Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Slew of good movies and pretty good books

Flaming Iguanas was cute and bawdy. Somewhat like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but without all the boring philosophy crap and with cartoons.

Tony Bourdain's No Reservations was full of fun descriptions of the making of his show and lots of stunning pictures - of scenery and of leaches on asses.

We've watched a ton of good movies in the past week. Atonement was beautiful. Very like to book (although I reserve the right to prefer the book.) James McAvoy can be my new crush.




No Country for Old Men was so freaking good and deserving of all kinds of accolades. I loved how many of the characters resembled real people and not just pretty Hollywood extra types.

The Lives of Others is amazingly good. A-mazing! I'm forced to tell everyone I know to watch it so they can appreciate its amazingness too.

Flickr dilemma solved

So just a few days ago I was doubting my ability to accomplish the 365 Day Project on flickr. Well, lo and behold, there's the 52 Week project I can participate in instead! Instead of a self-portrait every day, I can do one once a week and still feel like I'm accomplishing something. Not to mention improving my photography skills and visually tracking my road to a healthier life style.

Plus, I'm intrigued by Project 365 which isn't self-portrait driven, but I should probably not over do it to start.

The 52 Week discovery is all do to PeskyMac's delightful flickr stream. Her blog is hella good as well and keeps me feeling well-informed when it comes to politics and the pro-choice movement.

Monday, February 25, 2008

In between projects

So after finishing all three sets of puppet theatres and finger puppets, I'm at the interesting stage of not knowing what to work on next.

My options:
- Fixing a possibly ruined lotus painting
- Doing a dia los muerte painting for my pottery teacher
- Trying my hand at sewing a garment - possibly a kimono-style top
- Blossom box type thing inspired by futuregirl's post
- Shrine art piece
- Felt flower garland to prettify my home

I'm a to-do list kind of girl, so being without a project decided upon is dumbfounding. I had decided to finish more on-going projects rather than starting fresh. The only two started projects on the list are the lotus painting and the flower garland. But they need some percolating I think. I may be leaning toward the cool blossom box idea.

Another reason to go to bed way too late

Having seen all but one of the movies nominated for best picture, I was interested in a bit more than the clothes at last night's Oscars.

My three favorite dresses:


Kelly Preston's dress is such a delicious color. Reminiscent of the painting (who's name I cannot recall) or the woman lounging in the sunlight. I want to bathe in that color.


I liked the drama of Heidi Klum's dress.


Marion Cotillard's dress is so pretty and detailed and mermaid-like. I have yet to see La Vie en Rose but its on my Netflix queue.

Other things I noticed:


His character in No Country for Old Men scared the bejesus outta me. But cleaned up and sans the bad haircut, Javier Bardem is a cutie.


No big fan of her dress, but I was happy when Tilda Swinton won for supporting actress. She was so good in Michael Clayton. And she looked so striking and fresh faced last night.

Friday, February 22, 2008

365 project considerations

I pondering a new try on the 365 day project. It seems kind of narcissistic to take so many pictures of myself, but it is such a good reason to learn some Photoshop skills. These two were faves from the last attempt:


Plus its on my 101 list. Besides Jen finds time to do the project and do a bazillion crafty projects. That's some inspiration!

My continuations of ridiculously short reads

French Women Don't Get Fat was a stupid choice for me. Yes, I love audio books - espcially those read with accents. Yes, I love travel and food. No, I do not love diet advice books. I blame it on a subpar selection from my library download section. And while I admittedly could use some help in the health and weight department this was too snooty-ish and simple for me. Even with the pretty accent.

A Certain Slant of Light was gripping and engaging. Told from the point of view of a ghost, it has a great premise. However, something about the ending didn't come together quite right for me. It seemed rushed.
And after all these super short reads, its definitely time to dive into something more substantial. Maybe something from my Chunkster list.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Manic and Me

Been in my head all day:


Monday, February 18, 2008

Death, death, and travel

A whirlwind of road trips and family visits have kept me from reading much or posting at all. Here's what I have read and seen lately. (I'm afraid crafting has been completely nonexistant but I did get all the puppet theatres off to the recipients).

I listened to The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion on tape. Its a very moving read and I can't imagine going through everything the author did all at once. Such an honest voice! This passage particularly touched me:

"People who have recently lost someone have a certain look recognizable only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I've noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness. It is the look of someone who walks from the opthamologists office into daylight with dilated eyes or the look of someone who usually wears glasses and is made to take them off. These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible. I myself felt invisible for a period of time. Incorporeal."


I read Into the Wild by John Krakauer after my husband enjoyed it so well. Its very well-written, but I can't help having a lack of sympathy for Chris McCandless. His treatment of his family seems so cruel and childish. But I particularly enjoyed the author's brief backgrounds of other adventurers who traveled into the wild and perished. It was pretty darn interesting.



We watched the first video from Michael Palin's Pole to Pole series last night. I'm enjoying it. Even when his jokes fall flat, I find Palin pretty endearing.

We're also still watching the Monarch of the Glen series. Why can I not track down who sells the hat Lexie wears for her wedding? Its so damn cute!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cleverness is a quality a man likes to have in his wife as long as she is some distance away from him.

I neglected to post my review of Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad that I read for the Mythopoeic Award Challenge.

More than a little clever, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on tape at work and sadly, due to some loudmouth obnoxious coworkers (bitter much?), there were some parts that took more than one listen to catch. I really enjoyed the unexpectedness of the storytelling and the less than reliable narrator. The singing maids were quite enjoyable. And who can resist classic stories told from alternate points of view?

I adore Margaret Atwood's books. Isn't it the best feeling to finish a book by an author you've greatly enjoyed before and know that they still have plenty more books you still haven't read?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Reviews

I'm road tripping for the next few days, but before I go I thought I'd leave you with some reviews.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife is so so so good. Educational and irreverant with some terrifically gross parts, I'm telling lots of people to read it.



The Greatest Generation wasn't bad - just not as good and emotional as The Greatest Generation Speaks. Plus I got tired of Brokaw's yammering on over and over again about how all other generations have no values compared to this group. We get it, Brokaw! Just tell the damn stories!


Millions was pretty adorable and very original. It made me giggle a lot and smile real hard throughout.

Being nicer to Mother Earth

Recently discovered Tiny Choices - a wonderful blog that shares ideas for being nicer to the planet.

Bookworm Carnival

So I just read about the Bookworm Carnival on the marvelous book blog, A Striped Armchair, and not being one for hesitation, I couldn't resist jumping right on it.


My favorite series that falls into this category is Jane Yolen's Great Alta series comprising of Sister Light, Sister Dark, White Jenna, and the One-Armed Queen. But it may take some digging because I definitely prefer the old covers as opposed to the new ones.
My god, I loved this series like it was tailor made for me. Badass women and layers upon layers of invented myth and research entwined with the actual story. So freakin' good!
And I'm so happy that the Carnival made me think of this cause now I know what I'm sending my 14 year old niece for her birthday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Embellishments

I picked up Embellish Your Home from the library almost entirely based on the stunning cover shot. Lots of pretty pictures, but most projects seemed much too Victorian-ish for my taste. Only 2 or 3 seemed at all tempting.

The umbrella tree on the cover:



The necklace holder:


And the candelabra.



Other than those, it was a bit too fussy and prissy for my liking.

More Dress Love


Wild and ladylike

I love the combination of a classic cut and wild pattern. This adorable (and insanely inexpensive) dress is from LadyLanguage.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Amusements

I've been tearing through some slim novels lately - causing my mother (who just joined Goodreads) to ask how the heck I managed to read so much. I pointed out the difference between books makrked "to-read" and those marked "read" and then pointed out how small most of those read books were. I don't think she's entirely convinced.



Water for Elephants was such an engrossing and quick read. I'm reveling in my knew knowledge of circus slang. The cover is stunning too, and that never hurts.


The Body in the Library was okay. I'm not much of a mystery reader, and I think I prefer the BBC versions of Miss Marple to reading the books. Now I want to name something Agatha though. Why in the world did that name fall out of favor?


I listened to George's Marvelous Medicine at work. I adore Roald Dahl's books. He has some of the most bizarre and sometimes dastardly characters for children's books. And a refreshing lack of moral lessons for the most part.

We watched Waitress over the weekend. Love the pies! Love the uniforms! Can't get the pie song outta my head for the life of me. Pretty darn cute film.

Warning though. This movie may have contributed to having pie for dinner last night instead of the reasonably healthy soup I'd planned on making. Mmmmm pie.

A Room of One's Own


Virginia Woolf
Originally uploaded by litmuse
Isn't that picture stunning?

In the last post, I briefly touched on trying not to feel so damn selfish about carving out my own time for creative pursuits. I doubt I'm the only one who struggles with this.

During the week, I find myself being caught up in work and tidying up and cooking and grabbing some time with my husband. Weekends are generally spent hanging out with my husband and friends. And I enjoy doing all these things, even (bizarrely) the tidying up.

However, I feel like more and more I let my own creative time fall by the wayside. Its my own fault. I feel guilty about working on something in a room by myself and not loafing with my hubby on the couch snuggling with the dog. In fact, my husband has gotten into jokingly calling time spent on my own to be time spent "ignoring him and the dog" which I doubt he believes but it still causes a pang here and there.

So my new plan of action is to carve out an average of 1.5 - 2 hours a day just to be spent on creative pursuits. Ban the phrase "ignoring" from the household vocabulary. Encourage hubby to further explore his own artistic pursuits like his badass photography. Get up earlier so I can get some of the household stuff outta the way sooner and not let it suck up my after work time. And then it won't feel selfish. It'll be like going to the gym - part of the day's schedule that is really good for me. (Although my gym going habits could use some reinforcing as well).

I like having a plan of attack.
Fool that I am, I could not resist Somerset Studio's Artful Blogging publication.


Full of utterly beautiful pictures and interesting interviews and lovely snippets from blogs, I gazed at it at the local book store until I realized that I just could not leave without it.
So now I'm contemplating a February resolution to make my blog more of a thing of beauty. Something with more original content, better photographs, and more artwork.
Things I need to do to accomplish this (I can't help it, I'm a natural born list-maker):
- Practice practice practice my photography.
- Learn more magical photoshopping skills
- Set aside more time for creativity and manage to not feel selfish for doing so
- Share more thoughts and ideas as they come to me
So that's the plan, stanley. Let's hope something comes of it!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Have an afternoon to waste?

Then I suggest browsing through the amazing dresses of TheFrock.com - pages and pages of exquisite vintage dresses.



If I had an extra gobload of money in the bank, I'd be tempted by the above two lovelies.

Ooooh

Just got back from catching the Michael Clayton film. So good! So very good without any stupid cliche-like plot lines thrown in. I suggest you see it for yourself.