Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2 Finished Mirrors


This is my completed mirror.
1. I painted the mirror gold, because it shows through.
2. I used Tacky glue to affix the various beads, old jewelry and glass mosaic orbs.

It took 3 days.

Clarissa's Mirror

Clarissa opted for a less cluttered look.

1. Painted mirror
2. With Tacky glue affixed glass mosaic orbs, and craft rhinestones.

It is very pretty.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Movies Last Week

Bride of the Monster (1955)
Edward D. Wood movie starring Bela Lugosi and Tor Johnson (as usual). Typical B-Grade movie, even worse because it was by Wood. I usually find his campy movies pretty entertaining, but this one, not so much. 2 out of 5 stars

Julian Sands stars in this 1989 movie about a Warlock who travels 300 years into the future to escape his fate back in Puritian America. He arrives in LA to wreck havoc while in search of the Devil's Bible, but he is followed by a witch hunter who is determined to get even for what the Warlock has done to him 300 years ago. As cheesy as it sounds, it was not that bad. 3 out of 5 stars.

Nothing Sacred (1937)
Small town girl mistakenly believes she is dying of radium poisining. And becomes the darling of the town. She manages to find love in her 'suffering'. Decent early romantic comedy. 3 out of 5 stars.

Dorian Gray (2010)
Ben Chaplin stars as Doiran Gray in the remake of the Wilde story. This was not my favorite adaptation. Chaplin is nice to look at, but for me the story lacked charm. For a good version of this, watch "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1976) starring Peter Firth. This new version I will give 3 out of 5 stars, just because the story itself is good.

The Legend of 1900
Tim Roth plays a jazz pianist who lives on a ocean liner. He was born on this ship, and found by a worker. The worker adopts him and names him 1900, as he was found/born on January 1, 1900. This story follows 1900 as he meets different characters during his time on the ship. 3 out of 5 stars for me.

La Mission
Benjamin Bratt stars in this independent film that was written and directed by Ben's brother Peter. Ben plays a macho ex-con, Che Rivera, who finds out his college bound son is gay. You can only imagine what happens. 4 out of 5 stars. This one got the highest rating of the week.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I finally went to Michael's and used my gift certificate I received for my birthday. I decided since I am so broke this year (again), I'm going to make my mother's gift. I think she'll like it.

This is a shadow box. I am going to decorate it for my mom with a picture of her mother and sister. I bought some scrapbook paper, antique looking jewelry and some antique paper decorations. I'm going to paint the box antique white with gold accents and distress it.

Clarissa got a small mirror, she plans to decorate with paint, gems and stuff.

This is a box she will decorate for her grandmother (for Christmas). She will paint it and put some jewels on the outside.

This is a mirror I plan to decorate for me. My goal is to put beads and jewels and stuff all over it. It should take forever as it is a pretty large mirror and I have to find enough stuff. I have maybe enough for only one side. But since it is for me, I can take my time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Knives Chau scarf

Some time in the upcoming months I plan to start the "Knives Chau" scarf. It is a simple enough design to copy, and I think a simple knit/purl will work. For my birthday, my friend gave me a $25 gift card to Michael's, so I can buy some black and white yarn. Not sure how many skeins I will need, I want it to be long like the picture.

I still am working on my friends baby blanket, I haven't been working on it, it is too hot and I don't have a/c so yarn work takes a back seat in the summer. But things are cooling off.

It is almost time to decorate my livingroom for autumn. Scarecrows and the like. I love this time of year.

I've also been lazy with my reading. I don't have the concetration right now. I am listening to audio books however. So I'm not completley out of the loop.

Currently listening to Dale Carnagie's "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living". Pretty dry however, not as good as "How to Win Friends and Influence People". I also started listening to "Mustane", a memoir by Dave Mustane of the Heavy Metal group Megadeth. That is definetly more interesting and entertaining.
This past Saturday, we went to Central Park. We haven't been all summer, and since my son is leaving this week, an end of the summer trip was in order. I think I will also go back in the fall to take some more pictures, but here are recent ones.

Central Park Boaters

A bit of Fall in the Summer

Lilly Pads


Monday, August 23, 2010

Movies Last Week

Tales From the Script

This documentary talked to many screenwriters about the ups and downs of writing for movies. They shared funny stories and gave insight into the craft.

Pierrpoint: The Last Hangman

Albert Pierrepoint (30 March 1905 – 10 July 1992) is the most famous member of the family which provided three of the United Kingdom's official hangmen in the first half of the 20th century. Pierrepoint was played by Timothy Spall, and a very good job indeed. A dark movie however. One wonders how anyone can have such a job and be 'normal'.

Scott Pilgram vs. The World

YES! Finally a movie that is entertaining AND different. Michael Cera stars in this one, and I often like the movies he is in. This one is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it to children of all ages. Scott is a 22 year old 'nerd' who has a circle of interesting friends and runs into some interesting characters as he tries to date his dreamgirl. He will have to fight her seven ex's in order to date her.

Jesus' Son

This movie was so strange and boring, I dear say, I can't really tell you what it was about. A young man who loses his way, finds it in the end. I guess that is a good way to sum it up. But don't wast your time.

Ruby Gentry

Starring Jennifer Jones and Charlton Heston. In this movie from 1951, Ruby finds herself in love with a man whom she can't have. Their class differences keep them apart. I am not a Charlton Heston fan, but I love Jennifer Jones. However, the movie didn't do it for me.

Vampires Suck

Knowledge of the Twilight movies is very helpful here. There were funny moments in this movie, I love spoofs and satires.

Lord of the Flies (1990)

This is a newer version. No, I never read the book, but I know of the story. This was well done, and it stars a very young Balthazar Getty.

Lark Rise to Candelford: Season 2

This is a wonderful series from the BBC. It is based on the memoirs of Flora Thompson. This is a semi-autobiographical story about Laura Timms, a young woman from Lark Rise who find employment with her Cousin Dorcas Lane in the post office of Candleford (a neighboring town). We watch Laura grow up into a beautiful young woman and we see the heartbreaks of her as well as those around her. This is one series I highly recommend. Season 3 is not out in the States yet, I eagerly await it.

Revolution #9

A 27 year old engaged man suffers from Paranoia. We slowly watch is descent into madness as his fiancee watches. Does he find his way out? Does she find peace? Good quesions. I don't have the answer, because the ending was very unsatisfying. The movie was fine up until the last 30 seconds!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I finally finished "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I listened to this on audio.

I usually don't read historical fiction that revolves around WWII and Hitler, it makes me very sad and angry. But I wanted to give this book a try.
For those few people that haven't read it yet, this book revolves around a young German girl named Liesel. We watch Liesel grow from a scrappy kid to a teenager, all the while she is stealing books. But it is not about the stealing. This book digs deep into the human spirit and what is wrong and what is right. It is peppered with a lot of love, that is understated but understood. The book is narrated by 'death', very interesting point of view.

What I didn't like about the book was all the poetic prose. I am into poetry in story but I think Zusak over did it. Some of his phrases were clever, some were just annoying and they were in almost every sentence. It is OK to just say "She walked across the street" instead of saying something like "She walked across the black streets of death and sorrow". REALLY?

The storyline saved it for me. I think if I read it, I would have thrown it up against the wall, the fact that I did the audio, made it easier to swallow.

3.5 out of 5 for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Update on My Life

Still unemployed. It seems like I'll have to go the Temp route in order to secure a position. Temp to Perm. However, it seems hard to even get a Temp spot. Not only that, they don't pay as well as I would like, but I guess it is the only way I'm going to get in the door. I've gotten a few rejections, but it is OK. Also still waiting on the unemployment to kick in. I got my last official paycheck last Friday, and my Severance won't get here until August 31st...it is all a waiting game.

My son goes back to school on August 27th. He has been home since mid-May, and I know he is itching to get back. It has been a boring summer for him. He couldn't find a part-time job, so he just hung around all summer. Spent some time with his friends, but most of his time was spent in the house.

School doesn't start for Clarissa until September 8th. We got everything but her uniforms. She won't need the Fall uniform until after Columbus Day, so I have time to scrape that together.

I finished Level 2 of my Guitar Class. I am moving on to Level 3 (Intermediate) on September 11th. The last day of Level 2 class was last Saturday, and I was the only student to show up. Everyone else in the class blew it off. It was nice for me, because my teacher (Vince) taught me some Led Zeppelin riffs instead of the class song (which was Bon Jovi).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Feed Flicks / Last weeks movies (my thoughts)

If you have a Netflix account and have not discovered Feed Flicks yet, you should check it out. It is a neat little site that gives you statistical feedback on your Netflix rental habits. I'm always amazed about what I find.

Vital Statistics

852 DVDs returned since March 2004
You have rated 420 titles
Most recent return: 14/Aug/10 (1 day ago)
Average time you keep DVDs at home: 9 days
Movies/month: 11.0 by DVD 42.0 by Instant Watch

The Langoliers (1995)This movie is based on a novella from the collection, "Four Past Midnight" by Stephen King. It has been around for 15 years and I finally watched it. It starred a few known Hollywood actors as well as some actors we've only seen on a TV show or two, however, I found it pretty entertaining. I had not watched it for two reasons. 1) My mother said it sucked 2) it was so long. However, through the magic of the DVR, I was able to watch it in 2 sittings. It is now a dated movie, but it was still pretty good. Mom isn't always right.

Helen (2009)This movie sars Ashley Judd, who I like. It is about a Mother/Wife who goes through a severe bout of depression, one that is reoccuring. I was hoping for something insightful and touching, but I didn't get this. It was boring and I questioned 'what was the purpose of this movie'? I was depressed after watching it.

The Expendables (2010)Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis on the screen for 5 min together is worth the $10 bucks. That will be something that will never happen again. Not to mention the other great action guys in this film such as Rourke, Crews, Li and Statham. Lots of guns, lots of car chases...typical guy flick that girls will love.

The Hamilton Woman (1941)
Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (who were married when this was made) star in this film. I'm not usually a fan of period pieces that were filmed in the 40s, but this one wasn't bad. Definetly a UK production, that is easy to see the minute the opening credits start, so that was another grumble moment of mine (what I hate more than period pieces filmed in the 40s are period pieces filmed in the 40s in ENGLAND). HOWEVER, it ended up to be a really good movie. Not a new formula for a story. Girl marries older man whom she doesn't love. Girl falls in love with younger married man. Girl and Boy try to be together. Obsticles get in the way...will they find happiness? The way the movie ended surprised me, but also made me smile. I said YES!

Dragonfly (2002)I must have been under a rock, because I don't remember this movie being in the theater, however, my mother said she saw it in the theater. It stars Kevin Costner. Immediately, I was drawn to the movie, in the first 10 minutes I was engrossed. I don't think it is necessary, but having some faith based religion is helpful in enjoying this picture.

Heat (1995)Another one of those movies that I always wanted to watch, but it was just too darn long. What is it with the year 1995? Why is every movie super long? Perhaps I have more patience to sit through these now, I sat through this one in one sitting. Who doesn't like to see Paccino and DeNiro on the screen together. How can that be a bad movie? My son even looked up from his laptop every now and again it was very entertaining.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Every once in a while I get bored and run through my books and movie lists of the year and check on the stats.

Horror Reads = 4
Serial by Jack Kilborn, Blake Crouch
The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
Under the Dome by Stephen King
The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft

Classic Reads = 6
Life and Death of Harriet Frean by May Sinclair
The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft
The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Stoner by John Williams

Auto/Biography & Memoir = 5
The White Horse King by Benjamin Merkle
Nigger: An Autobiography by Dick Gregory
Tennessee Williams Notebooks by Tennesse Williams/M. Bradham Thornton
I Am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Plays = 1
Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley

Audio Books = 7
The Jeruselum Diet by Ted Haggard
Once Upon a Summer by Jeannette Oke
The Ominvoire's Delima by Michael Pollan
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Life After Death by Deepak Chopra
Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain by Sharon Begley
How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnagie

African-American Authors = 2
Nigger: An Autobiography by Dick Gregory
Push by Sapphire

Books into Movies = 7
Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley
Push by Sapphire
Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
The Rats in the Walls by H.P. Lovecraft
The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Books with One Word Titles = 4
Serial by Jack Kilborn, Blake Crouch
Roses by Leila Meacham
Push by Sapphire
Stoner by John Williams

Books with People's Names = 4
I Am Nujood Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Stoner by John Williams
Tennessee Williams Notebooks by Tennesse Williams/M. Bradham Thornton

Friday, August 6, 2010

Led Zeppelin DVDs

July was Led Zeppelin month. Some of you may know that I am a Led Zeppelin fan, and a very big Jimmy Page fan. I can't get enough of that man, I've been in love with him for 39 years, since he ws 28 years old (I was 4). Handsome never dies!

For those who have been under a rock for the past 40 years, Jimmy is the one in the middle, the raven haired beauty.

Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains the Same

I actually haven't watched this one in about 20 years, but it is one of my favs. This is the concert filmed July 27-29 1973 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Intertwined with this concert footage, is the fantasy scenes for each member as well as some candid footage. We also get to see a glimpse of young Scarlet Page, Jimmy's first child.

The Story of the Yardbirds

This DVD goes through the creation of The Yardbirds to the creation of 'The New Yardbirds' aka Led Zeppelin. We get to see some vintage footage of the group featuring Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page (not all in at the same time). To see a young Jimmy Page always makes me smile. I enjoyed hearing the bluesy sounds of the band before they 'sold out'.

Led Zeppelin - Videobiography

A 2-disc DVD showing concert footage from various concerts. There are some cool clips that I've never seen. Some interview clips are weaved in as well. Nothing really new here for fans. A chronological trek through the life of Led Zeppelin. Of course, I watched the whole thing, it is hard not to.

A to Zeppelin - The Story of Led Zeppelin

A pretty shotty put together documentary, however, any chance I get to see the band perform is worth my time. Not too much in the way of interviews with the band, which I enjoy I think more than the live concert footage.

Led Zeppelin - DVD

Another 'official' DVD. This one was produced by Jimmy Page, and is a 2 disc DVD set. It contains live concert footage of the band spanning the years 1969 to 1979. The recording of the DVD includes performances from the Royal Albert Hall (1970), Madison Square Garden (1973), Earls Court (1975) and Knebworth (1979), plus other footage. Bootleg footage from some of the concerts is interspersed with the professionally shot material. This DVD is purely concert footage, no interviews. Lots of long sets, and a great solo by Jimmy Page (White Summer). Also the Special Features are a treat. There is one special feature that shows the band in their early days performing in France. You could see the French are being polite, some are covering their ears. This was real early, maybe 1969, before they became the rock gods they are.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Bronx Accent by Lloyd Olden

The Bronx Accent: A Literary and Pictorial History of the Borough is not your ordinary dry history book. This book starts with the arrival of the Dutch in the 1600s. It explained how Jonas Bronck (1600–1643) was not a Dutch immigrant as previously believed but was actually an immigrant from Komstad in Sävsjö, Sweden. Jonas Bronck had a farm that spanned only half of what is currently known as the Bronx. Later the borough was expanded north, which was once part of Westchester County.

It went on to talk about some prominent people from the literary world who lived in the borough such as, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain and Theodore Dreiser to name a few.

The book is peppered with excerpts from stories about The Bronx and poetry about the borough. Not to mention pictures from earlier in the 20th century and before that, drawings of places familiar to Bronxites such as Kingsbridge, and Varian House.

Lloyd Ultan is the current Bronx historian. He has had his hand in several books about The Bronx, all which are amazing.

People usually have a negative view of The Bronx, thanks to movies such as "Fort Apache, The Bronx". Although that movie was accurate to the time. In the 1960s and 1970s, The Bronx was a hell hole, and buildings burned on a daily basis. It amazes me how we made it out of those decades alive. We have our Mayor at the time Ed Koch and Jimmy Carter (who was President), who was the only President to ever visited The Bronx. Thanks to their efforts, the borough was rebuilt.

The Bronx has a rich history. A lot of famous people were born and grew up here, and others transplanted themselves here. Regis Philbin who lived at 1990 Cruger Avenue (now named Regis Philbin Way), Bobby Darin, Anne Bancroft, Ralph Lauren, Woody Allen, Penny & Garry Marshall, and many more.

Maybe one day, my name will be added to that list.

I don't think anyone who isn't from The Bronx, would have much interest in this book. I came across it because of a Book Challenge to read a book about my local history. It isn't hard to find a book about the history of New York city, but I wanted to get even more local. I was happy with this book. 4.5 out of 5.

And even cooler, was a picture of my current neighborhood was on the back cover. However, this is actually a drawing, and is quite old. Probably from when the neighborhood was first built in 1940.