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July 2009

HippoJuice News Archives from July 2009:

Law and Order: SVU | Harry Potter & the HBP | John Reviews Ricky’s Lounge | Our 4th of July

7/29/09: Why is Law and Order: SVU so addictive?

Marie

Article by
Marie "SVU Junkie" Sarkisian

I never watch the show. Really, in my life I've probably only watched it on 2 separate occasions. Once in college, with a friend who was addicted to the show, and again last Sunday.

Law and Order SVU

You never just plan on watching Law and Order SVU. It just happens to be on at odd times when nothing else is on and you are massively bored. As is my example of last Sunday; I couldn't have had less to do.

So I'm sitting there watching it, and watching it, and watching it: minutes pass, hours pass. I check the guide - SVU is on ALL day. Surprisingly, I find myself thinking "Awesome!" even though I've never considered myself a fan of the show. Why am I so excited? Law and Order SVU is one big cliff hanger with an unsatisfying ending EVERY TIME. The only show I've known like it is Lost.

For example, the show always starts with a rape or murder - or sometimes a rape/murder. Then they go through the mysteries and detective work, and finally have the trail. You'd think it would wrap up nicely in an episode, right? Bad guy gets caught, good guys go home happy? WRONG! I suppose they try to make it more like real life. Sometimes the bad guys get off the hook.

The weirdest show was with Ludacris. He is on trial for raping and murdering a girl by shoving a knife up her no-no parts. However, he's connected to one of the cops in the investigation. The show ends by him getting off the hook, and all the NYPD cops getting in trouble, and the original judge stepping down because as he claimed, "cops take care of their own," and he had dirt on all of them. How is that a satisfying ending? So of course, when the next show rolls over, you keep watching, hoping you'll feel better after this episode. But you don't.

I had to go to dinner half way between an episode, and I felt like a junkie needing a fix. NOOOOOO, do they try the 14 year old as an adult? What happened to the boy? Does he move to Canada?

It was terrible. I had cold sweats through the appetizer.

I never did look up that episode to find out what happened. I should do that later? Argh, that kid was so weird.

And yet, I still would be happy never seeing Law and Order again. It's the weirdest thing. I guess it is like a drug. You need it while you're watching it, but if you quit you don't need to go back.

So I guess the guys on Law and Order need to work on getting people to see the first minute of the show and they're set for life!

7/20/09: HARRY POTTER &THE HBP OMG!! <3

Marie

Article by
Marie "Sectumsempra Non-User" Sarkisian

OK. It wasn't perfect. Get over it, nerd!

I'm one of the bigger Harry Potter freaks. I'm not claiming to be the biggest (I didn't even wear a Griffindor outfit to the theaters, *gasp!*), but I have read all the books more than once and seen all the movies several times. I've also had lengthy HP discussions with family and friends.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

With my credibility now established, I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the 6th Harry Potter movie, the Half-Blood Prince. Maybe it's because I saw it Sunday night, so I already had my friends telling me how much was cut out of the movie; or maybe it's because I re-watched 4 and 5 the day before and remembered how much the directors altered in the last two. I walked into the theater almost fearful I would witness another butcher's job.

A fan always tries to give the movie a chance because we love seeing the characters come to life. I tried to displace my mind from the book's plot line and just enjoy the movie for what it is - supplemental material. And surprisingly enough, enjoying the film wasn't hard to do!

--------------------------------- SPOILIER ALERT ---------------------------------

Yes, things were cut. I think everyone's main gripe is the ending: Harry wasn't under his cloak; Dumbledore didn't stun him; there was no fight at Hogwarts; there was no funeral for Dumbledore; and all the emotion and revelation that is always so satisfying at the end of the book was pretty much glossed over. That bothered me.

And there were mixed feelings about the treatment of Dumbledore explaining Tom Riddle to Harry. In the book, Dumbledore shows Harry a series of memories about Tom to give Harry a deeper understanding of the type of student Tom was and to help clarify how Tom became Voldermort. The movie only showed 2 memories and barely defined the Horcruxes and the significance of the items Voldermort chose to house his cut souls.

A beautifully shot, but completely fabricated, scene was where Harry and Ginny chase Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback through the field and then the Death Eaters burn down the Weasley home. That never happened in the book. And they need the house for the last movie. It's additions like these that drive fans bonkers because that's time that could have been spent explaining Tom, the horcruxes, or the half-blood prince.

And again, Dobby was left completely out. I'm not forgetting about S.P.E.W.

But some things that were cut were understandable (now, if David Yates split 6 like he did 7, he should have left it all in). For example, in the book, we find that Tonks and Lupin have a romantic relationship that was only hinted at in the movie by Tonks referring to Lupin with a term of endearment. But that story wasn't crucial to the main plot.

However, does the audience need to know all that? I think the plot had enough of it to make it understandable for someone who hadn't read the book. And if the viewer wanted more information, pick up book 6 and read it (hopefully after reading 1-5).

Overall, I was thrilled to see some of the best acting out of all 6 movies, and some much needed comic relief after the frustrating storyline of The Order of the Phoenix (the book was even more frustrating for poor Harry!). Lavender and Sloghorn did a fantastic job, and returning characters like Snape, Bellatrix were as good as always. And I have to give props to Michael Gambon - he must have been listening to the fans because he definitely lightened up his take on Dumbledore. Everyone thought he played the role much too angrily in the last 2 movies. Even Daniel, Rupert, and Emma seemed to have gotten better.

--------------------------------- SPOILIER ALERT END ---------------------------------

So overall, it's not the book, but it's pretty darn good as far as a movie goes. So stop whining! (and read the books again.)

7/15/09: John Reviews Ricky’s Lounge

John

Article by
John "Fancy Tastebuds" Sanzari

Scene: Bright Atmosphere; a typical local sports bar.
Seating arrangement is spread out; very unorthodox.
As soon as you step inside you are immediately whisked away to 1985, with the exception of the state-of-the-art TVs.

For those of you not familiar with Rickey's Restaurant & Lounge in Hollywood, FL, Ricky's is not only renown for there hot sauces, but the proprietor, Billy Mitchell, also holds the world record for the highest score in the arcade game Donkey Kong.

As far as their hot sauces,you're in for a treat; they have much more than what is offered on the menu. For a sports bar, their food presentation and selection is surprisingly impressive.

Ricky's is what's hot on the street for seafood and wings. I didn't get seafood this time, so I'll have to come back and try it later. This is already my second time this week!

Unable to decide on one appetizer, I went the Super Sampler. The Super Sampler includes cheese stix, onion rings, fried mushrooms, broccoli bites, and of course chicken fingers:

  • Broccoli Bites: Wow! More like 'sexy bites.' Of all the things I have ever had deep fried, these are the best by far. A very good mixture when adding the Ricky’s world famous habenero sauce to them.
  • Fried Mushrooms: These were a little bland for my taste; a very greasy concoction of taste and texture.
  • Chicken Fingers: These have quite a kick to them. I wonder what the secret ingredient is in their batter? They sure aren't telling me, that’s for sure. Nice and juicy, with a southern style blend.
  • Cheese Stix: They have a good consistency, not too much cheese and not too crispy.
  • Onion Rings: Meh, they're onion rings.

For my main entree, I ordered the wings in the fashion of what is known simply as the "around the world tour" where all their sauces are presented on a tray along side the wings.

Here is my spread sheet on my interpretation on the sauces:

  • Habanero: All in all, I absolutely loved the habanero! I had a little bit of sinus congestion walking in. Now it's gone.
  • BBQ: Right behind was the BBQ. I suspected this sauce were not their own creation because it took me way back to another part of my lifetime. With some slight persuasion, they confessed it is not their own blend. Very disappointing.
  • Mild: The mild sauce was a tasty, classic robust wing sauce, but I felt like it was holding back on its true potential.
  • Honey: The honey sauce was my least favorite.
  • Hot: The stand alone hot sauce was weak.
  • Jalapeño: The Jalapeño was good, it has a nice texture and well balanced spice consistency.

Rickys Hot Sauce Chart

I ordered the wings naked. I was informed after the fact that the true way to get the real famous taste is to have them breaded. My waitress also informed me their other location has a breakfast menu which is "soon to be famous." I'll have to make a second trip, for the wings breaded, as well as the seafood, as well as try their other location's breakfast menu.

PS,
"There's a Donkey Kong Kill Screen coming up if anyone's interested."
- The King of Kong

7/6/09: Why Expensive Places need to stay Expensive

Marie

Article by
Marie "No Speaka Spanish" Sarkisian

So this Independence Day weekend HippoJuice Royce, Ryan, Katie and I went to the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hallendale Beach. We were hoping for a nice, relaxing weekend by the beach where we could kick off our shoes, build sand castles, and bury Royce in the sand.

What we did not expect was 1/2 of Hialeah checking in for the weekend with their extended families all crowing in 1 room each.

Hialeah Baby!

Walking into the 5-star hotel, we were baffled to see the normally quiet lobby crowded with Miami's finest, carrying aerobeds, portable grills, food, liquor, and fireworks. It literally looked like they were invading. We all immediately felt terrible for anyone who rented a room not of the Hispanic decent, and felt ashamed for all man kind.

Delivery men were coming and going non-stop the whole weekend because none of the restaurants there were either Cuban or cheap. Good luck finding yucca frita or bistec de pollo in Aizia, much to the horror of one family who only ended up ordering 2 bowls of rice and 2 curry chickens and then claiming the chicken was inedible because it wasn't fried (paraphrased drastically). I wouldn't try ordering vaca frita in Hollywood Prime either. And what kind of hotel doesn't offer hot fudge sundaes at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night? One man was awestruck that the sundaes were NOT to be had at such an hour.

If you went outside, you got a REAL treat. On any other day, you could just walk through the huge revolving doors to the double layered pool, and then to the beach. But NOT this weekend. This weekend, you had to show your room key to get past security, and once outside you had to wait in line to give your designated "fun card" to staff in exchange for a wrist bracelet and 2 towels. You needed the bracelet to prove you paid to be there, and the fun card would be returned to you only if you returned your towels. If you don't return your towels and try to go back for more, you would be charged $25 for each extra towel.

I can see how this would help with the crowds, so that people didn't start bringing their whole neighborhood to the pool, but the system was so faulty that we ended up with 5 fun cards by the end of Saturday just for the hell of it. We just kept returning towels and collecting more cards. We should have sold the cards for a profit.

As we were outside fighting for lounge chairs, we found out the reason Hialeah overbooked the hotel was because of a Hotwire.com deal where they rented out their rooms for $69 a night!! The only catch was they didn't say the name of the hotel, it was just promised to be a 5-star. Normally a room goes for around $200-300 a night. So because the Diplomat participated in this online special, they succeeded in completely trashing their hotel in 2 days time (and I bet they didn't make too much money from it either, being that drinks alone will cost you around $12).

I hope the Diplomat staff learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose too many would-be repeat customers! Needless to say, we are never going there again for the 4th of July.

 

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