Sunday, May 18, 2008

Guilty Pleasure and more

I have a TV guilty pleasure I am a little ashamed of . . . The Unit. Some out there may gasp and guffaw with this type of mention of the show. But here is the deal - the acting is pathetic - as is the story-telling.

That said - the action is awesome. I do like the depiction of the action and the good guys winning every week. I will be the first to admit that I generally like my entertainment to be emotionally easy. I don't like to work for my entertainment. Perhaps that is why I tend to lean toward comedies more than dramas. But the acting - especially among the wives of the Unit, is horrific. I mock it incessantly as I start the next episode on dvd.

As for the more - there are a few topics - cars vs. motorcycles, racing, and eclairs. I will start with the eclairs. Today, we had a little grill action with some friends from an old ward, and I made eclairs. For the filling, I used French Vanilla pudding with finely chopped strawberries. However, I rocked the chocolate topping perfectly for the first time ever. As many of you know, Utah is bland and featureless in the food department, by and large. BUT, a little restaurant called Kneader's has wonderful eclairs that inspired me. So today I got some milk (1/2 - 2/3 cup) with some butter (1-2 T) boiling, took it off the heat and melted most of a small bag of semisweet choc chips. Then I spooned it onto the eclairs and refrigerated them. The chocolate was soft and melted easily and was sweet but dark. It was the best chocolate topping I have done by far.

Cars vs. motorcycles - Chanda, if you are reading, stop now so as not to exacerbate your aneurism. I had my ideal motorcycle picked out for after college. I was planning on a Triumph Street Triple. It is affordable, sporty and liveable. I was excited. BUT, on my birthday, I went over to a friend's home who is building a Lotus 7-ish replica thing in his garage from scratch. For about $10K TOTAL, he is building a car that will be over 400 hp - possibly pushing 500 - that will weigh only about 1400 to 1500 lbs. For reference, that is quite a bit less than half of my family sedan, our silver Altima. Now here is the thing, there are even cheaper ways to build the car - even well. This guy was telling me I could build a basic, not all hotted-up version of the same thing for about 5K. So I can have a car I can build (which is awesome in itself) that is high-performance (also awesome), just as liveable as a bike (still awesome but in an old-man way), yet is a bit more practical and safer than your average motorcycle. And, I think I can make the passenger seat removable to make room for a LATCH system to bring one of my girls along for the crazy ride.

Lotus 7's and their spinoffs and ripoffs are motoring at its most elemental, pure form. The mildly masochistic and even mildlier (making up words makes you feel ALIVE[lier]!!!) pragmatic purist in me begs for a car so stripped it has a rear rack instead of a trunk. That said, passenger footwell space allows for perhaps an entire shopping trip as opposed to my backpack on my motorcycle. And, with goggles and perhaps a helmet, being able to bring Naomi or Gwen with me would be awesome. Plus, it would be fun to bring some in-laws for a ride (I'm think of you Jen and Morgan) to see if I can confirm their worst fears about me. Just kidding. Sort of.

Racing: I went out to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele yesterday to watch some race practice and qualifying. There was some minor racing in the evening, but I was busy ogling a gorgeous Aston Martin V8 Vantage race car built by Prodrive and campaigned by some good-natured Londoners. They were great to talk to. Some of these guys have crewed in Formula 1, worked on the development of the McLaren F1, all kinds of stuff. Also, Tiff Needell was in town and around somewhere, and supposedly loves to meet adoring fans (that would be me). Tiff is a presenter for a British car show called Fifth Gear and still an active racer. And he is a top-level car hero for me.  Apparently, he was off making use of the facility's free liquor for high-falutin' guests somewhere, so I didn't get to meet him. They crew was asking if I was going to be around today, because I could meet him then, but alas, Sunday and racing and me is an impossible combo.

The Aston was beautiful, but I also got up close to the Audi R10 - Audi's amazing diesel race car. The thing is beautiful and so saturated with technology that even the most uninformed person can see the elegant developments in going faster better. Come to think of it - I can show you pictures. The sounds are wonderful. The Audi diesels sound like a muted jet - they probably make less noise than Carrie's car. Some of the other prototypes scream like bleeding banshees, the Corvettes and Panozes rumble and roar - your chest thrums as they pass, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs are actually relatively quiet, the Ferrari F430GTs scream and pop and burble on overrun as they downshift, and the Ford GTs sounded like they have truck engines (which they do). I was hanging  out at the end of the front straight right where the brake for the first turn after going nearly 200 mph. It was insane seeing how fast they turn. Also nuts was watching when sometimes their tails would step out and the drivers had to catch it to keep it on the track. Occasionally, they would go off, but the track is designed with so much runoff that hitting a wall is practically a non-issue. All the padding in the world can't match not contacting anything. It was awesome. I can provide more pictures if anyone is curious.

those who have made it this far, I thank you and I am sorry. There hasn't been anything quite substantial in here, but I have been having fun. Anyway, shalom to you.


Jennifer said...

"The Unit" was Andy's FAVORITE! I couldn't watch it for exactly the reason you mentioned: the acting. ESPECIALLY the women. Ugh! What WAS that?

I have never made a good choc. topping either, so I'm jealous, and I commend you!

Brian said...

You should try the sauce at some point and let me know how it turns out.

The Unit is mildly pathetic, but last night we ended up watching 4 episodes until 1:00 am. Why? I really don't know why! The action is often so good. The shame is the comparison.

Case in point: the first episode of the 5th disc is an action-packed one with no wives (though some highly annoying soldiers). The following episode tries to inject some drama and suspense into a plotline with one of the wives finding a freakin coin. Honestly!

Chanda said...

Brian. Hey thanks for the warning. I'm going to want some of those eclairs when I come visit ok? Sounds delicious. And we better not watch any shows together. I like everything as emotionally deep as possible. Right now I like watching House. It's not really emotionally deep but it has lots of drama and reminds me of Tracy, who I know is a fan. I can stand Prison Break anymore.