Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer basking

Terraces are the best.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Consumables #66

The other day, Delium was over for dinner and I was pouring salad dressing and saying how I only wanted a teeny bit of it, but I was moving way too fast so I ended up with a tidal wave of vinaigrette on my greens. He said: "Oh no!"  But I sad, in a mournful Pointer Sisters way: "I need a man with a slow hand." We busted ourselves up laughing at that one. Why is that so funny? Other funny song renditions in my house: "Who ate the Smart Puffs?" to the tune of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and Nordic Boy's answer to my question of whether or not he wanted me to cut off the green tops to his strawberries: "Let's leave 'em on," to the tune of "Let's Get It On."

Not really that funny, right? Yet, every time: STITCHES.


Lady Chatterley
This was recommended to me on Netflix Instant and I had heard nothing about this version. I watched it, and then afterward I looked up more information about it and was shocked. I could have sworn to you by the look of that movie that it was made in 1975 or something, but no! 2006, people! It was so 70s. The film quality was all gritty, the sex was all unsexy. It wasn't bad or anything, but it did seem like it was from another era.

Lincoln Lawyer
Since I read the book last week and liked it, I thought I would see how the movie measured up. Yeah, it didn't. Matthew what's his bucket- why can't I ever remember how to spell his effing name- Matthew McCanada-hey was sufficiently oily though. And wow, I keep bringing him up don't I? Didn't I just talk about him last week?

American Masters: Margaret Mitchell
That lady was a straight up racist, refusing to sit in a college class with an African American student and her black characters she wrote and all that mess. But then she was secretly paying anonymous scholarships for hundreds of black students at Morehouse to become doctors. Racism, why you gotta be so complicated?

We Were Here
Hey, do you want to bawl your freaking eyes out? Watch this documentary about the people who served as caregivers to AIDS patients in San Francisco in the early 80s. Anyone who says that family needs to be blood-related needs to watch this and tell me that that wasn't as family as it gets.

Choreographed by Mats Eks, danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ana Laguna. I watched it three times in a row.


The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
I love interlocking stories, and these were each richly but simply done. It's so fun to see how all of the pieces fit together, and the newsroom/journalism stuff was great. The characters were all interesting, complicated sad sacks- the title of the book could not have been more accurate. I am usually queen of the pro-sad-sack-characters, but I did wonder at a certain point: out of all these characters (and there are a lot of them), not one of them could be a bit less of an internal mess? I actually don't mind and rather like sad/pathetic characters, but I would have loved it more had the levels of sad/pathetic varied a bit more.

Have a happy day, my lovelies!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Consumables #65

Alright alright alright. I say this because Nordic Boy has been saying this phrase a lot lately in a Matthew McConaughey voice and it is the creepiest shit ever. Could you please tell him to stop it? And by him, I mean Matthew McConaughey. Let's just cut it off at the source.

With that, some Consumables.

Tiny Furniture
I am woefully behind in watching "Girls" because I am a cheapass who will not pay for HBO, so instead I got up to speed on what made Dunham Kind of a Big Deal in the first place. I was so fully expecting to hate it, but I didn't at all. I found it interesting and engaging and yes, annoying, but I thought that it was sort of the point to be annoying. I get what people say about her work not being a fair representative of a generation, and I think that's right. I am not of that generation anymore because I am a grannypants, and me and many of my friends did not act like that when we were 22. Many of my friends, I say. But I did have some friends that totally and completely acted like that. Like, compleeeeetly. She captured it, to a tee. Plus all the commentary on representation (both implied in her work as well as about her work) is interesting to me. So to sum up: expected to hate it and did not.

Breaking Pointe
How could I not watch this? Reality tv set in a ballet company? Why Eee Ess. Watch it I did, and all I can say is that I feel deep respect for the art these people create, and also deep embarrassment that they were acting like Lauren Conrad for the cameras when they weren't dancing.

Game of Thrones
Or Game of Boobs, as we call it in our house.

Moonrise Kingdom
I think Wes Anderson is good but I am not as in love with him as the average hipster, so I was surprised at how much I loved this. It was so pretty (expected), and it had a sweet and earnest story (not expected). And so summery. If you go see this, see it during summer.

Benny and Shrimp, by Katarina Mazetti
Translated from the original Swedish- apparently this was a huge-ungus hit over there. It's a modern romance with a classic premise: two people from different worlds are brought together by attraction, then love. Will their relationship survive in spite of their differences? Benny is the owner and sole worker on a small dairy farm, and Shrimp is an intellectual urban professional. The thing I liked best about this was that it described the differences in those two circumstances, sure, but it also showed the commonality in them, and that is lonliness.  There's rural lonliness, and there is urban lonliness, but in the end it's all the same sense of crushing isolation and yearning for connection. Ah, you Swedes, so lighthearted you are. Anyway, (don't worry, no spoilers), I didn't like the ending one little bit. Phooey on you, last part of the book.

The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly
This was everything you want in a book like this, slam dunk. Flawed lawyer trying to do the right thing (well most of the time) in a messed up legal system, gritty crime scenarios, totally creepy evil villain, guilt, innocence, murder, drama.

Zom-B, by Darren Shan
I had the advanced copy of this from the publisher so it didn't have any illustrations in it yet, so I can't tell you about that part, but the story itself was good zombie fare. I liked the racism stuff in there a lot (now that's a weird sentence to say), and it had a good couple of unexpected twists toward the end. If you want to read about some good old fashioned brain eaters, this will quench the brain hunger.

Lastly, let's have a song, shall we? Here's what I've been listening to lately. Bulgarian hip hop dance. It's a good'n'. 

D E N A: Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools

While I'm thinking about it, tell me something. What's your song of the summer this year? Comment! Tell me! Me and my ipod need you.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Summer wandering

Hey gang!

I had a professor in college who seemed like she was the feisty camp counselor in an 80s made-for-tv movie. She had red hair, curly like Mrs. Roper's, and she started every lecture by snapping her gum and saying "Hey gang!" in a way that was at once jolly and sardonic. Every once in a while I try to bust out a "hey gang!" in her manner, even though no one knows what I am up to so I just end up looking weird. I would love to be jolly and sardonic, but I will settle for weird. Apparently.

Let's catch up on the happenings around here. There is a regional "joke" in Seattle that says that summer really doesn't kick in until July 4th. This year that was quite literal. It rained up a storm (ha ha, now THAT'S a joke, fellas) (oh dear lord) right up until July 3 and then on the 4th and ever since it has been super gorgeous. Sorry to rub that in the faces of all y'all reading this in other parts of the country, where I know that the weather has been crap on toast. I would send you all a little package of this heavenly stuff here if I could.

My July 4th was as low key as could be. My brain has just been running amok lately and so I think I just needed to max and relax as much as possible. I took myself to a quiet lunch by myself, and then Biogirl and I hiked it over to a lakeside park and sat in the grass for the entire afternoon and then strolled over to get gelato and strolled some more. Nordic Boy and I spent the rest of the night in, no fireworks, no barbecuing, no nothing. America was pretty mad at us I am sure.

Once the weekend rolled around I found myself, still due to the previous month's madness, completely and totally without plans. I love a good activity-filled weekend, don't get me wrong, but a gorgeous, sunny, summertime weekend with absolutely nothing that has to be done? GOLDEN.

This meant that I spent the whole weekend just thinking, in the moment, "Self? What would you like to do next?" What resulted was a sort of unremarkable weekend, but it was the kind of weekend that I hope I will remember for a very long time.

About 10 years ago, when Nordic Boy and I lived next door to our friends Neighbor B and Neighbor J, there was this one summer evening where we were grumpy and tired and hot, and the Neighbors invited us over for watermelon. And we sat in their living room, which had a view of Lake Washington, and ate this watermelon, and it seemed the sweetest, tastiest shit ever, and we were laughing and talking and looking out the window to the lake in the distance. There was nothing about that day that was memorable, yet I have never forgotten it. I felt content, and happy, and just inside a cocoon of friendship and love, if you want to get right down into hokey-town. Just so ordinary, but so beautiful. I love those days the best. The ordinary and beautiful ones.

I got to have two of those this weekend, and here's some of what went down.

Nordic Boy and I wandered to a little Italian restaurant where I had some sparkly white wine that made me hiccup all the way home.

I met up with Biogirl and one of her high school besties and his wife who were visiting from California, and we wandered around Pike Place Market, eating ice cream and listening to the seagulls over Elliott Bay.

I saw Moonrise Kingdom, which seemed so appropriate for summer. If you want to see it, see it in summertime.

I had brunch with Biogirl at our favorite haunt.

Nordic Boy and I drove to Snohomish, which is known for its antique stores, and wandered around a bunch of them aimlessly, digging up World War II aviator goggles and 1970s McDonald's collectible juice glasses and cut glass grandma-style bowls.

On the way back from Snohomish, instead of hopping onto the freeway, we got onto some curvy backroads that cut through farmland and looked at blue sky, and wide green fields, and white-topped mountains on the horizon.

I sat on my front stoop and talked to my mom and dad on the phone, and we laughed a lot, and I missed them, so very very hard.

I opened up all of the windows in the house, put my feet onto Nordic Boy's lap, and read a book from beginning to end all in one sitting.

I wore summer dresses all day every day (which are hard to take self-portraits of, by the way).

Thanks, July. I needed that.