Movies in Bed: Stranger Things

strangerPost by Mark T. Locker.

I’m not a film major; I’ve never been good at “reading” films and analyzing things like framing of shots, lighting, things like that. There’s been a whole lot of talk about this new Netflix series and all the ways it is paying tribute to the classic adventure movies of the 1980s. I haven’t read those yet because I’m horribly afraid of spoilers. But you can feel the nods to such classics as The Goonies and Close Encounters while you watch. As the kids ride frantically through the night on their bikes, you half expect them to start flying à la ET.

This is an amazing series and arguably one of the best shows on television right now. The year is 1982 and four boys are playing Dungeons & Dragons in a kid’s garage in Hawkins, Indiana. One of the young boys, Will, leaves for home but never makes it. While searching for their friend in the dark woods, the three remaining boys come across a strange young girl. Maybe it’s a coincidence that she has appeared right when Will disappeared. Maybe it’s not. Meanwhile, Will’s mother (Winona Ryder; another great nod to the 80’s) is convinced she is getting messages from Will, wherever he is. Naturally, most think she’s lost her mind. But has she?

Meanwhile, a secret government facility seems to have lost control of a hugely dangerous project. These things never turn out well.

The cast of this show is amazing. The three kids on a quest to find their friend are perfect. Awkward and bullied but undeterred thanks to the powerful friendship. Winona Ryder as a mother on the verge of mania trying to figure out what’s happened to her son. And Millie Bobbie Brown, who plays the mostly silent mysterious girl known as Eleven, is incredible.

If you haven’t already binge-watched all 8 episodes, tonight is as good a time as any to start. Anyone who loves monsters, mystery, innovative kids, or adolescent drama should be watching this.

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Bedroom Design: 4 High-Tech Gadgets for Your Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Marsh-side Retreat

Photo by Wayne Windham Architect, P.A.

Even if you’re not techy, some of the gadgets today might appeal to you. Gadgets are invented to make our lives easier, and we can all use a little help with the way in which live (and sleep), so I say, why not? And some are just plain fun to use too. Here are four high-tech gadgets you might want to purchase for your bedroom.

Programmable thermostat
When the weather’s cold, especially, this gadget really comes in handy. Most people like to sleep in a cooler temperature, like 60 or 65 degrees, but then they want a warmer room when they’re ready to get out of bed in the morning. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature on a timer and your heating and air conditioning will come on at the specified time. Hence, no more waking up in a chilly bedroom.

Lutron dimmers
Dimmers will spoil you, especially if they’re Lutron. Not only are these light control gadgets energy savers, but they allow you to get the right amount of light you need at all times. Hate snoozing in a pitch black room and need just a touch of light when you sleep? A dimmer can accommodate.

Automatic aromatherapy diffuser
Aromatherapy has been proven to remedy stress, and by adding essential oils to an automatic diffuser, not only will your bedroom smell wonderful, but you’ll feel calmer and might sleep more soundly through the night. Some diffusers also work as humidifiers and air purifiers. Most models come with automatic shut-off.

A sleep tracker/monitor
If you’re having a tough time sleeping, a sleep tracker can provide insight as to the quality of your sleep and might even help you improve it. Sleep monitors can tell you how many hours you’ve slept, how long you were restless and which stages of sleep you’ve slept in on a given night, keep track of your heart rate, and more.

Knightsbridge Mews House

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Movies in Bed: Legend

legend-1985Post by Mark T. Locker.

Do you like unicorns? Forces of darkness? Tom Cruise? How do feel about completely confusing plotlines? If you said “yes” to two or more of those questions, then Legend is the movie for you

Legend is a classic 1980s fantasy movie starring a young Tom Cruise. He plays Jack, a young man—possibly a wild child? He definitely hangs with faeries and dwarves—who is in love with a woman named Lili (Mia Sara, better known as Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend). But when he takes her to see the amazing magical unicorns, he’s made a big mistake. For Lili touches one of the beasts and then these goblins come and hack off the unicorn’s horn to bring to their master, Darkness (Tim Curry with a LOT of prosthetics and paint) who will use the power of the horn to lord over the world.

So, Jack gets together with his dwarf and faerie friends to go recover the horn and restore order.

If you grew up in the 80s and watched this movie, maybe it made a lot of sense to you. I was constantly confused by what was going on. That said, it’s an enormously entertaining movie, partly due to its incredible badness, also due to its liberal use of glitter and the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. Bear in mind that Ridley Scott made this film and he also cut 52 minutes from the film which may explain some of the confusing transitions.

If you have a kid who likes fantasy, or if you haven’t watched this movie since you were a kid, pick up a copy and watch it.  Perfect bedtime watching material!

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Bedroom Design: 5 Stylish Greenwich Village Bedrooms

Post by Tracy Kaler.

New York City’s Greenwich Village, also called “The Village” by locals, has long been known as a vibrant, funky neighborhood where artists live, work, and play. It’s no surprise that some of the city’s most creative interiors come from apartments and townhouses in the area. If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a Village home looks like, now’s your chance to take a peek. Let’s get inspired by these five stylish Greenwich Village Bedrooms.

This somewhat industrial guestroom in an 1840s Greek Revival townhouse keeps the décor simple but adds a touch of funk in the accessories. The ceiling fan is especially interesting.

Greenwich Village Townhouse Guest Bedroom

Compact yet complete, this Village bedroom boasts masculine colors. The bed against the window would normally be taboo, but with the layout of the space, it’s probably the only option. The windows hit above the top of the bed, so the design works well.

Greenwich Village

A Greenwich Village loft celebrates exposed brick. Sheers allow light to filter through tall windows, and built-ins keep the room clutter-free and save space. Notice the tiny bedside lamps.

Greenwich Village Loft

This cozy guest room uses a small bed and keeps extra throw pillows on hand. A shag area rug, large armoire, and floor-length draperies finish off the space nicely. Since there’s not enough room for bedside tables, a shelf above the bed can hold necessities

Eclectic in Greenwich Village

This bedroom is the work of legendary designer David Easton. Colors are soothing, and the lighting is warm. The paneled bed wall makes for a soft backdrop, setting the stage for the straightforward yet elegant furnishings.

Greenwich Village Apartment

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Bedtime Stories: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

nessPost by Mark T. Locker.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

So many young adult books these days are about reluctant heroes, boys and girls finding themselves battling monsters and unspeakable evil. This book is not about those people. This is about the kids in the background. The “normal” kids. It’s a really interesting twist on this classic trope of YA fiction.

Something weird is happening in this small nameless town somewhere in western Washington. Kids are going missing, strange blue light is bursting into the sky. But this isn’t what Mikey is worried about. He’s a teenager gearing up for the end of his school year. He’s in love with his best friend. His sister has an eating disorder. He has OCD. They really don’t have time for monsters, inter-dimensional portals, or any of that stuff. That stuff is for the Chosen Ones; known in this book as the indie kids. They have names like Satchel and Finn. All we know about the fight against otherworldly evil is explained in the titles of the chapters. For once they are the background characters.

I love this unusual twist on YA fantasy fiction. I’ve read many books about chosen kids, balancing school and relationships with a fight against evil. What about the other kids? The ones who just want to get through finals, go to prom, find love? The Rest of Us Just Live tells their story. And it’s a really good story. It’s all about the angst of absentee parents, of leaving high school and the friends who have kept you going. It’s about love and jealousy and family. The mysterious blue light infecting the people and animals of town certainly doesn’t help. But Finn and Satchel and Finn and Finn will take care of that. Mikey and his friends are too busy cramming for final.

A fun and thoughtful book for teens who enjoy the monsters and zombies but want a little more.

 

 

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