Friday, September 27, 2013

Revolution Season 2 Premier

Just a quickie post before I fall behind   :)

The bombs hit Philadelphia and Atlanta and there seems to be some interaction between the fallout from that and the nanites that are everywhere.

The lights were on for 4 minutes.  This gave people hope that they could be turned on again permanently.

The President of the US who has been hiding out has made his way to the White House by mule cart.  One of his followers/staff arrived by ship to the place where Neville and his son are looking for the mom (aka Piece of Toast Lady) to rally everyone to the cause of the good ol' USA.  Neville is reinvigorated by hatred and he plans to get  revenge on the "patriots".

Charlie has gone off alone to find and presumably kill Monroe.  Her hair finally looks straggly as it should.

Rachel has gone all wimpy and self obsessed with guilt.  However she seems ready to openly be in love with Miles.  He is dodgey but hovers protectively nearby.

Aaron has found a nice woman and is in a relationship till her ex bursts in and slices him in two. Oops.  We see Aaron at the end of the show breathing in a deep lively breath though so, yo, nanites?

War Bands of total skag guys are raiding and killing people.  The Plains Nation isn't the snuggliest place on earth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Person of Interest

A new night and time for Person of Interest. 

They are taking a team approach to the show, and annoying Shaw wasn't quite as annoying as usual,  She just isn't a likeable character.  They're taking a bit of a lighthearted humorous approach to everyone and their abilities though so maybe I'll get used to her.

Carter has been busted to street cop.  Poor Carter.  On the plus side when not in uniform they're playing up how gorgeous she is, as well as being loyal and smart.  Don't open her closet.

Fusco remains a detective with a new partner who is "a bag of rocks" or something similar.  Fusco gets to be in disguise and defuse a bomb, a step up for him.

Finch and Bear are actively out on the streets, showing up just when needed.

Reese coordinates everyone and is the natural leader. For such a lonely man, he seems very happy to be leading this merry group.

Root is in an asylum with the most idiotic psychiatrist on the planet.  In every scene I just kept looking at the pencils on the desk and was expecting her to grab one and stick it in his throat.  When she finally did unleash on him, it was in a far more damaging way, since she knew (of course) all of his secrets and had made friends with his young daughter online as well.

The main case this week of a sailor in trouble with some bad guys over stolen uncut diamonds, meh, not very good at all though the actor who played the sailor was really cool and I wanted to see him added to the team.


Marvel: Agents of Shield

ABC's new series is off to an interesting start. 

A common but likeable man who is having some tough times turns out to have taken part in an experiment to augment his body.  He has super strength which allows him to save a woman from a burning building. 

Everyone in the area is filming the fire with their cell phones.  That certainly is realistic, that's what everyone does in a disaster situation now, right, get out their cell and start filming it for the news and social media?

One of those documenting the incident sees Mike drop from a high window to the street with a woman in his arms, both totally unharmed by the fall.  She stalks him in a very giddy and I thought creepy way, wanting him to come forward as a hero. 

Her name is Skye and she is a computer whiz living in a van who can hack into anything.  SHIELD turns out to be one of her main targets.

SHIELD of course, is all over her with a newly assembled team whose job it is to try to shield the public from knowing too much or having too many encounters with the mutants now among us.

The show takes just the right tone of humor, whiz bang action, high tech amazements while grounding the episode in very human stories like innocent Mike trying to take care of his young son and doing desperate things to keep everything together.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sleepy Hollow: Blood Moon

While not so frenetic as the pilot, the first episode of Sleepy Hollow was excellent and scarier by far!  Ichabod dreams of the Four Horsemen and his wife Katrina. 

He learns that the leader of the evil coven which inhabits Sleepy Hollow, Serilda of Abaddon seeks to return to life.

She has help from that hapless Pawn of Evil, John Cho's Andy Dunn.  Andy awakens from death with his head still impossibly bent down his back, and boy does he have trouble seeing where to walk!  Yikes!  The Smoky looking Beast snaps his head back into place and Andy heads off to do his bidding, muttering about some people being ungrateful and not being sooo helpful all the way.


He finds and names the victims for the witch, as she needs ashes from the ancestors of those who weakened her so she could be burnt at the stake. 

Serilda is one one scary woman in life and in death.  In life, her eyes were black slates, and in death, she is a lithe, ragged, burnt creature who transports from spot to spot closing in on, then burning her victim to turn them to ash.  I had my shirt ready to put over my eyes as she stalked a little boy in a darkened house.

Andy Dunn is not the only dead character who comes back to life.  In an interview I read, Ichabod aka Tom Mison says you can never tell who will die and who will return to life in Sleepy Hollow.

We have two covens then:  Serilda's and the Sisterhood of the Radiant Heart which I think must have been lead by Ichabod's beloved Katrina, now trapped "between worlds".   Good to know she isn't just helpful, but powerful, though her powers are limited if she can only appear in dreams.

We briefly meet Abby's sister Jenny at the end of the episode.  While Abby has dealt with her childhood brush with evil by burying the memory, her sister fully embraced the encounter with evil and has been in an asylum ever since.  She seems completely sane when we see her, doing pushups and pullups in her room to stay buff and ready to fight.  She reminds me of Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  She also sees the Beast in a reflection in her window.  We don't know if he is a regular visitor or if he is coming now because things are heating up in Sleepy Hollow.

I enjoyed the episode.  Ichabod Crane is an intelligent man in an impossible situation.  The fact that he is a soldier and a spy who was investigating possibly supernatural events in his own time for someone like George Washington helps him adjust to his new circumstances more quickly than someone else would.  I enjoy the scenes from Revolutionary times.  It is very cool that he can know about the network of underground tunnels under Sleepy Hollow and secret rooms in buildings because he used them himself in his duties.

Abby is just the right mix of hard cop and wounded inner person who wants to believe and wants to do the right thing.  She is determined to do what is right no matter what that involves personally or professionally.  Her big heart serves her and us well.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week

Every year we look at the books which have been banned, removed or requested for removal from libraries everywhere. 

We often put up displays of these books and everyone is fascinated, and can't believe that the very books they enjoy reading and that their kids love are the most targeted by someone, someplace who wants to have a say in what others read.

One year I put up a display of the books and decorated it with a roll of that Do not cross: police line tape.  Someone was offended by that! 

Read read read, everyone!  Let your children read what engages their hearts, minds and imaginations and don't personally ban them from enriching themselves.

Read More about it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Premier: Awakened

Official Site

Yo ho! Off to a swashbuckling, head rolling good start! 

Ichabod Crane, still lanky but handsome as anything with a British accent is helping a most cryptic and mysterious George Washington track down a man in the Hudson Valley of 1781.  The man finds him, riding right for Crane on a monstrous white horse, a mask over his face, an enormous axe in hand.

Failing to kill him by shooting the man as he closes in, Crane desperately beheads him with his sword.  The killer takes a swing at Crane, slicing his abdomen open and both fall to the ground.  Semi-conscious, Crane sees the massive fellow get up, headless, and mount his horse to ride away.

Crane awakens in a dank cave, partially buried but he's alive.  He's in modern day Sleepy Hollow.  A local policeman has been beheaded and Crane's story of Revolutionary War times and working for George Washington make him an immediate and convenient suspect.

What I learned from the opening episode:

Don't lose your head over any character because they're likely to be dead by episode's end.

There are two covens of witches in Sleepy Hollow and beyond.  One is good and one is evil.

Two witnesses will work over a period of seven years to keep the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from entering the world.

Abbie's partner has secret files he had been keeping trying to piece together of unexplained events over time in Sleepy Hollow.

The Headless Horseman has an agenda, more than just getting his shrinky glowing head back.

As in any really good scary tale, you can't tell who the good guys and bad guys are.

The episode went really fast and I can't wait for next week's episode!  Scary, great characters, fast paced!  Abbie Mills, the tough female cop and Ichabod Crane, professor of history and adventurer are a great pair.

Map of Sleepy Hollow

About the Show from the Official Site:

Welcome to SLEEPY HOLLOW, the thrilling new mystery-adventure drama from co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the “Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises, “Fringe”).

In this modern-day twist on Washington Irving's classic, ICHABOD CRANE (Tom Mison, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod quickly realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is but the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and only one of the many formidable foes that Ichabod must face to protect not only Sleepy Hollow, but the world.

As Ichabod finds himself in 2013's Sleepy Hollow, he discovers a town he no longer recognizes and grapples to understand. Teaming up with Lt. ABBIE MILLS (Nicole Beharie, “42,” “The Good Wife,” “Shame”), a young cop who has her own supernatural experiences, the two embark on a mission to stop the evil that has awoken along with Ichabod and that now is seeping into this once-sleepy town.

Clues from the past enlighten mysteries in the present, as each episode features a flashback to Ichabod's life in 1776. Ripe with untold stories from American history and cloaked in mythology, the divide between present and past becomes dangerously blurred. Lives are in the balance, including that of Ichabod's late wife, KATRINA (Katia Winter, “Dexter”), who is trapped in a mysterious netherworld. In his pursuit to save her, Ichabod uncovers secrets about her, leaving him with countless questions.

Not everyone believes Ichabod's tales of 1776 and supernatural evils, especially the new head of Abbie's police precinct, Captain FRANK IRVING (Orlando Jones, “The Chicago 8,” “Drumline”). When faced with bizarre events he can't explain, Capt. Irving reluctantly turns to Ichabod and Abbie to investigate.

Ichabod's extensive first-hand knowledge of our country's hidden history, coupled with Abbie's superior profiling and modern threat assessment skills, make them a formidable duo. The complex pasts of the pair, from Ichabod's inclusion in the powerful and secretive Freemasons Society to Abbie's childhood visions, will help them solve the intricate puzzles of Sleepy Hollow in order to protect its – and the world's – future. As history repeats itself, the oddly-linked pair will draw on the real stories and secrets this nation was founded on in their quest to stop an increasingly vicious cycle of evil.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How to Snuggle Down for the Duration: Householding

A post from Susan Wittig Albert on Facebook sharing a site on how to make Homemade Extracts reminded me of a post I've been meaning to put up. 

How to make Homemade Extracts  from the Commonsense Homesteading blog illustrates the thinking that you can and should return to the idea of a household which operates organically with your garden and the community resources that allow you to live simply and in a better way.  That is my explanation.

If you're a gardener, this opens up all sorts of possibilities for you to be creative beyond the practical aspects of growing and preserving foods.  You can use what you grow in so many ways. 

I haven't had time to dig in and read all about it myself yet, but the long cool winter this year can be spent planning my garden for next year with some added dimensions and possibilities.  These are some of the books I jotted down to read:

Householders Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest

Homeward Bound: why women are embracing the new domesticity by Emily Matchar

Backyard Winter gardening Vegetables by Caleb Warner

Barnheart the incredible longing for a farm by  Jenna Woginrich

The Dirty life: a memoir of farming, food and love by Kristin Kimball

Made from scratch discovering the pleasures of a handmade life by Jenna Woginrich

I'm sure there are plenty more, and I could be a fiend and request the old Foxfire series from my library.

Since my ancestors were farmers, this will tie in nicely with my family history scrapbooks and help me appreciate the lives those folks led so that I can bring them to life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ironside Pilot (NBC)

I sat in my easy chair for a bit this evening watching the pilot for  the new series Ironside on my iPod.

There were a few fuzzy scenes but most came through really clearly.  At first I thought it a bit gritty and violent for my taste, but soon Blair Underwood as Robert Ironside won me over.  He is a really tough guy and seems to have no trouble taking down most bad guys with a little help from his team.  They are all young, but they seemed dedicated, smart, funny in some cases.

Ironside is a good team leader (he also coaches hockey).  He uses his assistants well.  Contrasted with Ironside's tendency to whomp on people is his tendency to get all smooshy eyed over an innocent victim.   That won me over right there.  As long as the guy cares I guess he can whomp on people if he needs to.

There are a few relationship complexities to explore:

The guilt of his ex-partner.

The odd relationship he has with his boss.

Spencer Grammer as Holly seems to have a fond relationship with a weirdo fat guy in a car.  Looks like a gang boss.  Knows more than he ought to about weird sex.

I thought the sister of a dead girl was quite compelling as an actress.  I think she also played her dead sister, if so, most interesting.

The premier is October second. You can watch the pilot and see what you think now:

Side note there were intriguing commercials for Revolution included.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Molly Murphy: Murphy's Law

Our mystery book group is discussing Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen in the morning.  I read my first copy from the library and have bought all subsequent volumes.  The series is set in New York City at the beginning of the last century.

Molly is on the run from her home after pushing away the landowner's son, who falls and gashes his head.   She makes her way to Dublin and tries to find work, looking over her shoulder every minute for the pursuing police.  Just as they close in on her she is saved by a very ill woman who pretends Molly is her sister.

The woman is dying and though she has passage to America for herself and children, she knows that she will not be allowed to leave the ship in America, if she lives long enough to get there to bring the children to her husband.  She begs Molly to go in her place, making the ship's passage as herself, bringing the young children to her husband who has been trying to make a living in America.

On the ocean voyage Molly gains the attention of a ratty man who is killed.  She comes under suspicion for the grisly crime though there is no real evidence.  Brought before Captain Daniel Sullivan of the New York Police Dept., she struggles to remain logical and composed, not letting her famously sharp tongue get the better of her.  She is certain that her crime in Ireland will catch up with her as well and that she'll be sent back home to an execution.

Desperately coming up with other scenarios and suspects, Molly impresses the Captain who releases her. 

New York City for new immigrants proves to be a hardscrabble life, with people packed into apartments.  Seamus's cousin Nuala instantly dislikes Molly so Molly takes to the winter streets looking for work and still trying to solve the onboard crime.

Always looking for work, always digging deeper into the crime that now crossed two oceans, Molly finds herself learning the ropes quickly and enjoying the company of the captain who reluctantly listens to her theories.

I first read this right after visiting Ireland and have been charmed by Molly and her keen wit and big heart ever since.

Rhys Bowen is very active on Facebook  and on her personal blog   She also writes with seven other popular mystery authors on the Jungle Red Writers blog

You can find links to these on her web site

There are three series by Bowen:
The Constable Evans Series

Set in a bucolic Welsh highlands town of Llanfair.  Everyone in the town shares the last name Evans and each title plays on the name as if it were spelled "heaven".

Evans Above
Evan Help Us
Evanly Choirs
Evan and Elle
Evan Can Wait
Evans to Betsy
Evan Only Knows
Evan's Gate
Evan Blessed
Evanly Bodies

I read the first of these long ago, and was not pleased with everyone having the same name for some reason, and perhaps I wasn't fond of the characters.  I saw someone else on Amazon compare these to the Hamish Macbeth series by M. C. Beaton, but setting aside, the character is not the lazy, smirky Hamish character. 

Molly Murphy Mysteries

An excellent historical mystery series set in early New York City.  You get a real flavor for the times.  Molly has terrific side characters to help her solve her mysteries and provide connections in society she would not have as a new immigrant.  The romance between Molly and Daniel Sullivan plays out wonderfully over the series.  Molly's detection skills improve over time enough to get her the attention of some very high placed men in law enforcement.  Over time her past and "The Troubles" in Ireland reach across the ocean to give further depth to this brave young woman.  I buy these and read them as soon as they arrive :)

Murphy's Law
Death of Riley
For the Love of Mike
In Like Flynn
Oh Danny Boy
In Dublin's Fair City
Tell Me Pretty Maiden
In a Gilded Cage
The Last Illusion
The Amersham Rubies
Bless the Bride
The Family Way
City of Darkness and Light (upcoming title)

Her Royal Spyness

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in succession for the throne and penniless, often hires herself out as a maid to the wealthy in order to make ends meet.  She is able to do some favors for the Queen herself in her disguise, and learn about 1930s British Society that she may not have access to otherwise. Glamour, romance and a bit of the "caper" film quality to the stories.

Her Royal Spyness
A Royal Pain
Royal Flush
Royal Blood
Naughty in Nice

If you enjoyed the Molly Murphy series, I highly recommend

Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries

Set at about the same time period as Molly in New York City, Sarah Brandt's adventures as a midwife in the lower quarters of the city contrast with her being the daughter of one of New York's wealthiest men. 

Shirley Tallman's  Sarah Woolsen Mysteries take place in 1880's San Francisco.  Sarah comes from a family of lawyers and is one herself, striving to find employ as the first woman lawyer in the city.  She is absolutely committed to being successful in her career.  The city of San Francisco at that time (and all times!) is exciting, as are her adventures.

The first of these is:

Murder on Nob Hill

Kathy Lynn Emerson's Diana Spaulding Mysteries

Set in 1880s New York Diana is a reporter for a small paper in a time when "yellow journalism" was rampant and papers vied to write the most outrageous stories possible.   I think there are only three of these and Emerson writes a more well known series the Face Down Mystery series set in 16th century England.

Dianne Day's Fremont Jones Mysteries beginning with The Strange Files of Fremont Jones     Fremont is able to make a business for herself and solve mysteries as a capable "type-writer" using the new machine in early 1900s San Francisco.  Richly immersive of that city and the times.

Further reading!

19th Mysteries in Series from Williamsburg Regional Library

Historical Mysteries with Women Sleuths

Monday, September 9, 2013

DOA in the Kitchen: Caprese Salad Returneth

I made Caprese Salad once before after seeing it roll by on Facebook. You know how that goes.  It is such simple ingredients but such a wonderful flavor!

I finally have some medium sized tomatoes RIPE from my garden but I am crushed as they are mushy and near tasteless.  Good thing I keep such good garden notes because those aren't going in again.  It needs to look like a tomato, smell like a tomato, TASTE LIKE A TOMATO.  Sheesh.

I thought that I could try using them up in the Caprese salad and the robust flavors of that salad would compensate.  I was right!  They were great.  Lovely.

I followed the Pioneer Woman's recipe with the balsamic vinegar reduction. It stinks like a pot of ammonia cooking on the stove, but when it is nice and glazy the taste is a delicately sweet taste, utterly transformed. That last time I reduced it too much, this time too little.  Too much is better!

This time I had my pretty but mushy tomatoes, some really nice sliced Mozzarella fresh basil and that lovely vinegar.  I used the leaves whole this time but they did taste better sliced into the salad the last time so I'd go that route.

When is the last time you actually found yourself craving a salad?