Category Archives: Art

Good News – Well, For Me Anyway

Twice before in my life in corporate America, it has been rough times.  Nothing quite like this, but for the travel industry, tough.  After 911, with all the airlines shut down and folks scared, everything went very quiet in my division for several weeks.   The second time was the recession of 2009, when companies thought that having incentive programs would make them too “visible”.  All the bank programs went first (even the banks that never took monies from the government), but many followed suit.  During both of these times, management was very serious and a vice president actually said out loud that it wasn’t a time for happiness.

I’m feeling the same right now, as if joy and happiness have been outlawed and I think this is more stressful for me than the general situation.  So it is with trepidation that I announce I am experiencing some happiness right now.

When YA was six, we took that vacation to Maine for the Machias Blueberry Festival.  I know I’ve mentioned this before.  I journaled, took photos and collected postcards, placemats, brochures and anything else I thought could be useful in a scrapbook.  When we got home, I found a good supply of stickers and doo dads at the craft store; I already had a good supply of rubber stamps of lighthouses – I’ve collected them for years.

I got the scrapbook designed and in the first month or so, I managed to get about a third of my material mounted and decorated.  Then things got busy and I put all the items in a black wire basket that eventually got shunted to the top of my studio bookshelf.  As YEARS went by, I often looked up at it, but never felt like I had time to really dig back into the project.  Well, I have time now, so last weekend, I pulled the basket down, dusted everything off (cough, cough) and got to work.  It took me a bit to figure out the font I had been using and I spent about an hour sorting everything out, putting things in piles by location and eventually finding a scrap of paper in the bottom of the basket that I had used to record where we had been each day.  Gold.

So I’m happy to announce that finally, nearly 20 years later, the Maine scrapbook is finished.  I was on a roll, so I also did two little scrapbooks for Rhiannon and Zorro as well!  I have all three of them in my bedroom, where every time I notice them, I get a little thrill of accomplishment.  Wondering if I would have such a good feeling about the scrapbook if I had actually finished it 20 years ago?

Any projects you’ve been putting off for far too long?

Tolkien Reading Day

Photo credit: bernswaelz

Turns out yesterday was Tolkien Reading Day.  The Tolkien Society organized the first Tolkien Reading Day back in 2003.  If you’re a really big fan, you’ll know that March 25 was the day that the Black Tower was destroyed and Sauron, the Dark Lord was defeated.

Tolkien was a fascinating man.  Born in the late 19th century, he served in WWI, studied with honors at Oxford and then returned there as a professor.  He wrote many books and articles during his years of teaching, publishing The Hobbit when he was 45 and finishing the Lord of the Rings when he was close to his retirement.

I read The Hobbit the summer of 1973 while I was living in Northfield and working at The Ole Piper Inn.  All my Carlton friends were scattered for the summer months and my boyfriend was doing an internship in the Twin Cities; except for the weekends, I had a lot of time on my hands.  I had never read any fantasy prior to this, in fact didn’t really understand that there WAS fantasy.  It was still a subset of science fiction, and I hadn’t read much of that either.  After all these years, I don’t remember exactly why I decided to read The Hobbit, but within pages I was hooked.  I was not scheduled at the restaurant that night, and I just kept reading and reading.  I finished it the next morning, having not slept a wink.

The Hobbit turned out to be the door into the fantasy genre for me.  I immediately followed up with the entire Lord of the Rings triology, Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks and on and on.  Then I found Ursula LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey who gave me the beginnings of my dragon fixation.  To this day, while I probably read more straight-up fiction, the fantasy genre is still my favorite.  And if I need “comfort” reading, that’s right where I go.

Tell me about a book that opened a door for you.

The Razzies 2020

The Razzies are out!  They did an online reveal this year and here are the winners:

  • Worst picture: Cats
  • Worst actor: John Travolta for The Fanatic and Trading Paint
  • Worst actress: Hilary Duff for The Haunting of Sharon Tate
  • Worst supporting actress: Rebel Wilson for Cats
  • Worst supporting actor: James Corden for Cats
  • Worst screen combo: Any Two Half-Feline/Half-Human Hairballs in Cats
  • Worst screenplay: Cats
  • Worst director: Tom Hooper for Cats
  • Worst remake, rip-off or sequel: Rambo: Last Blood
  • Worst reckless disregard for human life and public property: Rambo: Last Blood

Looks like Cats took a licking this year.

What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?  Have you ever walked out of a movie?

Remaking Murder on the Orient Express

When they re-made Murder on the Orient Express a couple of years back, I made it a point to NOT go see it.  The Albert Finney version made in 1974 is a favorite of mine and you all know full well that I don’t generally like Hollywood to re-make my favorites.

But it’s been on tv lately, so I succumbed last week.  It wasn’t a good beginning as far as I was concerned and by the time it got to the discovery of Ratchett’s body (which was very weirdly and disorientingly shot from above), I was done.   Then a couple of nights ago, I thought “what the heck” and clicked it on.  By luck of the draw, it was right in the spot where I had turned it off before so I didn’t have to watch the first 25 minutes again.  I made myself watch it until the end.

For the most part I like Kenneth Branagh but his Poirot was dark and moody, something I didn’t expect.  The characters weren’t all the same and the two movies varied widely on how the interviews were done and the murder solved.  Not to mention a couple of wildly grandstanding moments like when Branagh is standing on TOP of the stalled train “thinking”.   This MOE just isn’t a good a film as the 1974.

The wide variations between the two films made me really stop and wonder.  Do I really know which of the two movies is closest to the book?  I have to admit that no, I do not.  I read Murder on the Orient Express in high school, which is when I read all the other Agatha Christie novels.  High school was a LONG time ago so I’ll have to say, except for the stunning “they all killed him” denouement at the end, I really don’t remember most of the book.

You know where this is going, right?  I’ve requested the book from the library to find out.  I’m hoping the 1974 version is closer to the book, but even if it isn’t, I’m pretty sure it will still be my favorite!

When was the last time you had to look something up to refresh your memory?  Any movie remakes that you actually LIKE?

It’s Raining

For a couple of years now, I have used some relaxing piano/bird song background music during the day as a way to relax and keep my balance at work.  It’s the same musical theme (YouTube) and it repeats and repeats.  There are days when I have it playing on my headset for most of the day.

No need to go into this in detail, but suffice it to say that the last two weeks have been the most stressful I have ever endured in the travel industry.  I realized on Friday that even my pretty piano & bird compilation wasn’t quite doing it.  So I went searching and found this:

I don’t look at the actual video – not much to see – but I’ve been listening to the rain almost constantly (when I’m not on calls or being accosted in my cube about something).  It is actually very calming – not sure why the sound of softly falling rain relaxes me, but it does.  In fact, this morning I accidentally closed down the browser that is playing the rain and I immediately tensed up and hurried to get it back.

Apparently there is an app that goes along with this soothing sound, but it doesn’t look like anything I would really like or use, so I guess I’ll just stick with the YouTube rain for now.

What helps you relax?   Or are you already relaxed enough?

Foodie?

With all the channels that I have access to, I usually just scroll through the tv guide; I only have a few channels actually memorized. I don’t suppose it will surprise you that Food Network and The Cooking Channel are two of those channels?

There are quite a few shows on those two channels that I don’t watch. Any kind of competition in which one of the contestants gets thrown off at the end – I won’t watch that.  It’s just mean.  I don’t have too much trouble with contests where at the end they just announce one winner, as long as there isn’t too much trash talk, but no throwing people out!.  (And please.. nobody needs to tell me how different “The Great British Bake Off” show is and how I’ll like it – I’ve heard it all before.)

My favorite kinds of shows feature different dishes from places around the world, shows like “Bizarre Foods”, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, “Unique Sweets”, etc. I’ll even watch Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” in a pinch, although he’s not my favorite chef.

Last Sunday, while enjoying Leap Day, I was switching back and forth between two cooking shows that were on at the same time. One of those shows was “Unique Sweets”, a program that showcases desserts from different bakeries around the country.  By luck of the draw, at one point there was a dish on each channel that were both interesting to me, so while “Unique Sweets” was showing ingredients being stirred together, I flipped to the other channel.  They were also showing some ingredients being stirred together, but it seemed like they were stirring really quickly.  I switched back and forth several more times before I figured out that Unique Sweets appears to be slowing down some of their food prep shots a bit compared to “live action”.  This caught my attention so I watched a whole bunch of “US” episodes very closely and what I discovered is that slowing down the action makes the food seem a lot more appealing; more sumptuous, more mouth-watering.  That would explain why I like this show so much.  Does this mean I’m into “food porn”?  Or am I just imagining it?

What makes your mouth water?