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Monday, November 25, 2013


I went to two movies this weekend:  The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire and Sake Bomb.  Of course Fire was #1 this weekend with box office revenues of $161 million, more than ten times that of the big hit Thor, #2, which only gained $14 million.  The budget for Fire was $130 million, so it already has recouped the investment.  Hunger Games 1 earned $700 million.  However, in just one weekend, add $147 million international to the domestic sales, resulting in Fire globally earning $308 million.  I couldn't find the revenues for Sake Bomb, but it must have been microscopic.

Fire had 89% reviewer and 94% audience Rotten Tomatoes ratings.  This Part Two was definitely better than Part One, but what was unexpectedly surprising, to me, was the vulnerability of Superwoman and Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, showing uncommon frailty and indecisiveness throughout, and becoming an unwitting decoy by the end of this film, with her not realizing what was really happening.  She also will have a touchy decision to make in Part 3 about who really is her true love.  Donald Sutherland was devilish and Philip Seymour Hoffman, already prominent in #2, will take on a major role in Parts 3 and 4.  But I can't say why.

 Things are not quite what they seem, but let me stop there for I don't want to give the whole thing away.  This was supposed to be a trilogy, but there certainly will be two more Hunger Games:  Mockingjay 1 and Mockingjay 2.  What is a mockingjay?  Read the books (three by Suzanne Collins) or see Fire.  Okay, I'll tell you, it is a mythical hybrid with another mythical bird.

Oh, the jungle scenes were filmed in Hawaii (Manoa Falls, Heeia State Park and Keehi Lagoon beach), with Kawela and Kuilima Bays near the Turtle Bay Resort serving as the beach sites.  In fact the whole film was close to a condensation of the TV series, Lost, also produced in Hawaii.

Maybe you need to be a male of Japanese ethnicity to enjoy Sake Bomb (which is a jigger of sake bombed into beer, with the contents drunk in one fell swallow) but I was maybe more entertained by this film than from Fire.  Rotten Tomatoes hasn't yet rated this Japanese-American production of a naive young sake maker from Japan seeking a lost love on a road trip to Petaluma with his angry American-born Japanese racist cousin from Los Angeles who is deprecating about other races in his video blog, including non-Japanese orientals.  I thought, gee, he doesn't really look Japanese...and he wasn't, for this character is played by Eugene Kim.  Note, don't confuse the American Eugene Kim, left, with the Korean Eugene (Yoo Jin) Kim, right.

Hollywood-ending this was not, but both individuals went home wiser and more mature.  No, not the female Kim, but the American one, plus his Japanese cousin who went back home to run a sake factory.

Turkey meal #2 occurred last night at the home of Pearl's sister Doris and her family:

Not only turkey, which was Butterball, but sashimi, assorted vegetables and spare ribs.  I brought  a bottle of Tedeschi's Ulupalakua Red from Maui, which is a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Malbec.

Following up on Turkey #1 yesterday, Bruce Liebert referred me to a professional clip on how, really, to roast a turkey.  First of all, the comparison with my beginner's guide is unfair, for ThermoWorks CEO Randy Owen uses the latest technology.  My oven is more than 30 years old, but worse, I have no idea how to use it.  Further, he adds Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, favored by the top chefs, but anathema to me.    I have several more criticisms, but let me just add one more:  He turns the pan 180 degrees after an hour.  That should not be necessary if he uses a 21st century oven.  That step could be risky, especially if you  happen to be a female doing this alone or an older person lacking in some coordination, like me.  Just basting is hazardous enough.

Bruce is a turkey expert, but, more than that, is a PhD mechanical engineer who is more familiar with heat transfer and thermodynamics than me.  Further, he is Bailli Provincial (grand poobah in Hawaii) of Chaine des Rotisseurs, an eating society that is almost a thousand years old.  Bruce on the left with his major professor from Stanford, Bob Huggins at Michel's.

Tropical Cyclone Lehar popped up in the Indian Ocean and will attain Category 3 status before weakening and striking India on Wednesday:

The death toll for Super Typhoon Haiyan passed 5,000, with 1,611 missing.  More than four million people were displaced.  The current estimated damage is around $300 million.


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