Tuesday, December 25, 2012

D.O.A.'s Favorite Films of 2012

These were my favorite films this year:

1.    The Hunger Games



I went in not liking any of the casting and fearing they wouldn't get anything right.  Every character was perfect and I was drawn into the world as soon as the movie began.  I think they captured the essence of the games and the sickness of the society that promoted them.  I loved all three books and look forward to seeing the rest of the trilogy on film.


2.    The Hobbit



Brave Hobbit!  The original Hobbit adventurer was Bilbo, who finds his comfortable home invaded by dwarves and a wizard one day.  Despite his protests that he wants no part of any adventure he is soon on the road in their company, showing uncommon bravery for a person of any size.   I love the dwarves for their humor and determination.  Thorin Oakenshield is a great character.  It was nice to see Gandalf be a little less sure of himself.   The Goblin King was gloriously horrid.  Ack that fleshy beard of his....Radagast the Brown and his fleet of rabbits!!!!


3.   Lincoln



I just saw this today (12/29/12), but it moves right up the list.  A portrait of the last four months of Lincoln's life it shows him as everything you ever thought he was and more.  A storyteller, legal minded, precise, folksy, humanitarian to his deepest soul, honest to a fault when he chose to be.  I was taken by what a deep philosophical mind and soul he had.  His family problems with his wife and eldest son made him more endearing.  The political maneuvering in the House over the 13th amendment was really interesting to me who hates politics.  I knew the amendment passed but it certainly looked like an impossible task.  I wonder if representatives today toss out such amazing personal insults at each other in the course of debate. Historical movies with bad endings for the hero are hard for me to take.  I'm glad the film cheated and didn't show the assassination of Lincoln.  I had come to just love him over the length of the film and wouldn't have been able to look.

Here is a fun article showing the actors in the film and the real photographs of the historical figures.  Uncanny except for one person.  I spent time after the movie looking up Thadeus Stevens, Lincoln and Mary Lincoln to get an idea of what what their real lives were like.  Incredible lives.


4.   The Dark Knight Rises




I haven't minded the many actors playing Batman in recent years.  The character has sufficient depth so that he can be played with many subtle variations.   The character is almost understated compared to the villains who inhabit his world.  Bane of the Dark Knight rises wasn't an enjoyable villain for me.  He seemed to have the upper hand for most of the film and I'd prefer a fair fight.  Still, there were twists to the plot that made it a great Batman tale.   Anne Hathaway's Catwoman was a fine addition.   Albert, alas, of little faith.


5.   The Avengers



I had seen the movies of the individual characters and particularly liked Thor and Iron Man.  The Hulk was a pleasant surprise as a really intelligent, sensitive Bruce Banner who fought his big green demon.  I loved seeing them all working together.  Captain America stands out also as a man out of place in time but still determined to fight evil.  Just a very solid, noble guy.




6.  Prometheus



The film had so many echoes of Alien despite its being a prequel.   The aliens were so perfectly without emotion or care for what the old results of one of their experiments (us, presumably) might have to offer.  We were of no interest whatsoever.  The nasty spawning cave dwellers who had killed many of the super aliens...now THOSE were something.  It makes you wonder if they had just seen in early man the potential for a weapon.  To use against what?   Elizabeth Shaw, the tiny but insanely tough archeologist is luminous as she does extraordinary things to survive.

 

7.  Cloud Atlas


This convoluted tale within a tale running over multiple time periods is something I'm eager to see again to find what I missed as I struggled to figure out the plot.  And who was who when.  Lots of action, adventure and romance.

 

8.   Skyfall



I don't think Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever or that this is the best Bond movie ever, as the reviews have had it.   I think Craig is cool and suave but a bit humorless.  I did like his backstory and his attachment to Q.  As always, I like a hero who never swerves from doing what is right and what he is supposed to do.   I thought the villain whose name escapes me because he was such a cipher was again, too smart, had everything planned to the T, no failures to his plots, blah blah.


9. John Carter of Mars



Great adventure film. Pure golden age science fiction.  Spectacular bringing to life of an alien world and civilization.  The film should have been called a Princess of Mars after the Edgar Rice Burroughs book or at least John Carter of Mars after the character.   They felt this would not appeal to some audiences so they called it John Carter, told noone what the movie was about in any marketing, and complained about how much it cost to make.

View a trailer that shows the wonders of the film and the rich historical significance of Burroughs' story at http://thejohncarterfiles.com/

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Man of Steel

http://widgets.ign.com/video/embed/content.html?url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2012/12/11/man-of-steel-trailer


Superman has always been my favorite super hero.  I felt sorry for him losing his family, and happy for him gaining a wonderful foster family in the Kents.  He never swayed from doing the right thing in my years of reading comics, perhaps he has been changed in recent times to something less than heroic because true heroes are too boring.

We have a new trailer.  Life is dark and grim and Jonathan Kent tells Clark he may have made a mistake saving lives in a school bus crash rather than protecting his identity. 

Superman has a beard.  ????    Tell me he rubs his hand over his face and it goes away.

 

I'm getting the feeling Superman is being shown as a lonely outcast.  He doesn't have the strong moral upbringing the Kents gave him.  Would that be boring?

I don't mind Superman's legend being rebooted and rewritten, but I hope they don't take away the innate decency of the character.

 
 
 
Bad Bad Superman Outfit, Eek!
 
 

Make Your own Rebus!

One of my most popular posts is on Rebus making.  I admit they are fun.  You should make your own!

Go to http://www.festisite.com/text-layout/   and choose Rebus from the menu on the upper right.





Note the text box with pre-written nonsense.  You will replace this with your own typed or copy and pasted text.




From the menu at the bottom of the box choose a font, font size and switch the Paper from a4 to Letter.  


Your rebus box should look like this:




Click on Layout Text to see your Rebus:



 
So!  My rebus was way too big to just copy into paint then post here.  I cheated considerably by copy/pasting it into Word, reducing the font size from 45 to about 12 then I took a screen shot of each page in Word and pasted it into Paint.  Cropping once more then saving as a jpeg.   Try a shorter phrase is the lesson!


 Here is a new rebus site that is tricksier  http://www.myrebus.com/create


Click to Enlarge the Rebus!
 

 You'll never get this one, and not just because it is tiny.  Merry Christmas!
 
DOA



Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy End Times Day!

If you ever saw the movie "On the Beach"  you will recall the sad camera panning through an Australian town to the tune of "Waltzing Matilda" and this banner:




Since the eastern side of the world is still with us, we have to conclude that the Mayans were indeed presenting a calendar which shows us not at the end, but at the beginning of a new era.  There is still time for us to fix what is wrong and celebrate all that is right.  We can do it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DOA's Toss it in the Crockpot Stew



I make this stew mostly for my husband.  He likes it so much I feel guilty taking any away from him.  Maybe he just gets tired of his chips and dip now and then :)   I started out making my stew from cookbook recipes but they always had you browning the meat in something that resulted in a waxy layer of fat after refrigeration.  Ack.


Ingredients

One package stew meat

2 tablespoons flour

4 Russet Potatoes

4 stalks celery (the single branches not the whole "head")

4 large carrots

One Package Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion (both packets are used)

McCormick Brown or Herb Gravy Mix 4 packages

4 cups of water  (if you have 4 cups of juices from a roast you've cooked in the crockpot of 4 cups or Swanson Beef Broth you can use those)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place stew meat in a plastic bag with two tablespoons of flour to coat.  Put on a foil covered pan and bake to brown for 20 minutes.

Turn the crockpot on high.  Place liquid, Recipe Secrets, and gravy mix in and stir till well mixed.

Cut vegetables in small pieces.  About a 1/4 inch for celery and carrots.  I halve the potatoes then cut them again into wedges that are about 1/2 inch thick.   Toss the veggies in as you get them cut.  Stir stew with each addition.

Add stew meat.

Cook 9 hours on medium.   If you have time you can put on high for the first two hours and be ready in about seven hours.

You can also cook on the stovetop in a large pot for about an hour and a half or so, checking on the doneness of the veggies (soft when poked with a fork) and eat it much sooner.   You have to stir frequently howerever so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Far better to toss in the crockpot and away you go!

I took a picture of it with my iPod touch but it did not come out well to say the least.







Saturday, December 8, 2012

Card Making Ho Ho Ho

I am making my own Christmas cards for the first time.  I'm not sure what the recipients will think of them but it beats the Kmart specials I've been sending for the past few years. 

This is so much fun.  I have tons of papercrafting tools and have added Glitter, glitter glue and all sorts of other embellishments to my stash. 

I'll also include a picture of me and mine and a custom made Christmas Word Search to the package and delight city at the other end, right?




Merry Christmas!





S L I G H T S C D E E P N N L O L J S E
P A W M U E A E Y O U I R H A T Y G K V
K O M Z D R T R A T M E Y E M M N Y J Z
A U P T O A A U E E V L M J S I W N U I
M M S L S T E V J L Z T G Z K E Z O R Z
P E E A S I B J S T Y M S C Z H N I N R
F R T S R L R C Q S S X O Y T X L T J S
S R S E E H U H Z I C T R E F E D S S V
N Y S E I K O O C M S O R N A M E N T S
W S S R N O R Y S V L E J M B T A G S L
Z R G T D T W I A T G P R I G N H B T G
T A D R E C N S B N F K M H T K H P Q L
N J D Q E X A F A B R I D C K G K U G K
B P T R R N J M U Z O N G H U Y V V X W
V Z K S T H W E D C J N Y L L O H C M C
O B C A A Y C Y R I U M S R U P C M X D
H V B F O R U I J E X G C N G L J T Y N
W B T G H D T O T C F S B C Q D U X I D
A B W W V R D X M M I P U X M Z H P Z X
J C P H C T K R M A M F C V F N T K M F


CAROLERS CHIMNEY CHRISTMAS
COOKIES GIFTS HOLLY
LIGHTS MANGER MERRY
MISTLETOE ORNAMENTS PRESENTS
REINDEER RIBBON SANTA
SNOWMAN STAR STOCKINGS
TAGS TREE


Make your own Word Search:

http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/WordSearchSetupForm.asp


 
 
 
I loved my cards. They were received enthusiastically by two of the recipients and the rest were bleh.  Hmmpf.   I had a lovely time trying out different techniques.  I am going to keep making them anywho.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tantalizing Song Fragment



You may know that I have dabbled in scrapbooking for a few years now.  I confess I spend a bit more time treasure hunting for interesting page embellishments than I do composing actual pages. 

One of the things I love about scrapbooking is that any tiny scrap can help tell a story.  Note the teensy bit of old paper above with this bit of song on it.  Who wouldn't toss it?  Not me!  Not only does it give a flavor for a time period, it makes you wish you knew what song this is from. 

We get questions about half remembered songs and song lyrics all of the time.  Noone has ever confessed that their question arises from a teeny piece of paper like this, but you KNOW it happens.

I'm working on Christmas cards so the phrase "Toil the Merry Crew" caught my eye and I said hmmm maybe a Christmas song I can incorporate on a card.

Pre-Internet (yes there WAS SUCH A TIME!) you would have had to look through innumerable song books and indexes in the hope of finding this bit.  It is somewhat difficult even with the Internet because you have the end of two lines, not the beginning.  No problems for D.O.A.

First, I found that it was by Stephen Foster and spent some time looking through this long long list of his songs ( he has some really lovely love songs in there, a few a bit suggestive, I thought in surprise).
I just could not spot the phrase.

So I searched again and added the lines and Stephen Foster in my search and found this page which gave me the title and lyrics.




1.
The land of my home is flitting,
Flitting from my view;

A gale in the sails is sitting,
Toils the merry crew.
Here let my home be,
On the water wide:

I roam with a proud heart;
Maggie's by my side;
My own love, Maggie dear,
Sitting by my side
Maggie dear, my own love,
Sitting by my side.


2.
The wind howling o'er the billow
From the distant lea,
The storm raging 'round my pillow
Brings no care to me.
Roll on ye dark waves,
O'er the troubled tide;
I heed not your anger,
Maggie's by my side;
My own love, Maggie dear.
Sitting by my side;
Maggie dear, my own love,
Sitting by my side.


3.
Storms can appal me never
While her brow is clear;
Fair weather lingers ever
Where her smiles appear
When sorrow's breakers
'Round my heart shall hide,
Still may I find her
Sitting by my side.
My own love, Maggie dear.
Sitting by my side;
Maggie dear, my own love,
Sitting by my side.