Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bug Memorials

Another great find from Mental Floss, bug memorials:

I LOVE this, it combines a lot of things that just are so me in the soo wrong, they are right ways. The first re-occurring nightmare I can remember as I kid, is very distinct and clear to me to this day. I was at the bottom of the steps in our old house in Glen Burnie. We had green pile carpet on the steps that had been worn down, and thin under so much foot traffic. At the bottom was a small landing where house slippers and various shoes were stockpiled as people came in and out of the house. I was at the bottom of these steps watching a small fly like insect, buzzing around, I reached over the fuzzy pink slippers with snow white heads affixed to the front to find a nice sound rubber flip flop. I intently watched the insect for several more minutes, and then without warning I swiftly and proudly slapped it, killing it instantly. I looked down at the dead fly body, wondering to myself if I should get a tissue to clean it up, and was astonished to see it's soul, it's ghost rising from the bug carcass and I knew it had come from the dead to haunt me. This revelation always jarred me awake. But it was so vivid and so microscopically tragic.

So the idea, the fact that someone out there has come up with making memorials for some of the smallest, most reproachful living things on our planet, that just warms my heart. Tiny flowers, tiny mementos, I do love teenie, tiny things. Of course there may be a deeper meaning, that maybe we are all cockroaches or flies if viewed by some one who is much larger, or much further away. Maybe one should reflect on the fact that life is fleeting, and think of those who will mourn after you pass. That maybe all tragedies are microscopic from someone else's point of view.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where are you taking me?

We just saw this artistic, inspiring, interesting, independent film that is now showing at the Anthology Film Archives (32 2nd ave. @ 2nd. st.) Showtimes are 7pm & 8:45. This is a portrait of Uganda, but one that is neither exploitative or sensationalized. It invites the viewer to become a visitor to Uganda. All of it, soaking it in, from everyday people, this is their everyday lives. It was refreshing and beautiful, and thoughtfully shot. If you get the chance I recommend seeing this, not just because I know the director/film maker, but because it's a great film and deserves to be seen. But hurry, it's only showing through March 8th.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Help

The Help was the first book I bought electronically, I have an iPad2 but bought the book through the Amazon Kindle app, why? Because it bugs me that Apple is so greedy. What was funny was that Apple made it intentionally difficult for me to find the Amazon Kindle store, but once I did Amazon had a little button to add the Amazon Kindle store to my apps, so I did that.

This being said I wanted to read The Help before seeing the movie, and it was good book, probably better than the movie in most ways a book usually is, there is more detail and more introspection. The book has different chapters each written by one of the characters in the story so there is more depth and understanding of who that character is and what motivates them. A lot more happens in the book, the movie simplifies everything. But the cast of the movie was pretty good, so I'd say it's worth watching the movie too. Although it's a bit predictable. I guess I'm luke warm about it. If I had to choose one, I would choose the book.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paint stripping from doors and door frames

If you are considering stripping paint from a door or a door frame, please reconsider. It must be one of the most frustrating, horrible, tortures you could willingly expose yourself to. I love DIY projects, I love to paint, venetian plaster, special finish walls. I am just as happy putting together furniture or fixing small things around the house. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, In fact when we first bought our current apartment I was most excited about steaming off the wall paper in one room. Well ok, I was most excited about having two bathrooms, but the wall paper stripping was a close second. That was a messy job, but I got to rent a steamer and of course wanted to get the whole room finished in one weekend so that I didn't have to pay any extra for the equipment rental. It was challenging, but satisfying.

Almásy: "Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again." from The English Patient.

The paint stripping is one thousand percent more difficult and only about 1/10th as satisfying. Because even if I am able to get nice solid chunks or sheets of paint off, there are crevices especially around the door frame that laugh at my sweaty brow, cramped hand and well worn six in one tool. Bits of paint layered in these crevices are almost impossible to remove. They taunt me, haunt my dreams and have just about beaten me. At the end of a few hours of working on this, I make a vow to just paint over everything the next day, that no one will notice and I can finally move on to finish painting the foyer. But the next morning I have just enough confidence (or foolishness) to believe I can do a little better and once again attack the paint first in a slow methodical way, then as time passes and I get tired and/or sore, my scrapping becomes frantic and half hazard and I don't believe It will ever end. To be honest I am almost finished, but the torture is that I've been almost finished for a few weeks now. One day I'll be finished, and one day I'll die, it will be interesting is to see which comes first.

If you still want to strip paint, here are some tips:
1. Use the paste version of paint stripper, I used 3M Safest Stripper (Semi-Paste) and also Back To Nature, Ready Strip.
2. Use Plastic wrap to cover the stripper, especially if you plan to let it set overnight. Try a humidifyer to keep the area from drying out completely.
3. Forget you ever thought about stripping the door or door frame and just get on with your life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy

I blew through this trilogy in one weekend, angering John that I would stay up to all hours of the night trying to finish. They are very quick reads, and I loved them. Yes, the last book was a little uneventful especially compared to the big build up from the first two, but I still enjoyed it, and was surprised at how easily the author could bring me to tears. She did it in the first book so quickly that I was automatically hooked. A friend of mine recommended it to me, she said it's a Young Adult novel about teenagers who are forced to participate in the Hunger Games, to fight for their lives. As soon as she told me what it was about I was a little turned off, but I kept hearing so many great things about it. And once I started reading them, I fell for them hook, line and sinker. Katniss Everdeen is the heroine and she has many faults, but that's why she's so likeable and relate-able. The author Suzanne Collins was able to capture elements of life as a teenager that almost anyone could relate to, or at least any girl I know, but then just as swiftly put Katniss in situations that no one has had to face, and that's why these series work so well.
I highly recommend them, as I said I zipped through all three in one weekend, and now am waiting for the first movie to come out, hoping that they don't ruin it. And yes the idea of making people kill each other in a televised sport is not new, it definitely reminded me of the Running Man, but these books seem perfect for our time with reality television and apathy toward politics. I would really love to hear what teenagers who've read it think of it, I of course was all caught up in the love triangle. Yeah, I'm a sucker for all that stuff. But these books are a great distraction, so get to reading them already!

Friday, February 3, 2012


A few months ago we got free tickets to see Godspell. My husband was a little apprehensive about it, I didn't know much about it but was game. We almost left at the intermission. I was so embarrassed for the actors, although their singing and energy was great, the material was so hokey and it was directed in such a weird and juvenile way. There were so many cringe worthy segments it was difficult for me to look the actors in the eye, and since the theatre was a circle there was plenty of opportunity to look them in the eye. The theatre itself was actually very awesome, too bad the play was so .... simple. The casting of the blond haired blue eyed white guy as Jesus was just so predictable, as was the casting of a black guy as Judas. Seriously? In this day and age?? Whatever, I guess I'm not the target audience, because the only thing I'm glad about is that the tickets were free. During intermission they offered free wine in the tiny plastic cups (like they serve at those big evangelical churches) and several people swooped down from the audience to partake, We were a little suspicious that there was more than wine in the glasses given the heavy handed nature of the first act, so we passed. They also threw out mardi gras beads during the first act, gold ones to hammer home that greed is evil, but I was just glad no one had to flash to get their beads. Any way to each their own I guess, but I don't recommend it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Billy the Kid

I turned on PBS the other night in an attempt to heal my poor, rotting brain cells after the damage that occurred while viewing The A team movie. It's blasphemous (see my previous A-Team post), but the movie has recently been littering the cable movie channels and I thought, how bad could it be? Well it was pretty horrible. Liam Neeson deserves to be shot, I mean what happened to him? He used to do actually good movies, or great movies...but now he is just laughable. And he was the absolute worst acting in the entire movie...AND he had some stiff competition. But I digress...

In hopes of washing my brain of that horrible sham of a movie, I turned to PBS and was just in time to watch the American Experience episode about Billy the Kid, I didn't know much about him so I figured hey why not. Boy was I in for a treat, I had no idea that Henry McCarty (aka Billy the Kid) was originally form New York and travelled west with his mother for a better life. It was great and fascinating story about a rebellious youth who was first and foremost was loyal to his friends, trying to make right and provide justice for the little guy. He became a hero to the native peoples and a hero to me. The real villains were unscrupulous "business men" and "the law," McCarty was no angel but given the chance he always tried to do what was right. Besides the fact that he had an uncanny knack for getting out of seemingly devastating ends.

Check it out if you are so inclined:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Camera Obscura

This guy makes whole rooms into cameras by blacking our the windows and cutting small holes in the plasic. I love this. I would love to try this. :)

Thanks to the Mental Floss water cooler ammo for this. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, MD

We had a delightful end to a long, relaxing holiday in Baltimore, our gracious hosts introduced us to the Woodberry Kitchen, it's an awesome place. It's beautiful, rustic and cozy. "Woodberry Kitchen features the seasonal best from local growers and emphasizes organic meats and sustainable agriculture. Our goal is to nourish and delight our guests with cooking grounded in the traditions and ingredients of the Chesapeake region." The menu is fabulous, the waitstaff was friendly and efficient, and it was just a great place to spend the evening, do not miss this if you are in Baltimore area. They are often very busy, but we called at around 7 and got 9:30 reservations, it sure is a treat.

We started with the Smoked Rockfish Fritters and Stuffed Tom's Cove Clams, these clams were stuffed with pork sausage and other yummy ingredients, their menu often changes slightly to accommodate the local delicacies that are in season. For my entree I had the chicken and biscuit, and it was divine. The chicken was on top and so delicately crispy and tasty, covering delicious veggies and gravy. I also ordered the Potato and garlic gratin with Hawks Hill cheddar as a side. Again very tasty.  And what better way to finish a gluttony filled holiday then with a decadent dessert? Pat and I shared the C.M.P. which is malt ice cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallow fluff, wet peanuts. This is the stuff dreams are made of, it was served with a flat top with some kind of sugar crisp cover, but it wasn't bruleed, it was perfectly clear keeping all the goodness safe inside. Every thing is hand made, even the marshmallow fluff. So good can't wait to go back there again. I also hear the brunch is fab. Again on my list of things to do next time I'm in B-more.

Hope everyone has had a good holiday! Time to hit the gym!

Woodbury Kitchen, Highly recommended, Entree Prices range approx $16 - $30, a great place to splurge.