An Engineering Flow-What??

“I’m going to make dessert!” Callaghan announced as we finished lunch on Monday.

“YAY! Carrot-apple juice!” I cheered. We’d been plotting to make that for our next juice combo, and I’d been looking forward to it.

“Apple-carrot,” he said.

This gave me pause. Carrot-apple. Apple-carrot.

“I didn’t hear the ‘apple’ part,” he explained over my ensuing torrent of giggles.

We made the juice, stuck it in the freezer for 15 minutes, and enjoyed the sweet, dense and cold concoction. It was delicious, and we felt very full after we drank it. Of course we did – we’d just consumed about five liquefied apples and seven liquefied carrots, each! That’s a lot of pure, undiluted nutrition in a glass. Heavy stuff. On top of lunch, no less.

 

This is SO GOOD, and it's gorgeous... the apples mellow the bright orange carrots down into a juice of a deep, rich persimmon-like hue.

This is SO GOOD, and it’s gorgeous… the apples mellow the bright orange carrots down into a juice of a deep, rich persimmon-like hue.

 

That same day, I discovered beet juice stains on the front of my beige pants, the pants an apparent casualty of last week’s unfortunate beet massacre. Somehow, I failed to notice the stains at the time, so they’re pretty well set into the fabric. It looks like I had “an accident” and didn’t have coins for the public restroom feminine products dispenser. Note to Self: DO NOT wear beige pants while juicing beets. Wait… let me revise that…

How about just, Note to Self: “DO NOT juice beets, period.” (No pun intended.) Urgh.

We love our juicer. It’s funny how we ushered it into our kitchen and immediately boosted it up into our Miraculous Domestic Essentials category of things, so it’s now in the prestigious company of:

–WD-40

–Duct Tape

–Goo Gone

The Holy Trinity of household products.

As can be seen in this classic Engineering Flowchart: (OH MY… I just keyed in the best typo ever and debated on whether to fix it. I did fix it, but I must tell you what it was. I can’t resist. I accidentally typed “flowshart” – !! (If you don’t know what a “shart” is, you can either look it up or just see the film Along Came Polly and blame Philip Seymour Hoffman for calling my attention to that term.)

Anyway, as I was saying, the classic Engineering Flowchart that most of us have seen before:   

 

Engineering Flowchart

 

Speaking of revisions, someone should take a pen to this flowchart, because it’s lacking. Where is the Goo Gone on this chart? One might need to account for the circumstance of: “NOW it should move, so duct tape no longer necessary –> GOO GONE”

 

GOO GONE

 

Right?

Maybe I can use it to get the beet juice stains out of my pants….

My Experience with Juicing, or, What the Sea Witch Gave the Little Mermaid to Drink in Order to Grow Legs

Recently, we decided that it would be reasonable to invest in a juicer, so we conducted the obligatory consumer research and ordered one from Sears. Free shipping!

 

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

 

Once, in my thirties, I did the Master Cleanse for ten days, and I had no problem with it. Based on that experience, I figure I can easily do a fresh veggie juice fast four times a month; it’s a practice I wish to cultivate for detoxifying purposes (not for weight-loss). I invited Callaghan to do it with me, and he said yes, count him in! Okay, then… LET’S DO THIS.

The first time we used the juicer – last week – we double-checked to ensure that all the right parts of the machine were locked down into the right places. Despite our diligence, we somehow forgot to place a receptacle beneath the juice spout. Details! In a matter of seconds, we found ourselves in the middle of what looked like a violent crime scene, because the first thing we fed into the juicer was, of course, fresh BEETS. Also, the machine was facing backwards (which was why we forgot to check the spout), so we didn’t notice the error until the beet juice hemorrhage was well out of control.

We had to act fast. Our kitchen was the site of an unholy beet massacre; it looked like someone’s throat had been slit in the grand finale of a knife-wielding lunatic’s homicidal rampage. The beet juice spread quickly, pooling under and around things on the white kitchen counter. It splattered on the wall. It dribbled onto the floor. It went everywhere.

In a panic, we grabbed whatever we saw lying around to mop up the mess. The beet juice transferred from one thing to another, and all over us. Yikes! I thought. What if the cops happened to knock on the door at that very second for some random reason? We would have been caught literally red-handed, standing in our slasher flick movie set of a kitchen with gobs of bloody… er, beety… paper towels, a stained sponge and a smeared counter. It looked very bad. Also, somehow, there was a dirty coffee mug half-way filled with the stuff, adding to the macabre effect. I was wearing my skull t-shirt, too. We should have taken a picture.

Callaghan held up the remaining chunks of beets, and I said, “At least we have some left!”

That was Juicing, Part 1.

Juicing, Part 2 was about juicing the rest of the veggies once we worked the kinks out of our methodology.

Juicing, Part 3 was about drinking the juice.

The horror of Part 3 surpassed the horror of Part 1. The juice tasted like it came from a stagnant bog from the Pleistocene epoch, with an aftertaste of sweaty feet.

Coincidentally, my friend Beau wrote on his Facebook that day:

I juiced almost 2 pounds of kale and got a whopping 8 ounces of liquid. Due to its enticing, beautiful green color, I tried it out before mixing with my other fruits and veggies.

It tasted like a mouthful of the Gulf of Mexico……and not in a good way.

Wow, I thought as I commiserated with him in a comment on his post. What a coincidence! We’re both juicing kale today and concluding that it tastes like ass.

Later, Beau wrote:

Juice update: Mixed this…liquid…with the rest of the stuff the girl set aside for juicing. By adding several bell peppers, oranges, grapes, cucumber, lemons and a metric shitload of celery, I managed to get the taste boosted to “peppery sewage.” …….I will be revamping the recipe.

Yeah, I think the celery was one thing that killed it for me. That, and the garlic. And the cucumbers. Instead of melding into a harmonious brew, each of these flavors defiantly held their own shape and competed with each other with obnoxious force, bulldozing my tongue until it became a whimpering, limp rag in my mouth. Traumatized into oblivion, my poor taste buds spent the rest of the day engaged in a feeble battle to develop amnesia.

The juice is vile. As Beau put it, it tastes like how an exorcism feels.

But I choked down another glass for lunch.

In the middle of the afternoon, Callaghan and I stuffed organic apples into the juicer and gulped the juice like it was the elixir of the Gods. Ah! Fruit. Simple, sweet fruit.

Then I brushed my teeth and felt a little bit better, even though I still had an apocalyptic caffeine-withdrawal headache and my whole body felt hijacked from the inside out. It was like my blood had suddenly become claustrophobic and gathered itself into a frenzy to exit my pores in the most dramatic way possible, clashing against the insides of my veins like waves pounding the rocks on a stormy beach. Agitated toxins all riled up, I thought. I wasn’t hungry at all, but I felt sick. Also, I felt oddly cold and just very out-of-sorts in a particularly disconcerting way. I did not like being in my body. I fantasized about unzipping my skin and stepping out of it, leaving my miserable, toxin-riddled flesh suit in a heap on the floor.

I couldn’t understand it… since returning to the States, I’ve eaten pretty “clean” (which, for me, personally, means vegan and sans simple sugars/refined carbs, as well as nothing fried) 98% of the time, and the last time I consumed an alcoholic beverage was sometime in June, so it’s not like my body’s composed of junk and had a tidal wave of HEALTHY to reckon with upon introduction of the veggie juice. My habits are already very healthy. How could the juice be that great of a shock to my system? Nor did I remember feeling this way when I did the Master Cleanse, not even after ten days. My body doesn’t even react like this if I don’t consume anything at all for a day, for whatever reason. Also, I’d juice-fasted once or twice while we were in France, for several days at a time, and I’d felt just fine. The problem is THIS juice.

That evening, I still wasn’t hungry, but I opened the refrigerator and eyed the juice remaining in the glass pitcher. The day is almost over, I thought. I can do this. I love vegetables! How can drinking them be so different than eating them? I poured out a glass for each of us, but when I lifted mine to my mouth, my nose reacted first. The hairs in my nostrils withered, as though singed by an invisible flame. My throat tightened, and my gag reflex convulsed. My stomach curled into a ball and tried to hide. My mouth watered the way it does right before you vomit. I set the glass down.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m done,” I said to Callaghan, who was happily drinking his second glass of juice in one sitting. (What the hell? How can he…?)

“I’m French,” he informed me, reading my mind. “So I can eat the most terrible-tasting stuff.”

I drank some water, brushed my teeth again and went to bed.

The next day, my body looked like a million bucks.

It was Karen Black with the Candlestick in the Library: My Tribute to Karen Black

We initiated ourselves into the joys of juicing vegetables last week on Wednesday, and I was going to tell you all about it today, but then something happened on Thursday that takes precedence. On Thursday, the landscape of pop culture changed. We lost American actress Karen Black to cancer, and I want to take a minute to write about her in this space.

 

American actress Karen Black (July 1, 1939 - August 8, 2013)

American actress Karen Black (July 1, 1939 – August 8, 2013)

 

Although she earned critical acclaim – including Oscar and Golden Globes recognition, among others – for films such as The Great Gatsby, Nashville and Five Easy Pieces, the made-for-television movie Trilogy of Terror (1975) propelled Karen Black into the stratosphere of B-movie Scream Queen fame.

I’m fuzzy on the details of the first time I saw Trilogy of Terror.

I don’t remember exactly with whom. I don’t remember exactly when, and I don’t even remember where… but I do remember that a). it was with a girlfriend, b). we were in high school, c). we were at someone’s house… maybe mine, and d). an excessive amount of junk food was involved. There were probably Nacho Cheese Doritos, Twinkies, M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Coke. OH! Those chocolate-covered marshmallow cookie things, what are they called?

Got it – PINWHEELS. By Nabisco.

The cheesy tortilla chips were especially appropriate for the occasion.

As indicated by its title, Trilogy of Terror contains three separate stories. Karen Black stars as the protagonist in all three of them. The first two of the three bizarre short films that comprise the Trilogy are psychologically bent. The third, entitled “Amelia,” features a Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll… and that’s about all that needs to be said about that.

As far as I’m concerned, no prop in Horror will ever compare to Trilogy of Terror’s maniacal cackling, growling Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll. The clown in Poltergeist can’t touch it, and Chucky doesn’t even come close. Even the creepy doll in The Conjuring looks like Malibu Barbie next to it.

 

Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll in Trilogy of Terror's "Amelia"

Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll in Trilogy of Terror’s “Amelia”

 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and if you’re a Horror afficionado, I suggest you get Trilogy of Terror and skip straight ahead to “Amelia,” the third segment. Then go back and watch the first two, “Julie” and “Millicent and Therese,” so you can come away with the full Karen Black Trilogy of Terror experience.

At least two things came about as a result of Trilogy of Terror:

–After Karen Black did Trilogy of Terror, she went on to become something of a B-movie horror cult figure, more or less concentrating her efforts in the genre. A gothicky punk/shock-rock kind of band in New York even named itself “The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black” in her honor.

–Watching Trilogy of Terror spawned my affection for the Horror genre, which runs deep in my pop culture veins to this day.

Yes… for me, it was Trilogy of Terror that started it all. Why will I always run to the theater to watch the latest creepy movies, rather than the romantic comedies? It was Karen Black with the candlestick in the library.

At some point, a copy of Trilogy of Terror on VHS made its way into my movie collection, after which I pestered everyone I knew to watch it with me. (I’d long since lost track of how many times I’d viewed it.) Callaghan was the exception, because by the time he and I got together, I no longer owned a VCR, and neither did he. We moved to France. After I populated my bookshelves there with books from my collection, I carefully positioned my Trilogy of Terror video cassette on the edge of one of the shelves. I really need to replace that with a DVD version one day, I thought to myself as I did it.

I haven’t acquired the DVD yet. But I will.

When Karen Black’s death was announced on Thursday, I turned to Callaghan. We had another Glenn Close bunny-boiling Fatal Attraction situation on our hands. Callaghan still hadn’t seen Trilogy of Terror, so he couldn’t truly appreciate what Karen Black meant to me. I mean, he had no clue about the Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll! How could that be? Appropriate action had to be taken at the first opportunity. The next evening, we finally sat down to watch Trilogy of Terror together.

And, as always, “Amelia” induced laughter, because for all its spooky, cringe-worthy ferocity, that Zuni Fetish Warrior Doll is quite hilarious in some of its scenes. Callaghan loved it, as I knew he would (we have the same taste in just about everything).

When I mentioned that I would love to own a replica of that doll, Callaghan quickly said, “NO!”

Speaking of boiling bunnies, here’s a bit of trivia about Karen Black that endears her to me even more:

 

from: http://www.peta.org/features/Karen-Black.aspx

 

Thank you for everything, Karen Black. You will be missed… but, you know, you’ll never really die. Heheh.