Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mealtime Memories of Mother

Mealtime was always an important time in our family. It was when we ate our food. And food is necessary for survival. No one understood this better than my mother, and on this Mother's Day I thought it would be nice to recall some of my favorite mealtime memories.

Taco Bell: When I was a kid, Taco Bell was always our favorite place to eat. My menu items of choice were always a Tostada and a Bowl of Beans, which was exactly what it sounds like -- a paper bowl with beans in it. I'm not sure if either of those items are still on the Taco Bell menu. Today, when I go to this establishment, I usually get a couple of bean burritos and a couple of Doritos shell tacos. And, of course, memories of great childhood meals at Taca-Taca-Taco Bell.

McDonald's: Obviously, McDonald's is the great grandmother of childhood meal memories. It's probably no surprise to learn that I always enjoyed getting a Happy Meal. But you might be surprised to learn that I always got a hamburger, because I didn't like cheeseburgers when I was a little kid. I know that sounds insane now, because I love cheeseburgers, but, what did I know? I was a kid. And, I loved those toys, which in the early days were usually (as I recall) an eraser shaped like Grimace. Or a wallet. Or something like that. The important thing was, a Happy Meal was a meal aimed specifically at me, a kid, and my mother understood the importance of providing a meal that was just for me.

Burger Chef: Burger Chef isn't around anymore, but I do remember it being one of Mother's favorite restaurants. I believe they had a salad bar, or something. Anyway, the best memory I have of the place is when our car broke down about 30 miles from our house, and we found a Burger Chef and I got a Star Wars themed kid's meal, which came with a box that you could dismantle and turn into a cardboard C-3P0 figure. Good times -- Star Wars and mom, and a burger and fries.

Kentucky Fried Chicken: It wasn't "KFC", or "KGC" back when I was a kid. That chicken was fried, dammit, and they weren't ashamed of it (and you could also pick up Super SUGAR Crisp in the cereal aisle). Only the hipster customers called it "KFC," and thought they were so clever initializing it. Back then, we really only had two choices: Original, or extra crispy, and I was always an originalist. (Another example of how my tastes have changed: today I vastly prefer extra crispy.) This place was always a little more upscale, slightly higher quality and higher price, so it was always a treat to go here. With mom, of course.

Arby's: America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir! This has been a fascinating trip down memory lane through some great family memories, but I think that my estimation of Arby's has to be the most fascinating change of opinion in my life. Arby's was another of those only-once-in-a-while treats, an event that always filled me with anticipation. I loved the regular roast beef sandwich and the potato cakes. Today, however, I suffer from a form of Arby's blindness, and approximately 33 out of every 36 months I forget the place even exists. Then I go in and order something, and remember why I forgot about it. But I never forget those great memories of family meal time.

Wendy's: Also fascinating to me is how Wendy's and Arby's have switched places in my mind. When I was a kid, I had Wendy's blindness. Today, like many Americans, I have a great appreciation for this restaurant -- especially the spicy chicken sandwich. Yum. But when I was a kid, it was just the place where you could get square burgers and a Frosty. Still, when I ate there with mom, there were great memories to be had.

Was it around the time of "Where's the Beef?" that Wendy's started to really turn things around?

White Castle: Burgers that tasted like they were made from pressed cardboard, and grilled with onions. The one saving grace was that they were small. But, mom loved them, so we were forced to go. Ah, memories.

Today, my mother lives on the other side of the country, so we only see each other once every year or so. On top of that, she's become a rather humorless and militant vegan, so it's impossible to go back to, say, Taco Bell, and relive some of those great childhood mealtime memories. She won't even eat White Castles anymore, and I'm pretty sure that White Castle burgers don't have any meat in them. But I'll always have great memories of the whole family getting together while someone else did all the work of cooking.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fickle Pants post: Your guide to the super characters in the upcoming Avengers film

Apparently I'm pretty excited about that new Avengers movie thing, since I've had two different Avengers related posts on two different websites in two days. This one over at the lovely Fickle Pants site is a special guide to the different characters you'll encounter when you go to see the Avengers film -- it's written for the non-fanboy; the layperson who doesn't know anything about anything, but is afraid of looking and feeling stupid, and therefore might decide not to attend this amazing cinematic event.

That would be a shame. So, this post is me doing my part to make sure EVERYONE goes to see this film.

Here is the opening paragraph. It has some language that might considered salty, so I have placed asterisks to maintain this blog's practically all-ages appropriate standing:

This May, longtime comic book fans such as myself will have their unwavering devotion to the medium validated when a big budget, star-filled FILM ADAPTATION of one of their favorite properties, THE AVENGERS, will hit the big screen. And you know it’s going to be one of the biggest movies of the year, probably of all time. Everybody, including all of those assholes who made fun of me when I was younger and just starting out collecting comic books, will want to see it. They’ll wish they hadn’t teased me and ostracized me then — they’ll see how cool I was all along because I knew that The Avengers was awesome. Probably the only people in the world who won’t want to see it are people who live in third world countries where it costs three goats to buy a movie ticket, and they only have two goats that are supposed to last them for the entire year — except those people probably already prepared for that, since they announced this movie was going to come out what seems like eight years ago for a fan like me who CAN’T F*CKING WAIT for this movie they probably had another kid just so that they could trade it for another goat so that they would have enough goats to buy a ticket to what is sure to be a classic film that will blow your f*cking balls off.

It has some nice drawings I did, including this one of Hawkeye:

Get it? I did his logo in the infamous comic sans font because he's lame!

You can read the rest here, at Fickle Pants.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RTB: RottenTomatoBot takes on the critics who were not sufficiently enthusiastic about the new Avengers movie.

Over at When Falls the Coliseum, I posted a piece in which the RottenTomatoBot defends the Avengers against critics who did not show sufficient enthusiasm about what is the greatest film of all time, probably.

A bit:

This Friday, the dreams of every single diehard comic book fan who has ever lived will finally come to fruition, when a little movie called THE AVENGERS opens in the United States. Maybe you've heard of this film. It's only going to be the BIGGEST and the GREATEST film ever made! And it's not just the so-called "fanboys" who are excited. Critics have given the film an overwhelmingly positive response (the Avengers Tomatometer is currently at 94%).

Most critics, that is. A select few have decided to play the troll and unfairly criticize this masterpiece of cinema. How do I know their criticism is unfair? Because ANY criticism of this film is unfair. And even if there are only a handful of these unfair reviews, they could still derail this film, that only has about a squillion dollars worth of marketing and licensing behind it, and only about 100% total population awareness. Thankfully, RottenTomatoBot isn't afraid to stand up and protect this film, with his withering and biting comments on these negative reviews. Below we see the RottenTomatoBot standing up for each member of the Avengers, with RTB's dialogue taken directly (verbatim, misspellings included!) from Rotten Tomatoes Avengers critics message boards and from these comments sections over at the New York Post.

(Click the images to embiggen.)

You can see the rest of the images here, if you like.