Point Me

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Don't Eat the Pictures - 1983

"Don't Eat the Pictures" is one of Sesame Street's full length feature films. It take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, I think, really captures what the golden age of Sesame Street was all about. The whole gang, including the original human cast, gets locked in the museum overnight. This movie was one of the first appearances of Mr. Snuffleupagus, when he was still considered Big Bird's imaginary friend! The plot also includes a lot of magic/mysticism as Big Bird and Snuffy have to help the ghost of an Egyptian prince break a demon's curse!

Naturally, there's also a ton of great music. Oscar sings an homage to broken Greek busts, and the title comes from a song Cookie Monster sings about wanting to eat mummies. The clip above has my favorite song in it, starting at 0:30. Even as a kid, I knew it would be a lullaby I sang my own child one day.

I really do recommend watching the whole thing, it's pretty sweet. Part 1 is here!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shower Gift

Tomorrow I am driving up to Ossippee NH for my cousin Megan's wedding shower. It should be a really good time.

My cousin didn't register anywhere, but I still wanted to get her something special that she could associate with her wedding and and the awesomeness of being engaged.

I got her this sugar bowl from Czechoslovakia at J. Austen Antiques in Amherst. I thought it was really beautiful and unique, and it reminded me of her. I loved the colors! I hope she likes it. It was fun going in there too, I had never been before. The staff was super nice and helpful, and they had an absolutely gorgeous selection of vintage jewelery.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A chipmunk came over for breakfast today.

He also had a lunch date with Lily last week. Best Friends forever! or-until Lily eats him.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

100 points for Gryffindor!

Paul and I are going to see the newest Harry Potter movie tonight. I'm pretty excited! It'll be interesting talking about the film afterwards with him, because I've read the books and he hasn't. I'll be sure to come back with a review of sorts.

In anticipation of the movie, I watched this ridiculously awesome, full - length Harry Potter Musical. It does a really great job of incorporating the major plot points from all 7 books into one story. The music is also pretty good. Plus, there's a Voldemort tap dance number near the end of the first act!

The Voldemort/Quirrell scenes pretty much steal the show.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My name is Jack and Fred

In addition to Disney tapes, the only other thing I was really allowed to watch as a kiddo was Sesame Street. I have a lot of fond memories of their classic segments and their full - length films. I was super sad to hear that they're now putting a parental warning label on the DVD's of the episodes from the 70's and 80's, claiming "they may not fit the needs of today's preschooler". All I can do is shake my head, cuz' it was good enough for me, and everybody else who grew up in that era. I don't think they're giving today's little kids enough credit.

This was one of my fave songs from the show. I can still remember a lot of the words. It has a really nice, positive message about respecting and caring about other people regardless of differences, as well as a pretty catchy tune.

This vid is also great for scoping out sweet late 70's children's fashion. Particularly, the mini "members only" jacket at 0:35 and any kid who is wearing glasses.

I wonder where all these cute little lip synchers are now? And how do they feel about being worthy of parental advisory?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Caturday VII

This week, Paul and I are sitting the Barba Family cat, Lily, while the family goes on a road trip through middle America. Isn't she a cutie?

It was pretty cool having a pet around. It makes me look forward to the day when we'll have our own kitty.

I like this video because it showcases one of Lily's favorite hobbies, eating string like it's delicious spaghetti. Seriously, we had to hide ribbons and my yarn stash because she was gnawing on them until they snapped in two. They should have named her scissor kitty.

Lily's other hobbies include sitting on the windowsill and acting like she's gonna jump through the screen to catch birds, making indignant noises when she wants attention, and sticking her paws/face in your glass of water. She also likes getting high on catnip and hiding under the bed.

I'm gonna miss her when she's gone!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #10 - Deconstructed BLTs

I wanted to try something special this week. Yes, those salads are in little bowls made out of bacon! So much for vegetarian tendencies, but I saw this idea on notmartha.org and was itching to try it for myself. It was pretty easy, and made this meal fun and unique.

I think that in the future, I'll try to make the bowls bigger. These tiny ones were perfect for eating like finger food, but the bacon to salad ratio was like 50:50. Awesome for the bacon lover in your life, but not exactly healthful.

To make your own bacon bowls, use an oven safe dish that is slightly larger than your desired bowl. The bacon does shrink up a bit as you cook it. I used the back of my muffin tin to make these mini-sized ones.

Preheat the oven to 400. Cover whatever your form is with foil. I buttered my foil before I fit it around the cups. This was supposed to help start the bacon cooking, generating a little oil before the fat starts to render. I feel like it also may have made the bacon a little more tender and soft. If you want your bacon cups crispy, you may want to skip that step.

I used about 2 1/2 slices of bacon per cup. I didn't do the fancy weaving pattern that they did on not martha, but simply alternated vertical and horizontal pieces as I wrapped it. They still held together and held their shape really well. The structural integrity of bacon is awesome.

You should bake your cups for 25-35 minutes, checking on them intermittently. You should also be sure to place a pan underneath your bacon, to catch drippings and prevent your house from burning down.

Be very, very careful taking them out of the oven, as there will be hot grease all over your pan. Once they have cooled, carefully remove them from the foil and put them on a paper towel to drain.

The other cool thing about these is that you can make them in advance, and throw a salad (or maybe even scrambled eggs?) into them when you want to eat. These were positively bacon-tastic!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You watched it, you can't un-watch it!

Last night, Paul and I attempted to watch The All Star game. We don't have television, so we haven't really had the chance to catch many games lately. Because this game was kind of a big deal, the usually hard-assed fox sports network decided to make a live broadcast available on the Internet.

This was pretty cool, since most of the online sport channel subscriptions cost a pretty penny, and this viewing via the "fox feed" was free. However, one might wonder if the quality of the free "fox feed" streaming video was purposely designed to get us sports fans investing in a pay to watch service.

The weird thing about the "fox feed" was that it wasn't edited, or presented in a complete format. The feed offered you several vantage points on the field to choose from, and the option of having up to 4 views open at any time. It really reminded me of the live editing I had do to in some college production classes, being in change of cutting from one angle to another, being a director. It was kind of hard to figure out how to best view things.

The feed also had some really inconsistent audio. At the start, there was absolutely no commentary. Without it, it was really hard to figure out exactly what was happening, seeing as the teams were made up of lots of different players that I didn't recognize. Eventually some commentary came in, and things were good for awhile. But then at the end, the audio kept replaying random clips, and cutting in on the behind the scenes banter going on in the press box.

For example, during a random break between innings, we heard the fox commentator ask:

"Who wants to try the first chicken burritos I've ever made?"
Followed by an enthusiastic girl saying "Oh! Yes! I'll have one!"

Apparently, they were having some sort of potluck barbecue in the press box? And then at the end, the commentary was totally gone again.

The other weird part of being able to choose the camera angle, was having a constant vantage point into the dugout. You were able to see the players acting unguarded constantly. This led to the viewing of easily the most awkward interaction I've ever witnessed in baseball.

This is the American League starting pitcher, Tim Linceum. During a break between the second and third inning, he was sitting on a bench in the dugout. An older, grizzled looking trainer approached him with a wet towel. This older trainer proceeds to wash him, his face, his neck, and his arms as he just sits there limply. It was kind of like seeing someone get a sponge bath. The washing went on for a solid 3 minutes. It was so weird!

We also got to see Derek Jeter do terrible crotch stretches right in front of the giant flag that was unfurled for the pre-game tribute to america. Classy!

Oh, and Obama threw the ceremonial first pitch.

He did a pretty good job, don't you think?
EDIT: I wasn't going to point this out, until Mike also mentioned it. Obama is TOTALLY wearing mom jeans!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Donald Duck and the Third Reich

Ah, a propaganda film from WW2 era Disney. I hadn't ever seen this cartoon before, but my parents did have a CD with Spike Jonze "The fuhrer's face" recording on it. We actually have a home movie of my 2 year old brother singing it in the bath tub. It's pretty cute.

As a kid it kind of bothered me how light -hearted and silly the song was, what with the whole holocaust thing and all. But I guess during WW2, everything was pretty terrifying, and making fun of the Nazi's was like the only emotional outlet Americans had.

Skip ahead to 1:24 to get right to the cartoon.

1. The depiction of Hirohito is TERRIBLE.

2. I love that everything in the background (starting at 2:00) is shaped like a swastika.

3. It is really, really bizarre to hear Donald Duck saluting hitler in his Nazi uniform

4. I also like that 95% of German oppression is based in making people say "Heil Hitler"

5. I also also love how Donald decorates his post-fantasy apartment. USA! USA!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nintendo is Delicious

Bad news for the Barba house. It seems our Wii is starting to rebel, and moving down a path to self-destruction. It has stopped reading our copy of Mario Kart, which was one of the first things I ever blogged about on here. General consensus around the internet seems to be that this is just something wrong with the Wii, and that it will eventually stop reading all of our discs. Suddenly, the fact that our copy of Wii Sports worked once, but never again after that makes more sense. At some point, we'll probably have to ship it back to be repaired. I miss playing Kart so much though....

I found these Mario themed gummies at a department store in Maine. They're no racing game, but they did kind of give me a Mushroom Kingdom fix. Plus, they're 3-d! 3D!!!

Gotta love the excessive packaging.

It was fun to play with them too, making little tableau's. Too bad they don't photograph well. I think this was supposed to be a marriage between Donkey Kong and Yoshi.

We devoured them all after the reception.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #9- The Also Rans

Hey all. I haven't posted any recipes for Wednesday Dinner in quite a while. It's because most of the things I've cooked lately with the intent to blog haven't come out that great. I feel like sharing my meals with you all should be about passing on the tastiest, best stuff, and these guys just didn't make the mark.

3 weeks ago I made Twice Baked Potatoes.

I used this recipe from allrecipes dot com. We didn't have any green onions, so I used finely chopped regular onions instead. It just wasn't the same. I don't know. They were just kind of mediocre. They could have used more cheese, and I should have used a food processor to blend the filling, because they were pretty inconsistent and lumpy. I also had a surprisingly hard time hollowing out the skins without them ripping. Any suggestions?

2 weeks ago I attempted a Vegetable Pasties with Horseradish and Thyme from "101 Great Vegetarian Recipes".
When I was in England, I had some sausage pasties that were super delicious. I was disappointed that these were so wholly dissimilar. First of all, the crust, which was made of flour, butter, and an egg yolk, was really chalky and dry. Not at all like the light, flaky crust I was hoping for. Two, the filling wasn't really flavorful enough to compete with the heavy crust.

Admittedly, I left out an ingredient. The mix called for celeriac - the root of the celery plant. I'm not even sure I could fine a place that sold that around here. Maybe at Whole Foods? But after seeing a picture of it, I was a bit wary... a bit too reminiscent of brains!

So between leaving out this questionable root, and the underwhelming crust, it just wasn't that noteworthy. The only good part was getting to buy this tasty jar of horseradish cream. It went in the filling, but was also good for dipping, to help things be a bit more palatable.

I also like that the brand name is "smak". It just makes me think of that Sexy Beijing, "What's your English Name?" Video, and "Smacker". Which, if you haven't seen, I command you to watch right now, because it is wonderful.

And this week, I just made corn on the cob and pan fried some sausages. I'll try to think of something special for next week and my hopefully triumphant return.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What a Great Idea!

In London, there's a little place called Trafalgar Square. And by little, I mean huge and massively impressive. It's surrounded by these beautiful old buildings, which include the National Gallery, and some giant fountains. In the middle of the square is a giant column with the war hero Admiral Nelson perched on the top, towering over all of London.

At each corner of the square, there are these pedestals. 3 of them hold statues of British heroes from the colonization of India. The fourth, originally meant for William IV, was left empty for budgetary reasons. That is, until 1999 when the Royal Society for the Arts started "The Fourth Plinth Project". Now, each year a new work of contemporary art is commissioned by the group to fill the empty column.

Last year, the place was occupied by Thomas Schutte's "Model for a Hotel". It's a monster glass structure that weighs 8 tons!

This year, the commision went to Anthony Gormely. He decided to use the space for a project called "One & Other", in which hourly, 24 hours a day for 100 days, a regular british person gets a chance to stand on the plinth and do whatever they want, provided it's legal. I really like that Gormely took the Royal Society's concept of allowing a new person a chance to display work every year, and turned around to give 2,400 people an amazing opportunity.

The concept is supposed to create a representation of common humanity, in a place usually reserved for the reverence of heroes and kings. The participants of the project are selected by lottery. It's such a neat idea, and it's interesting what people decide to do with their hour on the plinth.

The stage seems to be a popular place to spread messages about a cause.

This woman released helium balloons for a charity.

This guy wore a panda costume and talked on his cell phone the whole time. Maybe that board has his number on it?
This guy had a 4 am time slot, and rocked out for all surly party animals heading home from the bars.

I love what this lady did. How cool would it be to get a chance to sketch the square from this unique perspective?

This guy wrote various messages on his slate through hour, including "I am not a pidgeon".

So cool. The project just started yesterday, so there are 99 days full of human sculptures to go, including 83 year old Gwyneth Pedler, who plans to sit up there in her wheelchair doing semaphore code with flags.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Balloon Tennis....with swords!

I just realized that I found that guide book to Canada in the dumpster on Canada Day! What a great coincidence.

I hope you all had good and appropriately patriotic weekends. Paul and I both got friday off for the fourth, so we got to enjoy a nice long weekend together.

Part of that enjoyment came from inventing a new indoor game that no self respecting mother would allow in her house. I guess it's called Balloon Tennis, until we think of something better.

So, the premise is, you hit the yellow balloon back and forth across the dining room table, using the swords addison gave me as a shower gift for rackets.

Directely between you, in the middle ofthe table, is a hanging light fixture with a green balloon taped to it. If you hit the fixture, you have to switch sides. If you knock the balloon off the lamp, the game is over. We were playing till ten, or until we carelessly smashed some precarious glass thing. Whichever came first!

We also got a little creative with sword technique.

This one is called "The Catapult"

This one doesn't have a name, but was surprisingly effective. The sword end was kind of floppy, and the handle end was heavier, so you got the duel effect of extra momentum and a solid contact with the balloon.

I'm thinking about starting a league!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Spontaneous Dumpster Dive

I took out the trash this morning, and found the dumpster practically overflowing with trash. And it wasn't just trash you'd usually expect,like stuffed in plastic bags. The people who live down the row from us moved out and threw out a ton of books. I sifted through a bit and saved the best ones.

Canada! This book is all about the awesomeness that it Canada. History, travel advice, and dated photographs. Plus, these sweet inscriptions on the inside cover:

How could you throw away this awesome present from Charlie? Prouder in Hell to be Canadian?

This one had the caption "The Bohemian Look, from Ottowa".

MIT in Perspective won me over with its amazing chapter titles; "A Time to Rejoice", "The Reluctant Bride", "MIT goes to War", and "Athletics for Character".

"Buster, buddy, is that you?"

Look at these swanky guys!

And Finally, The Bible, printed in 1884, and written entirely in Swedish.

"Nau Testamentet"