Friday, February 5, 2016

Movies I loved in 2015

So I meant to do this post right after the New Year began, but life intruded (oh, life!) and then I got sick, and this post is always a flaming ratfart anyway because my opinions change almost daily.

I watched 33 movies (and Max Max: Fury Road twice) in 2016, which is slightly better than the "two per month" for which I aim. Favorites, in no particular order except possibly chronological by viewing because that's the way my notes are organized:

The Wind Rises
Chappie
Divergent
The Woman in Gold
Mad Max: Fury Road
Inside Out
Mr. Holmes
The Martian
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(This worked out to ten movies with only minimal editing on my part. I had a quick debate about whether Big Hero 6 made the cut, and decided that it didn't.)

I was making a conscious effort to watch "good" movies this year, instead of just my usual entertaining escapism. This means that I'm going to be slightly more in touch when the Oscars are awarded, and also that I'm starting to lose my taste for truly inane action films. Furious 7, to name one, seemed to have more obvious plot holes than usual. Avengers: Age of Ultron, to name another.

So overall, it was a good year for movie viewing. I'd hoped to see Carol and Trumbo while they were still in theaters, but didn't find them near me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sick x2

Eleven days ago, I had a tickle in my throat. Ten days ago, it was a full-blown sneeze, cough, wheeze, ache, and a low fever. I never did figure out if it was a particularly horrible cold or a weak version of the 'flu. I did get my shots back in the fall, so a cold seems more likely...

Two days ago, I was still coughing but mostly getting better. Except that I was exhausted. And my stomach felt iffy. Sure enough, Monday night I started throwing up. And kept throwing up for the rest of the night. Then I had 18 hours of crapping liquids. Then my entire body ached (apparently I pulled some muscles while vomiting) and made it tough to sleep.

The upshot? I've missed four days of work in the past two weeks.

I can't even bear to think about how much work is waiting for me when I get back tomorrow...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Great books I read in 2015

Please note: the order is thematic rather than ranked. Several of these are rereads, and many of them were published prior to 2015.

Horror
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Feed by Mira Grant
The Technician by Neal Asher

F/SF (note that all of the above could also plausibly go into this category)
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
The Bees by Laline Paull
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Romance
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand
Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery

Mystery
The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth
Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville

My summary statistics for the year: 147 books read: 116 new and 31 rereads. 41 new authors tried: from above, that includes Neville, Mallery, Florand, Bowen, Cline, Hawkins, Paull, Addison, and Lockhart.

I'm putting together on a separate post on how my Hugo-nomination list is shaping up.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Two great poems

Sadly, I have read very little poetry in the years since I left college.

However, I recently read a wonderful poem, which references another wonderful poem... so I'm saving them here for later.

First poem: Sirens by Sarah Howe
References another poem: Elegy for Jane by Theodore Roethke

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Favorite movies of 2015

I watched 35 movies in 2015. Not all of them came out during 2015, of course (Cinderella, Expendables, Big Hero 6, etc.) and I also watched Mad Max: Fury Road twice. Here are my favorite movies from the past year:

1) Mad Max: Fury Road
2) Inside Out
3) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4) Spotlight
5) The Martian
6) Crimson Peak
7) Mr. Holmes
8) The Woman in Gold
9) The Wind Rises
10) Big Hero 6


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eating Breakfast Out

I know that this blog has never really settled down to being one thing or another.

Do I review recipes here? Yes.

Do I post about knitting? Most definitely.

Do I share bits from my life? On occasion.

Do I review local restaurants? Well... let's just say that I aspire to be a reviewer, but lack the credentials and the photography skills.

Today, we went to IKEA for brunch. The Swedish-American breakfast is a great deal at $2.99 and includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, 2 sausages, and 2 Swedish pancakes (which are thin and chewy and delicious with lingonberry jam.) DH said the coffee was OK. My older son got the Swedish waffles and said they were better than American ones. The croissant was delicious.

Yesterday we hit Denny's for brunch after a leaking toilet rendered our kitchen unusable for a few hours. I had the chicken fried steak skillet which was deliciously greasy and salty and exactly what I needed to alleviate the stress. The rest of my family was baffled by my sudden return to my Midwestern roots, but they each tried a piece of my steak and admitted that it was yummy. DH got the veggie omelet platter and said it was perfectly fine. Younger son got the Lumberjack Slam, which consisted of ham, eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, and two large pancakes. The pancakes were a lovely surprise; the rest of the meal was good. Older son got a hamburger and fries and fussed about the bun being greasy. (You can't win 'em all.)

The day before yesterday, I met some old friends at a local diner. We'd just gotten a couple inches of snow under an inch of ice, so we walk/slithered instead of risking the roads. I got a scrambled egg, bacon, hash browns (do you see a theme here?) and the daily special, which was a giant blueberry muffin sliced in half and griddled in butter. It was nutso good. My friends got nearly the same, except that T. got a corn muffin and R. opted for whole wheat toast with marmalade.

Tomorrow I aim to eat breakfast at home.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Very Happy Birthday to Sir Isaac Newton

So we went to see the in-laws for Christmas. (Yes, we do celebrate.)

My FIL is a superior cook but has an odd aversion to vegetables, so I volunteered to make a side dish of green beans and a salad.

Here's the menu, in full:
1) caramelized liver mousse with toasted hazelnuts and macerated cherries
2) avocado-blood orange salad (not the one I made)
3) pheasant salmis and my green beans
4) cheese course, featuring Cabot clothbound cheddar, Truffle Tremor, Moses Sleeper, and Gorgonzola Dolce
5) my salad, which was an ingredient-limited riff on a roasted cranberry and delicata squash salad with candied pecans and mixed lettuce.
6) fruit course
7) Bakewell Tart with coffee

We also went through a few bottles of wine but I forgot to write down names!

Earlier in the day - before opening presents - we'd had tea and sticky buns.

And a lovely time was had by all. I hope your 25th was equally peaceful, festive, and delicious.