Instant Gratification: Precious

You all have this movie in your instant queue and you are just trying to find a time when you feel emotionally prepared to watch it.  I know.  I’m inside your brain.

Billy and I decided the time had come to watch Precious last Saturday afternoon.  We opened a bottle of wine and sat down in our comfy clothes and got ready to have some feelings.  I feel like I have an advantage in this respect.  Not to toot my own horn but I did go to theatre school and I am very good at having feelings.  They come, they go.  Billy, on the other hand, is new to feelings.  Precious… well, Precious broke him.  In his own words, “It killed part of my happiness.  I can’t get back to my pre-Precious life.”

Sidenote: Lenny Kravitz was in this?!  I had no idea.  They really uglied everybody up.  Oh wait, he was the hot nurses’s aide.  That’s right.  I remember.  It’s hard to ugly up Lenny Kravitz.  Dude looked good.  Everybody else did not look so good.

Back to the point, though.  I feel like I have a lot of disclaimers to make about this movie, like don’t watch it if you’re already depressed or if you’re alone or if it’s nighttime.  Those are all recommendations you should take to heart, but, honestly, the bottom line is this: this was truly an excellent movie.  It was moving in a way that didn’t feel forced (contrary to what you may expect).  It’s the story of a girl with a shitty life who imagines something better for herself and in her own small way finds a path to self-improvement.  As much as it is about abuse and neglect, it is also about independence and the power of the human spirit (ugh I’m throwing up as I write this but IT’S REALLY TRUE!).

Things that might happen as a result of watching Precious:

1. You might need a palate cleanser afterward.  Ours was How To Train Your Dragon.

2. You might get angry about the welfare system in this country.  You might get very confused about your liberal political beliefs.  You might think that having a baby should not be considered a meal ticket.  This might throw your whole belief system out of whack.

3. You might cry a little bit in bed at night.

4. You might not enjoy your palate cleanser as much after watching Precious as you might have before.  In my case, I could see nothing but triviality in How To Train Your Dragon.  Any other day I would probably have found it charming, but on Saturday I just found it… kind of idiotic.  I could tell exactly how the plot would unfold from the first scene.  Boring.  Unimaginative.  Come on, movie execs.  Get creative.  Precious did it!

In conclusion: A++.  Watch this movie with someone you love so that you can hold each other as you cry and cry.  In a good way.

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A Few Apologies

Every kid does crappy things.  And sometimes kids don’t tell other people all the crappy things they did because they don’t want to get in trouble.  But then adults will tell their friends the crappy things they did because once you’re a grown-up they turn into funny stories to tell at parties.  But then there are some crappy kid things that some of us did that we haven’t really told people about because it’s all too embarrassing.  Eh.  Why even have a blog if you’re worried about embarrassing yourself, I always say.  Without further ado, I’m really sorry for the following transgressions:

1. For my seventh (eighth?) birthday I wanted a new school backpack and I got two.  One from my dad and one from Lorianne Boscarino, who was kind of a brat and I didn’t even really like her because she was so bossy.  And my dad said I should just choose the backpack I liked better and we could return the other one.  So I chose the one Lorianne got me because it was more colorful and it was the 90’s so, obviously.  The one my dad got me was more practical but I’ve never been one for practicality.  So my dad returned the one he got me.  No big deal, right?  Eh.  I’ve carried the guilt of that backpack rejection around with me for… nineteen years.  Healthy!

2. In third grade I had to write an essay about Harriet Tubman.  I went to the school library and borrowed a book about her and then I straight up plagiarized the blurb on the back of the book.  I changed a few words here and there but really, that shit was illegal.  I should have been fined, at the very least!  And my teacher thought my essay was so good that he brought it up at the parent-teacher conference and my mom was really proud of me for being so good at writing essays JESUS I AM CRINGING RIGHT NOW JUST WRITING THIS.  And I told NO ONE!  Until today!  I mean, it’s okay, right?  I was like Tom Sawyer.  Or Bart Simpson.  I was using my ingenuity to avoid doing work.  Really just goes to show how far I am willing to go to avoid unnecessary exertion.  Still true today!  Oof.

3. In fifth grade I ate Julianne Cuminsky’s Ding Dong.  The snack food.  Don’t be gross.  I was joking around with her at our lunch table and I think I asked if I could have a bite of her Ding Dong and she said no and I think I was like “well I can just take it, you know” and then nobody believed that I would do it so then I just ate the whole thing in one bite.  And then I was summarily shunned by the whole table.  All the girls I sat with were like “wow, I really can’t believe you did that.”  Uuuuugh why am I writing this?!  It’s so painful.  Also, it might have been a Twinkie.

4. In seventh grade I tried out for a school play.  My middle school was doing this kids-in-the-Holocaust play called “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”.  I didn’t get cast.  But two Jewish girls I knew did get cast.  So my natural conclusion as to why I was not cast in the play was because I didn’t look Jewish.  Ugh.  So that’s what I told Lauren Feinberg’s mom when she asked me if I’d auditioned for the play.  “Yeah, I auditioned, but I didn’t get a part.  Probably because I don’t look Jewish!”  She laughed politely.

Anyway, sorry everyone!

What do you guys want to apologize for?  Please don’t leave me hanging here.  Put some embarrassing childhood stories in the comments, for the love of god, I need all the help I can get.

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Yesterday…

I saw a Mercedes on the highway with a license plate that said “MENSA” and a bumper sticker that said “Trump 2012” and I gave that car the finger harder than I’ve ever given anything the finger before.

What a DICK!

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Sorry Sorry Sorry

Hey you guys!  I’m still here!  I’ve been really busy with writing group, book club, finishing up my last class for my Masters, volunteering, and running almost daily.  Why am I doing all these things?  I… I don’t know.  I’m really tired.

A few things that are great about right now:

1. Even when it’s raining it’s not that cold.
2. Everything outside smells really great.
3. I found this awesome store in the mall called Francesca’s Collections and it’s like if you combined Forever 21 and Anthropologie.  Beautiful stuff for cheap prices.  They do not pay me to say this.  I pay them and they give me jewelry and sandals.
4. I weigh more than I used to but my parts don’t jiggle as much.  Ew.  Whatever.  It’s true.

Anyway, more to come.  I miss you guys!  Talk to you soon!

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Best Thing On The Internet Today

So true.

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Things I Wish Nerds Would Shut Up About*

1. Skynet becoming self aware.

I do not understand.  I didn’t see Terminator 1 or 2 or whatever.  Or, I did but I was a child when it came out and I guess I haven’t been watching it on a weekly basis since childhood so I just don’t know what you’re talking about.  Skynet sounds like a generic cable company.  Just shut up.  Just.  Shut up.

2. Twitter.

I know that a lot of the problem with Twitter is the people who use it for PR or marketing.  And the fact that it’s something that we talk about at meetings at my office.  That’s not nerds.  That’s grownups.  Grownups should shut up about Twitter, too.  Here’s what I don’t like about the Twitter.  All the RTs and #s and @s.  Since when does a sign that I thought was meant to symbolize “number” start to mean something called “hashtag”?  Who made that up?!  Nerds, that’s who.  What gave you the right?!  I’m just too old for it all.  CAN’T ANYONE JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER ANYMORE?  Call me on my landline.

3. Battlestar Gallactica.

Fark you or whatever.  Frak?  Ugh, you guys.  Just shut up.  I’m going to watch it.  Eventually.  I’m sure I’ll like it.  But I just finished The Wire and I’m working on Big Love and that’s enough of a challenge right now.  Because once you watch The Wire and then you try to watch any other show it’s just like not good anymore.  Nothing stands up to The Wire.  Like try watching The Wire and then just watch like one episode of Lost and then come talk to me about Lost being worth anything.  It’s not.  So, I mean, fine.  I’ll watch Battlestar Gallactica but I just need the sheen to wear off The Wire a little bit.  I’ll do it eventually!  Stop saying frak at me!  Yeah, frak you too!

Oh my God there are so many more of these.  Comic books.  Chess.  Complicated video games.  Ugh SHUT UP, NERDS!  ALL OF YOU!

*Let it be said that I am married to a nerd and almost all my friends are nerds and I am probably a nerd, too.  But sometimes haters (me) gotta hate.

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CAKE

So many good things about baking cakes on a Sunday.

Look how pretty!  And I have all these cake stands and I got to use some of them!

These cakes are not from a box (!) and as a result the verdict was that they were “not too sweet” which was a positive quality indeed.  All the ingredients are like real things that you can identify like flour and sugar and milk.  Except for the decorative frosting on top.  I’M ONLY HUMAN.

I multiplied the cake recipe by 1.5 to make one regular cake and 12 cupcakes, so here’s the regular recipe that makes one cake or 24 cupcakes.

YELLOW CAKE

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter – left out at room temp so they’re pretty soft (plus some to shmear on the pans)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some to knock around on the pans)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large eggs (they say at room temperature, which I did, but I’m not sure how much of a diff it makes)
1 cup whole milk

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Butter the pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.  (For cupcakes, just throw those cupcake cups in the pan and leave it at that.)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and save it for later.  Also, you need an electric mixer for this.  You can probably use an electric hand mixer, but I used my Married Person Kitchenaid Stand Mixer because I’m married and married people have these things.  Okay so you put the butter and the sugar in the mixer and you whip it up on high until it’s fluffy.  Then the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, mixing it up good.  The you turn the mixer down to low and add the flour mixture and the milk.  The recipe (it’s from Real Simple but it’s not online for some reason) says to like alternate between the flour and the milk going like flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.  I didn’t read ahead far enough in the recipe so I just put the flour in slowly and then the milk in slowly.  I don’t think it fucked anything up too badly.  You know?  Like, whatever!  It’s YOUR CAKE.  Also, a very annoying detail of the recipe says “mix until combined DO NOT OVERMIX” with no explanation of what overmixing would look like.  I’m pretty sure I overmixed.  Whatever!  Then you put the batter in the pan and you bake it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  I used a sharp knife because I didn’t have toothpicks (where have all the toothpicks gone?).  Start checking it at like 22 minutes for a full cake and 15 minutes for cupcakes.  I just cooled them in the pans mostly because I don’t have cooling racks.  I think I should get some cooling racks…

Then I put some frosting on top of them!  Oh also, for the cake I made a strawberry filling.  The cake is yellow cake, strawberry filling, and vanilla frosting.  The cupcakes are yellow cake with chocolate ganache on top.

First, the chocolate ganache recipe, which I thankfully read ahead of time because it says it takes like 4 hours of sitting on your table for it to set enough to be spreadable.  Annoying!  Baking is kind of annoying, you guys.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Ingredients:

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
pinch kosher salt

What You Do:

Chop up the chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.  Put the cream and salt in a pan and cook it until it’s just simmering.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for like 5 minutes or something, then mix it around until it’s combined.  Then put it on your damn counter for like 4 hours.  And they’re like DON’T PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE, IT’LL GET LUMPY.  Fine.  Fine.  Mix it every once in awhile if you want, I did, not sure it made a diff though, like I said before, IT’S YOUR CHOCOLATE GANACHE.

I put the chocolate ganache on top of the cupcakes.  It was the definition of not-too-sweet.  Delicious.

STRAWBERRY CAKE FILLING

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (I think that means cut the green parts off and cut them in half – that’s what I did)
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used strawberry jam because I had it)
pinch kosher salt

Cut up your strawberries and put them in a food processor.  I’m starting to realize that these recipes require a lot of equipment.  Sorry!  Go get some equipment I guess?  Anyway, put your strawberries in the processor and add the jam and the salt and process it up!  That’s it.  Easy.

VANILLA FROSTING

Ingredients:

4 sticks unsalted butter (again, room temp)
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (haha, I did not sift it)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch kosher salt

Throw the butter in the electric mixer again, put the sugar in with it and combine them until the mixture is fluffy.  Add vanilla and salt.  Easy, again.  You do have to scrape the sides down a bunch but whatever.  And you have to mix it for awhile, like 10 minutes maybe?

Then take some store-bought writing frosting and write whatever the fuck on your cake.  I wrote FAMILY DINNER because we were having family dinner on Sunday so that’s when we ate the cake.

 

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