Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another reminder

Another reminder! I'm posting at my fresh new blog now. The Perfect Binge. Come see me there!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I promise it wasn't an April Fools joke! I am no longer posting here. Come join me over at The Perfect Binge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gone away

My new nest may not be totally complete, but you can still follow me to The Perfect Binge. A fresh new start seemed just the thing!
Artwork above by handmadeonpeconicbay. Isn't it lovely and tempting?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't be alarmed

I am merely feathering a fresh new nest for my blog. Updates to come!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I love this kinda silliness! A good reason to keep chalk on you at all times.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Inspiring look

miss vu • 03.19.09
Originally uploaded by miss vu
Been a while since I've posted one of these, no? Love love love this look!

Strong strong women

Antonia's Line is a charming Dutch film about Antonia and her family and friends. It starts with the day she decides to die "because she knows when enough is enough" and then goes back to tell her tale. The story is a great one - full of the intricacies of small town life where everyone's business is known.
I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil the tiniest bit of it. I give it a 9.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All message-y

The Cat Returns features the very cool and imaginative Kingdom of Cats. Unfortunately, it also features a message that it attempts to sledge hammer into you.

It's all about a girl who feels out of place. She does a good deed for a cat in trouble and ends up the unwilling recipient of lots of attention from the Kingdom of Cats. And through all her adventures, she's forced to learn how to have confidence in herself. They mention it so goddamn often that its impossible not to get the message.

For that reason - and that reason only, it only gets a 4 from me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yes yes

I have watched a whole ton of movies lately. I've had some days off and spare time. Other things were accomplished too, I promise. Craftiness, candle-making, house tidying, thrift shopping and whatnot.

Rachel Getting Married had me worried at first. I was sure it was going to be scene after scene of Kim, the troubled recovering alcoholic / attention seeking daughter, ruining the wedding of her sister Rachel.
At first, there was a lot of those moments, but as things went along the family dynamic got a lot more complex and subtle. I felt like I was watching a real family unit - full of affection and pain and conflict.
I also loved the wedding itself. The music of this film bowled me over. This one rates an 8.

Just wondering

Originally uploaded by ilina s
Is anyone else dreaming of flowers? Its that tme of year in Ohio when only the crocus are blooming. I can feel the promise of spring and I know that in a short time flowers will be just about everywhere, but I cannot wait.

I've been buying flowers every time I grocery shop. Sunday I lucked into a free bouquet from my husband's coworkers. Flowers make everything better.

Monday, March 16, 2009

French fluff

Priceless is a bit of fluffy French comedy featuring Audrey Tautou as a gold digger who inadvertently charms a common hotel employee. The story is cute and silly. Tautou is charming as always. This film more than any other though, made me a bit concerned for how insanely think she is though. Maybe its a French thing, but if she were one of my friends, I'd be keeping an eye on her.
I give it a 5. The two leads are pretty adorable.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Netflix suggests a lot of movies to me, but it rarely gets it as right as Sweet Land. The story of a mail order bride from Germany who moves to a Minnesota community at a time when mistrust for Germans is riding high.

The story is a romance told so sweetly and gently. I can recommend it enough. (And Lisa, if you don't add this to your queue immediately, you just don't know what's good for you).

The filming is beautiful. Every last character is well thought out. Watch it and thank me later.

A 9.5 out of 10 in my book.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Inspired by this post over on The Bluestocking Society, I started contemplating books I'm a little embarassed to admit Ihave not read yet. We all have them, right? My biggies?

- Catcher in the Rye
- Anna Karenina

And that got me pondering movies that I'm sad to say I haven't watched. Those neglected films are:

- The Godfather (any of them)
- Gone With the Wind

So now that I've spilled my dirty secrets, what books or films have you missed that you are ashamed to admit?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh please

Dead Until Dark sucked it - and not just in a vampirey way. Its all about a waitress in Louisiana who gets tangled up with a vampire and has to deal with lots of people she knows being murdered. In this world vampires have recently come out to the world since the invention of synthetic blood makes them more socially acceptable. And there's a whol culture of "fangbangers" - vampire groupies. Sounds a bit interesting, right? Well dash those hopes right now.

The main character is dumb. The relationships are dull. The set-ups are frequently unbelievable. (Cause of course, I would drop my kids off to be babysat by a woman whose had a recent attempt on her life and is still obviously been marked to be killed. Sure!) Stupid stupid book! Only a 1 on my scale.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


After watching You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, the documentary about Howard Zinn, I am just thrumming with inspiration. The man as such a powerful message.

I love what he says about how no one is neutral. If you aren't participating and working for what's right, then you've sided with the wrong. Inertia is its own evil. We're all responsible for doing something.

Mr. Zinn is an amazing person, and this documentary was a nice push. I give it an 8.

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shake Loose

I picked up Shake Loose My Skin for a dose of poetry long overdue this winter. Unfortunately, this dosage must be someone else's. I didn't like it much. It all felt dated and just not it. I did enoy "The Blues" and "Set No. 1" from "Wounded in the House of a Friend", but the rest just didn't resonate with me. I only give this one a 2.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Again and again and again and again

How many times can a person make the same point in one book? Apparently over and over again until you want to scream. I already have an annoying acquaintance from work who does this sort of thing - I don't need a book to do it.

Nudge takes an interesting and valid point and drives it until the ground. I gave up halfway through it. Only a two in my book.

Update on Amy

I do believe we've found our pretty foster pup a terrific home. I'll know for sure this week, but she was smitten and the potential adopter equally so.


The boy and I watched the BBC film Tipping the Velvet over the weekend. Based on the Sarah Waters novel, I had high hopes for this after having watched their wonderful rendition of Fingersmith. They really fell down on the job on this one.
This movie is about a girl in the 1890's who leaves the safe world of her family's oyster house to the world of the stage and male impersonators and the dangerous world of London. It, of course, features Sarah Waters' usual lesbian romances. The story is a good one - or at least it was when I read it.
BBC films are usually done so lovely. This one was down by some ADD director who felt the need to use an insane number of camera tricks - flashbacks, lots of super fast cuts, and even more idiot effects. The narration annoyed me. The use of patently obvious visual queues was even worse. (Its easy to tell when one of the characters is feeling trapped, do we really need her to pose next to a bird in a cage?). They even changed the ending - same results but with an entirely different way of getting there. I felt misused by this film.

The one highlight was the costumes. They were fantastic. The rest of it was crap. I only give it a 2. (The book however is very very good).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Meet Amy

I've been wanting to be a foster home for pets for a long while now, and we finally did it. Meet Amy.

Amy is a five month old Jack Russell mix. She's a bit shy around people, but getting more confident by the day. She loves dogs and is practicing her manners around kitties. She's the snuggliest little pup - loves to be as close as possible. If you know anyone in Ohio looking for a fantastic little dog, send them my way!

Absolute terrification

Blindness is one hell of a nightmare inducer. Imagine if everyone went blind in an inexplicable epidemic. It would be one ugly scarey ride. Much like The Road but with no seeing.
I have terrible terrible vision and have nightmares about losing my contacts and glasses and having to muddle along, not recognizing people at a distance, not seeing the hole I'm about to stumble into. basically living a helpless helpless life.
In this book, everyone but one person loses their vision and can only see a bright whiteness. They first victims are stuffed inside an asylum to be quarantined and things get really really really bad in there. And the one lady isn't someone we envy cause when folks think you can't see them, they do some really awful things.
This is not a book for those with weak constitutions. There is unimaginable violence and serious filth. And grammar enthusiasts beware. The story runs along with little punctuation and no quotation marks. Normally I would hate that so much, but in this case it works. It seems to heighten the terror for me.
Its a really good book. I give it an 8.
(Apparently there's a movie version of this. Anyone seen it?)

Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress
Originally uploaded by Dailyville
Oh my. This is so lovely.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We watched Hellboy the other night. It's a super hero-ish movie, and super hero-ish movies have been on a sucky run in my book. Here's my breakdown of this one.
What was good:
- The Hellboy character kind of rocked. I liked all his kitties.
- The fish guy was different.
- The strong influence of the supernatural. This isn't a bunch of people made weird by toxic fumes or mad scientists. These creatures have history - demons and relics and such.
- The director. Del Toro is pretty damn good. He gets wickedly dark very well.
What wasn't good.
- Selma Blair. Her acting stunk to high heaven.
- The sword guy. I laughed a few times at his too perfect comic-y book skills.
- The Nazi angle seemed a bit pointless. Actually none of the villains were very memorable.
I give this on a 5. I'm sure I'll check out the sequel.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


You may wonder how anyone can make a film as dark as No Country for Old Men. I think if you check out the chilling movie Blood Simple, you can see the beginnings of some smart and creepy as hell film making. The hitman is nowhere near as pee-in-you-pants scary as Anton Chigurh, but that laugh freaked me the hell out. Frances McDormand is just a baby in this one. Its very very good. I give it 8 stars.

Pretty dishwater

I took this shot yesterday while washing up my mess from making a rainbow colored cake. Inspiration via The Morale Agency. More pictures soon!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Simply gorgeous

Another stunner of a short story on Selected Shorts - "Football" by Elizabeth Crane. Listen here. (Its the first story. The second one is good; the first is art.)


Maisie Dobbs is one I picked up after realizing that everyone in the world had read it except me. Its about a lady detective in Britain who was a nurse in the war.

I admit that the history of how Maisie came up through the ranks bored me a bit. It was so slooooow. However, the investigation was very intriguing and the romance part so sweet. The book often put me in mind of the BBC series Foyle's War which I adore. I've already reserved book number two and can't wait to see what happens next. Six stars from me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tale of an amazing pub

Another amazing podcast - but this one is hysterical. Joe Jackson's tale about the Admiral Drake on The Moth. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The complexity of mothers

I listened to Hell-Heaven on Selected Shorts. At the end, my mouth was hanging open.

Jhumpa Lahiri is an amazing writer. Hear it here. If you aren't into listening, read it here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


"I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night." - Milton


After doing a search for "Goodreads for movies" on google (cause lord knows how much I lurve Goodreads), I discovered Criticker. It's good. Find me here if you get hooked as well.


I watched Kiki's Delivery Service last night. I've decided that I must watch all of Miyazaki's films after being so delighted with My Neighbor Totoro.

Kiki's Delivery Service is the tale of a witch who has to leave her home at 13 and spend a year away in training. But this is no Hogwart's knock-off. Instead, a thirteen-year old witch is expected to just find some new city and direct her own training. And in this world, witches are known but rare so Kiki's arrival at the city by the sea meets with a mix of amazement and misunderstandings with the locals.

Its rather adorable. Particularly her cat Jiji. I give it a 6.5.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Now Long Ago

"Now Long Ago" by Maya Angelou

One innocent spring
your voice meant to me
less than tires turning
on a distant street.

Your name, perhaps spoken,
led no chorus of batons
to crush against my
empty chest.

That cool spring was shortened by
your summer, bold impatient
and all forgotten
except when silence
turns the key
into my midnight bedroom
and comes to sleep upon your

Monday, February 23, 2009


"Sometimes what you need is the company of strangers." - Amy Ray


Instead of the Oscars (cause really I generally just watch those for the clothes and those pictures can be found via the internet), the hubs and I watched Religulous last night. Now I'll admit to some fear cause Bill Maher is a smart guy but he can come off like an ass at times. Religulous was a nice surprise though.

In this documentary, Maher goes around interviewing folks about religion - all kinds of religion. For the most part, he manages to straddle a line and keeps it respectful if skeptical. I did cringe at a few too easy potshots though.

I did like his point about how atheists are a silent party and we need to speak up. I often times will allow people to assume I'm Christian in order to avoid either a philosophical argument or a crusade to save my soul. Those situations can really suck, and I've gotten a bit gunshy over them. Instead, I just smile and uncommittedly change the subject. That seems to be the cowards way out. I'm going to be better about stating my beliefs when someone unthinkingly makes some wrong assumption about my religious views. I won't be argumentative cause that's just obnoxious. Instead of uncommittedly changing the subject, I think from now on I'll just politely and gentley correct any wrong assumptions and THEN change the subject.

Then possibly that person will think twice about assuming anything about anyone the next time. Was that rambly enough for you? 7 stars.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snippets of dreams

After reading The Girl in the Flammable Skirt I keep wondering why Aimee Bender is so successful. I get that her stories are wildly imaginative and I highly appreciate that. However, there's no real substance to her work. Its like snippets of dreams that really could be turned into something great if someone worked on them. I find them all very dissatisfying - mostly cause they do have promise that is never fulfilled.
There is one amazingly good story in there though called "Quiet Please." Its about a librarian who reacts to her father's death by having sex with every man in the library that day. A bit racy I know, but there's a scene towards the end of it that is so vivid and wonderful. It really is something.

Recent etsy purchases

I've had a spate of etsy purchases lately and thought I'd share.

This print was perfect for my sister's 36th birthday. She frequently can use some cheering up, and this can't hurt. Pls its as pretty as can be! Its called Dot to Dot Blossoms with Bird by HadleyHutton.

Another friend of mine had me and the husband over for dinner not to long ago. This lady has the prettiest coziest house ever. Throughout she has grogeous little trinkets inspired by the natural world. I couldn't resist sending her these darling felted acorns by truLuxe.

I'm co-hosting a baby shower in April for a friend of mine. We've decided on a sweet lil tea party and these invites by Cheerupcherup were perfect.

Notice I haven't indulged in a darn thing for myself. Hmmmm....maybe next time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Laid poor jesse in his grave

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a breathtaking film. I expected it to be full of gun slinging and train robbing and horses, and it has a bit of that. But even more so, it is so thoughtful and gorgeous. Casey Affleck is so talented. Brad Pitt does a good job portraying a character who is both charismatic and paranoid. I was shocked to see Mary Louise Parker playing such a minor role, but the pieces she is in leave you aching.
The characters are richly thought out, the filmmaking is beautiful, and the whole thing is utterly wonderful. I give this a 9.5.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Goodmorning Amsterdam
Originally uploaded by Bеn
"Most people think of life as a puzzle to which pieces are constantly being added. My life started as a completes puzzle, but I've lost too many pieces along the way for it ever to be that way again." - Carolin Yawn

Bearded ladies and imps

Castle Waiting is a marvelous fairy tale that begins with a very familiar fairy tale and then goes way off track. Even if graphic novels aren't your cup of tea, give this a try and I think you'll change your mind. The stories of this pack of misfits living in an old abandoned castle are so imaginative. It's full of bearded ladies and caged hearts and imps and demons. The whole thing is a merry yarn. I give it a 9.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

old favorite

it's a long long road
it's a big big world
we are wise wise women
we are giggling girls
we both carry a smile
to show when we're pleased
both carry a switchblade
in our sleeves.
- Ani Difranco

Who knew!

Chicken Cheeks is pretty darn cute and has fueled my irrational longing for a guinea pig. More on that later. I give this a 7. Also, its by Michael Ian Black. Who knew!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Devil's Dyke Crows
Originally uploaded by tommy martin
"If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows." - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

Daydream fuel?

Generally i hot the library with my stack of books already reserved and waiting for me. Sometimes, I peak at the new book shelf. However, I do not ramble the library enough, and rambles are essential for adding soem unpredicatability into my to read list.

A ramble resulted in Gardening at Ginger by James Raimes. Its ugly ol' February in Ohio, and I'm pooring over seed catalogs and dreaming of crocus buds and more sunshine and all the glories of spring. A gardening book seemed like the perfect sort of escape.

What I found out was that a well-written gardening book would have been the perfect escape. This fell short.

Raimes is passionate for his subject and I'm betting he's a pretty fair gardener. However, this book finds him repeating himself a lot and rambling on quite a bit. His descriptions of flower beds are pretty un-picturable - and in a fluffy gardening book, its all about the mental picture. What else could fuel those day dreams. I did like a description of a line of iris he saw at a neighboring garden and the vision of a sleepy bat bedding down in their patio umbrella. However, too much of this just wasn't that entertaining at all. Only 2 stars - it did have a gorgeous cover.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


100! Demons! is a graphic novel by Lynda Barry. I liked it even better than What It Is. In this book she names her demons - things like "Common Scents" and "Dogs." She doesn't go into all 100, but the one's she explores are always a mixture of humorous and touching and heartbreaking.

She makes me want to draw more which is something I always appreciate. I give this an 8.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am an ass

I watched Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring tonight. I should have known better. It's a Buddhist fairytale about a monk in the middle of a drop dead gorgeous lake raising a boy. When a teenage girl is dropped off by her mother to be cured of her illness, boy and girl get together and badness ensues.

Here's why I should know better - my favorite magazine - The Sun - posts all sorts of short stories and interviews and poetry. I consistently do not see eye to eye with the pieces with a Buddhist slant. This movie's story annoyed me.

However, it took place in a seriously gorgeous place, and I did love the quietness of the tale. That bumps this up to a 4 on my scale.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Tired of bitching about the idiotness of Twilight and looking for a teen read that doesn't make teen girls look like stupid, actionless dummies? Then you must pick up the Bloody Jack series!

I just read the second book in the series - Curse of the Blue Tattoo and it was a whole lotta fun! You see, Jacky isn't the type to let some dumb dude control her life. Jacky is more the type to go have a great time and deal with the trouble she got into later.

In this second installment of Bloody Jacky's story, she's been forced to enroll in a boarding school for ladies and learn about etiquette and embroidery and the like. However, her harsh past on the streets isn't likely to just disappear. She gets in loads of scrapes.

I will admit to hating one stupid story line about a horse race. I could see the end of that coming from a fricking mile away. (Authors - please start assuming your readers have watched some movies or read some books before reading your novel. That way you can avoid the asinine cliche's).

Other than that one (major!) annoyance, I loved this book. And I can't wait to see what adventures await in the next! Jacky's story so far is a solid 8.


"But each day brings its petty dust our soon-choked souls to fill, and we forget because we must, and not because we will." Matthew Arnold

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am

I watched Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf? while home sick the other day. The story of a party gone all sorts of wrong. It involves two couples - an older couple always at eachother throats and a younger more bright-eyed couple. No one comes out of this unscathed.

What impressed me?

- Elizabeth Taylor's performance. She put on 30 pounds to play this role, and her portrayal of a bitterly angry woman is spot on. It gave me chills at times.

- The amount of booze. These people really put it away. The drinking that goes on in this film is insane. It's a marathon of drunkenness.

This film is a harsh look at relationships gone bad. It's so awfully and beautifully well done that you can't look away. I give it an 8.5.

Poor disillusioned, Vincent

"Parrots, tortoises and redwoods live a longer life than men do; Men a longer life than dogs do; Dogs a longer life than love does." - Edna St. Vincent Millay
A while back, I read and reviewed her biography - Savage Beauty. Her tale is quite remarkable.

Advice for your inner writer

"Here, write it, or it will be erased by the wind." - Isabel Allende

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I read The City of Ember in one evening. Its the tale of a city in the dark that lives in fear of the lights going out. The protagonists are two 12-year old kids Lina & Doon. (Can I just say that I love the name Doon?)
What I liked? My absolute terror of absolute dark that I shared with the residents. On a tour of Mammoth Caves when I was 18, the tour guide shut the lights. I've had a life long issue with claustrophobia (likely resulting from my oldest brother's love of locking me in small dark spaces). The kind of blackness you get in a cave makes you feel like the most trapped creature ever. Even thinking about it makes my skin crawl. So whenever those lights flickered in Ember. I was petrified.
What I didn't like? The story is oh-so predictable. Maybe not all the details, but from the very beginning you know where everything is leading. I have so little patience with predictability anymore. Surprise me, dammit!
This story reminded me a lot of Lois Lowry's The Giver. I wouldn't rank it above or below that story. I'm giving this a 5. I'll likely read the next book in this series, but I won't be in a hurry to do so.

Hold on

A Pueblo Indian Prayer

Hold on to what is good,
even if it's a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe,
even if it's a tree that stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do,
even if it's a long way from here.

Hold on to your life,
even if it's easier to let go.

Hold on to my hand,
even if I've gone away from you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the only meaning

"And we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten, but the love will have been enough, all those impulses of love return to the love that made them, even memory is not necessary for love, there is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." - Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Living in the dark

Dark Days is a documentary about people living in the subway tunnels of NYC. Filmed entirely in black and white, the movie has an otherworldly feel to it. I can't imagine living in darkness among the rats as these folks do. Sunlight is so essential to my mental health; the idea of 24 hour darkness sends shivers down my spine. I give this a 6.5.

Monday, February 9, 2009

each hurt swallowed

"Promises" by Rita Dove

"Each hurt swallowed
is a stone." Last words
whispered to his daughter
as he placed her fingertips
lightly into the palm
of her groom.

She smiled upwards
to Jesus, then Thomas,
turning her back as
politely as possible.
If that were the case
he was a mountain of shame.

Poised on the stone
steps of the church,
she tried to forget
his hulk on the vestibule,
clumsy in blue serge,
his fingers worrying the
lucky bead in his pocket.

Beneath the airborne bouquet
was a meadow of virgins
urging "Be water, be light."
A deep breath, and she plunged
through the sunbeams and kisses,
rice drumming
the both of them blind.

Zack & Miri

We watched Zack & Miri Make a Porno last night. Kevin Smith is so clever! The dialogue in this had me howling. Craig Robinson (Darryl from The Office) is awesome. Jason Mewes is hysterical. There were only two not-so-great bits for me. The minor one is a serious gross-out bit that my husband loved, but I thought was just too disgusting to take. The second is that as funny as the movie is, the romantic part of this made me yawn. I just didn't find them that interesting as a couple. Maybe I'm heartless.

Anyway, this gets a 7 in my book.