Friday, February 27, 2009

Book or movie?

If there is a movie based on a book, do you prefer to read the book or watch the movie first?

Me, I'm a read the book kinda gal. I like to have the whole story in my head before I watch the movie. I like to grump about how they changed the storyline or how a character was miscast or changed too much from the book.

Last week I rented the movie Appaloosa because I thought my husband might want to watch it. It is directed by Ed Harris, one of my favorite actors, and has Jeremy Irons and Viggo Mortensen in it. Oh, and it also has Renee Zellweger in it. I rented it anyway.

We weren't really excited about watching it because the cover shows two cowboys on either side and a woman in-between. There's no doubt about what's going to happen. Two guys who have worked side by side for nearly twenty years are going to meet this girl, fall madly in love with her, and, since they are gun-slingers, have a shoot-out over her. And Renee Zellweger is that girl. Random. But it has Viggo in it, so I decided it was worth a watch.

Westerns haven't been that great for ... well, they've always been kind of hit and miss. John Wayne had some really solid movies once he got his feet under him. Lonesome Dove was great. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly made me feel like I'd had about ten hours of my life sucked away into some Bad Movie Black Hole. Tom Selleck had some great westerns in The Sacketts and Quigley Down Under - the tv movie Crossfire Trail wasn't bad. And I'll watch any western that Sam Elliot is in. Really. Any western. Which brings me to Tombstone. This isn't good for my heart. Better get back to Appaloosa.

So since westerns are a hit and miss genre, we weren't expecting much. It was good. Really, really good. We're going to own this one. If it hadn't have been for the miscasting of Renee, it would have been amazing.

The story does not take you where you expect it to. There is no fight over a woman and the movie sympathetically but realistically explores different personalities and relationships. It's a bit slow to get going, which I didn't mind since that seems to be a hallmark trait of good westerns. I got some keeper lines from the movie also - classic cowboy lines.

Right before the credits started rolling, there was a blurb stating that this movie was based off of a book, so on my next trip to the library, I checked it out. It was really good, but not page turning since it turns out that they kept the movie really close to the book. They changed a few scenes, condensed a few scenes, pretty much left out a character, and elaborated on a few issues, but other than that reading this book after watching the movie was like reading the screenplay. I've never seen a movie that kept so close to the book. The author does a good job of frankly portraying the situation that western women who were not married were in - the character almost completely left out in the movie was a prostitute who really should have been included more.

So for this book/movie, which would I recommend you take on first? The movie. Since they are so similar, what's the harm in reading the book and picturing Viggo every time you read about Hitch? Hmmm?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Humane, sustainable, unbelievable foie gras.

Have you heard of or tried foie gras? I've heard of it but never tried it. For me it's in the same categories as caviar and veal. Like caviar, even if I wanted to try it, it's too far out of my price range and like veal, it's produced in a manner that makes it altogether unappealing to me.

Watch this video - it's inspiring. The history of foie gras is interesting, the seasonal aspect of humanely produced foie gras is common sense, and the way the farmer produces the desirable yellow liver is brilliant and even a bit funny. If you're into local, sustainable, seasonal or humane food, you'll love this video. If you're into innovative farmers, you'll love this video. If you're into learning new things, you'll love the website.

I'm used to sharing TED videos on my other blog. I now have a short list of ones to share on this blog. The fact that there's even a short list of talks given on these subjects at such prestigious events is encouraging, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breaking out.

It's been so cold here that this is all I see of my girls when we're outside -



Some days - like the day this picture was taken - it's not really that cold (it was 43 F that morning) but the wind, oh the wind. It's miserably, bitingly cold. We run out to the barn, they play in the barn while I chore and then we all run back to the house. Screaming while you run makes you feel warmer.

But on Sunday it was not only relatively warm (high 40s), it was completely wind free. Not even a breeze. So we saddled up the horse and pony and took the girls for a ride.




I don't think Ainsley stopped smiling during the entire hour-long ride.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Back ... I think.

I've been off of this blog for awhile because there's a lot of uncertainty about our path for this next year and, frankly, it's bumming me out.

My husband's duties at work got doubled around the beginning of December. For almost a month, we were lucky if we saw him (awake) for more than a few hours a week. He was able to get Christmas Day off. We haven't seen much more of him in January. One whole weekend, a day here and there, but he's rarely home before eight pm and then he's gone again by six am at the latest.

A big problem here is the travel time. We chose to live about thirty minutes away from his job when we moved here because

a) land was cheaper out here
b) his job provided a truck and fuel
c) it would mean he didn't get called in as frequently or easily as those managers who lived 'on property'

The problem is, he's getting called in to work now so often, sometimes before he even gets all the way home, that he's spending valuable daddy time driving. His job's been pushing for him to move on property for awhile now and we're finally considering it.

I don't want to sell our lovely little piece of land here and move but it has some real benefits. He'll see his kids more often - it sucks when you walk in the front door and your baby looks at you and then looks at his mother as if to say "Who is that and why is he coming in our house?" - because not only will he not have all that driving time, he'll be able to drop into the house for lunch or even for a ten minute playing session. Also, if we find another job that is better for us, we can move immediately without having to worry about selling our house. While we won't be building up equity in a house, we also won't be paying rent, so that's not a bad deal.

But we'd be living 'on the road'. My girls don't know what it's like to live right on the road and frankly, it scares me to death. Lots of big, big trucks drive past those houses, and they drive fast and they don't look for kids. My girls are used to running as they please, so it will take some work to help them learn safety out there. If we move, I'll miss living half a mile off the road - everyone who visits comments on how nice it is to visit such a secluded property.

Being able to take our animals is a condition of the move that they haven't agreed to yet and it's a big deal for both my husband and myself. Sigh.

So I'm in limbo right now. I don't know what to plant or if planting will be a complete waste of time and money - say, if we moved in the middle of the summer. But if we don't end up changing jobs, then not planting will have been a mistake. Sigh. Again.

'Tis not the best time to sell, but since we're not in a hurry or selling because of financial need, and because we have a 'hot' property (private and acreage), that gives us an advantage.

So I'm here again, and I'll be posting about what I'm doing, but the blog might naturally change from growing kids, plants, and animals to include more personal issues that don't find a comfortable home on my other blog. If you're still with me, thank you. And hang on - it might get bumpy.