Archive: December 2016

Stacking the Shelves: December 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

2016-12-26 - x-mas book haul - 0006 [flickr]

2016-12-26 - x-mas book haul - 0008 [flickr]

My Christmas book haul! I got a few new comic books as well as two crafty-type books, but my favorite gift by far is the O-Ren Ishii Funko Pop from my sister! Five of my seven rescue dogs are named after fictional characters (Ralphie refused to respond to anything other than “Ralphie,” and I rather liked Peedee’s name, so we kept it). My girl Rennie is named after Lucy Liu’s character in Kill Bill, and I already have the Kaylee and Jayne pops to represent my little fireflies. Sadly, I don’t think Funko makes Mags and Finnick pops. Mags is a pretty minor character in The Hunger Games series, so that’s kind of expected, but Finnick is a fan favorite. Not that I could just buy one half of the pair, that seems w-r-o-n-g wrong.

My parents also got me – well, Mags – a blue life jacket with a fin on it. I shit you not, Mags side-eyed me when I took it out of the box; she knew what it was straight away. I can’t wait to photograph her in it this summer. I think we’ll have to make a special trip to the beach so it looks authentic, with the sand and waves. Our little pool will just look cheesy.

2016-12-30 - Treating Myself - 0003 [flickr]

There were two books in particular that I REALLY WANTED for Christmas but didn’t get: Volume 1 of Clean Room, by Gail Simone, and APB: Artists Against Police Brutality. (Which, if you’ll remember, I tried twice to buy used but ended up with unfinished ARCs each time!) As it just so happened, Amazon had a Season 9 Angel & Faith title randomly on sale, so I used that as an excuse to treat myself to all three.

2016-12-11 - Book Outlet Black Friday Haul - 0002 [flickr]

2016-12-11 - Book Outlet Black Friday Haul - 0005 [flickr]

Since I rarely buy print books anymore, I haven’t been browsing on Book Outlet in ages. But I happened to catch an ad for their Black Friday sale in my spam folder and decided to give them another look. And, hello, when did they beef up their comic book selection? I checked some items off my wishlist and discovered a few new series, too.

As it just so happens, by the time I filled my cart and started the checkout process, I’d missed the deadline for the sale by like an hour. So I pared my purchases down a bit and settled on these eleven titles. It all came out to around $60 in the end, though, so it was still a steal. And now that I know they carry more graphic novels, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next big one! (Spoiler alert: I went a little overboard on their Boxing Day sale. More on that next month!)

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-12-30

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-29

Friday, December 30th, 2016
  • RT @shanselman: "Serena Williams, Greatest Tennis Player in History, is engaged." https://t.co/A8EyCEvGMa ->
  • RT @quendergeer: So it turns out that was a load-bearing Bowie ->
  • RT @neiltyson: Athlete, Educator, Civil Rights Activist, Public Servant, Dad. RIP Cyril DeGrasse Tyson b. Oct 19, 1927 — d. Dec 29, 2016.… ->
  • RT @jules_writes: As promised, here's an Asian fantasy giveaway to celebrate! US only, ends 1/15/17 (when Winner #1 is announced). See belo… ->
  • RT @sierraiswriting: INT giveaway! RT&F to win, check out details/info only extra entries below. will add another prize if i hit 3k! 💃🏻 end… ->
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tweets for 2016-12-28

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
  • RT @owillis: so remember how the press harped on and on about clinton not holding a press conference, and now that trump isn't they're fuck… ->
  • RT @acthomasbooks: When the best magazine in the country includes you in their 12 Best New YA Books of 2017, it's an honor. @teenvogue http… ->
  • RT @carrieffisher: Nothing is ever really over…just over there. ->
  • RT @NARAL: "I wouldn't feel comfortable standing near a man like that in our costumes," a dancer emailed to her colleagues: https://t.co/tG… ->
  • RT @pillowfort: [ME] i'm gonna try not to tweet as much. get some real projects of the ground
    [ME, AN HOUR LATER] time travioli. the time… ->
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Book Review: They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement, Wesley Lowery (2016)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

A crucial look at the birth of the Movement for Black Lives.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for discussions of racism and violence.)

It wasn’t until hours later that our arrest began to sink in. I’d arrived in Ferguson two days earlier thinking I’d be there for just a couple of days. I’d write a feature or two, and then I’d go back to DC and to writing about politics. But as I paced the carpeted floor of my hotel room in downtown St. Louis that night, it became clear that I wasn’t escaping Ferguson anytime soon.

Resident after resident had told more stories of being profiled, of feeling harassed. These protests, they insisted, were not just about Mike Brown. What was clear, from the first day, was that residents of Ferguson, and all who had traveled there to join them, had no trust in, and virtually no relationship with, the police. The police, in turn, seemed to exhibit next to no humanity toward the pained residents they were charged with protecting.

Ferguson would birth a movement and set the nation on a course for a still-ongoing public hearing on race that stretched far past the killing of unarmed residents—from daily policing to Confederate imagery to respectability politics to cultural appropriation. The social justice movement spawned from Mike Brown’s blood would force city after city to grapple with its own fraught histories of race and policing. As protests propelled by tweets and hashtags spread under the banner of “Black Lives Matter” and with cell phone and body camera video shining new light on the way police interact with minority communities, America was forced to consider that not everyone marching in the streets could be wrong. Even if Mike Brown’s own questionable choices sealed his fate, did Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Sandra Bland all deserve to die?

Journalist Wesley Lowery had just moved from the Boston Globe to the Washington Post when the shooting of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson rocked Ferguson, Missouri – and then the world. Though he had his heart set on covering politics, Lowery was quickly dispatched to Ferguson, where his arrest just two days into the protests drew national attention. Along with Ryan Reilly from the Huffington Post, Lowery was escorted out of a local McDonald’s where he’d been working; despite the officers’ smug attitudes (“Oh, you’ll be charged with a whole lot of things.”), Lowery spent just twenty minutes in a Ferguson holding cell before being released.

What began as a short business trip snowballed into Lowery’s new beat, covering law enforcement and justice. Once Lowery and his colleagues started paying attention, they found cases of police brutality, excessive force, and corruption cropping up all over the country. Some weeks, the young reporter barely had time to catch his breath in between assignments, so frequent are police shootings. (According to statistics compiled by the Washington Post, police fatally shoot roughly 1,000 civilians per year. Local police departments are not required to record these numbers, nor is there a federal database to track them.) Lowery and his team would eventually win the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their coverage of police shootings.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-12-27

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-26

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Book Review: Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs, Robert Trachtenberg (2016)

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Cheesecake Galore!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

If I could give this book ten stars, I’d still complain that ten isn’t enough, that the rating scale is rigged and/or incapable of handling a title of this magnitude. Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs IS THAT GOOD.

2016-11-29 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0004 [flickr]

I mean, just take a gander at that cover. Will Arnett! In fishnets! And black combat boots! Squeezed into a slinky dress and splayed on a swanky couch, looking all emo! Like some random dude just mansplained how the backlash against Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot is really about authenticity and faithfulness to the source material, not sexism and misogyny, you silly girl you! Or maybe it was some diatribe about Gamergate and journalistic integrity. It doesn’t really matter, because he stopped listening several drinks ago. Mind: blown, but in the worst way possible.

Red-Blooded American Male is a collection of photographer/filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg’s (mostly) celebrity photography, from 1994 to the present day. There are actors, singers, athletes, entrepreneurs, chefs, models – even a few children, paired with the occasional woman and/or dog. (Meryl Streep arm wrestling Tommy Lee Jones is a definite keeper.) I was only familiar with, like, half of them; many I’d never heard of. Some none of us will have; for example, little Caleb Ivison, whose mom traded some editing work for Trachtenberg for a photo shoot of her kids. Anyway, consider my interest sufficiently piqued. (This only applies to the 18-and-over crowd, obvs.)

Spoiler alert: not all of Trachtenberg’s subjects are American. (I’m down with bending the rules for some of the guys, but Justin Bieber? Really? Throw in a Ryan Reynolds doing his Deadpool shtick and maybe we’ll call it even.)

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0007 [flickr]

The photos are uniformly stunning, with a mix of black-and-white and full-color images. At 10″x13″, the book is nice and big, and so are the photos; each one occupies at least a full page, with some spanning two. Each image deftly captures the personality of its subject, with a fun and eclectic mix of tongue-in-cheek sexy/cheesecake; goofy and playful; sophisticated and classy; dark and moody (Jimmy Fallon legit looks ready to jump; someone make sure he’s okay, yes?); and straight-up bananarama bonkers.

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0008 [flickr]

Many of the photos are accompanied by a brief description of how the shoot went down; these tend to be super-funny and greatly enhanced my appreciation of the artwork. See, e.g., Janes Van Der Beek’s “Tush,” “More Tush,” and “Even More Tush”; or how Bryan Fuller’s nighttime routine is meant to “restor[e] sensations first felt in the womb.” I found myself nursing an intense sense of disappointment when a photo – especially a favorite, or of an actor or celebrity I fancy – went un-commented upon. But I guess the way to look at it is, maybe these stories were meh and would have turned us off, so better to omit them altogether?

My favorites include Judd Apatow, with his cheeseburger baby bump;

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0010 [flickr]

a fierce Jimmy Kimmel cosplaying as Daenerys Targaryen; Bryan Fuller, with his moisturizing gloves and dog pile;

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0002 [flickr]

Bryan Cranston being moody AF; the recreation of Herb Ritts’s iconic 1989 naked supermodel huddle, done with the cast of Jackass; Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, from way back when they were on Comedy Central, naturally; the morning after Bob Saget’s drug-fueled romp with a furry; Kevin Hart being pulled along the beach by a Great Dane/small pony;

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0005 [flickr]

the acid trip-like John Leguizamo montage; and Denis Leary feeding a…barnyard full of Chihuahuas?

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0006 [flickr]

I don’t know what’s going on there, but I want in. (I’m a crazy dog lady, can you tell?)

Oh, and Jeff Garlin on the treadmill in the middle of the forest? Strangely endearing, if only because I could imagine Murray Goldberg doing something stubbornly nonsensical like that. (Dear ABC, please publish his attempt at scrapbooking on the internets. TIA!)

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner sharing an embrace is hecka sweet, though I found myself wishing it was Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen. Those two are my OTP of elderly white guys.

2016-12-18 - Red-Blooded American Male - 0011 [flickr]

Okay, so they’re all kind of awesome. YOU NEED THIS BOOK. Get it, now! Then go buy a copy for your elderly grandmother / recently divorced mom / college aged, still-figuring-himself-out younger brother / amateur photographer aunt. Basically anyone and everyone, male or female, gay or straight, genderqueer or pansexual. It’s silly, it’s sexy, and it’s even a little subversive. David Bowie would be right at home here.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2016-12-25

Monday, December 26th, 2016

much merries from the @furkids

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

2016 X-mas Card, Final

Since Jayne passed away in July, we’ve been down to “just” three dogs (not counting the fosters, of which we’ve thankfully had four since. They keep me busy and distracted, okay.) I know that three is still more than most households have, but we haven’t had such a critical low number since we adopted Kaylee and Jayne (dogs #4 and 5) in 2006 – so basically a decade! Not coincidentally, 2005 was also the last year I was able to squeeze all our dogs into a single photo. I gave it ye ole college try in 2006, but it was a hot mess.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures of Rennie, Mags, and Finnick, both individually and as a group, and the result is what you see above. This wasn’t my favorite shot, but it begged the best captions, so there you go.

I kind of stumbled when it came to the message on the back of the card. 2016 was a dumpster fire from beginning to end, and 2017 is looking even worse. Not much to celebrate, you know?

2016 message label

That’s David Bowie’s Rochester mug shot in the background. I chose it both because I’m from Rochester, and it matched the picture I made for the address labels, which was a montage of photos of Bowie, Prince, and Gwen Ifill, run through the charcoal filter in Photoshop so they’d be all nice and matchy. It took awhile to find a good one of Prince (his face always tends to be turned and in shadow more often than not), but I think it came out pretty neat.

2016 address label montage

For the return label, I just went with a simple pawprint and heart design.

2016 return label

These dogs are my world and they each carry a slice my heart with them. Some days this arrangement works out better than others. Sigh.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty melancholy today. The fog and thunderstorms aren’t helping, but at least there’s a Golden Girls marathon on TVLand, and plenty of cookies and chocolates in the fridge. (Yes, there will be pictures and recipes in the new year!)

After the jump are a few of my favorite pics. Look out for each other, people. Be compassionate and RESIST.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-12-24

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-23

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-22

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-21

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Audiobook Review: Afterward, Jennifer Mathieu (2016)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A surprisingly gentle story about trauma, recovery – and finding support in the most unexpected of places.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free audiobook for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. Trigger warning for rape/childhood sexual abuse.)

Caroline

Maybe it’s Jason McGinty’s weed or my own desperate, clawing attempt to try to do something to help Dylan, but I get an idea. The beginning of one, anyway. Something hazy and weird and probably screwed up.

Ethan

Groovy notices the brush in my hand and flips over, squirming in excitement. His tail even wags. I’d have to be a pretty big asshole not to brush this dog right now.

Eleven-year-old Ethan Jorgenson is out riding his bike one warm Texas afternoon when a car runs him off the road. Before he can even process what’s happening, Ethan finds himself crammed on the floor of a truck, surrounded by cigarette butts and Snickers wrappers, a gun pressed to his head. For the next four years, Ethan is held captive by a middle-aged man named Martin Gulliver.

Though Ethan’s abduction is big news in Dove Lake, the police have zero leads to go on. That is, until Marty snatches another boy, eleven-year-old Dylan Anderson, meant to be Ethan’s “replacement.” Shortly before he went missing, Dylan’s neighbor noticed the boy walking around outside, alone – which is unusual, since Dylan has low-functioning autism and never goes out unsupervised. Around the same time, she spotted an unfamiliar black pickup truck with severe damage to the rear bumper. The police traced the vehicle to Marty’s workplace in Houston, a hundred miles away; when they approached him, he slipped out the back of the restaurant and shot himself in the head. When they searched Gulliver’s apartment, they were shocked to find not one, but two missing boys: Dylan and Ethan.

This story is about what happens afterward: the slow and painful recovery that comes after an unimaginable trauma.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-12-20

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-19

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
  • RT @mizgillianberry: There is endless ableist crap on display here but I, a highly anxious person, wanna discuss how this is the THE WRONG… ->
  • RT @courtney_s: Intl. giveaway! RT/be following me to enter to win a signed ALL THE RAGE paperback +Romy's lipstick sticker +postcard! 💄😍 W… ->
  • RT @AriBerman: Republicans who argued next president should fill SCOTUS vacancy stripped power from next Dem governor in NC https://t.co/Xn… ->
  • RT @trioaf: AT 10 YEARS OLD, CUBBIE IS BECOMING DEPRESSED AND NEEDS TO FIND HIS FOREVER HOME… NO SENIOR SHOULD BE WITHOUT A… https://t.co… ->
  • RT @mefeater: Viola Davis will be honored with the first star of 2017 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 5th 👸🏾 https://t.co/v5nKs9Dr… ->
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Not-Quite-Vichyssoise with Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Monday, December 19th, 2016

2016-12-04 - Vichyssoise with Roasted Taters - 0001 [flickr]

It’s been a while since I shared a shiny new recipe, or even just a photo or two or twenty of my latest donut haul from Ronald’s. (I am currently up to my elbows in fritters and bear claws, let me tell you!) With everything going on in the world/with my family, I just haven’t been feeling it. But I’m coming out of hiatus long enough to tell you all about this awesome, carbalicious soup I came up with.

So I’ve wanted to try a potato soup with roasted potatoes for quite some time now; I think the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from American Vegan Kitchen first gave me the idea, and I blogged about that four years ago!

Roasted potatoes are one of my favorites; I enjoy them with everything from Beast Burgers to tofu scrambles. Plus they’re so darned easy to make, just pop ’em in the oven and rotate, flip, rotate. I’ll never fry them on the stove top again!

Anyway, for this recipe, I used the Fancy Schmancy Vichyssoise from The Cheesy Vegan as a starting point. According to Wikipedia, Vichyssoise “is a thick soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but can be eaten hot.” For his version, Schlimm replaces the cream with tofu and swaps out chicken stock for the vegan version. I call mine “Not-Quite-Vichyssoise” because I skipped the leaks and added some chunky goodness in the form of roasted potatoes.

It’s actually pretty easy to make, especially if you have an immersion blender and can puree the soup right there in the pot. While the soup is cooking, roast the potatoes. The cook times are pretty similar and they should finish up about the same time. When serving, you can either dump the roasted potatoes right into the soup pot and mix, or sprinkle them on top of the soup like croutons or some other garnish. Mixing the potatoes right in with the soup will soften them up, especially with time, while sprinkle them on top will preserve their crispy goodness. I’m all for option b, personally.

As for the leftovers, you can throw any extra roasted potatoes in the pot and make a fresh batch to serve with the leftovers. You can never have too many potatoes, you know?

Pro tip: We had a little leftover Thanksgiving gravy hanging out in the fridge, the first time I made this. Not really even enough to serve with a plate of fries, but enough that I felt bad just tossing it (or eating it by the spoonful). So I had the genius idea to serve it with the soup: I heated it up, spooned the gravy into the bottom of my bowl, poured a heaping serving of soup on top, and then garnished with roasted potatoes. The gravy really took this dish to the next level. Definitely give this a try when you’re in desperate need of comfort food, okay?

2016-12-04 - Vichyssoise with Roasted Taters - 0005 [flickr]

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tweets for 2016-12-18

Monday, December 19th, 2016

tweets for 2016-12-17

Sunday, December 18th, 2016