QotD

Sep. 24th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"[...] one of humanity's tragic flaws is to take for granted the gargantuan effort needed to create and maintain even little temporary pockets of order. Again and again, people imagine that, if their local pocket of order isn't working how they want, then they should smash it to pieces, since while admittedly that might make things even worse, there's also at least 50/50 odds that they'll magically improve. In reasoning thus, people fail to appreciate just how exponentially more numerous are the paths downhill, into barbarism and chaos, than are the few paths further up. So thrashing about randomly, with no knowledge or understanding, is statistically certain to make things worse: on this point thermodynamics, common sense, and human history are all in total agreement. The implications of these musings for the present would be left as exercises for the reader." -- Scott Aaronson, 2017-01-01

[To my friends observing Tzom Gedaliah, may you have an easy fast.]

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Lightning Reviews are back with another trio of quick thoughts on a few selected books. We have a must-have cookbook, a Clueless graphic novel, and a YA book that blends fantasy, Chinese folklore, and high school!

 

    Clueless: Senior Year

    author: Amber Benson

    While nothing can match the divine quality of the movie Clueless, the graphic novel Clueless: Senior Year is a fun reunion with Cher, Dionne, and Tai, the main characters from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it before reading the comic, because the comic will make more sense and because everyone should watch Clueless.

    The story picks up on Cher’s last day of junior year. One of her teachers tells the students that they are being assigned a project. By the end of their senior year, they have to turn in a report on what kind of adult they want to be. Cher, Dionne, and Tai each get a chance to answer that question in their own chapters while Cher’s romance with Josh, her boyfriend who is now in college, suffers due to her experimentation with being an “activist-environmental-entrepreneurial grown-up.”

    Cher’s storyline is, like Cher, adorable. She jumps into her project in the graphic novel with the same overboard enthusiasm with which she jumped into the Tai makeover in the film Clueless. It’s even more fun to see Dionne and Tai come out of Cher’s shadow and develop their own confidence. All three stories are relatable and celebrate both independence and female friendship, with some romance as well.

    My favorite thing about this is the art. It matches the aesthetic of the movie but throws in some grunge drab for a visit to Seattle, and soft earth tones for a trip to Tai’s family farm. Movie fans will be pleased to see that Cher’s poufy pen (what did we call those?) makes many appearances, as does some Lisa Frank-inspired art and a lot of cassette tapes. It’s a fun love letter to the movie and to the 1990’s.

    Carrie S

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble

    and

    amazon

     

     

     

    The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

    author: F.C. Yee

    Y’all, I gotta tell you, I’m getting some great pitches from Twitter these days.

    This was billed as a treatment of Journey to the West, and I totally admit that most of what I knew of Journey to the West is from The Forbidden Kingdom, which is not a good movie, and has significant problems, but also has Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As an introduction to “Hey you can read more about this!” for JttW, the film doesn’t suck and the fight scenes are glorious.

    Anyway, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is about our heroine, Genie, a Chinese-American high school student who is in the midst of college prep when a new student shows up and turns everyone’s life upside down, especially Genie’s. Quentin is annoying, and always around, and Things Happen around him….and he’s also the embodiment of the Monkey King. And he’s drawn to Genie because she’s a reincarnation of another member of the Journey’s party. Together, they have to save the world from escaped demons. And also get into college.

    This was a FUN READ. Genie is hilarious, and fights so hard against destiny because goddammit, this isn’t in the schedule, and also this Quentin dude is annoying and clingy! I find that romances based on literal destiny can be dicey – I like agency in my romances. But they spend enough time together that Genie gets to know Quentin on his own terms and like him for himself, not just because they are supposed to.

    There’s also some great tension between Genie and her mother which explores the children of immigrants dynamic. Add a little magic in there, and things get really fun. Yee also does a really good job of instructing the reader in the salient points of Journey to the West, so if you didn’t grow up with this tale as one of your childhood stories, you can still follow what’s up. I recommend this for anyone looking for fun adventure stories that invert a lot of destiny-romance expectations.

    Redheadedgirl

    ,

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble Order this book from Kobo Order this book from Google Play Order this book from iBooks

    and

    amazon

     

     

     

    One-Pan Wonders

    author: Cook's Country

    I don’t usually review cookbooks here, but this book has been making me so happy, I had to share. I first borrowed this cookbook from the library, because the Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks can be costly, especially if I end up liking one or two recipes. I ended up liking this cookbook so much, I bought my own copy and have been adding recipes to our rotation since it arrived in July.

    Y’all. Y’ALL. I love this cookbook. I love recipes where I can put a bunch of stuff on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven and let heat and time do their thing while I do all the other things I have to do. Some of the recipes are more hands-on than others, but the ones I’ve made I’ve enjoyed so much. Each section focuses on one container or method of cooking: skillets, sheet pans, dutch ovens, casserole dishes, roasting pans, and slow cookers. There are a set of recipes designed for each method, and I’ve tried several so far.

    I’ve made:

    • Lemony chicken with spinach and potatoes: This one is made in a skillet, and comes together very quickly (a number of the recipes are labeled as “weeknight friendly,” which I appreciate!). The flavors are simple but interesting, and I liked the wilted baby spinach. Usually spinach that’s not raw in a salad makes me gag.
    • Lime ginger chicken with rice: This made a lot of rice, but it was delicious. There are a bunch of different flavors and the combination didn’t get boring. I wanted to keep eating.
    • Italian sausage with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and polenta: I loved this recipe. It’s all cooked on a sheet pan, and the combination of textures and the balance of the sausage, the polenta, and the pepper/tomato mixture was perfect. We’re making this one again very soon.
    • Mexican-style spaghetti squash casserole: I’ve made this three times already. I usually hate squash – I think it has a weird aftertaste. But by heating the spices in olive oil, then tossing the spaghetti squash and the chopped vegetables with that oil means that the spices permeates the squash and yay, no weird aftertaste! I have eaten a portion of this casserole every day for lunch for a week and have been very, very happy about it. (Seriously, yum.)

    If you’re a vegetarian, alas, there aren’t too many recipes in here for you. Most involve meat or fish. And if you eat zero carbs, like no potatoes, rice, or pasta, the pickings get a little sparse.

    But for my weeknight cooking rotation, this cookbook has made me so happy. I am trying new recipes in the next few weeks, and I’ll report back how they go. I love the ease and convenience of using one method or container for the food preparations, and so far the flavors and combinations have been terrific.

    SB Sarah

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble Order this book from Kobo Order this book from iBooks

    and

    amazon

     

     

     

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Sarah: I had my hair cut this week, and as I got in the car, I thought that having very short hair is very appropriate for watching this film.

“And Introducing Audrey Hepburn…” Oh, we have met, I assure you.

I love the long opening credits. And Edith Head did the costumes! Of course she did.

This is a trope that works for me – individual bound by a massive weight of duty and expectation finds a temporary escape to be themselves or the opposite of their lives. It’s a lovely mix of behind-the-scenes and public self vs. private self, both of which I love.

CarrieS: If I were going to present her with stuff it would be cookies, tennis shoes, and a puppy.

“I’m just being veeery happyyyy” yes dear, I know that’s exactly what happens to me when I eat creme brulee. No lie.

Sarah: I also love the tension in the boring “please meet everyone” scene where she nearly loses a shoe, and then the Cinderella reference when she can’t get it back on in time. Adorable. Also the relief that they helped her avoid a breach of protocol.

Though I question the protocol that requires all these people from different countries bowing to her

CarrieS: What is it about Italy and romance? How many romance movies have we looked at so far with an Italian theme?

Sarah: That said: here is some fun, though not sourced trivia:

The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real, too.

Audrey Hepburn as a princess with a crown and dress

CarrieS: If there’s anything we should have learned from romantic comedy it’s, “Never make a bet.”

“What would you do for $5000” is a line with strange overtones when it’s spoken by one guy to another while grappling in a bar.

Sarah: “It’s nerves. Control yourself, Ann.”

Bugger off, lady! Girl is dramatically upset and it’s totally earned. And she gets a royal sedative.

Sarah: Nighttime gallivanting with a sedative in your bloodstream seems like a bad idea. But if you’re going to pass out on a low fence, Gregory Peck is the best thing that could happen, I think.

CarrieS: Peck improvised the Mouth of Truth so her reaction is genuine.

Sarah: I love the “dance” on the staircase going to his room.

“I’m terribly sorry to mention it, but the dizziness is getting worse.” I love the absurd politeness. I’m going to say this all the time now.

I love that he thinks he holds all the cards (ha ha) and he does not.

CarrieS: Gregory Peck should always be wet and disheveled.

Sarah: The haircut scene is one of my favorites. When I last donated my hair, and my stylist put my hair in a ponytail to cut it all off, even though we both knew what we were doing, I was so nervous, and so was she. Also why the hell is he back-combing her hair before he cuts it off?

And short bangs! She looks so good with short bangs. Interesting pacing note: she gets her hair cut at nearly exactly half way through the film. She buys ice cream and flowers at about 1:02 and the film is about 2 hours long. Epic change midway through!

CarrieS: Um they totally just smashed up a lot of other people’s stuff, people who probably didn’t have a lot of stuff to spare, and lied their way out of paying for it and that is a jerk move, also, how old are these characters supposed to be? Peck you are a little stalkery.

CarrieS: “You should always wear my clothes.”

“It seems I do.”

Sarah: I love how Joe is early on a varying level of jerk, and slowly does something unselfish. I also like the way the film parallels itself. Her princess agenda includes going to all these sites to improve trade relations and connections on one level, and her tour of Rome in semi-disguise is more personal, and focuses more on how real people in Rome live day to day. She’s supposed to be given a car which she will refuse, but then she steals a scooter and drives it all over Rome (and makes a big mess – geez, woman). And the movie begins with her dancing at a ball, distant, silent, and impersonal from each person, and midway through she’s on a barge dancing (scandalously!) close with Joe and actually talking to him. There’s the distance of her role contrasted with the intimacy and experience of her day as a (sort of) anonymous individual.

Her realization that her job and her role mean a lot to the people of her country: “Were I not aware of my duty to my country and my family, I would not have come back tonight, or indeed ever again.” Also: she’s wearing a dark almost-black dressing gown instead of white silk — o RLY?

Audrey Hepburn with short hair and bangs!
CarrieS: The grab and hug just kills me. Every. Damn. time.

The hug and kiss moment!

Sarah: They do a lot of subtle face reactions and they get my right in the hearty feels.

Also, I LOVE that the first question is like, “So, princess, what do you think about a European Union?” Well, let me tell you some things from the future! You’d better sit down.

Expressions of personal affection through bland press statements – I am terribly sorry to mention it, but I am a puddle of feels right now.

“I will cherish my memories here as long as I live.” I’ve seen this movie a mess of times, and I am all sniffly.

CarrieS: It’s an A movie, obviously. Am helpless before its powers.

Sarah: Meeting the press contrasting the opening meeting of the dignitaries — this movie’s parallels are so well done. My catnip, so much catnip.

And then he stays there, waiting longer than anyone before he leaves. Oh, gosh, this movie works so well on me.

I just did the dumbest thing: I wondered if there were fanfic for this movie. Can you imagine such a ludicrous question? Of course there is!

This is so timelessly effective and charming, and gets me every time I watch. It’s easily an A for me.

Audrey Hepburn sadly telling Gregory Peck that she doesn't know how to say goodbye

Complete aside for trivia via IMDBThe original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar. Hunter did, however, pass on the $50,000 payment he received for the job on to Trumbo. Trumbo’s wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter’s son wouldn’t give up his father’s Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Motion Picture Story of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.

The drunken Ann recites a poem, “If I were dead and buried when I heard your voice, beneath the sod my heart of dust would still rejoice.” which prompts Joe to declare her “well read.” The poem is actually an original work by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted writer.

Sarah: The history of the blacklist in Hollywood is both fascinating and very eerie given current political media climate. I really enjoyed this series from You Must Remember This devoted to the history of the blacklist. If you’d like to know more about it, I hope you enjoy it.

Is Roman Holiday a romantic classic for you? Or does it not hold up to modern scrutiny? Let us know what you think! 

Fests and Cups!

NSFW Sep. 24th, 2017 01:01 am
littlereview: (lrpenguin)
[personal profile] littlereview
Love Song )

I had a very nice, very busy Saturday. In the late morning after Maddy went to work for the day, we met friends at Hot Fired Arts in Frederick, where we fused glass and painted pottery (which must now be fired in a kiln so we won't have the finished products for a couple of weeks). The rest of the group was going out for a late lunch/early dinner, but we ate bagels from Dunkin' Donuts next door because we needed to go straight from Frederick to Hanover.

Paul's aunts Jean and Nadine and their husbands (both Bobs) were visiting his parents -- Clair even donned the clown suit in which he used to visit kids in the hospital for them, though I'm not sure a clown suit was ever a good idea for sick kids -- and they had just finished touring around Gettysburg when we arrived. We went to Hibachi Buffet for dinner, then drove home and now we're watching Sleepless in Seattle because we've never seen it before (and, Seattle). A few pics:

17craft3
Crafts and Aunts )

Names

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:04 am
zhelana: (original - canoe)
[personal profile] zhelana
What would you name your kids if you have any?

Astrid May for a girl, I don't know about a boy. Kevin likes the name Astrid, and I do too, but it's really his choice. May is my middle name, my mother's middle name, my grandmother's middle name, and my great-grandmother's middle name. So it's really important to me to keep that.


the rest )

90F - 64F : Sunny

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:33 pm
zhelana: (Original - Something Fishy)
[personal profile] zhelana
I woke up just in time to eat breakfast before I had to leave. Today's adventure was the zoo event. I got to the volunteer check in table and they sent me to the room where the mascots would be dressing so I could guide around a mascot. I waited until an hour after my shift started, and the guy for the flamingo costume never showed up, so I went to get Sarah, who told me to just go in and enjoy the event. I talked to one of the docents somewhat about the elephants and their plans to expand the elephant area and maybe get a bull so they can have baby elephants. This led into talking about pregnant Qinu the beluga at Georgia Aquarium.

There were stations to get wine, beer, and food all over the zoo. I wound up getting one cup of sparkling mango wine, and then eating the food. It was good. I couldn't eat two of the things because they had seafood, but I got some steak, and a piece of a taco and some donuts. I discovered that it's impossible to see the gorillas with wheels - there just isn't a ramp onto the observation platform. So that made me sad, especially as there was someone with a microphone talking about gorillas up there, and I would have liked to listen.

I wound up watching the elephants for a long time, and the sun bears, and the pandas. The sunbears were clearly distressed that it was past time for them to be off exhibit and behind the scenes doing whatever they do there. They were pacing in front of the exit to their exhibit and occasionally jumping up on it like "let me in!" I kind of understand - it was 90F and they're black bears. But they're from Malaysia, certainly they should be used to hot weather? The tortoises were off exhibit with a sign that said "even Atlanta can be cold to a tropical animal. Check us out starting in late spring" - did I mention it was 90F out? Certainly that's not too cold for anything that has an outdoor enclosure in Atlanta?

I started driving home, and Kevin called to tell me he'd ordered me dinner from someplace we'd never eaten at before. So, I came home to dinner, and when I answered the door, the dog ran past me, and jumped on the guy with the food. He started jumping and screaming, which of course makes the dogs think he wants to play, so they're jumping and barking too. I collect my dogs and my food, and start to close the door and he's out there with his pants leg pulled up yelling "ma'am, ma'am!" so I peek out the door and he says "do you have the peppers?" I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about and he keeps gesturing to his leg asking for peppers. I finally say, "I have no idea what you want," and he says, "fine then I'll call the cops!" Since there was not a mark on his leg anywhere, and I have no idea why he wants peppers unless maybe he wants me to pepper spray my dogs, I tell him, "you do that then," and kick the door closed. Why do people who are afraid of dogs take jobs as delivery drivers? Honestly, get a job as a cook or something where you don't have to interact with people or dogs if you're afraid of dogs. Anyway, I'm seriously stressed out because I don't want him to report my dogs to the police.

Sunday Secrets

Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:46 pm
[syndicated profile] post_secret_feed

Posted by Frank

        

Dear Frank-
Years ago I started writing notes and putting them in random places like behind paintings in hotels, between the pages at book stores and in Sky Mall Magazines on airplanes. While browsing through a PostSecret book, I found one of my notes. That small ripped piece of paper is featured above. I attended your event last week at CMU. I’m thankful for your ability to speak to people in their broken places.
-JM

Feeling a bit more up to things again

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:10 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
To the point where when friends offer to take me places, I can go. I tire really easily, but we've found ways around that. Up to and including my friend Judy, who has a conversion van I can sleep in the back of while she takes me places, so that I have the actual energy to enjoy them when I get there. Is that a wonderful friend or what?

And that last post was the first blog post I've written since I got sick. So yay, me!

I'm settled into my new place, and I feel safe and comfortable here. Also, not having to figure out what kind of food I can eat and just having it there for me has made all the difference. I've stopped losing weight, for one thing [g].

The symptoms are starting to gradually get worse (whatever Power That Be who decided the main symptom of the endometrial part of this would be the equivalent of really bad menstrual cramps all the time needs to be shot in the kneecaps and left to die), but that's just the way it is. It would be nice to have a working internal thermostat again, too, but hey. At least I still have a brain.

I am so grateful to my local friends, who have bent over backwards to help me out. You have no idea. Seriously. And my long distance friends, too, who have done all sorts of things to keep my spirits up. I have the best friends on the planet. Period.

Karin’s sewing machine

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:06 pm
mmegaera: (Much Ado in Montana)
[personal profile] mmegaera

Tonight my friend Tina and I went to a program/exhibit at the Lacey library.  It was put on by the Pacific Northwest Vintage Sewing machine organization.  It was fascinating.  All kinds of antique and vintage sewing machines, as well as a program where several people spoke about them.  Some folks there own more than a hundred sewing machines!

There were also quilts up on the library’s walls from a couple of local guilds, which was nice.

And I got to try a sewing machine about the right age to have been Karin’s sewing machine from True Gold, which was truly cool.

Here are some of the photos I took.

One of the oddest sewing machines I’ve ever seen. 1930s vintage.
I’ve never seen a white Featherweight in person before.
This one’s about the same vintage (if not the same maker) as my old sewing machine.
Some of the quilts on display.
This one looks a lot like the one my mother had.
A 1914 Scottish Singer machine .
Not a very good photo, but this machine could be the one Karin carried over Chilkoot Pass and the Golden Staircase in True Gold.  It’s a vintage 1895-1905 Singer portable.
And the carrying case for Karin’s machine.

Oh, and by the way, this is a photo of the Golden Staircase up to the top of Chilkoot Pass that Karin carried her sewing machine over, and the conditions in which she would have done it.

Mirrored from M.M. Justus -- adventures in the supernatural Old West.

archersangel: (jedi sheep)
[personal profile] archersangel posting in [community profile] books
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

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