Showing posts from July, 2008

Chicken Tragedy

Note to readers: this post is kind of long and about our chickens, so if that's boring to you, don't read it. A couple of nights ago, I was awakened at 3:00 am by the squawking of chickens, which is never a good thing. Their coop is visible from our bedroom window, but there was no moon and I couldn't see anything. Jon wasn't home--he'd gone up to Scout Camp to be with Zed and Jacob--so after yelling out the window, which usually scares predators away, I went outside with the flashlight. (I really don't like to yell outside at night, especially in the summer when people have their windows open, but it's better than a shotgun blast, I guess.) I don't really like to wander around outside at 3:00 in the morning, but it had occurred to me that I had not verified the shutting up of the chickens before we went to bed. Well, the bad news is that I found the coop door open, and inside were two sleepy chickens. Not ten , like we'd had the day before,

The Dust Factory (2004)

This was a little too profound and confusing for the kids, but kind of an interesting movie. I'm also not sure the parallels or metaphors or whatever they should be called really worked that well. But the characters were likeable and the message was good.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

I'm all about taking the kids to the movies this summer, I guess. I liked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe , which we saw in a real movie theater right after it came out, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. When I've caught glimpses of it since then (one of the kids bought the DVD, so it's been viewed a few times), it seemed way too serious. So I wasn't all that excited about Prince Caspian . I enjoyed it, though. Here's my take on the Chronicles of Narnia movies thus far: they're beautiful to look at, even stunning at times, and the action is exciting and intense (also strangely bloodless). I don't remember the books that well, but I suspect that what's getting glossed over in the movies is the thought processes of the characters as they make very important decisions. I also suspect that their choices and how they get there are the most important part of the stories, so maybe that's why the movies don't stick in my hea

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Oh, that Jack Black is a hoot, even as an overweight panda who dreams of being a ninja. Some great lines from the beginning: "Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose Kung Fu skills were the stuff of legend.... It is said that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness!" It's not all about Jack Black, though. His awesomeness is actually somewhat restrained and totally appropriate for kids. I liked this movie a lot, and I think the kids did, too.

I Am Legend (2007)

Will Smith is really a good actor, and he's great in this . I had some pretty disturbing and vivid dreams after watching it, though. I really need to read the book someday. There are two other movie versions: The Last Man on Earth (1964) with Vincent Price and Omega Man (1971) with Charlton Heston. I've seen Omega Man , and I think it was pretty corny, but I can't remember it that well. Anyway, I Am Legend is very far from corny. It's suspenseful and scary.

Definitely, Maybe (2008)

This is pretty good, but I had a surprisingly violent reaction to something in one of the special features. The director or writer or someone was talking about the movie (you know that every movie is special, right, and deserves its own thoughtful discussion about how they came upon their wonderful idea, how they found the perfect actors, etc.), and he said, "We wanted New York to be a character in the movie." I suddenly felt the urge to yell "Shut up!" and throw a pillow at the TV. Like 2/3 of all movies aren't set in New York!* Yawn. Or commit violence with throw pillows. Take your pick. It was original as far as romantic comedies go, and the backdrop of the Clinton campaign and administration was pretty interesting. I had some problems with the movie (not just with the special features), but I think they might be considered spoilers, so I will leave it at that. * This statistic is a fabrication. If anyone knows what the real statistic is, please tell

Eastern Standard Tribe

It's been close to 3 years since Brian Dunn gave me a couple of books that he'd just read: Eastern Standard Tribe and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom , both by Cory Doctorow. The other day I realized that they're not keepers for me, so I pulled them off the shelf to put in our bye-bye books box. (Books in that box sometimes get traded for credit at one of the used books stores around here, sometimes given to the second-hand store, sometimes given to the local public library for their "holiday reading" section from which anyone can take books permanently.) First, I profusely praise the author for releasing his works under a Creative Commons license that allows for free redistribution. That's really cool, and for that he deserves lots of credit (and support by purchase of physical books such as Brian did!). As I flipped through my copy of Eastern Standard Tribe , I found some notes I took on hotel note paper, and chuckled at my fussy copy-editor side

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

This entertaining young adult novel is about a rebellious kid who gets kicked out of several schools and finally ends up with an artistic home schooling family. The message is positive and the characters are quirky and funny.

Speed Racer (2008)

Maybe the Wachowski brothers only had one good story in them ( The Matrix ), but they still make great- looking movies. Speed Racer is fun to watch, but there's not much else to it. It's also too long--over two hours. We saw it at our little drive-in, which I love. I think I've mentioned that before.

WALL-E (2008)

I think my expectations were too high for this movie , so it was a little disappointing. But it's good. The portrayal of humans 700 years in the future is especially funny and insightful, but not cynical or mean like it could have been. There's plenty of cleverness and humor, even with little dialog in some parts.

At least they're entertaining

I gave the kids some failed lemon bars tonight--I overcooked them and the crust had kind of disappeared into the lemon part. Possibly a result of using whole wheat flour, too. Anyway, the following conversation ensued: Seth: "These lemon bars taste kind of weird. But they're still good! No offense, Mom!" Mira: "MOM IS NOT A HORSEY! SHE IS NOT IN A FENCE!" It is still making me laugh.