Eat Some Ice Cream and Help Sick Kids

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Soulful

Eleven year old Kate is having her wish granted today. She has created an exclusive flavor for the 9th Annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social being held today. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Coldstone Creamery are giving away Kate’s Creation today only from 5 – 8 pm.

And while you are enjoying your free ice cream, please make a donation to The Make-A-Wish Foundation. For just a buck you get a paper star from the people making Kate’s wish come true and giving you free ice cream.

If you can’t make it from during the free giveaway time, they are offering it all day for purchase. I don’t see the usual “at participating stores only,” but you should probably check before ordering.

Click here to watch a video of Kate talking about her wish.

Is it just me or is it a really generous wish for her to have?

Puppy Love, Again

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Pets

I’ve been afraid of dogs for as long as I can remember. Still am, if truth be told, except for a few dogs and only after careful observation of their behavior.

I was 18 the first time I met a dog that I really loved, and eventually lost my fear of her. A beautiful Brittany spaniel named Lady owned by my ex-husband’s parents. She was a gentle and loving pet, smart as hell and was like Nana (The Darling’s dog from Peter Pan) to my sons. I remember her always going up to Naughty Bear when she would enter the room, giving him a sniff to make sure he was okay before going off to do her thing. There was even a time when a two-ish year old girl was petting Lady, until someone called her name. When she girl turned, her fist clenched reflexively. It would have been no big deal, except that it caused her to catch Lady’s upper eyelid in her little clenched fist. Lady didn’t bark, snap, growl or even move as the little girl’s fingers were gently taken out of Lady’s eye. I sat in awe as she held perfectly still and silent, and then immediately left the room when freed. I’m guessing she went to hide, but that inspired total trust in her on my part. She showed me that a dog could be more than just a high maintenance cat. And I’ve never really loved a dog that much since then, until Kaylee.

The two attempts in my Old Life to have dogs were disastrous, on many levels and for many reasons not worth going into here. I decided I was simply a Cat Person, and didn’t give it another thought until recent years led us to circumstances to be able to get Kaylee. I was going a bit baby crazy, and since we very maturely decided against having any more, that morphed into puppy crazy. We waited a few years for circumstances to be right before we began looking in earnest. Because of my base fear and previous experience, we sought out a puppy by breed rather than through the shelter. Oh, I tried the humane route and after being viciously barked at and seeing dogs throw themselves against the pens to try and get at me I gave up. They scared the bejesus out of me, to the point that I sat shaking in my car after each attempt.

We eventually found our pup through an online service and went to meet her while she was still too young to adopt. The owners were clearly devoted to their pets and the litter, and were lovingly attended to by the entire family.  Spending time with both of Kaylee’s parents prepared me for their large size and also enraptured me with their intelligence and sweet dispositions. Hubby, son and I completely in love with her, Kaylee Sioux Valentine joined our family about a year and a half ago.

Me and Kaylee - six months old

With Chooch’s help, and great follow-through by the boys, she has grown into a wonderful and loving, yet spirited companion. We definitely got lucky with her loving disposition, but it is clear to me that our consistency in training has helped with almost everything else that is so wonderful about her. She has even taken to our adventures, going with us to visit friends (she occasionally gets a little TOO excited playing with their pups, so we’re still working that out) and also on our runs around the neighborhood. She is great with strangers and other animals, although she still gets super excited when squirrels cross her path. This dog is a lifelong companion, and I look forward to our future together.

I have to say, this comes as quite a shock to me, even after all the years of having Lady in my life. My mother always attributed my fear of dogs to being bitten when I was very young. I don’t know if that’s it, as I certainly don’t remember the incident, but it’s definitely a primal fear. Even interacting with dogs owned by friends I still feel a flutter of panic when I encounter a new dog. And regardless of size, if the dog shows any aggression, the panic kicks in full force and I’m pretty much done. Instinct is key for me, and I always follow it. Maybe the dog bite actually is the root.

With this background, you can imagine my surprise when I came across some photos from when I was very young, playing with a very large dog. I’ve always remembered that we had a dog named Black Jack , but had no recollection of the animal itself. The joy in my face as I played with this beast shows that I wasn’t always terrified of big dogs. I was younger than 4 years old when we left that residence in Alaska, but beyond that have no idea how old I am.

Me and Black Jack

I’m still a Cat Person, and plan to have another some day. But I have to admit that
I kinda look like a Dog Person, too.

Our Place in the Hundred Acre Wood

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Podcast, Soulful

This is a blog post I started ages ago, which then became a conversation with Chooch that we ended up recording. It seems redundant to go into more detail here since we just posted it on Into the Blender.

I will say that there isn’t any specific person that was the inspiration for this dialog.  So if you think it’s about you, it’s not. I do think it’s great that you have such a healthy measure of self-esteem, and I’m sorry to disappoint. This was actually inspired by jumping from stream to stream and seeing a continuous tone within each stream, including my own.

Into The Blender: Episode 49: The Tao of Twitter

It’s not our normal format or recording set-up, which we explain in the intro. Apologies if the background noise is too distracting, if we do this type again we’ll try to make it quieter.

Review of "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day…"

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Chooch, Cooking, Firsts, Health, Soulful

I’m finally getting around to writing a review of the book I used to make my first ever pizza dough in my “Firsts” series of posts, most of them during Labor Day weekend.

A weekly meal routines we’ve fallen into over the last eight or so months is “homemade” pizza on Friday nights.  I would purchase a whole wheat pizza shell (Boboli-type) and we would top them ourselves with our favorites. It’s healthier (whole wheat) and much cheaper this way, since the shells run about $5 and the results are individualized.

As is my usual luck when I find something I love, the store next door stopped selling the whole wheat pizza shells about two months ago. I wanted an alternative other than buying at a store I have to drive to, so I started looking at whole wheat pizza dough recipes and although not terribly difficult, I just … didn’t wanna…

Then I came across this book while zipping around in Amazon and was immediately hooked. It’s title “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I read the product description and was curious as to whether or not any whole grain recipes were included. Then I noticed another book by the same authors Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. The description there really had me excited, so I put the book on reserve at my library and checked it out the next day.

I opened the book to skim it while I was still in the library parking lot, and decided to grab the few items I would need to make my first multi-loaf batch. I’m unable to afford all the recommended tools (pizza peal, baking stone, 5 qt container with lid) for a whimsical attempt, so I instead used their suggested substitutions. Very quickly I had my dough mixed and set aside for the two hours as instructed, and later that night used some of it to make whole wheat pizza dough. It was delicious, although the texture was a bit gummy.

Undeterred, I attempted two or three loaves from the remaining dough and was happy with the taste but not texture. Naughty Bear loved it and ate several slices, but neither Chooch nor I really dug in and I ended up tossing it.  (As Ramona says, “Bread makes you fat,” so I only eat REALLY tasty bread.)

I hit the troubleshooting chapter, which is pretty extensive, and found that different brands of whole wheat flour can cause variation in the results. I followed the recommendations and made another batch, resulting in much better pizza crusts (Friday to Friday). Due to insanity here, I didn’t get another loaf made from that batch, but am entirely sure it was improved based on the difference between the two pizza batches.

As for the process, it’s different from traditional bread making. Annnnd lookit, I’m not going to go into a huge explanation of the science. If you know me, you know my opinion of science (It’s great! But better left in someone else’s hands.). And you are correct if you guess that I read it all, but didn’t bother retaining much of why the system works. But even I can explain the system itself:

You make one huge wad of dough by quickly and simply mixing dry ingredients with wet ingredients in a 5 quart or larger bowl/container/whatevs. Then you park it loosely covered somewhere that your dog/kids/drunk uncle won’t knock it about. After two hours, during which time it has miraculously risen, you move it into the fridge still loosely covered. Now, depending on which dough you mix, it will happily reside in the fridge for up to 5 to 14 days, ready for your use. I have not tested the outer limit on that, but after a little over a week on one batch of the 14 day Master Recipe I question the claim.

Once it’s been refrigerated for … a while (who can remember, that’s what recipe books are for) you use a serrated knife to chop off a chunk and follow the provided steps to make a loaf of artisan dough, pizza crust, baguette, cinnamon rolls, or whatevs. The loaves I’ve made require an additional rising period of 90 minutes or so, but the pizza crust is rolled out and baked immediately.

To date, I’ve made the Master Recipe for pizza crusts and “artisan loaves” and the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe with a very tasty loaf. I’m testing it out for pizza crust tonight to see if we like it better than the Master Recipe. This will be my last test batch, and if successful I’ll buy the book, pizza peel and baking stone (I’m already pretty happy with my container situation).

I should warn you that this process will take up a big chunk of your fridge space. You should really think this part through before making any investment. You may be able to get around this if you cut the recipes in half and use smaller containers.

Also, mixing the dough is a bit messy if you don’t use a 14-cup food processor or other machine (which I don’t have), but it’s still extremely quick and easy. I mix and store it in the same bowl, so the only thing I have to wash is measuring cups, a whisk and a wooden spoon. And let’s not forget, it’s bread making we’re talking about here. You’re supposed to get messy!

As for the expense, it’s waaaaay cheaper than a bread machine and I’ve essentially already paid for the book with the savings from 4 pizza crusts (I’m already counting the one I’m making tonight). The other items? We’ll call those an investment for the home.

Cooking More, In Frequency and Variety

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Cooking, Firsts, Friends, Health, Household

I was making a shopping list, and the recipes I’m shopping for made me reflect on recent-ish changes. I decided to write a quick post on this topic.

Not surprisingly, when I was working full time with a three hour daily commute my interest and time for cooking dropped off tremendously.  Partner that with a general recipe rut of cooking what I knew Chooch and my sons would like and you’ve got a couple years of routine dishes and a lot of boredom with cooking. We ate out a lot, I used a lot of cooking shortcuts and in general was borderline resentful of the entire process.

In the last six months or so, primarily due to a tightening in our budget, I’ve been cooking more. Add to this my renewed love of fruit and vegetables and I feel as if the whole culinary world has opened up to me again. I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, and while some were lousy, most were either perfect for us or close enough that some tweaking made them work.

I’m having a lot more fun in the kitchen and we are eating more wholesome foods as a result. This makes me extremely happy, especially with my fascination with Eat This, Not That lists.  We rarely venture into the extremely unhealthy realm of restaurants anymore, partly due to cost and partly due to my unwillingness to eat that unhealthily except in the most extreme situations. It’s just too hard to find whole grain options, and they add so much salt and fat to the dishes that it’s obscene.

In fact, thanks to a recent and delicious meal made for us by friends Heather and Marc, I’m going to attempt my first ever Indian dish. No, I’m not going to mix my own curry, and while I know this will offend some I have two words for you –  baby steps!

I’ve also been baking bread and am almost at the point where I ready to write a post on that subject in the next week or two. My love of whole grain/whole wheat is pushing me to find more and more options, and so far it’s been a lot of fun, even when the results are more brick-like than bread-like.

One very surprising turn that I’m taking is towards vegetarian and vegan foods. I have some odd food phobias, namely anything pork, anything on the bone, anything that lives in water, and any “exotic” meat (not sold in grocery stores) makes me squeamish as well.

While I still love beef and chicken, I am eating it less and less. This is partly because we have vegan and vegetarian friends that we do pot-lucks with fairly regularly.  I prefer contributing something that they can eat but that I will enjoy as well. I hate nothing more than testing a recipe on friends, so am seeking and testing recipes for future meals with them. This is leading to some interesting and healthy places, and for the first time I can really see the possibility of going vegetarian. I don’t think I’ll ever give up cheese, so vegan is probably never going to happen. I’m already maintaining a tenuous grip on eggs though, but for now couldn’t live with hubby’s delicious omelets. And it certainly simplifies baking, although I did get an egg-replacement product to test out for my vegan buds.

I’m off now to get some honey for bread and curry for dinner. It occurs to me a wonderful side effect of the new cooking jag is that my house usually smells AWESOME!

Review of Ender's Game

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Chooch, Kaylee, Sci Fi, Soulful

Chooch chose this book to share with me, as I shared the play Cyrano de Bergerac with him a few years ago. We decided back then to turn off the TV at bedtime, and we would take turns reading books to each other. For reasons that escape me, we fell out of the habit after that first book, and only recently started it again. Chooch has a great love for this book, as was evident while he read it to me. We just finished it last night and I’m grateful (while still heartbroken) that he shared it with me.

I realize this sounds extremely corny, and I can picture some that may read this are rolling their eyes now. But it is something that we look forward to every night, and it has certainly strengthened our bond. I can’t remember where he got the idea to do this, but I’m so grateful to have it as a part of our (almost) daily life now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ender’s Game is an utterly compelling book written by Orson Scott Card that was published in 1985. It was released in at least two other forms, including short story in 1977 and as an updated novel in 1991. There were also sequels to this tale of Ender Wiggin but having only read the 1985 version of the book, I will not address the other iterations.

This is not an easy book to read, particularly if you have male children, as the author crafts an extremely cruel “childhood” that is forced on Ender from the very beginning. There are various circumstances causing him to not have a childhood in the way that we think of it, and it is heartbreaking to witness. Not surprisingly, I thought of our three boys and this naturally made Ender’s story even more difficult to experience. We do learn that Ender has an old and wise soul. Whether it was nature or nurture that caused this is not clear to me, as his two siblings are also more mature in thought and behavior than would be normal. They are all three extraordinary in their own ways, from the very beginning of the story.

Ender and his slightly older sister Valentine are constantly terrorized by their frighteningly calm older brother Peter. He is a terrifying character, in that you can easily imagine now how someone like Jeffrey Dahlmer might have been during childhood. One of the cruelest after effects of Peter’s influence is Ender’s fear of being like him in any way. It literally haunts him for a large part of the book, as he struggles with difficult decisions.

Ender and Valentine are bonded together out of sibling love, but also as I imagine war buddies would be. Their parents are allegedly unaware as to just how dangerous Peter is and also the depths of his cruelty with his younger siblings, so do very little to protect them. Being left to fend for themselves is one of the reasons they are so close and also able to handle so many of the trials they face. This is very nearly standard in stories where extraordinary children do extraordinary things.

The fact that Ender and Valentine are so lovingly devoted to each other is the single most beautiful aspect of the book, and one that makes it worth reading as Ender leaves his traumatic childhood to enter another terribly cruel existence. And as a silly aside, as Valentine’s character in the book developed, I stated how gratified I was that our pup Kaylee has “Valentine” as part of her name. While it was for a different reason, I love the fact that this other Valentine is out there, even if only in a fictional sense.

The author deftly created a vision of the worlds and experiences in Ender’s world, to the point that I actually shed tears very early in the story, and if memory serves it was even in the first chapter. I find it amazing that you are made to care so much for he and Valentine almost instantaneously. His use of imagery was right on target as well, as I could easily picture the battle room and Ender’s unusual experiences after he was sent up to the school.

There is a very rich and well detailed story here of how Ender, being determined to be one of the most gifted children in the world, is sent to a school to train with other similarly gifted children. This was deemed necessary as their world was seeking what would be equated to the savior of the human race. Twice before, Earth had been attacked by an alien race called “Buggers” and it was anticipated that another war would take place soon. An elaborate testing and training system was developed, to ensure that the children matured and trained quickly to protect the human race from extinction. There is a lot more to this, but I leave it to you to discover if you haven’t already read the book.

I highly recommend Ender’s Game whether you enjoy this genre or not. I hate to only categorize it as Sci Fi, because there is so much beyond that going on here. If you have already read it, in any of its forms, I’d love for you to share your thoughts via comments.

Forty-One and Loving It, aka My Life is Effing Metal

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, No Whining, Twitter/Facebook

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would write a post on something simple, pure and unexpected I experienced this morning. A smile.

As background, for the last 20 or so years, around the time I became pregnant with my first child, I’ve had only a few treasured friends, barely enough to fill one hand’s worth of fingers. I had MANY friends prior to the pregnancy, but I wanted to clear out those influences I didn’t want around the precious life I was carrying. No one was more surprised than I at the tiny percentage that particular qualifier left me with by the time Naughty Bear arrived. Of those remaining few, only one has survived since then, and “Y-vette” and I are celebrating our 21st year of loving and supportive friendship this month.

In recent years, I find myself somehow blessed because I’m surrounded by remarkable people that I have no hesitation in calling True Friends. I’ll grudgingly admit that in the ramp-up phase, I opened myself up in a trusting way to people I felt a connection with, and that has left me incredibly hurt and burned by some. Sorry to break it to some of you, but this isn’t a “naming names” post, especially because I still care deeply for these people and wish them only happiness. It just wasn’t a dynamic that worked, for whatever reason. Some have decided that I’m unkind and vilified me for being honest about this rather than pretending a deeper relationship existed when it didn’t. One of the more surprising things I’ve learned is that some don’t want to see the truth, while that is all I want at this stage of my life.

Yesterday, we were able to see some of the people that bring me the most joy in my life. It was a tangible and much needed reminder that genuine connections do exist. I honor and protect those connections, and work very hard not to take them for granted. They are rare and precious, but I am simply not a wordsmith that can craft the phrases to express how much it means to me. I’ll explain it this way:
This is actually a day that I was dreading, not because I’m getting older or for fear of any number. I embrace 41 as I embraced 40 last year, with welcoming arms. But instead of waking with sadness and eventual tears, as I actually expected, I found myself instead waking with memories of shared laughter and contentment. Color me every shade of surprised to discover an actual smile on my face as I awoke.

For those that have sent my kind words, birthday wishes before I even awoke, and any kind of amazing support through the difficult year, know that I am more grateful than I can express. Whether we have actually met or not, I am constantly amazed at the richness that podcasting and social media has brought to my life.

And for those genuine friendships I have somehow found myself blessed with, whether you were there yesterday or not, whether you are now in Heaven or still on this Earth, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and beauty you bring to my life.

*Note: I’ve turned comments off, for my own reasons, but if you feel compelled to respond you can email me at vivmuse@gmail.com.*

Review of The Sixth Sense (#89)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Uncategorized

The Sixth Sense (1999), is number 89 on the list and I’d already seen this ages ago, but only once all the way through. I was very excited to have an excuse to watch it again, so we dusted off the copy from our DVD library last night and enjoyed it again.

When I saw this the first time, I had already seen Unbreakable and was blown away by M. Night’s vision and skill. Sadly, Sixth Sense had already been spoiled for me by the time I saw it on videotape. (Or DVD. Whatevs.) Real bummer, as I would’ve LOVED to have been surprised, but I dearly love it just the same.

In that vein, I refuse to spoil it for anyone and will not discuss what the big twist of the movie is, but I will beg you to see it if you haven’t already. As is typical by now, M. Night has multiple stories going on at once, each one compelling and believable: a haunted boy (literally) struggling to find a way out of a truly terrifying situation with the help of a doctor (Psychologist? Psychiatrist?); a loving couple with an untenable distance in their clearly painful marriage; and a beautifully depicted maternal love as the boy’s mother is confused and powerless, but still seeks out what is terrorizing her young son with an animalistic protectiveness that is both compelling and relatable.

It is supremely effed up what this kid sees in his day to day life, and it is heartbreaking what Cole is going through with his mother, trying to get her to understand and believe him without scaring her into thinking he’s insane. And seeing what his mother is going through trying to help him is excruciating for this mother. As I find true with all his films, except for The Village which I liked but did not LOVE, he tells a story that breaks my heart and then somewhat heals it. I know the director takes a lot of crap, but I find his movies to be compelling and well worth the time, every time.

The casting is magnificent in this film. Bruce Willis portrays the shrink Malcolm, who is trying to help Haley Joel Osment’s young and achingly fragile Cole through what he first believes to be psychological response to his father leaving the family. Toni Collette plays Cole’s mother, and this may have been the first movie I saw her in, because I had no recollection she was in it. Olivia Williams, who I had to go to IMDB to chase away the “I’ve seen her before” tickle (Mrs. Darling from Peter Pan and Adelle from Dollhouse), played Malcolm’s wife with a confused, loving and distant vibe. These four characters are the focus of the story, but I have to admit to running back to the DVD when I saw Donnie Wahlberg listed with the cast. I didn’t recognize him as Vincent at all. He was unrecognizable, amazing and believably insane in his portrayal of this broken young man. What a shame that only his brother gets accolades because this is truly a talented actor. I had no clue just how talented until now, but I hope he sees better roles than what show up on his current IMDB page.

Each of these actors, along with the supporting cast, give rich and soulful performances. It is not surprising that Osment’s is the most compelling portrayal, as he’s just so very young. It seems impossible that he would be able to carry a role so permeated with pain and terror at such a young age.

My two favorite lines from the movie:
“I never told you, but you sound a little like Dr. Seuss when you’re drunk.” Malcolm’s wife to Malcolm.
“I didn’t know you were funny.” Cole, after Malcolm performs a pathetic magic trick.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) is next on the list, and has already arrived. I’ve not seen it, and know nothing other than it stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I love seeing movies with no preconceived notions about it, it’s freeing in a way, don’t you think?

Gone Daddy Gone

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Consumer Info, Podcast

Apologies to those that tried to view my blog recently. Thanks to a ridiculous failure by Go Daddy we were down from Thursday until this morning. We switched to a new hosting company on Sunday, thinking that we’d be able to use the regular back-ups my husband has to get the sites us and running. Alas, we discovered that whatever magic he uses to make this happen had a failure of its own, resulting in incomplete back-ups and no ability to get the site up until Go Daddy stepped up and did their job.

Both Chooch and I have given folks recommendations to use Go Daddy, and if you are one of those people RUN, DO NOT WALK to another company. This uncaring company SUCKED on customer service, and left us with no help, no fixes and pathetic response time.

We’ve switched to a company that our trusted friend, Paul Fischer, gave a glowing review. I now happily proclaim that Go Daddy can go frak themselves.

Chooch is working hard to get our other sites up. In our typical luck, we had an episode of Into the Blender ready since last Tuesday that we scheduled for release on Saturday in hopes of returning to a regular bi-weekly schedule. Hopefully that will be ready at some point this morning as well.

I also ask that imhosted be gentle and kind with us. We’ve been hurt before, and badly. It may take us some time to fully trust again, but we’re willing to try.

And since I now have this great song stuck in my head, allow me to share it with you.

Gone Daddy Gone by the Violent Femmes

Swing Time Review

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Chooch, Movies

Swing Time (1936) comes in at number 90 on the A.F.I. Top 100 Movies list, and is a charming and surprisingly sassy love story. Ginger Rogers plays the bold Penny and Fred Astaire is Lucky, the smooth talking con man.  The dancing is phenomenal, and while they are individually amazing their chemistry when together is crackling. The dialogue is smart and witty and I was surprised at some of the innuendo that was allowed.

I never thought that a movie from the ‘30s would have the protagonist be such a ‘playa’. Lucky is somewhat difficult to like in the beginning, first because he’s late for his wedding – partly due to his ass-hat friends, but in the end because he gets caught up in gambling. He is also in a heavy flirtation with Penny while he’s engaged to another woman. He keeps that a secret and is happily exploiting the chemistry that he and Penny have, because it adds to their dancing and success. Even though he shows some guilt at letting the relationship go too far (by kissing her *gasp*), he does dive in and is willing to deceive her. I couldn’t help but feel great admiration for Penny, and I was pretty pissed when he decided he was more interested in momentary satisfaction than hurting either of the two women he was deceiving.

Some interesting observations about the movie being almost 80 years old: off-screen smooching; weird hair washing and a “black face” routine. The kissing is really self-explanatory; there was no smooching on-camera. The weird hair washing was done by Penny. She started squirting something from a bottle onto her hair/scalp (while holding a conversation with another woman in her room) and started rubbing it in. I thought it was some sort of scalp conditioner until it showed her at the bathroom sink bent over with a head covered with bubbles. She was fully dressed as she walked around the apartment/hotel room with her hair lathered up. I don’t know if this was a modification made for the movie, or if this was how woman always washed their hair.

The black face dance routine was simply puzzling to me. I didn’t see any relevance for it at all, and it seemed completely random. It showed him getting ready to perform by smearing something dark on his face and I groaned, but was still unwilling to believe it. I guess it was something really popular, but I just couldn’t believe how random it was. It had absolutely nothing (that I could tell) to do with the story. And was it a coincidence that he had GINORMOUS feet and his legs were so long it took like, four female dancers to carry each giant leg off so he could actually stand up and start dancing?!? Could they really get away with that kind of symbolism in the ‘30s? Obviously portraying a stereotype wasn’t an issue, as demonstrated by the black face number.

Another surprising thing was during one of the first scenes in the movie, when Fred and Ginger first met on the street. There was a heated exchange during which a car horn was honking at the same time that Lucky’s friend Pop was seemingly using obscenities against the policeman. It just seemed so provincial that they didn’t show any kissing, when the filmmakers seemed to have had these other freedoms.

I thought one spectacular thing about the movie was that you could really perceive the mood of the dancers during their performances. It was done with subtlety and grace, and was beautifully executed. Whether excitement, joy, agitation or sadness, it was clearly demonstrated in their dancing by expression, gesture and posture, among other things. Brilliant.

Chooch pointed out that he thought that while Astaire was likely more renowned as a dancer, but that Rogers was doing essentially the same exact steps, but in HIGH HEELS. Testify!

I was a little disappointed in abrupt and overly neat ending, but it was still a fun movie. I truly enjoyed it and am thrilled it is on the list, it definitely belongs there.

My favorite line was by Lucky to Penny as they were saying their big farewell. Penny asked if his fiancee was a good dancer, and his reply was:
“I’ve danced with you, I’m never going to dance again.”

Fantastic movie, and if you are someone that likes musicals at all I suggest you give it a chance. I really didn’t think I would enjoy it beyond the novelty factor, but it was a fun and light film with amazing choreography and performances. If you don’t like musicals, you may not like it but should give it a shot. What do you have to lose?

Next up is Sixth Sense, which I’ve seen and love, Love, LOVE. I literally can’t wait to watch it again. I’ll also be posting my ranking of the Top 100 very soon. I had planned on it last week but thanks to a total and complete Go Daddy FAIL, I’m still catching up from the long downtime we suffered. Go Daddy is now Gone Daddy, and we have gone with a company that is well respected by a well respected friend.

Phew! Now I can finally go listen to Mike and Christiana’s discussion of Swing Time!