Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lipstick Wearing Pit Bulls...

One of my co-workers in the building dressed up like Sarah Palin today. We'll call her "Lou". Lou has always had that accent. I think she is from Alaska maybe? When she came in with her documents today, she winked and pointed saying, "Right back 'atcha Joe!" I nearly died. Lou did say her daughter offered to be Bristol and carry around a baby in a slung. Lou sweetly declined.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Which We Are Unimpressed Yet Hopeful..

While my sole purpose for the holiday move season was crushed a few months ago when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was bunted till next summer, I've found a few options to keep things interesting till the end of the year. This is by no means a guide to viewing as my tastes are quirky and uninhibited. I'm going go to also introduce what I'd like to call the SQUEE! Factor rates from 1-5. Factor 1 being midly amusing and Factor 5 being cosmically sublime. Without further ado, here are the lucky flicks I shall give my money to:

10/31/2008 Releases

Zack and Miri Make A Porno
It feels like it has been too long without a raunchy, witty and compelling Kevin Smith movie. I was following the whole movie-making process pretty closely on Kevin's website and listening to his podcast with Scott Mosier, aptly titled Smodcast. That was actually half the fun really. If you like vulgar conversatiion with jewels of knowledge tossed at you here and there, I recommend giving it a listen. I tend to listen to Smodcast when I'm doing the dishes or something trivial that I dislike so I'm at least in a good mood. Back on topic, the movie is a romantic comedy that also makes fun of porn. Mostly how absurd the people look with their exaggerated sexual motions and mannerisms.

SQUEE! Factor: 4

Firstly, Clint Eastwood is directing this drama and Angelina Jolie is lead actress. Allow me a moment to swoon and gush unabashedly about Angelina Jolie. She's beautiful, smart, and has saintly qualities. Yeah, I acknowledge she was a wild child actress and did some crapfest flicks. (Every actor has done their share of crap movies.) But she isn't perfect and lived her life the way she wanted it. Anywho, the movie is based on events from an infamous case from 1928 called The Wineville Chicken Murders. It's a drama that not only shows the corruption of the LAPD but a society's view of an independent woman. It seems interesting to me.

SQUEE! Factor: 4

11/21/2008 Releases

Based on my latest guilty pleasure of choice and book of the same name. What can I say, vampires and romance make me daydream like a schoolgirl. But I'm not enough a fangirl to condemn the movie though. People still just don't get that movie adaptations of books are never quite accurate.

SQUEE! Factor: 5!!

12/12/2008 Releases

The Day The Earth Stood Still
So another remake of a beloved Sci-Fi classic. I did enjoy the remake of War of the Worlds even if it did have crazy cracker Tom Cruise. It felt darker and more realistic. (Seriously if an intergalactic foe attacked the earth, we'd have no kind of technology to efficiently defend ourselves.) Keanu Reeves is apparently playing Klaatu in this updated version. The trailer intrigued me too so we shall see.

SQUEE! Factor: 3


The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The movie adaptation of the short story I posted about last month is finally seeing the light of day in a wide release. I can't wait to see it.

SQUEE! Factor: 4

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just Say NO...

Usually I keep my political and moral beliefs underwraps because I'm a firm believer of not broadcasting your beliefs to the masses on a large scale. However, it seems like our country is on the verge of something great or something terrible. But we keep having these bumps in the road to human understanding and social transcendence.

I'm not a California a citizen but if I was, I'd vote NO on Prop 8. And if you're a progressive, open minded human being, you would to. The government should not have the right to tell you who you can and cannot marry. Everytime I hear the utter nonsense of "a marriage is between a man and a woman" I want to scream. Should I point out the divorce statistics? I know more heterosexual couples who shouldn't be in a relationship, let alone a marriage. Perhaps it harkens back to antiquated religious beliefs that are all about procreating to raise many loyal children followers. Whatever it was, it's for the wrong reasons. How can it be wrong for 2 people who love each other to marry and/or adopt children? (I personally know quite a few heterosexual men and women who shouldn't have children either.) Why can't same sex couples enjoy a happily ever after like everybody else? They can marry, have children and lead wonderful lives.

I still don't understand how people can be so blind and cruel.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Healthy Ghetto Gourmet I.

Andy and I have been trying a plethora of healthy and cheap recipes. Well I suppose 'cheap' is relative if you don't have a well stocked spice rack but I digress. Everything we've tried is tasty so I'll offer the latest dish. Sorry, I've got no awesome pictures. But believe me, it looks amazing when it is done. It was borrowed from Cheap Healthy Good.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small red or green bell peppers, chopped
3 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 pounds small red potatoes, halved
1/2 cup fat-free half and half (or skim milk)
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tb. oil; add onions, garlic, curry and cumin. Saute until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

2) Heat remaining oil in skillet; add peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Saute until soft, about 20 minutes. It's a good idea to let a lot of the extra moisture evaporate. Stir in onions. Place in a shallow 8-by-8- inch baking dish.

3) In a saucepan, boil potatoes until done. Drain and smash. Stir in half and half, peas, salt and pepper. Spread over vegetables and top with Parmesan.

4) Bake 15 minutes. Brown in broiler. Serve.

You won't need to fix any sides because this meal is quite filling. We did make a couple of adjustments though. Instead of half and half or skim milk, we just used regular old 1% milk. And we had a small jar of mushrooms leftover from the homemade birthday pizzas for my brother so we threw those in too. Somehow this dish also made more then what an 8 x 8 dish could hold. Perhaps it is because the produce wasn't as small? Nonetheless, it has made enough where I could take some to work and Andy could have a serving for lunch today. And if my memory serves, there will still be at least one plate's worth left after that. I do believe the entire dish cost $15-16 to make.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trains & Shadows

Nightmares always have a way of occurring for me. I'm not entirely sure what brings them on because movies and books tend not to do it. Sometimes I think they are the spawn of my stressed and fractured mind. Sometimes I believe they are something else entirely but I'm not going to get into that because I know what's good for me. This is not the place to start my diatribes on prophecy, premonition, and precognition. Perhaps my mind is always lost somewhere beyond the grasp of human science and modern human monotheism. And I think I prefer it that way.


I was waiting at a train station. It wasn’t just any ordinary station; it seemed like it had once been ultra modern but fell into utter disrepair. The walls were dingy white and everything appeared like it had once been stainless steel. I was surrounded by people who were waiting and everybody looked like refugees, carrying what they could with them. They all seemed agitated by the fact that dusk was beginning to settle and I myself felt my own anxiety rising at this prospect. As dreams tend to do though, I suddenly was on the train. I was at my compartment but to my horror, I found that top of the compartments were clear plexi-glass windows and I could clearly see the darkening skies. Unable to still my nervousness, I shut the door and walked aimlessly from car to car till I stumbled into this luxurious car. It was very posh and antiquated as a woman sat behind an ornate oak desk, drinking brandy. She had cherry red hair and was dressed like she fell out of the 1940s albeit in absurd Technicolor. She offered me a glass of liquor and politely turned her down as I noticed that there were many different kinds of bottles of liquor lining the tables and shelves of the room. All in glass bottles of many different shapes, sizes, and colors. For all I knew, none of it could have actually been fine liquor. That was what I assumed. For the first time in this dream, I suddenly wondered where we were going and lack of a destination bothered me. My searching eyes found an older man sitting in one of the elegant chairs and he was very sober in comparison to his lady friend. He just sat somberly in his chair and so I moved up to him. I asked him when we would arrive, as if I already knew the destination. (In reality, I didn’t know but perhaps my phantom self did know.) He looked at me and stood up, gently taking me by the arm and moving us farther away from Cherry. He told me quietly that we’d never arrive at our destination. Instantly alarmed, I demanded to know why and he said it was because we did not have enough fuel to get that far. The horrible realization settled in that they had intended to make a stand here with the train once it came to a halt and die in this train when their supplies ran out because they couldn’t live in a world where the darkness meant death or worse. At that moment, the man must have realized that night had fallen and we could hear something above us on the top of the train car. I finally noticed that there were no windows in this car whatsoever and the door was actually reinforced steel which led me to wonder if that is what was also behind the opulent paneling of the car. I grabbed his arm, feeling the fear course through my body as I too stared up at the ceiling. Cherry began to utter some drunken nonsense loudly and he curtly scolded her into silence as we waited for the noise to stop. I knew I would not stay here and I closed my eyes.

When I opened them, I was in a modest little house in what seemed like the southwest because I could see sunlight out of a window above a rocky, reddish landscape. There were people around me that I recognized yet there were others I didn’t know. But the placement of the sun in the sky told me that nightfall was coming. I moved curiously through the crowded rooms and a lot of people talked about the night. It seemed everybody was scared of it for different reasons. Somebody said a monster followed them, another said they heard ghostly voices and screams. It was confusing. From the other end of the house, I heard a woman bellow that a window was still open and I instantly peeked through a curtain as the sun finally fell behind the horizon. I bolted toward the woman’s shrill voice and found a bedroom window was indeed open. (Apparently whatever the night did bring, it could not waltz into a place when all entrances were barred.) I yanked and yanked on the window to get it to close because I only had seconds. But I couldn’t get it and an apparition swirled before my eyes of a dire wolf hovering outside the window. Its eyes held a faint green glow and instead of fright, an unspeakable amount of anger welled up inside as we glared at each other. It lunged for me and I met it head on as I tried to grab its head. I miscalculated and its jaws snapped around my arm as I yelped in pain. At some point I guess the woman left the room because a coppery skinned man came running into the room and grimaced as he told me that I wasn’t strong enough yet. He literally drew the apparition wolf away from me and flung it outside of the window like it had been a puff of wind. I swiftly closed and locked the window. I gingerly looked down my arm expecting a scene of much gore to go with my pain. To my shock, the skin wasn’t even punctured and there was no real pain after all. I looked at the mysterious man after my revelation. He simply smiled and left me there alone. Feeling braver, I gazed out of the window and saw the ghostly wolf floating outside the window. I let my eyes burn deep into its own, hoping it would know that I wasn’t afraid anymore. I drew the curtain without another thought of the wolf and laid down on the bed in the room. I closed my eyes.

And the final time I opened my eyes, I was opening the door to this secluded home in the woods where there was so much green and so many trees. Inside was my family who were excited and happy to see me. Andy was with them too. All of their worry erupted into smiles and hugs. After I shut the door, I noticed the sun had began its descent but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore and it had been a long journey.

Now how’s that for an odd dream? Maybe it wasn’t a stereotypical nightmare but I didn’t rest an ounce last night. I generally don’t like discussing my vivid dreams because they are always on the surreal. The really bad ones I try to forget.
*Photo courtesy of D.Hanton 2008 (Me!)