Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Namesake

Now that the bookclub's met, I can put down my thoughts on this.
A good story with many subtleties that make it good for discussion - especially on a cozy couch over good cheese and tea!

One of the really interesting/ exciting side notes is that the Bengali weddings and rice ceremonies described in the book are events my friend Kat' has actually experienced in her Asian meanderings - and she has sent pictures of them, so I could actually translate one to the other!

The misery of Ashima, the mother, early in her American years is palpable, and a bit confusing to me. I understand the yearning for what is known, but to restrict oneself to Bengali acquaintances and food when those are hard to come by seems to be a catch-22. If you don't open yourself up to what's around you, aren't you bound to be lonely? This happened to me in Paris. And Ashima becomes much more content with her life when she makes friends of her own and has fond memories of things they have done that are their version of American customs.

I also hooked onto the idea of the rice ceremony and how it celebrates the beginning of a "lifetime of consumption" and the interesting perspective that might bring. Thinking of it now - I know it's already been explored, but I like the perspective and maybe I can take it in my own unique direction in writing or in life someday.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Pre and Post snow burial

Before being buried in snow...
Went to see Elektra with Kate. Finally, an answer to the question! The verdict??? I think the movie theatre cheated and changed the showtimes a day early - we missed show 1 and show 2 wasn't for hours.
So, we went to see The Aviator instead. Really good! Pretty long, but an interesting story (didn't know the HH bio before) and excellent acting! We enjoyed being surprised by famous faces throughout... It's got to take courage to risk all for an idea and fight off mental illness...

While buried in snow...
Book #3- Borderlines, by Archer Mayor. J got this because Mayor is from Vermont and writes stories about Vermonters. I'm not really the detective mystery type, but the story was a good one. J disliked the style, but I didn't find it as distracting as many others that I've read. I did dislike his tendency to dwell on the depressing aspect of everything -I'm sure there are some very cool things about the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, some beautiful towns, etc, but he made it sound like a depression era pit. Also, I couldn't help being put off a bit by guys in their 60s lusting after and hooking up with 20-30 year olds. Don't want to show any ageism, but it just didn't seem right.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Book#2 down

Book #2 - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri - Sorry, wanted to note that I had it read, but want to hold comments until after the bookclub meets 1/24 - then I'll report!

Monday, January 17, 2005

The debate continues...

"Why is it important that there be a kick-butt female superhero?" J asks.
The answer is hard to pin.
"Do you not like male superheroes?"
No, I'm just as much a Spidey fan as the next guy. Well, except if the next guy is Aaron.
I think it comes down to not wanting to see chics portrayed as manipulatable (is that even a word? it's been a long day) wimps. I want to see them stand up, speak out, strike back, and kick some big-time baddy booty! (a really long day)

Couldn't leave, though, without citing these hot news items.
A job for Scooby and Shaggy? Saw this through Neil Gaiman and then elsewhere. The wife of a guy working at this castle is arrested after the owner calls the police for help finding a ghost.
Note to self: keep mouth closed when using nailgun. All I can say is: six days!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Kick-butt chic flicks

Harking back to this post, I'm extremely curious about Elektra.

The reviews are miserable. Apparently the plot doesn't exist and it's "an inert muddle that takes itself too seriously" (per Rotten Tomatoes, where it got a 2% fresh score). But I'm still psyched. Jennifer Garner is so cool and I think a kick-butt chic flick will do me good just about now. I expect to enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed Underworld, maybe a bit more - but any movie where you start dodging and punching in your seat and saying "yah!" along with the hero-chic is good stress relief.

Doesn't mean I don't still yearn for a female superhero that can actually carry a storyline. Sigh. Someday....
Maybe I need to create her. That would be a long ways off!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ah, the joys of home ownership...

Came home yesterday to find my "retreat" or study, which I've been making steady progress on getting settled - ransacked slightly. Molson had determined that our mouse was in there and had proceeded to pull books off the shelf (yes, there was one true book casualty - Return of the King (a sentimental paperback fave) got the cover and several pages ripped and impaled by cat claws) and piles across the floor.
Molson led me up there himself. He was so proud. Later, when changing to workout, I spotted the furry little cat-food thief and we closed him, us, and the cat in my retreat to end it once and for all.
Molson is an indoor cat - this was his first chance to truly be a rodent controlling beasty - he did a great job - to the detriment of my retreat which is now totally ransacked. We were very proud. Poor little mousey, but I have a limit to my compassion that coincides with the walls of my house - outdoors I'd free ya' in a sec' - in my house, you've asked for it.

So, that was our big adventure last night - and I officially got one piece of furniture placed in the living room this am before work! Yeah!

At this rate, the housewarming will likely be in July - better weather, anyway.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


I have a huge pile of things I want to read. I don't want to miss anything, but don't want to take the time to read the paper, so I'll skim headlines and clip the ones that catch my eye to read at a later date.

Because of this "system" (which drives J batty) - I just read an article from 9/03 on Refreshing Power Milk (RPM) and eMoo - both products of Mac Farms, a former school nurse and her biochemist husband who were worried about kids drinking pop at school.
Their solution - carbonated milk.

Seriously, I drink pop at work partly because I find the fizz refreshing, champagne wouldn't be right without it, but milk? I think even fizzy water isn't quite right. Milk I enjoy for it's smooth, silky texture. Make that fizzy and I think I would gag.
Wonder how well it'll sell? Man, it just gives me shivers thinking of it.

Monday, January 10, 2005

50 Book Challenge, Book 1

Hitler's Pope - the story of Eugenio Pacelli - Pope Pius XII -by John Cornwell
Cornwell approached this task from the perspective of an unbiased observer who wanted to report all of the facts, rather than the select accounts from one side or another written previously. By taking this stance, he was granted unprecedented access to documents written from different perspectives.

In the end while acknowledging the complex circumstances Pacelli faced, it just comes down to a refusal to act or voice protest on behalf of the Jews - just crazy when you think of what might NOT have happened had something, anything been said.

I found some of the political details very interesting, some on church politics a bit tedious. I haven't done a lot of reading on early twentieth century intrigues beyond France, the Romanovs, and the Gypsies, so details on politics in Germany between the wars, in Serbia & Austria prior to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and in Croatia in the WWII era - a massacre I had not really been aware of before. (Kinda' scary that a huge hunk of a country's population could get slaughtered and people don't really know about it)
Also interesting that Pacelli fell into Hitler's trap to ban political Catholicism in Germany - if the Vatican says it's illegal, that's huge - which was really the only force that could have held Hitler in check or kept him from gaining power. Pacelli didn't care for political Catholicism (it was outside of papal control) and he was eager to keep Catholic schools in the treaty - he was vulnerable to manipulation.

Overall,I find it very creepy when politicians gain a church's highest office. No matter how devout he was, he was driven by a desire for papal power and that, to me and to those he refused to speak out for, compromises the quality of spiritual leadership he could provide.
Not really very holy, in my eyes.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Battle of the Bands, round 1 goes to...

High Volume ...

and Theophilus!

Yes, an exact tie in votes means that everyone gets another chance to come, support the band, and vote!

It was a rather meager crowd. Snow to the East and West and threats of worse to come kept many indoors - apparently for both bands. Theophilus was great, though - a good mix of tunes and talented guys. I have to admit that I'm a bit biased, but Dan is an awesome drummer....:) Click for pics and some video. Check out the link to the right for Theophilus' site, which has some sample tracks, too.

Next date - February 16 - don't worry, I'll remind you!

Monday, January 03, 2005

hurry, before its to late

you have to see last years best movie before it disappears from the big screen. you have to. it is called "i 'heart' huckabees". if you miss this movie its your fault. it is the best of the best. after that, go see the second best movie of last year (a very very very close second) "the life aquatic with steve zissou", if you miss this then i have no hope for you. none. dont wait for video. dont wait for the next showing, go now to the nearest theatre and demand it.
after those, go see the aviator, thats good too
thank you


First of all - Theophilus (Dan's band) is playing in a Battle of the Bands - this Wednesday - 9pm - Milestones - $6 cover.
More Info...

I saw on Bookslut reference to a 50 Books Challenge for the new year. I'll post reviews, etc. here rather than at the LiveJournal site - but will accept the challenge. Almost done with #1 - and it's a hefty one. Hmmm - I've never counted before, this could be interesting.

Saw The Incredibles on New Year's Eve! Wow, that was so cool, so much fun! Holly Hunter is excellent as the voice of ElastiGirl. And Jack Jack is just way too cool - you don't mess with that baby! We really enjoyed it and want to own it to watch regularly. Oh - and seeing Mr Incredible in the cube and little car couldn't help but bring to mind friend Fuzzy. There have been times when I've sworn he would throw a weasly little ()&*^(%^&^% through a wall or maybe a ceiling - maybe he's a super after all!

Final thought for today: Made a new recipe from Bon Appetit over the weekend. I really enjoyed it because it's spicy and healthy and uses veggies that normally go bad in my fridge. J thought it a bit weird - he just couldn't reconcile the squash and the spice. See for yourself, here it is:

Butternut squash and noodles with coconut, lime, and cilantro sauce*
*For those who think cilantro tastes like someone's lawn clippings - I put in about 1/2 the amount of the dried substitution and it had no impact on taste - so I say drop it.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1 butternut squash - peeled,seeded, cut into bite size pieces
1 c veggie broth
1 minced seeded jalepeno
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 c canned light coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp Thai red curry paste
Joe's Cajun seasoning to taste (my add)
12 oz linguine
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in big pot over med heat. Add onions - saute until golden (5 min). Add squash - saute 4 min. Add broth, jalepno, & garlic - boil. Cover - cook until squash is almost tender - 5 min. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice, & curry paste. Simmer uncovered until squash is tender and liquid is slightly reduced - 4 min. Season to taste with salt.
Cook noodles - drain and add to squash mixture (think of this more as a stewy dish with noodles than pasta with sauce). Add cilantro (if you want).