Review of “Daytripper” by Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

 

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Moon, F., Bá, G. and Bá, G. (2011). Daytripper. Vertigo (DC Comics).

Book Summary

From the publisher, “What are the most important days of your life?

Meet Brás de Oliva Domingos. The miracle child of a world-famous Brazilian writer, Brás spends his days penning other people’s obituaries and his nights dreaming of becoming a successful author himself—writing the end of other people’s stories, while his own has barely begun.

But on the day that life begins, would he even notice? Does it start at 21 when he meets the girl of his dreams? Or at 11, when he has his first kiss? Is it later in his life when his first son is born? Or earlier when he might have found his voice as a writer?

Each day in Brás’s life is like a page from a book. Each one reveals the people and things who have made him who he is: his mother and father, his child and his best friend, his first love and the love of his life. And like all great stories, each day has a twist he’ll never see coming…

In Daytripper, the Eisner Award-winning twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá tell a magical, mysterious and moving story about life itself—a hauntingly lyrical journey that uses the quiet moments to ask the big questions.”

My Thoughts

Spoiler alert. Seriously, we can’t talk about this without some spoilers.

What if you thought about life as just a series of profound moments interspersed with filler? How would you live your life then? Would you look for the moments? Or would you wait for those moments to happen to you? Death is very much a part of life, and you have to die, so you know that you lived. The authors, Fábio Moon, and Gabriel Bá, explore these ideas in the form of a spectacular and beautiful graphic novel.

 

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That moment when you see your future partner across the restaurant. All next great moments derive from this one. 

 

This is one of the most profound and well-written comics I have read in years, maybe my whole life. Cliche I know, but so right. The authors took each of these great moments that the main character, bras, experiences and turns the end of each chapter into a crossroads. Bras dies at the end of each chapter (each moment), but in the next section, he lived. So he dies and lives in each subsequent episode. As a reader, you know what is coming at the end of every chapter, but you want to know what is going to happen. How is Bras going to handle this moment? I know it is a seems a little confusing, but when you are amidst Bras life, it is anything but.

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One of many deaths. 

The storytelling is very similar to the type of storytelling in Saga by Brian Vaughn. Again, another outstanding piece of writing. It is concise, funny, poignant and very adult. It is full of excellent writing, “It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.” That fit into the story, it doesn’t seem to be shoehorned in for effect. It is writing that speaks to the human condition, across all boundaries, sexes,  and nationalities. We all seek out those moments that make life worth any sort of struggle. This all could have been a giant cliched crap. A self-help book full of pithy one-liners to put on a wood sign in your home. But, this book is anything but that. It is just entirely moving and beautifully done.

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Life is full of beautiful moments.

The art floats around the remarkable story like a gossamer dressing gown. It never upstages the story but adds another level to the work. Done in watercolors and pen and ink, it reads much like a fuzzy memory. The combination is powerful.

 

Conclusion

Why the hell did I wait this long to read this? Daytripper is a must read. Not only does, stand tall among its peers in graphic novels. It absolutely holds its own in fiction in general.

It is breathtaking, moving and beautiful…

#43 on CBH – Best Comics of all Time

 

The Spiral Jetty is Crazy Dedication and Smells of Fish

 

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The Spiral Jetty from Space. (https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/arts/design/18spiral.html

About five years ago my father battled stage three throat cancer. What followed was the worst 6 weeks of our collective families life. However, this isn’t about cancer but what my husband did to cheer me up afterward.

 

When my father was diagnosed, I moved back to Vegas temporarily to help my mom and dad. Cancer is a bitch. It isn’t just the emotional and physical toll on the person affected, but it also dramatically changes all the people that they love and love them in return.  After my father’s treatments, I was drained to the point of desperation and depression. My dad is a hero of mine, and I needed a pick me up from all this adulting.

 

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The building of The Spiral in 1970 The Getty

Enter Mark, my husband. He flew down mid-trip to stay with me, and help me cope, and when we drove back to Portland, we turned it into an impressive road trip. Road trips are fantastic, as long as you don’t have kids. With young kids they are purgatory.

 

Ever hear of the Spiral Jetty? I did when I was in college (went to college for Landscape Architecture), and have always wanted to see it. It is a giant earthwork that is only accessible by a long 15ish mile offroad journey through the desert. We did this in my Scion Toaster. We off-roaded in a Scion XB for 15 miles both ways. I still think this is crazy, but you know DEDICATION TO ART!

spiraljettyThe Jetty is only viewable some years, other years it is submerged under the Great Salt Lake. The Artist Robert Smithson said of the sculpture,“I am for an art that takes into account the direct effect of the elements as they exist from day today.” It is effective. As a viewer, you never know if it will be visible or not. It adds a bit of drama to the offroad trip. You have no idea what you will find. The sculpture forms a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the Great Salt Lake. Over the years, the Jetty has developed a patina of crunchy pink salt crystals over the black rocks.  It also smells like the worst fish market ever, but aside from that it is wholly beautiful and seems entirely at home in the lake.   The artist worked in the middle of the desert for years to create this thing. People should see it as a salute to his profound dedication. It cheered me up substantially and I loved striking it off my bucket list. It was worth the trip.

Review of “Scourged” by Kevin Hearne

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Atticus meet readers, readers meet Atticus. http://www.kevinhearne.com

 

Hearne, Kevin. Scourged. Del Rey, 2018.

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

Book Summary 

From the publisher, “Kevin Hearne creates the ultimate Atticus O’Sullivan adventure in the grand finale of the New York Times bestselling Iron Druid Chronicles: an epic battle royale against the Norse gods of Asgard.

Unchained from fate, the Norse gods Loki and Hel are ready to unleash Ragnarok, a.k.a. The Apocalypse, upon the earth. They’ve made allies on the darker side of many pantheons, and there’s a globe-spanning battle brewing that

“An owl hoots in the night, spooky as five hells and a jar of creamy peanut butter—that shite’s unnatural.”
― Kevin Hearne, Scourged

ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan will be hard-pressed to survive, much less win. Granuaile MacTiernan must join immortals Sun Wukong and Erlang Shen in a fight against the Yama Kings in Taiwan, but she discovers that the stakes are much higher than she thought.

Meanwhile, Archdruid Owen Kennedy must put out both literal and metaphorical fires from Bavaria to Peru to keep the world safe for his apprentices and the future of Druidry.

And Atticus recruits the aid of a tyromancer, an Indian witch, and a trickster god in hopes that they’ll give him just enough leverage to both save Gaia and see another sunrise. There is a hound named Oberon who deserves a snack, after all.”

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Truth, Oberon!  http://www.worldbuilders.com

My Thoughts

Some minor spoilers are ahead. I will attempt to not ruin the story, but ye have been warned.

Scourged is the ninth and final novel in the “Iron Druid Chronicles” by Kevin Hearne. Hearne did it, he ended it, and we are sadly at the close of Atticus, Oberon, and more. At least for now. Hearne has been quoted in saying that he may visit these characters in the future, but for right now their story arc is completed. Sadly, all I can say is book nine was weak sauce. It is easily the worst of the nine.

Book nine starts with a funny conversation between Atticus and his hounds. “Yes, Food!”

“Ragnarok will begin in the next few days, and it won’t end well for anyone, because apocalypses tend not to include happy endings.”
― Kevin Hearne, Scourged

They are lovingly talking about the joys of meats and gravies. Which most readers will agree with. Myself included. The almost impromptu conversations that flow between Atticus and his hounds throughout the series are Kevin Hernes’s writing at its best. Oberon’s commentary is a welcome addition to almost any scene in previous novels. Sadly, Oberon was sidelined for most of book nine. His missing analysis was sorely missed and the levity it brought.

Now into the meat of the story. Ragnarok is happening, and Loki is letting forth his pent-up daddy-issues upon the world.  It is time to marshal the troops in opposition. The gods and goddesses of various pantheons join together for the fracas. Thus enters some pretty interesting characters we have met before: Sun Wukong who is also known as the Monkey King, Granuaile, Owen, Coyote, Flittish, Laksha, the Morrigan. Each has a specific role to play in this war, both predestined and not. Here is where I think the story begins to go off the rails. Kevin Hearne wrote this book to be single fight scenes or dialog scenes that are strewn across the world. All happening at different times with the span of a few days. Loki’s actions have affected the world at large, not just small segments of it. Thus the main characters are needed in various parts of the world. These scenes feel chaotic and disjointed. Instead of exciting and climatic scenes, we get boring, unessential, and insignificant ones. The action scenes, which in previous novels where trim and concise, are so irregular and hardly understandable that it knocks the reader right out of the story. They are literally scratching their heads and saying “what the f$%?”

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Redheaded tart.

The denouement of some of these characters is a complete train wreck. At some point between book eight and book nine of this series, Hearne decided that a complete rewrite was needed for their personalities. It feels like he was very done with writing these characters. Especially Granuille. Her ending was ridiculous. It felt vicious, cold, and mean-spirited, in a very “kick them when they are down” kind of way. Which is out of character for her. There must have been a better way to carry out the meat of that scene without making her seem so coldhearted. Atticus made her into what she is primarily, and she kicked him while he was at the lowest point in his many centuries.  I suppose there is a school of thought that says writes owe their readers something when it comes to their characters. That’s not true. Writers owe their readers nothing. But it is in bad form for the author to take such a beloved character like Granuille and weirdly ruin her for many people. Bad form man, bad form.

Atticus deserved a lot of what was heaped on him, and I understand what Kevin Hearne was attempting to write regarding Atticus’s end of the journey. But instead of the bittersweet ending, he was looking for, it came off as a whole lot of bitter, and absolutely nothing sweet. Except for maybe his interactions with his hounds at the end.  This is a sad end for this series. It really felt like the proverbial punch in the gut.

Conclusion

I have no idea what to tell you to do. If you have loved this series as I have through all eight books and side stories, you will want to go on and finish the series. There is nothing for it, you need an end. But that ending will feel like someone dropped a load of rocks on your big toe while simultaneously stealing your wallet and telling you are ugly. If you haven’t started the series yet, I still say go for it. It is a fun and wild ride till the end where you will unceremoniously have rocks dropped on your toes, your wallet stolen, and be emotionally injured with name calling. You are seriously damned if you do or don’t.

Top 250 of the 1001 Greatest Movies of All Time

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One of the best. http://www.imdb.com

 

There are a gorgeous number of things to do in this world, plus I am a bit of a movie lover so this is a wonderful way to see some of the great movies.

1 The Godfather 1972 Francis Ford Coppola
2 Seven Samurai 1954 Akira Kurosawa
3 The Godfather: Part II 1974 Francis Ford Coppola
4 Pulp Fiction 1994 Quentin Tarantino
5 12 Angry Men 1957 Sidney Lumet
6 Lawrence of Arabia 1962 David Lean
7 Schindler’s List 1993 Steven Spielberg
8 Sunset Blvd. 1950 Billy Wilder
9 M 1931 Fritz Lang
10 Modern Times 1936 Charlie Chaplin
11 Goodfellas 1990 Martin Scorsese
12 Spirited Away 2001 Hayao Miyazaki
13 City Lights 1931 Charles Chaplin
14 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966 Sergio Leone
15 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964 Stanley Kubrick
16 Apocalypse Now 1979 Francis Coppola
17 Casablanca 1942 Michael Curtiz
18 The Shawshank Redemption 1994 Frank Darabont
19 Rear Window 1954 Alfred Hitchcock
20 Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles
21 Vertigo 1958 Alfred Hitchcock
22 Bicycle Thieves 1948 Vittorio De Sica
23 Taxi Driver 1976 Martin Scorsese
24 Rashomon 1950 Akira Kurosawa
25 Psycho 1960 Alfred Hitchcock
26 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975 Milos Forman
27 The Third Man 1949 Carol Reed
28 Once Upon a Time in the West 1968 Sergio Leone
29 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Irvin Kershner
30 On the Waterfront 1954 Elia Kazan
31 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope 1977 George Lucas
32 Singin’ in the Rain 1952 Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
33 Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Steven Spielberg
34 The Dark Knight 2008 Christopher Nolan
35 Chinatown 1974 Roman Polanski
36 The 400 Blows 1959 François Truffaut
37 Metropolis 1927 Fritz Lang
38 Fanny and Alexander 1982 Ingmar Bergman
39 Paths of Glory 1957 Stanley Kubrick
40 Double Indemnity 1944 Billy Wilder
41 The Night of the Hunter 1955 Charles Laughton
42 Ikiru 1952 Akira Kurosawa
43 Sunrise 1927 F.W. Murnau
44 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Stanley Kubrick
45 It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 Frank Capra
46 Raging Bull 1980 Martin Scorsese
47 North by Northwest 1959 Alfred Hitchcock
48 The Wages of Fear 1953 Henri-Georges Clouzot
49 Tokyo Story 1953 Yasujirô Ozu
50 All About Eve 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz
51 The Silence of the Lambs 1991 Jonathan Demme
52 A Separation 2011 Asghar Farhadi
53 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 Peter Jackson
54 Ran 1985 Akira Kurosawa
55 Persona 1966 Ingmar Bergman
56 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002 Peter Jackson
57 The Seventh Seal 1957 Ingmar Bergman
58 Grave of the Fireflies 1988 Isao Takahata
59 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948 John Huston
60 1963 Federico Fellini
61 Alien 1979 Ridley Scott
62 The Battle of Algiers 1966 Gillo Pontecorvo
63 The General 1926 Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
64 The Passion of Joan of Arc 1928 Carl Th. Dreyer
65 Toy Story 1995 John Lasseter
66 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003 Peter Jackson
67 Toy Story 3 2010 Lee Unkrich
68 The Gold Rush 1925 Charles Chaplin
69 Yojimbo 1961 Akira Kurosawa
70 The Great Dictator 1940 Charles Chaplin
71 City of God 2002 Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
72 Wild Strawberries 1957 Ingmar Bergman
73 Stalker 1979 Andrey Tarkovskiy
74 The Apartment 1960 Billy Wilder
75 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 David Lean
76 Touch of Evil 1958 Orson Welles
77 Saving Private Ryan 1998 Steven Spielberg
78 Back to the Future 1985 Robert Zemeckis
79 Pan’s Labyrinth 2006 Guillermo del Toro
80 Andrei Rublev 1966 Andrey Tarkovskiy
81 Annie Hall 1977 Woody Allen
82 Some Like It Hot 1959 Billy Wilder
83 The Wizard of Oz 1939 Victor Fleming
84 The Lives of Others 2006 Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
85 Three Colors: Red 1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski
86 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004 Michel Gondry
87 It Happened One Night 1934 Frank Capra
88 WALL·E 2008 Andrew Stanton
89 Aliens 1986 James Cameron
90 Amadeus 1984 Milos Forman
91 Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
92 La Dolce Vita 1960 Federico Fellini
93 La Grande Illusion 1937 Jean Renoir
94 Das Boot 1981 Wolfgang Petersen
95 L.A. Confidential 1997 Curtis Hanson
96 The Kid 1921 Charlie Chaplin
97 Cinema Paradiso 1988 Giuseppe Tornatore
98 The Maltese Falcon 1941 John Huston
99 Blade Runner 1982 Ridley Scott
100 Paris, Texas 1984 Wim Wenders
101 A Clockwork Orange 1971 Stanley Kubrick
102 The Shining 1980 Stanley Kubrick
103 The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 William Wyler
104 Fargo 1996 Joel Coen
105 Reservoir Dogs 1992 Quentin Tarantino
106 Unforgiven 1992 Clint Eastwood
107 My Neighbor Totoro 1988 Hayao Miyazaki
108 The Wild Bunch 1969 Sam Peckinpah
109 Memento 2000 Christopher Nolan
110 The Pianist 2002 Roman Polanski
111 Wings of Desire 1987 Wim Wenders
112 The Rules of the Game 1939 Jean Renoir
113 Notorious 1946 Alfred Hitchcock
114 La strada 1954 Federico Fellini
115 Aguirre, the Wrath of God 1972 Werner Herzog
116 Cool Hand Luke 1967 Stuart Rosenberg
117 Badlands 1973 Terrence Malick
118 Brazil 1985 Terry Gilliam
119 Witness for the Prosecution 1957 Billy Wilder
120 The Conversation 1974 Francis Ford Coppola
121 Rebecca 1940 Alfred Hitchcock
122 Solaris 1972 Andrey Tarkovskiy
123 The Red Shoes 1948 Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
124 Le notti di Cabiria 1957 Federico Fellini
125 In the Mood for Love 2000 Kar Wai Wong
126 Three Colors: Blue 1993 Krzysztof Kieslowski
127 The Lion King 1994 Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
128 Come and See 1985 E. Klimov
129 Jaws 1975 Steven Spielberg
130 To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 Robert Mulligan
131 La Haine 1995 Mathieu Kassovitz
132 Once Upon a Time in America 1984 Sergio Leone
133 Les diaboliques 1955 H.G. Clouzot
134 Up 2009 Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
135 Princess Mononoke 1997 Hayao Miyazaki
136 The Searchers 1956 John Ford
137 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 1920 Robert Wiene
138 Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick
139 Gone with the Wind 1939 Victor Fleming
140 The Grapes of Wrath 1940 John Ford
141 Before Sunset 2004 Richard Linklater
142 All the President’s Men 1976 Alan J. Pakula
143 The Usual Suspects 1995 Bryan Singer
144 There Will Be Blood 2007 Paul Thomas Anderson
145 Whiplash 2014 Damien Chazelle
146 Breathless 1960 Jean-Luc Godard
147 Strangers on a Train 1951 Alfred Hitchcock
148 The Hustler 1961 Robert Rossen
149 The Departed 2006 Martin Scorsese
150 The Deer Hunter 1978 Michael Cimino
151 Do the Right Thing 1989 Spike Lee
152 The Sting 1973 George Roy Hill
153 Network 1976 Sidney Lumet
154 The Manchurian Candidate 1962 John Frankenheimer
155 Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 James Cameron
156 The Big Sleep 1946 Howard Hawks
157 Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949 Robert Hamer
158 American Beauty 1999 Sam Mendes
159 Amelie 2001 Jean-Pierre Jeunet
160 The Philadelphia Story 1940 George Cukor
161 Before Sunrise 1995 Richard Linklater
162 No Country for Old Men 2007 Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
163 Fight Club 1999 David Fincher
164 Manhattan 1979 Woody Allen
165 Full Metal Jacket 1987 Stanley Kubrick
166 Inception 2010 Christopher Nolan
167 Sweet Smell of Success 1957 Alexander Mackendrick
168 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966 Mike Nichols
169 12 Years a Slave 2013 Steve McQueen
170 Dog Day Afternoon 1975 Sidney Lumet
171 The Last Picture Show 1971 Peter Bogdanovich
172 This Is Spinal Tap 1984 Rob Reiner
173 Festen 1998
174 Se7en 1995 David Fincher
175 Le Samouraï 1967 Jean-Pierre Melville
176 Days of Heaven 1978 Terrence Malick
177 Rosemary’s Baby 1968 Roman Polanski
178 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 Frank Capra
179 Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Otto Preminger
180 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962 John Ford
181 The French Connection 1971 William Friedkin
182 Die Hard 1988 John McTiernan
183 Battleship Potemkin 1925 S.M. Eisenstein
184 Duck Soup 1933 Leo McCarey
185 The Killing 1956 Stanley Kubrick
186 High Noon 1952 Fred Zinnemann
187 Finding Nemo 2003 Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
188 Let the Right One In 2008 Tomas Alfredson
189 His Girl Friday 1940 Howard Hawks
190 Inside Out 2015 Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
191 Rio Bravo 1959 Howard Hawks
192 Oldboy 2003 Chan-wook Park
193 The Princess Bride 1987 Rob Reiner
194 Les enfants du paradis 1945 Marcel Carné
195 Ugetsu monogatari 1953 Kenji Mizoguchi
196 Throne of Blood 1957 Akira Kurosawa
197 Patton: A Salute to a Rebel 1970 Franklin J. Schaffner
198 Harakiri 1962 Masaki Kobayashi
199 Downfall 2004 Oliver Hirschbiegel
200 The Great Escape 1963 John Sturges
201 Life of Brian 1979 Terry Jones
202 Roman Holiday 1953 William Wyler
203 To Be or Not to Be 1942 Ernst Lubitsch
204 All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 Lewis Milestone
205 Django Unchained 2012 Quentin Tarantino
206 Mad Max: Fury Road 2015 George Miller
207 Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring 2003 Ki-duk Kim
208 Trainspotting 1996 Danny Boyle
209 The Army of Shadows 1969 Jean-Pierre Melville
210 A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Elia Kazan
211 Rome, Open City 1945 Roberto Rossellini
212 The Social Network 2010 David Fincher
213 The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
214 The Man with No Name 2: For a Few Dollars More 1965 Sergio Leone
215 The King’s Speech 2010 Tom Hooper
216 The Mirror 1975 Andrey Tarkovskiy
217 A Man Escaped 1956 Robert Bresson
218 The Hunt 2012 Thomas Vinterberg
219 Young Frankenstein 1974 Mel Brooks
220 Sullivan’s Travels 1941 Preston Sturges
221 The Elephant Man 1980 David Lynch
222 Blue Velvet 1986 David Lynch
223 Au Revoir Les Enfants 1987 Louis Malle
224 Forrest Gump 1994 Robert Zemeckis
225 The Graduate 1967 Mike Nichols
226 Shadow of a Doubt 1943 Alfred Hitchcock
227 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 2007 Julian Schnabel
228 Viridiana 1961 Luis Buñuell
229 Incendies 2010 Denis Villeneuve
230 Boyhood 2014 Richard Linklater
231 The Terminator 1984 James Cameron
232 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 George Roy Hill
233 Night of the Living Dead 1968 George A. Romero
234 Chungking Express 1994 Kar Wai Wong
235 Beauty and the Beast 1946 Jean Cocteau
236 Rififi 1955 Jules Dassin
237 Bringing Up Baby 1938 Howard Hawks
238 Mary and Max 2009 Adam Elliot
239 How to Train Your Dragon 2010 Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
240 Los Olvidados 1950 Luis Buñuel
241 The Exterminating Angel 1962 Luis Buñuel
242 A Prophet 2009 Jacques Audiard
243 Life Is Beautiful 1997 Roberto Benigni
244 Amores perros 2000 Alejandro González Iñárritu
245 The Matrix 1999 The Wachowski Brothers
246 Heat 1995 Michael Mann
247 Ratatouille 2007 Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
248 All About My Mother 1999 Pedro Almodóvar
249 Before Midnight 2013 Richard Linklater
250 Nosferatu 1922 F.W. Murnau

 

Review of “The Turn” by Kim Harrison or “How to Eat a Tomato and Die.”

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The dress is tomato red, coincidence I think not.

Kim and me, we are/were buds.

No, not in real life kind of way. Entirely in the “author and rabid fan” kinda way. Her being the author and me being the rabid fan. Her writing is ordinarily fun and exciting with great characters and plot twists, and it isn’t Shakespeare. But, it doesn’t have to be, nor is it ever trying to be. Writing can be fantastic without it being serious or moral. It can just be. For me, her writing is the equivalent of a thick dark chocolate cake that happens to have zero calories and takes the trash out when it is done with you. Her stories make me happy, and we all need more of that in our lives.

However, here comes the sad second paragraph where I go on to say how her latest work has failed me. Authors get to have books that don’t quite shine as glossy as others. It’s alright. It is just a bummer for me because I look forward to her books coming out.

“The Turn” did not shine. I found the characters dull or interchangeably monstrous. AboutIt lacked a real protagonist. It lacked a real villain. The muddled gray areas of life are what everyday people deal with on a daily basis. You read a book like this to immerse yourself in a story to get away from whats real.

banner 2Firstly let us talk about pacing. It was boring. God, it was slowwww. The first 60% of the book is detailing the dreary lives of 1960 scientists working on genetics work. It is like Mad Men without the good stuff. Just men in suits and women in skirts. The last 40% of the book had slightly better pacing, but at this point, I hated the story so much that I was rushing to the finish line.

The characters. Gag me. The unfortunate and the narcissistic, both at the time and interchangeably moronic and monstrous. No one to cheer for, nor to give a shit about; the only saving grace was the pixie. I wanted to know more about her. That’s about it.

The only thing I can say that I liked, was the cameos from characters that are forthcoming. Al, and Quen. Fantastic. Al is very Al.  Quen seems much more emotional in this one. Unlike how stoic he is in the future.

My final verdict is to skip. Forget there ever was a prequel. Or, better yet read October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. Her series is still ongoing, and it is bloody and beautiful full of darkness and light. Not figuratively.

What am I doing this week to amuse myself? Jam, pickles, and a cubic Crap-ton of apricots

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This is my first installment of, “What am I doing this week to amuse myself?” Or as I like to call it, WAIDTWTAM. It’s a working title. Don’t judge.

The last few weeks I have been learning all I can about the semi-forgotten art of canning. Living in the pacific northwest, I have access to a lot of beautiful produce both from my own garden and other peoples gardens as I walk down the street. I kid. I kid. We have lovely farmers markets full of tattooed twenty-somethings that know how to sell a gorgeous tomato. I found myself in a situation of having too much produce in the fridge and it spoiling. So, I set out to learn some preservation techniques which I have been practicing the last few weeks. First of all, I am killing it on the jam front. Jams are my jam. Also, because I can’t do a single thing simply I fancy them up. I have made a spiced strawberry jam, a jelly made of coffee, kiwi jalapeno, raspberry and cardamon, apple whiskey Jam, and peach and rum. It seems like a lot for a family that hardly ever eats jam. It is. Every time I see someone, or an unsuspecting family member walks into my home; I shove a spoon full of jam down their gullet. It is getting to the point that people see me waving a spoon in their direction and they run for the coat closet.

While at my local grocery/produce stand I came across a box of apricots for 3.99. A BOX. It is about 15 pounds of sweet little stonefruits that taste like a peach dipped in honey. They are perishable as hell. I think they were the last of the apricots of the season and they needed to get them out of the store to make room for berries of all sorts. I was like, “Yes gimme! Give me all of the stone fruits so I may look at them and scratch my head.” I have literally spent more accidentally on freeze-dried bull-shit (real poop coming from a bull) from Cards Against Humanity then I would pay for 15 pounds of fruit.

I searched the wonderful world of Pinterest and found all of the recipes for apricots.

Here is the one I chose: (found at Canadian Crafter)

The recipe calls for:

3 Cups Sugar

1 Bottle of the cheapest Neutral Spirit

Apricots

I fancied it up with cinnamon sticks and I used brown sugar instead of white to give it a richer flavor.

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I started with a ton of apricots of various dented-ness.  Not great for eating, but who needs to eat when you are making schnaps.

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Add the most horrible vodka you own. “Tastes like poetry,” Tastes like hobo ass.

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Add brown sugar, stir into a slurry.

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Put apricots into jars with a single cinnamon stick.

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Pour slurry over apricots and cap. Sit on a shelf for a few months and let cure? or whatever. Let sit and get apricotty. I’ll check back when we open in three months and update. Happy drinking.

Review of “This Is a Taco!” by Andrew Cangelose, Josh Shipley (Artist)

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review!

Mmmmm. Tacos. Even the word by itself makes me drool a little. Who doesn’t like tacos, crazy people that’s who!? I can tell you who loves tacos and it is the squirrel.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

 

I think this just might be my favorite children’s book ever. I say children’s, but really this book can appeal to all ages. I bet it could get a chuckle out of even the most staunch adults who only read Proust in the original French. This book is so funny, and the illustrations are absolutely marvelous. It reminds me of the humor that one would find online in your weekly webcomics. Concise and to the point. It also breaks the fourth wall a bit, especially when dealing with tacos. So really win-win for all. I see many kids in the future and their parents getting many chuckles from the adventures of the squirrel.

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