Friday, October 31, 2008

The Leaves Have Taken Over!!

    The leaves are falling too fast for me to keep up with them!


    They have taken over the front yard!!


    And yet, the branches of the trees above me are still mostly green and still holding LOTS of leaves!!

    Looks like I have a date with the rake! Hope you all have a great weekend!

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The Leaves Have Taken Over!!


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Happy Halloween!!


    FROM DAISY THE HALLOWEEN CAT!!

Post Title

Happy Halloween!!


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Happy Halloween!!



Post Title

Happy Halloween!!


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

    Yes, that's me (or a pretty good likeness, anyway).

    I'm cooking up a cauldron of brussels sprouts for all the kiddies. Bwhahahaha!


Post Title

Happy Halloween!


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http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2008/10/happy-halloween_30.html


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Fried Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts


    Oh, I know. Half of you (maybe more) are scrunching up your nose, saying "Brussels Sprouts...ewww!"

    That's okay. I remember a time when I didn't like them either. The important thing is to try, try again.

    I found some really, really thin pork chops today and thought that sounded good for dinner!

    Here's my favorite way to cook the sprouts. I think you'll like them!
    Trim the stem end of the sprouts and pull of a few of the little leaves from the bottom. Put them in a colander and give them a bath.
    Cut them in half.
    Now, boil them gently in water until they're tender.
    In the meantime, season some flour for the pork chops. Use whatever you like... I used parsley, black pepper, Tony Chachere's Seasoning, and some granulated garlic.

    Dredge the chops in the flour and shake off the excess. You just want a tiny bit of flour sticking to those bad boys. Put them on a rather hot griddle and fry until they're golden brown.
    Back to the sprouts... when they're tender, drain them. Put a little olive oil in the same pan and put the sprouts back in. Add some seasoning. I added red pepper flakes and granulated garlic. Now toss those around until they are browned.
    Couldn't be easier! My gardener gave this dinner rave reviews!

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Fried Pork Chops and Brussels Sprouts


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Watching DVDs: Blood Ties Season One




    Watching DVDs: Blood Ties Season One. From the Tanya Huff books. Maybe I read the books too recently. Am a bit disappointed. I like the leads: Christina Cox & Kyle Schmid.

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Watching DVDs: Blood Ties Season One


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Watching DVDs: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles


    Watching DVDs: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season One. Takes place after Terminator 2. I once supervised a very interesting MA dissertation about the Terminator movies (Hi CM). Series:OK. The actor who plays John (Thomas Dekker -- who was in Heroes) has made a movie that sounds really interesting: Whore (2008). They manage to allude to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Wizard of Oz in one sentence. The android is called Cameron, ha ha.

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Watching DVDs: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles


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Watching TV: Dirty Sexy Money Season One


    Watching TV: Dirty Sexy Money Season One. Tremendous. Plus, finally a transgendered person played by a transgendered person!

    From IMDB: "Candis Cayne was born as Brendan McDaniel in Hawaii. Brendan transformed himself into Candis Cayne and became one of the United States' most popular and sought-after female impersonators. Candis first made a name for herself at the famed NYC gay hot-spot "Boy Bar," where her performances drew raves. A classically trained dancer, Candis has thrilled audiences from coast-to-coast with her amazing gift for dance, choreography and glamour. Candis can be seen in the hit ABC series Dirty Sexy Money where she plays actor Billy Baldwin's (Patrick) transgender love interest Carmelita. Candis is the first transgender actress to have a recurring role on a prime-time series."

    From WIKIPEDIA: "Candis Cayne is an American actress and performer best known for her appearances in the New York City club scene. Nationally, she appeared in the independent films Wigstock: The Movie, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Mob Queen, "Starrbooty", and Stonewall. Cayne, a transsexual, plays transgender mistress Carmelita on ABC's primetime drama Dirty Sexy Money making her the first transsexual to play a transsexual in prime time. Cayne won the 2001 Miss Continental pageant."
    Some nice camp lines:
    Freddy Mason: You can be a bitch sometimes.
    Karen Darling: I know, it's a problem (readjusting hugely expensive sunglasses).

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Watching TV: Dirty Sexy Money Season One


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Spitting image


    Spitting Image. Has anyone else realized that Winona Ryder, Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley are really one and the same person? Probably an immortal ubiquitous alien.

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Spitting image


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Went to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army


    Went to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (Guillermo del Toro, 2008). Brilliant. Wonderful. Who else (apart from Tarantino and Rodriguez) actually manages to shoot an auteur film that's also an action movie? He's the best. Remember Mimic, El espinazo del diablo, Blade 2, Hellboy, El laberinto del fauno? All Guillermo del Toro. Can't wait for his Hobbit. This movie is all that and it's a tremendous adaptation of the interesting comic book (thank you Dark Horse and Mike Mignola), it's science fiction, it's a fairy tale, etc. Impeccable dosage of comic relief, love interest, you name it. Lots of tremendous influences, beside the hackneyed Celtic ones: Arabic, Asian... Visually stunning.

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Went to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army


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Your Opinions Please?


    My fourteen year old son (on the right in the picture above) wants to buy a moped.


    I told him, "No."


    He is not happy with my decision, and we have been "discussing" it. He feels my decision is unfair and unreasonable. So much so, in fact, that there is a good chance I will be nominated for meanest mom of the year as a result. He wanted me to ask my blogging "peeps" what they think about the situation. (Peeps is his word not mine. To me, peeps are those little sugar-coated marshmallow chicks you get at Easter time. Like this:


    Or maybe like this:
    since it is now Halloween time, but I digress.)

    I told him that it didn't matter what my "peeps" thought because I wasn't going to change my mind. He, however, thought it was worth a try, thinking you all could sway my opinion in his favor.
    So here is the situation.

    His side of the "discussion": He is a responsible individual. He will be a careful and safe driver and will follow all the traffic rules and regulations. He will only ride it around the streets of our little town, not out on the highway. He will take the test necessary to receive a moped driver's license.

    With money he has saved from his newspaper route, he will pay for the moped completely himself along with whatever other charges and maintenance costs arise as a result of owning it---including getting a license to drive it and paying for the gas to put in it and so forth. He will wear a helmet when riding it as required by law, also purchased with his own money.


    He feels that him driving the moped places that he needs to go would save money we use now on gas for the car to drive him around town.

    He has been doing a good job at school keeping his grades up.
    Many of his friends have a moped, and it is working out fine for them. In fact, one of his friends has a used one that he is selling for a reasonable price, and that is the one my son wants to buy, not a new one from a dealer.

    My side of the discussion: I agree that he is a responsible individual and that he would try his best to obey the traffic rules and drive carefully. However, that being said, he is still only 14 years old and sometimes teenagers do not make wise choices and do not exercise good judgment despite their best intentions. I also believe that mopeds on the street with cars in traffic is just not a good idea. I do not believe it is safe even if wearing a helmet. Mopeds are difficult to see by other drivers, and they offer no protection whatsoever to someone riding on them.

    Although, yes, it is his own money that he earned from his job as a paper boy that he wants to spend on a moped, I feel it would be a much wiser choice for him to continue to save his money and put it instead towards either his college education or towards a car in a few years. In just over a year, he will be old enough to start learning how to drive a car in our state. I am quite sure that once he gets a driver's license and can drive a car, he will lose all interest in riding the moped and will want to be driving a car instead. Most specifically, he will be wanting to drive his dad's car which is a Mazda RX-8 and looks like this:
    He will especially want to drive this car and not a moped around town, when he is old enough, so that he can impress his friends and take his girlfriend out on dates.

    (By the way, have I told you that I REALLY like his girlfriend. You may remember me talking about her before. She has moved up in status from really, really good friend to girlfriend now. She checks his grades online for him at the school website and keeps after him to keep them up. She is very sweet and polite and pretty. She tells him she thinks he should READ more!! When he complained to her about my decision about the moped, she said "Your mom just said that because she cares about you." I REALLY LIKE his girlfriend! But, once again, I digress.)

    He may also want to drive our Buick van when he wants to go out for pizza or bowling or whatever with a big group of the guys.


    There definitely would not be room for any friends to join him on a moped. We use the van for carpooling and big family trips and for business trips that my husband takes with his co-workers. However, we also must use the van when transporting the upright bass that my son plays in the school orchestra which does not fit in our cars and would definitely not fit on a moped!!



    I also own a car, which compared to the Mazda RX8 and the van above, pales a bit in desirability to a teenage boy, but might still look better to him than a moped in the dead of our Ohio winters with a foot of snow on the ground and the thermometer sitting on 5 degrees outside. Here's my Geo Metro. It actually is nearly the same age as my son. I bought it when I was eight months pregnant with him, and my belly was so big that I could barely squeeze in behind the steering wheel at the time.


    My point being that although he is interested in a moped now, in just a very short time, he will no longer be interested in it and will wish he had saved his money to use towards his college education or towards a car of his own.

    His point about using the moped to save money on gas does not hold up to me because he has a perfectly fine bicycle that he can ride now that uses no gas at all and serves the same purpose of transportation without the use of our cars.

    Also, although I applaud his desire to save money by purchasing a used moped, the other reasons I have for him not purchasing one at all carry much more weight for me. Yes, he is a good student and has good grades, and yes there are three or four boys his age at his school who have mopeds. Neither of these are reasons I see as valid ones for warranting that he buy a moped of his own.

    Oh, by the way, before asking me about buying the moped, my son asked my husband what he thought about it. My husband told our son that it was fine with him, but that he didn't think Mom (meaning me, of course) would go along with it. So I'm standing alone on this one, having once again to be the parent wearing the "mean hat."

    If you would like to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions on this issue, please click on the "view poll" button below to vote and/or leave your comments in the comment box.

    Thanks, my "peeps", for your opinions. :-D





    Poll Answers

Post Title

Your Opinions Please?


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Celebrities and Their Unforgettable Shoes

    Everyday we see our favorite stars in their latest fashion get-up. Their taste in fashion were unveiled right before our eyes as we watch them on tv or read them in the papers. With all their photos, we can't really seem to remember who's looks hit or miss last week or even last month. People.com compiled a slideshow of celebrities wearing their unforgettable shoes. Can you walk with their shoes?


    Left: Victoria Beckham wore a tall Antonio Berardi boots with no heels while launching her perfume in N.Y.C.
    Right: Madonna in her pistol-heeled Chanel pumps that she wore to her directorial debut in N.Y.C.



    Left: Beyonce opted for Rainbow Brite Balenciaga sandals at the American Music Awards.
    Right: Rihanna wore woven Balenciaga gladiator boots while shopping.



    Left: Mary Kate Olsen grabs the knee-high Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci gladiator sandals straight from runway.
    Right: Mischa Barton felt like she was a celestial goddess that's why so she took the moon boots while walking with her dog.



    Left: Lily Allen struts in her two-in-one (stiletto and platform wedge) Louis Vuitton satin platform heels.
    Right: Julianne Moore enjoyed a pair of flitflops last summer.



    Left: Sarah Jessica Parker made a comeback as Carrie in the Sex and the City movie in flower-bedecked Alexander McQueen heels last March.
    Right: Ashly Olsen showed off her own over-the-calf Azzedine Alaia gladiator sandals at an event in August.


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Celebrities and Their Unforgettable Shoes


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Where to fight counts for a lot. But there's nothing like having your friends show up with lotsa guns.

    No 274 - Sin City
    Director - Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino.

    This film is so quotey that it was very hard to pick the line that would be used as my title. Other contenders would have been:
    • The Valkyrie at my side is shouting and laughing with the pure, hateful, bloodthirsty joy of the slaughter... and so am I.
    • These are the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days. They're back! There's no choice left. And I'm ready for war.
    • Recognize my voice, Hartigan? Recognize my voice, you piece-of-shit cop? I look different, but I bet you can recognize my voice!
    etc etc.... This is an introduction to my first point for this film, because it is stylised, beautifully beautifully stylised. This is the the antithesis of comic book films such as the new Batman series, a comic book film that revels in the medium it originated from. Shots are recreated exactly as they appear in the comics and offer the the now iconic visual style, which echoes the monochromatic pen and ink style of the comics.
    The visual style also helps to make the extreme and frequently horrific violence much more tolerable - either because it is essentially obscured by the black and white framing or because all the blood is bright white or yellow, or very rarely.... actually red. It is Frank Miller's style and whilst it is certainly effective in the comics (the occasional splash of vibrant primary colours which burst through the blocks of black and white) it comes into its own within the subtleties that can be provided on film.
    Torches and streetlights illuminate people in full colour, the red and blue lights of police cars gently rippling over the grey pallete of the rest of the film or spurts of crimson blood smear across the character's faces. It is the interaction of coloured light sources which I find truly impressive, rather than the blocks of colour which appear throughout the film (most frequently with That Old Yellow Bastard). Robert Rodriguez spent ages persuading the producers that they should follow the visual style culminating with him creating a test reel of himself and his sister in the same visual style. And luckily his perseverance paid off as without the visual style, the majority of the film would fall flat. The action, the speech, the characters are all so over the top and so ridiculously extreme that they would never work in the real world. By distancing Sin City from actual reality it becomes far easier to suspend disbelief. You accept the comic book universe and the universe's rules. People can leap off buildings or jump 10 foot into the air without repercussions, people can be shot 20 times and continue fighting, the police are generally blind, deaf and wearing armour made of tissue. If this film was set in New York and filmed in a realistic palette, the violence and action would only be made to look even more extreme and ridiculous, to an extent where the audience may struggle accepting it.

    Luckily - this film is so stylised that it is completely alien to the real world, and you enter the film forced to accept it on its terms.

    The second point is about what the film offers, and about entertainment. This is something that I have argued over and over again with my friend Becky. Is it OK for a film to be utterly vacuous and only entertain on a purely aesthetic level? Becky argued that the lack of character development and the same plot being repeated 3 times (underdog is led to a situation by a girl, underdog avenges girl, underdog has to go and fight the authority - be it police or senators) stops the film from being any good, that a truly good film must offer something more that pretty visuals. I counter argued with my view. And I proudly introduce Captain James Amazing's theory of Cinema:
    A film's role is to offer escapism to the viewer. Whilst there are films that show the mundane aspects of everyday life, they are still offering us the mundane aspects of someone else's life, it is still a form of escapism. Sin City is the ultimate example of escapism. It shows an entirely new world with a new code - both in how the physics of reality work as well as the moral codes of the characters. The fact that it offers the same story 3 times, is irrelevant. This film is a complete aesthetic onslaught of beautiful ladies in skimpy clothing and hardened brutes causing explosions. It is mindless violence and gravity defying leaps. It is total nonsense. It is total escapism. And for that reason, I think that Sin City succeeds in being a really great film. It is shallow as hell but that doesn't dent its greatness.

    And this leads me nicely to the topic of beautiful ladies in skimpy clothing. Frank Miller loves his beautiful ladies (just look at the casting for his new film, The Spirit) and this is made very very evident in this film.
    Let us begin with Jessica Alba (for we should always begin with Jessica Alba, and it makes sense... alphabetically). Nancy Callahan is a feisty table dancer who is in love with Bruce Willis's grizzled former cop. Due to Nancy's job in the film we get marvellous close up shots of Alba in her lovely outfit, I realise that I sound like an utter perve in this paragraph but I kind of think that that is the point of the scenes. Jessica Alba will generally reduce most men into dribbling idiots, and that is fully exploited within the film. Interesting fact.... The script originally stated that Nancy was topless (as she is in the comics) but Jessica Alba's no nudity clause won out on that little matter.
    There are many other very attractive female characters in this film - Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King. However I wish to give special attention to Alexis Bledel who plays Becky 'Blue Eyes'. Rather a small role but she is very very pretty. And she appears in one of the films more iconic shots (there are a lot of iconic shots).
    The prettiness of the girls are made even more noticeable by the grizzled men, usually under quite a lot of prosthetics. Bruce Willis, Benedicio Del Toro and Mickey Rourke are all amazing as their respective scarred and battered characters. Rourke especially shines as the unstoppable tank that is Marv.
    Again, this is further evidence of Rodriguez's genius as he convinced Miller that Rourke was Marv. Miller was apparently unsure until the second he met Rourke when he instantly jotted "Mickey Rourke is Marv" on his napkin.

    And it is testament to Robert Rodriguez that he has managed such superb casting and such a high calibre of cast to appear in his aesthetic and essentially shallow comic book pulp movie. The acting cast is top notch and the film has two very talented and credible directors assistant a true comic book legend.
    All in all this is a film which balances very experienced and 'cool' film makers with a phenomenal cast and an explosive sense of ridiculous over the top escapism. A true cinematic pleasure. But very possibly a 'boy film'.

Post Title

Where to fight counts for a lot. But there's nothing like having your friends show up with lotsa guns.


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James Piatt's Fashionably Weird/Violent Bags



    When you visit James Piatt's website, you can see his handbag creations that will surely caught you by surprise. Let me tell you something about them.

    Tinkerbell bag was based on Paris Hilton's discarded pet. According to the site, the design of the bag capitalizes on the trend of carrying a small dog as a fashion accessory but as we can see it looks like a dead Chihuahua.



    The PeaceKeeper 400 bag offers you a handy self-defense gadget for $85. It is manufactured with a soft polyurethane handle that looks like a brass knuckle. Definitely, you can handle terror attacks in a fashionable way.



    The Pursuader bag comes in the form of a machine gun. It features a handy cell phone compartment in the clip. With this bag, you can create a fashionable war-freak look.



    The Chesterton is an everyday bag with a large compartment for carrying many items and an internal pocket for portable electronics. This $220 bag is styled with a polygon shape that looks like a pyramid that was cut in a half.



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James Piatt's Fashionably Weird/Violent Bags


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Valentino Garavani: The Last (Fashion) Emperor



    Valentino's fahion house is among the world's most famous haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion empires. For almost 45 years, he created some of the most sophisticated dresses to be seen and worn in the glamorous world of fashion. Valentino became known for his red dresses, popularly called "Valentino red" in the fashion industry.

    Valentino: The Last Emperor was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer and documents the colorful personal life and career of Valentino. The film also tackled about the special relationship between Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, his business partner and companion for 50 years.

    The filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive, unprecedented access to Valentino and his entourage from June 2005 to July 2007. The film spans between Valentino's seventieth birthday and his final couture show

    Source

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Valentino Garavani: The Last (Fashion) Emperor


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