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Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

Posted Sep 20 2013 4:27pm

I’ve noticed a distressing new trend in banner ads lately.  The first place to display this was the Accuweather app on my tablet.  At the very top, a text banner ad was displayed … and a very, VERY realistic-looking spider was moving across the text at a healthy pace.  I get it – I know the movement is supposed to catch my eye and make me pay attention to the ad.  But a freaking SPIDER?!  Nothing will give me a negative association faster than seeing a spider.  I don’t care if the ad is for bacon, or kittens, or a hot fudge sundae … make a spider crawl across those things and I am instantly grossed out and turned off.

Then this tactic started showing up in my Words With Friends app.  NOT COOL.  I don’t spend all that much time on Accuweather – just a quick check to see what I can expect weather-wise for the coming week.  But I can spend a good 20 minutes catching up with my Words With Friends games, and having a damn spider crawling across my screen … a real-looking spider, not a cartoon-funny spider … is making me want to never open the app again.  As it is, I cover that side of the screen now, either with a piece of paper or my hand.  I can’t stand to look at it; it seriously makes my skin crawl.  (I’ll confess – I usually do the piece of paper because putting my hand over it, even though it’s not real, is just too close for comfort.)

I know they can achieve this stupid trick with other images; I’ve see a bouncing red ball and a swimming fish (shark?) in the past.  But lately, all I ever see is the spider.  BAD MARKETING MOVE.

* * *

There’s this new 30 minute comedy on Fox called Brooklyn Nine-Nine; it just started on Tuesday.  We’ve been seeing promos for it for a couple of weeks on TV, and Entertainment Weekly magazine gave it rave reviews.  Every time we saw a promo, though, Dave and I would just look at each other, grimace and say, “No way.”  It just looked so, so stupid and sophomoric.  We usually don’t go for that kind of humor; I’m more of a deadpan, dry, witty humor kind of gal.  I don’t go in much for sight gags and really immature stuff.

Even with the thumbs up from EW, I wasn’t convinced.  They have a hard-on for Scandal; when we watched the pilot, we couldn’t even finish the episode.  It just seemed ridiculous and like it was trying too hard.  On the other hand, they seem to have nothing but hate for The Newsroom, and that is seriously one of our absolute favorite shows.  Because of that, I take their recommendations and disparagement with a grain of salt; usually I give a show at least one chance so I can form my own opinion.

Then I started seeing good reviews from other sources, including entertainment sites and just regular folks watching at home.  It was compared to Barney Miller, which I enjoyed back in the day.  So I told Dave, wincing and waiting for his wrath, that I was going to just put the pilot episode on TiVo so we could see what the fuss was about.  He laughed and said he’d been reading about it in EW earlier that day, and agreed it was worth a shot.  They replayed the pilot episode on Thursday and darned if it wasn’t terrific!  It comes off much better than it looks in the promos, trust me.  Usually a new comedy needs a few episodes (or a whole season) to really come together and gel, but this one seems to be well-seasoned already.  If you were turned off, like we were, from the early ads on TV, I would give it a shot.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

* * *

I’ll probably write a full blog entry on this at some point, but I’m learning how to can food and holy cow, I’m hooked.  Dave has repeatedly had to gently lay his hand on my arm, while I breathlessly obsess over all the things I want to make, and soothingly say, “Just take it easy … we don’t have time to do all of this stuff at once.  Pace yourself.”

Last weekend we started with green beans, tomatoes and applesauce.  Tomorrow we’re doing a whole bunch more tomatoes, plus KETCHUP OMG (I am v. v. excited about this!!) and faux pineapple, made from … wait for it … zucchini.  Yes, zucchini.  Earlier in the week when I was freaking out on Facebook about the things we’ve canned, one of my friends jokingly asked, “What, no zucchini?”  And seriously, I had been looking for a canned zucchini recipe!  Our zucchini plants are all pulled up for the season (may they rest in peace) but I still have five zucchini left, including one monster that was taking up a quarter of my produce drawer.  All the zucchini recipes I found were for pickled zucchini, and ewwww.  I hate pickles.  The consensus (from NCHFP, National Center for Home Food Preservation) seemed to be that it’s too hard to determine processing times for plain old zucchini so they recommend freezing instead.

Then I happened across a recipe, from the NCHFP no less, for faux pineapple.  And it got good reviews from enough people that I couldn’t resist; I just have to try it.  I already know zucchini is a master at mimicking other things, like apples in the zucchini apple pie I made.  In this case, you peel and dice the zucchini and then can it in pineapple juice.  It’s genius, really.  I probably wouldn’t just snack on it (maybe I would, who knows) but my goal is to use it in stir fries and other savory dishes.  We make a grilled chicken, peppers and pineapple quesadilla that kicks ass, and, well, chicken and peppers and pineapple go well together in general.

I may take pictures as we go along, we’ll see.  Just know that tomorrow I will be quivering with excitement, clucking like a proud mother hen over my pint and quart jars full of goodies.

* * *

Last night we watched This is the End and, well, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  I had a general idea what it was about but it took a dark (and gory) turn that I wasn’t expecting, and that just pleased me to no end.  I thought it was going to be more talk and conversation, hanging out in this house while the world was ending outside, but it was much more action-packed and it was VERY funny.  Two big thumbs up from Wendi and Dave.

* * *

Finally, I had one thing I meant to write here, something that happened this morning during a conversation with Dave.  We both got such a kick out of it and I remember thinking it would be a cute anecdote for my blog, and now I can’t remember anything at all.  Not even the general subject of our conversation.  All I can remember is that I made a fool of myself and Dave was very kind when he pointed it out, and see?  This is why I need to write blog ideas down.

Over and out.


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