0307 Chili, Two Ways

I’m a big fan of having people over to watch the Oscars.  I’m also a big fan of meals that can be made in large quantities (and vegetarian!) without too much difficulty.  Chili is one of those meals for me, which is why I’m a big fan of the Oscars and chili combination.

For the last few years, I’ve rarely strayed from what I like to call The Best Damned Chili I’ve Ever Made.  It’s good stuff – really good stuff – but I wanted to try something new.  So, for the meat eaters, Jamie Oliver’s chili con carne.  Niman Ranch ground beef sauteed with a puree of onions and garlic, then simmered for an hour or two with tomato, kidney beans, and a cinnamon stick, among other things.  It smelled amazing and tasted even moreso.  For the non-meats, I adapted a recipe from Hooked on Heat, long ago scribbled down in my black book.  I couldn’t find veggie crumbles at the store, so I used some veggie meatballs sauteed and smushed up with the onion, tomatoes, beans, and garlic.  The flavor wasn’t a knock-out, but it was hearty and delicious.

Everyone has their favorite chili toppings/bottomings – there are “traditional” chilies up to five ways (chili plus spaghetti, shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans).  Our friends brought delicious cornbread, cheese, and a killer punch – oh, and an array of desserts IN ADDITION TO our ice creams.  I’m disappointed that we didn’t have more leftovers, as I could’ve happily eaten all of this all week long.

Chili Con Carne from Happy Days with the Naked Chef
Chicken Chili with Black Beans from Hooked on Heat (except made vegetarian)

Best Pictures

From Keem and Kasia, here is the list of Best Pictures that I’ve seen:

1927/28: Wings
1928/29: The Broadway Melody
1929/30: All Quiet on the Western Front
1930/3: Cimarron
1931/32: Grand Hotel
1932/33: Cavalcade
1934: It Happened One Night
1936: The Great Ziegfeld
1937: The Life of Emile Zola
1938: You Can’t Take It with You
1939: Gone with the Wind
1940: Rebecca
1941: How Green Was My Valley
1942: Mrs. Miniver
1943: Casablanca
1944: Going My Way
1945: The Lost Weekend
1946: The Best Years of Our Lives
1947: Gentleman’s Agreement
1948: Hamlet
1949: All the King’s Men
1950: All about Eve
1951: An American in Paris
1952: The Greatest Show on Earth
1953: From Here to Eternity
1954: On the Waterfront
1955: Marty
1956: Around the World in 80 Days
1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai
1958: Gigi
1959: Ben-Hur
1960: The Apartment
1961: West Side Story
1962: Lawrence of Arabia
1963: Tom Jones
1964: My Fair Lady
1965: The Sound of Music
1966: A Man for All Seasons
1967: In the Heat of the Night
1968: Oliver!
1969: Midnight Cowboy
1970: Patton
1971: The French Connection
1972: The Godfather
1973: The Sting
1974: The Godfather Part II
1975: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1976: Rocky
1977: Annie Hall
1978: The Deer Hunter
1979: Kramer vs. Kramer
1980: Ordinary People
1981: Chariots of Fire
1982: Gandhi
1983: Terms of Endearment
1984: Amadeus
1985: Out of Africa
1986: Platoon
1987: The Last Emperor
1988: Rain Man
1989: Driving Miss Daisy
1990: Dances With Wolves
1991: The Silence of the Lambs
1992: Unforgiven
1993: Schindler’s List
1994: Forrest Gump
1995: Braveheart
1996: The English Patient
1997: Titanic
1998: Shakespeare in Love
1999: American Beauty
2000: Gladiator
2001: A Beautiful Mind
2002: Chicago
2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2005: Crash
2006: The Departed
2007: No Country for Old Men

Somewhat embarassing, I have to say. If I didn’t already have 458 movies in my Netflix queue, I’d be running over there to add a bunch of these. Speaking of which, did you know that Netflix tops out at 485 movies? I discovered that on Sunday.

2008 Oscar picks

Yesterday Shane and I went to a Oscar film extravaganza – all five Best Pictures in a row – and even though we skipped out early, we managed to see all five nominated films BEFORE the Oscars. Pretty exciting, right? Anyway, since I won’t get to spend Oscar night with a crew of friends, here are my picks based solely on my opinion and no other research except discussing with Keem and Shane and consulting previous emails from Jimi. Get your Oscar ballot here, and check back as the evening progresses, as I’ll do my best to update with the winners and my comments.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
comments: I loved George Clooney in Michael Clayton, but I think DDL has this sewn up. Bottoms up for everyone if he (or anyone else) says “Bastard in a basket”.
winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, who gave a very nice speech, despite his questionable earrings.
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
comments: If Tommy Lee Jones were nominated for No Country, I would’ve voted for him. I also heart Tom Wilkinson, but Javier Bardem was kind of like the ultimate movie bad guy.
winner: JAVIER BARDEM. I can’t believe he didn’t win anything for The Sea Inside, though.
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
comments: I’ve heard the field is really strong, but I’ll be upset if Marion Cotillard doesn’t win. She was incredible in La Vie En Rose.
winner: Marion Cotillard, YAY. YAYAYAYAY.
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
comments: I’ve heard good things about Amy Ryan, and I like her in The Wire.
winner: Tilda Swinton, who I really like, but I don’t entirely know why she won.
Animated Feature: Ratatouille
comments: I would LOVE for Persepolis to win, but I have more faith in Pixar, and besides, Ratatouille was so good.
winner:Ratatouille, yay! Brad Bird is cute.
Art Direction: Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
comments: Really no idea on this one.
winner: Sweeney Todd
Cinematography: There Will Be Blood
comments: Jimi, don’t let me down here.
winner: There Will Be Blood, incredible.
Costume Design: Atonement
comments: It’s too easy to pick the costume drama, and I thought Atonement was exquisitely costumed.
winner: Elizabeth
Directing: Juno
comments: Really no idea on this one either, but I suspect they’ll reward Jason Reitman. If not, it’ll probably go to the Coens for No Country.
winner: the Coens! They’re funny and small.
Documentary Feature: pass
winner: Taxi to the Dark Side
Documentary Short: pass
winner: Freeheld. This whole announcing from Iraq business is weird.
Film Editing: There Will Be Blood
comments: Can someone tell me what makes good film editing? I can probably tell you what makes bad film editing, but I can’t say anything authoritative on the opposite.
winner: Bourne Ultimatum. Which Shane thought was terrible. Terrible editing, that is. This is live blogging. We’re going for recall, not precision.
Foreign Language Film: pass
winner The Counterfeiters (Austria)
Makeup: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
comments: I would love to see La Vie En Rose win, but Pirates was damned impressive as always.
winner: La Vie En Rose, omg!
Original Score: Atonement
comments: SB and I both really enjoyed the way music and sound was used in Atonement, although Keem would have appreciated the occasional carriage return.
winner: Atonement. Fantastic.
Original Song: “Falling Slowly” – Once
comments: I ❤ Glen Hansard.
winner:”Falling Slowly”. OMG OMG OMG OMG. Did you know that she’s NINETEEN?
Best Picture: Michael Clayton
comments: Of the five, I think this was the strongest film, though each of the others have stand-out elements. It could probably go any way, but I’ll be disappointed if Juno wins, even though I loved the movie.
winner: No Country for Old Men! God job, Coens!
Short Film – Animated: pass
winner: Peter & the Wolf
Short Film – Live Action: pass
winner: Le Mozart des pickpockets
Sound Editing: There Will Be Blood
comments: Stab in the dark here.
winner: Bourne Ultimatum. Shane’s vote: Ummm….Bourne? Shane wins.
Sound Mixing: No Country For Old Men
comments: Oooh, mixing!
winner: Bourne Ultimatum.
Visual Effects: Transformers
comments: This could also go any way. I thought I’d vote for Transformers, though, cos who doesn’t like giant cars?
winner: The Golden Compass. Animated polar bears. What’s not to like?
Adapted Screenplay: No Country For Old Men
comments: I may be a Cormac McCarthy hater, but I’m voting for No Country anyway. Bottoms up if Cormac McCarthy is actually at the ceremony.
winner: No Country for Old Men. Was that Cormac McCarthy? YES, yes it was. Bottoms up!
Original Screenplay: Juno
comments: If Juno wins, it will be well-deserved, and not just the “let’s give the quirky comedy something” type of win.
winner: Diablo Cody for Juno, also winning the award for the most embarrassing outfit and tattoo on the stage

A third post about me from someone I don’t know offline in a week. That’s hella random. Ada wrote about privacy, about discretion while blogging. Philip wrote about his divorce after reading about mine. And Shawn’s friend Jen wrote about my relationship with him, and how she perceives it based on what we’ve written in our blogs. I don’t really know what to say. The internet is such a weird and sometimes-wonderful place. Some of the things that were said make me ache – and others, I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Tonight, though, I felt very much like a little girl in love (or not-so-little). The party was a lot of fun – many many people I didn’t know, and a few I did. Kevin was leaving as we arrived, so I got to officially meet him for half a second. I came in nearly last in the Oscar pool (damned going with my heart), got a little choked up during Eugene Levy & Catharine O’Hara’s performance, and remembered (again and again) why I only have eyes for Shawn. He held my hand as we walked home in the rain, and my heart was caught up in another walk, another rain, another time lost in conversation and silence, in the pressure of one hand against another. Will it always be this vivid?

Finally finished Susan Minot’s Evening, which I’ve been meaning to get around to since I picked it up in proofs in 1999. There were parts that were ehh, especially at the beginning, which put me off because I had so looked forward to this book. But some parts just got under my skin in the same way Galatea 2.2 did this summer. I may have to post an excerpt at some point.

But now it’s after midnight and I have to work in eight hours – but I’m not tired. I suppose I should make an attempt at sleep – somehow insomnia’s not as much fun without a late night enabler on the phone or lying next to you.

Finding My Place

A quiet weekend after so much uproar. Friday night was tender and quiet – lots of tears and holding and just surviving. Saturday was spent with friends – lunch, then working all afternoon, then dinner and movies and sleep. Today I’ve been firmly planted on the couch all day, reading and catching up on my mail. I wish I had good news to tell instead of bad, but somehow the telling makes it a little better. I have lots of options. Tonight we’re going to an Oscar party at Amy & Donovan’s – Kevin of whygodwhy is supposed to be there, which would be cool. But for right now I’m sitting on my couch with my little girlkat in my lap, drinking a soda and thinking about nothing.

This rejection feels almost like the end of a relationship – and I suppose every disappointment is like that in a way. This rejection means reconfiguring my vision of my future self. I had it all worked out in my head, how I was going to be, how my life would be, how things would change. And then things happen and it all changes. The teaching E, the going-to-school E, the talking about classes and students E – she doesn’t exist, and if she ever will, it won’t be this fall. Maybe an in-the-moment mindset is best because then you can’t be disappointed when the things you hope for don’t come to fruition. I sound terribly morose, but I’m not. Maybe it’s that so much has already changed – this bitter let-down is just another in a series of unpredicted events that has totally shaken up my world or my conception of the world. But I’ll change with it, as I have changed so many times before. No summers off – not yet – but I have the chance to change jobs, to find another way to be down here.

I suppose the hardest part of it is that I feel even more out of place with my English department friends. It’s hard being the only non-department person at dinners – and still harder being the only non-student of the bunch. Now those are exacerbated by the nagging feeling that I’m not good enough for that group because not only am I not a part of that world – I tried to make it and was rejected. No one has ever made me feel that way overtly – it’s just a nagging issue of self-confidence, of self-worth. I know I’m intelligent and a good friend and all that – but this has been another blow to my pride, and one I’m going to have to live with every day. But I guess that’s life.

The House of Winds

So here I am at the house of winds. I decided awhile ago that when my site started getting in the excess of 200 hits per week, I would buy my own domain. So I did. Welcome to the House of Winds. For those of you who have this site bookmarked or linked, please update your links to http://www.houseofwinds.com. Thank you.

Watched the Oscars last night while reading the paper and making cards. SO happy about Nicole Kidman’s win, though I think she was almost more deserving last year. She was – luminous – as Virginia Woolf. I was so anxious about her playing my beloved Virginia – but when I saw her I just gasped. She was her – and wasn’t. And the scene in the train station was exactly what I imagined. At the same time, I’m glad The Hours didn’t win for best picture – it was remarkable – but not entirely what (I believe) Michael Cunningham intended. Catherine Zeta-Jones was absolutely radiant – let’s hope she doesn’t name this one Oscar. 🙂 Adrian Brody nearly made me cry. I was so happy for him. And Eminem and Roman Polanski – WOW!!!! Who saw those coming?

Lovely weekend. Friday night we grilled out at Chuck & Michelle’s – Saturday I cleaned and had a fabbo Stampin Up party. Spent too much money on stamps and other goodies, but got 3 sets free and $45 in free stuff, so that’s not too bad.

Yes, I’m avoiding the war. I’m actually avoiding all coverage that I can. I watched some of the “Shock and Awe” show Friday night – and it was all I could do to keep from crying. Cait had some really sage and intelligent things to say about it the other day. And pray for peace – peace and a swift return of those who love us and whom we love – of those fighting for freedom, for the country we love. Whatever your feelings about the war – you can still pray for peace.