Friday, April 26, 2013

the odds are never in your favor and henry cavill gets his due (finally!)

Friday, April 26, 2013

I know that I am not only member of Team Peeta that was underwhelmed by the strange casting of Josh Hutcherson, but my overwhelming admiration for Jennifer Lawrence, a perfect Katniss, supersedes any concerns I have with the film versions of the trilogy.  She was perfect in The Hunger Games, and despite the presence of a different director, I am sure Catching Fire will not disappoint.  Any project that Phillip Seymour Hoffman takes seriously, even the funny ones (see: Along Came Polly, worth watching entirely for PSH's small scenes) is going to be more than decent. Side note: varying directors has not hurt franchises in the past-see Harry Potter. I'm actually quite excited to see the vision the Francis Lawrence brings to Catching Fire-I thoroughly enjoyed both I am Legend and Water for Elephants (NOT because of Robert Pattionson, mind you!)

I share the opinion of  Cinesnark's Sarah, frequent contributor to my beloved Lainey Gossip, that Superman is something of a "mild" superhero, especially when compared to Christian Bale's Batman or any one of Marvel's Avengers.  I should tell you that Sarah is fully immersed in the comic book world, and is thus fluent in their mythologies and story lines.  I'm not a huge fan of the superhero genre, and I certainly didn't appreciate it until Batman became a legitimately dark, interesting character (via Bale's brilliance) and Robert Downey Jr. became Tony Stark.  Then, it was the proverbial new ball game, and I began to actually look forward to each new blockbuster.  However, had RDJ never donned the suit or the Joker's maniacal laugh never sent chills up my spine, I would have undoubtedly been excited for Henry Cavill's big debut.  Long familiar with his role as Charles Brandon in the steamy, but remarkably historically accurate The Tudors (seriously-Hilary Mantel's Bringing up the Bodies, the continuing story of Thomas Cromwell, minister to Henry VIII, which won the Man Booker Prize, and all kinds of acclaim and prestige cannot quite hold my interest because I LEARNED ALL ABOUT THOMAS CROMWELL ALREADY, in a Showtime television show), I always had a sense that Cavill could be a star.  He's attractive, compelling, British... Anyway, it looks as though Man of Steel just might make that happen.  It looks quite good, and it certainly doesn't hurt to be a part of a cast that includes Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, and Michael Shannon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

what we read all winter

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
You'll notice right away that our latest list is huge, but it's simply just me making up for lost time.  I kept a draft of the post so that I could keep track of his favorites.

Yummers. I'm not quite sure what it was about this book that piqued my little A's interest.  Our copy is one of the precious few that I have from my own childhood (inexplicably, my librarian mother did not keep our books for posterity!), and boasts a plain, faded white cover, bereft of illustrations.  As is James Marshall's way, the illustrations within the book are extremely simple, each facing a spacious page with five or six lines of tightly packed text in a smallish font.  Even the story seems a bit beyond a toddler's interest, a rotund pig named Emily who adores every food she encounters, perhaps a bit too much, and after a long day of eating with her best friend Eugene ends up home in bed.  For whatever reason, he loves it.  Of course I love it too, and always smile to myself when I feel a twinge of the childhood fascination with the sandwich machine, where Emily simply can't just choose ONE sandwich, but must get two, a tuna fish and a "jelly delight."

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean.  A dear friend and former colleague posted a picture of her classroom lesson on this book to Instagram, and I immediately knew that A needed to read it.  Nemo and all things ocean-related are big in our house, and I was sure he would love the book.  Hearing him say "ocean" ranks fairly high on the list of "cutest things I've ever heard" but my favorite experience with the book, by far, was hearing him say "What happened?" when a whale swallows the eponymous squid of the title.  Granted, it's a phrase I always utter on that particular page, but that just makes it sweeter.  A bonus of the book for older children is the opportunity to compare and contrast, talking about large and small.

The Lorax. Repeat offender (written most lovingly, of course).  A's first fascination with The Lorax was short-lived, but now I will admit that I cringe a bit when he finds it, because IT MUST BE READ IMMEDIATELY.  The whole thing.  I have it memorized.  It haunts my dreams a little.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.  This is a massively popular new book (and by new, I mean it's not yet a classic) and A adores it.  Perhaps it's his boyish nature or that he loves reading almost anything about trucks.  It is a charming story, and I am very excited about the follow-up book, which is out mid-April.

Oh My Baby Bear. This particular gem is one of Audrey Wood's lesser known titles.  I picked it up on a whim at the library because A enjoyed Silly Sally so much.  It's adorable, and made even cuter for a toddler because it's about a baby bear learning to do things on his own.  I do NOT eagerly anticipate that day, of course, but I love to see how A enjoys reading about the baby bear turning into a "little bear."

Rosie's Walk and Goodnight Owl.  I absolutely LOVE the beautiful, vintage-style illustrations of Pat Hutchins' books, and have seriously debated making a few prints of book pages to frame.  What I did not expect was for the incredible simplicity of the books to appeal to A.  That may sound strange, because he is only 21 months old, so one would assume simple is great.  However, I tend to associate books with little to no text as being more useful to slightly older children, who can really converse with you about what might be happening on the page. This is not the case-with engaging illustrations children are almost inevitably interested.

Mr. Messy. I loved these little books growing up, and I'm sure part of their appeal lies in the novelty of their size.  My favorites were Mr. Messy and Little Miss Splendid, although my mother always used to say that Little Miss Bossy must have been written for me.  I tried to pick out a few that I thought A might enjoy, and he loves this one.  We tried for Mr. Greedy too, but the giant in the middle of the story scared him.  They are not especially well-written books, in my humble opinion, but are classics in their own right.

The Giant Jam Sandwich.  If I was not overly cautious about exposing my baby to the world, I would definitely have embedded a video of him demanding that I read this book, which sounds something like "Damn sammich!" over and over.  Utterly adorable.  At first, I wasn't especially bowled over by the book-I found it via a recommendation over at Dinner A Love Story, and had never heard of it before.  Over time though, I have grown to appreciate it.  It's like a less complicated version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and like the early Pat Hutchins books, contains lovely illustrations undoubtedly of a different era.

Fox in Socks. I was excited to pick this book up, in no small part, I have to admit, from Deb at Smitten Kitchen's hilarious cocktail story about it (featured in her fabulous new cookbook).  I am not deeply familiar with a lot of Seuss titles, actually.  Even The Lorax was only a foggy memory for me until I started to read it to A.  To say that it is not my favorite wouldn't be unfair, but it completely warms my heart when A turns to me with a thrilled expression once we reach his favorite pages, the "bluey gluey" section.  If he loves it, I will grow to love it too.

Bread and Jam for Frances. Ah, I saved this one for last.  I have longed for the day when I could share these most beloved books with my child, and while I read them to him all the time when he was a wee infant, they are lengthy, with long sections of text and sparse illustrations.  Once he really began to enjoy books, it was even more time before he would sit down for a Frances book.  His newfound enthusiasm is aided, in no small part, by the wonderful audiobook collection that is still in existence.  My whole family knows and loves the collection, and I still have our original cassette tape.  Thankfully, the CD is available, and it is now in near-constant rotation in our car.  My little guy runs out to the car shouting "bread jam!"  After we began listening to it all the time, A was quick to jump on the actual book, and I could not be more happy about it.  Even though each reading is almost ten minutes long. I don't mind reading Frances books forever.  Really.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

browsing history-FINALLY a label I'm proud of!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
As it turns out, all of my hand-wringing and obsessing over the past few months was for naught...I will, indeed, be needing to spend a bit more time in the upcoming months revising and strengthening my thesis, which I originally planned to turn in on May 1.  Rather than wallow in discouragement, I will instead revel in the fact that I can relax a bit more.  Post about my three favorite kale recipes, which I've lately been making over and over.  Document my little guy's latest faves.  And, of course, share all of my little Internet treasures.

-Daily Dot/Facebook March Madness maps.  Sadly, I'm linking to this when it is no longer March.  My beloved alma mater not only took a tumble in the Elite Eight, but will be forever associated with the horrifying incident of Louisville's Kevin Ware suffering a catastrophic leg break.  Let the record show, the injury was not caused by a Duke player.  I am also proud to say that we lost to the eventual victor.

-Mr. Pamuk will be Four. You seriously need to join this bandwagon, Twilight/Hunger Games/generally great YA fiction fans.  Bonus: no love triangle!  Kate Winslet is also signed on for the movie, which should give you a general idea about the overall quality of the work.

-10 best kitchen items to buy at Ikea.  If I had enough room in my kitchen, I would definitely get the cart, and I love the towels.

-Favorite funny people reenacting John Hughes films. Pretty much all the funny people you can think of, actually.

-Chloe and Ben as Jim and Pam????? Can you imagine? Preliminary casting call sheet from the early days of The Office.  As the mockumentary nears its series finale, I've been feeling a bit nostalgic.  The writers have handled the impending end with finesse, bringing out a few faces from behind the camera to add to the tension and story line.  Last week's episode saw our fave office staffers checking out the "promos" for the "documentary", which brought back some very fond Jim and Pam memories.

-Interesting commentary on the gluten-free craze and how it affects those who legitimately suffer from celiac's disease.

-The history of Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally's awesome marriage. Did you know that Ron Swanson is actually married to Tammy 2?

-A nursery makeover after my own heart!   I am always thinking about ways to incorporate books into the design of baby A's room or play room.  I love the Penguin book covers used here.

-Cutty is officially a series regular on The Walking Dead.  I was wondering when Rick was going to figure out it was a HUGE mistake to let him go!

-Latest trailer for The Great Gatsby.  Perhaps it was a good idea to push it forward and give it some space away from the heavy Oscar bait films that were packed in around its original release date.