Ninety-six printmakers of all experience levels, have joined together to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination. The end result is a periodic table of elements intended to promote both science and the arts. I'm on a real "elements-kick" lately. Go Sn!Woo, Ag, we love you.Pb, take a hike.
On Saturday, my friend Faye invited me and Cynthia and Pam to join her in bottling her wine at Vintner's Cellar. I'd heard about the place and had tasted some of Faye's wine before. This time she got a merlot and we were on hand to be part of the whole bottling process. We drank a little while we worked and even got a bit silly with some wigs. Why there were wigs there, I am not sure...
Step one: Clean the bottles.
Next fill them with wine. For some reason this made me think of milking a cow. Something I've never done before, so I don't know where that came from.
Step Three: Measure for cork space and remove extra wine... right into our glasses.
Step Four: Grab a cork and put the bottle in the corking machine.
Step Five: Apply labels and top seals.
All pretty in their boxes. It was fun, but I'm not sure I'd want 30 bottles of one kind of wine unless it was absolutely my favorite wine ever...
I found this little gem at the Nelson Brothers gas station in Clearwater, MN. Not only is that a great truck stop diner and bakery but they have the best candy. And I was reunited with this favorite TART candy. Yum.
The writers' strike is really starting to bum me out. First the Golden Globes were canceled and now I'm afraid it will linger and impact The Oscars. A day that is right up there with Christmas for me. At any rate, here is a list of all the nominated films (minus the animated and live action shorts). I have very nearly finished watching last year's films and now it's that time again.
** the films I've seen are in blue
Across the Universe American Gangster The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Atonement August Rush Away From Her Beaufort The Bourne Ultimatum Charlie Wilson's War The Counterfeiters The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Eastern Promises Elizabeth: The Golden Age Enchanted The Golden Compass Gone Baby Gone I'm Not There In the Valley of Elah Into the Wild Juno Katyn The Kite Runner La Vie En Rose Lars and the Real Girl Michael Clayton Mongol No Country For Old Men No End in Sight Norbit Once Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience Persepolis Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Ratatouille The Savages Sicko Surf's Up Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Taxi to the Dark Side There Will Be Blood 3:10 to Yuma Transformers 12 War/Dance
I'm all about learning new stuff online. Katie showed me stumbleupon. Nancy loves YouTube. Sara introduced me to Imeem. I'm learning Googledocs from Eileen. And today I created an iGoogle homepage. I have been using, or better phrased, not really using My Yahoo for a few years now. I have never really learned to navigate it and I don't really keep up on the content. I pay attention to the weather and the breaking news. That's about it.
Now I've discovered iGoogle and I really like the format and the cute themes and all the choices for gadgets or things you can add to your page. All you need is a gmail account (I have one I never use) and in minutes you too, can have a spiffy page. I was super excited to see there was a "gadget" that counted down the days until Bush leaves office but it didn't actually work when I got it on my page... maybe there's another one like it somewhere, who knows?
**actually I figured out how to create my own Bush Be Gone counter... iGoogle is great!
I don't know much about Rachel Ray. I've not watched her on TV and I don't really care to. Instead I have found in her magazine, a treasure trove of delicious and fun recipes to try, complete with full color pics that encourage me to experiment. I don't subscribe to this, but our school library gets this one and so I copy all the recipes I like or find them online at her website.
Last year's goal was to make a new recipe every week and I did well in short bursts of creative cooking energy. But I came nowhere near my goal. The trouble is once I discover a recipe I really like I tend to want to make it again and again and I get sidetracked. Also new recipes cost a lot in unfamiliar ingredients. Still, I press on. I love to eat and I like to try new things. I'm not a "natural born artiste" in the kitchen, but I can typically follow a recipe. Sort of.
Tuesday night while we drove home from Minneapolis airport I got the full update on my younger sister's stay in Brisbane, Australia.
The Flora and Fauna:
Koalas and Kangaroos? Seen them... held them... has pictures of them visited the Australia Zoo -- the realm of her childhood hero--Steve Irwin. She did see Terri and Bindi both on the premises. Very cool.
Animals that are cuter down under? Possums and apparently bats, the dog faced ones.
Mosquitoes still exist but unlike the NoDak variety, these apparently didn't like my sister so she wasn't bothered by them. However SPIDERS traumatized the girl and for that reason she's NOT all that eager to return to Australia.
She mentioned that while we have a city overrun by rabbits (like in that Wallace and Gromit's film on that topic), apparently Brisbane is teeming with reptiles.
Also the lilac has now been replace by FrangiPani as her new favorite flower.
Vegemite: Refused to try it.
Cabanas: Her new favorite breakfast food. Does anyone know what this is or how to make it?
Fast food: Thought the prices were high.
Acquired a lovely suntan and had a near death experience when she was caught in a rip tide and had to be rescued by Dre's cousin.
Hot. Too hot. That should be remedied soon enough with our below zero weather here.
The Traffic:Insane. Made her car sick. Too scared to drive there. Actually used public transportation most days.
No new tattoos or piercings but she did return with bangs. And possibly pounds lighter from all the walking and unfamiliar foods.
Rumor has it, the kid may have learned how to do laundry. We'll see.
And she came bearing souvenirs... I was rather impressed with the Aussie Animal themed wine charms and the cool zip fleece jacket she gave me.
The Complete Jane Austen. Beginning on January 13, PBS will show adaptations of the following Austen books: Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility.
I'm a to do list kind of girl. I also like record keeping and personal statistics. Off and On since grade 5, I've kept lists of the books I've read and in more recent years the films I've seen. I've made lists of favorites songs, all time favorite films and so forth. I was just reading Jessamyn West's blog and was struck by this chunk of data from one of her posts focusing on her reading records in 2007:
number of books read in 2007: 53 number of books read in 2005: 86 number of books read in 2004: 103 number of books read in 2003: 75 number of books read in 2002: 91 number of books read in 2001: 78 average read per month: 4.4 average read per week: 1 number read in worst month: 1 (November) number read in best month: 9 (March) percentage by male authors: 78 percentage by female authors: 22 fiction as percentage of total: 63 non-fiction as percentage of total: 37 percentage of total liked: 89 percentage of total ambivalent: 11 percentage of total disliked: 0
She is a girl after my own heart. This just seemed wonderful. I think, my reading in 2007 has been sub-par but it would be fun to do something of the sort for the movies seen in 2007. Perhaps I will. [update: I did make a list. Check it out here.]
In the meantime here are my 2007 reading stats:
number of books read in 2007: 37 average read per week: 3.08 percentage female authors: 46% percentage male authors: 54% percentage rereads: 22% percentage young adult: 28% fiction as percentage of total 73% nonfiction as percentage of total: 24% percentage of total liked: 70% percentage of total ambivalent: 30% percentage of total disliked: 0% (the ones I disliked I didn't finish)
I don't have my 2006 data handy for comparison. bummer.
In the spirit of education I purchased Basher's fun illustrated book on the periodic table. Nature Girl wasn't as good as Hiassen's young adult effort, Hoot, which I really enjoyed. The Pullman books were rereads and a reminder that while I enjoy the trilogy and found it suspenseful, I did like The Golden Compass best of all. Boomsday is my current audiobook and I'm finding it less than engaging despite being read by Janeane Garafalo, one of my favorites. In an effort to celebrate graphic novels I gave Manga Shakespeare a try (not so great, but an interesting twist, surely) and Beowulf by Gareth Hind was more my speed. It's well done and just in time for me to see the film... still need to do that.
What I was Watching in December On TV
Absolutely Nothing. Thanks. Someone deal with this Writer's Strike. Please.
Previously viewed films for me were Almost Famous, a favorite, and Confessions of a Drama Queen (only I didn't realize I'd seen it before until partway through it). I wouldn't bother with Confessions and Lindsay Lohan. However, if you've never seen Almost Famous, rent it. I love so much about this film. The whole band-aid world is a dream to me.
La Vie En Rose was a biopic about the life of legendary French singer, Edith Piaf. I didn't love the film, but I really enjoyed learning more about this amazing woman. And Marion Cotillard did a fabulous job.
This must be the month of music films for me, because one of my favorite films I watched in Dec. is Once. I love this tender and simple music movie. The main actors aren't even actors, they are professional musicians. The soundtrack is wonderful. The two unnamed main characters' relationship to music is evident and their connection because of that is wonderful.
I watched Munich because it's been on my Oscar watch list for two years and I've not managed to get around to it. It was okay... very violent. Really, a very sad film. Reminding us of the never ending violence happening between Israelis and Palestinians. Driving Lessons was a delightful surprise. It stars Ron Weasley, just kidding... the actor who played Ron, Rupert Grint and Laura Linney as his mom (she's been in a lot of the films I've seen lately!) Julie Walters plays Evie Walton, and does a wonderful job.
Man's Favorite Sport is a Rock Hudson film that, like most of his 60's romantic comedies, truly entertains. I will say that Paula Prentiss is a bit annoying in the film, however.
At first I thought Superbad was, well, super bad. But as I watched it, either the movie or I mellowed a bit. I didn't love it, but I didn't have it either. The cops were the best thing about the film.
Tomorrow Never Dies was my next installment in the Bond fun. I love James Bond and I really like Pierce Brosnan as Bond. I'll admit it. It's true. Sean Connery still remains number one, but Pierce is right up there. I am sad to think that I'm nearly done watching them all.. I guess from there I simply need to start viewing them all over again.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The End of the World was neither good, nor bad.. it was LONG. Too long. I guess that makes it more bad than good? Maybe?
I do enjoy a good superhero film now and then and I don't think I even saw the first Fantastic Four film, but this was a free rental at the library and so I thought, why not. I guess I could have done better things with my time, but it was still fun. Interview is the film I could have done without. I do love Sienna Miller and Steve Buscemi, but overall, I didn't love this film.
I typically love holiday films and those claymation specials on TV with Jimmy Durante narrating. However, this Christmas season I felt like I just didn't have time. It's silly to admit that considering just how many films I did watch. I guess my vacation went by a bit too fast and furiously. White Christmas is a beloved favorite and Love Actually is a contemporary one I've seen before and really enjoy. Holiday Inn and Christmas in Connecticut were two new holiday hits for me. I loved them both. And I love that I can still find new to me classic Christmas flicks to watch. It seems hard to believe I've managed to live this long without ever having seen these.
I ended up sharing the love of Grey Gardens with my colleague Marcia and I would gladly watch it or the "sequel" anytime, I now OWN a copy. Lost in La Mancha was not quite what I expected. The film was about Terry Gilliam's inability to get his Don Quixote film made. It was interesting and it sort of wore me out. I don't think I could work in the film industry. At least not in the production end. It did feature an interesting conversation/interview in the DVD extras with Salman Rushdie and Terry Gilliam and they even referred to Philip Pullman's Golden Compass book and their respective views on how well it would do at the box office... this doc. was years old so it was an interesting coincidence. Helvetica was actually a bit boring. It's a documentary about a typeface, for crying out loud. I did learn a lot and it was fairly interesting to learn how devoted to typefaces some people are. Oh to be that passionate about just one thing.
Sicko is the one documentary that everyone should see. I don't always agree with the way Michael Moore does things, yet I believe that our country is in a delicate position with health care and that too many loved ones stand to lose too much over the issue of insurance and coverage and so forth. I'm more than a little scared over such things and I think this film drives the issue home. No matter what, Moore gets folks thinking and questioning and that is what matters most. Maybe this year will be different. Vote in 2008. Animated Surf's Up Cars Ratatouille The Simpsons Movie
The Simpson's Movie was more like an extended TV episode and while it was entertaining and somewhat shocking (featuring Bart with full frontal nudity) I have to say it was a bit of a disappointment. Could it be I've outgrown my Simpsons love? Ratatouille was decent but not a new beloved Disney for me. Cars was far better than I expected (what with my dislike for all things Nascar). Surf's Up was a bit of a stinker.
The Oscar rush is already starting... once I heard the Golden Globe nominations my must see movie list was set. I'd heard great things about No Country For Old Men, and while it didn't disappoint, I have to say I didn't quite know what I was getting myself into. It's not for the faint of heart. Comparable to the Coen Brothers' film Fargo that way, I guess. I still prefer O Brother Where Art Thou. August Rush will not win any awards but it was a nice celebration of the wonder of music. I do love music films. Robin Williams was a scary mo-fo in that one. Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman deserve some awards for their performances in Charlie Wilson's War and it was enlightening and intriguing to see that slice of history that I lived through, completely unaware as a child. I recent years I've learned a lot about life in Iran and Afghanistan in the 70s, 80s, 90s and today. I guess considering our president's current political mess that's as it should be. It was interesting to have just read Three Cups of Tea and then to see this film and then the day after I saw it to find out that Bhutto had been assassinated. Sigh. The Golden Compass was a drama of a different kind. I reread all the three books in an effort to truly form a better opinion on the "evil" they spew... I thought the movie was well done and did a good job hedging what is a much clearer attack on the church in the books. What I liked is that it's more a message of resisting big brother-like oppression ala Orwell. I can't argue with that. I prefer the book, of course, but I can't argue with the casting or the way it was brought to screen. Not bad at all.
I loved this movie. And Roger Ebert did too. I loved the quirky fast-paced dialogue, the music, the stellar performance of Ellen Page and so much more.
I wanted to post some groovy quotes from the flick but I can't bring myself to do it.. much as I still find them funny, it's more from remembering the delivery of the lines than even the lines themselves (though I do think there was great writing in this film). I fear they might not resonate the same way in print as they do on screen. See the film first. Laugh at the quotes later. No matter what, though, see the film.
I am not sure what I think about the colors of these lipsticks but Cargo is offering a new twist on lipstick tubes. These feature a lipstick tube made entirely out of corn - a renewable and abundant resource. The outer carton is made of flower paper embedded with real flower seeds. Simply moisten, plant, and wait for a bouquet of wild flowers to grow! CARGO is also donating two dollars from the sale of every shade to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. What fun!
I'm still suffering from 2007's cold. Ick. The past week has been a blur of cold meds and kleenexes. And whining. Don't forget the whining. Not the most graceful way to say good-bye to 2007. And not the best way to usher in the new year.
I think I need to recover before I pledge myself to some new year's resolutions. Right now I'm a bit too dejected, miserable, and self-pitying to be trusted with any big decisions. First day back at school, I might add. Not much vacation here in the frozen north. Oh well, bitter girl, bitter cold. I guess it's a match. Still I contemplated my options in the shower... find a new job, find a new locale, move to France maybe -- at least the version Michael Moore portrays. That's what I need. I'm pretty sure. Or maybe just one more day in bed.