Saucers of Mud

November 21, 2009

Free Gluten! (and not vice versa)

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 3:23 pm

Some points for food co-ops, organicish supermarkets, Vegetarian Timeses, and post-hippie eaters everywhere:

Wheat gluten is not a form of meat.

Wheat gluten is not in fact an animal product of any sort.

As far as I know, there are no specific ethical issues concerning the production of wheat. Wheat stalks are not raised under especially cruel conditions.

Some people, I guess, have medical problems that make them sensitive to gluten. Most people do not. The allergy-of-the-month club doesn’t count.

Wheat has been a staple of the human diet since, like, forever. You know why the Fertile Crescent is called the Fertile Crescent? Because wheat grew there. [UPDATE: Which is not to disparage the many cultures whose main grain is rice. Do you know what is not a prominent feature of the cuisine of those cultures? Muffins.]

There are many nice baked goods that you can make without gluten, such as corn muffins, corn bread, and corn dodgers. Flourless chocolate cake can also be tasty. Cookies made of ground tapioca and potato flour are nasty. Maybe if you’re avoiding gluten, you shouldn’t try to make cookies? Those aren’t real cookies. In my experience, people who are allergic to peanut butter don’t smash up chickpeas and rubber cement in an effort to get something with a similar color and texture and then put it on their sandwiches with jelly. Or if they do, I haven’t noticed, because the peanut butter shelves at the supermarket still contain actual peanut butter, not peanut-free chickpea-cement butter.

OK, I don’t actually buy peanut butter off the shelf; there’s a machine at the store that grinds up the peanuts right there, extruding the peanut butter in a form that looks like the poop of a not very healthy person, and that’s what I get. Same principle.

What I’m trying to say is, there is no reason for any store to have a shelf full of scone and muffin mixes EVERY SINGLE ONE OF WHICH IS GLUTEN-FREE. Scones and muffins are made with wheat! That’s what they are! There should be at least one available mix for someone who wants to make an actual scone, not some gravel-chalk dust concoction that’s supposed to help you grind up the rest of your food in your gizzard.

I’m a tolerant man, even if I may actually have gone on a similar rant right there in the store the other day. I understand the plight of the small minority of the population that has Celiac Sprue and may want to have some sort of facsimile of a baked good available to console themselves for the tasty dishes they can’t have, and I’m quite all right with a store selling a couple of things for that market. But why oh why can’t you sell the real thing next to it? It’s not like anyone’s going to get sick from being near a bag of gluten-containing product. Is it possible that the only people who actually want to bake anything are the very people who can’t actually eat gluten, and so there is no demand for actual muffin mix? It doesn’t seem likely. For instance, I wanted to make scones, and, as you may have gathered, I prefer my scones with gluten in them.

I would like to announce the formation of the GRO, the Gluten Rights Organization. We will work for gluten awareness, picketing stores to ensure that for every gluten-free baking-related product on the shelf there is a corresponding product that’s, you know, normal. Also, our website, gro.org, will have a palindromic URL, and that’s pretty cool.

[NOTE: The last paragraph is full of lies; I have no intention of doing anything about this other than ranting about it on my blog, and gro.org looks like it's already squatted.]

November 20, 2009

IFComp: A Final Thought on Earl Grey

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 9:14 pm
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Mildly spoilery (though it’s for something that you’re railroaded into doing), so it goes below a cut.
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November 18, 2009

How To Revitalize Old, Tired Comic Strips

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 11:22 am

So I was reading the Wikipedia entry for Wendy and Marvin:

Wendy Harris and Marvin White are two sidekicks who were created in an era in which many cartoons featured main characters with sidekicks who were supposed to serve two purposes: comic relief and viewer identification…. Neither Marvin nor Wendy had any special abilities. However, once on the cartoon, Marvin was shown “practicing” flying, though not very well. In fact, on the cartoon, although very nice and very bright, Marvin was shown to be somewhat bumbling, often needing to learn the day’s moral, such as looking up “photosynthesis” for himself rather than having Robin tell him. In the comics, however, Marvin and Wendy’s cleverness and resourcefulness made them invaluable to the other Super Friends. The one notable resource Marvin provided to the Super Friends was his pet dog, Wonder Dog (or just “Wonder” for short) who was preternaturally intelligent, though bumbling as well, much like Scooby-Doo….
In 2006, in Teen Titans #34, a new version of the Wendy and Marvin characters appeared…. In Teen Titans #62 Wendy and Marvin meet a stray dog that Miss Martian names Wonderdog. In reality, Wonderdog is some sort of demonic monster in the service of a new villain called King Lycus, who appeared at the end of the issue after the beast killed Marvin and severely mauled Wendy. As seen in Teen Titans #63, she survived the attack, but is apparently in a coma.

And this made me think; you know what would be great for the tired old legacy comics? A gritty reboot! Let’s see Hagar the Horrible really address the realities in the life of the pillaging Nordics. Blondie could turn into some mix of Dirty Sexy Money and Arrested Development, where we hear about the fraudulent machinations that cost Dagwood his billions, if that doesn’t hit too close to home. Beetle Bailey could get an infusion of Catch-22 (or just a deeper exploration of Beetle and Sarge’s forbidden love), while Hi and Lois, well.

On the other hand, we’ve already seen Garfield turned into an exploration of madness and alienation (though have you seen this [sound]?), The Lockhorns doesn’t need to get any bleaker, and if someone tried to do a gritty reboot of Dick Tracy it’d cause some sort of singularity of violence and gore that would probably turn the whole world into a place of unicorns and kittens through antipathetic reaction. Which would be a good thing, I guess.

November 12, 2009

I Wish I Could Draw

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 10:36 am

…because nothing cries out for illustration more than “An exercise in Freudian scare tactics fails to unnerve Salley Vickers.”

November 11, 2009

IFComp Scores

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 9:15 pm
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My scores for the IFComp below the fold. Not a whole lot of spoilers or in fact individualized commentary at all, but if you’re still playing you might not want to click. I’ll have a couple of general remarks, and then I hope to write something later that touches on some issues raised in the course of the Comp.
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November 10, 2009

IFComp: Rover’s Day Out and Grounded in Space

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 11:13 pm
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This is the last of my IFComp reviews before I write a couple of wrap-up posts! Unless I feel inspired go back to one of the games I’ve skipped and write up a review of it, which isn’t going to happen. These are text-adventure games, arty to various degrees, meant to be be judged in under two hours of play. The games can be found here. My reviews will be categorized under “IFComp.”

This is a joint review of “Rover’s Day Out,” which can be downloaded here, and “Grounded in Space,” which can be downloaded here and might be playable online here if you’ve got the right plug-ins, which I apparently don’t. (When I click on the link my browser asks if I want to download something.)

If you want to download these games and play them, you’ll need an interpreter. Some things about interpreters can be found here. I use Zoom for the Mac when I’m not playing online, and in fact the other big Mac interpreter, Spatterlight, doesn’t work for Rover’s Day Out.
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IFComp: Resonance

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 9:35 pm
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Reviews of the IFComp continue and are in fact almost done. These are text-adventure games, arty to various degrees, meant to be be judged in under two hours of play. The games can be found here. My reviews will be categorized under “IFComp.”

This is a review of “Resonance,” which can be downloaded here and might be playable online here if you’ve got the right plug-ins, which I apparently don’t. (When I click on the link my browser asks if I want to download something.)
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November 7, 2009

IFComp: The Duel in the Snow

Filed under: IFComp — matt w @ 9:50 pm
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So maybe I should get back to my reviews, eh? I think I have three of these left to write up, and in fact I lied when I said that I wasn’t going to try any more games, so there’s one more left I might try.

These are text-adventure games, arty to various degrees, meant to be be judged in under two hours of play. The games can be found here. My reviews will be categorized under “IFComp.”

This is a review of “The Duel in the Snow,” which can be downloaded here or played online here or here, if you’ve got the right plug-ins.
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