MJ Monday-Movies: Bottle Shock

I hadn’t heard of this movie until the wonderful Alan Rickman died. Not only was Rickman in the movie, but also Bill Pullman (While You Were Sleeping) and Chris Pine (Star Trek reboot). Worth checking out for the cast alone.

The topic was another go-to for me: (from the IMDB):  the story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as “Judgment of Paris”.

For those who are unfamiliar with this, California wines weren’t considered much before the Judgment of Paris. The film is the story of how a California wine ended up winning the tasting and launching a whole new industry.

I wish I could say I loved the movie. I wish I could say I liked the movie. I wish I could take it out of the library again and watch it alone, hoping to improve my impression of it.

The main thing, for me, was the slow pacing. Maybe it was intentional, mimicking the wine aging process and the savoring of a glass of fine wine. But while time is needed in both of those instances, telling a story on film needs to move. Otherwise, it’s watching grapes grow.

Three stars (because of the cast).

BOOK REVIEW-LINDA HOWARD: TO DIE FOR

Image credit: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo

To Die For is the first book in a two-part series Linda Howard wrote in first person. The heroine. Blair Mallory, is a ditzy but savvy former cheerleader who now owns her own health club.  A murder at the health club returns her to the attention of a former NFL star-turned homicide detective she once dated three times before he vanished from her life without a word.

We get to tumble around in Blair’s highly disorganized mind. I found I had a lot in common with the health nut Blair. Scary. The laugh-out-loud moments in the book are constant.

Remember the TV show, Heroes, where the tagline was “save the cheerleader, save the world”? That was in 2006. Linda Howard’s (former) cheerleader saved herself in 2005.  Kind of made me wish I’d tried harder to be a cheerleader. (Not really.)

Five stars.

MJ Monday-Meals: My Food Foibles-Hard Boiled Eggs

As much as I loathe grocery shopping, I do find myself annoyed that the current pandemic (and my children’s insistence that I don’t go out) prevents me from cooking a wider of variety of meals and experimenting more with recipes. So this month’s edition of MJ’s Meals is more like a cautionary tale.

My husband was stopping at a local supermarket to purchase milk for his coffee, so I asked him to pick up a zucchini. He was . . . shocked. He knows nothing about picking out zucchini. Well, zucchini is a lot easier to purchase than say a tomato, which I have been picking out for him for years. You don’t need to squeeze or thump a zucchini. I gave him the basics. He did it!

I asked him if he’d gotten  himself a green pepper for his weekend omelet making. He said no, but he’d looked at mushrooms, but thought I would get mad if he brought them home. “Why?” I asked. “Because you don’t like them.”

I pointed out there are lots of things in our cupboards/refrigerator that I don’t like: green peppers, fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise, sauerkraut (which I had to remind him to purchase), even the milk I told him he needed.

The only thing I would get mad about would be if he brought home hard-boiled eggs or anything containing them. After 32 years, he should know this.

One time, long before I met my husband, I went to a family picnic at my sister’s home. There were hotdogs and hamburgers. Macaroni salad, potato salad, deviled eggs. That was it. I left. My sister knew better. Everyone in my family knew better.

I used to keep regular eggs in the house, but had to stop. Someone asked me, jokingly, “Why? Are you afraid someone will come into your house and randomly boil an egg?”

“Yes. It has happened.”

Early in our marriage, the wife of one of his friends, not an hour after I’d served a big breakfast, decided she needed a hard boiled egg, so cooked one for herself. In my kitchen. The stench of hard boiled eggs makes me ill. When I was a child, my mother would send me to the woods when she was making macaroni or potato salad or egg salad sandwiches. She always told me when I had my own kitchen I could make the rules. The wife of my husband’s friend violated my rule.

So unless I specifically need eggs, TV Stevie gets Egg Beaters.

Thursday Thought-Self Help: Discover Your Genius

Several years ago, I spent a year doing a self-awareness/improvement project, using a book called Make Your Creative Dreams Real by SARK as a guide.  She had quite a reading list in the book, and I read every single title that was available from my local public library. I ended up purchasing at least three of the ones I read. The book I reviewed last month, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, was one. Today’s review is another: Discover Your Genius by Michael J. Gelb. The subtitle is “How to Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds.

Gelb himself admits his choice of subjects was arbitrary, but he presents good reasons for picking the ten people he did:

  • Plato (Deepening Your Love of Wisdom)
  • Brunelleschi (Expanding Your Perspective)
  • Columbus (Going Perpendicular: Strengthening Your Optimism, Vision, and Courage)
  • Copernicus (Revolutionizing Your Worldview)
  • Elizabeth I (Wielding Your Power with Balance and Effectiveness)
  • Shakespeare (Cultivating Your Emotional Intelligence)
  • Jefferson (Celebrating Your Freedom in the Pursuit of Happiness)
  • Darwin (Developing Your Power of Observation and Opening Your Mind)
  • Gandhi (Applying the Principles of Spiritual Genius to Harmonize Spirit, Mind, and Body)
  • Einstein (Unleashing Your Imagination and Combinatory Play)

The book includes biographical and historical information. He examines the commonalities and the unique aspects of each of his subjects. There are little quizzes. Suggestions of simple things to incorporate into your own life. In short, there was so much good in this book that I found trying to copy it all was a waste of time when I could simple purchase the book for myself. So I did.

I know there is only one woman included, but many genius women are lost to us simply because they were female.

I know both Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson are politically incorrect these days. No excuses.

I still like the book a lot.

 

MJ Monday-Motivation: My Garden

I like the idea of gardening more than I like the task. Two years ago, my transformed back yard was a haven. Last year, I waited too long, and the person who was actually doing all the work vanished on me. It was still a nice place to be, but not as beautiful as it was that first year.

This year, I got out there early and did some spring maintenance. I also bought new decor.

A new wind chime

And a spinner.

Hopefully, I can find a happy medium for this year.