So Michael Powell was an English film writer / director / producer.  He’s probably best known for the Red Shoes.  He also gave Dame Helen Mirren her first film role (God bless him for that).

I’ve watched three of his films now.  Age of Consent, A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes.  I like A Matter of Life and Death best.  It’s a romance and it stars David Niven.  What’s not to love.

But the most interesting to me was The Red Shoes.  First off – it’s about dance.  And while I can’t dance a step, I did study dance history with the amazing Jenefer Johnson.  So watching a movie about dancers and dancing was right up my alley.  Second – it’s one of The Archers most famous films so it has some lovely extras on the dvd.  (The most astounding extra is Jeremy Irons reading the book that Powell and Pressburger wrote based on their movie.)

First let’s talk about the dance.  This was pre-Balanchine.  So the dancers look completely different from the ballet dancers you think of today.  It’s also pre-Bolshoi.  So the corps looks different too.  Watching the dancing is like watching a tape from a time capsule.  The dancers look healthy – like they could actually walk strongly against a firm wind and eat a few carbohydrates without throwing up.  The steps seem shorter and coarser in a way.  But because the dancers are of a different shape the dance still works.  The dancing is lovely.  Watching this behind the scenes film is so true and full of art.  It’s a wonderful dichotomy.

Second – the extras.  I had no idea how much I love listening to Jeremy Irons.  In this he reads the book over the movie and he also reads the original Hans Christian Anderson story over the sketches uses to choreograph the dance sequence.  Love that.  There are also a great many images of the original advertising campaign for the movie.  Very cool.

I must say – the strangest piece of trivia I learned was that Moira Shearer is quoted as saying that she didn’t particularly like Powell.  But she went on to appear in two more films directed by him.  Considering that she only appeared in 7 films in her life, it’s interesting that she appeared in 3 Powell films when she didn’t like him.  But then – that’s show business.

If you haven’t seen these movies – I do recommend them.

Night.

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I watched a LOT of TV as a child.  Which means I’ve seen a lot of commercials.  I think I might be inoculated now because, honestly, I don’t remember a thing they are trying to sell me.  Unless they are trying to sell me the music behind the action.  That I might pay attention to, if not the product itself.

Print ads aren’t really any better.  They just make me question what market they are going after.

My new least favorite ads are women’s magazines.  It’s not just legitimate ads, it seems like the entirety of the magazine is an ad for products that no one in their right mind needs.  At least not at those prices.

There are entire “articles” about new products to buy.  Some try to make it about the best products available but really it’s all just a sales pitch.  Forget it.  I’m done.

I don’t need color coordinated $50 gardening clogs. A list of the new great makeup items, not really what I’m looking for.  A single drawer pull for $9?  Not in the market.  I guess I should have known that the magazine would make up for the cheap subscription price some how.

At least it’s not a weekly magazine.  I will never do that again.

But then, that’s another post.

I ate chocolate cream pie for breakfast.

And no one said a word about it.  No one says a word when I have yogurt and oatmeal either.  It’s all my decision.  Which ROCKS!

If I decide to skip doing laundry for a week… ain’t nobody’s business if I do.

I spend a lot of money on a particular brand of toilet paper.  I have very specific paper towel requirements.  I like cherry coke and nothing else – no mater what’s on sale.  Shopping when you only have to please yourself is a wondrous experience.

There’s a joy in cooking for yourself too.  Don’t want to eat the leftovers, then don’t.  Want ice cream at 3pm.  Okay.

Want to stay up all night reading?  Wake up at 3pm to have a hot bath and watch the Thin Man for the 100th time?  Whatever floats your boat.

No one gets angry if I keep a movie from Netflix for a month.  No one complains if I listen to the same cd over and over again.

While I was thinking about this I realized this isn’t just about being a grown-up.  It’s also about being single and living alone.  Because I don’t really need to consider other people in the equation for making decisions.  I also don’t have to worry about someone else eating my food, using my stuff, being really pissed off by my actions around the homestead.

There is really something to be said for this level of freedom.

Why does PG&E hate us?

April 28, 2009

So this is what… the third power outage (lasting 2 hours min) in the last 4 weeks, I think.  I’m really tired of this.  On the plus side – I have TONS of flashlights all over the place and the hot water heater is gas, not electric.

But I have an electric range.  So no cooking.  Also – I don’t open the fridge in a power outage.

To add insult to injury, the harmonic guy (some genius wanders around my neighborhood – going up and down the walk ways between the apartment buildings playing the harmonica BADLY) decided that a power outage would not stop his meandering concert.

Now I should mention that the whole block went down.  Again.  Ugh – why PG&E – WHY?

At least this one started just after 8pm.  The one that still bugs me the most happened after 11pm.  I was asleep.  Everything everywhere suddenly turning off woke me up.  Then I had to try to get back to sleep in the COMPLETE dark which is very strange once you’re used to hard core ambient light.  And once the electricity comes on, I was shocked awake again.  And I had to get out of bed to set the clocks or they would keep flashing the wrong time in bright red.

Ugh

But there is power again.  So it’s safe to go to bed.

Night.

So – I have Netflix.  Which I LOVE.  I also have a big collection of DVDs.  I used to have a huge collection of tapes.  This all comes not from a love of movies so much as a long term desire for background noise coupled with some occasional but nasty insomnia.

Which leads to a lot of movies.  Strangely over time I have stopped going to the movie theater unless I know I MUST see the movie on the big screen.  Usually only about one or two a year these days.  (Last one was Coraline in 3-D and I thought it was worth every penny.)

Since I can’t really figure out what to type about today, I thought I’d give a list of a few movies you might not have seen, that I love.

Brick – Un-ironic Noir in High School.  This film is amazing.  Watch it when you can focus on it.  It deserves your attention.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Sweet simple romance.  My mom told me about this movie.  I lent her my copy of the book.  She sent me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to read.  I like simple pretty stories with happy endings from time to time.

Igor – Pixar may do it better but there really is something simple and wonderful about this little animated wonder.  It’s cute.  And Steve Buscemi does one of the voices.

Elaine Stritch: at Liberty – This is very frightening honesty broken up with song and dance numbers.  Plus it reminds me that I LOVE Ethel Merman.

This Filthy World – I found out I could watch this instantly on Netflix.  So I did.  Over and over.  John Waters is a very funny man.

Engineering an Empire – It’s hosted by a professor from Syracuse University who just happens to be Buckaroo Bonzai.  I LOVE this damn show.

Tron – Yes I am waiting for the sequel.  I’ve been waiting since the first time I watched the movie.  What’s your point?  When was the last time you watched it?  You should take a look again – it’s still great.

Nero Wolfe Mysteries – A&E did this series for 2 seasons from 2001 – 2002.  I taped a few on VHS but Clara just bought me the DVD box set.  I love presents from Clara.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Alec Guinness is a genius.  For more than just Obi-Wan Kenobi.  This series wrapped itself around me and refused to let go.  “Love to Anne.  Everybody’s love to Anne.”  So good.  So very good.

Desk Set – Maybe it’s the romance.  But I think it might actually be the sharp dialogue.  Nora Ephron had very smart parents.  They wrote this movie.  They it was brilliantly performed by Tracy and Hepburn.

The Barefoot Contessa – Ava Gardner was lumonous.  And Humphrey Bogart was so touchingly human.  This movie makes my emotions crawl out of my skin and wrap around me like a blanket.  “Just because it is big and white and a yacht, is it not still dirt.”  Morals are not paintings on walls and scruples are not money in Russia.  That’s why I love this movie.

That’s it for now.  Maybe you have already seen these movies.  Maybe you will watch one or two on my recommendation.  Whatever gets you through the night.

Peace

So a month ago I ordered 9 additional drawer pulls to finish a project I started a while ago.  I’ve been waiting not so patiently for them to arrive ever since.  I emailed the company, twice – no answer.  They took a whole week off for Easter.  Finally on Monday I called customer service and was told they were too busy to answer so I should email or call back.  I had emailed 3 times already.  So I called back and got into the sales call line.  They might not be answering customer service but they were going to take a sales call.

I talked to some guy who couldn’t tell me why I still didn’t have my pulls but he would have someone get back to me by the end of the day.  That didn’t happen but I got an email the next morning.  They didn’t have the pulls and did not have an ETA as to when they would be available.  Would I like a refund?

Now they charged my card the day I made the sale but didn’t ever bother to tell me that they didn’t have the product until I contacted them 2 different ways on 5 different occasions.  Does anyone else have a problem with this?  Because I do.

Who knows when they will issue the refund.

And now I have to find a new source for the pulls.  This time I was not going to order on-line.  I would call and talk to someone.  VERIFY!  Argh.  Still pissed.

So I found a company with a good price and called.  Only I called to late to verify shipping from the source so I was told to call back tomorrow.  Which was today.  So I called and talked to this awesome woman who verified that I could get 9 Laurey Lions Head pulls.  She thought they were awesome and may be purchasing a bunch to put on her antique dresser and vanity.  We chatted about the weather and paints (I like Mythic with the lack of horrid paint smell and great colors) and I may actually have my pulls in the next few weeks.

Anyway – while I am still upset about the fact that it took a month to find out that I would not be getting my pulls from the first company; getting to talk to someone and share ideas while placing the second order has gone a long way to make this all a much better experience.  And in the end I think I’ll remember the second call a lot more than the first mess up.  I hope.

The big day of FOOD!

April 23, 2009

So I totally forgot to take pictures.  Which is a damn shame because the food was SO pretty.

I started with a bolognese sauce.  Extra garlic, extra aromatics and an additional pound of meat in the form of PORK!  Brown, brown, brown and simmer.  The thyme and bay leaves were a nice touch.  In the end I had 6 quarts of a stunning meat sauce.  I will definitely be using that recipe again.  Anne Burrell – you are a GODDESS!!!

Then, since I had a few pounds of red potatoes, I made my potato mess.  Being a big fan of the casserole, I boiled the potatoes, mashed them with a pound of shredded cheddar, sour cream, horseradish and bacon.  Big messy pot of goodness right there.

And last I mixed up the dough for savory hot cross buns.  2 cups of bacon, 2 cups of green onions and 2 cups of sharp white New York cheddar.  Cold rise – so I have to wait until morning to bake them off but boy that dough looks good.Savory Hot Cross Buns

I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures…  Until forced to by a concerned citizen.  So there’s the dough.

Next time for sure.  Just after Bullwinkle pulls that rabbit out of his hat.

hey – if you have time – listen to the food porn article