Thursday, August 07, 2008

July Books and Movies

Is there anything better in this world than super high humidity? Which brings along with it that nice sticky feeling when you're just trying to sleep? And makes putting on make-up extra fun because your face is sweating, to say nothing of your head. Oh, the joys of summer in Michigan. The good news is that it's supposed to be gone by tomorrow, and I have to say that the weather forecasters have been pretty darn good this year at guessing when the humidity would be leaving us, at least so far. And compared to the previous two summers, the humidity has been short-lived – a couple of days here, a couple of days there. This past weekend was absolutely perfect! 82F and low humidity on Saturday had me sitting outside (after walking up to Michael's to buy kitchen cotton yarn) for five hours. It was gorgeous! I put on my cancer-causing sunscreen and sat out on the front lawn (I don't have a backyard) knitting a potholder & dishcloth for my friend Marianne, occasionally stopping knitting to read a book. It was perfect.

So, you all know I'm a vegetarian and have been for many years, right? Well, I've never made the switch to soy milk, even though regular cow's milk isn't supposed to be good for you, to say nothing of it being "stolen" from the cows, etc. Now, I'm not a vegan and have no real intentions of becoming one as I love ice cream, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc., but the whole soy milk thing is supposed to be better for you. Well, I tried soy milk years ago when I lived in San Francisco. I bought the regular soy milk, poured it over my Cheerios, took one or two bites and then proceeded to pour the whole mess down the sink (I actually had a garbage disposal in SF – very exciting), including the entire half gallon. And didn't try it again until this past week. This time I bought the Vanilla flavored stuff, and while I have been able to get through an entire bowl of cereal, I have to say that I am not enamoured. It's too sweet. And if I allow myself to think about it, I think it could be gag-inducing.

I had talked to a guy at work and he recommended trying it again, but he apparently told me to try the Edensoy, but I had bought the Trader Joe's brand. What do you all think? Should I try the Edensoy or just go back to my non-fat, lactose-free milk? I'm actually also wondering what I should do about milk needed for a dinner type item – you know, Cream of Asparagus soup which needs a can of milk? I'm pretty that the vanilla flavoring isn't going to work there.

I have an addiction and it's getting out of hand…no, not yarn (although that has definitely gotten out of hand). No, my addiction is to blank books, of any type and size, but especially small ones which ostensibly will fit in a purse. At this precise moment I have THREE in the purse I'm carrying, one in the purse I carried for the past year, (remember my fabulous orange purse? That one.), and a whole bunch one bookshelves and in closets, etc. It's insane. Does anybody else have an addiction to something like this?

I won't be around tomorrow as I have signed up to do community service at the Detroit Zoo. I'll take any chance to be outside in August, especially if it's officially sanctioned by work!

On to Books and Movies read/watched in July.


#32-#38 of the Nancy Drew Series written by Carolyn Keene: The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (179 pages), The Witch Tree Symbol (179 pages), The Hidden Window Mystery (179 pages), The Haunted Showboat (184 pages), The Secret of the Golden Pavilion (184 pages), The Clue in the Old Stagecoach (180 pages), and The Mystery of the Fire Dragon (182 pages). They're Nancy Drew books, you know how they are – nice, quick, easy reads.

The Shining Mountain by Peter Boardman from The Boardman Tasker Omnibus - 185 pages – This was an account of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker's expedition to climb Changabang, a mountain in the Indian Himalayas. According to Wikipedia, "Changabang was first climbed on June 4, 1974 by an expedition led by Lt. Col Balwant Sandhu and Chris Bonington, via the Southeast Face, leading to the East Ridge. This is the easiest route on the mountain, and one of the few that is primarily a snow/ice climb, as opposed to a rock climb with some snow, ice, or mixed terrain.[2] Other notable ascents include some of the hardest climbs ever done in the Himalaya. The first of these is the ascent of the West Face by Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker in 1976. The route took over 25 days to ascend, and their use of big wall climbing techniques to overcome the serious, sustained difficulties was revolutionary.[2]" I found a book club on-line which read this book back in 2003 and part of the discussion was that it was a very technical book and that non-mountain climbers might have a problem with it. I don't remember having a problem with it, but I've also been reading mountain climbing books for a good 12 years.

Everest the Cruel Way by Joe Tasker – 165 pages – This was an account of an unsuccessful expedition made to Everest by a smallish British group of climbers in winter. It discussed the personality clashes that occur with close living over a period of months in an inhospitable area/situation. I found this story interesting because included in this expedition were the Burgess Twins who I had heard about, but had not yet come across in any of my mountaineering books. I really need to pick up their book(s). They are supposed to be simply outrageous.

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer – 391 pages – I'm a big fan of the Artemis Fowl series, so I had to pick this one (book 6) up. I even let the YS take the latest Janet Evanovich book to Arizona because I knew I was going to read AF6 first. Apparently, Mr. Colfer isn't going to write anymore AF books at least for a few years, because all the loose ends have been wrapped up. Whatever. I hope that means he's going to work on his Half Moon Investigations series, because I enjoyed the one of those he has written so far. I won't compare AF to Harry Potter because a lot of people seem to diss HP w/o even having read them (simply because they were popular), but they are written for Young People, technically. Artemis Fowl is a brilliant 14 year old who somehow discovered fairies and interacts with them. It's not all fairy dust and rainbows coming out of …well, wherever…they're more intense than that. I'm terrible at describing books, obviously. I definitely think that they're worth at least checking out from the library, if you're thinking "Fairies? Eeewww." There's also a dirt-eating dwarf with an explosive backside, a mastermind Centaur named Foaly and all sorts of other evil and non-evil Pixies, etc.

This is getting ridiculous, it's taking me three days to write one post!!!


7/2 - The Holiday (DVR) – 2006 – This movie was cute, but I really didn't think that they developed the relationship between Cate Winslet and Jack Black all that well. I mean, it was obvious he was better than the twit back in England, but damn near anybody would have been. Schmuck. I think Cameron Diaz has Tom Cruise Syndrome (no, not that she's a crazy-ass Scientologist), but that she plays herself in every movie. She annoyed me in this movie, a little bit. But all in all, it's a cute, romantic comedy. Not sure I'd bother buying it unless I can get it for $5.

7/3 - Z (N) – 1969 – I don't think I was in the mood for a French political thriller about a Greek assassination on the day I watched this, because I remember not being very into it. However, as I look back on it, I realise it was a very good movie – just bloody depressing. Governmental corruption is just not a fun time.

7/3/ - The Double Life of Veronique (N) – 1991 – Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski did an incredible job on this film, which is saying something since I couldn't stand his White of the Blue, White, Red Trilogy. Okay, here's where I confess that I never knew he directed all three movies of the trilogy. I liked Blue & Red, so I guess White was the aberration for me. The premise of Veronique is that there are two women of the same name and identical appearance, but one living in Poland and the other in France. They're both musical and somehow their lives are entwined psychically – but not in a cheesy way. The film first follows Polish Veronique and then goes onto French Veronique. I would say that this is actually a good French film and not too depressing (which is saying something).

7/4 – Rear Window – It was playing on TCM, so how could I not watch it? Yeah, I know I own it, but there's still something special about finding it (or anybody great movie you own) on TV. I'll stop every time I find An Affair to Remember, as well.

7/4 – The Music Man – This played on TCM directly after Rear Window. It had been a long time since I had seen The Music Man and it's still a lot of fun, even the annoying mayor's daughter with her "Egods" every time she opened her mouth.

7/6 - Contempt (DFT) – 1963 – The review in the link cracks me up with its first line about this being a "superlative film." Remember above when I saw that Veronique was actually a good French film, and not too depressing. This is an example of a bad and depressing French film. I have no idea why film critics love it. When I mentioned to my friend BST that I was going to go and see it and asked if he wanted to go as well, he said, "I'd rather eat glass than see that horrible movie again." Yeah, his remarks gave me pause, but I figured what the heck. I like to judge things for myself sometimes. I went with my friend Richard who is the sole subscriber to Katflix, what he calls the fact that I lend him movies to watch. The difference between Netflix and Katflix is that with Netflix you get to pick the movies you want and you have to pay while Katflix is free (I just like the idea of someone other than me watching my movies, although Richard usually pays for my dinner when we make the Great Katflix Exchange) and the CEO of Katflix picks what movies you get. Anyway, as we left the theatre, I just had to laugh because it was that horrible. Richard said, "I was really hoping that scene in the apartment could have lasted an hour." Honest to God, the best part of the whole movie was Fritz Lang playing himself. So, if the opportunity presents itself to you to see Contempt, I wouldn't do it, unless it's completely free and you had absolutely nothing better to do.


Fermi pointed out that I forgot to list a Book/Movie of the Month, which goes to show you that I shouldn't do anything when I'm in a hurry.

Book of the Month: Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
Movie of the Month: The Double Life of Veronique

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At Thursday, 07 August, 2008, Blogger Evil Twin's Wife said...

You've been busy! I actually got my yarn out in July and knit a coaster! What a huge project - LOL.

At Thursday, 07 August, 2008, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

That's the most spectacular misspelling of 'movies' I've ever seen! Congratulations.

I think you've asked me twice if I've ever read Artemis Fowl books and I never answered because I wasn't sure and intended to find out (was thinking Fowl was possibly the name of the author of something I read. I know now that I have not. But I'll see what my library has to offer.

At Thursday, 07 August, 2008, Blogger Rick said...

I don't remember if I've tried the Trader Joe's vanilla soy milk (I know I haven't tried EdenSoy), but I used to drink 8th Continent, which is quite sweet. I'm currently drinking Whole Foods vanilla, which is not as sweet, and is also fairly cheap (compared to Silk, etc) at $2.49 for a half-gallon. You might give that a try.

At Thursday, 07 August, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

OK, I can deal with the whole vegetarian thing. I tend to think vegans are just nuts (there's almost an unintended pun in there, sorry) so I'll ask- What's wrong with drinking cow's milk?

I recall having a discussion on the Surf Report about this with someone who wasn't you last fall. His arguments were based on very, very shoddy science. Anyway...

I might pick up the Artemis Fowl books just based on reviews.

I won't watch any French movies because they're French.

And while I liked The Music Man in general, the movie brings back memories of a humanities class with a professor that I really disliked.

At Thursday, 07 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

ETW - And I didn't even mention the knitting I did. Or the yarn buying.

FWG - Can you tell I was in a hurry to post this and get out of here? Oops. The books are fun, I think you'll enjoy them.

Rick - Cool. Thanks...of course, there's not a Whole Foods anywhere near me.

Jorge - I'm not a rabid vegetarian, i.e., I don't force my ideas on others, except about veal. I have high cholesterol, so it's not good for that. Not all French movies are bad - you should check out Amelie - even people who don't like French films like Amelie. Stop by the apt., I'll lend you the AF books.

At Friday, 08 August, 2008, Blogger Rick said...

No Whole (Paycheck) Foods near you? How is that possible?

You might try Silk, then - I don't remember it being very sweet, but I have a very sweet tooth, so YMMV.

(this is Rick in CT, btw - I signed in with my Google ID, and it chose to call me just "rick")

At Friday, 08 August, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

What, no book and/or movie of the month this time? Slacker. :P

Humidity is 'situation normal' in these parts. It is rare to get a summer day without wet, heavy air.

My mom (not a vegetarian) drinks soy milk. She likes really sweet stuff, so I won't bother asking her about some not-sweet soy milk. Although maybe she could tell me which ones weren't sweet enough...

At Friday, 08 August, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I thought the problem was if man didn't milk cows, the cows would be in extreme pain. My father lived on a farm and he said you couldn't skip a day without milking or well, see above. lol

I personally think the vegan thing is going way crazy. I love milk though and HATE soymilk. Plus, I'm into cooking. There's no substitute in recipes for cream or half 'n half or milk that would have the same flavor. Gosh, and buttermilk, I have so many recipes that call for buttermilk.

And wait, butter??? No butter? No way.

I think there's being vegan and then there's being like totally over the top nuts. Just like with being a conservationist. There's people like me, then there's those who only bathe in rainwater and wipe with corn cobs.

Anyhow, blank books. Kathleen, this is very odd. You have found one of my secret little oddities. I have two blank books in my purse right now. =/

At Friday, 08 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Rick - I figured it was you, but your blue link didn't go anywhere. Nope, we get nothing even remotely cool in Dearborn.

Fermi - Mea culpa. I was a hurry to post and get to the zoo. I didn't have time to think. Humidity - just another reason not to live in FL or ATL. I'd laugh if she said Trader Joe's wasn't sweet enough.

Beth - Do you actually ever write in them? I'm a city/suburb girl, I know nothin' 'bout milkin' no cows. Oooh, I do love butter. I just couldn't be vegan, regardless of my cholesterol level. ;-)

At Saturday, 09 August, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

This is coming from a milk fiend of course, but don't use soy milk for cream of asparagus soup...please. "The Double Life of Veronique" is one of my faves...and of course "White" is my favorite of the "Three Colors" trilogy.

At Sunday, 10 August, 2008, Anonymous Suzy said...

It used to drive my ex crazy that I'd stop and watch a movie that was on TV when we actually owned it. I still do it - I'd watch "An Affair to Remember" too - and can't explain why I don't just put in the movie I have!

Have you tried rice milk? Anything soy in my experience is gross. My sister had to have soy formula as a baby and I still remember the smell. ~shudder~

At Sunday, 10 August, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Jason - Yes, I know that White is your favorite and to this day I don't understand it. Oh, don't worry, I'd never use soy milk for Cream of Asparagus soup.

Suzy - That's what a friend at work recommended as well. I think I will try rice milk next.

At Monday, 11 August, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Cows do become engorged if not milked... I'm not sure if it causes them that much pain though... but I do know that milking doesn't.

As for it not being good for you, you might even want to look into raw milk. I've seen a lot of studies that show that pasteurizing kills the good enzymes which are needed to digest the milk.

Go to and browse around if you want.

At Tuesday, 12 August, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I bought the regular soy milk, poured it over my Cheerios, took one or two bites and then proceeded to pour the whole mess down the sink (I actually had a garbage disposal in SF – very exciting), including the entire half gallon.

Soy milk + cereal = very, very bad. the two do not belong in the same room together, much less the same bowl.

Oh, and I don't go anywhere without something to write with and on. So I get your blank books addiction.

Funny, I couldn't stand White either although I really liked Red.

At Wednesday, 13 August, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

I've never had soy milk, unsophisticated working-class clod that I am...

Give Z another chance sometime. It's a fascinating movie. A knowledge of the 1967 Greek coup helps, but is not necessary.

At Wednesday, 13 August, 2008, Blogger kenju said...

Kathleen, thanks for the visit and gimme a high-five for the comment!! I was just countering what sleezymark (or someone) said about liberals - but it's true!


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