Yearly Archives: 2015
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Lexicon by Max Barry
If you’re into non-stop action and sci-fi-y stories, but also appreciate a well-written novel, you ought to check out Lexicon by Max Barry. Two stories, set at two different points in time, dance around each other before slowly converging.
One plot line is about an Australian carpenter named Wil Park who has found himself caught up in some very unbelievable circumstances. A bunch of people are after him and he doesn’t know who they are or what they want. The ones who are trying to protect him seem as unpleasant as those trying to intercept him. A woman, barely alive, utters a series of strange words and instructs one of the men to kill himself. And he does. That’s when Wil realizes something serious is happening. And it all points back to a secret locked inside Wil’s brain.
Emily is a clever street kid in San Francisco. Her knack for persuasion has caught the interest of an unusual organization. After proving herself worthy, if just barely, she is taken to an academy to learn a secret science of persuasion. She learns there are certain words that drop peoples’ defenses and open them up to obeying the commands of others. Those who have mastered this skill are called Poets (because of their mastery of language) and take on a poet’s name.
While this method of storytelling can fall flat (I always get irritated when I have to shift gears like that) Barry pulls it off with ease. It’s a difficult story to summarize but a fun and interesting book to read. It’s interesting, constantly moving, and totally unique.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a sequel to a movie that was adapted from a picture book that I used to love as a child. There were a whole lot of reasons I anticipated a terrible movie; for one, it was so many degrees removed from that beloved childhood book that the spirit of the original would surely be lost. I was right about that, but was wrong about what that would do to the movie. I actually enjoyed it, and perhaps that was partly because it was so far removed from the original that it was its own story altogether.
In the land of Swallow Falls, an inventor by the name of Flint Lockwood developed a device which made food rain down from the sky. Something must have gone wrong, because everyone fled. I think the food became enormous. That’s why they left in the book, at least. This is where the sequel picks up. Flint is contacted by a celebrated inventor named Chester V, who tells him that the giant food has become sentient! Flint and his crew head back to Swallow Falls to investigate.
The living food creatures vary from cute to vicious but not at all scary. (My son’s favorite is Tacodile…SUPREME!) Flint and his team discover that these creatures are not monsters at all. But as soon as they decide not to “clean up” the town, the inventor Chester V reveals his true nature; he is no kind inventor. He steals other peoples’ ideas and makes them his own. He will do whatever it takes to get his way. Including murder. Will he get away with this? How could he possibly?
This animated movie is silly, exciting, and geared perfectly towards young children. Adults will get a chuckle or two from the silly puns. Watch it in bed and it’s totally okay if you doze off a bit. 🙂
Post by Tracy Kaler.
I adore all things French –– from the food and wine to the language, to furnishings and interiors, there’s a certain je ne sais quois that only comes from those things that originate in France.
That being said, I’ve always dreamed of having a Paris apartment or a country house in Provence. If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate these four fab bedrooms that feel undeniably French.
An Aubusson rug, Bergere, and the damask textiles give this room a formal French Country look. The puddled bed skirts, decorative screen, and silk bed fabrics make the space ooze romance.
This designer could have shopped the Paris flea markets all day to come up with a very spontaneous, ‘undesigned’ yet chic space. The bed is a reupholstered French antique, and the apple-picking ladders more than likely hail from the countryside in France.
This bedroom for prima ballerina Ana Botafogo boasts a very regal feel. Located in Brazil, the space contains a host of French-inspired elements. The mix of pattern and texture, damask wall covering, formal bed, and French furnishings bring the large room to life.
This stunning French bedroom offers an up-to-date, refreshing take with its grey and white color scheme. Classic French details mingle with some modern touches. Take, for instance, the straight-lined bed with wide bolsters in front of the upholstered wall. A marble floor and crystal chandelier complete this fabulous, formal bedroom
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes, when I’m looking for inspiration, I turn to my mother’s collection of old cookbooks. There is something meditative about leafing through a pile of worn and tattered recipe collections that provides a lot more satisfaction than a Google search. Maybe because I’m not sure of what I’m looking for. 🙂
One of my favorite of these little books is The Art of Irish Cooking by Monica Sheridan. Peppered with quotes, tips and sayings, the writing is as engaging as the recipes. Irish food is often underappreciated, but I admire its creative adaptations of local, fresh ingredients.
Almost stark in its simplicity, the Wicklow Pancake is a crisp and savory carrier for a medley of fresh green herbs. More omelet or frittata than pancake, and sometimes called an Irish Omelet, this dish is alleged to be a specialty of County Wicklow (just south of Dublin) which first appeared around the turn of the 20th century. Use day old bread to make your own fresh breadcrumbs for authenticity and a more pancake-like texture. Be sure to use a generous hand when seasoning, and place a large pat of butter on top of the pancake before serving. It can be a little tricky to flip this thick concoction. Go easy on yourself if you’re having trouble, and turn the half-cooked pancake into a second heated and buttered pan. Then slice it up into quarters (farls in Irish) and strew with some additional fresh thyme leaves for a savory breakfast in bed that I hope you find inspiring.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 cup plain, fresh breadcrumbs (use day old bread to make your own)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional herbs for garnish (optional)
Melt half the butter in a heavy 6-inch pan over medium low heat.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the milk, breadcrumbs, parsley, chives and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
When the butter is hot, pour the egg / breadcrumb mixture into the pan, evening out to cover the bottom. Continue to cook over medium low to low heat until eggs begin to set and bottom is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip the pancake and cook on the other side until firm and browned, another 5 or 6 minutes. Cut in quarters and top each with a dab of remaining butter. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, if you like.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe adapted from The Art of Irish Cooking by Monica Sheridan
Post by guest contributor Rebecca Louise Miller.
Every project starts with an image. In the case of One Day Home, which was actually based on a personal experience, I had a very clear concept of our location- the mattress floor of a vast department store. In my head, the setting was supposed to be a serene, almost sterile container for a very messy human interaction: two people falling in lust.
But the night I walked into Charles P. Rogers for the first time, that vision shifted drastically. The serenity is there, for sure; the space is elegant and carefully considered, but there’s also an immediate sense of warmth, almost an embrace. It starts before you even get inside- the store pulls you in off 17th Street with an inviting glow, and once inside, you find yourself wanting to linger.
When I walked among all those lovingly built beds and mattresses, it struck me that this store could be more than just a setting to our film; it could actually be a character. Rather than the blank canvas I’d imagined, this beautiful space would actually put our protagonists at ease- it has that incredibly rare brand of prewar New York elegance that manages to feel totally accessible. You feel like you’re visiting the loft of a good friend with impeccable taste.
Best of all: instead of plain white mattresses floating in space, the selling floor is full of beds of different styles. Think about the emotional impact of a tufted linen headboard versus an iron sleigh bed- visually, they suggest two completely different lifestyles. Our characters would be trying out more than just beds in this store: they’d be testing out new lives for a few minutes at a time.
Obviously, I was excited about Charles P. Rogers as a potential location. When I reached Linda Allen, the owner, by phone and explained the premise of the film- fresh on the heels of the breakup of her marriage, a woman searches for the first mattress of her new life and finds much more than she’s shopping for- her reaction was swift. Linda was immediately excited to help us tell this story, which she has seen unfold on her selling floor over and over again.
The store sees a lot of customers reeling from major breakups- just a reality of this particular business. When couples split, chances are that one or both will need a new bed- understandably, it can be a very fraught purchase. Not only is it a significant investment, but it marks a real emotional turning point. It’s a duty that the entire Charles P. Rogers team takes very seriously: helping people start fresh at the moments they need it most. By giving customers an experience that’s calm, respectful and un-pressured, sales professionals here turn a potentially traumatic event into an empowering, hopeful one. On a very literal level, they are helping people find comfort in their time of need. It’s no small thing, and their passion for guiding people to their perfect match is palpable. More than anything (even more than the beautiful space), that passion is what made Charles P. Rogers the perfect partners for One Day Home.
When our three night shoot rolled around, our director, cinematographer and design team were totally enamored with the Manhattan showroom. Every time a new member of the cast and crew came in, they commented on the evocative look of the space. But the clincher, of course, was the beds themselves.
The mattresses, lovingly crafted by hand in NJ, are incredibly comfortable. Many of us made it a mission to try them all, an activity that after 4am became a sort of narcoleptic roulette. Part of me worried that Linda and her team would come in on Sunday morning to find our entire team sprawled across the store, fast asleep on our chosen favorites, like bewitched villagers in a fairy tale.
Since that shoot I’ve joked that every screenplay I write will now be set at Charles P. Rogers. It might be somewhat limiting in terms of plot, but the deliciousness of the location would be worth it. I can say for sure that I’ll never shop for a bed or mattress anywhere else. There’s a PowerCore out there with my name on it.