Thursday, May 22, 2014

AFI 100: The Graduate (#17)

This was a real disappointment for me. Coming in at number 17 on AFI's 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, I was expecting a lot from this film, but it turns out this was very much a product of the time in which it was created and I don't think it translated very well to my current day sensibilities.

Pretty much everyone in the film is unlikeable, either for the entire duration or starting about halfway in, and it's rare when any of their actions appear to have sensible motivation(s), if any, behind them. The ending of the film is the perfect example of this, wherein characters do completely inane things that resolve in ways that they shouldn't and still nobody seems particularly happy with the outcome. I was barely halfway through the film when I started eying the DVD player to see how much more of this I had to bear.

Afterwards I went to my roommate Jeff, who had done his graduate work in film, and asked him what made this film so great. Surprisingly, he wasn't particularly enamoured with the film either, and could only note that he thought the film had introduced the concept of the montage and that in part was why it was so well received. I haven't actually been able to verify that, and frankly, I don't have any interest in doing so.

However, during a phone conversation with my father later that week, he pointed out that the film paralleled what people were feeling and doing at the time. The film was released in 1967, as the United States was knee deep in the Vietnam war. The country was divided on what should be done and there was a lot of confusion and bad decisions being made. He said a lot of Americans could identify with the lead, Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), and his inability to figure out what to do with their lives.

While this certainly gave me a bit more perspective on the film, it wasn't enough to make up for the time I lost watching it, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hard Reset

I honestly should have done this like a month ago, but better late than never. I finally got back to the gym to this week, bought groceries so I wouldn't be eating out all the time, and am making a concerted effort to get shit done at work. I've started watching AFI films again, and will hopefully get back to tap dancing this weekend after missing it the last two weeks.

The job hunt is officially under way though it's slow going so far, but hopefully something will turn up sooner rather than later. I briefly shaved my goatee and then upon realizing this was a terrible mistake decided to start growing it back in. By tomorrow I will have hopefully finished A Short History of Nearly Everything, at which point I'll have to decide on what to read next (I'm thinking philosophy or possibly government).

Our current production opened about a week-and-a-half ago and I have to say that it's my favorite of the four I've been here for. We'll find out next Monday whether or not the show will be extended for another week or two. And while I'd love to have more people come and see it I'm actually rooting against the extension as it will allow me to audition and possibly partake in another Hollywood Fringe Festival production. *fingers crossed*

Hmmm....what else? The first baby in my SoCal group was born the other day, and his parents named him Xander, after a character in the television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are nerds, and proud of it. :D

Oh, and I finally managed to sell the old Tuna Boat ('99 Buick Regal) and got a grand out of it, no less. So that's one less hassle to deal with.

As part of the reset I should hopefully start posting regularly again. I've gotten through a few more games, watched a few more movies, and stumbled across a lot more music (most of it of the musical theatre variety). I hope everyone out there is having as splendid a time as I am having.

Ta ta, for now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mister Rogers was a smart guy.

"Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."

― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

Image Source: 1

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I'm Reading: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Normally I'd wait to finish a book before passing it along, but I haven't been finding a lot of time to read lately and this book is too good for you to have to wait around for me to finish.

I remember hearing about A Short History Of Nearly Everything (ASHNE) when it first came out, but since my reading habits lean towards science fiction and fantasy I never got around to reading it. But after bailing of War & Peace, I thought I should replace it with something made a of a bit more substance, and so, voila!

ASHNE, written by Bill Bryson, is exactly what it's name suggests--a history of nearly everything, from a scientific standpoint, starting from before the Big Bang up to today, or so I assume as I'm only about a fourth of the way through the book.

He's explained the birth and growth of the various sciences like physics, geology, astronomy, and chemistry, throwing about names left and right and delving into their stories and discoveries in a way that makes me wish he had written my college text books. Had they been this engaging perhaps I might have done slightly better in my classes.

While I'm not yet done with the book, what I've read so far has been excellent so if you're in-between books at the moment, I highly suggest you stop by your local library and grab a copy. I'm averaging about a chapter a day when I have time, so you could easily mosey through this in about a month.

Images: 1

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What I'm Listening To: The Wailin' Jennys

The birthday party was a success and it was a fairly relaxing affair for me as I decided to forgo making Bahn Mi for nine and a half pounds of pulled pork. Much less work for me and it was all eaten by the time the night was over. The downside is I have no recipe to share with you today so instead I thought I'd share some music.

My one foray into the world of bluegrass/country is Nickel Creek, a trio that I discovered years ago through an episode of A Prairie Home Companion. I decided to listen to them at work on Spotify the other day and my coworker asked who they were. I mentioned they were bluegrass and she instantly suggested I check out The Wailin' Jennys.

The Wailin' Jennys are a female trio from Canada who have been playing together since 2002 and have released four albums during that time. And they've apparently also been on A Prairie Home Companion, so perhaps I need to go back and start listening to old episodes for more music recommendations.

Anyways, I really like their work. It tends to be soft, delicate harmonies over simple acoustics and it really is lovely music.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What I'm Cooking: LOTS.

It's been a busy week in the kitchen, but when you've got the urge you've got to splurge*!

I totally just thought up that turn of phrase. I don't want to brag, but I think I might be this generation's oratorical Michelangelo.


My first meal of the week included an old favorite, Ratatouille, a new citrus-y couscous dish, and a take on the classic Saltimbocca, with chicken instead of veal. Everything was delicious and I highly recommend you try all three.

Super Simple Chicken Saltimbocca:

Boneless chicken breast
Fontina, shredded
Sage, minced or whole

1. Take a chicken breast and cut it in half horizontally.
2. Sprinkle on some fontina and sage (if minced).
3. Cover with one or more pieces of prosciutto.
4. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken breast and then hammer flat.
5. Remove plastic wrap and place chicken breast prosciutto-side down in a lightly oil skillet over med to med-hi heat.
6. Cook on each side for about three minutes.

And voila! A beautiful, delicious, and easy dish is yours. The flavors work wonderfully together and the fontina and prosciutto circumvent the need to use any extra salt. And if you want to be fancy, you can use a toothpick to attach a whole sage leaf on top of the prosciutto and cook it that way.

Sunday night I had a few friends over and finally put my roommates new crockpot to work by trying out this Serious Eats recipe for Slow Cooked Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork. It was really good, but it made a ton of food and I've been slowly grazing through the remains over the last couple of days.

And while that was enough to make a meal in and of itself, I decided to pair it with some baked beans and cole slaw. Sadly the cole slaw wasn't impressive enough to share here.

Finally, this Saturday is our annual tri-birthday party for myself and two friends, and I'll be going back to one of my old standby recipes, Bahn Mi, for the main dish and I'll probably add in a double serving of the couscous for good measure.

I discovered the Bahn Mi years ago through the Cooking Light magazine and it was one of my favorite dishes for a long time, but sadly my stomach no longer agrees with it so I only rarely make it for potlucks any more. I'll put up the recipe next week once I have photos to go with it.

*does not pertain to murder or other illegal and/or illicit acts.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In the meantime...

I did a ton of cooking this week and I'll make a shortlist of all the recipes later today, but in the meantime here's a little corgi gif to get your day off to a great start.