Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
Defendor (Peter Stebbings)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (Grant Heslov)
The Road (John Hillcoat)
The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh)
Obviously, I've been going over and over lists of movies, summaries and trailers during the past few weeks. IMDb and TIFFReviews.com have been my best friends. But maybe I'm thinking of movies a little too often these days. Does anyone other than me see the similarities in these pictures?
The human version:
The mastiff version:
I swear, if I had the skillz, I would be Photoshopping the bitch out of that to make it more beautiful.
Unless it's just me.
(Eds: It is.)
Friday, July 17, 2009
There's a reason for this activity: My father's coming to stay for a couple of days. With Gronk. And Eds.
Me [coaxing crumbs from the counter onto the floor where they clearly belong]: So, Eds, my dad should stay out of your hair while he's here.
Eds [kicking a big crumb my way]: Your father? Why is he coming here?
Me [casually]: Oh, well, because I'm going to a movie on Friday night and then to a friend's birthday party/housewarming on Saturday. He's going to stay here to take care of Gronk.
Eds [feathers ruffled]: Why can't I take care of the dog? I think I've more than proven my capabilities while you're at work.
Me: True, but he's got to be fed and let outside.
Eds [huffy]: And I can't do that?
Now, I'm sure that he could take care of Gronk. His vampire super-attributes make up for his small stature and he can do a lot of things that you would think a 4-inch
(**Probably because they aren't vampires. And he may have dazzled me into typing that.)
I have been making a true effort to include Eds in things, and thereby decrease his emo. So I did what any decent person would. I invited him to the movie.
Me: My dad's coming and that's that. But do you want to come see Hairy Pooter tonight?
Eds [shocked and disgusted]: Do I want to see WHAT?
Me: Uh, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It's a movie about a boy wizard but at this point, the character is, like, 16 years old and the actor who plays him is about 28.
Eds [scoffing]: A boy wizard? Riiiight.
Me: Believe me, I'm with you. This the 6th movie in the series. They're based on books. I waited until I had nothing else at all to read before I asked Sweeze for her copies. Then I was hooked. I actually considered dressing up in a cape and waiting in line to get a copy of the last book when it went on sale at midnight. I tried to teach Gronk commands as spells from the books. I mean, this stuff is like crack or meth or heroin. Or blood. Whatever. I think you'll like it.
Eds [doubtful]: I much prefer classics of all sorts: Homer, Shakespeare, the philosophers like Nietzsche or Sartre... And vampires are not easily changed.
Me: Yeah, you've schooled me. Once you become a vampire, it's like you're set in stone.
Eds: *eye roll*
Me [shaking head]: That was not any kind of reference to your physique.
Eds [crookedly smirking]: Sure.
Me [slightly dazzled]: Listen, do you want to come or not?
Eds: I do prefer literature over cinema. Can I read the book first?
So I set Eds up in the bathroom with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (He insists that the bathroom has the best lighting in the entire house, though I don't know why he'd need it. Can't vampires see in the dark? He could curl up in the friggin' linen closet and still be able to plow through the pages. TWSS? Regardless, that's my new reason for reading in the bathroom.)
Within a matter of seconds, however, I had to deal with a minipire-sized hissy fit (which typically involves a lot of foot-stomping, pouting and the only "curse" words currently in Edward's vocabulary.) There was a lot of that as well as a shitload of complaining that he was confused.
Please review the dialogue above. I did tell him that this was the 6th book in the series, right? Thought so. And due to my odd purchasing habits, I have only the last two books in the series.
When in doubt, Wiki. Or Google. But in this case, Wiki.
A few minutes later, having read the summaries of the first 5 books and movies, Eds was turning away from the laptop and heading back to the bathroom. He's been in there a good 20 minutes or so and I haven't heard much out of him. Every once in a while, I hear him snicker and even more rare, one of his big guffaws. He's also made this pssssshhhhhhttt sound, you know, like the one you make when you come across something totally unbelievable or just out there? (I suspect that he's reading about snogging - how scandalous!)
Me [calling to the bathroom from my work post]: It's a real page-turner, huh?
Eds [engrossed]: Um, huh? What? Oh, I haven't met Paige Turner yet. Ron's still dealing with Lavender Brown.
Me: *peeking into the bathroom*
Eds [turning to me conspiratorially, with eyebrow raised]: But I do like that Luna Lovegood.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
But the chocolate and ginger banana bread? Yes, please!
Maybe it was because I didn't have a substantial supper. Maybe it was the fresh-baked goodness wafting through my kitchen. Whatever. Doesn't even matter. As Guy Fieri would say, this banana bread is money. Grado highly approved with some drippiness and a couple of spit bubbles. Even Eds was willing to give me a little sumthin'-sumthin':
Eds [from his perch on my kitchen shelf, overlooking all I do]: I'm sure that if I could eat that banana bread, it would be as good as you keep going on about.
Okay, I'll shut up now. Click on through for the adapted recipe.
Dark Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger Banana Bread
(adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (from approximately 3 large ripe bananas)
1/4 cup well-stirred plain yogurt (not fat-free or low fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or butter, or use muffin cups. (I used a square, heavy-gauge muffin tin without the little paper cups.)
In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. Set aside and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate and ginger and whisk until combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla, and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. (I use a medium-sized trigger ice cream scoop.)
Bake until the mini-loaves are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool the mini-loaves in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan and let cool completely. (Or, if you're like me, schmear a bit of butter on one when it's still warm.)
Note #1: This is a dense bread. Don't be fooled that these will be light like little cupcakes or muffins, even if you use the smaller baking pan. I called them 'mini-loaves' for a reason.
Note #2: The original recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate chips and recommended baking in a 9" x 5" loaf pan for 50-60 minutes. Molly suggested placing a piece of foil loosely over the top of the loaf if it begins to brown too quickly.
Note #3: She also mentioned that this bread freezes well, wrapped in plastic wrap and then again in aluminum foil.*
*Though I'll never know, because I plan on taking these to work tomorrow to bribe people and exchange banana bread for various favors.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
He's home, he's physically unharmed, and he's in a monumental snit.
He's upstairs right now, with absolutely no way of reading this as I write it. As such, I feel completely comfortable in writing the true version of events without damaging his fragile yet elephant-sized ego. Here we go...
First off, I feel a little bit guilty about taking advantage of him at his most vulnerable (to date, and I don't have high hopes for the future). I admit that my first priority should have been removing the restraints. I should have taken him out of the briefcase ASAP, and I definitely should NOT have taken these pictures.
Oh, shut the fuck up, all of you. I don't want to hear any criticism. He was safe, and I had been through a very stressful couple of hours. (Note the sparkly yarn used to tie Eddie up. I told you those Ednappers had a sense of humor.) But what the fuck is that on his face? Seriously. Even Gronk wants to know.
I felt relatively safe letting Gronk take a couple of sniffs, given that Eddie's mouth was still covered, hence reducing the risk of a mauling. And I think it's clear to see that Gronk was just as happy as I was that Eds was home. Of course, I'm not sure that Eds shared that sentiment. I tried to rescue him from Gronk's major lip action, but it was no easy task, what with Eds flailing around and Gronk trying to inhale him.
Yes, I've already admitted that I should have removed all of the restraints immediately - including the tape over his mouth. My hesitancy almost cost me my life, because the next thing I knew, Eds had flown at me in a full-on rage, trying to pull the camera from my face. My finger clicked the shutter in a reflexive action, capturing this evidence of the assault:
You have to admit that he looks pissed. I barely escaped with my life. I'm certain that once the camera was away from my face, and the tape had been removed from his mouth, and he had spent a few minutes gnawing through my flesh to find a vein, and then somehow managed to chew into the vein with those eensy weensy teeth, he would have sucked the life out of me - Carlisle Cullen and his vegetarian diet be damned!
Of course, I immediately removed the tape from his mouth, fully expecting an onslaught of whatever obscenities he could come up with (you know: Jeepers Creepers, gosh darn it, oh my goodness, shucks, shoot, fudge, etc.). But he was strangely silent.
Hmmm... unexpected silence.
Me [softly]: Edward?
He turned away from me in his tiny, slim-fitting designer jeans, leaning against the now-closed briefcase... for support??
Me: Edward, look, I'm sorry...
I shifted in my chair in an attempt to look him in the eye so I could offer my most sincere apology. He actually turned away from me! (Gronk, having already gotten his sniff on, was now oblivious to what was going on.)
The fact that Eds had dramatically turned away from me, only to find himself face-to-face with the dog pissing was a little too much. I struggled to bite back my laughter.
Me [valiantly trying to clear the guffaws from my throat]: Eds, do you need some alone time?
He pivoted on his heels and glared at me with black eyes. In that moment, I suddenly noticed the movement of his peacoat. His shoulders were heaving up and down as he drew quick breaths. (Okay, his shoulders were moving only infinitesimally, but when you’re 4 inches tall, that equals heaving.) Since everyone even minimally aware of minipires knows that they don’t have to breathe, this breathy motion was disconcerting. Something was amiss.
I put the camera away.
Not sure how to approach it, I consider several different opening lines. My mouth opened and closed as I tried to wrap my tongue around the words and as tactful as always, Eds was quick to point it out.
Eds [with a venomous tone]: Do you have something to say? Because you look like a dying mackerel.
Me [treading lightly]: Uh, Edward?
Eds [hissing]: Yes?
Me [biting my lip]: Uh, you were tied with yarn. And very loosely tied at that. Why didn’t you make any attempt at getting away?
Me: I mean, come on. The super-strength and the super-speed and the super-stealth? What happened?
Eds [looking down and away from me]: …
Me: Were you afraid?
Eds [no longer breathing]: …
Me [victorious]: THAT’S IT! YOU WERE SCARED!
And the floodgates opened…
Eds [raging]: That woman is criminally insane! Do you know what she did to me? After you unceremoniously put me in a desk drawer? She manhandled me and put me in her pants!
Me: Eds, I think we’re sticking with the gender-neutral “Ednapper,” mkay?
Eds: Stop talking! I don’t want to hear anything from you at this time. That woman, that … The way she drives – it almost caused me to be ill and I HAVEN’T VOMITED SINCE 1918! I was paralyzed with fear. And then she used some form of glittery restraint that was clearly meant as a denigration, a condemnation of what I am. Her laughter still echoes inside my head… And the sounds those animals made… The giant she lives with is unconscionable! He obviously had nothing to do with the plot, but refused to help me in any way. I think he was jealous of my fine clothing. He could never be helped, not even by Alice! The crazy woman put me in the dirtiest location on their entire property, out in the open for anyone to see me. I can only thank heavens that it was relatively shaded and I did not have to worry about exposing myself to sunlight. Her behaviour was erratic. There was no way that I could predict what she would do next. For all I knew, she was going to bring out the matches and make herself a nice little bonfire! Anyone in their right mind – obviously neither of them – would have been afraid!
Eds [still railing]: And then you! You come to purportedly “rescue” me and laugh right along with them. You let her put me back in that briefcase! Your behaviour was no better than hers.
Me [still catching up]: You couldn’t predict what she was going to do? Can’t you read minds?
Eds [blanching]: Wha…? How did you…? No, I couldn’t read her mind. I can’t read the minds of your kind.
Wow. The hostility in that response.
Me: Wow. There was a lot of hostility in that response.
Eds was now sitting cross-legged on the top of the table, his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. I became aware of the neighbours gathering to casually observe the goings-on.
Me [trying to be upbeat]: Hey, Edward? How about we take this into the house, huh?
Feeling a little guilty about any previous manhandling that I may have engaged in unawares, I asked him if I could pick him up. He agreed with a nod and I carried him into the house.
I don’t think that it’s necessary to drag out the rest of our conversation. (Especially my attempts at communicating with him using lyrics from Rick Astley's big '80s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". Yes, I tried to Rickroll Edward Cullen. Seriously, go listen to the chorus. It was just what Eds needed.) Suffice it to say that we’ve come to a new understanding of each other. Eds is much more sensitive than I thought he was, and while the cockiness is definitely part of his personality, he tends to exaggerate it to keep others at an arm’s distance. Deep down inside (and also much closer to the surface), he believes that he is a monster undeserving of any friendship, love or companionship. It’s something that we’re going to have to work at, but he’s willing to give it a try.
For my part, I’m going to do my best to be less controlling of him. I started by letting him spend the night outside. After yesterday’s trauma, it was clear that he needed to engage his primal, animalistic nature. We set some ground rules: No humans, no domesticated animals, and don’t bring anything home. When I opened the door to let Gronk out this morning, Eds was resting comfortably in one of the Muskoka chairs and actually responded when I bid him a good morning.
I’ve also eased up on the restrictions involving his interactions with Gronk. Last night, after our long chat, I felt the need to soak in the bathtub. To be honest, the evening’s events had left me feeling quite dirty and super-tense. But more to the point, when I had dried off and went down to give Gronk his good night cookies, the two of them were together in front of the TV. Gronk was passed out, laying on his side, and Eds was sitting on the floor beside him, leaning against the top of his head. I came to a sudden stop when I saw them like that, wondering if I had walked in on something I shouldn’t have.
Eds [not bothering to turn toward me]: I heard you coming. If I wanted to hurt him, I’ve already had plenty of opportunity.
Eds [patting his head]: *giggles*
I think it’s true love.
(7:03 PM because, hey, I don't want to seem too eager.)
Holy shit! There are TWO Ednappers! Their casual appearances disgust me. Just sitting there like someone's life (or whatever) isn't on the line here. The shorter one is clearly the boss of the operation here, and as I get out of the car with my ransom, I see her glance at something behind her.
I know Eds is there.
I saw him almost immediately as I carefully approached her. The conditions they were keeping him in were filthy and I knew that if the two of us got out of this intact, he'd have A LOT to say about it.
She demanded to see the money before I could get Eds back into my hands and I obliged, too fearful to do anything but comply with her barked commands. The big guy was quiet, but was clearly the muscle of the operation. I cursed myself for having left Gronk at home, but I couldn't risk losing both of my guys.
She nodded acceptance of the ransom without counting the bills (hence offering some confirmation of my suspicions regarding the eventual use of the money) and thrust Eds into the briefcase before latching the locks. She practically threw the briefcase at me, and I was smart enough to take the hint. I ran back to the car, carefully avoiding the big guy, and hightailed it out of there.
Sicily, 1918... (Whoops! Had a Golden Girls flashback there. Sorry. Let's try that again.)
My office, 5:07 PM
I sink down into my chair, speechless, panic clawing at my heart. The phone rings.
Me [barely able to speak]: Hello?
The Ednapper [heavy breathing]: Listen carefully if you ever want to see him dead again.
Me [thinking]: Dead again? The Ednapper has a sick sense of humor.
Me [buying time because my first thought was not of Eds]: Excuse me, what? I don't know who this is.
The Ednapper [again with the breathing - WTF?]: Listen carefully if you ever want to see him dead again. Bring the money in a briefcase to (a location to remain undisclosed to the general public). 7 PM.
Damn. This Ednapper is ruthless. I've got an hour and a half to scrape up enough money to save Eds AND get to the location.
My kitchen, 6:17 PM
I've had a few minutes to think about this. $150 is a lot of money, considering that I've just met the guy. I mean, the last few days have not been a barrel of laughs. Eds is grumpy, critical to the extreme and kinda stuck up. Do I even want him back? Then I remember all of the good times: our movie date, chatting in the kitchen over (my) breakfast and coffee, bonding over Boy George...
Okay, there haven't been all that many good times over the last few days. But I think that he was starting to warm up to us. This afternoon, when he was in my office, he noticed my graduate degree and actually started talking to me like I was more of an intellectual equal (as opposed to a drooling idiot, no offense intended to drooling idiots). I do have to get him back - whatever it takes.
My kitchen, 6:48 PM
The ransom is put together. In the briefcase, as requested.
$150 there, all in singles and fives. I get the distinct feeling that the Ednapper might be someone who frequents adult-type clubs, and is intending to use this ransom as stuffing for the dancers' tighty whiteys. Hence the unusual request of $150 (which simply adds up to one good night's fun).
Off I go.
It's just too...
He... He's gone.
This was on my desk after a brief sojourn from my office this afternoon:
For those of you who are illiterate, the text reads, "IF YOU WANT HIM BACK IT WILL COST YOU $150 WAIT BY THE PHONE FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS!" (Okay, I added the exclamation mark, but it's how the note made me feel!)
I have since received those instructions, and I have to meet with the kidnapper(s) shortly. I expect that he/she/it/they will have tired of Eddie's grump and will give him back without ransom. He'll probably be waiting at the curb.
I'll keep you posted.