Tuesday, August 9, 2011

10 directors that make my eyes happy.

Taking a cue from another blog I follow I've decided to make my own list of 10 movies that make my eyes happy. But after drafting a list, I realized it was the director's consistent style and aesthetics across all of their movies that inspire me, so I changed it up. These director's minds get my brain working on how to mimic their styles in my wardrobe, home, or life in general.
Some of the directors, I feel, it's almost cliche to go on about them because it's clear to anyone who's even mildly interested in film that they're aesthetic masters. But who cares, this is just my dopey little blog, I'll get as cliche as I want.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Wes Anderson, clearly. Let's just get that out of the way. Seriously though, I wish I lived in one of his movies. Someday my home will have walnut paneling, hot pink walls and golden radiators. The 70's are clearly represented more than any other decade in his films and that's a-ok with me.

2. Quentin Tarantino. His movies lean into a 70's look a lot too, which despite my love for more feminine decades of fashion, I find the 70's influence my real-life home more than any other decade. Sometimes I get tired of it, but I just keep coming back.

3. Joel and Ethan Coen. They have this drive to just keep creating and creating that is beyond enviable. I particularly love Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou, and The Hudsucker Proxy. You know, for kids!

4. Paul Thomas Anderson. Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood. His movies are about the most important things in life (usually family, even Boogie Nights-- especially Boogie Nights!) His movies can be so sobering it nearly paralyzes me.

6. Michel Gondry. From Human Nature, to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind, his music videos, THIS MAN gets into my head and refuses to leave. And I love it.

7. Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Delicatessen has a special place in my heart, along with Dominique Pinon. Amelie is a classic. I even loved City of List Children even though it frightened me. Do me a favor and just forget he was ever involved with the Aliens franchise, okay?

8. Julie Taymor. So what, maybe her latest movie, The Tempest, started to resemble the work someone might put forth when getting a little crazy with photoshop filters... Still, she never fails to strike a spark in my chest and sets me wanting to paint or something. Or take up puppetry.

9. Martin Scorsese. I really can't go on, I'm not eloquent enough to describe the quality of his work. But I will say this. Sometimes I feel like it's a chore to force myself to watch his movies because maybe the plot didn't sound appealing or who knows. I'm fickle. But when I finally sit down and WATCH them, I'm awed. Everytime. Even the least profound Scorsese film is still wonderful.

10. Baz Luhrman. He's kind of the one who started it all for me, aesthetically speaking. I remember seeing the trailers for Moulin Rouge and thinking "pfff that looks obnoxious" and then seeing it and falling in love. I had to find his other work, and each movie I got my hands on became my new favorite. Romeo + Juliet, then Strictly Ballroom, the latter of which is one of my go-to movies for a pick-me-up. Admittedly, I've yet to sit through Australia in one sitting but I've mildly enjoyed what I've seen.


I wanted to list a couple runners-up. Were this a movie-only list, these might be on here.

+Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. I wasn't actually a fan of Lost in Translation, but I liked parts. Really, it's The Virgin Suicides that puts me in its own special mood. And again, the 70's!

+Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice. This is my feminine-fantasy at its grandest. If there was a place I could vacation and pretend this was the era I lived in, I would be there every year.

+Tarsem Singh's The Fall. The fantasy world he creates in this movie resembles a lot of what I wished for in my childhood. All things exotic and magical. For me, it's the type of beauty that verges on terrifying.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Movies, yeah! They ...help your life?

Out of nowhere last weekend I was asked if I could attend a two-day shoot for a short film my friend was producing and take charge of makeup. Despite having exactly zero professional experience or training, I jumped on it. Perhaps I'm losing it.

But I had fun, and I think I was competent enough that I didn't absolutely ruin the film. The first night of shooting was the roughest. The actors were in a tiny set, an absolute sauna and the poor guys and girls were just dying. I patted sweat in between takes, caked on the powder to hide the shine. I'm sure they were all disgusted by the time they could get home and clean off their faces.

Even though it was pretty hot, gross, unpaid, and had long hours (a lot of the time of which I was usually just standing around, sitting on a stool or stealing a seat on a couch somewhere) it was a much needed change of environment.

I'm not trying to sound like a martyr or anything, not at all-- but I had been feeling like all I will do in my life is work and work and it will never stop. I work full time in an office, and some nights and most weekends I go and work with my family. I don't often travel, I don't get out as much as I'd like. I spend a lot of time stressing about the state of my house.

That last part, stressing out about my house, has been dominating me. I think about it all day at work, if I could just stay home for 1 day and whip it into shape. Then I get home at night and I feel like it could never be done, there's just too much stuff. I have this clear picture in my mind, a house with few objects, everything in its place, everything has a purpose. Then I get into it, and all the pieces break down into smaller pieces and I lose my vision. It's all just stuff but I can't seem to let it go.

Last weekend Spencer helped me go through maybe 3 small boxes of stuff that wasn't even mine. It was my mother's belongings that she left here. Most of it was rusted scrap metal, literal garbage or broken things that might have been useful once upon a time, but were so damaged now they couldn't even be donated.

We threw the junk out and I immediately shut down. I don't know what came over me. There was a sickness in my stomach and it crawled up my spine and into my mouth and my neck and all I could do was lie on the couch with my head hanging over the side. I tried to focus on breathing and not vomiting. I was irate and taciturn. I'm certain I won't be able to finish the house without help.

Despite this episode, I did actually purge a few things of my own too. I successfully got rid of: a few old rusty metal tables, a huge canning pot full of sticks, a few clothes, countertop appliances we never used, numerous decorative plates, bowls and vases, broken picture frames, and other random trash.

The hardest items for me to let go of are pieces of fabric and gardening things. I have quilt tops waiting to be made into a blanket, projects organized into kits, some mixed together over time, and plenty of supplies. I just haven't been able to organize my sewing room to completion yet. There's still so much stuff. I've have half-finished sewing projects from more than 5 years ago. I hate it.

And gardening, now that I have this wonderful old house and a yard that is literally like a blank slate, I just hold onto all the pots and containers I can, waiting for the patio to be poured, waiting to decorate. In the meantime, it all just piles up, empty and trashy looking, while plans for pouring a patio gets put on the back-burner over and over.

So I work to try and scrape funds together to do these things, and then I buy and accumulate little things that cut into those funds, or I decide I want to focus on the kitchen or the bedroom or the basement more, and then I need to try and work more to scrape funds together again. And the house piles up crap, and I fret and shut down, and I start feeling hopeless again.

It was cathartic to be on the movie set. I only had 1 job, no one else could do it, it was simple, extracted from my familiar world, like being in a backwards therapeutic bubble. Tiresome, unpaid, wonderful labor-therapy. I've been asked to do makeup again on future projects... and I think I'll try to take them.

I think I'm just destined to be poor and fussy. The least I can do is break up the monotony from time to time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Well, well, well. We meet again.

It's the time of the year where I think I'll start blogging again... for a day or two. We'll see.
I'll just jump back into this like it ain't no thang.

So this last Monday morning I noticed little creepy-creeps around my back door. Ants. Grah! No me gusta. So I cracked open my handy homekeeping handbook and looked up how to eradicate pests, specifically ants. There are multiple solutions, and after observing the critters I deduced that the problem was relatively small. There wasn't a trail, only 4 or 5 wandering around. Research indicates these were 'scout' ants sent out to look for food. Goodness knows I couldn't let them get to the kitchen or we'd be done for.

First things first, I vacuumed errything. Like 5 times. And then I vacuumed some more. The carpet, the walls, the furniture, the baseboards, the corners, under the couches, window sills, the kitchen floor, under the appliances- it was exhausting. I also vacuumed about a cup-full of baby powder (to be 100% sure the ants are exterminated) lest the ants survive and start nesting in my Dyson. One could also just use regular corn starch, since that's actually what baby powder is, but without scent.

Then I got some hot, hot water, the hottest I could stand (I wore latex gloves for moderate protection) and bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) and thoroughly scrubbed and wiped down every inch of the kitchen floor I could manage. Also exhausting. And mildly terrifying.

During this time, two or three more ants had reappeared by the back door. I vacuumed them up (and vacuumed a little more powder) and sprinkled a crap-ton more of the baby powder around my back door. I also noticed the door is in dear need of new weather-stripping.

I've heard about ants not liking cinnamon, and last summer I tried making a cinnamon barrier with little luck. My homekeeping handbook recommends sprinkling talcum powder to deter ants. Talcum isn't widely sold anymore as it's thought to be carcinogenic, so I used baby powder. The baby powder is going strong 2 days now. No more ants. And I have a lovely scented powder so when I vacuum, it leaves a lavender smell in the air.

Now all we need to do is instill some tidier cooking habits in our household.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Time Again For My Bi-Yearly Post

So yeah remember when I said I would post tomorrow about that raffle I won?
Well I blew it off and also the posting. Oh well.

It's Day Two of lent and Spencer and I are going strong without meat!
I'm considering making this a permanent change. Vegetarian has so many benefits (other than losing vitamin B12, but I take multi-vitamins, so whatever).

Also it was Valentines Day last week. Probably the least romantic Valentines ever lived, and I have slacked off worse than last year. I had been keeping a tradition of making a fun hand-made valentine every year, which broke slightly when last year I started to sketch one out and encountered artists' block. Then I sort of skipped over this year.

Karlie gave me a lovely simple and yet refreshing valentine along with a mix cd which inspired me to make a Valentine mix for her too.

Here's the track list, for those interested in checking out the songs. Disclaimer: there is a bonus track which comes from a band I love, and who is a guilty pleasure. Embarrassment ensuing.

1. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) / Peter Sarstedt
2. Oh Yoko! / John Lennon
3. Dis A Ton Capitaine / France Gall
4. In The Orchard / Tiger Army
5. Silver Dagger / Dolly Parton (not a guilty pleasure, Dolly rocks!)
6. Stone Cold Dead In The Market / (I lost track of who sang this)
7. I'm So Young / The Students
8. She / Elvis Costello
9. Take It In / Hot Chip
10. One Life Stand / Hot Chip
*Bonus Track!* Now everyone will know my secret!
11. I Knew I Loved You / Savage Garden

All that aside, I'm a little proud of this mix. Except for the double hit by Hot Chip (I couldn't part with either song), I think it all flows very well together while still being a mix of very different sounds. I hope the two people that read this maybe seek out these songs and give them a try!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Bike!

Ok up the street from where we live there is a cute little "shop" called The Recycled Bike and one time when Spencer ran an errand on our old Huffy Cruiser and the chain popped off, the owner of The Recycled Bike happened to be walking by and helped him with the chain and mentioned that The Recycled Bike did trade-ins in case we ever wanted a more city-appropriated vehicle and we do, so we traded it (that's the gist of the story anyway) and HERE IT IS!

Yep, right there in the background, mind the grainy quality (the only working camera we have right now is the one inside the iMac screen.)

ANYWAYS it's a sweet lemony yellow Schwinn Varsity (vintage) but in great condition, working gears (5-Speed, is that what it's called?) front and back breaks, and they cleaned it all up and oiled it and threw in a rack for free (I attached the milk crate with my extensive resourcefulness) and we still have a "credit" (I want a saddle-basket for when we eventually get another one in the future so Spencer and I can both ride together) from the guy, Mike, the owner and he was so friendly and helpful, SO happy I finally have a street-ready bike to start taking to work and whatnot and long-running sentennnnnnce!

The only thing is that the tires probably need to be replaced in about 3 or 4 months; they're coming to the end of their reign, but still got enough life in 'em. SO EXCITED.

And tomorrow, I'll tell you about a RAFFLE I won!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding The Right Chef

Spencer and I like to use the library a lot. We check out DVD's, I track down music, we read comics, fiction, non-fiction. We I get to thinking I need to know more about a hobby I might try out, how to care for finches or look up some weird history about Utah, I'll be at the library. And most often, we love to check out recipe books. (Ok, maybe comics and DVD's beat out how often we check out recipe books, but it's a close competition.)

We'll browse the titles, and pick out a few recipes, try them out, make some edits, maybe copy the page if we like it enough. And there are some authors that we love the most, namely Jamie Oliver "The Naked Chef," Sam Stern, who's kind of like the 16 year old version of Jamie Oliver and Charlie Ayers, who was hired to be like a personal-ish chef for the Google staff for many years.

The time has come, I think that Spencer and I have found a good round of books that fit our lifestyle and ought to be made permanent resources in our home. And I've realized that all this time we've watched the Food Network, browsed recipe books, and watched what our grocery budget goes to, it's all been adding up to the time we start having a somewhat basic recipe books of our own to shape our everyday diets. And these three authors cater to us the most.

I should mention Alton Brown. We love him. But more than love his recipes, I think we mostly treat him as the ultimate authority on how to cook what and why. I recommend you seek out anything with his name on it too.

Here's the round-up, the books we've gotten the best results from, are doable and make us realize we have more control we eat than we think and what we just all-around find the most useful:

+Anything by The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver

+Sam Stern, who caters to my minimalistic, adolescent (but still so good) attitudes

+Charlie Ayers, who can make tasty food work for you

+Alton Brown, Food and Cooking Expert

+and recently, Anything by Martha Stewart, who has never yet led me astray while baking (this suggestion is mine alone since I'm the one who usually bakes out of the two of us).

So I suggest you look these people up, check out their books, try their recipes, listen to what they have to say about food and enjoy cooking. Like Robert Rodriguez said in one of his 10-minute cooking lessons on his DVD bonus features, you have to eat everyday, so why not make it something you love? Or something like that.

Until next time!~