Thursday, October 28, 2021

International Animation Day

 October 28th is International Animation Day!

To celebrate I'm going to share a couple of animated movies I have watched recently.  Oddly enough, neither one has any dialogue.

The first is The Red Turtle by Michael Dudok de Wit

A Man is washed ashore on a deserted island where, during his attempts to escape, he meets a red sea turtle.  

First off, the animation is beautiful.  Nice soft tones and lovely hues.  It is able to convey the fury of the sea, the desolation of the island and all of the emotions of the characters without any words being spoken.  It was a beautiful film to watch.  The story has some fantasy elements in it that you just have to except without explanation.  But mostly it is about life and many things that most people can relate to.  I'm sure there is symbolism and metaphor here that I missed.  I'm sure that if you Google it you will get a lot of interpretations.  To me it had to do with The Man finding what he needed while he was looking for something else; and about finding peace and salvation in unexpected ways.  This is also a story about love and the cycle of life.  I'm sure there are those who would disagree with some of my interpretations.  But that is another lovely thing about the film.  Everyone will see something different.  I think some people will be put off by the fantasy elements and say that the film makes no sense.  And it is slow, so I don't think young children will enjoy it.  It is not what I expected it to be but I am very glad I watched it.

The second is The Shaun the Sheep Movie by Mark Burton

Shaun decides to have a day away from the farm and leads all his sheep friends into the Big City only to get more adventure than he bargained for.

Shaun the Sheep is stop-action animation.  This one would be good for a young audience.  There is a lot of silly and goofy action.  But as an adult watching this I still had a lot of fun.  Although Shaun gets into all sorts of mischief you can't help but root for him as he tries to avoid the dog, Bitzer.  The characters, as well as the plot, are a little silly and goofy but the animation still does a great job of telling the story without the use of words.  There is a surprising amount of emotion in those little sheep faces.  Shaun might not always make the wisest choices but in the end he learns a little something and does the right thing.  It is hard not to get attached to these quirky characters.  This is another one I am really glad I saw.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Trip (and next three trips too) Movie Review

The Trip

The Trip to Italy

The Trip to Spain


The Trip to Greece with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

All of these films are about Steve and Rob being asked to go on a tour of the restaurants in these various places in order to write about them, and the trip as a whole, for various publications.

Don't be misled.  These are not movies about food.  Although they are in restaurants a lot of the time there is not a lot of conversation about the food.  Sometimes you don't even know what they are eating, never mind what they think about what they are eating.  The movies are about Rob and Steve and their friendship?  The question is because at times they don't even seem to like each other and most of the time they are trying to outdo the other.  Although some times the banter between them can be funny just as often the conversation is rather annoying as they do impressions of the same actors doing the same lines over and over through all four movies.  The plot barely changes through the films either.  There are slight variations in the personal lives of the two men or sometimes they are following in the footsteps of someone or other on the trip, but it is mostly all the same.  They sit in restaurants acting like fools with behavior that would get them kicked out of most places (but no one seems to notice) as they try to prove to each other that they are more famous, more successful and better at impressions than the other.  I did learn some interesting facts along the way and the scenery was beautiful.  And I did watch all four so I guess that says something,  But unless you are die hard Steve Coogan or Rob Brydon fans (or are really into Sean Connery and Michael Caine impressions) than I think these flims with quickly become tedious.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

National Mole Day

 October 23rd is National Mole Day!

Now when I saw that it was National Mole Day I was excited I thought it was about the animal the mole.  I think moles are cute and interesting.  I was ready to put up mole pictures and list some mole facts.  But this Mole Day is to celebrate something else.  Apparently the mole is also a unit of measure in chemistry.

Not that I have anything against chemistry, but that was a little less exciting to me.  But I decided to take it as an opportunity to learn something.  So I looked up the definition of mole. says:

noun Chemistry,

The basic unit in the International System of Units (SI), representing the amount of a substance expressed in grams containing as many atoms, molecules, or ions as the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12 (which is Avogadro's number, or 6.022 X 10 to the 23rd power) 

I still didn't know what a mole was.

From the National Mole Day Foundation website (after some more stuff I didn't really understand) I got:

In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro's Number of molecules or atoms of the substance.

That was a little more helpful  I'm still uncertain why that is something you would need to know.  I guess I should have paid more attention in chemistry class.  I did a little more looking and I think one of the reason's this is helpful is that it helps people talk about and compare really large numbers.  There is more to it but my mind was having trouble by then so I had to give it up for now. 

You can find more info here if you are interested.

And here is a picture of a mole.  Because I had my heart set on it.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Friday 56



* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice.

My book this week is The Nobody People by Bob Proehl.  

It is about people with special abilities who have been living in secret and have decided to let the world know that they exist.

It reminds me a little of the X-Men actually.  There are good and bad people with abilities.  There are people who accept them and those that don't.  And questions about how and when it if okay for them to use their abilities.  It is pretty interesting so far and I think something more sinister is going to happen but I'm only about half way through the book so I will have to wait and see.

My 56:

Owen Curry isn't a bomb.  He's just a monster, the kind you can find anywhere.  The thing that's in him, that Avi is actually hunting, can't be questioned any more than he could interview an IED or an atom bomb.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

International Sloth Day

 October 20th is International Sloth Day!!

We are not talking about the deadly sin.  We are talking about the adorable slow moving animal.

Did you know?

1. Sloths can live up to 30 years.

2. Green algae grows on a sloth's fur

3. Sloths are related to armadillos and anteaters.

4. A sloth's head can turn 270 degrees.

5. A sloth can hold its breath for 40 minutes.

6. It takes 30 days for a sloth to digest a leaf.

7. Ancient sloths could get as big as an elephant.

Pygmy sloths are also endangered.  

Here are some places you can go to help:

The Sloth Conservation Foundation

Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

The Sloth Institute of Costa Rica

World Wildlife

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Low, Low Woods (GN) review


The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado and artist Dani

(from the back of the book) 

Shutter-to-think, Pennsylvania, has been on fire for years.  The woods are full of rabbits with human eyes, a deer woman who stalks hungry girls, and swaths of skinless men.  And the people of Shudder-to-think?  Well, they're not doing so well either.

When El and Octavia wake up in a movie theater with no memory of the last few hours of their lives, the two teenage dirtbags embark on a horrifying journey to uncover the truth about the strange town that they call home.

I have to admit that the illustrations are not my favorite style.  The faces are often indistinct and the backgrounds kind of fade away like they were not quite finished.  But I think the style goes with the story being told here and I don't think a different style would have worked as well.  The story is dark and creepy.  There are skinless men crawling out of the ground and deer/human creatures in the forest.  The women of the town all have lost time.  But for some reason no one seems to be asking any questions.  (Or leaving town for that matter.)  Until two girls wake up in the movie theater with no idea what has happened for the last few hours.  They decide to find out what is happening.  I was hoping for some kind of investigation or something, a process by which they figure things out. But that didn't happen.  They just happen to ask the right question and everything is explained.  It was just too sudden of a revelation for me.  All these people living with the mystery for years when all it took was one question.  And then there are all the little story points that come up and go nowhere.  I was left with a few questions.  But since I had trouble working up an emotional attachment to any of the characters it is easy to just let the questions drop.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Super Simple Fish

 Somewhere in life I got the idea that cooking fish was a difficult process.  I don't know where I got the idea but it stuck with me for a long time in life.  And I wasn't sure I wanted to cook fish enough to actually put the time and effort into learning how.  So almost all of the fish (and, in fact, all seafood) I ate was cooked by someone else.  But then I got married.  And not only was he a seafood lover, he was a seafood cooker as well.  My new husband finally managed to convince me that cooking fish was no harder than cooking anything else.  Nowadays I cook seafood on a regular basis.  One of the fish I tend to cook a lot of is tilapia.  And in my search for a recipe for tilapia I came across this one simply called Pan-Fried Tilapia from Delish.

I already had everything I needed except for the fish itself and it said the total time to prepare this fish was only 25 minutes.  It sounded perfect.  And it turned out to be pretty close.

All you do is mix flour with a couple of spices, season the fish with salt and pepper, and then dip the fish in the flour mixture.  Then you put it in a pan that you have heated some oil in, leave it there for a couple of minutes, turn it over, leave it there for a couple of minutes, and you are done.  And you have four tasty fillets of tilapia.  

I served it just as is with some asparagus.  But I also made some really good fish sandwiches with it.

The only issue I had (and a slight one) is that even after all the fish has been covered in the flour mixture there is a lot left over.  The second time I made this I used half the flour (but the same amount of everything else) and still had plenty to cover my fish. 

I like this recipe because it is quick and easy and also because just the light dredging in the flour mixture mixture imparts a lot of flavor without having to put a heavy breading or batter on your fish.

Monday, October 4, 2021

National Vodka Day!

 October 4th is National Vodka Day!

Not sure how to celebrate?  You can't go wrong will a classic vodka martini.  Or a simple but delicious vodka tonic.

Vodka also pairs well with fruit juice of just about any kind.  Me? I just pour as much vodka as I want into a glass and add as much of whatever juice as I feel like.  But if you want to follow a recipe and be all technical with it...

If you add vodka to orange juice you get a Screwdriver.  

With cranberry juice it is a Cape Codder.

With grapefruit juice it is a Greyhound.  If you put a salt rim on it it is called a Salty Dog.  You can make this one with gin too.  But that is another day.

If you use both cranberry and grapefruit juices you have a Sea Breeze

If you use both cranberry and pineapple juices you get a Bay Breeze.

If you use both cranberry and orange juices you end up with a Madras.

Of course you can combine it with other things too.  I would suggest you try a Moscow Mule.  It combines vodka with ginger beer.  Traditionally served in a copper mug it will taste just as good if you don't have one.  

Of course the Bloody Mary is always good and it gives you permission to drink vodka before noon.  I just buy Bloody Mary mix and add vodka.  But that's because I'm lazy.  If you are not you can make your own.

I also like a White Russian.  If you like Kalua you probably will too.  It is a nice creamy, coffee flavored drink.

And a Cosmopolitan is always nice too.  Again with the cranberry juice but with some orange liquor to change it up a bit.

No matter how you celebrate National Vodka Day please drink responsibly.