Lone Star Cuisine

Written in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Live to Eat

Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?

I’m a Texan by birth, and even though I haven’t lived in the Lone Star State in well over two decades I still crave a couple of foods that just have no peers anywhere else on the planet.

The first is a chicken fried steak. 

 While one can order a chicken fried steak outside of Texas there is some undefinable attribute that is missing when this dish is served elsewhere. I am actually capable of making this comfort food, but making good gravy is not my forté. 

The other food I must travel to Texas to enjoy is chili Relleños. I’ve had Relleños served a hundred different ways, but in Texas the product is fairly consistent.

  
I’ve never attempted to make Relleños. Studly Doright doesn’t like them, so it seems a bit wasteful to cook them just for me. 

The question posed by the daily prompt was how far I’d need to travel to partake of my favorite foods. Thanks to Google, the answer is just a click away.

  
In ten hours or less I could be at my middle brother’s home in Houston. That’s totally doable. Start the car.

Peace, People!

Zombies and Jane Austen

I just finished watching the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Having read the novels, both Jane Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice as well as Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel upon which the movie was based, I was prepared for just about anything.

Seldom do I find that a film adaptation of a novel meets my expectations. In my mind I’ve already cast the main characters and imagined how certain scenes from the book will play out. Only the Harry Potter films had lived up to my expectations, until this film. 

The casting was perfect. Elizabeth Bennett, played by Lily James, was absolutely breathtaking as a kick ass zombie fighter. She could most likely play the pianoforte, as well, but that is beside the point.  Did I mention she is gorgeous?

Her Mr. Darcy, (Sam Riley) is as gifted in zombie slaying as he is clueless in matters of love. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, as well. 

The real heartthrob, though, is played by Douglas Booth in the role of Mr. Bingley. I might’ve swooned when he first was introduced to the Bennett sisters. Pretty sure I swooned. And I have unexplained drool on the bodice of my sweater.

The film is not a faithful play by play of either of the books. Thank goodness! Gone are the endless paragraphs of conversation and description. In their place are action and movement. 

Is it perfect? No. For one thing there was my least favorite plot device–an opening narrative that almost tarried too long. I had to remind myself that most viewers wouldn’t have read the novels and would need this background. 

A great deal from both books was omitted. I would have liked some of it included, such as the part from Grahame-Smith’s novel in which Elizabeth’s friend slowly becomes a zombie while living in a country parsonage. 

Another license was taken in introducing a twist to Mr. Wickham’s character. I won’t give that one away, but it was clever and added a whole new dimension to the story.

Best of all the film had a great deal of humor; although, I might’ve been the only one who was giggling. I did hear the man two seats over laugh once, whereas, I laughed a great deal. Hope I was supposed to.

  
I highly recommend Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This time, I mean the film.

Peace, people!

Twice as Nice

Second Time Around

Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

Generally when I’ve finished reading a book I’m done with it, regardless of how wonderful or well-written it was. There are two books, however, that I’ve read multiple times and will read again: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Stephen King’s The Stand.

To Kill a Mockingbird should be mandatory reading for every citizen of this country. If one ever doubted the existence of white privilege Ms. Lee spells it out in this tale of racism and heroism in a small southern town. 

King’s The Stand is the most frightening book I’ve ever read. Good and evil literally battle for dominion of the earth in this post-apocalyptic thriller. Often I joke that I read portions of it with my eyes closed. 

In both cases movies have been made from these novels, and I believe a remake of The Stand is in the works. By all means watch the films, but the books are worthy of reading and reading again. 

Note: I’ve also read all of the Harry Potter books numerous times, but I’d already broken the prompt’s rule and didn’t want to go to Daily Prompt prison.

Peace, people.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/second-time-around/”

  

Bathroom Rescue

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Naked with Black Socks 
Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

There once was a time when I spoke in front of groups on a regular basis. I don’t count my years as a teacher because there doesn’t seem to be the same performance anxiety when one speaks to children as when one addresses one’s peers. In fact some of the most poised classroom teachers I’ve ever known would rather be burned at the stake than speak formally in front of their colleagues.

For several years I worked as a trainer/consultant for a non-profit educational foundation. In this role I observed teachers teaching all across the country and then presented new and hopefully helpful information in a culminating workshop.

There were days when I owned the crowd. Words flowed from my tongue like sweet tea from a pitcher, and particpants were clamoring for me to audition as a stand up comedian.

Then there were days when my words stuck to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter, and I could barely coax a smile from the attendees. On those days I’d have gladly hidden in the bathroom. In fact, once I did!

I was at one of the schools I served in Albequerque, New Mexico. The week had gone really well, and teachers were excited about gains their students had made in their comprehension of mathematical concepts. I was super pumped about the workshop and comfortable with the material I’d be presenting. 

Then, about thirty minutes before the workshop began the new principal of the school pulled me aside.

“Listen,” he said. “I don’t like this program and if I have anything to say about it this will be the last year we pay for your company’s services.

“By the way. I’ll be sitting in today.”

Then he walked away. I’d only met the man briefly, so I knew it wasn’t personal, but my heart sure took a hit all the same.

When the workshop started the principal was sitting, front and center with crossed arms and a scowl. I opened with an ice breaker and about two minutes in he held up a hand.

“Enough time wasted. Get on with it.”

The teachers were shocked. A couple that I’d gotten to know well looked like they might cry. I was trying to hold myself together and wondering how to begin the program without the segue provided by the ice breaker. 

I gave him my brightest smile as I switched to another set of materials, but my flow was gone. I found myself robotically reading cue cards that I hadn’t needed in months. 

All of a sudden I had a brilliant idea. I stopped, looked around and said, “You know, I’m afraid we’ve gotten off to a shaky start. I’m going to the powder room and when I return you’d better fasten your seat belts!”

I was shaking like a leaf when I hit the ladies’ room door. But I looked at myself in the mirror and sternly said, “That asshole thinks he can intimidate me?? No way!”

I hit the ground running. The notes went into my briefcase and I asked the teachers, “Who has a math success they want to share?” You see, I knew they had many.

Hands went up. Stories were told. We laughed and applauded. Then I said, “Let’s make more of these little miracles.”

Soon I had the group participating in the activities their students would be doing in the classroom. The principal sat there glumly, but he didn’t interrupt again. 

I left the foundation at the end of that school year, so I don’t know if that Albequerque school continued their partnership with them. But I did learn that sometimes hiding in the bathroom is the right thing to do.

Peace, people!

In Need of a Hobby

I’m going to rant for a couple of minutes. Bear with me, or don’t. I just need to blow off a little steam.

This afternoon I went on Pinterest in search of a new hobby. I know I’m a blogger and that should be enough of a hobby, but I have this desire to create something that I can caress or sit back and admire. My friend over at https://sanseilife.wordpress.com/   knits and sketches and still manages to blog. Maybe she’s a super human, but she gives me hope that I, too, can enjoy multiple hobbies.

One article I found on Pinterest looked promising. Titled something like “Hobbies for Women,” the piece began by breaking hobbies down as suitable for different age groups. 

First it detailed hobbies for women in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, suggesting modeling, photography, singing, and so on. But when I read the next category regarding hobbies for “Older Women” I sputtered out a really nasty word. 

Note the first line under the heading “Hobbies for Older Women” and just imagine this 59-year-old woman’s reaction:  

ELDERLY!!!! How dare this probably twenty-five year old twit call women over the age of 50 elderly? And she thinks I’m going to be putting puzzles together and canning tomatoes? Heck, I still ride a motorcycle and dance like a wild banshee. By golly, I’ve got better things to do than play Mah Jong!

I’ve a good mind to beat her about the head and neck with my cane. 

  
Peace, people!

Cockney Twang

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/voice-work/

Voice Work

Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?

This old gal from Texas would quite enjoy hearing her thoughts narrated by the beautiful songbird, Adele. It’s always a bit of a shock to absorb her bright Cockney accent after having heard the richness of her singing voice. 

My words in her voice. Bring it on!

http://youtu.be/fEt-IUdsdV4

She could narrate in song, too. 

http://youtu.be/rYEDA3JcQqw
Peace, people!

Hair and Makeup of the Apocalypse 

 I am a huge fan of young adult post-apocalyptic novels. The fascination is most likely a result of too much imagination and too little adventure in my real life. Some of these novels, like The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, have been turned into succesful motion pictures.

 

Based on the success of those film adaptations I was pumped about seeing The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. The novel had everything I wanted in an end of the world novel: a strong female protagonist, a stud muffin with identity issues, and a rival male to make life even more interesting. Add in evil aliens and this book had it all. 

Chloë Grace Moretz, the film’s star, is a gorgeous young woman, and a decent actress. Her performance in If I Stay was sweet. 

Both of the young suitors are handsome and earnest. Alex Roe plays the dishy, yet severely conflicted guy, and Nick Robinson’s character is the former high school athlete turned soldier who realizes he should have paid more attention to Chloë’s character back before the Others invaded.

So why did the film fall flat? There are a couple of easy answers to that question. First, the screenplay watered down parts of the novel, condensing instead of expounding. 

In addition, the main character was portrayed much differently in the book than in the movie. In the book she was a bit of a geek, shy and not in the party crowd. In the film she’s more of a girly-girl and actually has a shot at landing the high school quarterback.

But my main beef with the film revolves around Chloë’s character’s perfect hair and makeup at the height of the apocalypse. Yes, there were scenes when she appeared disheveled and besmudged. But, in the final scene, when her tiny band of humans is on the run from the bad guys from outer space, there she sits with freshly washed hair and perfectly applied makeup–right down to the soft green eye shadow highlighting her pretty eyes.

 

There was far too much of the girl on the left and too little of the one on the right to make this film believable.
 
I call foul. Foul, I say! 
Still, the novel was good, as was the sequel. I’ll buy the third installment upon its release, but the movies won’t get any more of my hard-earned money.

Peace, people!

Excitement at Doright Manor

I was in bed, reading the latest adventures of Joe Ledger by the light of my Kindle Paper White when I heard the sound of scuffling cats. My feisty felines do not care for each other’s company, but when they disagree it’s with a great deal of hissing and noisy posturing. This sound was the one they make when in co-pursuit of another critter. Not a good thing to hear at bedtime.

My first inclination was to let them handle the situation, but then one of the cats made a sound of distress. I grabbed my trusty iPhone and activated the flashlight accessory, pointing it in the direction of the noise. Sure enough, there were Scout and Patches standing guard over a rather large lizard. 

 

Not THE lizard, but you get the picture.
 
Cautiously I slipped out of bed and stood over the anxious cats and nervous reptile. I could see one white whisker poking out of its little mouth. The damned thing had attacked my baby!

Throwing caution to the night, I grabbed that lizard by the tail and tossed him out the back door where he landed on the porch with a satisfying “plunk.” That’ll teach him to mess with me and mine. 

Of course now the cats are patrolling the bedroom with wide eyes and bushy tails. It might be awhile now before we can settle down to sleep. Maybe Joe Ledger and company can soothe my jangled nerves.

  
Or maybe not. At least it isn’t The King of Lizards! 

Peace, people! I might be awake for awhile.

Eleanor Rigby

Written in response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

This Is Your Song

Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.

“The Lyrics”

by Leslie Noyes

My head is
full of
lyrics
they roll
through
my soul like
honey and
thunder.

These words
soothe and attack,
seek and destroy,
reduce and elevate.

My only
defense
is to
join my
voice to
the melody,
dance
to the
beat,
or sob.

I’m reduced to tears every time I hear  “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. I’ve highlighted my favorite line.

http://youtu.be/btyWqO6R0UE

Eleanor Rigby

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came

Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved.

All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (Ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all belong?

THE BEATLES lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. “Eleanor Rigby” lyrics provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
Copyright © 2000-2016 AZLyrics.com