Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Crutch of the Matter

Since I’ve started working on my series of short stories, writing has become much easier for me. Not necessarily blog entries, since that’s a whole other process, but I’ve now written four or five stories (I lost count), all of which take place in that same world.

While I’m digging the ease of writing, but I’m getting a little spooked. It’s so easy to let this character and his world take over a lot of my heavy lifting. I make up new settings, but those settings follow the rules of this world. I create new characters, but, once again, they follow the rules of the world.

The rules are a large part of what makes writing challenging. They rules determine what is and what isn’t possible. They determine how people will react to events. They can determine atmosphere. And now, all of that is more or less settled for me.

Every time I get a new idea, I immediately try and see how it will fit in the confines of this world. “Ah-ha!” I’ll think, “A death hospital staffed by werewolves! How can I use that?” And instead of doing something new with it, I’ll paw at it and work it until it fits into the series.

While it seems soon to be worrying about this, I hope I’m not falling into some kind of rut. On the other hand, maybe I should just quit my whining and just keep plugging away. Writing is better than not writing. Plus I’ve got another idea that could be gangbusters.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

Recipe: Lil’ Griddlin’s

I haven’t talked about it much, but I do a fair amount of cooking. I’ve long ago conquered the egg and ramen is no longer beyond me. After all this experience, I’ve decided to share with you, my lucky readers, a recipe I made up just yesterday. I call it Lil Griddlin’s, because cutesy names hide the despair.

Ingredients:

A half pound or so of ground meat

Some cheese from the back of the fridge

Salt

Pepper

Oil

Mustard

Whoops, almost forgot the onion

Directions:

So what you want to do is chop up the onion and put it in a frying pan at about medium heat. Then have a panic attack when you smell burning onions and you realize that you forgot to put in the oil. Put in some oil, you dingus.

While that’s getting mushy and oily, mix up some salt and pepper into the meat. Throw in some cheese, because why the hell not? Cheese is good.

Make three or so irregularly shaped patties and drop them into the oil and onion mixture. Everything should now smell pretty good. Congratulate yourself. Flip the patties a couple times until you get bored.

Slash one of the patties and take a gander inside. Recoil at the sight of bright pink meat. Holy shit, these are still raw. Hack at all three patties until everything (the patties, you and the wall) is coated in hot oil. There shouldn’t be any pink left.

Take the remains of the patties and scoop them onto a plate. This does not look appetizing. Cover it with some more cheese in an attempt to cover your shame. Squirt mustard on it and enjoy your Lil Griddlins!

Best enjoyed in the dark by yourself.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Book Review: The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley has been one of my favorite writers for a while now. I’ve only read one of his science-fiction novels (The Wave, good read),  but I’ve read a goodly portion of his mysteries. His stories are always uniquely his, even the ones that take place in a cliche-raddled genre like Detective Fiction.

And this is especially true in The Long Fall, the first in a series of books about Leonid McGill. McGill is a New York based private eye and an ex-boxer, so he’s already rife with qualities that make me happy. He’s trying to make up for his less-than-angelic past and stick to the straight ‘n’ narrow. Unfortunately, everyone around him seems hellbent on making sure that doesn’t happen.

While the main mystery is not something that’s going to stick with me past the end, Mosley’s strong point here is the cast of characters and the relationships between them all. Leonid and his son Twill, Leonid and the cop Carson Kittredge, Leonid and the ex-hitman Hush; Leonid and his “friends” frequently steal the spotlight from the mystery.

In fact, this novel seems more like Mosley is setting the stage for Leonid McGill. He’s introducing the characters and elements that will define this world. Which makes me want to read the second (and soon to be released third) novel all the more.

Out of all the characters Mosley has created, none have been quite as likeable or as enjoyable to follow as Leonid McGill and I’m definitely going to continue to follow the series.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Pop Culturing: Movies, Books, Comic Books and Other Arts

Beer Review: Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

As I mentioned in my last review, I really like Guinness and other dark, bitter beers. So I grabbed Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake. I drank it on the warmer side of cool. While any warm beer is pretty unpleasant, this was like coating my tongue in a beery syrup. But that’s on me. I tried again, this time by chilling everything possible: the glass, the beer, the room.

And it was good, but it’s an ale that refuses to let you forget that you’re drinking it. The flavors are so strong, the beer itself so present, you won’t be thinking of much else. Eating with it is not recommended. You can either have the beer or the food, there is no room for both.

By the end of the third beer, I was overfull, boozy and comatose on the chair. Not from the alcohol content. I was just too full to move. And really, isn’t that the best one can expect from any beer?

Grade: A?

Dylan Charles

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Beer Review: Leffe Blonde

photo by Dylan Charles

So we’re going to try this beer reviewing thing again, this time without the drunken antics. Unfortunately for you, I don’t know much about the vocabulary necessary to describe the flavors and tastes of beer. So this means a lot of winging it and confusing, muddled adjectives.

I hope you’re excited, cause I’m excited.

Leffe-Blonde is what you’d call a Belgian Ale. My one experience with previous Belgian beers comes from Blue Moon. Did not like it. Not one tiny bit. It was always harsh, with a grating, biting flavor. So me and Belgian Ales have stayed as far away from each other as humanly possible.

But while I was poking around in my local beer store and I found Leffe Blonde and was rapidly entranced by the gold foil wrapper. Unfortunately, it’s still a Belgian Ale with all the tastes that come along with it. They always taste so…acrid and rough, a series of highs rather than the lows of a Guinness.

It’s not really a terrible beer. I imagine there are people out there that like all things Belgian, like the waffles or Poirot and then this beer would appeal to those people. It’s got a bit of a kick too and that’s always a plus.

SCORE: It’s a Belgian Ale, but it’s better than a Blue Moon, so…what? C+ as a beer, B for a Belgian Ale? That sounds right.

That sounds about right.

Dylan Charles

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A Mopsy Proposal

I have a theory and it involves deliciousness. My hypothesis is this: if you were to feed an animal enough something, that animal would taste like that something. To wit; if you were to feed a chicken a substantial amount of pepper, the chicken would then arrive at the dinner table pre-peppered.

Which leads to me to the most potentially delicious thing ever:

The Pudding Rabbit

A pudding rabbit in its natural habitat.

If one were to feed a bunny rabbit sufficient quantities of pudding, I believe you would then have a pudding flavored rabbit. It’s simple science, explained with graphs and numbers and things that I won’t post for fear of someone stealing my idea.

Just imagine the following scenario: a fluffy angora rabbit (named Butterscotch) eating butterscotch pudding, his little whiskers flecked with pudding and his little nose a-wriggling. Now THAT spells scrumptious with a capital “scrump.”

The best part: there are so many flavors of pudding that you’d have a wide assortment of flavored rabbits to choose from. Chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch and tapioca bunnies will just be the start!

I plan to start a restaurant chain that will serve, exclusively, pudding rabbits(TM). If you act now, you can get in on the ground floor of what will soon be the most adorable taste-sensation to sweep the nation.

Dylan Charles

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Beer Review: Spaten Optimator

As part of my blog’s ever-present need to grow, I’ve decided to add a new feature: I’m going to occasionally review a new beer. Here is my first review:

photo by Dylan Charles

So this is  my new blog feature. I’ve decided that I should new things. Like reviewing beers and the like. So I picked this. Beer reviewing I mean.

The first beer I picked to review is Spaten Optimator. It is a German beer from Germany and it is very good. I liked it a lot and I had three or four. I am drinking my fourth one now.

It’s very dark in color. But only a little bit dark. Not as dark as Guinness. But sort of like Guinness. It tastes like Guinness if Guinness were not as bitter.

I thought I made a typo but I didn’t.

Hi, this is Emily. Dylan’s decided to sit on the floor and drink another beer. He’s a little indisposed. He also insists that I use italics to show that this is a different voice, so please excuse them.

So: if you are a guy, beer gets in your mustache, but not if you’re a girl. I (Emily) have cute toes and am very cuddly. He’s just knocked over a beer bottle and a book, which were both balanced on his shoes. Not to worry, he says, no beer was lost in the accident. Back to the beer review, I say. According to a  professional review, it’s a very bready beer. Dylan thinks it’s a very beery beer, especially when drunk out of his special Sam Adams glass with the built-in imperfection in the bottom. He’s a bit distracted right now and insists that all of this (blog entry, drunkenness, etc.) is all my fault. My name is now “Embly.” Nebraska is apparently cornfields all the way down. Dylan doesn’t like dolphins and won’t stop talking about them. He has a whole litany of  reasons to back that up, but I’ve heard them all several times and won’t let him continue. Back to the beer. Dylan says: “I’m gonna go have another one.” He likes it and gives it three plus marks next to an A. He doesn’t like people who exaggerate their ratings with a bunch of extra plus marks and awesomeness. What you’ve got to do, he says, is think of some goddamn words. The review said that it wasn’t very foamy, which turned out to be true. We have a very boring ceiling. We have no posters and no rug (the latter of which I am responsible for). You shouldn’t let a bunch of cheap paint jobs be our decorating. We don’t even have curtains, what the hell, Embly? Or even a disco ball. That would be tacky as shit, but at least it’s a decoration. In conclusion, this beer is pretty good.

Dylan Charles

P.S. This is a goddamn super-awesome post.

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Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It