Happy fall. The Kindle versions of two of my books are free at Amazon today: Lonely Satellite and Bias Cut. Bias Cut is an IPPY silver medalist and an ABNA semi-finalist; it’s a murder mystery set in the fashion industry. Lonely Satellite is an ABNA quarter-finalist; it’s an alternate timeline retelling of Bias Cut set in a post-nuclear wasteland. Both are pretty good! Get yourself some free reading material for the weekend.
Came up with a new recipe this week, which is very loosely based on something delicious my sister ordered at the restaurant in the Hotel Murano during our vacation this summer: I cooked up some soba noodles, then rinsed them in cold water and set them aside. I cubed a sweet potato and boiled it until somewhat soft, then drained it. Cooked up a chicken breast that I’d quickly marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, then sliced it and added it to a cast-iron skillet with the sweet potato and soba. I made up a quick sauce of miso paste, peanut butter, and rice vinegar, and mixed everything together over low heat until the sauce coated all the ingredients evenly. Served it in a bowl with Asian cabbage slaw—purple cabbage, lime juice, grated ginger, soy sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, peanut butter—for a quick, colorful, heathyish meal. Peanut allergies beware, but for everyone else, this is some damn tasty food.
A friend commented on last week’s roundup to alert me to this bit of nonsense from the tour book from Duran Duran’s 2005 Astronaut tour. This is Nick Rhodes’s list of top ten fantasy characters (h/t mousie):
There’s a lot to unpack here! In order:
Modesty Blaise: Could refer to either the stylish 1960s comic strip/book series about a female secret agent, or the trippy 1966 film starring Monica Vitti and a smoking-hot Terence Stamp. I could easily see Nick being a big fan of either or both.
Ziggy Stardust: Well, obviously.
Catwoman: Comic version? Cartoon version? Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer? It’s unknown which Catwoman incarnation strikes Nick’s fancy, but the only incorrect answer here would be “Halle Berry.”
Peter Pan: Eternal youth? Yeah, that sounds right up Nick’s alley. I don’t see Nick being a Disney buff, so I presume he means the original J.M. Barrie character .
Dracula: Of course. Never forget: Nick went through a phase where he wore custom-made fangs during sex.
Homer Simpson: I don’t know why Homer is on this list. Let’s just accept that Nick is an odd bird and move on.
Barbarella: There was zero chance Barbarella would not make the cut.
Yaten: Aha! This is interesting! As some clever people figured out online, this is probably a reference to a relatively obscure character in the vast Sailor Moon universe: Yaten is one of the Sailor Starlights in the manga/anime series Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. In the manga, Yaten is a super-powered female warrior who, along with her fellow Starlights, cross-dresses as a world-famous male pop star to disguise her identity on earth; in the anime, Yaten actually physically becomes male whenever he’s in civilian duds. He’s tiny and stylish and hilariously pissy, and oh, yeah, he plays the keyboards. Yaten is in essence an animated version of Nick Rhodes, only he’s a version of Nick who keeps turning into a super-powered defender of the galaxy with girl-parts and a costume made of pure fetish garb. If anybody’s ever wondering why I’m so firm in my conviction that Nick is the very best Duran, it’s exactly because of stuff like this.
Captain Scarlet: Another good one. Steve Malins’s unauthorized biography of Duran Duran gets a lot of mileage out of Nick’s long-standing Captain Scarlet fetish. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was a 1967 UK television series featuring Gerry Anderson’s supermarionation puppetry (Captain Scarlet, as well as most of Anderson’s other programs, never aired in the United States; the best-known example here is Thunderbirds). Captain Scarlet is an indestructible undead zombie pilot who battles a powerful Martian race known as the Mysterons; the plot is too baffling and convoluted to easily recap, so I’m just going to quote verbatim from Wikipedia: Captain Scarlet becomes Spectrum's foremost weapon in its fight against the Mysterons after the events of the pilot episode, in which the Mysterons threaten to assassinate the World President as their first act of retaliation. The original Scarlet is killed in a car accident engineered by the Mysterons and replaced with a Mysteron reconstruction. However, when the Scarlet duplicate is shot by Spectrum officer Captain Blue and falls to his death from a tall structure, it returns to life with the consciousness of its human template restored, and is thereafter free from Mysteron control. Scarlet's ex-Mysteron body possesses two remarkable abilities: he is able to sense the presence of other Mysteron duplicates in his vicinity, and if he is injured or killed, retro-metabolism restores him to a state of top health. Now able to deploy suicidally reckless tactics to thwart Mysteron threats, Scarlet repeatedly braves the pain of death in the knowledge that he will recover to face the Mysterons once more.
That’s pretty much it. Only it’s all done with puppets. You know, for kids. Here are the opening credits:
Cinderella: Once again, I can’t see Nick being a Disney man, so I’m betting he means the seventeenth-century Charles Perrault version.
Video of the week: The extended cut of Rainbow’s “Street of Dreams”, from 1983:
Enjoy fall, everyone. Put on a sweater, drink warm beverages, go for a walk in the park on a blustery day and pet cute dogs. That’s my plan, at least.