Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Breaking Bad Finale Menu (Recipe: How I Do Buffalo Wings)

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Good Evening:

Tonight, Breaking Bad will become the only TV show in my entire life of which I’ve seen every single episode. For various reasons, I missed most of the final seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, Ugly Betty, plus I didn’t have cable during the first five or six seasons of Mythbusters. Only Breaking Bad. So I’ve put together a special menu for the final show based upon events from the series.

  • Buffalo Wings, and Fried Chicken. My tribute to Los Pollos Hermanos.
  • Homemade Pepperoni Pizza. In one episode from Season 3, Walter White throws an extra-large cheese pizza onto the roof of his garage. It becomes a freakishly hilarious visual joke.
  • Green Beans. The first time Jesse Pinkman visits Casa White, he stays for dinner and compliments Skyler on her green beans. Which turn out to be store-bought.

Don’t know what to drink with the meal, yet; the cast seems to drink anything companies that have paid product placement fees put in front of them.

Here, incidentally, is how I do Buffalo Wings. Traditionally, the sauce for Buffalo Wings is the simplest in the book: two parts butter to one part hot sauce. That’s it. However, I like extremely powerful flavors and heat, so I take it to another level.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 pieces of chicken wings
  • 8 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced or crushed fresh garlic
  • 1-3 Teaspoons ground Chipotle powder, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • (Opt.) 1-2 Tablespoon honey to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Spread the wings in a single layer over the paper or foil.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flip over the wings, bake for another 20-15 minutes (35 minutes total).
  5. As the wings bake, melt the butter and hot sauce together in the top of a double boiler. Important: whisk butter and Sriracha together as the butter melts.
  6. As soon as the butter has completely melted, whisk in all of the remaining ingredients at the same time and immediately remove from heat.
  7. Dump half of the sauce into a mixing bowl. When the wings are done, add them to the bowl and gently stir until even coated. If you need more sauce, add it; if you don’t, save the rest for and use it as a dip. You can also top a bowl of pozole with it; let your imagination run wild.
  8. Arrange the wings on a serving plate and start a feeding frenzy amongst your friends.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–My almost certainly wrong predictions for the finale: the bad guys will kill Todd, not Jesse, because Todd killed a boy during the train heist; because the bad guys think gas masks are for sissies, Walt will be able to use his ricin to create a gas to poison all of them in the meth lab and save Jesse; Jesse kills Walter and becomes the new Heisenberg and hooks up with Lydia, the only other surviving supervillain (and the most persnickety).

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Because It’s After 3:00 a.m.? Because It’s Me? Because It’s Levi Stubbs?

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Good Morning, Incredibly Enough:

Just finished my second draft of a play for a fund-raising 24-hour theater festival. I received my assignment at 8:00 last night: the producer assigned two women actors (one African-American, one South Asian), one director, and the theme “Objects Appear Larger.” The playwrights have a maximum page limit of 12, but I want to shorten mine as much as possible. With three actors in a ten-minute play, each will have roughly 40 speeches, difficult but not impossible to learn in twelve hours. With two actors, the total can exceed 70, and that becomes a brutal challenge for them.

And yes, as of 3:25 a.m., I have already written two drafts, and plan to write one more.

Normally, I wait a week between drafts, but I don’t have that luxury, so I write this post to clear my mind.

Staying awake represents the biggest physical problem, but you probably guessed this already. I have an extra issue insofar as I volunteered to donate breakfast to the 30-35 individuals involved in the show, so I cannot afford to go to sleep until my director and cast have safely received the scripts. The secret consists of taking a nap for no more than 30 minutes  at around 9:00, vast quantities of tea, and irresistible dance music to keep my knees pumping and therefore me awake.

And irresistible dance music means Motown.

Currently listening to The Temptations, but at 3:00 a.m. this morning I was listening to The Four Tops’ cover of “If I Were a Carpenter.” Honestly, I can’t recall if I’ve heard their version before (which leaves me severely disappointed with myself), but somewhere during the second verse, it *finally* hit me, over four decades too late:

Levi Stubbs was one of the gosh-darned greatest pop-soul-R&B singers of the previous century.

It could be just my imagination (once again) running away with me–told ya I was listening to The Temps–but at this crazy hour of the morning, it feels as if I have never appreciated the lead singer of The Four Tops as much as I should have done. It’s not entirely my fault: for one thing, the rest of the Tops were also pretty darn good, and they sang amazing harmonies; for another, Stubbs himself never pursued a solo career, remaining a loyal member of a team that was more together than together, more married than married. The original quartet never broke up; they performed together for 44 years until Lawrence Payton died in 1997.

But Stubbs! What enunciation, power and emotion! What a pure voice! He could deliver a song with such force it feels like he’s grabbing my solar plexus and shaking it hard.

And I missed this until approximately 3:00 this morning.

OK. New cup of tea (or “cuppa tay,” to quote Eliza Doolittle from Pygmalion), brain feeling a little clearer, and The Temptations are singing “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.” Back to work.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–My play includes references to 19th Century scrimshaw, the London School of Economics, The University of Washington women’s softball team, and the difference between Madras and Chennai. I’ve completely given away the entire plot of the script, haven’t I?

The Chessplayers, 26 September 2013

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Good Afternoon:

I think he was teaching her, because he was up two minor pieces, a Rook and several pawns. Nonetheless, they looked interesting together.

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And yes, these are “30 Shots,” both cropped, straightened and edited in iPhoto to minimize problems with excessive shadows and bright spots. I have only a quick post for today. This weekend I will participate in a 24-hour playwriting festival. Friday night, the writers will receive their cast, their director, and a theme (that’s to prevent us playwrights from cheating and writing the play ahead of time, but we’re totally honest, we would never ever never ever do that). The producers will give us until 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning to write the entire script, and then the cast and director will have exactly 12 hours to stage the play, plot the action, and learn the lines.

It’s madness, of course, and therefore I love it. Have a good weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair

US 101 South (Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns)

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Good Evening:

On top, US 101 South must disappoint drivers. It undulates through and over San Francisco with some nice curves and provides good views of the city, but the traffic is so horrible at most hours of the day that cars can’t do much better than crawl. Can’t be much fun for drivers.

Things look a different from underneath.

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I never thought of the possibilities of the overpass until this week’s Challenge, and when I walked under the over last Saturday, suddenly the pictures started appearing.

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I’ll have to go back sometime and explore further. Aside from having too little time to work/play, I saw a few great potential shots that I couldn’t take because the traffic on 13th Street would have flattened me. Gosh darned inconsiderate cars.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recent Urban Landscapes (Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns)

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Good Morning:

My recent pictures seems to include a large number of acceptably good urban landscapes, so I present a collection that demonstrates this week’s Challenge. The first two consist of two versions of the same photo, one color, one black-and-white. I have not decided yet which is better or if they should appear together as a diptych:

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With over 800,000 inhabitants on less than 49 square miles, San Francisco ranks among America’s most densely populated cities, and yet you will observe almost zero humans in this collection. I like to portray the urban landscape of San Francisco as devoid of humans to give a sense of desolation and emptiness. I also like the challenge of photographing the city without letting anyone get in the shot. Speaking of which, most of these shots come from the South of Market (SOMA) district of the city during recent weekends, a light industrial area full of auto shops; SOMA tends to empty out on weekend days, then livens up at night when the clubs open.

Of course I have more construction equipment shots: the building boom keeps booming.

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About two doors down from SFPUC HQ stands an old building that presents nothing of interest from the street, yet from the floor on which I work, the roof of all things (yes, the roof) sometimes presents an intriguing look.

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And now a few that also belong to my “White & Blue” series.

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These next shots come from a chilly overcast day (in other words, San Francisco in the summer).

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I close with a miscellany. Thank you for reading/viewing.

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Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco Snippets and a New Picture Puzzle! (Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns)

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Good Evening:

Those of you new to The San Francisco Scene–Seen! have likely not seen one of my puzzles. San Francisco might have more murals per square mile than than any other city in America (perhaps the world? who knows?). I like to take close up pictures of a section of a mural, for example, this:

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…and then show the entire mural and ask you to locate the section within the context of the mural as a whole. Here are some more closeups, along with snippets of conversations I’ve overheard during the past week. Such as this snippet:

(at a grocery store) Man: *Of course, what you really want is the free-range bacon, not like this packaged s***, but you’re on a budget, you gotta do what you gotta f****** do.”

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Friday morning: two men standing on the 71 Limited, discussing issues in their AA recovery group, including the problem that the sponsor of one of the men had fallen off the wagon. At one point in the conversation one of the men said, “I can’t take this anymore,” and pulled out his Android phone. He said “Wake up.” After the phone powered on, he said–to the phone, not his friend–“Today sucks.” He listened to his phone, then turned to the other man and said, “She says tomorrow will be a better day.”

“What the h*** does she know?”

“Yeah, right.” And they laughed.

A few more closeups:

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And now the mural as a whole.

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I don’t design my puzzles to pose significant difficulties, but I hope you enjoy this one anyway.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Rather unlike my latest “Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White” blog post, isn’t it?

Someone Notices the Contrast of White on White, 21 September 2013 (Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns)

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Good Morning:

One of my most favorite subjects is one of my least favorite colors. What interests me about white (OK, technically not a color), are the shadows created when the light comes from just the right angle, throwing into sharp contrast the lines, patterns, shapes and textures of the subject. Presenting now for your consideration, some recent examples.

Parking Lot, Wells Fargo Bank, Grove Street, San Francisco

Parking Lot, Wells Fargo Bank, Grove Street, San Francisco

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA, 1 September 2013

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA, 1 September 2013

Hayes Street Near Alamo Square, San Francisco

Hayes Street Near Alamo Square, San Francisco

White on White Series #333: SOMA District, San Francisco 24 August 2013

White on White Series #333: SOMA District, San Francisco 24 August 2013

White on White Series: Near Folsom Street, San Francisco, 16 August 2013

White on White Series: Near Folsom Street, San Francisco, 16 August 2013

Station 1, Eighth Street Near Mission, San Francisco, CA

Station 1, Eighth Street Near Mission, San Francisco, CA

White on White Series: Spiral, Near Folsom & 13th Streets, San Francisco CA

White on White Series: Spiral, Near Folsom & 13th Streets, San Francisco CA

White on White Series #441: ECU of Napkin, 20 September 2013

White on White Series #441: ECU of Napkin, 20 September 2013

White on White Series #400: Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

White on White Series #400: Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

Vonn Scott Bair