Monthly Archives: September 2007

the joy of cooking

https://i0.wp.com/jacketmagazine.com/02/px/girlcook.jpgLast evening, after the summer hiatus, I returned to the church kitchen to cook dinner for our Wednesday Chalice Night program. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.

I started at about 1:00 p.m., first making the filling for 60 black-bean burritos, and then preparing 4 large pans of banana pudding. I gathered up the ingredients for enchilada sauce, packed my car full of food (and my kids), and headed for church at 4:00. There we were joined by my husband, Jack, and Rita, and we had the usual excellent time as we filled and baked burritos, cooked enchilada sauce and Mexican rice, and dished out pudding. We were ready to serve at 5:30.

In looking for art to accompany this entry, I found a wonderful cartoon of a church kitchen. It reminds me very much of my church’s kitchen, which has signs everywhere: instructions, warnings, reminders, threats, you name it. My favorite is the brand-new fine print that someone has added to the signs labeling our storage bins full of paper plates and plastic utensils: It goes into detail about the energy and resources used to produce paper/plasticware and the space those items will subsequently take up in landfills, and suggests that people think twice before actually removing anything from the bins and using it. As Jack pointed out, when it comes to things like environmental issues, we UUs can be just the teensiest bit holier-than-thou…

I love putting together the list of what I need and going on the big shopping trip every week. I love coming to my stopping time for work on Wednesday and moving from computer to kitchen counter to start preparations. I love the cooking, and the serving, and looking out into the church social hall to see tables full of people talking and enjoying themselves over a home-cooked meal. It’s as close to spiritual as I get.

If you’re near downtown Louisville on a Wednesday from 5:30 – 6:15 p.m., come by and eat dinner for $4.00 ($2.00 for a small portion; kids under 10 are free). You’ll enjoy friendly company and good, homemade food, and it will truly be my pleasure to greet you at the serving window.

on loving peace & pistols

https://i2.wp.com/us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.yahoo.com/images/hv/photo/movie_pix/universal_pictures/the_bourne_identity/matt_damon/bourne.jpgI am an intensely nonviolent person. I dislike interpersonal confrontations. If a wasp or spider finds its way into my house, I do my best to capture it and release it outside rather than kill it. One of the reasons we found a new home for our python was that I could no longer bear to feed the snake live rats. I am extremely anti-war; I can’t imagine killing a person, and I don’t understand why and how people choose killing as a means to solve problems or express disagreement. I have no desire to ever touch a gun, let alone shoot one; even seeing a pistol close up on a police officer makes me nervous.

https://i0.wp.com/www.kpbs.org/blogs/movies/files/2007/04/hot-fuzz-3.jpgAnd yet… action/adventure movies are far and away my favorite genre. Give me Daniel Craig as James Bond or Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, and you’ve made my day. Big, cool-looking, high-caliber weaponry; good guys who can’t miss; car chases zig-zagging through major cities; some excellent hand-to-hand combat thrown in for good measure: these are things my favorite films are made of. If it’s possible to throw in some semblance of plot and a female character who demonstrates intelligence and the ability to take care of herself, so much the better.

https://i0.wp.com/images.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2007/09/07/shoot/story.jpgI started thinking about this strange divergence in my personality yesterday afternoon after seeing Shoot ‘Em Up — an awesome example of everything I love about action movies. It has:

  • Two of my favorite actors: Clive Owen doing handsome, invincible, mysterious good guy; and Paul Giamatti chewing the scenery as the over-the-top bad guy
  • A woman who is sexy but also helpful and able to take care of herself
  • Lots and lots of wonderfully choreographed gun battles that have some but not too much blood
  • An awesome soundtrack
  • A plot that is somewhat convoluted but able to be understood
  • A happy ending

It was wonderful. A copy will find its way to my shelf as soon as it comes out on DVD.

https://i2.wp.com/i.imdb.com/Photos/Ss/0337978/th-DH41697.jpgMy limitations lie in the amount of graphic bloodshed and suffering. I prefer the bad guys to be faceless and nameless and to die immediately. A little blood spatter is OK, as is the occasional humorous use of dismembered body parts (such as Clive Owen using a severed hand to work the fingerprint ID on a pistol). But I do not deal well with torture scenes and intense, in-your-face, realistic carnage; I learned what to watch out for many years ago when I saw Robocop and almost got sick.

https://i0.wp.com/www.filmfortress.com/film/images/casino_royale_review.jpgI also expect a happy ending for whoever has braved all this mayhem — as I’ve said many times, I don’t sit through 2 hours of a movie just to be shocked or depressed by the ending. If I’m not sure how things will turn out in a given movie, I’ll wait and hear about it or read it online, to be sure I’ll be satisfied. Casino Royale is tough for me: I adore the entire film except Vesper’s death, which I consider inexplicable and eminently avoidable. My son and I have agreed that when we watch the movie, we’ll always skip that entire scene. (And consider Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, although it’s of a different sort of genre. We’ve watched Will and Elizabeth’s relationship through three movies, and the best the film-makers can give us at the end is for this gorgeous, finally married couple to see each other once every 10 years? What is that? They lost me at Davy Jones. As with the Matrix films, I’ll only ever watch the original film of the trilogy again, preferring to pretend that the other two highly inferior films were never made.)

https://i1.wp.com/www.monitorduty.com/TF%20Movie%20Starscream%20Attack.jpgMaybe I’m living out my adventurous fantasies by spending time in fictional worlds that I will never (and wouldn’t want to) inhabit. Whatever the reason, I love action movies, with their shooting and running and driving and thumping music, and the occasional rapatious sex. (In Shoot ‘Em Up, coitus interruptus occurs in the form of lots of guys with guns. She’s on top at that moment, so he just scoops her up and carries her as he dispatches one enemy after the other; it appears that her pleasure continues unabated throughout.)

Following is a list of my favorite summer movie fare. If you’re in the mood for something loud, driving, and intense (and sex isn’t an option at the moment…), then give one of these a try:

  • Shoot ‘Em Up — Clive, Paul, Monica, a baby, and lots and lots of bad guys in black leather jackets
  • The Bourne Ultimatum — Matt Damon (I used to think that he could kick anyone’s ass, including James Bond’s. However, I now think that Clive Owen’s Mr. Smith could give Jason a hard time.)
  • Live Free or Die Hard — Bruuuuuuuuce!
  • Transformers — Giant robots with big guns
  • Shooter — Mark Wahlberg doing the loner-vengeance thing
  • Hott Fuzz — British guys with guns, plus satire and black humor

the amazing Mr. Fix-it

About a year ago we bought a new TV. We also needed a new DVD player; but because we were spending way more than we should have on the TV, the DVD player we chose was cheap. We’ve been suffering from that decision ever since. The player skips; it locks up; it refuses to load disks unless coaxed.

Tonight, my son and I sat down to watch a movie. I put in the disk, and the panel on the front of the DVD player flashed Load, as usual — but it kept on flashing. And flashing. It’s done this before, so I tried the usual solution: I turned the player off and back on. No luck. I took out the disk and cleaned it. Nope. I opened and closed the disk tray multiple times. Nothing doing: just Load, over and over and over.

My husband came home at that point, and I told him that it looked like I’d be buying us a new DVD player tomorrow. He asked if we’d tried unplugging the player. Well, no. He did that, with no success. He fiddled around with some of the same things I’d tried. He took the player off the shelf and turned it over, searching for a reset button. (It doesn’t have one.)

Then he said the thing that I’m pretty sure would never occur to the average woman, and definitely not to me: “I’ll try banging it on the floor.”

And he did. He thumped the DVD player firmly on the carpeted floor three or four times, as our son and I watched, amazed.

Do I need to tell you that when he put it back on the shelf and inserted a DVD, it worked?

Incredible. 🙂