altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Where did the first half of the year go? I don't think I slept through it, yet I feel as if I missed much of it.

We went to see Brave this afternoon. Certainly worth seeing, though I don't trust Disney and can't watch their films without worrying about subtexts and biases hidden underneath the top layer of the story. Even so, this one is fun and funny. Plus it has a marvelous horse called Angus that everyone needs to see. The music in the soundtrack is also great stuff. The fun little tag or easter egg that is buried on the end of the credits is the perfect cherry on top of the sundae.

Gary wanted comfort food, so I made meatloaf. We had peas, mashed potatoes, and sliced tomatoes with it, and now comes the rhubarb pie. Then to bed because tomorrow is already (ugh) Monday.
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
Rain or drizzle and a high of 52F predicted for tomorrow. In January? Well, that should get rid of most of the snow and ice anyway.

Looking like the whole week will be short-handed again. One staffer out sick today, boss off the next two days. Hope the sick one is back or tomorrow is gonna be really difficult.

We watched the final installment of the Harry Potter films tonight. I'll say it was a ittle better than the preceding three, but only a little. Sure couldn't have made much sense to anyone who didn't already know the story, though.

Other than that, cut up some old jeans to make denim background for embroidered patches. And that's the whole of today's accomplishments. Well, no, I did do stuff at work, but I don't usually count that.

And No Snow

Dec. 6th, 2011 10:46 pm
altivo: 'Tivo in fursuit (fursuit)
Now it's cold enough for snow (27F) but of course we aren't getting any. I know, I know, this is not something most people would complain about, but this time of year I'm glad to see the snow. Here in northern Illinois we are pushing into record-breaking territory for the latest date of first measurable snowfall in a winter season. The all time record latest date is apparently December 16, now just ten days away. The forecast for the next seven days offers no hint of a heavy enough snowfall to count. Interesting.

Back to a normal Wednesday schedule tomorrow (that's 12:30-8:00 pm for me) as Gary has finished his two classes for this term and I no longer have to cover Weds. evening animal chores for him. That also saves me 30 miles extra driving and a gallon of gas each week, and an hour behind the wheel that can be better used on other occupations.

Having some trouble "getting into the holiday spirit" and Gary needed to relax, so we watched The Polar Express this evening. While I usually dislike film adaptations of classic books, this one is an exception. They had to add a lot, of course, to turn a picture book of about 40 pages and very few words into a feature length movie, but they managed to capture the feel of the story, kept the theme intact, and, if anything, strengthen and improve it. The way in which they interpreted the paintings in the book, turning them into live action that looks as if it stepped right out of the book, is incomparably delicious.

Now, I think, time for bed. The moon is waxing which makes it harder for me to sleep as a rule, but tomorrow is the characteristically long day of the week.
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
In which I actually seem to have done relatively little.

Notable: invited to make a list of silent film classics to be added to the library's DVD collection. This I will do, though it's not anything I would have expected. Came out of a conversation with the director, who discovered some extra funds and was going to order a Charlie Chaplin collection with it. I suggested that silent films would need some promotion in order to get anyone to pay attention to them, which turned to the question of what others I'd consider to be classics that we could use for promoting the idea.

I suggested several:

Nosferatu
Wings
Son of the Sheik
The General
Ben Hur
Orphans of the Storm
The Ten Commandments
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Thief of Bagdad
The Phantom of the Opera
The Gold Rush

I'd prefer pipe organ or orchestral accompaniments, but those may be hard to get. Piano will do if it's in the appropriate style.


She's willing to consider working up a film festival in which we'd show and discuss several of them, one a week this coming summer. Now the trick is to find DVD copies with appropriate music soundtracks...

Rain rain

Mar. 4th, 2011 09:31 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
We had planned to go out for dinner and shopping, but the gloomy cold rain at sunset put us both off and we stayed in. Watched Ken Burns' documentary on the Shakers, which I'm sure I'd seen before on PBS but Gary didn't remember it. Certainly a fascinating but melancholy story, and missing 25 more years of history since it was made in 1984 and featured interviews with three surviving Shaker women.

We decided that we want to see his Brooklyn Bridge documentary, and Lewis and Clark. Looking at those on Netflix I also added Thomas Jefferson and the one on the history of broadcast radio. Not for all at once though.

Weather sounds unpleasant for the entire weekend. I should stay in and weave, and maybe cook soup or something like that. We shall see. Gas prices are rising so fast that I'm inclined to drive nowhere that isn't essential. I'm worried about the effect on the prices of groceries though, not to mention hay if this continues.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Just saw this animated (CGI) feature and we loved it. It's silly, funny, sweet, and still real. And the art is great. Really enjoyable. Dennis Hopper and Danny Glover really gave life to the old alphas, too.

While I'm a serious fan of traditional hand drawn animation, I have to admit one thing that's great about CGI is that it has let a lot of smaller studios and newer people get their vision out there on the screen. Especially for the canines, but everyone should like this one.

I rate it four and a half apples.
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
I'm snow tired, I haven't slept a wink.
I'm sno-oh-oh-ow tired, my mind is on the blink.
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink...

Must still be that virus. For a Monday, today wasn't all that bad, but it felt draggy and I'm really worn down. Came home, helped take care of horses and sheep, made dinner, and watched a 30 minute animated film (Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death) which I didn't think I'd seen but Gary was quoting lines so apparently we did see it before some time. Funny how he's always saying he can't remember stuff, yet he rattles off dialog from films or books after only one time through.

I still owe y'all the photo of the plush paint pony he got me on Valentine's. Haven't forgotten, just haven't gotten around to it either.

Mmm, pie. We made a pie on Sunday. There's a tale thereto. Gary and the Kishwaukee Ramblers were performing at the farmers' market in Woodstock last fall, and someone put a squash and a recipe sheet in their tip basket. It looked like an acorn squash, but had yellow skin, and the recipe called it a "sweet potato acorn squash." I'm guessing it was a hybrid between delicata (sometimes called sweet potato squash) and a regular green acorn. Anyway, the recipe was for what I'd call sweet potato pie, but using the squash instead. We stuck it in the fridge and it sat there all winter. Finally got around to it, and the squash was just beginning to show a little aging as dark freckles on the skin. Pie is flavored with dark spiced rum, too much sugar which I cut in half, eggs, and pumpkin pie spices. Served with whipped cream, it's quite good, but I'm glad I cut back the sugar as it's more than sweet enough anyway. Delicata squashes are very sweet of themselves.

Gonna try to get more sleep tonight. Bai.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
I'm on "vacation" for the next nine days. I'll be working feverishly on a weaving project, though, rather than doing much relaxing.

Tonight we saw The Secret of Kells which I have to say is a beautifully drawn and orchestrated animation. However, unless you know some of the historic legends about the real Book of Kells and a bit of Irish mythology too, it probably wouldn't make a lot of sense. Still, the merger of illuminator's art and ornament with more or less traditional hand-drawn animation is quite remarkable. And there's the character Aisling, who is capable of changing shapes between girl and white wolf.

Snow here, another half inch or so during the afternoon, followed by cold. Glad I don't have to go out tonight, but I will have to in the morning.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Meme? Name your top ten cartoon character crushes. Lifted from several friends on FA and elsewhere, this was more of a challenge than I thought. Not so much coming up with the names as limiting it to ten. I selected only furry characters, and I'm not sure these are ranked effectively, either.

1. Spirit from the Dreamworks film. I know, I know, mandatory for all equine types, but he was good and the sound track helped too.

2. Balto is just about every furry's fancy at some level or other. I particularly liked him in the underrated second film.

3. Altivo the war horse, from another Dreamworks film, The Road to El Dorado. Smarter than your average human, for sure.

4. Bullseye was Woody's horse in Disney's Toy Story and I was quite taken with him.

5. Simba once he was grown up in The Lion King and sequels. So slinky, so sexy.

6. The Dodger in Oliver & Company (voiced by Billy Joel) was so smooth and accomplished and he could sing too.

7. The Great Prince was Bambi's father. Only glimpsed in the original 1942 film, but my long-lasting fascination with him was finally justified in Bambi II when he was given voice by Patrick Stewart.

8. Snagglepuss in the Hanna-Barbera television cartoons. Could I have been drawn to that campy lisp and expressive tail as a pre-teen? The answer is yes.

9. Kuzco (as a llama) in the 2000 Disney release of The Emperor's New Groove, though he was very nearly upstaged by Eartha Kitt's marvelous villainess, Yzma.

10. 30-30 the transforming cyber-horse, whom I didn't encounter until long after he was gone from television. The plot lines were stupid and the acting not much better, but the way he was drawn... oooh lah lah.

There are many more who make the grade, including some oldies like Felix the Cat and (OMG) The Jeep from the old Popeye cartoons. Even more who had potential but didn't get enough spotlight time, like Philippe, the horse in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Pongo from the original 101 Dalmatians. Todd the fox kit in The Fox and the Hound. Rocket J. Squirrel of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame (so sue me.) ;p

Deliberately omitted, though others found them sexy, are Tramp from Lady and the Tramp and Robin from Disney's famous animated Robin Hood, who figures high on many lists. For whatever reason, they just didn't do much for me.

Postscript: I did like Roger Rabbit a lot, but he's obviously much too straight for me. ;p

Colder than

Jan. 9th, 2010 10:47 pm
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
...a well-digger's ankle? Well, actually, that's what my father used to say, but he was usually pretty decorous. My maternal grandmother would have said "It's colder than a witch's teat out there." And so it is.

Went to guild meeting in the morning, lunch and grocery shopping in the afternoon. In keeping with our usual little anomaly in gasoline prices, I found that in Marengo, gas was $2.78 and $2.77, while in all the surrounding towns it is $2.87 and up. This defies any economic logic or reason.

Replacement for the wrong disc from Netflix arrived in today's mail, as promised. Watched it tonight, it was the right one this time and no defects. So now I have finally see Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. To tell the truth, I'm not much impressed, though I did find that the third episode, with Charles Dickens and the apparent haunting by "undead" in the funeral parlor, was particularly well-written.

Also filled half a bobbin with finely spun merino wool while watching, so it was at least somewhat productive.

It's late and so to bed.
altivo: (rocking horse)
...you can't keep your eyes open any more.

I gave in this week and reactivated Netflix. Gary's been wanting me to do it for a while now. They sent a letter offering two weeks free and saying they still had and would restore our queue. The latter turned out only to be partly true. Yes, they still had the records of what we had rented and how we rated it, but no, they didn't have the list of things we were still planning to see.

Even less impressive: the first disc they sent was the wrong one (didn't match the label on the sleeve) and was so defective it wouldn't play. At this rate, they'll be cancelled again before they can bill me.

We were going to go out for dinner and shopping tonight after work, but neither of us felt like it. Stayed in instead, made dinner here. Tomorrow: guild meeting.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Today was the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count in our county. I joined two others in canvassing an assigned territory to count as many species and individuals as possible between dawn and dusk. We drove about sixty miles, walked another three in fairly heavy snow though not as cold as last year. A rough summation indicates that we spotted 25 species, which is more than last year and given the nature of our territory, not too bad. Our finds included a kestrel, a Cooper's hawk, two redtails, and three robins. (Yes, you can see robins in the midwest in winter if you look hard enough, but this was the first time I've seen them in the snow.)

We saw most of the common backyard birds, some like the junco in very large numbers. There were also plenty of starlings. We do not usually see large numbers of waterfowl, but this year we did. More than 600 geese in total, at a dozen locations and either flying overhead or on the ground. More interesting (we always do see some geese, but not that many) were the mallard ducks. We usually see some ducks in the spring count, but never in the winter. We saw quite possibly more than a thousand mallards, most of them gleaning corn in a single large field that had been harvested just earlier in this week. I've never seen so many ducks on the wing at once.

Other species counted included: red bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, bluejay, cardinal, house sparrow, white throated sparrow, tree sparrow, gold finch, house finch, horned lark, white breasted nuthatch, red breasted nuthatch, mourning dove, rock dove, black capped chickadee, and large numbers of crows. Though I manufactured a clever explanation for a trick by which some cowbirds who chose not to migrate stayed behind and disguised themselves as cows, I was not allowed to count any of the cows as birds. ;p

Weather was a thick overcast with occasional light snow, a temperature in the high 20s to low 30s, little wind, and five inches or so of old snow on the ground. Hurrying through dense woods tracking a mob of crows (at least 25 to 30 of them) that were picking on a predator eventually allowed us to identify the target as a redtail. I also found fox, coyote, deer, and probably raccoon tracks in the snow, as well as one live deer. People occasionally came out of their houses to see what we were doing, but no one objected to us standing on the road peering through binoculars once we explained that we were counting birds. Some told us of specific places to check, and a couple of those were pretty fruitful.

So, I'm very tired of driving (I was the designated driver this year) and tired of slogging through snow. But we had spaghetti and meatballs and greek salad for dinner, so life is good. Now to focus on finishing up the Christmas preparations.

Oh, and we enjoyed the 1925 silent version of Phantom of the Opera yesterday. It was closer, though not entirely true, to the original text of the novel, and of course Lon Chaney was unbeatable as the Phantom. The DVD had an orchestral score, and the black and white film had been tinted by hand in the style typical of the mid-1920s (not "colorized" but the whole screen changed hues depending on mood and setting, ranging from reds to blues, greens, and browns. The color changes coincided with scene changes, and were not at all distracting.

TGIF

Dec. 18th, 2009 08:55 pm
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Not that the weekend looks any easier. Audubon bird count is tomorrow, so that's pretty much the day starting earlier than work would be.

Did get to go to Donley's tonight though and claim that free steak dinner. It was excellent.

I think we're going to watch the silent version of Phantom of the Opera and then bed.
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes, I really do appreciate being remembered so thoughtfully. (Especially since I tend to be very forgetful about such things myself.)

Gary and I had plans to go out for dinner to a place we like but they are on winter hours and not open on Monday, so that gets shelved for the weekend. Instead he made dinner, with several things I really like including broccoli with hollandaise and salmon patties. There's cake yet to come.

He also got me a really neat present. I've wanted one of these for ages, so long that I'd given up looking for it. They are quite expensive but he assures me he found a bargain. It's an artist's horse "manikin" (or should that be "ponikin"?) Made of polished wood with all the right adjustable joints, a flexible neck and graceful tail, it can be posed appropriately for practice drawing. I just think it's a really cool piece of art in itself. I also received a tiny plush horsie and a book on drawing horses with some art supplies and a sketchpad.

More than made up for the gray and drippy day today, and may even distract me from the predicted cold tomorrow and tomorrow night.

Then we watched Wallace & Gromit in "A Case of Loaf or Death" which we hadn't yet seen.

Phantoms

Dec. 7th, 2009 10:37 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)
We watched the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera this evening. Gary pulled it out of the discount bin somewhere. I had seen the old 1925 silent film and read the book, but he had neither read nor seen a full telling of the story. I have to say, for a translation to stage musical and then to film, this wasn't bad. Of course Lloyd Webber is a master composer and he does the drama right. The scenery lived up to my expectations from the book, also unusual.

Snow, snow. They can't make up their minds, as usual. First we go up from "Winter Storm Watch" to "Winter Storm Warning" then we're downgraded to "Winter Weather Advisory." Boone County, just ten miles away, still has the storm warning. They've extended the hours though, from 24 to 36, starting at dawn tomorrow. Still predicting snowfall rates up up to an inch an hour (which we've seen before, and believe me, it's impressive.) Possibility of thunder-snow farther west but probably we won't get that. Darn. The predictions on accumulation still vary wildly, but at the moment it looks like five to ten inches are likely, with the extremes of the forecast ranging from three to twelve. I suspect the library will lose its evening hours tomorrow so that no one has to drive home in that, as the peak is supposed to hit right before rush hour.

Gary is set to tune up the snowblower tomorrow morning. We brought it in from the barn tonight so he could work in the somewhat more comfortable temperature. I'll go to work, and probably stay all day. Not my day to work evening, though.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Well, the sky was blue anyway. The internet POP in Rockford came back online around 9 pm last night, so things were back to normal operation when I got into work this morning. We were short a staff member due to a vacation, and had yesterday's work to do in addition to today's. Needless to say, it was a heavy day.

On the bright side, our farrier friend John came to trim the horses' feet, and said they are all looking good. Tess has improved a great deal from where she was two years ago. She now has big, solid, heavy hooves on all four feet, and they are growing evenly. She's also acquired a much better disposition for the most part, I think, and has decided either that she really does like me or at least that it's a good idea to tolerate me affably.

In the midst of all the hubbub and distractions today, I found myself trying to explain, in twitter snippets, why I am so disapproving of Peter Jackson's version of Tolkien. In the end, I promised to e-mail an essay, since I can't successfully discuss major philosophical issues in chunks of 140 characters or less. That explanation is under the cut for anyone who really wants to read it. Feel free to skip if you aren't interested.

Cultural integrity and the motion picture industry )
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
I'm not a paid account, so I can't post polls here. If you're interested in today's poll about silent films of the 1920s, feel free to pop over to my LiveJournal entry to see or answer it.

Instead, here I'll put a meme I picked up from my friend Charlie on Facebook.

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no... more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what movies my friends choose...

(Tagging is optional, as far as I'm concerned, but I'd like to see what you pick. If you post the list to your own journal or another place, please leave a link to it in a comment.)

I couldn't come up with 15 films myself in less than 15 minutes. I'm far from a motion picture junkie or even a fan. I see perhaps three films a year in the theatre, if that. I did come up with a list after thinking about it for a day, and I'll post that in a comment so as not to influence you. No peeking now!
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
I never make polls, but answering a meme about films over on Facebook inspired me to ask these questions of LJ readers.

[Poll #1445665]
altivo: (rocking horse)
We missed this when it was in theatres. Finally got hold of the library copy today so we watched it tonight. It's adorable. Alterations from the book seem minor and forgiveable for a nice change. Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick played rat against mouse wonderfully. The lighting and scenery were enchanting and powerful. I don't regret casting my Ursa Major vote for Bolt, but this film is equally worthy. In the short feature on the DVD, "The tale of the tale..." (which is, of course, a "making of...") the designers admitted to taking their vision from classic Dutch paintings by Vermeer, Bosch, and Brueghel. I think they did a masterful job of their own in capturing the simplicity of one, and the hellish complexities of another as suited to the scenes being portrayed. Five apples for this one. ;D

Some similarities to scenes from Ratatouille must be coincidental, but it's amazing just how similar they were. ^.*
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Miktar's Altivo)
So the promise of a dry week to follow Friday's deluge and wind has already been broken. It's been raining on and off this afternoon, and the next few days are once again filled with "chance of thunderstorms." Water in the pastures is again deeper than the top of my rubber boots, and I think deeper than it was at its peak earlier this spring. I can't get to the vegetable garden without a boat, even though I can see the snow peas hanging there begging to be harvested. In the first nine years that we lived here, we saw flooding like this only once. On that occasion, we received four inches of rain in a 24 hour period, so anything was certainly possible.

Since the stupid developers busted up the tiling in the 250 acres of land uphill of us, we are seeing this every time there is an inch or more of rain in 24 hours. That's about six times in the last two years. Our ability to use our land has been damaged by this, significantly so. Our chance of getting anything done about it is, of course, non-existent. I take great pleasure in the fact that no one has actually chosen to build anything in that "development." I hope the developers go bankrupt.

We went to see the Star Trek film this afternoon because Gary wanted to. Even setting aside the fact that I now have a headache imposed by the earthquake inducing level of the sound in the theatre (which always irritates the hell out of me...I guess everyone else is already deaf from listening to stuff at those decibel levels, so they keep escalating) my reactions are mostly negative. There were some cute moments and an occasional clever concept, but c'mon, folks. Star Trek has used the time paradox thing far too much. It's no longer credible to me. I never liked Kirk and I like him even less after this film. Giving Spock a romantic interest, even at a young age, doesn't wash with me either, no matter how cleverly they could play it off against Kirk. The young Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, and Chekhov were interestingly portrayed, but they can't carry off a weak plot all by themselves. I won't even dignify it with any apples at all.

On the way home we stopped and used the "coupon" (plus $16) to get a digital conversion box. I don't anticipate it doing any good here, but we can always give it to someone else if it's completely useless.

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