Friday, May 25, 2012


I do have a major gripe with Netflix. I also have a couple of good things to say about them. First, some background.

I don't have cable TV. I have lots of DVDs, but it's a lame financial model to purchase the DVD of every movie that you think you might like. I do have a Kindle Fire and I subscribe to Amazon Prime. Amazon lets me stream a fairly good selection of movies and TV shows for free--included with my Prime subscription. There are some gaps--particularly movies that are not "mainstream" and black-and-white movies.

I decided to check out Netflix streaming. The fee of $8 a month seemed reasonable, assuming that the selection was good. I did not discover a way to preview the titles in their streaming catalog so I just bit for the 30-day free trial.

Watching a movie on Netflix streaming is a very pleasant experience. Amazon is good, but Netflix is really good. In general, the Netflix streaming just worked the way you'd want it to. Resuming a movie was seamless.

Another thing I'll say in Netflix's favor is that their recommendation of movies is actually pretty good. I know I've been frustrated by Amazon's book recommendations continuously hyping Harry Potter to me. I'm like, Thanks, I'm sure it's a quality series, but I'm just not interested! Amazon never did get the hint.

Okay, now for the slams... and they are devastating.

Netflix's streaming selection is really pretty lame. If you're only interested in well-known, mainstream movies, Netflix might suit you fine. If you're interested in quirky cult classics or even classic black-and-white titles, Netflix Streaming has little to offer.

And you know, it's not even such a problem that Netflix Streaming has a weak catalog. The bigger problem is that if they don't have what you're looking for, they suggest a pile of unrelated crap that they expect you to weed through.

Case in point: I search for "Out of the Past"--in quotes. I'm looking for a specific film noir movie. Turns out (I think) that Netflix doesn't have it available for streaming. But they don't give me a simple "Not Found" message. No, they give me 340 pages of unrelated crap including (hello) Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman. Do they think I'm an idiot? Do they think I'm going to pore through 340 pages of junk when I provided them with an exact title and it was not returned on the first page of search results?

Perhaps if I were willing to use their DVD-by-Mail service, the title selection would be more reasonable. Given that their streaming selection is so lame and given that their search algorithm is crap and (in my case) given that I already subscribe to Amazon Prime, I think there is little chance that I'll be sending them $8 a month for the privilege of accessing their services. I still have 3 weeks on my trial so I may yet change my mind. Yeah, right.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 27

This week's basket contained:
  • Rainbow chard
  • Scapes
  • Celery
  • Dill weed
  • Shell beans
  • 2 buffalo steaks
  • 1 pt. strawberries

The chard will be a side dish that includes butter, olive oil, garlic, red onion, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. I've made this before and it is very yummy.

Scapes? I was told by the CSA lady that they're basically garlic greens. I plan on making a pesto with them. Apparently they also serve well in a stir fry.

The celery is loaded with leaves. I think I'll wrap it up in paper towels and preserve it for next weekend. There are all manner of one-pot recipes that could benefit from fresh celery. For the short term, I'm still eating lamb curry leftovers and there will be a few salmon dinners coming up.

Dill weed... yikes! I can put some on salmon since I'm having that regularly of late. I could make a dip with cream cheese but hey... I'm already making scape pesto. I'll just try to keep it fresh for a couple of weeks so it can grace a number of salmon meals.

I assume the shell beans will be a side dish. They look like snow peas but the shells are kinda tough..

Buffalo meat is notoriously lean. Cooks are advised to score steaks slightly at intervals to avoid having the meat curl when cooked.

I will probably eat the strawberries with plain yogurt--great as a snack or dessert.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 26

This week's basket contained:

  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce
  • 8 small tomatoes
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch garlic chives
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 7 small potatoes
  • 2 lamb shanks

The strawberries were eaten with plain yogurt. Very delicious as a dessert or breakfast.

The mint went into Mint Juleps. That was the idea, eh? Still got a few sprigs left.

I used some garlic chives on baked salmon. Maybe the rest will go that route, too.

I steamed the potatoes as a side to a salmon + veggie dinner.

The lamb shanks are calling me to make some kind of curry. Maybe this coming weekend.

Everything else is just screaming SALAD! I only sliced up one of the two cucumbers into the salad mix. I intend to use the second cucumber as follows: sliced cucumber, sugar, vinegar. A very delicious salad I remember from my childhood.