17 July 2007

Good entertainment

Saw HP5 tonight. Overall, very good - I thought they did an excellent job of paring down the nearly 800 page book into a 2 hour movie that flowed very well. I wish the director had included a St. Mungo's scene because it's a very meaningful sequence in the book; they did cover the information nicely with a short exchange between Neville and Harry (I also missed Molly vs. the boggart and Kreacher "rescuing" all the Black heirlooms from the trash).

I thought it was really neat how we "flew" through all the newspapers everytime Fudge was putting out more fake news. Also the animation of the thestrals was great (a bit lacking on Grawp and the centaurs; too "CGI-ish" so it's pretty obvious they were drawn in).

Imelda Staunton - LOVE! She was so great as Umbridge. Got the 'hem-hem' down perfectly and the disgusting "Donna Reed on acid" attitude was dead on.

I even thought the previews were great. First up was The Water Horse - a really cute looking story about the origins of the Loch Ness monster starring Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin. Next was The Golden Compass (I think it'll be going by the title "Northern Lights" in the UK) and while there weren't extended sequences (the animation might not be quite finished) it looks kick-ass. There was a 5 second sequence showing Iorek Byrnison causing some damage and it looked good. Then there was 10,000 BC which was also pretty choppy (releasing in 2008) but I'm just not that jazzed about a mammoth hunter movie. Disney is going to poke fun at a genre that's exclusively it's own with Enchanted, which also looks totally cute but also pretty inane, so I will probably wait until the DVD comes out to watch. Then there was Fred Claus (there might have been a sixth review, but it must not have been memorable) which, depending on my Christmas cheer, I might go and see because watching Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti fight with each other, as Fred and Santa Claus respectively, was pretty funny. I hope it's not the kind of comedy where all the good bits are in the preview.

Current book-in-progress: Reading a really good essay in The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter where the author examines the characters' moral development in the novels using a tool developed by a Harvard researcher. Pretty interesting.
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

16 July 2007

This is why Friday can't get here fast enough

Not so I can read the last HP book (bonus), but because all the security and secrecy is completely unreal.

Check out this Yahoo article about the security at B&N - the reporters can't reveal the location of the warehouse. Neither can I, nyah-nyah (in reality not particularly "nyah-nyah" since I don't know which warehouse the books are at in the first place).

Current book-in-progress: Articles about Wharton's The Buccaneers - there's surprisingly not much scholarship about the book, but since the edition I read had about 1/4 "created" by the editor in an attempt to finish the book I'm not too surprised.
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

The End of Dewey?

In yet another instance of idiocy, the Perry Branch of the Maricopa County Library District has done away with the Dewey Decimal System and gone to grouping on category like B&N. The librarians did this because people came to browse which, to me, implies that it is too hard to browse the DDS and that the general public isn't particularly intelligent. Oh come on, I browsed as a kid with the DDS. The CR Public Library has the category names for the DDS listed next to the DDS numbers so you always knew what subject you were looking for.

The other disgusting thing about the article was that the library was displaying Paris Hilton's crappy book and that there's no card catalogue. Great. So now we're developing a generation who will have no idea how to adequately perform research (anybody ever tried to guess how the Library of Congress system works? it's not very browser-friendly).

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter (found an article in which I'm pretty sure the author didn't actually read any of the HP books - said Hermoine was a half-blood Muggle and that professor Flitwick was mean); I finished The Master and Margarita
Current knitted item: The last HP surprise

12 July 2007

Alright, my fellow feminists

Get on the horn to the politicians. If no one's heard about this story from Nebraska, then I'll fill you in. The victim was having a drink at a local bar and then next thing she knew she woke up in a stranger's bed with him doing the nasty to her. So she went to the hospital, had a rape-kit done, the police arrested the guy and charged him with first-degree sexual assault. At the trial in Lincoln the judged decided certain words were inflammatory and inferred guilt - words like "rape," "forced," "victim," you get the picture. So pretty much everyone has to commit perjury because the victim can't say she was forced to have sex, the attorneys can't refer to a rape kit, and to top it all off the jury wasn't even told the judge had imposed an order. I think the first trial ended in a mistrial. Well, the second trial was ordered to obey what is essentially a gag order and was declared a mistrial this week. To top it off, a motion to have the judge's ruling was rejected in Nebraska state court because the victim's attorney was from Boston and she didn't have a Nebraska license (the attorney had filed a motion to practice but this was turned down, too).

The article about the NE Supreme Court is here.

I'm not sure how many people read this blog, but if you do - get the word out to your state senators, reps, presidential candidates anybody. Tell them that we won't sit still and watch while our rights to our own bodies are frittered away by a mysogynistic judge.

Current book-in-progress: Too busy reading the news
Current knitted item: Too grouchy

10 July 2007

This was more interesting about 20 years ago

So some guy in Oregon turned his lawnchair into a hot-air balloon. Pretty sure it was more interesting when Cutter John from the Bloom County comic strip did the same thing in about 1985 - only Opus somehow got tangled up in the mooring lines and went along with. Then Cutter got captured by the Russians and was traded for Bill the Cat (who apparently was a Communist spy, who knew?) and Opus, who the Russians left behind, wandered his way back to Bloom County with a severe case of amnesia.

Definitely more interesting than floating from Oregon to Idaho.

Please tell me there are more fans of Bloom County out in cyberspace than just geeky-ol' me.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter (the articles are really interesting)
Current knitted item: I looked at the kntting, does that count (there was another grant due, ack)?

07 July 2007

Down in front...

Went to see the Joffrey Ballet this evening. They've been on tour in Iowa celebrating Hancher Auditorium's 35th Anniversary - totally awesome, FREE (bonus), outdoor performance. Some of my favorite pieces: "Sometimes it Snows in April" from Billboards, the Grand pas from Nutcracker (performed by my two favorite Joffrey dancers, Maia Wilkins and Willy Shive), and Light Rain (if you saw Altman's "The Company", you saw part of the first section). Untitled (a Pilobolus piece I'd only seen pictures of) was very interesting, very athletic, too, for the guys since Pilobolus choreography is amazing in how it uses the human body to make shapes, balancing acts, etc. Slight disappointment in the new piece (of which I can't remember the name) - it was definitely not reminicent of "sultry tropical nights" and looked more like a contest to see who could develope higher disguised as a teenager's version of being sultry - pastiche. Someone needed a tango lesson (since I think that was the vibe) but the music was all rhumba-y. God I miss my ballet class.

For being Iowa in July, the weather was perfect. Once the sun went behind the trees we had shade and there was a nice breeze off the river.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: knitting....yeah, I should do some of that

03 July 2007

And the moral of the story?

If you're going to commit perjury and be part of some shady dealings that endangered at least one life, possibly two, you should be good buddies with the President of the United States. You might be able to get away scott-free.

One more reason why we should never elect another shrub into the Oval Office. Ever.

Current book-in-progress: The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: Another "Harry Potter" surprise (working on logistics)

Late notice

One of my favorite singers, Beverly Sills, died yesterday. She retired in 1980, long before I ever started singing in earnest, but she sounded wonderful on video and I did get to hear her on "The Muppet Show." I'm sure it was better live.

Current book-in-progress: The Opera Lover's Cookbook
Current knitted item: it's gray....

02 July 2007

Food crisis (crises, rather, because they are many)

Crisis #1: I have a secret - I really can cook. I can. I'm very good at cooking; I can take pretty much any recipe and make whatever that is and it tastes good. What I'm not good at doing is time, planning (if you've ever met me, you know this is a perpetual problem, along with procrastination), and cleaning up.

I have plenty of cookbooks, some of which are useful and some are just for drooling over. The Opera Lover's Cookbook: Menus for Elegant Entertaining is a drool over; with chapters like "English Pub Supper with Gilbert & Sullivan," "Vodka Tasting with Russian Composers," "Mozart Dinner Party," and "Bel Canto Elegant Five-Course Dinner" I need a different lifestyle to get mileage out of the book's recipes. I love the recipes in the Earthbound Organic cookbook, they just take quite a bit of time to get the dishes made, which I know is the secret to great-tasting food, but when you spend most of the day at both jobs and then curled up in bed asleep a speedier (but still healthy) cookbook is necessary. So I'm consulting my Canyon Ranch cookbooks - mmm, spa food - there's a great frittata recipe right at the beginning of Canyon Ranch Cooks.

Crisis #2: I really need to lose about a stone because I look like food and I spend a lot of time together. My relationship with food is not good. I'm an ex-dancer and I have about as many hangups and binges as the rest; I just have slower metabolism. I'm not terribly overweight for my frame (I refuse to look at a BMI because all the number does is induce a major depressive episode and a succession of binges) but I've nearly passed the first third of my life and my metabolism was never speedy. I need to get a grip on feeding myself correct portions of good food so I don't eat out so many times; I love the noodle place and the bagel place but they are murder on my waistline (the coffee shop, too, since my biggest weakness is scones). I did actually cave and pick up several of the South Beach diet cookbooks. I don't ascribe to the no-carb theory; humans were not made to function on a no-carb/low-carb diet because the brain actually needs something like 60-70 grams of good carbs/day (if you've ever met me on a day when I haven't eaten much, you know I do not function at all; worse if there's no coffee or tea in sight). The Quick and Easy version has a great pear and goat cheese salad and the regular one has a really yummy Apricot Muffin (made with Splenda, it surprisingly tastes good).

Crisis #3: I am cooking for one. ONE. A recipe that makes two servings is great because I have a leftover for lunch or dinner the next day. If there are more than 3 or 4 servings, the dish gets kind of old. Some are really hard to halve - how to you divide three eggs? What is half an egg?

So this is my wish: A healthy/natural foods cookbook with recipes that take less than 20-30 minutes to prepare, has a proposed meal plan for those of us are calorie-impaired, uses ingredients that are available in the landlocked areas of the country, does not attach itself to any silly diet craze, and serves two (or one). Can I find a cookbook like this? Not really.

Current book-in-progress: Whatever I was reading yesterday.
Current knitted item: Eeyores (the little buggers are complicated - who thought this pattern up?)

01 July 2007

Dead Rant

The vast majority of this post was originally an extremely long rant about people who abuse the BN Book Clubs - it's where I spend my downtime and it bothers me when that's not respected. I don't think "in your face" advertising has a place there. Once I had the rant out, I read it, decided it had served it's purpose, and deleted most of it except:

"Therefore, I have read at least three posts in various groups (at least one of which is completely inappropriate for the post) touting what basically sounds like a blog. And why would I pay for that? I can read thousands of them for free everyday online. So all this author is doing is irritating everyone (and he/she/they/it wasn't even particularly sorry when apologising to the group's moderator - even said we should go read the book; not going to do that).

And why is this post here and not on BN.com? Because I'm a reader-moderator, the post was not made in my group, and I should abide by the guidelines, which includes no flaming, so I'm venting here. Otherwise, he/she/they/it would get an earful."

In different book related news, I purchased The Sunny Side - a collection of A.A. Milne's short poems and stories for Punch. Love.

Current book-in-progress: Swann's Way (Lydia Davis translation), The Marquise of O-, Cultural Amnesia, Wuthering Heights, The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter
Current knitted item: Eeyores