Sunday, September 26, 2010

Catalog Living

I am a sucker for pictures of houses in magazines, but it's true - whose house actually looks like that?! Not to mention the practicality of some of the decor. This site tries to imagine what would people who live in these houses do? think? worry about?
As an example:

"Gary, we got the desk and Medieval Torture Chair you wanted, so why do you still insist on reading on the floor? Now, where’s that beige book I came in here for?"

Check it out, it's good for a chuckle:

Technical help!

Every time I embed a video from YouTube I can only see half of it on my blog. Does anyone know how to fix this?

"Bleak House"

I admit it!... I have never ever finished a Charles Dickens novel. It isn't that I can't appreciate "classics", I just can't seem to wade through a Dickens of a story (wah-wah-wah. I know it was bad). Anyhow, fortunately for all of us BBC does amazing things with Dicken's novels and brings to life the zany but never quite over-the-top characters. One of the best adaptations is "Bleak House" starring Gillian Anderson (of X-Files fame) with a flawless british accent and flawless acting. The only other name I know is Anna Maxwell Martin (Bessy Higgins from "North and South") who you of course feel immediately invested in her character Esther Summerson because she has a way of pulling you in. I take that back, I did recognize Carey Mulligan who plays Ada Clare (from the 2005 "Pride & Prejudice" she played Kitty). This role gave her a lot more to do and she took advantage of it. A lot of the other faces I recognized, but couldn't place from where. But of course all are top-notch actors - British actors are so much more dependably brilliant than american (on the whole).
Charles Dance is brilliantly nefarious as the lawyer Tulkinghorn. Denis Lawson is utterly beleivable as the generous Jon Jarndyce. Burn Gorman as bumbling and ambitious Guppy is delightfully embarrassing to watch. Nathaniel Parker gave me the shudders with his portrayel of Skimpole who claims to be as "innocent as a child" when it comes to matters of money and the world, but manipulates all around him so he can live off their wealth. Oh, I could go on and on!
It's about 7 hours long in 30 minute episodes (except for the first which is a full hour). It makes it easy to split it up over time if desired, but watch it you must. This is the best way to enjoy Dickens. Here's the trailer for it:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A blog you should be reading

"The Complete Guide to Everything" has hilarious anecdotes and amusing observations. I know the author from Junior High and High School, but you don't need to know him to appreciate his awesome humor. This guy deserves more people reading and commenting on his blog. So, head over there and try not to spit your drink out of your nose whilst perusing his columns...

"Kingkiller Chronicles: Wiseman's Fear" release date FINALLY announced!

Boo-yah! Patrick Rothfuss finally has an official release date to the sequel to his indescribably awesome "The Name of the Wind"! It's kind of far off, so be assured I will remind again as it gets closer :)
MARCH 11, 2011 !!!!!!
*Happy dance* *Happy dance*
Though I'm sure Becky is the only one familiar with this glorious fantasy novel, I'm recommending it to everyone! I lent it to my friend Amaris who is normally not a fantasy kind of gal and she loved it. I'd loan it to you, but my copy has wandered off somewhere and will be in big trouble when it returns. :(
Get it from the library, bookstore, friend, whatever. This book doesn't feel like a fantasy (at least not the bad, easy to make fun of fantasy) It's the best kind of fantasy, where the world feels real, the magic has specific rules that are never broken, and the societies and places feel whole and diverse. Funny, adventuresome, poignant, mysterious... this thing has it all!
Have you ordered it off Amazon yet?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yummy Baked Rigatoni

This is one of our favorites. I'll post the link, but first some thoughts:
1. It calls for 2 tsp salt. Holy high cholesterol Batman! I use 1/2 tsp salt and it tastes fine (remember cheese already has a higher sodium content)
2. I substitute spinach, not really a collard greens fan : /
3. Still can't really have spicy stuff yet, so just an fyi, it tastes fantastick w/out the red pepper flakes.
That's all. Enjoy the yummy Italian dinner :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Cape Fear"

Now, I'm talking the original 1961 Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum "Cape Fear". I miss this kind of film. I saw an interview with the director lamenting the censorship they had to endure back then, but he also admitted that he had been told by numerous people that this version was able to get the information across and because (not despite) it being suggestive not outright portrayed, it was indeed even creepier.
The one thing I most assuredly do NOT miss is the female acting. Though I will say it had calmed down quite a bit by this point in time.

Basically Mitchum plays ex-convict Max Cady, who was imprisoned due to testimony given by Gregory Peck's character, Sam Bowden(who is a lawyer, but was not acting in that capacity at Mitchum's trial). Cady is now out and is randomly showing up to intimidate Bowden, though he's very very careful to not do anything the cops can get him with. Inherent in his conversations is the threat he poses to Bowden's family (wife and teenage daughter). It all leads up to a trap that Bowden sets (which of course puts his family at enormous risk) and the ensuing confrontation. It's reminiscent of Hitchcock - the suspense and the way it's directed and even the music. No shock, come to find out many of those working on the movie had worked with Hitchcock himself. It was redone in 1995 by Scorcese, but from what I hear it did all the things that I think are wrong with today's suspense films (namely thinking the act itself is more suspenseful than the waiting and leading up to). Also, in the original, Bowden's family is a happy loyal family, heaven forbid a movie portray that lately.

No wonder this movie is considered a classic. Truly creeptacular performance by Mitchum, of course Peck is solid, and the performances by the girls are at least more natural than many of their contemporary actress' performances.
One of Cady's creepiest lines - "I made her write me a love letter. Made her use lots of dirty words. Then I ... occupied her time for 3 days... You understand?" *shudder*
Here's a short trailer. Of course, done at that time, so not as great as today's trailers, but you get the point...

"Israel vs. Iran vs. Obama" by OSC

One of the most haunting points Card makes is that "After the Holocaust, we said, 'Never again' to genocidal attacks against Jews. Most of us meant it then. I think most Americans mean it now, even if much of Europe has gone back to its ancient habit of blaming Jews for everything. The world is rightfully ashamed of its inaction when Hitler persecuted and then murdered the Jews of Europe. We vowed that we would never stand by and let such a thing happen again. But Obama is poised to do exactly that."
To look at the facts is to see that Israel is not nor has ever been the aggressor. They retaliate when attacked by terrorists for crying out loud - how on Earth is it that anyone can place the blame on them. I think it's because people actually realize that Palestine and Iran are the bad guys but are too cowardly to piss them off. They figure Israel's been the nice one, the one to make concession after concession after concession. Well, if Israel was willing to be the "bigger person" then, perhaps they should be the "bigger person" yet again and just cease to exist. Maybe they can all immigrate to another country and set up shop there. "Because, of course, once Iran has Israel's land they'll be completely satisfied and will leave the rest of us alone. Even if they are nuclear capable, that was only to get back land they think is theirs."
I was unaware (maybe I shouldn't admit this) that the UN voted to recognize Israel as a state. They have every legal (if not ethical!) right to defend their own borders! I like that Card cites historical facts, instead of living in a dream world where things work as we think they should, let's wake up to how things actually work!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I updated my "songs I like right now" playlist

Um... yeah, the title pretty much covers it :)

Fast and Easy Southwest Chicken Soup

So quick and easy to make. Love love love it! It's a little higher in calories per serving, but as long as you watch your portion size and realize that it's very filling on it's own, you'll be fine.

2 cloved garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in pieces
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz can chilies, chopped
1 can of corn
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t Mrs. Dash
1/2 C (or more to taste) cooked white rice

1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/2 C plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 C nonfat shredded cheddar cheese

Cook garlic and onion in nonstick pot for 3 minutes or until limp. add remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle soup with toppings and serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 8

Nutrition Facts (not including tortilla chips - I used Lays Baked tortilla chips)

Serving Size 450 g
Calories 666
Calories from Fat 89
Total Fat 9.9g 15%
Saturated Fat 3.4g 17%
Cholesterol 59mg 20%
Sodium 517mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 98.0g 33%
Dietary Fiber 21.3g 85%
Sugars 12.8g
Protein 46.9g
Vitamin A 94%
Vitamin C 42%
Calcium 23%
Iron 41%