2014 Week 8: Busy bees are we.

La De Blog - Sushi Station
Sushi Station

This week: Z made monthly dinner; a vegetarian cassoulet. Suburban errand running: IKEA, Mitsuwa, Sushi Station. Jennifer T.’s bday Potluck. The Wind Rises @ Landmark. Dinner with Reba @ Native Foods.

Most importantly this week, I finally filed my IL small business tax, but this time was far earlier than all the other years.Slowly getting better at tax stuff. I downloaded an app called Any.Do and it has been helping me create manageable tasks that I cross off and then get KIIP rewards for doing so. Wish there were rewards catered more towards me, but as this kind of technology evolves, I bet that will come.

Films watched 8th week of the year:

True Adolescents
My Perestroika *
The Wind Rises

* documentary

Usually, I enjoy Mark Duplass, but True Adolescents felt like a real waste of of time and he overacted the whole time. Guh. My Perestroika follows the lives of five of the last generation of Soviet children before the USSR fell apart. It was OK. It’s hard to believe that The Wind Rises is Miyazaki’s last film, but it is a nice tribute to one of his inspirations. A nice love story amongst the designing of flying war machines. Mostly I missed his creatures.

2014 Week 7: “After so many years of it being today, it’s tomorrow.”

La De Blog - Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Veganized blueberry chocolate chip muffins found on Pinterest via Will Cook for Smiles. These things were amazing. Substitutions made: 1/2 mashed banana swapped for egg, Earth Balance and almond milk. Used vanilla extract instead of paste (though I just added paste to my wishlist). Added in 1/4 cup vegan Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. I have been trying to freeze portions so I have things for eating later, but these did not last long after giving a couple to our landlord and his husband and to our neighbor Jenna. Simple and yummy!

Also this week: Last Minute Valentine @ Papermoon Pastry. Emissions test. Bite with the boo. Dimo’s with Z, Stephanie, Jason Anderson, & Steven Gilpin pre-show @ Den Theatre. Cocktail @ Takito with Stephanie. Jason/Steven’s Show @ Den Theatre. Upton’s Breakroom with Stephanie & Jason. Sushi with Z, Shanleys, and Amy @ Bob San. Most importantly, I finished Veronica Mars – Season 1 this week! Less than a month before the film comes out. Queue moment of SQUEE!

I have talked about the magic that is my friend and fave singer/songwriter dude Jason Anderson many times. Seeing him play makes whatever worries you had earlier that day, that week, that month, go away at the very least for the duration of his set. Singalongs, hum alongs, making Kermit hands in the hair and fist pumps. Really, I wish I could force any friend who’s never seen him before, especially those who’ve been having a hard time lately, to see him. He is the definition of one who wears his heart on his sleeve and I am proud to call him a friend. Check him out. Subject of this post is from a Jason song.

Films watched 7th week of the year:

Trading Places
Friends with Benefits
Tonight You’re Mine
Short Term 12
Fruitvale Station

There was something redeeming about all of these films. Z had never seen Trading Places – can you believe that!? Although, I did not remember all the nudity, so I’m pretty sure I only saw it on tv growing up. It is rare that there are films of any cinematic merit that I have seen and Z has not.

I saw a preview ages ago for Short Term 12 and promptly forgot entirely about it, but was glad Z put it on the Netflix queue. I’ve been wistful for pre-weed David Gordon Green a lot these days and Short Term 12 captured that quiet and special feeling that GW & ATRG gave me. I am really looking forward to Destin Cretton’s future films and to finding and watching his earlier works.

Fruitvale Station is a true story and I remembered the stories circulating on Facebook. In this day and age when we are so bombarded with social media, seeing texts pop up as Oscar’s story was unfolding wove the story together and worked seamlessly. Stories like Oscar’s happen every day and, with all the truly shitty remakes coming out, it’s shocking that more true stories like Oscar’s are not made into films. Michael Jordan has made some great choices as an actor. Loved him in The Wire and Friday Night Lights. This was great film, but truly bleak ending, which anyone knowing his story would already know going into it.

Tonight You’re Mine was pretty and fun. It made me wish I’d gone and camped out at a British festival in my youth, but maybe I’ll still do that yet, even when I am about to enter my 35th year. Also making me feel like an oldie was the fact that I had no idea who any of the bands they showed in the film were. I used to inhale everything in the pages of NME/Melody Maker/Mojo back in the day, but music is different for me now that I’m a little older. When I djed on WGMU, worked at Now! Music and Fashion, and djed at clubs, I felt pressured to have heard of every band. I don’t feel the need to know everything now and I definitely don’t know most of what the kids are into and it’s OK.

Friends with Benefits was OK, but the flash mob scene at the end made it worth the watch. Hearing ‘Closing Time’ over and over made me remember how good a book Jacob Slichter wrote about being the drummer for Semisonic. It’s called So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer’s Life and it’s truly a fantastic read full of hilarity and sadness from being screwed over by a major label. I have always had a soft spot for Semisonic.

2014 Week 6: Life’s too short to not eat vegan rice crispy treats

La De Blog - My Vegan Valentine Booty
My Vegan Valentine Booty, from Paper Moon Pastry

Paper Moon Pastry (Chicago) is hoping to open the retail store soon. Hey, you can help on –> IndieGoGo. The peanut butter rice crispy thing above was flipping amazing. One of the best things. I want to eat one every day. I also have a soft spot because their name is the name of my favorite and very veggie-friendly diner in Baltimore, Papermoon. Hey, speaking of being veggie-friendly, I won’t be going to Stan’s Donuts and here is why. Being vegetarian is HILARIOUS, apparently.

This week: Dropped car at Augusta Paulina to finally get the mirror replaced. Dropped the car at Honda for safety recall. Kimmi made Z and I breakfast and then Kimmi and I went to the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Watch meeting @ Ukrainian Museum of Art. Went to Quesadilla with Amy, Ethan, & Val. My mom turned 70! Gave away used bubble mailers and LP mailers. My Vegan Valentine @ Paper Moon Bakery. Watched a lot of Veronica Mars while trying to get my tax crap together. Am so glad I have my crafter pals to commiserate with over them. Every year I swear I’ll get ahead of them, but then it’s suddenly April. Gah.

Also: Finished reading ‘City of Lost Souls’, the 5th book in The Mortal Instruments series. The 6th and final book ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ comes out at the end of May. If you’re looking for a quick read that also helps improve your vocabulary, then I recommend this series. Cassandra Clare is not reinventing the wheel here, but I have really enjoyed reading the series and her excellent wordsmithery. There are a lot of little indie rock nerd jokes thrown in and actual laugh out loud bits. I wasn’t happy with the casting of the film version of the first book ‘City of Bones’, so I didn’t go see it in the theater. It kind of bombed and I’m shocked to hear they are making the second one. Wish that hadn’t stopped the production company from making the other three His Dark Materials series films. I hope that one day, once our world becomes liberal enough to not have large chunks of it decry a film because the author is an atheist and the novels mention killing God (absolutely not in a Satanic way) that they’ll make all three films. I think seeing them on film would be spectacular.

Films watched 6th week of the year:

Monster’s University
The Boy Friend
The Sapphires
A Haunted House

3/4 ain’t bad. MU was adorable, but not as much heart as the original. The creatures in it are so flipping adorable though.

The Boy Friend = wow! Z mentioned that he hoped the Gene Siskel Film Center would do a Ken Russell retrospective and show a bunch of his early films. GOOD GOD – what a beautiful film to watch. I feel Twiggy was made fun of for being a terrible actor, but she was perfectly cast in this one. This is a film you should watch if you love beautiful production. If you don’t believe me, click on this link and skip to 11 minutes in and watch 10 seconds, stop it and then put the darn thing on your Netflix queue, ya dingus. KEN RUSSELL, that madman that he was had a gigantic turntable built for one of the coolest dance sequences of all time. MIND EXPLOSION.

The Sapphires – I went into it thinking it would be like That Thing You Do, with Chris O’Dowd in the Tom Hanks role and to some degree it was, but it was a great and a MOSTLY TRUE story. Really! Really! And it was written by the son of one of the members. Also, I absolutely LOVED the assortment of women’s body sizes in this film! Love!

Not even worth wasting e-ink about AHH. I laughed a couple of times. A perfectly acceptable background movie.

2014 Week 5: “It’s been a long, long winter. Don’t remember them this cold.”

La De Blog - Happy Christmas @ Music Box
Joe Swanberg’s Happy Christmas Q&A @ Music Box

Perfectly summing up the last few weeks: The Longest Winter by Julie Doiron. Hey, what!? I just found a cover of another one of my favorite winter Julie Doiron songs by David Bazan. One day this week I was walking back from the car and realizing that it was the coldest I had ever been in my entire life. That moment was utterly petrifying; to realize something to be absolutely true and that there was nothing I could do about it. Multiple pairs of socks and at least two layers of clothing worn at all times other than in the shower. This winter is sucking the life out of us in Chicago. This is only the first time in 10 years here I’ve ever felt this. This winter I’ve made plans to go out and changed my mind back when I realized it would involve stripping off a couple layers only to have to put them back on later and lose that brief warmth. The one positive is that I’ve been doing a LOT of baking & cooking and I made my friend’s lentil soup, which was delicious. I also made gluten-free brownies, pancakes, and gf orange pecan muffins – all in one day. I also made a nice dent in prepping my Rhymes with Twee tax stuff, which is for me, like most crafter friends I know, the worst type of hell.

All things that I had to and did do this week: Tilda dental. nickd bday. Damien Jurado @ Schubas. After seeing Damien over 10+ times at my rough count, I felt this was the weakest show I’ve ever seen, and I know it’s because I don’t connect to ‘Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son’ like I do to any other DJ album. It sure sounds pretty, but none of the lyrics do it for me. The fact we saw the early show when he was pressed for time also might have hurt my take on this show, but at least his stage banter was top notch.

Films watched 5th week of the year:

In a World…
Happy Christmas
American Hustle
The King of Comedy
World War Z

Not one bad movie this week and each one was oh so different. Lake Bell is really flipping cool. I wish I knew how cool when I saw her at The Room screening Z and I saw at Laemmle’s in LA because I would have high fived her. She wrote/directed/starred in In a World…. I am really into movie previews. I hate missing previews in the theatre. I watch then when we play DVDs at home. I seek them out on Flixster whenever I see one I have even 10% interest in the film it’s made for. When I saw the preview for this; a film about voice actors who did the voiceovers to previews, I knew it looked good, but it ended up being great.

Happy Christmas was really charming – might be a TINY bit biased since Joe is a friend and Jude is his son, but this truly is Joe’s most accessible film. When I told my parents to see Drinking Buddies because I was an extra, I told them they I was not sure they would like it [they ended up not seeing it due to a short run in the NOVA area, but I stand by this], but this film is one I know they would enjoy.

2014 Week 4: Life is Rose-y

La De Blog - Rose and the Rime

After Ginny made her bday plans for Magic Parlour, Z and I made an unofficial plan to see more theatre/theatrical things and I read about The Rose and the Rime on one our our favorite local theatre production websites, The House Theatre. It sounded great and we were able to score a great deal on preview tickets through Goldstar, so we went. It was one of the best plays I have ever seen; sweet, funny, moving, and unique with bunny puppets, acrobatics, and aerial acts. Absolutely the perfect play to see in Chicago this polar vortexy winter and you can even take children to it, but there are a few scary scenes. It is playing through March 9th and I totally want to see it again. House Theatre does amazing things at Chopin theatre and this show shines.

This week: Said farewell to my former supervisor Arline at work at Ten Pin/Rossi’s Liquors, Attended the Craft Racket – Winter 2014 @ Blue Buddha Boutique, Dragonlady with Z, Nick O. & Greg, House Theatre presents: Rose and the Rime @ Chopin Theatre, Lunch with Erica B. @ Tava, dropped stock off at Local Goods/picked up holiday stock, Bite with Jen L & Z.

Seeing Erica Make Great & family was SO awesome. I’m trying to see more of my old faves this year. I wish there were more days in a week!

Films watched 4th week of the year:

Magic Mike
Prince Avalanche
Studs Terkel: Listening to America
Artois the Goat

Good film week, but thought Magic Mike would be funnier, Prince Avalanche more likeable; and Artois have MORE GOAT in it. Studs Terkel was perfect; that dude was amazing. Artois the Goat was really fun though and Z and I agreed that it seemed wacky like an indie Australian film. Z made his monthly veg. dinner for me that I found on Pinterest: Baked Polenta with Spinach & Goats Cheese. This was one of the most simple recipes either of us has ever made, but the payoff was ridiculous. SO good & so easy and it paired well with our goat movie. Re: David Gordon Green, I think the dude has smoked too much weed; this was so mediocre. I miss GW & ATRG DGG. sigh.