Recipe #2 – Fruit in a Salad

Treat your salads with a bit more respect.  Don’t overload them with toppings, or douse it in some sort of dressing.  A salad is a wonderful canvas to explore flavors and textures and you do your salad discredit when you think of it as a dumping receptacle for nineteen different toppings or merely as a dish to be ignored on your way to the main dish.  DOWN WITH BORING SALAD!

And because nothing tastes better than effort, here’s how to make your own quick pickled shallots.

Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well.

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Dick Figures – The Shots

DFTHAPPY HOLIDAYS!  As a gift to all you loyal readers/drinkers out there, I have decided to try and squeeze one more cocktail in before the year’s end.  While talking with my friend and colleague Zack Keller about narrating his first book The Success of Suexliegh we segued into discussing Dick Figures (a web series about two idiotic stick figures doing moronic exploits amongst equally deranged characters) that he co-created.  Since it’s impossible to have a conversation with me where I don’t mention alcohol somehow, the following exchange took place:

Me: Ooh ooh!  Someone should make a Dick Figure cocktail.
Zack:  Haha, that would be stupendous!
Me:  All it would have to do is be red and blue.
Zack:  Totally.
Pause.
Me:  It’d be really easy.
Zack:  Yes.
Pause.
Me:  I’m gonna have to do it, aren’t I?
Zack: Since you were the one who lent word to thought, I would have to say, “Duh.”

Thusly was I sent forth by the creator himself to concoct the official tipple of the Dick Figures web series.

df01The Dick Figures Double Shot

My original intention was to create a layered drink, but all my experiments were more embalming than they were delicious and had a tendency to actually make me act like a dick.  While that might be more in the spirit of the show, I concluded that it would be better for the drink to taste good with less douche-creating effects.  So I ditched my “single drink” concept for a simpler “two shots of equal measure” idea.  I just had to make sure each shot met certain criteria: they had to represent the main characters’ personalities; they had to match the zany, high-energy motif of the show; and they had to be red and blue.

df02

Red Shot
– 2 Parts Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
– 1 Part Jägermeister
– 1 Part Red Bull: Red Edition

df03

Blue Shot
– 2 Parts Peppermint Schnapps
– 1 Part Any Overly-Sweet Blue Liqueur (Kinky Blue, Hypnotiq, etc.)
– 1 Part Red Bull: Blue Edition

To my luck, Red Bull has created a red and a blue version of their drinks that are cranberry and blueberry flavored, respectively.  Each shot gets a dash of Red Bull to give the imbiber enough of a boost to go out a kill a stegosaurus.  Red’s is made with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to match his spicy and vivacious attitude, along with some Jägermeister to represent his fratboy mentality and backwards hat.

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Blue is, by comparison, the smarter and calmer of the two, so he gets a good dose of chilly Peppermint Schnapps.  He’s also kind of a pussy, so he gets a dash of whatever sickeningly sweet, always-goes-into-those-so-called “Girly Drinks”, bright blue liqueur you can get your hands on (I used Kinky Blue, but Hypnotiq would work just as well).

df05

After making each shot, flip a coin to see which one you drink first.  Then comes the “stupid” part of this cocktail:

  • Drink one.
  • Immediately drink the other.

If you want to add a bit more foolhardiness, you’ll down the rest of the Red Bulls, along with two beers, and then steal a cop car.  Those aren’t necessary, though.

The shots are vastly different, but because they each have some fruity, berry action from the Red Bull, their flavors don’t clash at all.  Drink, turn on those Intarnets, sit back, and let Red and Blue engross you from both the inside and the outside.

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Enjoy!

Here are recipe cards for Red and Blue.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for the latest season of Dick Figures, or better yet, check out Dick Figures The Movie.  You can also go and find the first ten chapters of Zack Keller’s The Success of Suexliegh audiobook, head over to Amazon where you can buy paperback and ebook copies, or stroll around to ZackKeller.com to see more information on his other literary works Meet Me At The Falls, and his sophomore novel, Penwell.  You can also take a gander at the work of Ed Skudder, the other creator of Dick Figures, on Tumblr and YouTube.  Massive kudos to the people at Dick Figure Wiki for their extreme attention to detail, which made finding examples for this article so easy.

AirSWAT – The Series – Chapter 7

Okay, this one won’t be that long.  I’ve talked about most of the issues we had as a group already, and to continue would seem like regurgitation.  I will talk about motives for a little bit, but I’m saving the big lesson for the last entry which is looming on the horizon like some kind of, I don’t know, celestial orb or something, burning with the heat of hell’s fury.

. . . Yeah, a little like that, I guess . . .

Now people can have different motives for doing things, which is fine.  I have a friend that drinks to escape the misery of life, and I drink because my great-great-grandfather was a bottle of gin and so it’s up to me to maintain the heritage.  And yet we both get together and hit up the bars like we’re going to die tomorrow, which might be a self-fulfilling prophesy depending on how much liquor we can get our hands on.  But motives can also clash and on artistic projects how those clashes are dealt with could mean the difference between a great partnership and never working with each other ever again.

One person is it in for the money.  One person is strictly about the art.  One is for the jokes and the other for the action.  One is willing to alter the idea to reach the biggest audience, and the other is willing to sacrifice viewership for originality.  None of these are the wrong choices and they aren’t necessarily polar opposites –

This is the cutest example of opposites that I could find.

– but given equal power and gone unsaid, the separate motives of the individuals will damage the group as a whole.  Something has to give, and each side has negative connotations.  Work for the money, you’re a sellout.  Work for the art, you’re a snob.  Try to work for both and you’re unrealistic.  The only thing more important than figuring out your partners’ motives is figuring out yours, not just for the project but for your life as an artist.  Where you fall in this constant debate between artists will not just sculpt your work but the environment you build for yourself.

This was the beginning of our zany PSA’s, where we ditched trying to deliver some social-minded message for getting in whatever one-liners we couldn’t fit into the main script, and because of that this ended up being the weakest one.  It’s still funny, but it’s also transparent, neither relying on us as a misguided group nor individual characters spreading awareness.  It does make me hungry every time I watch it though.

AirSWAT – The Series – Chapter 6

This is going to be a shorter article as I am a busy busy busy man.

As you can see, I have my sinister spoon in many soups.

When working on a personal project that does not produce any monetary value, high morale and fun replace currency.  You must set goals because that’s the only way to get things done in this world, but it is almost more important to make sure you are doing what you’re doing because you like doing it (doing doing doing doing).  When morale drops, when the only form of payment from the process lessens, you are effectively cutting your own pay thereby making the entire project more like laborious work than something you care about. And that pay cut will stick around with you for a lot longer than a monetary one if you are invested in the project enough for your immediate emotional well-being to be at stake.

Like this, except it's your soul.

As time has gone on it was apparent that the group’s motivation for the series started to split and shift from the original concept.  That’s fine.  The evolution of an idea is a vital and necessary part of the process but none of us agreed on where exactly to take it.  More business?  More craft?  More advertising?  More rewrites?  We never fully agreed on where we wanted it to go as a group (hell, we hardly talked about that until the end) and the rift between our own personal goals for the project caused tension between us.

"I said it should be 'Irish & the Carbombs', not 'Irish & the Car-Bombs'!" "Oh yeah?!"

The second episode (which was actually the third episode we filmed as we shot one out in the desert for promotional material) was much more involved than the first.  There were more locations, more props, choreography, potential pyrotechnics (which we soon decided to use CGI for, much to my distaste as I am very willing to sacrifice my friend’s genitals in order for it to “look real”), and many more times when we had to be innovative and change our strategy to get as close to the script as possible with what little time and materials we had.  I think what we ended up with was great.  Not perfect, but I think that hint of rawness added to the makeshift feel of Irish and the Car-Bombs.

Frankly, this is the best idea I've ever come up with.

But the shooting was no longer as fun as it had been when we started.  For the entirety of the second episode, my favorite part was location scouting.  We ended up hiking through the wilderness for the entire day and by the end we found a huge mountain of dirt that we took turns jumping off of.  That feeling of boys playing in the dirt, a small brotherhood where communication could occur without words, is what the show was really about.  Not airsoft, not action, not comedy.  It was about the friendship that only guys share, part humor, part bravado, part loyalty, and I think as we started to lose focus on that we started to lose control of the series.

I don’t think this article ended up being any shorter than the last.  Dammit, now I’m tired but I don’t know if I can get to slewopjiwa;ovio;3rh o og…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

AirSWAT – The Series – Chapter 5

It’s hard enough just getting by in this world, let alone trying to do something.  But when someone comes along and starts spouting condescending, parental-sounding bullshit advice then you suddenly have to deal with murderous rage alongside everything else.  Please forgive the general truism, but if you are to succeed in any venture a definite structure must be set into place.  God, I feel dirty, excuse me while I take a shower.

Five minutes later.

Unfortunately, it’s true (truism . . . true . . . oh, I get it).  We had no solid structure to how we went about producing.  Oh, I tried to keep a calendar and notes of when we talked, but these were feeble attempts when a key element in the structure was missing: Hierarchy.  In AirSWAT, each of us held the same amount of power as the others in every aspect of the project.  This was fine in general as AirSWAT wouldn’t have existed if we each hadn’t been involved, but in regards to each particular production it was a detriment.  Going from my POV for a moment (unlike the rest of the article which should be considered straight from the mouth of THE LORD), working endlessly on the script from conception to realization only to have one of the others argue against a crucial plot point during production was more than just aggravating but truly upsetting.  And I’m sure that this happened vice versa as I would argue/comment about an area that I did not have experience in, such as the actual filming process.  Undermining each other is a natural part of this set up.

“Fuck these guys.”

If for every production we had said, “Okay, Nic and Pete, you write.  Matt, handle direction and filming.  Mark, just . . . just . . . just act, man.  You’re good at that,” then a hierarchy would have been set.  We could have written, directed and produced without getting in each other’s way, thereby forgoing many of the issues that we ended up having with each other.

Example - I'm a dick.

But there’s more to it than the practical.  Now here comes another truism, but this one doesn’t make me feel like some corporate stooge so I won’t need to take another shower.

This time, I want to do it.

On a creative project, you can wear many hats, but you can not wear them at the same time.  You can not write as an editor or you will spend all of your time nitpicking and the writing will suffer.  You can not act at the exact same time you are directing others or else you won’t be in the moment and the performance will suffer.  You can not produce and promote at the same time or the project will suffer.  You can do all of those things, but you must do them separately or else the quality of the work will lessen.  The separation between duties and roles is vital to the success of a creative endeavor.

Here is another PSA, the only one we didn’t film in a garage with a parachute as a back drop.  To his credit this was one of Mark’s ideas, and it was the last PSA that we filmed that actually could have a genuine message to it.

Ladies, honestly, we love you. Keep yourselves safe. Also, BOOBIES!