May 2011

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Holy frijoles, a post on a Saturday?  Yup, just for fun.  These are my all time favorite YouTube videos.  What did we ever do before?  A word of warning – they’re definitely not for everyone.  Grandma, Grandpa, you should skip these, and anyone at work or with kids nearby.

What a mad duo this is, Kanye West and Zach Galifianakis!  I can’t decide which I love more, the song, the video, or the juxtaposing of the two.  Well done, gentlemen.

This is all kinds of goodness.  I’m also glad to see that Elijah Wood is no longer a Hobbit.  He makes a much better rapper in my opinion.

Ahh, the Flight of the Conchords.  Come back!

Gangsta Bert and Ernie!

Heppy Friday friends, despite it being nearly over – late start!  I see that typo, by the way, but think it looks kind of hep (there I go again), so it stays.  How was your week?  Mine was a solid 8.5 (good friends and even better times), though it would have been higher had I the cooperation of Mr. Soleil.  I am missing him something fierce.  C’est la geurre, je suppose.

Anyhoo, to the post and my diabolical plot to get people in front of the television.  Bwa ha ha!  No, not really, but I am a big lover of film, if you hadn’t noticed, and when they touch me, I am duty bound to sing their praises.  Ooh, cheeky monkey!   No, these movies are not copping feels, they’re just worthy of  mention and your time.

I was feeling under the weather one day and cast aside my chores and one half of my yoga practice (sad face) to lie on the sofa.  Happily, the entertainment gods were watching over me, and I found this streaming on Netflix, watching the entire six episodes in one go.  Holy smokes gentle readers, this is some business.  John Luther (Idris Elba – well cast and handsome, with a fabulous name) is one of those not quite right police detectives (I know that line’s getting a bit cliche, but it works) who’s just returned from the force after some “time off.”  He’s dedicated, a bit explosive, and a mad genius at his job (“It’s not right”), the kind of fellow who has a difficult time separating himself from his work.  This caused problems in his marriage, and we watch him struggle with what may be its dissolution, along with the trials and travails of a detective in the murderous metropolis that is London. It is thoughtful, intense, and incredibly well written, full of unexpected twists and surprises, the absolute best being Luther’s friendship with Alice (Ruth Wilson from Jane Eyre – so good!), a woman he’s absolutely positive is responsible for the grisly murder of her parents and family dog (she’s far too clever to be caught).

This has got to be one of the best and most unusual documentaries I’ve ever seen.  Truly.  A man (Mark Hogankamp) is brutally beaten in a bar fight and decides, once the insurance money for traditional therapies runs out, that he will work through his trauma and regain his hand-eye coordination by creating and photographing (with meticulous detail) a WWII era Belgian town.  Populated with dolls that represent friends and coworkers, with a history so intricate, so poignant, that it’s often difficult to separate from the real world, past and present, especially for Mark.  Then there are the photographs, surreal and oddly beautiful, just like the town they depict.

A love letter to a complex and beguiling city, Dhobi Ghat shows Mumbai at its best and worst, through the eyes of four very different people.  Arun is an artist who meets Shai at his most recent opening.  They spend the night together, though it doesn’t end well.  Munna is an aspiring actor, rat killer, and the dhobi who washes both of their clothes (by hand, in a vast and strangely enchanting neighborhood dedicated to the practice).  Then there is Yasmin, the infinitely sweet and naive girl whose video tapes (intimate letters and travelogues for her brother) Arun finds in his new apartment.  We watch as each navigates the city and their relationships with the outside world and each other.  It is tender, honest, and sometimes harsh, just like life.  I did find it a tad clumsy at the start, but that may be more cultural than anything.

Ooh, this was fun!  After a white lie about the loss of her virginity spreads like wildfire, once unknown and uninteresting Olive Penderghast decides to take the rumors up a notch and parallel the life of Hester Prynne.  Literally dressing like a prostitute and appliquéing a scarlet “A” on her garments, she takes money and gift cards from boys desperate for a change in reputation (without actually becoming a prostitute herself).  Of course it gets out of hand, with hearts and friendships broken, but, as these films go, all turns out well in the end.  Chock full off witty banter and a gracious nod to Say Anything, I say well played.

But wait, there’s more!  I listened to Rafael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’ while typing this: a little Stevie Wonder, a little hip hop, a little funk, and a whole lotta awesome.  Add it to another queue…

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Silly Me

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

Shel Silverstein

Good morning all!

I hope today is the beginning of a bright and beautiful week for you.  Yesterday was a glorious day of firsts around here, many of them captured in the above photo.  It was sunny and warm enough to dry laundry outside!  Sunny enough for a little happy hour of lemon bars and sparkling lemonade on the patio!  Sunny enough to walk to dinner wearing sandals and a dress –  no down vest required!  Hallelujah – we’d waited so long that’s it’s truly worthy of all the exclamations!  Seriously, this is the first time in my nearly thirteen years as a Stumptown girl that the wet weather has gotten me down.  I spent many a recent day pining for warmth and light, so when two days in a row came, and on a weekend, no less, I was pretty jazzed.

On our way out the door to dinner, we found this bit of sweetness left by a neighbor.  I don’t know which I love more, the act of kindness or lilacs!  I have one in the back, just behind the clothesline, and its blossoms are just beginning to open.  Happiness!

Now to the second bit of the title: mussels, my favorite gift from the sea.  My love for them is pretty serious, so don’t go messing with the menu, people.  I’ve made special trips to places to indulge only to have my spirit squashed like a bug at their absence.  This place used to have mussels but now has only crap burgers and too loud Grateful Dead on the hi-fi.  And I like the Grateful Dead! It’s just that everything is exaggerated when food disappointment is involved.  The hubster will vouch for me on this.  There’s a certain look in my once sweet eyes that means we gotta get outta here.  I’m not happy.  Thankfully, I have enough sources that I need not rely on one place and can get my fix in practically every area of town.  Should you share my love for mussels here are the best PDX preparations:

Lauro Kitchen – served rather dramatically in a cataplana (a cool looking copper pot) with peppers, onions, and sausage.

St. Jack – A very French preparation with ultra crispy crusted baguette.

The Observatory – there’s Sake in there, and it’s damn good!  (An aside – the whitefish spread is pretty spectacular, too.)

North 45 – This place takes mussels as seriously as I do, with a half dozen or more preparations on the menu at one time.  Deciding is not easy.

Here’s hoping it’s a wonderful week for you and yours, one without the heartache and destruction of weather disasters.  My thoughts and prayers to all who lost so very much.

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