but are mostly the brooding atmosphere and studying the human condition – Stonehearst Asylum, for instance. And some combine the two, such as Crimson Peak. (I have been known to argue that the television show Riverdale is a Gothic, in the vein of Wilkie Collins or the Bronte sisters, what with all the deep, dark secrets in that town). So I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the return of Stranger Things and Midnight Texas,  as well as the premiere of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

But some things just simply do not work, for some reason. So many people love American Horror Story. Love it with big loves. Me – who should, by all accounts, be deeply enthralled – meh. I tried watching it about four times. Fell asleep every. Single. Time.  (Sister is appalled at my lack of enthusiasm.) It just didn’t catch me and I cannot figure out why. It has all the right stuff, but…like I said, meh.

And then there are the things that aren’t at all “my” thing, that I love. Hot Fuzz comes to mind immediately, though I admit my first encounter with Simon Pegg was Shaun of the Dead, and that’s slightly more in my wheelhouse (hellhouse?) so to speak. I’m just not a huge fan of comedies. Actually, that isn’t true. I’m not a fan of slapstick or physical humor, and most comedies rely heavily on those elements.

So – two questions:

(1) What movie(s)/television shows, according to all your stated preferences, should you dislike (or be ambivalent about),  but for some reason, you enjoy it/them?

My answer: Right now, I’ve recently discovered the BBC show Luther, starring the incomparable Idris Elba. It’s a police procedural and I love it. It’s hints of Sherlock and Elementary (both of which I enjoy immensely, though neither fit with any of my preferences as stated above) but so very much it’s own thing, as well.

(2) What movies and/or television shows should hit all your buttons, but you simply don’t like? Tell me in the comments!

Another example of mine is Edward Scissorhands. I love Tim Burton. I love Johnny Depp. The aesthetic, the look, the subject matter…it should be catnip for me. And I… I just cannot. I can’t sit through it. I don’t think I’ve made it past the first 10 minutes in the many, many times I’ve tried to watch it, and there have been many, many, many attempts.

**Note that I did not touch on Disney movies at all, intentionally so. They are their own thing. Though I do love The Aristocats, even if I did cry and make my dad leave the theater as a child when the basket holding the cats fell off the motorcycle because I thought the kittens were hurt or dead. I…didn’t know much about Disney then.

Southern Goth in a Northern Town-August 2018: Food Part One → Barbecue

One topic I’ve been asked to discuss on this blog is Southern food vs. Northern food because the differences are immense. Seriously. You’d think food is food, right? I mean, it’s all America here, one country, but…yeah, no.

Now, before anyone gets excited (ahem, *eyes Herself*), I’m not getting into biscuits and gravy or fried baloney right now. Instead, I’m going to talk about barbecue.

In the South, barbecue doesn’t mean to cook something on a grill. That’s “grilling” or “cooking out”, and that’s how you do hamburgers and hotdogs (and assorted other foods) in the summer. No, in the South, barbecue is a noun, not a verb. And it is an Art.

So, as you have probably surmised, Southerners are particular about barbecue. Even I am particular, and I am so very far from the most discerning palate out there! It’s not something I eat often, but when I do, it needs to be right. Don’t just shred up any old cut of meat, sprinkle some vulgar A-1/vinegar/ketchup mixture on it, drop a dollop of coleslaw on there, and tell me it’s barbecue.

Bless your heart.

So, we have tried a couple places up here. And every time the food is served, I’ve apparently had what Herself calls the “I’m Not Eating That Face”.

Honey, adding sauce and coleslaw to a sandwich does not make it barbecue, and don’t even think about calling it “Southern” barbecue.

But…one day…finally…we were out driving. We’d been to watch the gliders, and then just decided to go look at the scenery out past Gregory. And we drove past this little stand beside the road that boasted barbecue. I was wary – we’ve been fooled before up here, remember – but there was an actual roaster on the property, so I agreed to stop.

Also, they didn’t call it “Southern” barbecue.

So we stopped. Der Mann got a pork sandwich, and I got chicken.

I ate my sandwich.

It’s not perfect – slaw comes on the side, but since it isn’t an actual restaurant and you have to eat in your car, I understand why. The sauce isn’t as tangy/spicy* as I’m used to, but I have noticed that what I call “lightly spiced” is “woof-hot hot hot” up here, so that is just how it is; it’s a regional thing, I suppose.

But back to the food: the sandwich had actual taste, and the meat was falling-apart tender with those glorious little crispy bits on the ends. While it isn’t what I’m used to having, I’ll eat it again, but I think I’ll stick with the pork. It was much better than the chicken. Still, with all the flaws, it’s better than no barbecue at all!

So – to all you Southerners out there – don’t bother with trying to find edible barbecue in Michigan unless you want to drive to Irish Hills and eat in your car.

*Disclaimer: I’m most familiar with/partial to South Carolina barbecue, as that was eaten rather often during my college years.