Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
We don’t keep a television in the bedroom, but I love to fall asleep on the couch. Sometimes the voices and music of TV shows is easier to fall asleep to than just about anything. But sometimes you find a show that instead keeps you wide awake and engaged, even if you were half-asleep moments earlier.
You, Me, and the Apocalypse is one of those shows. It’s got so many moving parts and so many interesting characters that you can’t stop watching for fear of missing something.
One day in the near future, scientists discover a comet eight miles wide is headed on a crash course for Earth. By all accounts, extinction will hit the planet in a matter of weeks. We learn in the intro that a number of characters will be in an underground bunker watching the end of the world on a television. What we are watching is how they got there. I couldn’t possibly try and explain all the characters and simultaneous plots without getting very tedious, but the main points are these:
Jamie is a bank manager in Slough, England who discovers that not only is the world ending but that he has a secret twin, he is adopted, and his vanished wife may not be vanished. He and his friend head off to uncover the truth.
Ariel is Jamie’s secret twin, a hacker and all-around bad guy. He’s only out to save his own skin.
Rhonda is a librarian taking the fall for her hacker son’s activities. She is broken out of prison amid the chaos and finds herself on the lam with a white supremacist named Leanne.
Father Jude is a chain-smoking priest (played by Rob Lowe) who has been hired by the Vatican to fulfill the newly-reopened role as Devil’s Advocate, who seeks to confirm miracles. He is joined by the very pious Sister Celine.
There are lots more characters and they are all starting to intertwine. What’s great is that none of it has gotten confusing. It’s just getting more fascinating as you try to figure out what’s going to connect and how it will all lead to the bunker. Great new show that is worth staying awake to watch.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Spring officially begins this Sunday, March 20, so it’s time to emerge from your cocoon and ready your home for warmer weather. For me, once temperatures reach the 60s, I’m almost automatically in a better mood and have more energy to tackle those tasks that aren’t my favorites –– such as organizing and cleaning.
Here are a few tips to get your bedroom in tip-top shape this spring.
Change the bedding.
If you’re like most people, you probably use heavier blankets and maybe even flannel sheets during the colder months. Well, it’s time to bid farewell to your winter wares, at least until the next freeze. Bring out the lighter linens and cottons for a more spring-like feel and comfy sleeping.
Hit the shelves
If you have bookshelves, you know they tend to get messy. Go through your books and donate any you don’t intend to read, or have read and won’t read again (except the classics or DIY, which no one wants to part with). Organize your magazines into attractive holders rather than stacking. Any mag that’s more than two years old, you might want to toss it.
Move on to the closet
Of course, your closet needs to get organized, but you’ll also want to move your winter clothing, shoes, and accessories to storage, or at least to an out-of-reach area so your spring/summer wardrobe is front and center. Use cedar or fresh herbs such as rosemary and lavender to keep garments fresh and bugs at bay. And, don’t be sloppy when storing. You’ll regret it next season.
Buy something new.
Every room gets tired after a while, so if you’re bored with your bedroom, you’re not alone. Now that you’re organized, allow yourself to splurge on one new item –– be it an area rug, mirror, piece of art, or throw pillow –– and you’ll be back in love with your bedroom in no time.
Sorry to be the bearer of this news, but now that you’re organized, it’s time to clean. Spring-cleaning is a must every year, so get to it!
Post by Alison Hein.
You never know just how important St. Patrick’s Day is until you marry an Irishman. J With Kevin’s encouragement (um, nagging?), I’ve had fun posting an array of Irish recipes suitable for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations during the past few years: St. Patrick’s Day Soda Bread, Irish Wheaten Bread, and Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Irish Scones. Oh my, I almost forgot Aunt Frannie’s Irish Coffee! (Just proves how un-Irish I am.)
I love Irish cooking for its deep simplicity, and for the focus that captures a food’s essence. Take potatoes, for instance. In this easy (and simply devourable!) Potato Farl Recipe, only four ingredients are used – potatoes, butter, flour and salt. Mashed potatoes are mixed with a little butter and just enough flour to make them pliable. Add an egg, or a little baking soda, for an extra lift if you like, or remain pure and traditional without.
A “farl” is anything that is cut into a quarter round. Potato farls are often called potato cakes or potato bread. If you like them savory, top them with fresh chives or ground black pepper. If you like them sweet, sprinkle a little cinnamon and brown sugar on them. If you’re like me, pick them up directly from the hot pan, douse with salt, and eat them immediately while trying not to burn your tongue.
I used golden potatoes because I love their sweet, mellow flavor and their sunny hue. But any kind of potato that is mashable (uh, I think that’s all of them) – reds, russets, fingerlings – will work well here for a devourable St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in bed.
1½ pounds potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, plus an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons for frying
1 cup flour
Salt, to taste
Peel, wash and dice potatoes. Place in a heavy pot and add water to cover and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, return to pot along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Mash, ensuring potatoes are smooth and without lumps. Allow potatoes to cool.
When cool, add flour and salt to the potatoes and mix well. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute or so, until mixture is smooth and somewhat elastic. Split dough in half and shape each half into a round, approximately 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.
Melt a tablespoon of the remaining butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Cook the potato cakes until golden brown, turning once, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.
NOTE: If you like, make the potato farls the day before and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat them in a 350°oven for 15 minutes before assembling and serving.
Makes 8 potato farls.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
It seems my best friend and I have developed a new tradition: whenever we find ourselves alone with a couple hours to kill we find a new high school movie to watch. Most of the time these are absolutely terrible movies. To be honest, I’m not sure we have watched any good movies together, save for the ones I’ve dragged him to (but to be fair, the bad ones are usually better). We have seen all the Resident Evil movies together, each exponentially worse and more confusing than the last. Yet they keep making them and we keep looking forward to them. Last summer I saw Sixteen Candles for the first time and She’s the Man for the first and last time, both with him. A couple weeks ago he came to visit and while everyone else was in bed, we found a movie called Drive Me Crazy, buried deep within Netflix.
I was delighted. It stars Melissa Joan Hart who I had grown to love during adolescence as the star of Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains it All. I guess she did Sabrina the Teenage Witch too. Either way, this movie shows us in glaring clarity why she could never break into the big screen scene. She’s not bad; she’s just not terribly charismatic. ANYWAYS. The most surprising part about this movie turned out to be the fact that it was written by Rob Thomas, best known for Veronica Mars and iZombie. Both my friend and I are huge fans so suddenly this got a lot more interesting.
The plot is way less interesting than the writer. Classic story: popular girl and “bad boy” make an agreement to couple up, each for their own particular end. Naturally, their selfish reasons for fake dating all fall away when they let their prejudices go and see each other for who they really are. I won’t say this was a good movie. But it was deeply enjoyable. There’s something comforting about high school dramas. It’s why The Breakfast Club and the other Brat Pack movies were so fantastic. I’m not sure these 90s versions have the same je ne sais quoi but that will never stop me from watching every last one of them.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Good design knows no size. If this statement is indeed true, then a small bedroom can be a well-designed bedroom. But how small is too small? Unbelievably, if a room is well thought out, size isn’t an issue. Let’s take a look at some tiny albeit creative spaces used for sleep.
This teeny New York bedroom manages to have the necessities as well as a dose of panache. The chandelier and window shade add style to the simple, understated space.
This London bedroom goes industrial and sneaks in two tiny nightstands alongside the full-size bed. What more does a bedroom need?
A rustic New Orleans guest bedroom boasts two Dutch beds tucked into the walls. A single window allows just enough light into the space.
With old and new elements, this straightforward bedroom contains enough space for a single bed, lounge chair, and of course, a house kitty.
A movie lover’s dream, this compact Scandanavian bedroom offers plenty of CD storage as well as a little bed.
Talk about an efficient design! A teen bedroom fits a work station as well as a spot for a guest to sleep in a trundle bed.
A Scotland treehouse bedroom is beautifully designed with its comfy storage bed, side table and chairs, and even a small seating area.