Five years ago – give or take – I had some changes in my life, amongst them one was drifting into a career that was far more stable and rewarding than a lot of other things I’d done previously. With these changes (the career was not the only one), a lot of my creative endeavors took the back seat as I focused on my profession and new life. I did make a short film during this time of which I am extremely proud. Currently, I’m submitting it to fests. In a year or so, I’ll post it here and elsewhere. The film was a proper film in the sense that it involved a lot of people, time, resources, and effort. Films like this can also be draining, because they take so long to make. I guess I should also mention that there was 2020-21, a pandemic, and a world of bad shit. I used to joke that the worst year(s) of my life was when I was in middle school, ages 13-14. I won’t anymore. It was 2020-21.
Recently though, I’ve found myself making again, but a lot less directed than previously. Over the past summer I’d toyed with the idea of making another website for this stuff to live on, but I’m not sure that’s the right move for now. Perhaps later down the road. There’s also the time and energy that it takes to make a site. Then it hit me like an epiphany, why not just start posting again to Protozoic?
I have Tim to thank for this. In December, he posted about The Wheel of Time novels. The post had depth, had reflection, was bloggy, and was an end unto itself. It was inspiring. Following Tim’s lead, I thought I’d try to do one to two creative posts a month for 2022.
I had another goal to write for 5-7 hours a week, creatively. I’ve already hit this goal for the first week of January, and I intend to keep it up. I figure some of that will wind up here, in various forms. The posts I anticipate doing here will relate to music and sound, animation, short stories, and exploring the screenplay form in a more experimental manner. The first of my posts for January is up, which is a video of a fish tank I inherited, and then some electronic sounds. Next week, I’m hoping to have a short story posted, which is loosely inspired by a conversation I had with the D&D crew. My hope is that the posts will vary in that way, sometimes writing, sometimes video, sometimes sound – sometimes a little bit of everything.
If at the end of 2022 I hit the above goal, and/or come close, I’ll do a follow-up to this one. Till then, I hope you have a good year.
I just cleaned the tank, so it is a little cloudy looking.
These are two simple recipes that I’ve found myself repeating over and over and will continue for the rest of my life.
Chicken & Broth
My whole chicken recipe is largely from America’s Test Kitchen mammoth cookbook. I’ve done a number of their whole chicken recipes. While I enjoy many of them, on the flipside, too many are too involved and can’t be done on any given night. I like this recipe the best because it is so simple. I’ve just provided a basic method for preparation, but your bird could be seasoned anyway you prefer. In my case, the best part is that I now have chicken for the rest of the week, and it feels a lot healthier than that rotisserie stuff you get at the grocery store.
The second part to this recipe is the broth, which I begin making directly after dinner. Being aware that making broth is one of the easiest things in the world to do, I’d realized I’d never actually done it. Once I did, I was a convert. If I am a case study, it is never too late to start. There’s a lot of leeway too in how you make the broth, so experiment with ingredients. The ingredients I’ve listed are for an all-purpose one.
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Rub olive oil on the entire chicken; then season with salt (coarse Kosher salt if you have it) and ground pepper. Tie the chicken legs together with cooking string, put the wings behind the back, and place in a cast iron pan1.
- Once the oven is heated, cook the chicken for 25-35 minutes, and until the thickest part of the breast registers 120 and the thighs 135.
- Turn the oven off, let the chicken sit in the oven for another 25-35 minutes, and until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 and the thighs 175.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, and let it rest on a cutting board for another 20 minutes.
- Carve the chicken.
- Put the carcass in a crockpot.
- Add one halved and peeled onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 5 or so sprigs of flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups).
- Cook on low over night.
- Put a cheese cloth over a large mixing bowl and secure it with a rubber band; strain the broth.
- Pour yourself a tasty cup and freeze the rest.
I’m not even going to say this is a recipe, it’s a no brainer. Again, it’s never too late to start! I love cold unsweetened tea, and it so wonderful to have a couple sips in the morning before breakfast, or a glass in the afternoon.
- Get a sixteen ounce container.
- Put in two teabags. (I like PG Tips.)
- Fill the container with water, and let it steep for 24 hours.
- Add lemon and/or sweetener if you prefer; I just like mine unsweetened with no frills.
- Never buy store bought iced tea again.
Use only a cast iron pan because it will retain heat and continue to cook the chicken once the oven is off. ↩
Rewatched Manhunter (1986) last night; not as good as I remembered, but enjoyable, particularly and still for its style. In the ‘80s, if a killer had access to your photos & home movies (cuz they worked at the photo lab), you were a goner. Just not too much of a plot twist these days.1
The Wicker Man II: Fowlpurgisnacht, is the sequel to the 1973 classic The Wicker Man, directed by Robin Hardy. The Wicker Man II: Fowlpurgisnacht follows Pete, who while in search of duck, discovers more than he bargained for, namely the Wicker Man 2.
I frequently get asked my favorite film(s); I then wonder what the point of “favorites” are in the face of the vacuousness of the Internet and seals of freshness franken-barfed up by Rotten Tomatoes and the ilk. Shortly after, I remember that I have a long overdue post about a new ‘reviewing method’. It is an arcane method, that along its way addresses things like fresh.com aggregators, but it’s also a more human system and thus better than all the others in the known universe. This much I can attest to.
Until I publish ‘that’, what proceeds is my list of films for the year 2020 that I feel everyone should watch or rewatch in said year. The selection is from an introduction to film studies class I taught, and it was guided by Kanopy, which the school has a subscription too, meaning students could watch the films at no additional cost. It also means that if your local library has access to Kanopy, you can watch these films as well. The one exception is Akira, which can be streamed on Hulu, even for free if one just signs up for the 7 day trial.
While there are different reasons for positioning some of the films where they fall, the ordering is primarily by formal topic.
I keep thinking I’ll start a new site at some point and post stuff like this on it rather than Protozoic. I haven’t made that site yet, so here you go. If you are trapped at home for the holidays, now you have my list of films to watch that I genuinely recommend beyond a point of favorites — because let’s face it, favorites are daft.
- Silent Comedy – Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916), Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle, One A.M. (1916), Charlie Chaplin, One Week (1920), Buster Keaton; (intro)
- Rashomon (1950), Akira Kurosawa; (narrative)
- Pather Panchali (1955), Satyajit Ray; (mise-en-scène)
- Daughters of the Dust (1991), Julie Dash; (cinematography)
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), Taika Waititi;(editing)
- Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento; (Halloween)
- Playtime (1967), Jacques Tati; (sound)
- The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Ida Lupino; (all formal categories)
- Akira (1988), Katsuhiro Ôtomo; (all formal categories)
- The Lure (2015), Agnieszka Smoczynska; (all formal categories)
To close down Halloween 2020 and in a futile gesture to send off hell, last night we watched A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). I have no idea what the poster is, why the cat is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and catching or deboarding1 a trolly. Was Anne H. Ahrens, the set decorator of the film, predicting the Internet? Until the future arrives and we have the answer, see you in memes.
Apparently “deboard” isn’t a word. ↩