Three sentence movie reviews: P.S.

I hadn’t heard of this Laura Linney/Topher Grace 2004 effort, but it was free, so why not?  It was a very interesting story (40-year-old woman believes 20-year-old art student is her dead ex-boyfriend reincarnated) and that kept me watching.  I think the whole movie could have explored a bit deeper, but overall, I was engaged the entire time.

Cost:  free because I had a gift certificate to Title Wave Bookshop
Where watched: at home.

Portland Center Stage: Clybourne Park

Clybourne Park is about how neighborhoods change over the years.  Outside the theater was a map of Portland where people were invited to write their comments.
Here’s my neighborhood.  The yellow post-it says “the cows used to travel through here.”  I didn’t focus the camera enough to be able to see what the blue post-it said.

As for the play itself, it was very good.  The writing was both funny and uncomfortable, which meant I laughed and felt twisted up the entire time.  That said, I recommend you see it not only for the subject matter, but because over intermission, the crew “ages” the house that is the main setting 50 years and it is fascinating to watch.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

I attended this play to see Andy Lee-Hillstrom (the mashed potato eating actor who inspired my current Lint project) and he was fabulous as Jim/Tom/Kenneth.  But Sal Visccuso was brilliant as Russ/Dan and Sharonlee McLean was also incredible as Bev/Kathy.  I had last seen Brianna Horne as Laurie in Oklahoma and it was fun to watch her transform from “getting along” maid Francine to empowered Lena.  The rest of the cast was also wonderful.

Because of the uncomfortable subject matter Director Chris Coleman had a talk back after every show.  It was interesting to hear about how the actors felt about their characters.  Also worth the price of admission was the essay “The House on Clybourne Street” by Beryl Satter which discussed the only way black people in Chicago were able to purchase a home in the mid-twentieth century.  The essay was a punch in the gut for me.  I understood that things were unfair, but was outraged at how unfair this particular practice was.  Do yourself a favor and read the essay.

I make a pizza.

Matt is out of town and I have the day off, so I will make pizza for dinner.  It’s also the end of the month which means there isn’t much left in the grocery account, so I’m going to make a pizza with what I have.  I picked some asparagus from the garden and sliced that up and sprinkled it on. Then I opened a can of sardines and added them.  There were Lima beans that needed to be used up, so on those went.   I had some leftover shredded mozzarella, which was good.  Then, after I baked all of that, I cracked four eggs on top.

This was a very fine pizza.

Essay: Confessions of a foodie who falls for slick packaging.

I love food in general and good food in particular.  I cook the majority of the food I eat from scratch and there are all sorts of vegetables and fruits and whole grains, lean protein, etc. etc. in my regular diet.  I support organic agriculture, have bought quarters of beef, grow a few of my own vegetables and massive amounts of potatoes.  I think a lack of good food is a large part of what ails this country and I wish that everyone felt as passionate about food growing, preparation and preserving as I do.
With that said, I must confess that I have a great love for microwave entrees.
Walking down the freezer aisle of the grocery store, I feel a feeling not unlike the feeling I used to get walking down the toy aisle as a child.  There are so many choices!  And they all look so pretty!  The boxes look neat and tidy, with their square corners and their attractive photos.  The prices are quite cheap and the nutrition information is already calculated and prominently displayed. 
Unlike so many areas of my life, I can have exactly what I want.  Italian?  Yes, there are tons of pasta choices, from low fat to full fat, budget to gourmet.  Burrito?  Yes, so many attractively wrapped little packages.  Quiche?  Nancy’s has a mini quiche just for me.  What about a full meal with way too many calories in it? Marie Callender’s can step up to the plate.  Personal sized pizzas?  Lean Cuisine has me covered.  What about a grilled panini?  There are several choices.
Even heating up the food is fun.  The directions are all different, meaning I have to pay attention.  Sometimes I have to remove the plastic entirely, sometimes just poke a hole in it.  Sometimes, as with the paninis the packaging transforms into a space age type microwave “grill” after careful tearing along a perforated line.  I know the marketing people have figured out that people feel better if they have to be involved at some level of their food preparation, even if the extent of that preparation is squinting at the label and stabbing plastic repeatedly with a fork.
The other thing I love about microwave meals is portion control.  When I’m wandering the frozen aisle, I do not feel like cooking.  Because the funds for my personal chef have not yet come through, when I don’t feel like cooking my choices include finding food in the frozen aisle or going out to eat.  I love to go out to eat, but it’s a love/hate relationship.  The portions are always extremely large and I’m not very successful at limiting my consumption of the large servings.  Unlike restaurants, with microwave meals, most of the brands I buy clock in at 350 calories or less.
Take the grilled paninis I’m currently a fan of.  I get two thick slices of sourdough bread, beef, peppers and cheese all for 330 calories and less than four dollars.  If I were to purchase that same Philly-style cheesesteak from a vendor, it would cost me seven dollars, minimum, and clock in at at least three times the calories, if not four.  If I were to make it myself, it would involve purchasing an entire loaf of sourdough bread as well as making a beef and peppers mixture that would be more than one serving.  This way I have my cheesesteak, eat it and when the next meal rolls around I’m actually hungry again.

There are a ton of drawbacks to frozen entrees.  I don’t really like supporting agricultural food conglomerates by purchasing them, the packaging often seems wasteful and isn’t recyclable and most of them have entirely too much sodium.  They also have a factory made sameness about them that I can’t abide on a regular basis.  But I only have a frozen entrée every month or two, so for me they remain so much of a treat.

Three sentence movie reviews: Premium Rush

O! Joseph Gordon-Levitt, you could not be any cuter when you combine your charming self with the character archetype of the modern urban cowboy: the bike messenger.  Aside from Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s performance, this also had a female lead with something to do and the always welcome presence of Michael Shannon.  This was a well-crafted film with great chase scenes and a good bit of heart and I had a very good time watching it.

Cost:  $1.00 from Videorama
Where watched: at home.

Requiem: Bookmark

At some point during the Kenton Library Book Group, David, our book group leader, offered us free bookmarks he had received.  They were promoting the 2011 Jane Eyre movie and had a  picture of Mia Wasikowska and a pretty blue tassel.  Sentinel pulled off the tassel right away, but I started marking my reading goals on my bookmark and just kept using it.
As you can see, this carried on for quite some time.
Here’s Mia’s profile peeking out from a reading goal.

I’m taking a three-month hiatus from book group because a writing class conflicts with the time.  I’ll be back in August, and I’ll find a new bookmark to keep track of my progress.  This is a good time to let this bookmark move on.