Trash Stinks

I found this article very interesting and I would implore the United States grocers to follow suit.

I have been thinking more and more about the amount of garbage I produce.  I have been guilty of conspicuous consumption these days.  I nearly always buy items over the internet, so there are lots of boxes at my house right now.

It's time that I rethink my recycling habits and my purchase habits.  When I was single, I'd have weeks where I only had one bag of garbage and a crate of recycling.  Now, I often have two full garbage cans.

I think I'm going to Freecycle some stuff, plus restart curbside recycling.  I know I'm too lazy to use dropoff points even though it's cheaper.  I'd rather recycle fewer materials than losing motivation and chucking stuff in the garbage instead.  The amazing thing to me is that fewer than 10% of those eligible for curbside actually subcribe.  What is with my city???

And I'm not the only one who is frustrated.  This Indianapolis "blog" post shows how many others wish we'd move toward more green habits.  I think we should have free recycling but have to pay for garbage, like Bloomington (Indiana) has done.

Oktoberfest Invitation

Well, if you are reading this, chances are you haven't received the printed invitation yet.  However, rest assured, you are indeed invited!  All you have to do is RSVP and instructions on finding the party will follow.  Either send an email to the address on the invitation, or submit a comment to this post (and yes, this posted picture does not have the email address.  I'm avoiding spam).  Either way, you are in the door!


Oktoberfest- more Brewing!

Today, I'm keeping holy the Sabbath by brewing beer.  I find it reflective and contemplative.  The sweet, malty, cereal aromas make me think of simpler times.  I still haven't made final decisions regarding what to brew, but these two have made the cut:

My first beer today is a Lemon Coriander Weiss.  Wheat beers are very popular among the anti-beer crowd, so I thought this would be good for the 'Fest.  It has very few specialty grains and a lot of liquid malt- 1 1/2 gallons!  I discarded the package of pre-ground coriander and ground my own.  I didn't know how olde the grind was and worried it would taste like dust, as most preground spices can.  I was right.  After I finished the grind, I opened the spice grinder and was met with the tart, sweet aroma of lemons and young herbs.  This flavor should go nicely with the tartness of the wheat beer.  I noticed that the flock from the specialty grains is coagulating in the brew as it boils.  I have only brewed 20-minute boil kits of wheat beers before, so this is new to me.  I don't know if it's normal or not.  Initial gravity: 1.056 (yes I finally caved and bought a hydrometer to measure alcohol content).

Second to be brewed is Hex Nut Brown.  I picked it because it's my brother's favorite of my brews.  Of course, I was boiling it when I started writing this post, and it boiled over.  Darn!  It's amusing because I have a 10-gallon pot to brew five gallons…and just last night I was joking it's the only pot in the kitchen that I don't boil over.  Anyway, the toasty grains smell delicious.  Intial gravity: 1.049

I hope never to brew two in one day again.  My day is shot.  I sanitized two carboys, lots of tubing, my new wine thief, hydrometer, and various pot fittings.  I've stirred, mashed, malted, heated, stirred, boiled, cooled, and pitched…twice.  I'm tired.  This reminds me why I only do the partial-mash kits.  "Real" homebrewers don't use any malt extracts; they create it all from the raw grain.  The kits are a little less expensive, but I just don't see myself doing it.  It takes several hours longer to mash all that grain.  I think I'd have to move up to ten gallon batches to make it worth the time, and then I'd need all-new equipment for sparging, fermenting, et cetera.  Plus, I love to try new kits so making huge batches wouldn't suit my desire to try tons of stuff.

OK, time to go watch a movie.

Invincible directed by Ericson Core

invincible.JPGIMDb link

What's with the name Ericson Core?  Sounds like a Battlestations pilot name.  Look at his son's name.  Huh? 

Against my better judgement, I went to see a movie in a theater.  I was immediately annoyed by the lack of stadium seating and by the cigarette burns on the screen.  The theater was also showing the movie in digital, but that showing started at 10:50PM and I was too tired to stay awake that long.

I might want to cringe when I see Disney making a film, but I shouldn't.  I think they learned a lesson with Pirates of the Carribbean.  A movie can look good and be written well even if it's not edgy Touchstone material.  Disney did continue its long history of main characters with only one parent.  In this case, it's a true story, but stilllllll.  Do audiences feel more compassion automatically because of the lack of nuclear family?

The scenery of the film was great.  I love the dirty feel of South Philadelphia.  The streets were littered, the despair palpable.  Even better was the point-counterpoint of the brilliant look of the scenes shot in the context of professional football: sparkling white-and-bright scenes full of clean hope.  Thanks to the NFL for allowing this movie to be officially licensed, too.  Seeing fake teams in a movie is as irritating to me as 555 phone numbers.

There is grit here, and it's depressing.  The working class of America is on full display and it isn't pretty.  There are those who want a hero but there are also those who want to pull every crab back down in the bucket with them. 

Mark Wahlberg has the je ne sais crois to make this role perfect.  I would say that his greatest feat as an actor is picking the right roles.  Papale is not shown as a man of great passion, so Wahlberg's restrained acting range is perfect.  He immediately drew me into caring about his character.  His love interest, played by Elizabeth Banks, drew a mixed review from me: I wanted to like this shining star of a man's man's woman, but her performance did not always deliver.  There were great scenes, like in the Eagles stadium wearing her Giants gear, that she nailed.  She managed to be beautiful and the center of attention and admiration while being a complete pariah.  But occasionally, such as in the bar reciting her favorite player's stats, when her lines seemed disjointed from the rest of the dialogue.  It almost seemed as if the director reshot those lines and the original scene's feel was lost.  Banks looked more like she was reciting than being.

Yeah, it's Disney, it's uplifting.  But it's a true story and sometimes what a nation needs is a hero.

[rate 3.5]

editor's note: oh, and now I'm totally stoked about football season.

Cry Wolf directed by Jeff Wadlow

cry_wolf.JPGIMDb link

You know, sometimes I have a hard time wasting my energy on reviewing films.  While this isn't a zero-star clucker, I was not impressed.

The scenery of this motion picture is beautiful.  It opens with chiron over fall foliage of a gorgeous prep school campus.  The actors are pretty and the views are beautiful.  I particularly like the color palette of the outdoors: the school uniforms coordinate with the fall colors, and the redhead siren's hair is a perfect punch of color.  But on to the plot…

This bunch of high school kids plays a game that becomes too much like reality.  The leader of the group, Dodger, is an attractive redhead with no acting skills.  I say she has no acting skills because I think she's just acting like herself.  I saw her screen test and she was dressed like a stripper.  An attractive stripper, yes, but she wasn't trying to get the part based on the merit of her read alone.

About ten minutes into the movie, I realized that I didn't care at all about the main character, Owen.  I think he was supposed to be some sort of British heartthrob but I just couldn't care.  The dialogue was written with the slow crayon simpleness of a George Lucas script, so I can blame not just the actor but the writing.

Several scenes that would normally have really scared me were merely interesting.  They had predictable slasher suspense, with minor-key music and eye-of-the-victim camera work.  This stuff scares me every time.  However, because I was not interested in the plot, these scenes often fell flat.

There is a late plot twist that is interesting.  As it dawns on the character who discovers it, the movie uses a lazy device: showing previous scenes that should have given us the clues.  I often feel that if the scene didn't resonate the first time, then the film maker didn't do his/her job. 

The death scenes are shot in the same flashback, gritty quality of CSI.  Except CSI does it a little better.

Maybe I'm too old to care about teenager-style movies.  Maybe I'm not, and I should just watch one that isn't awful.

[rate 1]

Soapdish directed by Michael Hoffman

soapdish.JPGIMDb link

I don't see many comedies.  There are two reasons: the first is just mechanics;I'm not in charge of writing the Netflix queue.  Second, most comedies are not that great.  How many times have I seen a movie preview for a comedy and thought, "well, I think I just saw every funny line in that movie."  With that said, I truly love comedy.

As my TiVo will tell, the summer hiatus has been good for me.  The stored dramas are staying stored; I don't think I can care about another dead body on CSI or watch another orange-clad detective on CSI Miami.  Why does the costumer put everyone in orange?  It's not the new black.

Oh, wait.  I'm supposed to be writing a movie review!

Anyway, I love comedies but tend to watch television sitcoms instead of movies.  In 22 minutes, they tall a lot of throwaway jokes and it makes me laugh.  I had kind of a bad day and this movie's been on my TiVo for months, so I watched it.

It was hilarious.  As a former soap opera (what's the PC term now?  Daytime serial drama?) watcher, the jokes were hilarious.  They even had good sight gags- one character, Bolt (of course named something silly), never wears anything but spaghetti string tak tops and tight workout shorts.  He also has the requisite glistening skin.  The only costuming that fell flat was the tweetie bird reference.

Kevin Kline simply shines in his role.  I fell in love with his comedic style during Dave, and it is alive in this earlier film too.  His intelligent deadpan is brilliant.  Sally Field's trumped-up overacting is great also.  I can't even look at Garry Marshall without laughing because he's so funny.  The "play within a play" style of the movie delivers comedy, irony, and a dash of self-deprecation that is so necessary in a campy film like this one.

I laughed out loud more times than I can count.  I know the movie is fifteen years old but it is worth watching.  And a note to current comedy directors: look! No stupid jokes about genitalia nor scatology!  A movie doesn't have to be disgusting to be funny!

[rate 4]