Things I Loved This Week #110

Woman In Gold:

I went to the cinema the other night with my sister to see this picture. It was spur of the moment, but I’m awfully glad we went. I never get to the movies. Chances are excellent that I never would have seen this one if I hadn’t that night. I haven’t seen advertisements for this one anywhere, nor did I know it was even in existence. It deals with one of my favorite topics: restitution of artistic and historic property, so I should have known all about it! What a fool I was. Helen Mirren was, expectedly, phenomenal in her role as the Rightful Viennese owner of one of George Klimt’s most famous paintings, Portrait of Adele Blauch-Bauer. It’s absolutely beautiful and I feel ashamed that I’ve never seen it with my own eyes. I do try my best to see the world’s artistic masterpieces. Honestly, I wouldn’t call it the most well written film, since it seemed very abridged and a bit sugar coated, but I was still engaged. I had the same problem with this as I did with Julie & Julia, wishing that the historic half of the film had been the entire feature. I adore Helen Mirren, but her scenes would have been much better if they weren’t tempered by excellent flashbacks to Vienna before and during the Nazi occupation. It felt as if it could have been two well-rounded pictures instead of one. That’s just a minor compliant. It’s a beautiful film and one that is easy to enjoy. It won’t win an Academy Award, but I don’t think that was the intention. Do visit your cinema, reader.

Hoisin Tofu:

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I love to cook, and I know that I’m rather talented in the kitchen. I could easily whip up a loaf of artisan bread or the perfect omelette. I could make a cake with no trouble or delicate macarons with little effort. Maybe I’m a better baker than cook…but no matter, I know my way around the kitchen. Unfortunately, when it comes to Asian style food, I’m an abysmal failure. I finally managed to make tasty fried rice after a multitude of trials. I don’t make it all that often, though. A month or so ago, I tried to make Mongolian Tofu, but that was a disaster. Like, I can’t emphasize how bad it was! I was so traumatized by that development, that I put aside my attempts at Asian cuisine. The other day, I stared at some tofu in the refrigerator for a long time. I knew that I had to be brave, so I googled a recipe and found one for tofu marinated in hoisin sauce (amongst other things), which is one of the things I bought on a whim when I was sure that I would be a great cook of Chinese and Japanese foods and stuffed into the dark recesses of my cupboards. I pressed the tofu and whipped up the sauce (1/3 cup hoisin, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, pepper, and enough water to make 1 cup.) It simmered over the tofu, which I had browned, and it was a tremendous success. I wanted to eat the entire pound of tofu, but I resisted. I do try to be calorie conscious. It’s a pain sometimes to care about health. I was terribly proud of the results and can’t wait to make it again!

“The Desired Effect” by Brandon Flowers:

I have been so excited for this album ever since the first singe, “Can’t Deny My Love,” was released. I wrote about that one awhile back, and it is still stuck in my head on a daily basis. Finally, the entire album was released yesterday, and I love it dearly. I don’t listen to a lot of male solo artists, aside from Michael Jackson and the boys of my beloved One Direction, so this is quite a shift in my tastes. But there is something about Brandon’s voice that I really find engaging. I think the best track is “Never Get You Right.” It isn’t the lyrics or the instrumentation, but some inexplicable element of his singing really gets to me, the arrangement of notes or something. Music is magical, you know? All of the tracks are delightful, and this album feels vastly different from anything else available light now, but in the best way. It’s like an eighties pop album, but with all the hints of modernity. I adore it. Give to a listen. Spotify is a great blessing.

End of the Year:

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As much as I adore the end of the school year, it is always a truly miserable time. I seem to forget that each year until May comes rolling around. I shan’t get into specifics, because I do try to remain professional, but the past few weeks have been filled with irksome moments and unpleasantries. To compound my irritation, even the world outside of work is seeming to crumble around me, which is not something that normally happens. I cannot wait for the year to be done so that I can nap and nap and then reemerge in a better mood. I don’t like being grumpy, but I feel like I have been for two weeks. I’m not saying that I’m on the verge of a complete and total mental breakdown, but I did spend the three o’clock hour throwing plastic containers around my kitchen last night and then the rest of the morning looking into monasteries to retreat into. My cat died, you see, and I didn’t take it very well. He was twelve years old and was very close to my heart. On top of that, there were at least a dozen other irritations all on the same day. Thankfully there are only four more days that I have to wake up for and this weekend has three days. Thank you, Beysus. I am so ready for the summer break. I need it like I need air.

Spreading the Eurovision Gospel:

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Many people in America have never been exposed to the glorious yearly event that is Eurovision. That isn’t hard to understand, this country is quite a journey from Europe. Blissfully, though, the world has never been smaller. You can get anywhere on the planet in a day and the Internet makes everything accessible. I have been having a difficult time with modernity for a while now, but this is something that I feel blessed to experience. Eurovision can now be seen on computer screens the world over and you need not be on that beautiful continent to enjoy it. The first time I watched Eurovision was in Paris. My sister and I were sat on a couch in a nice apartment in the Marais as we watched the hosts bumble around and dwarves scurry around the stage on a unicycle. The entire thing is absolute madness. Ever since that first broadcast that I saw, I have never missed it, and I can’t wait for Saturday’s final. I have found it to be my duty to share the good news about this most joyous of occasions. Truly, reader, there is nothing so fabulous as witnessing an opera singing vampire, a Turkish man becoming a boat, or an inspiring drag queen belt out a ballad for world peace. Eurovision is flawless. See it. You are welcome.

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