leene_chan: (New Lucas.)
Hopefully we won't get too much this time! :O I had really been enjoying this warm spell. It made me forget that we're still in the dead of winter...

I tried making Brigadeiros again yesterday. I cooked the mixture for about 15 minutes longer and the candies came out about 50 percent firmer than last time. I'm not sure if it's possible for them to hold their shape as perfectly round balls, rather than devolving into flat-bottomed drops. They still taste pretty good! Unfortunately we won't be able to try them again for a while, because we ran out of bling bling to roll the balls in. Michael's has a great stock of candy and cake-decorating supplies, but those sugar pearls are like 6 dollars a jar...oh well. Maybe we'll try the coconut ones next.

In order to counter the effect of me stuffing my face with chewy chocolate candy every day, I've been aiming for 4000-5000 steps a day on the 3DS pedometer. That's just counting my work-outs, mind you. I have no idea how many steps I take for the rest of my day. I'm probably completely sedentary, LOL...

We finished watching G Gundam this weekend. I don't remember the last time I've watched such a long TV series. And I say, fie on everyone who says that show is the worst Gundam series ever! Fie! I thought it was hella fun, and most of the characters did grow on me by the end, with the exception of Rain and Sai Saici.

The only other Gundam series we have on DVD are the original 1979 series and Zeta Gundam, and we haven't watched either of them yet.
leene_chan: (Default)

We're supposed to have patchy frost tonight, so I clipped "Julia"'s flower and put it in a cordial glass. I'm covering all my roses in plastic for the night. Even though they're all hardy to at least Zone 5, we're supposed to have record warm temperatures over the weekend into next week. I figured that if I protect the roses from the cold for a night or two they should get at least a week and a half of growing time afterwards.It's hard to say which one has been doing best so far. I do think that even if all hell breaks loose this winter "James Mason" will at least do well next year. It just has that look to it right now. XD


Since I've been watching and enjoying a lot of silent films lately, I thought I'd give that definitive vampire film Nosferatu another try. And...I fell asleep while watching it. Crap. I guess that I should stop second-guessing myself. I know that a lot of film buffs consider it to be one of the finest German silent films of all time, but to someone who has read Bram Stoker's Dracula in the past year it just seems like a bootleg version of the novel. As far as German silent films go, I thought that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was better. Metropolis was much, much better. I wish I could have seen it through the eyes of someone who knew nothing of the Dracula novel and could consider Nosferatu to be a unique film...but even with my second viewing, I thought the film was quite boring.


I felt the same way when I watched the 1931 film version of Frankenstein. The novel is still fresh in my mind, and I can't say that the changes that were made for the film created a better story.


On a more positive note, I thought the 1931 film version Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a pretty good movie. Fredric March was crazy-hot with his guy-liner and epic under-eye bags! I even forgave him for playing the character with an American accent. XD I haven't read the novel, but the Wikipedia summary makes it seem more convoluted than the movie. I hear that there was a later movie with Spencer Tracy in the titular role. I'd like to see that one for comparison's sake. I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Spencer Tracy. Okay, I don't like him at all! Call me a Philistine if you like...

leene_chan: (Default)

I just got the invoice from Northland Rosarium, so I can stop biting my nails! They were having some problems with their online ordering system, and I was worried that I'd miss the fall ordering deadline. Thankfully, none of the roses are backordered. I'm really interested in finding out what the "Rose of the Year" is going to be next year between the Buck Roses (Quietness, Prairie Sunrise and Simon Estes) the Old Garden Rose (Crested Moss) the Floribundas (Moondance and Julia Child), the Gallica (James Mason) and whatever Aptos is (Northland Rosarium says Polyantha, everywhere else says Hybrid Musk). We still have a lot of room in back, so I got myself wait-listed for Madame Hardy. I don't know when one will be available, but it's worth casting my line early, right?


Last night I watched what was probably the longest movie I've seen in the past year, 1951's Quo Vadis. It was a whopping three hours long. I'm not sure what I thought of the movie in the long run. It was worth it for Peter Ustinov's awesome performance as Roman emperor Nero. Deborah Kerr was fine...but Robert Taylor as Marcus Vinicius was absolutely terrible! He was wooden as a post. I've only seen him in one other movie, Camille, with Greta Garbo. (Which is worth noting not only because Garbo's doomed courtesan character was the inspiration for Satine in Moulin Rouge! but also because it was the film that they saw in the theater in the movie musical Annie.) I don't remember if he was a bad actor in that. I don't know if he was supposed to be a bad actor in general...but he was at Shatner level in Quo Vadis. I kid you not!


I found certain scenes near the end hard to watch, because I hate even low-grade violence. But hey, it was all worth it because Peter Ustinov was awesome.


Cut for a saucy history lesson. )

Historical quibble: St. Peter wasn't crucified upside down because the Romans didn't want to give him the honor of suffering the same death as Christ. He asked to be crucified upside down because he didn't think he deserved the honor of suffering the same death as Christ.

leene_chan: (Default)
A Purple Cloud. by Leenechan
A Purple Cloud., a photo by Leenechan on Flickr.

I love these so much that I can't stop photographing them! Here's a picture of "Bluebird" in full bloom. I learned recently that it's no longer referred to as a "New England Aster" but a "Smooth Aster." I'm not sure what the difference is.


This morning I saw what I presumed to be a rabbit nibbling at the base of one of the aster plants. It turned out to be a squirrel burying a stash of acorns for the winter! I had actually dug up one of those stashes yesterday when I was digging out the bed for "Aptos." I felt kind of bad about it. It's pretty funny because we don't have any oak trees on our property. I keep seeing squirrels running across the street to get the acorns from our neighbors' oak trees and coming back to bury them in our yard! I wonder if so many animals hide their stashes of winter food in our yard because we're one of the only households on the street that don't have dogs outside?


Watched two silent films last night which thankfully didn't have to be reconstructed with production stills like London After Midnight. The first was the classic horror movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It was only 67 minutes long and grainy in spots, but I thought it was a pretty unique and disturbing film. Apparently, Conrad Veidt's character Cesare was Tim Burton's inspiration for Edward Scissorhands...


The second movie was Kiki, starring Norma Talmadge and Ronald Colman. Comedic silent films usually miss the mark with me, but I thought this one was hilarious! I was especially interested because I'd already seen Ronald Colman in two "talkies," The Prisoner of Zenda and Lost Horizon. I was prepared to see him in heavy makeup, mugging and gesticulating wildly, but he was just the same as he was in the later films, just with no sound. I can see how a lot of movie-goers found him appealing in the silent film era. He was so dignified!

leene_chan: (Default)

Just my favorite line from the awesome psycho-biddy Shelley Winters movie, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? XD

I haven't seen that movie for a while, but I do have it on DVD. It cost only $6.99, double-billed with What's The Matter With Helen?. ::snickers::


I actually haven't done much movie watching lately, although I have been getting some doll-rooting done. And boy do my hands hurt! The only movie I watched recently was Last Orders, a 2001 movie about a group of old English guys (including Bob Hoskins and that guy with the weird eyebrows from Barbarella) on a road trip with Michael Caine's ashes in a plastic jug. Helen Mirren got some great reviews regarding that film, but I found it disjointed and kind of boring. I do have to say, though, that for a person like me who hasn't a romantic bone in her body, you can't get much more sweet and charming than a movie romance involving Bob Hoskins. I am not being sarcastic here!


Tonight I'll probably rewatch Die! Die! My Darling!, a gem of the psycho-biddy genre starring crazy old Tallulah Bankhead as a religious nut who imprisons Stefanie Powers in her home in order to "purify" her from her wicked, hedonistic ways. Pretty hilarious subject matter, considering Ms. Bankhead's reputation as "the most immoral woman who ever lived." XD I'll have to look away during the part when Stefanie Powers falls on the scissors, though. I just can't take that violence!

leene_chan: (Default)

I hate windy days like these. I always feel like something bad's going to happen, even if it isn't. That might be due to the excess amount of caffeine I've been consuming lately, though. I try to only drink one or two cups of caffeinated tea a day, but sometimes I slip...particularly when I'm having family trouble. I finally decided to pull myself back from the edge of insanity and replace all but one cup a day with decaf...for the time being, at least. After one day of detoxification, I'm sleeping much better.


My allergies were bothering me last night, so I broke down and took some Advil Cold&Sinus ( I had been rationing it now that it's a restricted substance). I had a little trouble opening the blister pack, and I guess I scratched my thumb. I had really wanted to do some work on rerooting that Marine last night. I got all the necessary paraphenalia out and was about to stick a plug in when I noticed a red smear on the tip of my thumb. I assumed it was dye from the coating of the pill, but after I went into the bathroom and scrubbed it like crazy I realized it was a paper cut that was leaking blood. O_o Not much of an injury, but it's in a bad spot. I probably won't be able to do any rooting for a few days.


And I wanted so much to be able to take pictures of that doll!


So I've watched a few movies and TV shows lately. I am finally, finally, finally nearing the end of the Star Trek: TNG Season One boxed set. Thank God! I only got it because it was on sale and I'm a completist. Considering how bad the first season of TNG was, I'm surprised the show didn't get cancelled after one year. It didn't really get good until Season Three, but even Season Two seems awesome now in comparison with Season One. Maybe Riker's beard had magical powers to change the show for the better?


I watched an old movie called The Red Pony a few nights ago. It was based off a series of short stories by John Steinbeck. It kind of sucked; it was a 2 1/2 star movie, and I only recorded it because Robert Mitchum amuses me. I don't know why I keep watching these animal movies...the animals always meet bad ends and I wind up depressed. If it had only been that, though, I might have liked the movie better. It just wasn't really that great, probably because they shuffled the events of the book out of order and made the whole thing make even less sense.


I also watched a Joan Crawford movie called Susan and God, which started off slow but ending up giving me pretty much what I expect and want from a Joan Crawford movie: bulging eyes and tears and scenery-chewing! I guess it was because she was still a young woman in the movie, but at first I had to do a double-take before I realized that was her in the lead role. Did she not get the huge eyebrows and scary, comic features until later? It's kind of weird that my preconception of Joan Crawford came from Faye Dunaway's portrayal of her in Mommie Dearest. Then again, in Queen Bee she was pretty scary AND had huge eyebrows.


leene_chan: (Default)

We got put under Frost Advisory for tonight. To all my annuals that have served me throughout the summer: Die well, my friends! The rosebush and tuberroses (which were not decent enough to put up flower spikes this year, probably because they just divided) will be the sole survivors.


Today's my mother's birthday. Kristen and I are trying to make a cherry pie. Or rather, she's trying to make the pie and I'm standing around wringing my hands and tidying up the counter. If it turns out well and I take a picture, I promise not to take credit for it.


Hey, she was having trouble flipping over the piecrust while rolling it out and I did it for her. I can take that credit, at least. XD


Here's some randomness for you: I just found out a secret about the 3-minute ramen I've grown to love in spite of myself over the past two weeks. It's the same product they sell in Japan, but they relabel the flavors for a Western audience. Beef flavor ramen is actually shoyu (soy sauce), oriental is miso, and chicken is shio (salt, or rather, pork/chicken stock without any flavorings). I've always thought that chicken flavor is beyond disgusting, but really, this explains a lot to me about why I like beef ramen so much even though I can't stand soup with beef broth. It ain't beef!


I finished rooting the Timotei head two nights ago. Now all that's left to do is curl her hair. I watched a few movies as I worked--so now I'm free to record even more! Over the past week I watched A Raisin in the Sun, Forbidden Planet (classic sci-fi movie starring Leslie Nielson when he was considered a "serious" actor), A World Apart (depressing movie about apartheid-era South Africa starring pre-lip enhancement Barbara Hershey as a journalist who was jailed for aiding blacks), and I Married a Witch (a cute 1940s movie starring the impossibly tiny Veronica Lake as a witch who torments and eventually falls in love with the descendant of a Pilgrim who condemned her to death). I'm considering the remaining movies on my DV-R with trepidation. The shortest one is 133 minutes. I'm disappointed that I missed the opportunity to tape Splendor in the Grass when it was showing...oh well. There's always Joan Crawford Day to look forward to.

leene_chan: (Default)

I finally finished Anna Karenina last night.


::breaks out the champagne and Chambord::


The idiot in me is wondering if I should try picking up a copy of War and Peace one of these days. Yeah, that's right, the poster-child for incredibly long (and boring?) books! Because to be fair, it's not like I didn't care for Anna Karenina--I thought the parts that didn't involve Levin obsessing over agriculture and the nature of his own soul were fascinating. I think that the subject matter of War and Peace seems interesting enough (now I can hear a whole chorus of people laughing at me back there). Ah, who knows. My journey into the land of classic adult literature continues.


I'm taking a reprieve right now to reread my copy of The Marvelous Land of Oz, the second book in L. Frank Baum's series. I picked up that one because the Wonderful Wizard of Oz anime that's been showing on ThisTV has reached that point in the series. The anime has been basically faithful, the most glaring difference being that in the books Dorothy didn't come back into the picture until after Ozma returned. I was really interested in how the anime would portray General Jinjur, my favorite of the "obscure" Oz characters.


And....they made Jinjur a scrawny, butt-ugly redhead. I have no idea why--the descriptions of her in the book and the illustrations made it clear that she was supposed to be pretty. An interesting thing to note is that in the English dubbed version her motivation seems different that it was in the book (spreading doom and gloom versus rebelling against masculine authority)....but in the bits of the Japanese-language version I've seen on the internet, Jinjur's dialogue is word-for-word the same as in the book. I wonder why they changed it for the English dub?


I like what they did with Ozma in the anime, but really....Jinjur's character design is too much!


On the gaming front, I'm attempting to play Final Fantasy X for the first time. I picked up a copy two years ago in an effort to reach some common ground with my brother after he broke his leg. The last FF game I played was VII...I thought it was good for the first five hours, until the point where you leave Midgar for the great beyond. :O I might go back to it later, but right now, the game seems to me to be a mediocre piece of...whatever.


My first impressions of FFX have been pretty positive. I hope it stays that way!

leene_chan: (Default)

As of this morning, the bachelor's button seeds I direct-sowed as well as the seeds in the pot have started to pop. I noticed that the sprouts that are coming up now are growing their second leaves from the base of the plant as opposed to the top. I hope this means they won't grow leggy and die! Maybe bachelor's buttons demand to be sown outside? Of the seeds I started weeks ago, I have one survivor in the ground and one in the big pot. I hope the second round has better luck!


Two of the cosmos I transplanted outside have been stomped by some creature, probably the same skunk that randomly sprays our trash cans at night. All of the sunflowers are doing great, though. I have more sunflower and cosmos seeds, but I'm not sure if I want to direct-sow more plants. I think I have enough to care for.


I have one little jalapeno pepper growing. All the tomatoes have little fruit on them, including the three cherry tomato plants that had the Funk. They seem to be recovering. I am glad.


I'm afraid I won't have many new flower photos to share for a few weeks, unless anyone wants to see a bunch of vegetables in pots. I probably won't see any new blooms until the end of July. Everyone else is holding strong, thank god for daylilies!


Onto other topics...


Getting a little long so I will cut it. )
leene_chan: (Default)

I spent yesterday evening transplanting all my little sproutlings to the front border. Now they seem to be growing up before my very eyes. If all goes well, I'll have nice hedges of dwarf sunflowers and cosmos by the beginning of August. Of all the bachelor's buttons I started indoors, only two survived.


I'm just remembering that the only year I actually received compliments from my neighbors about my front yard I had cosmos growing everywhere. Every other year, they just pass by like O__O...Our yard tends to get weedy and overgrown fast.


It seems that the bachelor's button seeds that didn't pop until after I transplanted the peat pots are doing much better. I had quite a few seeds left over, so I direct-sowed them in two areas and sowed more in a 12-inch pot I'm keeping outside near the front door. I'd like to think that no bird would have the cojones to eat the seeds right from under my nose. I guess you never know. As long as it stays hot and humid, they have a good fighting chance!


My basil is currently going nuts. I'm going to have to make pesto soon, or else the bugs are going to eat the leaves before I get a chance to use them. The tomato plants are tomato-ing. I know I can't expect to see ripe tomatoes for at least a month. Growing tomatoes is such a drag sometimes.


On the movie front, I've developed a taste for black-and-white films. I have such an aversion to gore and ultra-violence that it really is the only option for me, aside from watching children's movies (which can get old fast). Over the past few weeks I've watched some "four star" movies I recorded off Turner Classic Movies: Some Like It Hot, Laura, Goodbye Mr. Chips, and The Enchanted Cottage. My favorite of the lot was Some Like It Hot. I'm finding that I like the 1950's era movies best, because they don't abuse the maudlin soundtrack so much!


I also watched the 1940's version of The Yearling a few nights ago. I thought it was a good movie, but the red-neck patois was a little hard to follow, and as an animal lover the final scenes upset me quite a bit. I've always found Gregory Peck in his prime to be one of the most attractive men who ever lived, but his character really irritated me in that movie!


On the book front, I'm starting up Anna Karenina again. I'm somewhere around page 560. I've been enjoying the book a lot provided I read it in increments of 200 pages...

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