Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Screen Actors Guild Awards

I have been a slacker this year. I haven't seen many of the nominated films, but I still wanted to write about the winners Sunday night at the SAG awards:

Daniel Day-Lewis/There Will Be Blood
Does anyone ever have a chance when Daniel Day-Lewis decides to work that year? This man amazes me.

Julie Christie/Away From Her
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't seen any of the best actress nominees (SAG or Oscar). I'm Julie Christie-ignorant. I think I watched Shampoo once, oh, and I saw Heaven Can Wait. Probably not the stellar points on her resume.

Javier Bardem/No Country for Old Men
When I do make it to the movie theater, this will be the film I choose to see. The Coen brothers just won the Directors' Guild Award. The cast won the Best Ensemble Award Saturday night. Javier seems to be the man to beat. I wondered if the voters would go sentimental and give the win to Hal Holbrook, but they opted to do that in the next category instead.

Ruby Dee/American Gangster
Eighty-three years old! Yes, I missed this one too. I've heard that her performance lasts a few minutes in a 157 minute film. Her only true competition seems to be Amy Ryan from Gone Baby Gone. Ryan's won this category at every other award ceremony up until this weekend.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Settling back into my school schedule has been a bit tricky obviously. No posts for weeks!

My first class in this rotation is Baking. This is week three already. The class is set up in groups of three students at each of five stations. Each week the groups rotate to a different station.

The first week, my group baked quick breads: cranberry blueberry muffins, loaves of banana bread, chocolate chip scones. We worked on breakfast pastries/special breads last week. Lots of making dough, rolling it out, folding it over, spreading in two pounds of butter (you heard right), and then letting it rest. Our finished products were individual danish, danish coffee cakes, loaves of brioche, croissants, and the piece de resistance--cinnamon buns.

This class is a huge change of pace from first semester classes. It's much more laid back and frankly, not as challenging. I'm not complaining though. Being able to take it a bit easy for five weeks is a gift.

The biggest challenge? Getting to class on Friday mornings by 6 AM. Ugh.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

On Vacation...Jan.6-11

We're in Florida soaking up the sun. More posts when we return.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


So first-run episodes on TV have about run out due to the writers' strike. (Go, writers!) G & I decided to check out some TV shows on DVD, shows that we either skipped over or just missed.

We discovered the mastery of 24 last winter and became addicts (season six notwithstanding). Now, we've become followers of Lost. We've watched three discs, each with four episodes, and at the end of each one, G & I look at each other and say, "What the...???"

I love the fact that the cast is huge and practically unknown, at least to me. Matthew Fox was on Party of Five in the 90s, but I never watched a single episode. The one actor I recognized was Dominic Monaghan who plays rock star Charlie. It took my watching eight episodes or so though before I stopped thinking about hobbitses.

So many secrets. So many mysteries on that crazy island. So far, our favorites are Locke and Sawyer. Now we just have to protect ourselves from accidentally hearing or reading plotlines from seasons 2, 3, and 4. Wish us luck.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Desk Calendar

My mom-in-law gave me a desk calendar for Christmas. Each day lists a book recommendation. What a fantastic way to start the morning. I sit down at my desk, rip off a page, and discover a new book to add to my exceedingly long library request list.

A sample (courtesy of Amazon):

A History of the World in 6 Glasses/Tom Standage
Standage suggests that each epoch, from the Stone Age to the present, has had its signature beverage—and takes readers on an extraordinary trip through world history.

Evenings at Five/Gail Godwin
Godwin lost her companion of nearly 30 years, the composer Robert Starer, two years ago, and this book is a devoted, quirky, wry and surprisingly powerful fictionalization of aspects of their life together as working artists.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jimmy Cagney

There are some classic movie stars that I've completely missed. Whenever I can, I try to catch up and learn about the actors & actresses that I missed when I was a couch potato kid. I discovered William Holden in my early 20s (hubba hubba), Joel McCrea, Dick Powell...

TCM is showcasing James Cagney this month so I've set my Tivo to collect some of his work. I've always known about him, always heard accolades, but my childhood memory of Cagney is seeing him make a final appearance in the film Ragtime. I've never seen any of his classic films.

First up is White Heat, not one of his early works, but one of his best and most memorable. He plays, of course, a tough guy, this time with mama issues. He's the feared leader of a gang of thieves and he's fantastic. Cagney is ferocious as Cody Jarrett. He's a smart criminal with insanity in his genes. His wife doesn't love him, but stays with him out of fear. His own mother is part of his gang! Only when an undercover cop infiltrates his gang does Jarrett meet his demise, screaming out to the one person he loved the most, "Top of the world, Ma!"

Next up: a total departure from the tough guys, George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Up a Notch

One of the cooler things I've enjoyed as I've become a better cook is taking something mundane and turning it into something...well, special.

As a young single gal, if I had oatmeal in the morning, the oatmeal came out of a packet. If I had beans and rice (which I did, often), it came out of a box.

Now that I'm more at home in the kitchen, I enjoy everything I make, no matter the amount of effort, whether it be a Thanksgiving turkey, a roasted carrot, or a bowl of oatmeal.

That was breakfast this morning--oatmeal, made in a sauce pot on the stove, sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with sliced banana and dried cranberries. A treat just for myself and a great way to start the day.

(And boy, can I make a mean bowl of beans and rice now.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope your new year started off right, just like ours did!

Michigan Wolverines 41
Florida Gators 35