Friday, September 28, 2012

Bacon Apple Pie

So one of the things I love to do is cook. I actually have several recipes that I've come up with that I think I'll post on here when I don't have something good to write about. That's half of what today is about, and the other half is the fact that I'd just like to talk about what I'm going to attempt tonight.

I'm going to be baking a Bacon Apple Pie. I'll be taking some pictures and posting them on this entry once I've finished it on Saturday, because I'm going to make the pie tonight and then bake it tomorrow for a friend's birthday. I'm going to be using a delicious jarred apple pie filling I've had before and add chopped up bacon pieces to the filling along with some extra cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg. I could make my own filling, but since I've never actually made a pie before (With the exception of Chicken pot pies) I decided to try and play it safe. By making a Bacon Apple pie. Yeah. Go me.

It's going to be topped with the standard bacon lattice cover, which I will sprinkle with more brown sugar and cinnamon. Hopefully this will turn out good. If it does, I'll be able to add it to my stable of recipes. I'll also be making a normal apple pie for my fiance and I, because if I'd rather share the ultra greasy Bacon Apple Pie with several people, and eat half an apple pie with ice cream. Since I don't really eat carbs, or much sugar, and lots of fruits and vegetables, when I indulge I LIKE TO INDULGE!

Since I know nobody is reading this right now, I'll just play a game where I pretend people are reading it. Check back on Sunday to get an update on with pictures for the Bacon Apple Pie, as well as a picture of the disgusting Apple Pie Ice Cream mountain I may be eating for breakfast tomorrow!

UPDATE: Unfortunately I didn't have time to take pictures of the pie. It did actually turn out really well, and everyone loved it. I was worried the bacon wouldn't cook well enough in the pie, or that it would get too crunchy and hard. It turns out it cooked just long enough so that the bacon was cooked well enough, and had the most awesome consistency ever. It was chewy and soft and full of pie juices. It was nice to take it out of the oven and bring it right to the party, so that it was still scalding pie hot when it go there.

If anyone is ever interested, I'll post the recipe for it. It was actually pretty simple, and a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Skitters Pooterbottoms the Gorebarian

So recently I had been asked to be a Barbarian in the Dungeons and Dragons group I've been a part of for awhile now. We play every Saturday for a few hours, and usually have a lot of fun. Last week we started a fresh campaign after I had ran an adventure for quite awhile, the one that I based off of the novel I'm writing.

My new character is named Skitters Pooterbottoms. He's an Orc Barbarian who is also a southern redneck hick. Do you see the parallels? One of the Barbarian's starting "skills" is illiteracy. Orc's have reduced charisma and intelligence. He talks with a thick, infectious southern accent. He's the perfect walking, talking, southern stereotype in the body of a big green monster who gets super pissed off and smashes things with his hittin' stick.

And he's REALLY FUN to play as. He gets mad and then just crushes everything. But this is large part due to how I role play him. A Barbarian is supposed to play a specific role in combat, and he sort of stays so focused later on that he just can't compete with the other classes. Wizards and Sorcerers, for example. Nobody can even touch them at higher levels. And I despise the fact that you really have to munchkin your character if you're a Barbarian to make him viable. I don't want to multi-class a Barbarian/Fighter/Rouge/Warblade/Jizzmopper. That's ridiculous, and not in the awesome way, in the "Watch me jerk off nerd seaman into my own mouth because I can kill everything and everyone in the room why don't I just take over the world" way.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I am a nerd, and I love and embrace nerd culture, but some people just become embarrassingly obsessive over things. And I know there are lots of people who love min/maxing their character to reach maximum optimal killing power, but I don't enjoy it. Period. I love having fun.

And thus, the Gorebarian class was born. I wrote it up on a whim, and it's actually the first class I've ever created for D&D that I finished and felt really satisfied with. I'm awaiting more feedback on it, but I feel like it does exactly what I want it to. It takes the fun aspect of scoring criticals in Dungeons and Dragons and amps it up 20 notches. It makes it so the Gorebarian can score them more often, and when he does so enemies EXPLODE in a shower of gore and entrails. And all of his abilities increase in power as the Gorebarian increases in level. Here is a link to the forum post where I'm asking for criticism:

I guess I just feel like the Barbarian class is very unsatisfying, and a Barbarian is supposed to be satisfying because he crushes and destroys all in his path. I get that he's supposed to be based off of Conan the Barbarian, but I actually haven't watched that*, so when I see this character who's supposed to be an angry meat wall with a weapon who stomps on things and growls has these skills that detect traps and gives him immunity to backstabs I'm just left wondering why. Also, he eventually gets Damage reduction, which makes sense because as the Barbarian gets stronger, he gains the ability to ignore being hit. Like all those movies where the dude get's punched in the face and smiles afterwards. But the Damage reduction of the Barbarian isn't that great, and doesn't stack with armor. What?! Then what is the point? You want to wear armor, because it gets you a bonus to AC, so it's not like this is giving you freedom of movement or the ability to go without armor if that's what you'd prefer. It's just a pointless, underwhelming ability. If it stacked, I could see it being useful. If they don't want it to stack, they should've made it better. Maybe doubled it. I don't know.

Anyway. That's enough for today.

* - I have not seen Conan, and I know that makes me a bad nerd, but really I'm pretty sure looking at the poster says it all. A young Arnold Swarchenegger walks around in loin cloth and murders things. Eventually there's an evil dude, and he gets murdered too. The end.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Weeds Finale

So last night my fiance and I watched the final episode of Weeds. I was immediately confused and kind of upset by the turn they took with the entire thing. This is my first and only warning if you haven't watched, thar by spoilers ahead.

To begin, the episode didn't re-cap what happened last time, and I think this is the first mistake they made that made this so jarring. I think if they had done that, and maybe at the end of it said "10 Years Later" it would have been a much easier pill to swallow. Instead they grabbed us by the shoulders and started shaking us while screaming "TAKE THIS PILL! TAKE THIS FUCKING PILL!"

So you come to understand that this is some point in the future, or at least I understood once they introduced the garish and gaudy future technology. Now, I understand this show is supposed to be dramatic and funny and tragic, but this felt so out of place for me to display things in this way that it was really distracting. I had never wanted Skynet to just fucking end everything so badly in my entire life.

As the show progresses you start to get the sense of "Oh, this is the final episode. Okay." Again, I wish they  had more strongly implied this at some point in the beginning. And I'm glad to see this show end, because it was very good. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but this show usually managed to keep me engaged. And I am of the opinion that all good things must come to an end. And this was a ride I enjoyed, so it's okay to me that it ended. But this final episode was so poorly written and just reeked of "Hey guys, we have to end it, so let's just do it."

Let's start with Doug. The reason his character was funny was because he was always coming up with these stupid, silly schemes that never panned out for him. It was funny to watch him crawl around and be desperate because of the foolish decisions he made. But what's this? Oh, his stupid cult idea went somewhere, and he's the leader of it. Right. Then he makes up with his estranged son? My fiance and I had no idea who he was, and she followed this show more consistently. I was totally clueless until they actually said who he was. And when I learned who he was... I  just didn't care. I liked his pug though. Pugs are cute. Why couldn't Doug have just kidnapped the pug and then cuddled with it? I feel like that would've been more inline with his character. He also looked like a big cartoon character with his purple and black emperor outfit.

I was actually happy with the way Silas turned out. I feel like he got what he was working towards throughout the series. He was working on something he loved no longer in the shadow of his mother. He tried to leave several times, to start his own thing or just be on his own, and he kept getting drawn back into it. It was really nice to see him strike out on his own and not have to suffer because of the crazy shit his mom was doing.

Shane, on the other hand... I just didn't like it. Shane was an interesting and  provocative character. He was so smart and so dark and weird and engaging. And then they just threw it all in the dumpster and said "What if he turned into some washed up cop, hyuk hyuk!" And then he shoots a cake. And doesn't go to jail for unloading a firearm into a cake. Which just came out of nowhere. Jesus. And then he vows to get help at the end. I.. I guess that wraps that up.

Then we have Nancy and Andy. I liked what happened with Andy. I liked that he turned out okay and happy. I think this is where they were going with his character in the show, but giving us this information like this was poorly thought out. And Nancy, I feel like they went in the right direction with her. Years of abusing and manipulating everyone around her got her what she deserved. She had to be alone and try to cope with life on her own. And I'm not trying to imply that Nancy was an evil or twisted, she just made a lot of poor decisions while trying to provide a life for her family around her. It was one of the things that made her character so interesting, was that she really had a deep love for her sons and her family, but just utterly fucked everyone and everything up by trying so hard to make it in an industry that's filled with criminals and lowlifes just because it was easy and profitable. That's why this show was so compelling. And Andy's character? He wanted so badly to be with Nancy, and it was an established that he wasn't allowed to have her. But there was so much more for him there, his nephews, his family. It made him a very tragic character that he was always pining after Nancy, and she was entirely willing to hang on to him and use him as long as she needed to. But I think she did have feelings for him, but at the same time it was established that they couldn't be together, and perhaps it even goes so far that she didn't want to hurt him, or watch him die, like every other man in the series who ended up in a romantic relationship with her. Some things, no matter how much we want them, just aren't meant to be, for one reason or another. I think that made the two of them very compelling. And I think people WANTED them to be together, because they wanted to see the two characters they loved to be happy, but I don't think they would've actually been happy together. Shit, Andy would've died. And nobody wants that. I didn't, at least. I was traumatized as it was when his toes got bit off.

And the episode before the finale? My god, the end was so DARK. Two characters who were NOT ALLOWED to have one another made love on the exact spot where Andy's brother and Nancy husband died. That was so powerful, it was like how dark magic is made. "Make forbidden love on the spot of one's dead past flame in the light of the full moon while three frogs croak and a black cat eats a baby." And Andy just fucking runs away, and Nancy is left crying into the night. And we get ZERO resolution for this. I think if there was one more episode addressing this, this finale wouldn't have felt so shitty. But they didn't address it. They set us up for something powerful, and then yanked the rug from beneath our feet, and then flipped us off and told us to go fuck ourselves.

Otherwise, I did enjoy the series, and the finale did not ruin my impression of it. Jenji Kohan is a great, great writer. The fact that this show lasted as long as it did and stayed so good for so long is a testament to that. But I think this bitter pill they asked people to swallow is just going to leave a bad taste in their mouths, and instead of saying "I loved that show!" a lot of people are just going to remember the bad ending it contained. Which is too bad.