Three sentence movie reviews: About Last Night 1986


I think this movie was probably pretty cool in pushing boundaries in 1986 with its depiction of hook-up culture.  The dialogue seems very Mamet-esque, much more so than the 2014 version, though that might just be because it was my second time through in two days.  Still, it is a 1986 movie, and is completely male focused and the women come off as shriller than I think they should.*

Cost:  $2.99 via Google Play (I called Videorama first to see if they had a copy and they didn’t, so I streamed it.)
Where watched: at home on the bed in front of the desktop computer because the TV doesn’t stream movies.

*One of the reasons I want to read the play is because I’m quite certain the ending is different and I suspect I would like the ending of the play better.

poster from:

Coming soon: Criss-Cross Crosswalk

When I was 11, my aunts took my brother and I to Hawaii.  We stayed on Molokai (wonderful beaches, big waves!) and visited Honolulu, which I was much less charmed with as I got gum on the side of my nice suede sandals and the beaches were not as clean as on Molokai.  But the cool thing that Honolulu did have was criss-cross crosswalks.  These were crosswalks where all traffic would stop and the pedestrians could cross any which way, including diagonally! This delighted my brother and I to no end.

Guess what?  Coming soon to this very intersection in my own town will be a criss-cross crosswalk.  Although apparently the official term is  “pedestrian scramble.”  Which I think is not nearly as good of a term and someone in the paper observed “sounds like a term for what a cannibal would eat for brunch.”

Anyway, coming soon!  Very exciting!

Top Movies of October 2015

Nine total movies watched.

The End of the Tour
Smart guys talk about stuff.end_of_the_tour

The Martian
Smart guy needs to survive.martian

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Smart (and good looking) guys work together, reluctantly.man_from_uncle

Bridge of Spies
Smart guy defends spy.bridge_of_spies

Begin Again
Smart girl’s music changes people’s lives.begin_again

Inside Out
Emotions wreck havoc with your emotions.inside_out

Books Read in October 2015

If you are only going to read one of my recommended books, go for Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous as it is everything that good nonfiction should be.  If you are going to read two of my recommended books, add Hired Girl to your list. I loved it!


Picture books: Red. A Crayon’s Story
Middle Grade: Orbiting Jupiter (and not just because it was the only middle grade I read).
Young Adult:  The Hired Girl
Young Nonfiction: Most Dangerous

picture books


That’s (Not) Mine
Anna King
Read for Librarian Book Group
A fight over a chair in picture book form.  Had I not spent my childhood in multiple iterations of this struggle,  I probably would have enjoyed this more.

Red. A Crayon’s Story
Michael Hall
Read for Librarian Book Group
Enjoyable.  It was fun to go back and see if the different colored crayons had different personalities.
This month I also read X: A Novel and the main character was called Red.  Crossover appeal? 🙂

Fright Club
Ethan Long
Read for Librarian Book Group
Who are the really frightening monsters?  I work in a school, I already know the answer.

middle grade

Orbiting Jupiter
Gary D. Schmidt
Read for Librarian Book Group
This book was written with the clarity of a cold New England morning.  I could feel the landscape around me and the unfairness ricocheted through me.  Short, poignant story of a boy with a second chance. I adored nine-tenths of this book.  I begrudgingly accept the author’s choice for the last tenth.

young adult

Infinite Inbetween
Carolyn Mackler
Read for Librarian Book Group
It’s kind of a massive undertaking to follow five characters through four years of high school.  Hats off to Ms. Mackler for trying and for creating five such different characters.  However, the result for me was a story a mile wide and an inch deep.  I wanted to really dig into some part of this narrative, and everything felt very surface.

I Crawl Through It
A.S. King
Read for Librarian Book Group
I’m the last in line for surrealist anything, so this book was not made for me.  I was not patient while I worked my way through it.  I wanted things to be clearer (as in not-surrealist).  For people who are into surrealism, this is a well-written book.

The Walls Around Us
Nova Ren Suma
Read for Mock Printz
What do a Julliard-bound ballet dancer and a convicted teenage murderer have in common?  This book starts big, with a strange happenstance at a maximum security prison for adolescent girls.  Then it keeps building.  There were confusing moments of “what the heck?” followed by sudden understanding.  I was gleefully delighted by the time the end came around.

Honor Girl
Maggie Thrash
Read for Librarian Book Group
The usual caveats about graphic novels not being my thing apply.  The story itself was good, but I found I had trouble identifying characters based on how they were drawn.  I feel like I read a ton of YA books set at summer camp when I was a YA, so it was fun to return to the (East Coast*) summer camp setting.

*Us kids in the west only went to summer camp for a week at a time, if we went at all.

The Hired Girl
Laura Amy Schultz
Read for Librarian Book Group
O! But I loved this book!  I loved it the way I loved The Little Princess,  for the tragic plot and plucky heroine.  I loved the diary format the way I loved that YA book written in diary format with the boy who got lockjaw and died.  I loved the many obstacles the hired girl managed to get through.  I loved that I couldn’t stop reading it.  This is my kind of book.  Also, reading it, I felt like I should be putting a lot more effort into cleaning my house.

Young nonficiton

Most Dangerous
Steve Sheinkin
Read for Librarian Book Group
I was a history major in college, primarily because I love the stories.  As an adult, I don’t read nonfiction books about history mostly because they are 1)too long and 2)incredibly dry.  Enter Steve Sheinkin and the YA nonfiction history book.  Man, this guy can make history come alive and manages to do so in less than 400 pages.

Three sentence movie reviews: About Last Night (2014)


This movie vacillates from being funny (most of the Kevin Hart scenes) to uncomfortable, as the point of the original play (as best I can tell*) seems to be how relationships don’t work when things start off–and continue–in a certain way.  However, this movie got even better once I watched the original.  The friend relationships were better fleshed out and the women weren’t nearly as shrill.

Cost: free from library. (I got this because the director of Sleeping With Other People wrote this version of the movie.)
Where watched: at home.

*I managed to find a critical essay about Sexual Perversity in Chicago at the library but they did not have the text of the play.

poster from:
Kevin Hart in the third photo is dressed as Channing Tatum for his costume.  “Channing Tatum never gets cold!” he said and I laughed.

Crayons in desk are older than me.

I cleaned out my work desk today and found these gems.  I’m pretty sure both are from long before I was born.  I can’t say for sure the price of crayons during the 70s & 80s, but it sure wasn’t fifteen cents.  (And as an indication as to how far we are from that price, I just had to write out the amount because I don’t have a cents sign available to me in this writing platform.)

None of them looked like they’s been colored with.


I put them back in their cases and sent them off to the Goodwill. If you hear a media story about really old crowns selling for hundreds of dollars, don’t tell me about it.

Three sentence movie reviews: Inside Out


This movie continues the tradition of Animated Films Watched at the Laurelhurst Which Affect Me Much More than I Thought They Would.  This is a brilliant film, crafted much more for adults than children, but be warned, it is a heavy film.  I attended it with a full-grown adult, but if I had brought children along, there would have been more than one place where said child would have asked me, “Why are you crying?”

Cost:  $4.00
Where watched: Laurelhurst Theater with Matt

poster from:
Boy-oh-boy do I hate the poster.  The German one is a little better:



Requiem: YRUU sweatshirt.

It was 2002 when I signed up to be an advisor for the Young Religious Unitarian Universalist (YRUU) group. That’s code for “high school youth group” at the UU church.  I had recently 1)moved to Portland, 2)joined First Unitarian Church. When I signed on, I was still living with my Aunt, Matt and I were flirting, but thing had gotten going, and I was temping at Wedbush Morgan.    By the time my first year of YRUU was done I had moved into a studio apartment downtown, Matt and I were a thing, I had quit working for Wedbush Morgan and started graduate school at PSU.

When I signed on, it was only me who had made a firm commitment, with maybe Jimmy, one of the current co-advisors, sticking around for another year or so.  By the time we started in the fall there were five adults total: myself, Jimmy, Frank, Chris and Eric.  Dana, the head of Religious Education for Youth, broke us in.  We had an amazing group of kids that year, with Kitty, one of the few seniors, setting the tone.  She loved the song “Take me Home, Country Roads” and we sang it a lot that year and in nearly all the years to follow.  She also realized that by pressing your hands together you could make a chalice, which is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism.  So that was cool and it went on the back of our sweatshirts.

On the front it said YRUU, which was not only the name of the group, but also an excellent question.  We had shirts or sweatshirts every year, but this first one remained my favorite.  For seven wonderful years I got to hang out with incredibly cool high school kids.  Seemingly a million things changed during that time, while everything also stayed the same.


It is with sadness I say goodbye to the YRUU sweatshirt, but it lives on in many happy YRUU memories.