I’m busy outlining a 13-episode first season for a new SF series.

But more on that in another blog entry.

In the meantime, when’s the last time I did a mailbag?

Mailbag:

Tam Dixon writes: “He likes them well done and you know how hard it is to retain the tenderness when cooked that way?! Thanks to foodnetwork, I almost have it down (at least with fillets).”

Answer: Well, now you got me curious.  How do you serve a tender steak well-done?

Denise McInerney writes: “Did she mix the watermelon with the gelatin? Sorry to say, the food for the pups looks better than some of the stuff that came out of my kitchen this past month.”

Answer: Yes, it’s a gelatin watermelon.  And, to be honest, the food Akemi prepares for the dogs OFTEN looks better than anything I eat.

Denise McInerney also writes: “Having said that–just made a pretty decent low-fat, pork tenderloin shredded barbecue. Season a 2-lb tenderloin with sea salt, pepper and a little thyme, then toss in slow-cooker with bottle of root beer for 7-8 hours on low. Ok, I hear you laughing from all the way over on this coast! The RB acts as a tenderizer. Really.”

Answer: I believe it.  I occasionally do a slow-roast with coca cola.  Don’t have a slow cooker but it’s next on my list.  My friend Ivon is a slow-cooking expert!

whoviantrish writes: “Well.. I had some absolutely fabulous lemon ricotta pancakes topped with lemon curd, strawberries and fresh mint. I know you’re not a fan of mint, Joe.”

Answer: Actually, I’m finding I do like fresh mint on certain desserts.

whoviantrish also writes: “My youngest is 13 today! Erin is a teenager now. ”

Answer: Congrats to both of you!  How are you celebrating?

Jovanna writes: “Sitiawan and Lumut in Perak, Malaysia are interesting places to go that not many people go to. It’s a lot more suburban now and you’d definitely need a tour guide or you might get mugged or ripped off…”

Answer: The potential for getting mugged or ripped off is a definite con when I put together potential vacation destinations.  Oh, and add kidnapping to that list.

skua writes: “About the Yak beef i think is more a Beef aging problem this type of beef need a long dry maduration only few providers do nowadays. I think this yak need 4 week of controled dry-agging before you can cook it properly.”

Answer: Interesting!  I’m going to mention this to my butcher as he had no idea how best to prepare the yak steaks.  He just brought them in because they were unique and is now looking for feedback from his customers.

Michael Carney writes: “Like you and many of your readers/reviewers, Joe, I suffered my way through “The Rich and the Dead”.  Reading your follow-up column and its comments helped (a little) with the trauma that ensued.Just realised, however, that any publicist worth his/her salt could mine both column and comments and come up with some quotable quotes:

“dazzled … a great idea … A tremendous achievement” – Joseph Mallozzi

“Liv Spector is the next Dan Brown!” Kathode”

Answer: I laughed out loud.  Brilliant.

Line Noise writes: “The most interesting (if you could call it that) thing I cooked/ate last month was my Volcano Roasted Blackened Pork Belly.”

Answer: Well, it sounds delicious anyway.

dasndanger writes: “In fact, the best thing I’ve made lately was out of a box: gluten-free brownies from http://xobakingco.com/”

Answer: Akemi has been making gluten-free brownies of late.  They taste…good for you!

JeffW writes: “The real problem though, is the whole presupposition (such as it was) falls apart if Teddy was already back in time himself; he could just stake-out the property and observe. He could’ve also hired a couple of PI’s to track escape vehicles. There was no need to send Lila back in that case.”

Answer: Which, as someone already pointed out, would have meant no story and no book.  Which is not at all a bad thing.

JeffW also writes: “To fix this, the author could have provided some back story and also made up some rules to justify the premise better…”

Answer: If only YOU had been her editor instead of whoever “edited” her book (Her father?  Her best friend?  A table lamp?).

arcticgoddess writes: “What I do not understand about really bad books is one detail – how the heck do they get published?”

Answer: The same way bad shows get made = terrible decision making.

Erick writes: “I had a friend who was a mid-level manager of sorts at a major book chain in Toronto. She was always transfered calls from media outlets whenever they called to survey what novel or book was their topseller, top pick or on their most recommended list. She would just list off whatever she felt like or remembered seeing in the store. It was that scientific.”

Answer: It’s now my new favorite thing to do = calling staffers on their staff picks.  BTW – How go things in Montreal?

N writes: “I think the craziest part for me was seeing all the good reviews on Goodreads. Really?”

Answer: Yeah, I’m always dubious about those 5 star reviews.

skua writes: “I wonder if she need the hazmat suit to prevent the almost certain dead during the transport, why? returns without the f… suit?.”

Answer: Very good point.  I guess it’s like a visit to Yemen.  Only going is dangerous.

Adam writes: “I would like to ask, if there is any chance for Stargate Universe Soundtrack release (for both seasons). What would be necessary for the release? ”

Answer: You would have to get in touch with MGM.  The studio owns the rights to Stargate and all its related merchandise.  But, for what it’s worth, I agree.  An SGU soundtrack that shows off the incredible talent that was Joel Goldsmith is long overdue.

cat4444 writes: “It was also a bit too convenient that Lila noticed the tattoo on the arm of the man that shot Dylan and just happened to notice the same tattoo, and the design on the coat of arms, after she returned to 2018 and went to Dylan’s home.”

Answer: Oh, don’t get me started.  Convenient is one way of putting it.  Incredibly contrived is another.

cat4444 also writes: “Personally, I thought that Lila herself would turn out to be the killer and that her reason for it would be something she discovered on her jaunt into the past. After all, what better way to explain the complete lack of evidence and suspects than to have a killer that travelled through time?”

Answer: See, now I like your version so much more.

cat4444 writes: “Teddy seems to have chosen Lila to go back in time to investigate the murders, but never actually states why it has to be her and only her.”

Answer: Yes, I was waiting to find out what made her so special.  Maybe he felt sorry for her because she was too incompetent to solve it the first time around?

cat4444 writes: “Also, if Teddy has a time machine, why didn’t he simply go back to a few minutes before the murders to find out for himself who the killer was? Why the whole charade with Lila?”

Answer: Because Liv Spector wanted to write a book, logic be damned.

cat4444 writes: “I also don’t quite see how a bunch of rich people decide to create a “murder club” for philanthropic purposes.”

Answer: Yeah, at that point why not just reveal they’re actually philanthropic aliens who need to feed on human flesh – which is why they created the murder club.  To get more victims for their banquets!

cat4444 writes: “Then, too, if the murders have been going on for 100 years, why has no one made any connection between the killings and the Society or its members? I can’t imagine that rich philanthropists are all that skilled at murder and that at least one of them would have left some evidence behind in all that time. ”

Answer: The wealthier you are, the better you are at killing people.  It’s common sense!

cat4444 writes: “Any killer worth the title would have told the Clod that his theory was a nice one, but that that was all it was – a theory – and since there was no evidence there was no case.”

Answer: But this killer is in love, and love makes people do stupid things.  Stupid, completely illogical, unbelievable things.

Kathode writes: “What I don’t get, though, is why it never occurred to Past Lila that Camilla Dayton was a suspect in the murder. Why had this “genius” detective never heard of Camilla in 2 years of investigating the case?”

Answer: Lila Day – Idiot P.I.!

whoviantrish writes: “Florida homes don’t have basements. I’m pretty sure that includes Star Island. The water table is just too high here.”

Answer: They’re so rich, they PAID to have the water table lowered.

kathode writes: “I can see maybe a fourteen-year-old writing this and thinking it were possible to try and convict someone posthumously, but any adult has lived long enough that she should know that this has never happened, and will never happen. Aside from the ridiculous expense of a court trial for someone who is dead and can’t be punished, you cannot convict someone who has no opportunity to take the stand in his own defence.”

Answer: But this is the future.  Anything is possible!

Ponytail writes: “I was also thinking how could 12 super rich people get murdered all at once and the crime not be solved.”

Answer: Because, as I pointed out in my review, the murderer’s plan was so damn brilliant.

kathode writes: “This woman has to be one of the worst detectives I’ve ever read. When she goes back in time and begins to meet various members of the Janus Society (the super-duper-secret society all the murder victims belonged to), she finds it odd that there’s this guy, Dylan, whom all the victims know and associate with semi-regularly, but whom she has never heard of. She, who investigated this crime obsessively for over 2 years. She, who supposedly interviewed any- and everyone who had anything to do with the murder victims. She should immediately be suspicious of him and think of him as a new potential suspect. But she doesn’t. Why not? Because he’s hot.”

Answer: Also charming.  You forgot charming.

kathode writes: “Only by sheer dumb luck (when she guiltily confesses her failed rescue attempt to her time-travel patron Teddy upon her empty-handed return to the present) do the pieces get put together, and by someone other than the “genius” detective!”

Answer: I wondered if she loaded her own gun.  Or dressed herself in the morning.

kathode writes: ” I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think of when I hear the name Janus is “two-faced”. But not Lila! She persists to the end in thinking the society purely philanthropic and its members “innocent victims”. Liv Spector even tries to justify Lila’s denseness by telling us the society “had been named for a Roman god, the god of beginnings…” as if that were all any normal person would think of when contemplating the society’s name. Sorry, Ms. Spector, but readers are, shockingly, often well read – much more so, at least, than your moronic detective.”

Answer: It’s like the old X-Men comic books when Magneto would insist he was fighting the good fight against humanity because his fellow mutants were misunderstood.  Seriously, buddy.  Step #1 to avoid having people assume you guys are bad people: DON’T call yourselves The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

24 thoughts on “May 7, 2014: Mailbag!

  1. You don’t have a slow cooker?! How do you make chili on cold winter nights? Or lazy pots of veggies and cheap meat? I adore my crockpot (yes, it is Crockpot brand). I splurge and get the liners, as I do not like the way the crock cleans up in the dishwasher.

  2. It looks like for the most part most TV renewals/cancellations will be announced very soon. Quite a few pickups and new shows announced too. I know quite a few people here myself included did that prediction thing, I myself am surprised that a few of my predicted renewals have crashed.

    Anyway some people were upset over Almost Humans cancellation, it looks like Fox were interested in renewing but couldn’t agree a lower fee with Warner Bros as they lost money on Season 1, they did show good faith there. Shame it didn’t work out.

    I love this story about a disabled cat who struck up a meaningful friendship with a dog who is very protective over it.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2622395/Wobbly-cat-cattle-dog-Kitten-born-brain-disorder-strikes-unshakeable-bond-ageing-hound.html

    Max the dog seems to really love the cat and the feeling seems to be mutual. Stories like these are really great to read.

  3. I believe it’s the quality of the cut that keeps it tender. The recipe is easy. Dab the steak dry and coat the top/bottom with a seasoning mix. Preheat the oven to 400F. While the oven is heating, sear the steak in a hot skillet. Once you have a good sear, place a dab of butter on the steak and slide it into the oven for 15-17 minutes. This works perfectly for me because I’m a pescatarian and I can cook my shrimp in the oven at the same time (shorter cooking time, of course).

    Do you think I could cook rib-eyes the same way?

    Denise McInerney: That BBQ sounds pretty good! I cook ham with cola and it turns out great.

    maggiemayday: I agree, spring for the pot liners!

    Das: Have you tried gluten free peanut butter cookies? They are excellent! Peanut butter upsets my stomach (I love it though). I don’t have a problem with almond butter. I wonder if I could do these cookies with almond butter instead? Anyway, here’s the link in case you didn’t have the recipe. http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/5-ingredient-gluten-free-flourless-peanut-butter-cookies

  4. Kathleen: I prefer ebooks (because of my poor eyesight) but I might have to go paperback this time. :(. I’ll try the library. Thank you!

    Skua: Thank you, for the link you provided. Very much appreciated!

  5. @tam
    Sorry the link dont work for you sometimes i forget the amazon zone policy i can buy it because im in europe. the link work for me.
    send me a message to my mail skualido@msn.com and perhaps i can bypass this.

  6. @ Joe & Akemi – I’m telling you, this XO Baking brownie mix is EXCELLENT! You cannot tell the difference between these and regular ones. They weren’t too ‘cake-y’, nor too gooey – they were just right! Moist and rich in the center, without any of the normal ‘cardboard’ taste or texture common to most gluten-free baked goods. I just tried their banana bread mix tonight – I’ll let you know how it turns out…it smells wonderful! 🙂

    @ Tam Dixon – Haven’t tried them, but might give them a go. They sound like they’d just fall apart without any sort of flour to bind them, though.

    das

  7. The banana bread is a hit, too! Very moist and tasty! Two thumbs (and two big toes) up! 😀

    das

  8. @Tam Dixon: I’m not sure if you can buy it from Amazon.ca, but if you can it’s only $6.99 (cheaper if you’re paying with US bucks!). Not sure why it’s not currently available on .com (and the price there sucks).

  9. Hey Joe,
    I have a brief story that I thought might interest you; I don’t know if you’ll care or not, but I’m sharing it all the same.

    I live down in White Rock, where land is expensive and so very wealthy people are moving in. The same pattern repeats, somebody buys an old house, knocks it down, and builds as big and nice of a house as the lot allows. That happened to a house near me in… 1994 I believe, or around then. Except two years ago, it was sold. And the surprising thing is that the buyer demolished the 17 year old giant house, just to build their own giant house. It also took them two years to build it. So we’ve spent the past two years telling people about this, using it as an example of wastefulness, of people who have just “too much money”, as well as ridiculing the length of time it took them to actually build it.

    So the family finally moved in the other day. And then I found out (to my great surprise) that I recognized this person, this person that I thought was just some nameless rich person.

    It was Brad Wright.

    Also I found out that an old acquaintance of mine has been dating his daughter. It was a weird, surprising day. Small world.

  10. They’re so rich they paid to have the water table lowered? Why didn’t I think of that? Thanks for that, Joe. I’m still laughing.

    Erin wanted to eat at California Pizza Kitchen for lunch today. Apparently she was in the mood for an ok yet gigantic Caesar salad. Then we went to the Florida Aquarium and pet sharks, sting rays and horseshoe crabs.

    She’s exhausted and I’m considering volunteering at the aquarium. I think it was a successful birthday.

    ~~Trish

  11. I just read @Michael Carney’s comment from yesterday. I definitely regret my sarcastic answer now. 😀 Or not. That was pretty funny!

    The next BOTM has arrived. Anyone else feeling a little apprehensive? No? Just me? That’s fine. I’ll get over it. Probably. The chances we have two lemons in a row aren’t that high.
    .
    .
    … right?

  12. Hello

    I wish I was a better cook. It’s in the family. My Pop was a Chef and Nana was a great cook and would cook for them at home. My Mum was talented in the kitchen and passed that onto my sister. Me? Well it’s not that I can’t, I’m just not good at all.

    The ultimate luxury for me would be to win a chef for a year… Or find an amusing, sports-loving single guy that was awesome in the kitchen…. Hmmm yeah…

    Anyhoo it seems I missed a smashing book. Enjoyed the reviews y’all have shared. You know this blog post will be in the top results for searches for the author’s book lol.

    I figured she never tried to prevent the murder as that would alter the timeline too much, but did she ever think that by going back in time to solve the crimes she would fuck up the future for everyone?

    Food for thought. say did anyone ever read the Stephen King novel 11/22/63?

  13. Bon! Enfin vous travaillez un peu!! Des semaines à vous lire tous les matins nous parler de vos lectures, de vos occupations canines, de nourriture, de festins, de restaurants, de films, de souper entre amis, etc.
    On ne peut pas passer sa vie en loisirs !! Ce n’est pas bon pour vous!!
    (just kidding!)

  14. Das: You would think so but the cookie seems fine without the flour.

    Skua: I’ll keep looking but thank you!

  15. I know its hard to answer all questions but relating to comics you put some silver age comics on your blog and I have some im a big comic collector from way back im a big Cap and avenger ,justice league fan if you ever want to either swap or sell some from your collection please keep me in mind. I also have a lot of Golden age comics. I have had comic book stor owners come by and look at my various collection and have offered good money for them but I have yet to sell one comic joe.Been collecting since i was 7 years old Im 6% now. Still dont want to sell and I still buy them. My friends tell me im nuts.

  16. Joe I have the Avenger’s very first issue and it has been graded by CGC I refuse to sell it. Been offered Awesome money for it but it means more to me to keep. I go to lots of Comic Cons never been to the one in San Diego hope to one day. Thanks for reading my post Joe.

  17. Kathode wrote:

    “@Tam Dixon: Are you committed to only reading it in digital form? I ask, because unlike some previous BOTM selections, I found it pretty easily at the library. Even though it’s a recent release, there weren’t any other people on the wait list for it.”

    Doesn’t that just really sadden you, that people do not read much any more?

  18. artctucgoddness: I checked and it’s not at the library. I’ll see if Amazon will let me order it in paperback form. With all those video/phone games, it seems reading is demising. Cursive writing might make a come back, so maybe reading will too.

  19. @Kathode @tam dixon I think some libraries offer digital rentals, too. But don’t quote me on that. I’ve tried to get into e-readers but I love books too much. I didn’t realize how much I love the way they smell. I love turning pages.

    Geez.. it makes me sad to think the phrase “It’s a real page turner” won’t be understood by future generations. :/

    For Erin’s birthday I bought her an absolutely gorgeous book on The History of Hyrule. It’s her favorite present. Her eyes lit up like little Christmas lights, she snuggled down on the sectional and got lost in it. 🙂 I had to pull her away to get ready for bed.

    E-readers have huge advantages to them. I’m happy they’re around. My sister teased me because I lugged each massive George R.R. Martin book around with me while no one knew she had the ENTIRE collection as well as several other series on her iPad. So I’m not bagging on the digital format. I’m just a book lover in almost every sense of the word.

    @chevy hey there! *waves*

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