Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social butterfly

s far as I can tell, the best thing about living in DC is that there are more events than one can ever hope to attend. Better yet, a good portion of them are entirely free to the public, funded by donation or (cough) your tax dollars. After discovering this last summer when attending the outdoor movie series on the National Mall and in Crystal City, I thought, hey, I should put together a calendar of some of the events I'm interested in and share it with people. Presumably, a fair chunk of my [iiiitty-bitty] reader-base is located in the DC metro area, so hopefully someone will find this useful.

The events contained within were discovered via the following:

The calendar will update on this page when new events are added, so check back, or use the "+Google Calendar" button on the bottom right corner to subscribe in Google Calendar. Alternatively, use this .ics file in ical or other calendar applications. 

    Suggestions for additions are welcome.

    ps. I'm trying out some schmancy drop caps at the top of each post. If they don't display/line up well, let me know. Blogger doesn't have much of a way to add something like that without it being an image, and because the settings for images (e.g. the border) are universal, I don't think I can change that for an individual post. 

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Father's Day Carrot Cake

    It has come to my attention recently that for the most part people don't need more stuff, and so instead I bake them gifts for most of the assorted Hallmark holidays. It's actually more effort on my part, at least physically, and it's something we can share, instead of another [tie/bouquet] thoughtful but nonetheless impersonal gift. Books don't count, obviously, one can never have too many books.

    eggs, brown, spots, condensation, baking, cake

    That being said, I made carrot cake for my dad for this Father's Day, which also meant the most cautious drive from NoVA into MD possible, so as not to lose the cake in a sudden stop or turn. I think I watched the cake more than the road. hm. Any minute now he'll cut a slice, and then I can post this! Unfortunately I don't have the recipe with me to include (and I don't mind keeping it a bit of a secret), but you can easily find it in the Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking book I'm sure I've touted before.

    orange, navel, zest, juice, squeeze, baking, cake

    I'm not sure whether it's harder to zest a squeezed citrus, or to squeeze a zested one. Either way, once it lacks some cohesion it's difficult to handle. Sometimes I forget things like: Orange juice comes from oranges, therefore "juice of one orange" could theoretically come from a carton, not the fresh fruit I just squeezed to death.

    This is possibly my favourite frosting: cream cheese, white chocolate and orange juice (and butter). It's pretty sweet, thanks to the white chocolate, but has that cream cheese tang and then the orange flavor. I'm also a sucker for cream cheese pie crust, which gets used most frequently for the awesome cranberry apple pie I make in the Autumn and Winter.

    Anywho, Happy Father's Day to all, but especially to mine.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Movies to feel OK by

    In the last month I've had a lot of nights home alone, feeling mopey and disillusioned with the world at large. While there was no pint of ice cream involved, I did wind up watching a few too many romantic comedies and lightweight dramas, in some sort of effort to renew my faith in humanity. You'll note from the fact that I'm still using phrases like "renew my faith in humanity" that the woebegone feeling is not yet, in fact, gone, but life's a journey and a path and oh, let's just move on.

    These first three movies were of higher quality than some others I came across. All are ranked in order from "least embarrassing to be seen with" on down.

    The Lovely Bones- In fact has nothing to do with romance or comedy. This is a fairly recent project from Peter Jackson, concerning the fate of a teenage girl's soul after her untimely death. It's a very pretty movie, with a lot of computer generated graphics, fuzzy focus, and a sort of 1970s Polaroid film feel to it (the girl is a budding photographer). The story itself kept me a little short of breath and wanting to know more about all of the characters. Also, Stanley Tucci in an unusual role.

    The Kids are All Right- Dramedy? Categorization isn't all that important, especially because this film has such broadly applicable themes. Both the parents and the kids are trying to figure themselves out, and do so through the character of the "father," who is just as lost in all this as they are. Intentions get fuzzy and things go wrong, but I think a lot of the point is self-discovery through mistakes, and having a family that supports you through it all.

    Waitress- I admit that I got this one because Nathan Fillion is in it. It also has a finding-your-way-in-life plot, a lot of pie baking, and some amusing comedic timing. 

    Less worthy of note:

    Notting Hill- Hugh Grant! Owning a bookshop!
    Mystic Pizza- Cute, multi-plotline, 1980s.
    Made of Honor- Stupid, but kind of sweet and the guy was reasonably believable.
    Runaway Bride- The bottom of this list is not bottom-y enough for how bad this movie was.

    EDIT: More recently, I've started having too many nights/days not home, so things like this post (which I started a week ago) have fallen by the way-side. Too many projects, too little time.