[Audio]Book Review: Bossypants

BossypantsTina Fey, what can I say? I’ve always enjoyed the stuff she was in, but for whatever I didn’t put two and two together to realize she writes a lot of her material. If you are looking for a quick paced anecdotal walk through a comedians life this one is definitely worth the read. If you are looking for a book about a person who has climbed to the top of their field it’s worth the read. Or perhaps you’re looking for a book about how a woman juggles career and kids, this touches that as well.

I would recommend this book to any of my friends. If you happen to get the audiobook you get the added bonus of Tina Fey actually reading it. I usually enjoy when authors read their own work. Sometimes emphasis can get misinterpreted from the author’s intention to the narrators performance. When the author reads it themselves the intent is clear. Also Fey’s timing that makes her such a great performer/writer enhances the book experience.

Perhaps the reason I enjoyed this book so much was that it didn’t feel like a biography (or autobiography in this case). I was just being told a series of stories, an anthology if you will, that all happened to be about the very real Fey (as opposed to fae, the mythical fairy creatures). If all of my nonficition books I read this year are as enjoyable as this was I wont have any issues keeping my resolution to read three. Obviously I’m 1/3 of the way there with this little gold nugget.

Until next time
~ Q

Pinspired Project: Easter Center Piece

Center Piece ThumbIf you have somehow not heard of pinterest, or even if you have,you should know it is an extremely dangerous website. I have waaaaay to many pins (both liked and on boards). Many of them are arts and craftsy and I decided to start trying some out. This week’s project? A center piece just in time for Easter. The nice thing about this project is that it uses 2/3 a box of peeps, because one can only eat so many peeps. However it also used almost an entire bag of jelly beans which are really addictive and yummy. But since I’m trying to be healthier, it’s good most of the bag was used as well. Project Supplies

Supplies:

  • two vases (one wider than the other so they can stack inside one another)
  • 3 stems of daisies
  • 8 bunny peeps
  • 1 bag of jelly beans (I used the all reds starburst ones)

Directions:

  • Clean vases
  • put water for flowers in skinny vase
  • place skinny vase inside the wide vase
  • fill outer vase with jelly beans (I didn’t want my bunnies standing too much higher then the outer vase so I didn’t use the entire bag)
  • place bunnies on top of jelly beans
  • place flowers in skinny vase and voila.

I decided to use a monochromatic color scheme of various reds, but as you can see from the pinspiring post here you can really do whatever you want. This project really was as easy as it appeared on pinterest, thumbs up.

Until next time.
~ Q

Center Piece

My kitchen focus was severely lacking the other day

Pesto Pepper PizzaI have recently initiated meal planning into my life. I go a pinch overboard and plan a month in advance. Since I live alone, I really only have to pick out 8-10 recipes that I’ll spread out over the month. Any who, I was planning on making Chicken Pesto Pizza for lunch one week. I was at one grocery store and decided to wait on getting the chicken until later in the week when I’d hit up Fareway, however that stop never happened. It was 8:50 on Monday night when I was getting ready to bake the pizza that I would have for lunch the following day when I realized my mistake. By that time my local grocery store was closed (which is only 4 blocks away, so sad) as well as Fareway, by the time I would have driven over to the next town. What could I do? Not make it and have something else for lunch (a good solution) or make it without the title ingredient. As the picture shows I chose the latter, I made Pesto Pepper Pizza and it was delicious. It’s passed all my ‘rules’: it’s good hot, reheated and cold. The perfect single person food or at least I enjoy it all those ways. My taste buds diverge from the norm. For instance I’ve never gotten the extreme love for steak. Yeah it’s good and all but I’m just as happy with a well cooked chicken breast or even a burger. All-in-all, despite my short comings, I was (and am) quite pleased with the end result. Also I have a second pizza crust that I can try the correct recipe on. Win-win.

The altered recipe is below, until next time.
~ Q

PestoPizza_LargeIngredients:

  • 2 cups spinach (frozen + thawed)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil – set 1/2 tsp aside
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 3 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1-12″ prebaked pizza shell
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1 water-packed canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, patted dry and quartered (the recipe called for 1/2 cup which is about 3 but I thought they smelled funny so I only used one – turns out I like them though so all three next time.)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven according to package (mine said 450 I believe)
  • Thaw the frozen spinach by placing it in a microwaveable bowl and microwaving it for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the spinach into a blender or food processor, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. (If the pesto is too thick, a small amount of water may be necessary to thin it out.)
  • Spread 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil over crust before spreading pesto
  • Top with peppers, artichokes, and cheese
  • Cook for 10 minutes

I Do ‘Art’

SketchIt has been a LONG time since I’ve drawn, and even then I didn’t really do trees. Trees are tricky, so of course last night I decided it’d be fun to sketch out a picture I took of the town’s swinging bridge. If I were my drawing professor I’d point out I have the atmospheric drawing off (the item farthest away – the bridge- should be lighter than the objects in the foreground – the rocks). I just enjoy drawing architecture/geometric shapes more. Something to keep in mind the next time the fancy strikes me. Perhaps I’ll undertake sketching the Colosseum instead. Arches are easier to predict the definite shape of over leaves that are far, far away. Trees aside though, I was impressed my sighting wasn’t too far off when I overlaid the drawing and the picture. Apparently I can still site some lines, good to know. Perhaps I’ll start smaller with a still-life, college style, where we would set everyday objects (scissors, vases, sunglasses, etc) up and draw them. That might be a more manageable way to ease into drawing again.

Until next time
~ Q

art_04

Oscar Movie Watch: Update

Last May I wrote about how I was on a ‘mission’ to watch all the oscar best picture winners . I’m still doing it, even though I haven’t written about it in a while. Here is an update (again, I’m listing all the winners just for ease of understanding) with the new reviews having a picture next to them. The titles in bold are the movies I have seen.

  1. Wings
  2.  The Broadway Melody
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Cimarron
  5. Grand Hotel
  6. Cavalcade
  7. It Happened One Night
  8. Mutiny on the Bounty
  9. The Great Ziegfeld
  10. The Life of Emile Zola
  11. You Can’t Take it With You
  12. Gone with the Wind
  13. Rebecca
  14. How Green Was my Valley
  15. Mrs MiniverMrs. Miniver I’m quite torn about this movie. It was slow and despite the fact that there was a war on the stakes didn’t seem very high. There was more conflict between a woman (Mrs. Miniver) and an old lady about a rose competition then there was about anything else. Which kills me mainly because this movie is so clearly a military propaganda piece. Or commercial might be the better term, it flat out advertises war bonds at the end of the film. I don’t know if I’ve seen movies from this year before or not but I think the fact that since it was during the war had a big emphasis on it winning. Perhaps I’m cynical though, if you take all the politics out of this review the only downside (in my eyes) to this movie was the lack of pacing. They couldn’t very well have the war hero coming home victorious since the war was still happening and that, perhaps, was the actual point.
  16. CasablancaCasablancaThis movie was a clear case of having unsubstantiated high expectations. I’ve always heard this is a phenomenal movie, and while I enjoyed it (who doesn’t like a good Humphrey Bogart flick) it wasn’t the blow out epic I was expecting. I find this is more and more true the more classics I see, like Breakfast at Tiffanys. I did really like the unexpected ally that appeared in the end (not going to spoil it if you haven’t seen it). I truly wasn’t expecting that person to put themselves out there so much, sure they had been helpful when they could be in the film, but that was a new level. In that regard, way to go script writer, you got me. 
  17. Going My WayGoing my way  – Oh Bing, what did you get yourself into? I saw both this and the sequel, The Bells of Saint Mary’s. Although the acting and everything was fine the stories themselves were very disjointed. The premise of these films is that Father O’Malley comes in to the various established systems (be it church or school) and shakes things up. However that wasn’t really shown. There would be one or two scenes at the beginning showing that O’Malley butt heads with the person in charge but then they both work to get along. Isn’t that just how it is when two personalities meet? Both movies had several story lines woven together, but some of them didn’t really seem to make sense, more so in Going my Way then in the Bells of Saint Mary’s. In that sense they got better as the continued the series. Anyway all that aside I did like this movie, especially when compared to some of the past winners I’ve watched. Would I watch it again? Not likely, but a little time with Bing is always enjoyable. That crooner just knows how to turn a musical phrase (yes there was singing in these movies).
  18. The Lost WeekendThe Lost Weekend Never again. Dislike doesn’t quite do my emotion toward this movie justice. It’s about a hardcore alcoholic who can’t kick the habit (despite the insistence/help from his brother and girlfriend. He decides to runaway/hide/is abandoned for the weekend which by the end of the long weekend nearly commits suicide. That really is all you need to know about this movie. Just don’t watch it, however if you have seen it and find some redeeming qualities please share them with me, perhaps I can be brought around. I think what annoys me the most is I can’t just outright hate it because I want to empathize or root for the main character. I want him to turn it around so he can have the good life he would otherwise have. However these feelings aren’t based in any good qualities the character actually exhibits.
  19. The Best Years of Our LivesThe Best Years of Our Lives Just finished this one and it was long and probably could be condensed but all in all I did like it. It was nice to have on while I multitasked. It was about three returning veterans from World War II. I did come to care about the three guys and to root for them to make it. It was interesting to see how they adjusted to civilian life. One was a successful banker who was put in charge of GI loan bills, however he seemed destined to always side with the vets despite it not being lucrative for the bank. A situation where the banks theory of having a returning solider be in charge of such things was good in theory, but in practice perhaps not the best idea. The second guy, who had really excelled in the air force, was in experienced in working practices and fell into his old job which was better suited for a younger person (he was a soda jerk, so I guess it’d be like having a job typically held by a high school/college kid). He was having issues with that, add to that a wife he met and married right before he left and he had a recipe for disaster on his hands. The third guy and had both of his hands amputated in the war and was adjusting to life with hooks, a difficult task indeed.
  20. Gentleman’s Agreement
  21. Hamlet
  22. All the King’s Men
  23. All about Eve
  24. An American in Paris
  25. The Greatest Show on Earth
  26. From Here to Eternity
  27. On the Waterfront
  28. Marty
  29. Around the World in 80 days
  30. The bridge on the river Kwai
  31. Gigi
  32. Ben-Hur
  33. The Apartmentwill rewatch though
  34. West Side Story
  35. Lawrence of Arabia
  36. Tom Jones
  37. My Fair Lady
  38. The Sound of Musicwill rewatch though despite the fact I’ve seen it a hundred times
  39. A man for all Seasons
  40. In the Heat of the Night
  41. Oliver!
  42. Midnight Cowboy
  43. Patton
  44. The French Connection
  45. The Godfather
  46. The Stingwill rewatch though
  47. The Godfather Part II
  48. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  49. Rockywill rewatch though
  50. Annie Hall
  51. The Deer Hunter
  52. Kramer vs. Kramer
  53. Ordinary People
  54. Chariots of Fire
  55. Gandhi
  56. Terms of Endearment
  57. Amadeus
  58. Out of Africa
  59. Platoon – haven’t seen yet
  60. The Last Emperor
  61. Rain Manwill rewatch though
  62. Driving Miss Daisy
  63. Dances with Wolveswill rewatch though
  64. Unforgiven
  65. Schindler’s List
  66. Forrest Gumpwill rewatch though
  67. Braveheart
  68. The English Patient
  69. Titanic – will rewatch though
  70. Shakespeare in Lovewill rewatch though
  71. Gladiator – will rewatch though
  72. Chicagowill rewatch though
  73. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – will rewatch though
  74. Million Dollar Baby
  75. Crash
  76. The Departed
  77. No Country for Old Men
  78. Slumdog Millionaire
  79. The Hurt Locker
  80. The King’s Speech
  81. The Artist
  82. Argo

All in all, 28 down – 57 to go (plus 12 I’m going to rewatch). I’m rather leisurely with this particular pursuit but seeing as how I’m doing it for fun I don’t mind. Maybe I can finish by the time I’m 30. The review for The Broadway Melody, All Quiet on the Western Front, Cimarron, Grand Hotel, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Great Ziegfeld, The Life of Emile Zola and You Can’t Take it With You is here, while Gone with the Wind and Rebecca have their own pages.

Until next time
~ Q

I plan to be spontaneous next Thursday at 3:30…

Today’s Daily Prompt: What are you more comfortable with — routine and planning, or laissez-faire spontaneity?

I really prefer loose plans. Take for instance a road trip I went on one last summer. We planned to hit up St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Once we got to each city we figured out what to do. As a result we experienced a seqway tour, a giant playground pretending to be a museum, a car show, a beautiful garden walk, a wine tasting, a Greek history museum, and walking tours. Or the Dexter Weekend I went on a few weeks back. We planned to watch Dexter but left part of the weekend free for breaks. My life is loosely structured, and that’s the way I like it.

Happy Pi Day!

Pi DayIn honor of all things geeky (or nerdy or dorky depending on how you want to view/define this) I assembled little pie’s for the office. I emphasize assemble since last night I hosted family dinner night and didn’t have the wherewithal to attempt my first solo from scratch pie ever. However that is neither here nor there. Be sure to go out and get yourself some pie to celebrate 3.14! And if you can grab that pie at 1:59 so much the better.

In closing the first several digits of pie (I’m a cheater and Googled it, I only know 3.1415926 off the top of my head). 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286 208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481 117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233 786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006 606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146 951941511609433057270365759591953092186117381932611793105118548074462379962749 567351885752724891227938183011949129833673362440656643086021394946395224737190 702179860943702770539217176293176752384674818467669405132000568127145263560827 785771342757789609173637178721468440901224953430146549585371050792279689258923 … you get the picture