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I just got home from seeing PJ 20 at the Cinerama.  It was recommended by another mom with a teen, and at first I thought mine would rather see Moneyball, being the bball player he is, but he readily agreed to see the Pearl Jam documentary.  My hope was to take his mind off not having friends to hang out with yet (which proved not to be true since he was offered a ride to see the football game tonight).  So, we went to sushi on Capitol Hill, then wandered downtown until the movie started.

If you’ve been on the fence about seeing this, let this tip you towards it.  The documentary was very well done and I am sure that the band is very proud of how it turned out.  Their voices were all there, not just EV’s.  I loved learning all the quirks and how they came together, what made them different from other bands and how they dealt with their fame.  I am not the most hardcore Pearl Jam fan–I’ve only seen them live once, a few years ago at the Gorge–but this show made me feel like I know them just a little.  I can’t say that someone that dislikes them would appreciate it, as there is definitely an angelic glow that covers even the most tragic events in their career, but if you do like them, see it.  You won’t be sorry.

Books!  I’ve been reading them…somewhat slowly lately.

I finished book 2 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series.  Lamplighter is the continuation of the story of Rossamund Bookchild, foundling and now apprentice lamplighter for the emperor.  Rossamund goes bravely into apprenticehood, and even though he isn’t good at everything, he makes up for it in perseverance and smarts.  Soon after arriving–a week late, as he finds he can’t live down–a young woman, Threnody, also joins the ranks and becomes a sometimes troubling friend.  Circumstances push all of the apprentices out into their profession a bit early, and Threnody volunteers to accompany him to a difficult posting.  During their time there, much happens to cause Rossamund to question who he really is.  Don’t forget the monsters and subterfuge.  I think we will learn more in book 3, Factotum.

The adventure is wondrous and the story strange.  If it weren’t for the fact that this book keeps me racing to the dictionary, I would recommend it to everyone.  It is not a light read, but very entertaining.

I am finally finishing up Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which also had me consulting a dictionary.  Two heavy reads at the same time, it’s lucky I got through them both and almost at the same time.  I think I need some fluff to bring my brain back to earth.

I can’t say enough good about Perdido Street Station.  In fact, I can’t seem to say anything about it right now. It is amazing, the world that Mieville creates is mind blowing.  That’s not as much of a metaphor as it would usually be.  You’ll just have to read it yourself.

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This weekend has felt like a vacation.  I feel like I have been away from work for a week instead of 2 days.  I am going to go back to calling The Offspring The Boy instead.  It just rolls off the brain better.

So anyway, The Boy and I went and saw “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” today.  It was really well done–about a boy of 16 who is just not handling life well and has been contemplating jumping off a bridge to end all his stress.  He checks himself in to a mental ward of a hospital.  Cool Craig, as he becomes known, needs to find an outlet for his pent up thoughts.  3 North, the mental ward, helps him find that, with a little help from some of the other patients.  In particular is Bobby, who is both outgoing and deflective; he helps Craig and confuses him.  As the movie went along, I found myself moved to the edge of tears one moment and laughing in the next.  I wasn’t sure The Boy would like the seriousness of the film, but he looked at me sidelong on our way out and said “it was good, right?”  It was one of those that made you think, that made you realize that mental illness can happen to anyone, that the mentally ill are just as much people as the average person.

I cooked a lot this weekend.  Dinner on Saturday was meatloaf, spaghetti squash and salad, all the veggies came from my and a friend’s garden.  Tonight was ahi tuna pan fried with sesame seeds, collard greens with bacon, fresh basil leaves and tomatoes and red rice.  I also made yummy granola bars–apricot almond–and paneer that I will make into palak paneer when I get my csa tomorrow.

We walked the Step Out to Fight Diabetes walk with some good friends on Saturday too.  The rain held off for the whole walk, which was at Magnuson Park, and on our way back to the car we walked through the Wetland Nature Conservatory.  We heard a lot of interesting birds and frogs and the air smelled wonderful.  I don’t even know how to describe it.

Today we walked with my sister in the Arboretum and checked out part of their new Pacific Connection Garden where we saw plants with leaves as big as we are.  It was beautiful and wind-y and peaceful.  We got totally soaked on our way back when the sky opened up a few blocks from my sis’s place.  I had left my raincoat in the car.  How useful.

Tonight will be an early night.  The Boy has driver’s ed (!?!) early in the morning, which means we have to get up and leave even earlier, and then I work until 6.  Later this week I get to go see my good friend in Davis, which I am so looking forward to.

What am I reading? After picking up and putting down several things, I finally got into Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey.  I intend to go back to Born Confused, because I really like it, it just isn’t what I wanted right now.  I saw on my holds list that Monsters of Men has come in and I am so excited to read it.  I have to finish Skin Hunger tonight, or it might just languish with the others.

I have had more vacation this year than any I can remember.  I barely touch down in between and yet I have to be a grown up and make this job my own.  I came back from Chelan feeling ready to be creative with my teen advisory group plan and I feel like I hit it on the head.  I don’t know for sure, but I will certainly find out in September.

The garden keeps surprising me with its yield, especially since I have been so neglectful this year.  I had 2 nice cauliflower heads (well, out of 6 plants, not as good as I could have wished), my carrots are actually becoming carrots, despite my earlier fears, and I have had some nice strawberries and snap peas.

I am still riding several days a week, a little under 12 miles a day and I started to keep track of my eating.  Not to lose weight, but just to see what I am up to.  My caloric intake isn’t bad, but I sure do like the sugar and carbs, which are basically the same thing to the body.  I am going to try to shift my eating to more protein and veggies.  I eat a lot of fruit and bread (and cheese, and…) and it doesn’t help that we have a magnificent bakery just down the street from work.  PCC is a bit further away but I think I should make the effort and change my habits.

Yesterday evening I went to a book release birthday party for Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala and it was inspiring.  She is such an amazing person and her book is really beautiful and well written (the part I have read and heard so far).  I bought a copy last night–she and Secret Garden Books were donating proceeds to World Vision’s Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls–but my feet couldn’t wait in the HUGE line to get it signed.  I hope she will grant me the honor later.  Congratulations Holly!

What am I reading? Well…I know I said I was going to read Pump Six next, but then Dead Tossed Waves came in yesterday and I just couldn’t help myself.  I have heard both good and bad things about it, although I don’t remember distinctly what–it is better that way, then I can just form my own opinion.  I am only about 20 pages in, but I like the way Carrie Ryan sets up the atmosphere, setting and back story.  I am on my way.

However, I will be watching some dvds tonight so that I can get some crafty stuff done.  I will start with the IT Crowd.  I saw a couple of episodes of this back when I was in graduate school and thought it was totally hilarious.  But I was in graduate school and a little funny in the head then, so who knows.  I also have Crazy Heart and Invictus.  In the interest of going to work tomorrow, I probably won’t watch all 3, but I am hoping for two.  Any favorites?

Things have definitely been easier this week.  I have been making “to do” lists and checking off each item.  When I get a little stressed my short term memory goes right out the window.  That doesn’t really help with stress.  So yes, handwritten lists with little check boxes and things added right when I think of them.  I was already doing that with my email–setting the task option for a reasonable amount of time, then going through each one when I had a little down time.

I have a sister getting married this fall and yesterday we bridesmaids had brunch at her place, where we picked fabric and took measurements.  I had recently sent my Mister the dates so he could see about getting that weekend off in his new hellishly hot city.  Somebody said “so, it is the 18th right?” and sis said “yeah, the 18th” and I went “awe shit…” with a blank look where I knew that I had told the Mister it was the 24th.  I had seen this on one of my calendars and sent it on to him.  Sis said “you’re f-ing with me, right?”  And I said “probably?”  And yes I was.  When the text message I sent myself at that OS moment reminded me to check, I could see on the vacation calendar that I had asked for the right days off, so the only thing I had to do was send the correct dates to the Mister.  Whew, see what a piece of work I am lately?  (I had to send myself a text message…)

I also had no idea it was Easter yesterday until patrons started calling to see if we would be open.  And yes we were.  They continued calling until 20 minutes before closing yesterday.  It was my weekend to work and I guess it didn’t matter, me being all non-religious and my kid being all teenagery.  He still ended up with a bunch of candy, which is pretty silly since he is diabetic.  You would think that the fear of needles would make him cut back, but he seems to have gotten used to them.  One of the many side effects of type 1 diabetes.

What am I reading? Still The Passage, which is long and wondrous.  Time has passed and things are more Forest of Hands and Teeth now.  I have a feeling that the sweet little girl is going to make an appearance soon, but that somehow she will still be sweet after a hundred years.  So yes, it is still awesome, with none of the dead spots that a 750 page book (cough/twilight) usually has–final judgement reserved for when I finish.

Last night the Mister and I watched Men Who Stare at Goats and Extract.  Not the best movies in the world, but not the worst.  Extract was Office Space-esc, but not as funny or as insightful.

I am home and in recovery mode.  I got home much earlier than I’d expected thanks to a new friend giving me a ride.  The only train option was at 6:15 which, knowing the delays on Amtrak, would have gotten me home after 10pm.  I was motivated enough to go pick up the Offspring, we watched Astro Boy and then I hit the bed like a ton of bricks and stayed there till 11am.

So what did I do in Portland?  Well, besides seeing Natalie Merchant, going to Powell’s and Stumptown and hanging out with my lovely coworkers, I went to many sessions at PLA.  It all started with a day of pre-conference on Tuesday.  Readers Advisory 2.0 was all about how to give RA over the internets in various forms–electronic submission of reading habits=list of 10 annotated book suggestions, blogs with a steady flow of book reviews.  I enjoyed listening, but realized they were all things my system has done before, and some they are still doing.  Our Fiction department had to drop online RA submissions because it was too popular and we didn’t have the resources to keep up with it.

The second preconference was Opening Doors, Opening Books: Providing Effective Readers’ Advisory Service and was presented by our own talented and well known Nancy Pearl.  Even though I have lived in the Seattle area for most of my life and went to the iSchool, I have never heard her speak before.  She deserves all the credit that she receives from readers and librarians.  I was afraid that any session I took on RA would only tell me about specific books or give tips that I already knew, but didn’t now how to implement.  Instead, Nancy taught me how to judge a book by its cover–or rather by its title.  I read a lot, and everyone wants a personalized recommendation, but I just don’t get to read as many adult books.  Nancy’s talk broke down how to evaluate what the reader really wants out of a book–character, setting, story or language–and helped me see how I could make a suggestion (because she says we should remove our emotions from the experience) based on that and the knowledge of some titles that would fit that need.  She also gave us the hint that a character driven book would often have something about a character in the title, same with a setting driven book.  We all came up with examples of books that fell into the four categories to help us have a better feeling for what goes where and give us some titles to choose from later, when implementing her method.

That’s enough library geekery for now.  I went to many other sessions, and another one that I will talk about here later is Mourning the Loss: the Challenge of Change, which gave me a bit of a chance to grieve over recent changes and realize the next steps of my movement forward.

I didn’t get to go to many of the places I wanted to while I was in Portland, so I hope to go back soon.  I will say that I loved the one night I spent in the Mark Spencer Hotel and hope to stay there again.  It is not terribly expensive and has a lot of room options and amenities.  It is also in the heart of all the places I want to see.

What am I Reading? I am finishing up Steamed, which is turning out to be a total bit of fluff.  I wish I would have read it on the beach rather than in the middle of PLA.  So not to say it isn’t enjoyable, just not terribly substantial and quite a niche book–how many romance readers are going to be interested in steampunk?  A few, but not a lot.

I finished listening to The Curse of the Blue Tattoo last night on the way to get the Offspring and I seriously loved every minute of it.  When I tried to apply Nancy’s method of RA to it, I couldn’t decide on a catagory as it has wonderful characters, is historical fiction, so definitely has a good bit of setting, is full of adventure and happenings so fits into story driven.  I found the language unique and inspiring as well, but I think that it is probably the least of the 4.  I cannot wait for the next book.  Now I just have to decide if I should listen or read it–the voice on the audio is really good as well.  Decisions, decisions.

Lately I find myself railing against things I cannot change.  It isn’t up to me and all I can do is complain.  I am complaining too much and I am even annoying myself.  And now I will stop.

Scheduling computer classes is moving ahead and today I went to training put on by my own Instruction Committee head.  It was pretty informative and even though I should know most of it, it cleared up some questions.

This morning I learned on Facebook that Corey Haim died.  After doing a google news search I found out it was from a drug overdose, accidental, with his mother in the same apartment.  As a parent struggling with teenager issues at the moment, it seriously scares me to hear this.  Either she doesn’t know her son is doing drugs in another room, or she knows.  Which is worse?  Maybe she was doing them, too.

Tonight we are watching Lost Boys on VHS.  Yes on VHS.  And I own this cheezy bit of media.  But I loved Lost Boys growing up, mostly for Kiefer Sutherland.  And the vampires.  Kind of explains why I like Buffy so much.  I love cheesy horror, but hate the real thing.

I will update on what I am reading later.  I have been seriously tired lately between my frustrations and exercising like a mad person.  Well, not really.  I went running a couple of days this week, but that is a couple more days than usual.  So yeah, later.

This week has been great, but it was seriously killing me.

My internet class went well, even if there were only 3 people there.  They loved that I stopped and asked if they were following ok and that I answered their questions.  Too much time with the grandkids whipping through the tutorial?  Maybe.

The comics program was also a hit.  85 people showed up!  Too many, actually.  And it was a little too long.  Everyone loved the workshop and the contest but 3.5 hours was pushing it and many of the attendee’s didn’t stay for the contest.  We still had a good time and I had a wonderful volunteer show up from Central.  I had no idea she was coming, so it was like a gift from the gods.  She helped steer people to seats, talked to the kids and took pictures.  If she hadn’t been there, my feet would have hurt even worse than they did.  And they did, let me tell you.

Later that night we went to a librarian meet up where the choices were rollerskating and bowling.  I had to go with the bowling after the marathon on my feet earlier.  Even that was pushing it and I only bowled one round.  My Mister had dislocated a finger a while back, so he just watched, but the Offspring got 2 rounds in before we lost the lane to disco bowling, or whatever they call it these days.  They turned down the lights, turned on the strobe and started pumping the beats.  It was wild.  Offspring would have loved to stay (there were lots of cute girls there), but I needed to get to bed.  Old lady, that’s me.

I have been very happy to have a couple of days off, to sleep late and rejuvenate.  I think I am ready to go back and face the mound of work I have to do before I move branches.  I had a crash and burn in communication before I left.  It gave me a bad taste and made me feel like my fellow librarians might not be helping out as much as we hoped in our new regional plan.  It isn’t the bad communicating (on my part) that led to this, just that no one else is commenting on the stuff that is really important.  Ohm….I will let my frustration slide by…ohm….I will not let this bother me….it will go away if I give it a few days….  …  ..

What am I reading? Well, still Columbine, which is super interesting.  I find myself feeling guilty reading about other’s pain and enjoying finding out what happened.  I keep expecting some huge surprise, but I don’t suppose there can be one.  I’ll let you know.

To tide you over, I will tell you what I’ve been watching.  American Son was better than I expected–the story of a marine on leave for 96 hours just before he ships out to Iraq.  Really good.  (500) Days of Summer, also very good.  Tom falls in love with Summer instantly, and she really likes him… as a friend…  Trona was weird, but totally worth watching.  It reminded me of Never Cry Wolf, but without the wolves.  Man figures out he is unhappy and decides to f*** off instead of continuing in his doomed path.  Remember, this movie is “less about plot than it is about feeling.”