Thursday, July 31, 2008
Interestingly, after some ridiculous complaining by someone important enough to make changes, the large number of "inappropriately dressed" women was reduced to just a few. One of these unfortunate heathen women was removed from this particular case. We think that the gods? They were angry. It's hard to find righteous boobage these days.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I do wish Alexis would grow out of her fake smile phase, but Savannah almost ALWAYS looks like that.
I wasn't really in need of a vacation, but my parents were! We used to rent a cottage up here when I was five or six years old, and I can still remember making sandcastles on the beach and playing with my cousins.
Mike and I drove up on Saturday, July 19 (I know, I'm a slacker), and spent the day walking down the beach, wading in the lake, reading, and eating. It was a little chilly on the water, with temperatures only in the low 60s:
We headed back to Ann Arbor late that night, and I was able to get a few days off of work later in the week. I drove up on Wednesday and my brother and his family had already arrived. It was a wonderful trip and and really hope that we can make this an annual trip again. I want my nieces to start building their memories - away from computers and television.
"When Alexis first realized her aunt was crazy:"
at these seagulls shouting, "MINE? MINE?"
in order to get this shot. It's a possibility:
I want to go back like, tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
So then, I was pretty excited to see The Dark Knight. I was excited to see Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine (with some much-needed comic relief). I was hoping that Cillian Murphy would make an appearance. I was thrilled that Aaron Eckhart was added to the cast, and I was elated that Mrs. Tom Cruise was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Because, let's face it: Katie Holmes is a bad actress. Maggie Gyllenhaal is simply amazing (look to Secretary, SherryBaby, and Stranger Than Fiction for just a few examples).
I tried not to read reviews, but was almost inevitable that I would. Everyone praised Heath Ledger. His performance was "Oscar-worthy," "intense," and "perfect." And while I would agree with that, the acting of every other cast member just enhanced his performance. Gary Oldman was especially good, and Christian Bale was great again, and delivered a few cheesy lines with grace - which made them not-so-bad-after-all in my mind. Because what's a comic book movie without a few zingers? Pow!
I really didn't know how another movie in the Batman franchise could dethrone Batman Begins, but this one not only did that, it took over the surrounding kingdoms. The plot is complex and constantly changing. Just when you think that things will start to wrap up, you're hit with another horrifying impossibility.
Heath Ledger's performance was better than I expected, even after the glowing reviews. I'd always known he was a fantastic actor (Brokeback Mountain was his best, in my opinion), but this role was a brilliant character study as Ledger pushed and pushed and forced the viewer to inexplicably want more of his deranged Joker.
The Joker is pure crazy - there is no rhyme or reason to his madness, and no explanation for his actions. He wants to witness pain and destruction for no other reason than to see what will happen. What will human nature dictate? The viewer, as well as Gotham City, has no way of knowing who this madman is, why he's so hell-bent on being so evil, or where his gruesome scars originated. (We hear several different accounts of this from him, but none really seem more truthful than others.)
I sat on the edge of my seat at more than a few points in the film. I knew that something was about to happen, but the unflinching screen was teasing me, baiting me, pulling me closer. There were no jumpy, cheap scares, but there were some deeply unsettling scenes (which make me wonder how parents could bring their five-year-old to see it, but I'm no parent, so what the hell do I know?). And when a movie based on a comic book can make you sit back and contemplate the human existence, well... something went right in the writing room.
The Dark Knight is a superb film. It's more than a summer blockbuster. And it's definitely more than a superhero film. It's strong in all aspects - the script, the score, the cinematography, the acting. Oh, the acting is wonderful. The special effects, too - there was one stunt scene in particular that had the theater cheering. It was such a satisfying film.
I really love movies. I love where they fit into American culture - how they are American culture. I love how they make us emotional. And above everything, I love it when they make me think about them long after I've left the theater. Sometimes it's considering a particular performance. Sometimes it's considering a philosophical question. Sometimes it's both. And that's The Dark Knight.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Shut the door. FRED WILLARD. Oh my God. The brilliance.
I walked by filming this morning on my way to work, but had no idea which film it was. The road was closed at Liberty and Ashley and a nice production assistant, who was wearing a badge that I couldn't read due to my STUPID GLASSES, directed me around the block. I should have stayed and stared, like the little old lady with her little old yip-yip dog.
And now I know why my bus route was jacked up.
Fred Willard. Oh man.
LIPSON: I'm sorry Mr. Geller. But you know, there's an old saying, 'Sometimes monkeys die.' It's not a great saying but it certainly is fitting today.
ROSS: Well, you know, someone should have called me.
LIPSON: I'm sorry. Look, I know this can't bring him back but here, it's just a gesture.
ROSS: Zoo dollars?
LIPSON: Yes, and come see the bird show at 4. The macaws wear hats. Well it's a lot cuter if your monkey hasn't just died.
UPDATE: Here is a picture of the set. Behold my mad picture-taking skillz:
That damn lady would not move out of the way for anything. Except maybe her manicurist.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Chicken Tortilla Soup
~2 tablespoons olive oil
~1 large onion, chopped
~1 green pepper, chopped
~1 red pepper, chopped
~1 English cucumber or zucchini, chopped
~Cooked chicken, shredded (whatever amount you choose. I used a good amount here - probably a few cups)
~2 tablespoons cumin
~1 tablespoon chili powder
~1 28-oz can chunky or crushed tomatoes
~5 cups chicken stock
~1 cup frozen corn
~Half-pint grape tomatoes, halved
In a deep pot, drizzle several tablespoons olive oil. Turn heat on to medium. Saute veggies and season with salt and pepper. When veggies are soft, add chicken. Mix together and season with cumin and chili powder. Feel free to mess with the spices if you want a spicier or smokier flavor.
Let the chicken and veggies cook for about a minute with the seasonings, and then add the can of tomatoes. Mix well and warm through. Add the chicken stock. For more of a stew, add less liquid.
Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for at least twenty minutes, to allow the flavors to distribute.
When ready to serve, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and cube 1/4 avocado atop each bowl. 1/4 per person. Ohhhhh, the deliciousness.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Blah, blah, scratched corneas (yes, corneas! Plural!), blah, and the light! It is intense! I must wear stupid disposable sunglasses over my own glasses! And something about a steroid drop that I will get tomorrow! My eyes! They will be able to bench you!
It's really not that bad, and my morning routine hasn't changed that much. Except. I used to roll out of bed, half-trip, half-crawl to the bathroom, and put in my contacts. Then I'd shower and get the ball rolling, so to speak. And lo, it was good.
Now? Nothing has changed except that I can't see a goddamned thing. I still stumble to the bathroom. I still brush my teeth and shower. But things aren't as clear as they once were. Am I reaching for the shampoo or for the body wash? WHO KNOWS? I no longer have the peripheral vision and clarity that morning contacts afforded me and showers are more an experiment of memory than a daily cleansing ritual (okay, it's still a cleansing ritual. It's not as if I just stand there and let water fall over me for ten minutes. Which, could still be cleansing, I suppose, but kind of missing the point, especially during a hot, humid summer such as this. Stop talking. Stop talking now).
Anyway. That, my friends, is the sordid tale of how I fell in the shower this morning.
It's bad enough that I have to wear the old-lady-leaving-the-eye-doctor-after-cataract-surgery glasses. Now I fall in the shower? What's next? Am I going to break a hip?
How did this happen? You might ask this. I was twisted around backwards, attempting to shave my legs, which is a feat in itself since I certainly can't SEE if I've already shaved my shin and/or back of my knee, and which always results in finding surprise patches of little hairs in the strangest places. Like, I don't know, right there in plain sight?
(Also, did you REALIZE that little hairs grow on our toes? They do! And this does not amuse me.)
I'm lucky that I have blond-ish little leg hairs, because I can't imagine having to shave my legs every. single. day. Do you have to do that? Do you wish that you could just rip your legs off so that you didn't have to shave them? Or do you ever just want to give up, as I have been known to do in the cold, wintry times?
No I don't.
Anyway, I was twisted around, trying to shave, and all of a sudden, I was flat on my ass on the bottom of the bathtub. Of course, it wasn't "all of a sudden." That would imply that I was shaving, and then immediately sitting. No, I saw it happen before it happened. It flashed before my eyes like I was falling off of a building (or dropping a window air conditioner unit out of a building. Have I told you that story? OH IT IS GOOD. Edited - Yes, I have.)
I knew that I was to fall, and I braced myself. I didn't even really hurt myself. But I was sitting there, in shock, on the bottom of the bathtub, cringing from the clammy feel of the wet shower curtain clinging to my back, and I just stood up and continued on washing my hair with shaving cream.
Okay, I haven't done that yet.
Oh God. Did I just write a post about my blond-ish leg hair?
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
For a few days each July, Ann Arbor teems with artists, tourists, and families all looking to enjoy four different Art Fairs. It's absolutely ridiculous, and hilarious because each of the art fairs is constantly trying to outdo the others. We're the original Ann Arbor Art Fair! Oh, yeah, well... we're the largest! We're the prettiest! We hate you! No, we hate you!
Basically, the city makes a killing and everyone is - seemingly - happy. Well, except those looking for parking. They get a little irate.
And really, most of the townies get the hell out of, well, town. The streets are closed, parking is impossible, the restaurants are packed, and it doesn't matter how mild the weather's been, because it always ends up being 95 degrees with 99% humidity. It's delicious.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
This article is hilarious to me as an alumna and an interesting look into the lives of students over fifty years ago. Colleges movies set in the 1950s are pretty spot-on, what with the housemothers, curfews, and the general lack of freedom for women.
To summarize: It was late March, and for the first time in months, the weather was mild. The natives were restless! One male student started playing a trumpet, and in the dorm across the street, a trombonist soon battled against him (I know. Nerds). Soon, 600 men were fighting in the streets. This soon escalated into a mob, as they rocked police cars, marched through the streets, and broke into the female dorms. "Unmentionables" were swiped from dressers. It was a free for all.
By the time the men got to Alice Lloyd Hall, women residents had locked the front doors. This apparently fueled the fire. The rowdies got in through side doors, raced upstairs and into women's rooms, and seized what the Ann Arbor News called "miscellaneous female unmentionables." The Detroit News, less squeamish, said the men took "items of lingerie as souvenirs."
I love that my alma mater hosted the origin of something naughty. Because Hash Bash and The Naked Mile wasn't enough.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The card catalog description: Twenty-two young women discuss their work in careers normally considered for men only. Includes astronaut, ship commander, train engineer, steel worker, and minister. The chapters are "interviews" of these women, all in varying careers, all successful and happy.
Also, it looks like a children's book, yes? No.
Honestly, it wasn't as negative as I expected. Cynically, I figured that these featured women would have to fight years of prejudice and injustice, but for the most part, they were able to grab their dream jobs! Or in some cases, fall into them. Granted, their life paths weren't easy. While most all of the interviews found these women marrying and then divorcing before realizing their worth, it seems that the main thing pushing them all was confidence. The stereotypes were still there, but the author (a *gasp* man) did a good job of actually documenting their lives and didn't really inject any personal bias or opinion. Refreshing, that.
I do think that it is amazing how far women have come in the twenty-eight years since this book was published, and knowing that these women - and those like them - paved the way for my future career choices, is gratifying. There is still progress to be made, but it's nice knowing that it's possible. If slow going, that is.
(Sadly, the listing for "astronaut" chronicled the life and career path of Judith Resnik, who later died on the Challenger in 1986.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
1/2 pound dried pasta (I used a mix of elbows and ruffles here)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/8 - 1/4 red onion, chopped
fresh mini mozzarella balls, quartered
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Lightly toast the pine nuts and set aside. Chop tomatoes, onion, and basil and cut the mozzarella while you wait for the pasta.
Once the pasta is done, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Add all ingredients and gently mix together. Dice the avocado atop the mixture and squeeze the lemon over everything - be careful to catch any seeds, as they look very much like pine nuts! Gently mix again. Individuals can drizzle balsamic vinegar over their own portions if desired (it's not included in the recipe because it will discolor the pasta in seconds!)
Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
1. One that made you laugh: Dumb and Dumber. Except not the first time. The first time I saw it, in the theater, I thought that it was the stupidest movie I had seen to date. Um, why did they turn away the Hawaiian Tropics bus? What the hell? But the next time? I laughed for three days straight.
2. One that made you cry: Considering I started crying in my car the other day when "Imagine" came on the radio, this might be a pointless venture, but The Last Samurai. What a powerful film! And as cartoonish as Tom Cruise might be in real life, he is a damn good actor. He makes us believe that he is Nathan Algren. The cinematography alone brings me to tears, but it is the story, the amazing writing, and the characters that make this film so memorable. And tear-worthy.
3. One that you loved when you were a child: Overboard. My friend Jill and I rented this movie every. single. weekend for our sleepovers. Every weekend. "I just... ate a bug."
4. One that you've seen more than once: The Princess Bride. I tend to watch movies over and over again, and this movie is just so damn easy to watch! Inconceivable! I love love LOVE princess movies. God, I'm such a girl.
5. One that you loved, but were embarrassed to admit: Catch and Release. Standard chick flick, but with great acting, an even better soundtrack, and a less generic storyline. I watched it twice before sending it back, and watched one specific scene about ten times. Jennifer Garner was good, and Timothy Olyphant was great. Plus, Kevin Smith. Enough said.
6. One that you hated: Casino. The acting was spot-on, of course, but the story was just so dirty and immoral, that I couldn't bring myself to like a single character. By the end, I wanted to simultaneously hug Sharon Stone and throw her through a window (like I said, the acting was amazing). I really like "gangster" movies, but this one just didn't make an impression on me at all. Except that it cemented my desire to not go to Vegas.
7. One that scared you: The Lost Boys. So if your eight-year-old daughter was having a birthday party sleepover, you'd rent this, right? I think that the birthday girl's name was Jessica. I know her mother was a flaming idiot. I also know that my dad came to pick me up that night because I was so freaking terrified. Lame, sure, but if I had stayed, I probably would have wet the bed.
8. One that bored you: The Sure Thing. This pains me, as I love John Cusack. But it was bad. And so dull. I didn't even finish watching it. Maybe if Joan Cusack had been in it... Nah, even she couldn't have saved it.
9. One that made you happy: Enchanted. I thought that this was going to be super cheesy-cutesy, but I absolutely loved it. And downloaded the music that night. Amy Adams is adorable, Patrick Dempsey is one-note, but charming, and the allusions to other Disney flicks made me smile.
10. One that made you miserable: Pan's Labyrinth. Still one of the best movies I have ever seen, but depressing as hell. Oh... so depressing.
11. One movie you weren't brave enough to see: The Ring. Jeff teased me mercilessly for jumping out of my skin while watching The Others, Signs, and the like, but was completely serious (I think) when he told me that I should never, ever see The Ring.
12. One movie character you've fallen in love with: Patrick Verona, Ten Things I Hate About You. He didn't put up with Kat's bitchiness, and made her act like a nice person. Plus, he was gorgeous. Oh, Heath Ledger.
13. The last movie you saw in the theater: Wanted. Blech. Blarg!
14. The next movie you hope to see: The Dark Knight. I have a feeling that this one won't disappoint.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
FYI: The final two photographs were taken with an infrared lens. Sweet, huh? Enjoy!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
"I wish to destroy you."
The other morning, I awoke to find him sitting atop my window air conditioner. As I moved about the apartment, he pawed along the window ledge, following my every move and STARING at me through the window.
I left for work, convinced he would try and dart through the open door as I exited, but he stayed at his perch.
I walked a few steps away from my house, fumbling about in my bag, and generally not paying attention, when I looked up and spotted ANOTHER black and white fluffy cat making his way toward me.
THERE ARE TWO OF THEM.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I'm back. I went on a little trip, you see.
Apparently this state has wineries. Who knew?
I'm way too exhausted from all of the driving
to post anything very coherent,
so here are some nice pictures.
The view from the hotel room onto the vineyard:
(And this, too):