Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Music: Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack

A couple of weeks ago we watched the movie, Slumdog Millionaire. We loved this film, talked about it here, and couldn't seem to get the music out of our minds, so we bought the soundtrack and have been enjoying it ever since. It's not the kind of music that you would want to fall asleep to or read a book to, but it's a great soundtrack for running down the street, fantasizing about cat destruction, or tearing apart a pig ear.

Most of the music is by A. R. Rahman and there are a couple of songs by M.I.A. It's upbeat, has a crazy rhythm, and mostly makes no sense, but we've been loving it.

Quick vote: Buy this, put it on your iPod, put your iPod in your ears, go for a run with your dog. You will not regret it.

Aunt Annie's 2 Cents: This music hurts my delicate, curly-haired ears.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Books: The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf

Our mother's book club selection this month is The Tie That Binds by Kent Haruf. A different sort of book then we've read for the club, a Western tale about family and farming. We liked the story, it was a quick read though not necessarily well written.

The Tie That Binds is a story about two families, the Goodnoughs and the Roscoes, living in close proximity in homesteaded Colorado. The story follows dreams lost, lives ended, sadness, and the things that keep a family together, no matter what. The narrator is engaging, the protagonist pitiful, and the struggles hard. Kent Haruf is a good storyteller.

Quick vote: We liked this book, but we probably wouldn't recommend it to you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Movie: Be Kind Rewind

We're usually not huge fans of Jack Black movies, but Be Kind Rewind sounded sort of interesting, so we rented it recently to check it out. We've heard people that hated the movie, and other people that thought it was pretty funny so there was no way to know for certain unless we watched it ourselves.

The movie is not incredible, it has the level of quality that you would expect from a Jack Black/Mos Def/Danny Glover movie, but it's actually pretty funny. Mos Def and Danny Glover run a VHS rental shop in New Jersey and when the all of the tapes are erased, they decide to tape their own version of the movies (Sweded!), which turns out to be highly hilarious and successful.

Quick vote: The movie was actually pretty funny, although quite stupid. We liked it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Books: Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

We have always been big fans of fantasy and science fiction books, but great works are few and far between. So we were quite excited when we heard about Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell a little while ago. It had been critically acclaimed and though some dogs might have been daunted by its >1,000 pages; we dug into the challenge with a big bowl of water and a rawhide to sustain us. Mostly we read it while our parents were in Peru, without regular access to the internet we grew bored easily and got a lot of book-reading/tv-watching/remote-chewing done while we stayed with our cousin Echo.

The book is set in Napoleonic-era England and begins with a group of theoretical magicians; men that study magic but don't practice it because of its vulagarity, and because frankly, they have forgotten how. Enter Mr. Norrell, his eccentric ways, and his practical study of magic. This introverted, insecure man and his eventual pupil Jonathan Strange revolutionize England, reincarnating the regular use of magic and unburying other worlds and lost secrets that meant to stay buried.

Quick vote: Not many authors can hold a readers attention for a book of this length, especially one about magic, but Susanna Clarke does it. More in the Tolkein genre of fantasy than the Rowling genre, we loved the book; we thought it smart, sassy, and we loved the new world it opened up for us.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blogs: The Lawsons Did Dallas

We don't follow many "Mommy blogs" of people that we don't know, but we've been making an exception for the Lawsons Did Dallas, written by Amy Lawson. She talks about her life as a working mother of a four-year old and a crazy dog living on the east coast and her antics in life and living. She's pretty funny, and we enjoy reading it.

"Bonnie claims that I am a fire sign and Jared is a water sign. Bottom line is this...when you put the two of us together, he really knows how to steam me and I have dreams of sticking his skinny little backside right into our flaming toaster oven. I shouldn't be surprised if Jared ever breaks down and gives me a swirly in the guest toilet, and he might think about investing in some flame retardant pajamas."
--A Little Bit of Crazy

"I stepped out of the shower and heard James saying, "My mom is in da shower. I will go and get her for you." And just like that, James whipped open the bathroom door, exposing my condition to the entire neighborhood through two picture windows and the sidedoor. One false move and the trash man would see me in all of nature's glory, and unfortunately, closing the door fell into the "false move" category.
"James," I said, "get Mommy a towel and close the door." Being the obedient, well-mannered child that he is, James ran away, screaming like a banshee, ignoring my request.

--For the Love of a Towel

Quick vote: This is a pretty funny blog, for a mommy blog anyway. We read it regularly, and recommend that you follow it yourself, if it's your sort of thing. The lady is crazy, and it's fun and sort of voyeuristic to live about her life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

We had tons of people recommend this movie to us before we finally got around to seeing it, but now that we have seen it, we're recommending it to anyone who will listen, this is an awesome film. We loved the music, the scenery, the story, and the romance.

Jamal Malik has lived a life of hardship in the slums of Mumbai, India but he has the potential of winning a fortune on the Indian television show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' The movie follows his life, and leaves you feeling that no matter what life hands you, anyone can find their true love, anyone can have a happy destiny.

Quick vote: It's rare to see a critically-acclaimed film that ends feeling-good, but this one is beautiful, excellent, and ends well. We love this movie, take a look and you will too!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Books: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Our mother's book club selection this month was People of the Book by Pulitzer-prize winning author, Geraldine Brooks. We were excited to read this historical fiction-type book about the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated, Jewish, religious text that accompanies the Sedar at Passover.

This book follows the work of Hannah Heath, a book conservatist responsible for restoring the Sarajevo Haggadah after it turns up in the midst of civil war in Bosnia. As she repairs the pages and finds clues about the book's past, the story goes back in time, explaining the journey that the book had gone through and the people who's lives it had changed along the way. It was really interesting and well-written.

Quick vote: There were a couple of things we didn't like with the plot-twists, but overall we really liked this book. It was fresh, it was well-written, and it was fascinating. An excellent read.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Politics: Finally, The First Dog!

President Obama has finally fulfilled one of our greatest hopes of the campaign, he has gotten a puppy for the White House! He may be destroying what's left of our country's economy, in which case anything else that he does will become lost in the fray, but he did get a dog, and we're happy about that. (See our original post on the first dog here, and the follow-up post here.)

Bo (né Charlie) is a Portuguese Water Dog given to the Obamas by the Keneddys. He was born on October 9, 2008 (making him a Libra, for those that care), and is reported to know a few basic commands already. He has met the family without incident (or potty accident!) and he is preparing to move in post-haste. Hurrah!

Quick vote: We're very disappointed that the First Dog is a male. When will we see a bitch in the White House?! But we're also relieved that we can count on our species being well represented in our nations governing.

Aunt Izzie's Whiz-ord: What happened to the Labradoodles? Those Obamas are foo's! I can't believe this. I've got to go chew on something...