Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Movie Confusion

I love my mom - and not just because she's my mom. She says things that, when I'm paying attention, make me giggle. Here's the latest example:

Mom: Have you seen that "Life Without Pie" movie?
Me: That's not what it's called. That would be horrible, life without pie.
Mom: Huh?
Me: It's "Life of Pi." Totally different.

And now, this is all I can think about today.
Original image found here: http://clemmyssugarfreeinitiative.com/

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Sugar Queen

The Sugar QueenThe Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book, but I just couldn't. Around the halfway point, I looked up the author. The chapters named after candy, the girl who smells like peppermint, the woman living in a closet - it was like some sort of candy land fantasy that I thought was written by a teenage girl. Nope. Sarah Addison Allen is definitely an adult.

When I looked past the sugary-sweet references, I saw a good story. It was impossible for me to look past them when they were mentioned on practically every page. This book would be good for a reader who likes young adult stories. If you tend to favor more adult stories of love and friendship, skip this one.

I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's Oscar Night, Y'all!

While Seth MacFarlane puts the finishing touches on his voices, jokes and song for tonight's Academy Awards, I am preparing two things: my Oscar picks and my official drinking game rules. First, my picks.

Of the nine nominated films in this category, this one gets my totally irrelevant vote. Sure, some of the other films might be better or more popular or more controversial or lesser known - all fine reasons to support them. But, dammit, it was the icing on my "I forgive you, Ben Affleck, for the JLo years" cake. And the fact that Ben wasn't even nominated for Best Director makes me so angry, I want this movie to win the category.

Was this film perfect? No. But I cannot believe that guy who played O'Bannion in Dazed and Confused is this damn good.

I could have shown you any picture of Daniel Day-Lewis's bearded face while making my argument, but instead, I'm using this picture of him walking away. Why? Because when he walked around as Lincoln, it was as if - like ol' Honest Abe - he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I didn't feel like I was watching a movie (except when I was giggling at some of the lighter moments). I felt like I was a witness to history. Unlike the pace of some movies, it seemed like Daniel just went for it. He spoke quickly when necessary. He slowed down when necessary. He was quiet. He was strong. He was scared. He was incredible. I know this pick doesn't exactly surprise most movie watchers. If Bradley Cooper's trip to crazytown in Silver Linings Playbook wins, I'll be angry. Not because Daniel is better, but because Bradley plays the guy with wild eyes who shouts and cries and dabbles in douchebaggery ALL the time. Besides, if Ben's JLo punishment was about 10 years, I think Bradley should have to wait that long for doing whatever he did even if it was just one night with her.

I think Jessica should win. I think The Academy will give the award to Jennifer Lawrence.

Jessica was strong and vulnerable and kinda scary through the course of this movie. I admit, the torture scenes were really hard to watch. The terror attacks were really hard to watch. I know they took a few liberties to turn this true story into a movie, but it was well done. There are brave men and women who do the hard work that leads to the tough decisions. How often does a woman get to play a character like this? Almost never - especially when it's a good, true story like this. That's why I think Jessica deserves to win.

I know that I have so far refused to give credit to anyone associated with SLP, but I'm doing that here. I've been a little disappointed with older actors lately. They tend to take roles where they're spoofs of people in their age group. That is not the case here.

DeNiro is tough. He's funny. He's fragile. And he's normal (well, as normal as a guy who's played killers a kajillion times could be). I choose him above Alan Arkin (Argo) and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) because I can't remember seeing DeNiro playing a REAL person. There was no obvious set up for a punny joke. It was legit. Just take a look at the clothes he wore in this movie. You think this is a guy who wears a team sweater or jersey on the regular? Nope. Winner.

Not a surprise here. I'm not 100% sure, but I think when Alicia Keys sings, "This girl is on fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire," she's talking about Anne. The girl practically lost all her hair, shrunk down to bones, appeared to give up bathing and sang her heart out. I didn't see Les Miserables, but I saw two of the other performances and looked up the other two ladies. It does not appear they sacrificed nearly as much for their roles. It's possible they gave up something before turning up on their respective sets, but have you Googled Anne in this movie? There are so many pictures of her doing the ugly cry. THAT is Oscar gold. Look it up.

He's just brilliant. So many directors would have filled Lincoln with action, jokes or sound that it would have been a distraction. Spielberg lets it breathe. I have no doubt that he took one look at Daniel as Lincoln and realized he was just along for the ride and for God's sake don't get in his way or this movie will go straight hell fast.

Now to the drinking game... The rules are simple.
  1. Drink when the host mentions or gestures to Jack Nicholson (not a gimme since he was absent last year).
  2. If a host, presenter or winner curses, read their lips, shout the curse word, then drink.
  3. Drink when a winner thanks his/her mom.
  4. Drink when a winner thanks God.
  5. Drink if you see a wardrobe malfunction (and this does not include a gorgeous celebrity in a bad dress - think nipple).
  6. Drink when the accountants take the stage. Consider it a break from having to closely monitor the show.
  7. Drink when the winner is cut off by the music.
  8. Drink when someone I did not pick to win gets the statue.
You can also add any of these rules (lush).

If you have to drive, PLEASE don't play this game. That would be terribly dangerous and I don't want your family to sue me when you kill yourself. Also, I'm not in the bail bonding business so don't call me and expect me to get you out of jail. Dummy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Upon Request

I have written about my magazine addiction before (see Losing My Amazing Race). I have scaled back, getting just three weeklies and seven monthlies. DON'T JUDGE. I've noticed something from my recent magazine reading.

Everything my eyes are drawn to says, "Price available upon request."

I was flipping through February's Marie Claire and found four examples.

This pearl-covered Chanel bag made me go, "OOOOOOOOOOH!" Not because I want to carry it now, but the older version of me would LOVE to stick a lipstick, bifocals and Medicare card in there! In the fine print at the top of the page: upon request. It's a good thing older me will have lottery winnings where price won't matter!

What is NOT to love about these earrings? De Grisogono KNOWS how to make a girl who needs a sparklevention drop her toothbrush and mumble, "Why don't I have those?" The fine print said it all: upon request.

I had a good idea that when my eyes left those earrings and went to the ring on the other side of the page, it would not end well. I made it past the word Cartier to see "upon request."

This tote bag line up also caught my eye. Did I stop on the two bags in the middle, priced around $400 (which I actually consider to be reasonable)? Nope. Did I drool over the bag on the right, Giorgio Armani's $1,800 bag? Nope. I focused on the one on the left. Ralph Lauren Upon Request. DAMMIT!

Maybe changing my name to Upon Request would get these designers to let magazines print their prices? Or maybe I should order every good luck trinket I can find online (like these) and then play the lottery with luck on my side so I will never have to ask, "How much?" Or maybe I should search the Internet for my real parents who ended up with a baby who does not like fancy things at the hospital years ago?

Or I could do the least fun thing of all: just accept that I don't really need those really nice things and hope that they'll show up in a box at my house as a gift from a very generous stranger?

Wait. That's a horrible idea. If I let a stranger have my address, I'd definitely have to change my name and move before he/she killed me. That's the only way that ends.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Street Sweeper

The Street SweeperThe Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Memory is a willful dog. It won't be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule of its own that you can never know. It can capture you, corner you or it can liberate you. It can leave you howling and it can make you smile. Sometimes it's funny what you remember."

What the two main characters learn from the memory of others was absolutely mesmerizing! Even though I knew that two unlikely characters - a parolee cleaning up around a hospital and a nearly out of work professor - would find they had quite a story in common, I wasn't sure how it would all work out.

This work of fiction relied heavily on some serious history - the holocaust and African American soldiers who fought in World War II. Did there need to be so many characters who weren't part of the main story line? Probably not. I'm so bad with names that I couldn't tell you which characters I wasn't interested in reading about.

But the stories of these main characters was fascinating. I couldn't help but wonder what that parolee must have thought when an elderly white man with an accent insisted he hear his story? And how exciting it must have been for that college professor to stumble into history that was on the verge of being forgotten?

I also learned something about myself. My little brain can't handle this heavy of a topic before bed. After reading the detailed account of the horrific gassing of the Jews, I had a terrible dream that I was in an enclosed room and people were climbing on top of each other, kicking me in the head. After that, I did not read this book before bed.

By the last 100 pages, I didn't care what else I needed to get done. I sat and read this like it was just as important to me as the stories were to Lamont and Adam (see that - I remembered names!). And I'm glad I did.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013


While I try to figure out who sent me cookies without a card, you read these and try to figure out how I feel about you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Learning About Sports On The Highway

I thought this was a strange last name when I spotted it on a license plate.
Then, I hit up Google (not while I as driving because that would be dangerous and probably illegal) and learned it was the name of a Spanish football team. Which is soccer, right? Nevermind. I did more Googling and found this. It's definitely soccer.

Google is pretty smart, so I'm disappointed they wouldn't call it soccer when I Google in America.

Here's their logo:
Kind of lame. They should consider switching over to the license plate.

But they're champions.
They probably shouldn't listen to me.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cheerios Might Love You. They Might Hate You.

I'm so confused about how I feel about one of my favorite cereals! As I was pouring my Cheerios into the bowl, I saw all these combinations on the box:

Why would this make me question my feelings about breakfast cereal? It's not that I don't like the idea of combining two cereals to make a breakfast (or whatever meal I'm having at the moment) food cocktail. In fact, these combinations look pretty yummy. It's that I have to buy TWO boxes of cereal!

If these ideas are so good, why don't the fine folks at Cheerios mix them up for me?

I didn't sleep well last night, so the idea of mixing cereal on my own is too much today. What about those kids who aren't big enough to do this on their own? If they have to wait for someone who can reach the cereal, they may not have much control over what winds up in the bowl. That's right. I'm looking out for the little people. And by that, I mean people littler than me and probably in need of a change of pants right now.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bigger Is Better

As I sipped and photographed my way through a Cocktail Conference recently, I discovered something that has become my new favorite thing: BIG ICE.

I like my drinks nearly frozen (but not frozen because then I get brain freeze and I'm a little afraid I might hurt myself trying to warm my brain). So, I hit up Google to find out how big ice is made. Yes, I am aware it's frozen water, but I wanted a giant square of ice to sit in my glass and keep the contents cold without watering them down in seconds.

I found these at Sur La Table. And I found these. I was given a few tips at the store:

  • Use distilled or filtered water.
  • Unlike regular ice cube molds, these cubes will need a little bit of shimmying to get them out of the holder.
  • If there's a film in your drink, it's minerals from the molds. Rinse the ice before putting it in your drink.
Sounded simple enough. Then, I looked at the directions for the sphere ice molds:

See? It's not that easy to make ice! All I could think was how sad I'd be if I went through all that trouble and I had half spheres.

I cleared out space in my freezer (now it's my big ice shelf) and set to filling these giant molds.
A few hours later, I had my giant ice in its own non-fancy but durable container. My spheres were perfectly round and smooth - like a smooth, mostly clear orange.
Then, I set out to use them. Here's the sphere in a glass of white wine. Only after I took that picture did I realize it looks a little like a giant eyeball floating in a glass. That didn't stop me from drinking it! My wine was perfectly chilled down to the last drop.
Here's a giant square of ice in some of my own strawberry vanilla vodka (made using this recipe I found on Pinterest). It looks less strawberryish because I mixed it with cream soda. IT'S DELICIOUS!
And I used another big cube to keep my Chimay cold.
These things were beverage magic! I even dropped one in my iced tea. I did have to give them a little rinse, but they were worth it. I should note two things:

  1. I did not drink all of these things in one setting. This purely scientific sampling was done over a few days. 
  2. I learned you must be careful when you get to the bottom of the drink. Those cubes are heavy and when they clank into your teeth, it is not a nice thing. I may lose a tooth over this.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Need More Stupid People In My Life

Not because I want to test my patience. I need the stupids to help me invent things to prevent them from hurting themselves. Why? Because I wish I had invented the WAXVAC.

Grown people who don't know how to use a Q-Tip without stabbing themselves in the brain? What else can't they do? I use a Q-Tip after I get out of the shower. I don't jab it in my ear BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT AND I KNOW BETTER! What's a little alarming in this ad is that these people appear to have kids. I will never understand how people who are so seemingly dumb and helpless manage to have children who survive to be adults. I'm also a little grossed out by this product. You have to empty the container with your sucked out ear wax. Now, if I had a stupid person in my house and had to buy this, I would tell them it was their brains and that one day they'd wake up and be a zombie who I would then have to stab in the head to save myself. That's right. Sleep with one eye open and your ears covered!

I could also use more stupid people in my life to invent things to keep them from making messes and being wasteful. Like Wraptastic.

Now, I understand that wrap stuff can sometimes be a little sticky. However, a person with half a brain wouldn't unroll the whole thing. She would carefully unroll it over whatever needed covering so that it clings to the container or the food. Let's be honest: if you are that horrible at using the packaging to unroll and cut your plastic wrap, you're probably not doing other things in the kitchen regularly that would make you good at this. You should save yourself! Never use your kitchen except to make a bowl of cereal! But be careful - those plastic bags are really tough to open without spilling your Cheerios all over the place! PS - PLEASE STAY OUT OF MY KITCHEN!