Yearly Archives: 2016
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
In 19th-century London, there are two magicians. Not sleight of hand magicians, pulling rabbits out of hats and such, but real magicians, manipulating the elements and perception. One goes by the name of Prospero the Enchanter. The other, simply Mr. A.H.- These two play a terrible kind of game of ego, finding children of magical promise, training them, and pitting them against each other in an awful competition to see who can raise the greatest magician. Prospero has already chosen a competitor: his young daughter, Celia. In response, A.H.- finds a child at the orphanage. He doesn’t bother to name the boy, but years later the boy takes the name Marco.
After years of arduous and often cruel magical training, the competition is to begin. The venue? A brand new circus is created, a magical circus that tours the world, and opens only at night. The Cirque des Rêves (Circus of Dreams) is appropriately dark, mysterious, and mystifying. Marco manages the circus from afar, quietly adding new tents showing of his magical mastery. Celia has her own show as the Illusionist. Although Marco immediately realizes that Celia is his competitor, she has no idea who she is playing against, though the recognizes his magical work.
There are a few parallel stories also being told: the German clockmaker who created the incredible (but somehow not magical) clock that sits at the entrance to the circus; the young boy in Massachusetts who sneaks in during the day on a dare; and the redheaded twins of remarkable power, Widget and Poppet, that the boy meets when he sneaks in. All the narratives weave together into a compelling tapestry.
The Night Circus is an enchanting, mysterious and at times amusing story, full of twisty paths and dead ends, much like the circus itself. If you are looking for a story to captivate you and to fill your dreams, what better place to turn than the Cirque des Rêves?
Post by Mark T. Locker.
This past weekend, my home town of Portland, Oregon threw its annual Rose City Comic Con, a fabulous convention for lovers of pop culture, comics, movies and art. Thousands come dressed in amazing and creative costumes, and many more come to peruse the booths of artists and vendors. This year we came out with a lithograph and some little decals both inspired by the fabulous anime movie, Spirited Away.
This is one of my favorite films by the remarkable animator Hayao Miyazaki, who is also known for Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro. All of his movies are worth watching; each one is carefully hand-drawn frame by frame, with an attention to detail that is rarely seen in animated movies these day. But of all of them, Spirited Away is one of the very best.
Inspired by and made for a couple small children he knew, the movie tells the tale of a young girl, Chihiro, whose move to a new town and away from her friends takes an unexpected detour after a wrong turn. Her parents, intrigued by a tunnel that leads to a strange and abandoned town, are lured in by amazing food that magically appears. Chihiro leaves them to explore and discovers an incredible bathhouse, but too late she discovers she shouldn’t be there. This is a bathhouse for the gods, run by an unpleasant with named Yubaba. But night has fallen and she is trapped. Her parents, having eaten food meant for the gods, are turned into pigs and Chihiro must figure out how to save them, and herself.
Filled with many amazing and strange characters, from the many-armed furnace operator and his army of animated soot creatures, to the mysterious and eerie No Face, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from this incredible movie. So snuggle up with your No Face stuffed animal, turn down the lights and enjoy this truly unique movie.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
What does the term “preppy” mean to you? According to the Collins Dictionary, the word means this: “characteristic of or denoting a fashion style of neat, understated, and often expensive clothes; young but classic, suggesting that the wearer is well off, upper class, and conservative….”
Is that how you would define preppy? When I think of preppy, I think of a button-down shirt with khaki pants, and a room that’s tailored with monograms and starched sheets.
When we talk about preppy-style interiors, we tend to imagine crisp plaid or check fabrics and traditional furnishings and colors. But “preppy” isn’t necessarily boring or humdrum, and doesn’t fit a certain stereotype. And it doesn’t need to be completely conservative, either.
Let’s take a look at bedrooms that do preppy well and celebrate the style.
Located in the Yorkville neighborhood in Manhattan, this bedroom begins with a gray plaid carpet and flame-stitch wall covering, but the abstract artwork and less conventional bedside lighting give the room an edge.
Pink and green have long been considered preppy colors. This pretty bedroom has a preppy feel but also feels undoubtedly feminine.
This sweet and stylish room by decorator Anthony Baratta is all about the details. The architecture and some of the elements are traditional, but the room itself has a more modern aesthetic.
Interior Designer Katie Rosenfeld tries a different approach to a preppy bedroom and does it with great finesse. Bold orange and bright green work well, and the modern LOVE art contributes to the room’s whimsical décor. Notice the zebra rug, which doesn’t match or coordinate with anything else in this photo.
What are your thoughts on preppy rooms after looking at these photos? Preppy can be stylish, after all.
Post by Jessica Schoenenberger.
While it might not be monsters under your bed, listening to squeaks and creaks can be annoying. Here’s a simple review of what might be causing you to loose a quiet’s night sleep:
Levelize Your Playing Field
Check to see if you floor is level. If you don’t have a level playing field your bed will go out of square. It means the corners are no longer at 90 degree angles. That could also happen if two feet or wheels are on the rug and two are on the wood floor, making the bed higher in some areas than others. When your bed is out of square, parts of it will rub against other parts, causing noise. If your bed uses a foundation/box spring it too will go out of square, following the misshape of your floor. If this is what’s happening in your room, you want to catch the problem early to avoid damage to the mattress and foundation, as well as the furniture.
An easy way to find out if your bed is in square is to measure the diagonals like a big X. When each length of the X is the same then you bed is in square. If your bed has become a trapezoid, loosen the hardware and adjust the rails until those diagonals measure the same lengths, then tighten your hardware. No need to strip threads, tighten just enough.
If your bed is in square but you floor is not level, either use shims to have all four corners the same height or adjust the levelers on your feet to compensate.
To determine if the noise you hear is the coming from the furniture or the foundation, take the mattress & foundation off the bed and place it on the floor. Bounce around and see if you still hear the noise when the set of bedding is on the floor. If your foundation has warped, you will need to replace it. Besides the noise it may be negatively impacting on the support your mattress, hence the support you get.
A clunking noise, when you sit on top of your mattress, could be a center support leg issue. All Queen, King and Cal Kings beds must have additional center support rail with leg(s) to the floor for proper long range care. Take a look underneath the bed at your center support legs. They should just be skimming off the floor. When you and/or your partner are on top of the bed, that’s when they touch down. Now that you have chased the monsters away, use the space under your bed for storage.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Rest in peace, Gene Wilder. There seem to be two camps of people: those who mostly remember this hilarious, frizzy-haired goofball as Willy Wonka in the 1971 production; his face in one of the final scenes has been plaster across millions of political memes throughout the last few years; and those who remember him as Frederick Frankenstein, grandson to the mad genius who created the Creature, known as Frankenstein’s monster. He was of course in many other great movies: Blazing Saddles; Stir Crazy; The Producers. But the two movies coming back to the big screen this fall are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein.
I come from a Young Frankenstein family. It’s both hilarious and beautiful at the same time. It’s got dark mystery mixed with the zany antics you would expect from a Mel Brooks film. Marty Feldman’s Igor is so bizarre and funny that it’s hard to know how anyone manages to keep a straight face. If you haven’t seen the movie, the basic run-down is that the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein., Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, is a great surgeon and teacher who wants nothing to do with his grandfather’s work. But when he inherits his grandfather’s estate, he must take the trip to see it for himself. Try as he might, he cannot resist the allure of playing God.
Using the set from the original 1931 Frankenstein movie, the eerie old-fashioned feeling is contrasted with the amazing cast of Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Madeleine Kahn, Teri Garr and Peter Boyle. There are a number of raunchy jokes (this is a Mel Brooks movie, after all) so bear that in mind for family viewing.
Autumn is coming; what better way to celebrate fall and honor Gene Wilder than with curling up under blankets and watching this classic.