Laurel Canyon

Mandy and I went to the Lumiere on California Street to see the movie Laurel Canyon today. This was our first time at the theatre, and even thought the carpet was a little worn and the screen a little small, I must show appreciation to the smaller venues that are still interested in playing independent movies. The Landmark chain in San Francisco is excellent in this regard.

Laurel Canyon, the place not the movie, is a beautiful area flirting with the reality of Los Angeles. Inhabited in different decades by different groups of people with one thing in common, the desire to not be weighed down by the concerns of the standard la fare. Having driven around the canyon, it doesn’t have the separation I envision it once had in the 60’s and 70’s, but you can’t help but feel the gentle nudge away from the city’s vibe by the geography.

The young girlfriend/PhD student Alex, played by Kate Beckinsale, probably faces the most important moral questions in the movie and these center around the decisions of the paths we choose to take in life. Teetering at the brink of finishing her dissertation on the genomics of fruit fly reproduction (fascinating, really), she is submersed in an environment that makes her question the strict and orderly progression of her life. She is the type of person who has had it all figured out, only to find that everything can and will be turned right upside down without any warning. And it does. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – as the saying goes.

Alex’s boyfriend’s mother is a frustrated, crispy record producer trying to finish the challenge that is recording an album. Frances McDormand really takes the part and owns it. As much as she was the protective, provident mother in Almost Famous, she is now indulgent and relaxed and shows you the other side of parenting. Between the mother and the band, Alex is introduced to options she has probably only heard rumors about and, in the most childlike curiosity, jumps in head first and holds her breath most of the movie, trying to satiate and justify her choices to this point.

And if there is anything to take away from the movie, I believe it to be this: that life is to be lived and enjoyed and partaken of but there is not one correct interpretation of “the life” to be led. Enjoy the differences, celebrate the people who show up in your life, and focus on how you can add value to everyone’s life, including your own.

Maybe I didn’t get all of that from the movie, but I think it’s fairly decent advice all the same.

CS 101

For those who care or might understand, I wrote my first shell script and set the crontab to execute it by using vi! What’s that mean? Well, for starters, no one is going to hire me just yet for my programming skills, but it does allow me to personalize my servers and set them up to do my bidding (insert evil laugh here).

Mmm….lamb and goat cheese

droool…So I went to 5 different stores Saturday assembling the list of groceries for the Sunday feast. I suppose I was just being picky about my ingredients and had some time before Mandy got off work. That and I couldn’t find fiddlehead ferns. Apparently those greedy east coast cooks have kept them all for themselves this season.

Anyways, I was watching FoodTV last week, thinking about what to cook when I saw a lamb chop presentation on Emeril. Come to find out my dad was watching the same show, had the same idea and we cooked a very similar dinner while 1800 miles apart. Eerie.

The lamb was seasoned with Tony’s (one of the best seasonings in the world) and then seared and cooled. Goat cheese and garlic was stuffed in the center of each chop, then it was smeared with dijon mustard and coated in bread crumbs and olive oil and baked for 15 minutes. Along with the provencial garlic mashed potatoes, asapargus and baked tomatoes topped with bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and olive oil, the entire meal turned out to be incredibly delicious.

And then there was dessert. Mandy baked a fantastic lemon cake with lemon icing and coconut shavings on top. We ate at 2pm and I didn’t get hungry for almost 24 hours. Not an everyday meal, but well worth the preparation time.


Really? In this day and age they are still stoning individuals for witchcraft? Far be it from me to take away from anyone’s belief system especially in a part of the world that seems, so far, “uncorrupted” by civilization. Who knows, if I had found a bottle dressed up like me in his cave I might be wondering about that cold I started to come down with last week. Then again, maybe I would just let things be and wait for Zeus to sick one of the other gods on good ol’ Domingo. That would show him.

Geography 101

As the war wages on and there is at least some general consensus that we want the middle east to be better off (debate what that means later) when the conflicts and politics are finished, I feel it beneficial to take the time and dig back in the brain, to that high school textbook with a world map in it, and place the countries that we are involved with at the moment into a geographical context.