Sunday, June 26, 2005

Weekend in the Rural - away from Urban

the weekend so far at my parents' upstate been dandy. guaranteed good food. Friday night, we went to Albany to meet my brother for some tapas at a wine bar. I don't even remember when I last ate out in Albany. 10, 15 years maybe. took a glimpse at my bro's new house - a cozy house with not one, but TWO back porches. One upstairs and one on ground level. *sigh*. And there's the large and insulated basement where my brother can bang away at his drum set and pick at his guitar without bothering the neighbors.

weather's been insufferable outside. Least it's a large and old Victorian house with fans on around the clock and curtains drawn shut during the day. Much more comfortable than my cramped apartment in Hell's Kitchen where not much air can move around. I'm only happy that I'm experiencing the weather out here in the valley with free moving air and trees as opposed to fuming NYC sidewalk and sharing CO2 with folks at the Central Park.

Today we celebrated my grandfather's 91st birthday. He still looks good and has been weathering some physical ailments for several years now. Course some of his organs are getting older and slower. Need some tweaking here and there. He's like the Energizer Bunny with some parts fixed. Several winters ago, mom went up to Saratoga to visit him and found him on the roof of his house shoveling some snow. Spry old dude. He's now banned doing those tasks and my uncle who lives nearby is on the standby should my grandmother report grandfather's jonesing to fix something.

Some relatives came over with their usual yummy dishes and I didn't chat much. Mostly minded my nephews and kept myself cool in the pool swatting at the gnats. Ate and swam so much that I passed out on the couch after everyone left and slept soundly for 3 hours. Afterwards, watched some TV (caught 'The Terminal'. Has an awww factor. Sweet movie. awww) and now this before I hit the sack and read some of Lucy Maud Montgometry's short stories. It's refreshing from reading scripts for the community play and research for my upcoming MET tour. I tried to wrap my head around Issac Asimov's Foundation series. I think my head is still with Dune and Harry Potter. I finished "Heretics of Dune" and is skimming "The Order of the Phoenix" before the sixth HP book is released on July 16. I promised self that when August rolls around after the MET tour and the play ends, Ill treat self to "Dune Chapterhouse". Then will try to read Foundation again (mainly cos I liked I, Robot the movie. I know, I know; movies derived from novels are nothing like the original).

Stay cool - don't wilt.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Feck. Now I'm the only member of my family who has a fire escape that qualifies as a backyard. Hell, the fire escape is so rusty that a person cannot stand on it without having second thoughts to linger several more moments.

Older sister and younger brother bought a house within a month of each other. A backyard with a back porch.

(As Cartman) You bastards!

Resist urge to pull up stakes in NYC and find a shack by the Hudson River...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Is one of the most entertaining films I've seen in quite a while.. Not since Kung Fu Hustler. Well, that's a whole different genre, but that is one mind blowing film. Advise to bring a friend to be each other's mental buffer.

Back to Sky Captain. It's one of the numerous Jude Law films (okay may be a tad biased in this) released within a month over the winter I think. It's out on DVD and boy did I vee! Rounding out the cast are Gynweth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribiosi and Angelina Jolie. I won't go much into details - the movie is set in 1930s with plenty of CGI. Very good CGI as opposed to George Lucas' shiny and candied ones in the Star Wars prequels. Very dark, film noir type, soft shadowing and colors. The shots and editing made me feel nostalgic for 1930s and 40s films such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. Jude with the Sky Captain's heroic countenance, Giovanni as the "no problem will get to it" catchphrase, Gyn's being feisty and throwing smouldering looks, and Angie's uh commanding position (was kinda disappointed with her portrayal of an otherwise interesting character).

Worth renting, it is.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Back to work = Splat?

Had a nice 5 day weekend including a day at the beach (first sunburn of the summer, woo hoo!) and having tapas with a pitcher of sangria.

this morning as I prepared myself for my first day back to work, my untied bag of rice fell out of the cupboard as I dislodged the cereal box. The untied bag of rice landed directly onto the plate of fried egg.

I washed off the egg gook from the bag, and ate the flattened fried egg. Will now clear off the scattered rice from the counter top. There's still bits of egg yolk and pepper on the side of my coffee mug.

Methinks it is an ominous start of the day.....

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Baking is Good For You

Feel a bit more ease with the world. I've cracked open Karen Duff's "A Slob in the Kitchen" cookbook. Over the weekend I made Baked Zucchini. Not bad. 10 baby zucchinis (the store had medium sizes so I improvised by buying 5 fat ones and chopped 4 1/2), 5 whole plum tomatoes, one small onion, with salt, pepper and thyme to season. 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Half on the bottom of baking dish and the other half to drizzle. Bake for about 30 minutes. Makes great leftovers (I'm a big leftover eater) . Rice or pasta complement the dish well. *urp* Most vegetables aren't good leftovers as they can become soggy from being in the fridge after several days, nevertheless the zucchini remained firm and tomatoes squishy. Nice.

Tonight - I baked Baking Powder biscuits. The ingredients consisted of flour, baking powder, salt, milk and butter; knead the dough, use a juice cup to cut biscuit holes and plop them onto an ungreased baking sheet and in the oven they go, for approx 13 minutes. Three biscuits topped with margarine and jam are sitting comfortably in my tummy. They'll make a decent breakfast in the morning, yes sir. I bought a small block of Amish Store's homemade butter (didn't need to buy 4 sticks in a pack at this time).. It's super salty yet gives the biscuits a good punch.

I grew up on Campbell's Soup and couple of pasta recipes Mom made (tuna noodle casserole and beef stronagoff) included Campbell's. They're easy to make and again, delicious leftovers. Sarah is always amused whenever I make them and surprised me one day by giving me a Campbell cookbook. All recipes with a Campbell's soup. My particular fave so far is broccoli with chicken cream. Leftovers. Yum.

Anne Bancroft - RIP

Anne Bancroft passed away Monday night at age 73 of uterine cancer. I've seen very few of her movies including her memorable role as Holly Hunter's mother in Home for the Holidays and as the infamous Mrs Robinson (which she bemoans that she is better known for rather than as Anne Sullivan from the Miracle Worker) in The Graduate.

I got a glimpse of her in Southampton one year. A thin eldery woman wearing cotton pants, cardigan, old lady style open toed shoes with white stocking walked past me. What struck me was her iron grey hair in a blunt bob with a shock of white hair parted in the middle and large sunglasses. She looked awfully familiar. I went into the store nearby and spotted Mel Brooks. *gasp* put two and two together.. two famous people in less than five minutes. way cool.

Anne Bancroft, a hard working woman with a steady 50 year career in film and theatre. Cheers.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Nixon Was Felt Up

Leave Felt alone. The tragically brilliant Nixon had a whole arm in the FBI office (where it doesn't belong), manipulating information and twisting necks. If it wasn't for Felt, the ordinary Americans would still believe in sanctity of the Oval Office for a while longer.

It was pivotal time in the history of American Presidency. With the explosion of the more educated middle class after the Second World War, the government's intentions for social good and maintaining the Cold War Containment were beginning to be questioned more loudly and wide. Vietnam War destroyed JFK and LBJ's credibility with the constituents.

Felt outed Nixon. The government subsequently tightened control over the people who work for them. Reagan and Bush I for Iran-Contra affair, and Bush II with altering evidence for their goals. They are accountable for their actions yet since Watergate, leaders are less found to be accountable and remain in office with few slaps on their wrists. I.E.: DeLay. Why is he still the Majority leader with all those ethical stuff he's done with his family? Is he still in the Majority office? For example Bhutto of Pakistan got booted out of her prime minister's office for favoring family members for top government posts.

Less accountability + remaining in office = political stability.

Accountability + ouster from office = political instability.

Oliver Stone's "Nixon". Nixon speaks with young people who are protesting in front of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.

Nixon displays his helplessness that he cannot change the system and the woman says, "you sound like you're talking about a monster. Is the system (government institution) the monster you cannot control"? (loose quotation)

If it had not been for people like Felt, the system would go on, supporting the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, their abuses of power go even farther. And we have enough with our bills, jobs, laundry, changing the kitty litter; everyday worries.

We need (genuine) people like Felt and the FBI agent in Minnesota who tried to alert her superiors about men learning to fly, not landing planes.. Whatshisname who exposed the tobacco industry.. to keep the government and corporation power and greed in check. They should be revered. A Hall could be dedicated to OUR heroes (turncoats to gov't and corps). Could the laws protect them from the government's wrath?

I am sure there are many many people out there, burdened with some awful knowledge of their office's activities and cannot expose them out of fear of ramifications, recriminations... Something has to be worth exposing for the public good. There's always system abuse big and small.

I think Adams or Madison said: "If men were angels, we wouldn't need the government". Unfortunately, men ARE the government... I take comfort in knowing this. *cringe*

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Today's Weather For Sale

From today's New York Times. Pork Barrels. *urp* - breenie

Overcast in Pennsylvania

Published: June 4

Far from just talking about the weather, Senator Rick Santorum is doing something dank and cloudy about it: he is proposing to squelch the National Weather Service's growing role in the information age.

The Weather Service provides a priceless flow of nonstop measurements and readings that commercial forecasting companies package and sell to the public. Lately, the Weather Service itself has been trying to make all its information more accessible to anyone who wants it. But Mr. Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, has introduced legislation that would basically require the service to give much of its data only to those private weather forecasting companies. A dozen of those businesses happen to be located in Mr. Santorum's home state, Pennsylvania.

"It's not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers or investors when the government is providing similar products for free," the senator said, somehow overlooking that taxpayers finance this round-the-clock national resource in the first place.

Senator Santorum, who is running for re-election, is vowing to protect hundreds of Pennsylvania weather company jobs. But timing is everything in both politics and weather, and his case was not helped by the fact that two days before the bill was introduced, his campaign accepted a $2,000 donation from one of the weather companies lobbying for protection. This was dismissed by the senator's supporters as a small-beer coincidence in a $25 million race. But as they say on the weather segment, it's a lingering disturbance on the Doppler.