Friday, February 26, 2010

The Reviews

The double-feature in question was actually The Manchurian Candidate and The Court Jester. Go figure.

The Manchurian Candidate is not what I would generally consider my "type" of movie, being a black-and-white thriller. But when I keep having to pause it so I don't miss anything when Matt starts talking to me and continually yell at the screen "No! Don't do it!" there has got to be something going on. It is pretty impossible to review without spoiling everything left and right so I will just leave it at this: Frank Sinatra pulls off a totally respectable dramatic performance (I'd say great, but I kept being distracted by the fact that it was Sinatra and all the other movies I've ever seen him in were musicals), and Angela Lansbury is AMAZING. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role but was beaten out by Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker. If you, like myself, rarely watch thrillers but enjoy a really good one every once in a while, see this movie. They remade it recently with Denzel Washington in the Sinatra role but I just don't see it working the same way without the looming threat of Communism being seen in every corner like it was back then.
Image from here.

The Court Jester is totally my kind of movie. Yet again, kind of a convoluted plot but much lighter in tone. Danny Kaye is a member of a group of rebels trying to overthrow a wicked king. They live in the forest, a la Robin Hood, and he came to them from a circus, so he doesn't get to do the macho fight-y stuff so much as he gets to entertain the troops, such as they are, and keep an eye on the kiddo rightful heir to the throne. Only (of course) there is a mix-up and he ends up in the castle, masquerading as the court jester, hypnotized into trying to romance the snotty king's daughter (A. Lansbury again) and assassinating the king's men at the behest of one of the local lords (played entertainingly by Basil Rathbone). Of course there are songs and D.K. gets to do lots of physical comedy as well as some of his trademark tongue-twisty stuff. He is hilarious, A.L. is great as the snotty princess and the lovely Glynis Johns is wonderful as the real love interest (her voice may be familiar as the suffragette mother from Mary Poppins, although she looks very different here). There is even a good swordfight scene with Kaye and Rathbone. The songs are charming and hummable and the whole thing is good silly fun. Also, wherever the hell they shot this, it is GORGEOUS. The castle etc. isn't bad but they regularly cut to armies or whatever approaching on the coast road and you can tell that VistaVision was new at the time because they really want to show it off. There is a reason I own this one. And I'd buy it again.
If you only have time to watch the first couple of minutes it's still worth it. The pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Weirdest Themed Double-Feature Ever (it's a quiz!), Plus Quote of my Week!

So we had a gratuitous double-feature night last night. Themes included brainwashing, governmental overthrow, and Angela Lansbury possibly being evil. You may guess one movie, but can you guess them both? They were made about seven years apart, and neither one of them is this one. I will post a real review (or two) later, I promise.

And Quote of the Week:
Having an updo done in Texas is like having your tires changed by a pit crew at the Indy 500.
From here.

P.S. does anyone else remember the Disney movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" in which Angela Lansbury plays a witch in WWII England? God I loved that movie as a kid.

Picture from here. She did not look like this in either movie, actually. That picture is ooooold. Love the hat, though.

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Emma

All are clickable to embiggen. There is also a flickr set with more pictures here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ooh I Am A Bum.

Not just because I haven't been posting (but that too, sorry about that). But because I am ditching Matt this weekend to go to the Bay Area. Of course it is supposed to rain no so instead of going here we will be seeing this. Not a terrible trade but I wanted more of these:

But these will have to do:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just In Time

For another project to do on my three-day weekend: the curtains are here and have been altered! The place down the street shortened them and cleaned them for an awesomely low price. Pictures should ensue shortly.

Edit: genius moment of the week. Orange curtains make it much darker than white curtains did. Even when they're open. Duh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is It Just Me?

Or is it really annoying when people lean expensive art on the floor instead of hanging it so they don't look pretentious. I swear it looks more pretentious on the floor because you're drawing attention to it. Stick it on the wall if you like it. That's what art is for. Adorning walls. Maybe it's just me. It's this new trend that seems to dominate shelter magazines and websites lately and it really just makes me want to break into their photoshoots with a hammer and a handful of picture hangers.

Sorry Anna, I love your blog. That was just the first example I could find. I love looking at people's art, I think it tells you so much about them. Seeing it on the floor tells me there is probably dust behind it. And maybe a couple of Cheetos.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Yoga Post (for Wende)

Ok, let's get it out of the way here. I am skeptical of yoga and all other female-targeted exercise (Curves, I'm looking at you). Also generally of Westerners embracing the newest hip Eastern trend (ahem, feng shui). However, when a friend invited me to go with her as the yoga teacher was a friend of hers, I figured, hey, what could it hurt? The answer? My glutes. Also my wallet.

I like to go twice a week now if I can. There is usually a class of some sort every day. That means I don't have to commit to X days a week, I can show up or not depending on what I feel like. There is usually a class I like midweek that I can get to after work (varying between Tues. Wed. and Thurs.) and I usually try to hit one on the weekend as well. In a nutshell, Vinyasa is super-speedy yoga, in which each pose is done within the space of one breath. It tends to give me head rushes so I avoid it if I can. Hatha is the opposite, with every pose being held for the space of ten breaths. This is called "feeling the burn" and I swear it is the Eastern equivalent of weight lifting, just with weirder angles and less possibility of me dropping free weights on my toes. Even if it's just Warrior One

when there is someone stalking the room and making sure your arms are straight and your hips are forward and you are not letting your gut sag and your hips are square... it is all I can do to hold some of the poses for ten breaths. My own body weight is plenty of weight to lift.

We usually start with some form of gentle stretching and move into the more familiar poses that work my core strength and total lack of balance. Then it gets into some of the more weird stretchy stuff, which is the stuff I ADORE. The wheel and the bow and all the mad back bends feel SO GOOD. I have been doing yoga for less than a year and I feel so much stretchier and more flexible that I am willing to keep paying real money for somebody to badger me into doing it right. I try and do it at home too but there are enough distractions (curse you, internets!) that I still think it is worth it.

I have to also point out that the instructor makes a huge difference. My beloved yoga drill sergeant is a tiny lady who moonlights as a contortionist for parties and Burning Man. She is a crazy party girl who also happens to be one of the best coaches I've had (and I have worked with former Olympians in the past). She is about a foot shorter than me and built like a teeny, cute brick wall. And she knows that the best workout is when she makes me do everything correctly. When I started I remember thinking "oh this isn't as hard as I thought it would be". It has gotten progressively harder since then. I usually go to either the Yoga Basics class or the Hatha class and either way I get my ass kicked. And the fun thing is, since it's such a full-body workout, everybody is good at some pose or other. I have some parts that are freakishly flexible and some parts that are creaky and slow, but everybody has a rock star pose. You just have to find it. And it's very satisfying when you do.

So there it is. My yoga post. I say, try it before you knock it. Take the time to find somebody who isn't all girly and relax-y and Zen about it. And it will be an awesome workout.

And the clothes are the coziest workout wear I have ever owned :)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Well, it sounds like our grant is officially going to end this May. None of the new grants sound like they are coming through and now is really a great time to look for a job. I have been half-heartedly hunting but now my security blanket is going away. And I just had an interesting discussion with Matt about whether it is better to be overqualified for your job and not challenged enough like we both are now or to be underqualified and have to work really hard to keep up. I'd rather be the latter so I could grow into something bigger (like I did when I started this job a couple of years ago), but in this job market I can't really expect to find something like that.

So what can I expect? Something exciting and challenging in my field would be more than I can expect in the local job market, I am wild-guessing. I am NOT going to go work at the animal testing lab, I'm sorry. Unless they switch to LOLcats.

What I am leaving is something not challenging any more but still makes me feel productive, with a very cool boss, where I get all state and national holidays off. I guess I'm spoiled, in an underpaid kind of way. It's pretty depressing.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Musical Interlude

In the Classic/Groundbreaking category, we have Les Paul and Mary Ford.

And in the category of "Things I missed because I was watching Masterpiece Theater instead", we have Jeff Beck and some rad Irish chick doing a Les Paul tribute.

And in the category of "Matt's favorite guitarist in the world who has really grown on me + craaazy singer" we have Jeff Beck again with Imogen Heap.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Sunday Dinner And Lenses (with an edit for SCB)

The cardinal rule of Sunday dinner at my house is, there had better be leftovers. Which is why I did this with four pounds of pork shoulder, carrots, tomatoes, onions and celery (and a blop of white wine [the next unit up from a splash]). And a chicken. And a couple of pounds of asparagus. And onion potatoes, which everybody liked, but all gave me weird looks when I told them there was bacon grease in there (you have to caramelize the onions for ever in the bacon grease). So I could have beautiful leftovers for the next two to three days. Yum.

Also, it is amazing what a good lens can do.

Thanks for sharing, Zack. There are far too many unflattering pictures of me on the internet.

Also, I may need to figure out how to schedule posts. Then all my posts wouldn't end up being put up two days after I write them.

edit: I want to mail one of these to SCB for her brainstorming sessions.