Now we're on our way to getting the basement back in shape. The books have been alphabetized (priority), but we're still mulling floor options (secondary). I want something rubbery so that if I want to do a helicopter-to-body slam move to a house guest, so be it. (And so that if it floods again, we just have to take the rubber pieces out and let them dry in the sun).
Anyway. This is what I've been up to.
Rhubarb Crisp: You can barely swing a poisonous rhubarb leaf on the internet without hitting a recipe for rhubarb crisp, the most un-fuckup-able dessert in the history of sugar. Case: I found this one on about.com, and it still rocked those parts of the tongue that only rhubarb can trigger.
Egyptian Moussaka: The picture with the recipe was so pretty that I had to make this. But as I was making it, I was getting pretty sick of it. I was pretty sure I was not going to like it. I'd spent too much time with it.
And, result: I was totally wrong. Awesome. The eggplant does this crazy thing texturally -- maybe it always does that -- that was really nice. I also added the optional chickpeas because if the options are a) chickpeas; b) no chickpeas, I'll always pick a) chickpeas.
FOOD PHOTO DUMP
I'm running in the neighborhood. A girl, somewhere between 12-14, sees my "I (heart) NY" T-shirt and says: "Have you ever been to New York?"
I remove my earbuds. She repeats herself.
"Yes," I say. "Have you?"
"No," she says. "But I've been to Florida."
(A time where the idea was better than its execution)
The Turning Point: This movie from 1977 is the 2-hour video for the song "I've Been to Paradise (But I've Never Been to Me)." Shirley Mac Laine is a former ballet dancer who gave up her career when she got got with a bambino. She and a former male company member marry, make a few more and open a dance studio in Oklahoma City. When her old company comes through for a two-nights stand of "Anna Karenina," Mac Laine is reunited with her former friend/rival, played by Anne Bancroft. Mac Laine must work through her "what-ifskies" while Bancroft, well beyond retirement age, works more sanely through her own -- including devoting her life to dance and never having a family. Mac Laine's young, lovely daughter gets invited by the company to come to NYC to train with them.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Baryshnikov flies around on the stage and one by one seduces the company's ballerinas.
This movie is corny as hell, but includes an epic fist fight between Mac Laine and Bancroft and some great dancing.
Quick note: Have you ever noticed that in the 1970s, flute music is often incorporated into the lovemaking?
The Last Picture Show: I've been meaning to watch this movie ever since it was referenced on an episode of "Dawson's Creek." And its Dawson-isms make sense: Small town, one girl, two boys who are besties. Stir.
It's a year in the life of some kids living in this town and a bunch of stuff happens and it's funny and sad and just a good story and Cybill Shepherd is such a little mynx.
Little Darlings Kristy McNichol stars as a little toughie who is sent off to summer camp with a pack of Marlboro Reds tucked into the waist band of her jeans. She doesn't immediately click with the girls in her cabin, which includes a shampoo model, a rich girl and a young Cynthia Nixon. The shampoo model accuses her of being a virgin and pits her against the rich girl, Tatum O'Neal, in a contest to see who can lose it more quickly.
Tatum makes for the camp gym teacher; McNichol goes for Matt Dillon, who is the rebel at the boys camp (and looks, suspiciously, a lot like her). I can't decide if this is the dumbest movie I've ever seen. It has a certain Judy Blume-ness to it that it really uncomfortable. On the other hand, it's also priceless.
CONVERSATION OF THE WEEK
The triplets across the street are dancing with their hands in the air and singing "It's our birthday, it's our birthday." The 5-year-old next door to us looks at me and says "They're ruining my time." "Why?" I ask him. "I only really like it when it's quiet out here," he says.
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn: Nick and Amy's fifth anniversary starts with him ruing the state of their relationship and her making crepes. Within hours she will go missing, there will be signs of a struggle and Nick will become the number one suspect in the case. And that's where the same old-same old story goes off-roading big time and this becomes so fun to read.
This is probably my favorite book written in 2012 that I've read. It's a total blast and super clever and fun.
Full review is here.
The Guardians: An Elegy by Sarah Manguso: A poet writes recollections of a friend whose mental illness contributed to him to throwing himself in front of a train in the early 2000s. She considers their friendship, what his death meant, and snapshots of her own life during this period. It's a fine, short little almost-memoir, but I wasn't feeling it.
Full review will be here.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Fun fact: I'd never read this, but I act like I've read it all the time! It's mostly give-or-take but there are some really wicked scenes and the last 15 pages are crunk. For the uninitiated: A bunch of boys stranded on an island and what happens when they attempt a sort of makeshift government structure.
Full review will be here.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks: Loved the art; thought the story was meh.
Full lament will be here.
PHOTO DUMP 2