April 23, 2015

Cinemascope: Wrinkles

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2011.

Plot line: Based on Paco Roca's comic of the same title (2008 Spanish National Comic Prize), WRINKLES is a 2D animated feature-length film for an adult audience. Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in a care home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or "assisted" floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day with humor and tenderness, because although for some their lives are coming to an end, for them it is just a new beginning

This is a sad and poignant movie about a topic which many people seem unable to talk or think about. I loved this exploration of families, and aging, and aging healthy versus not. 

You can see the movie trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is a movie worth watching.

April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: 04.22.15

Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

April 20, 2015

Recent Reads

37. Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past
This is a strange and interesting book. The author has a hobby - he collects old photographs of people he does not know. There is a catch though - the photos need text of some kind written on it. This book is a curation of some of the photos from the author's collection. The photos are all black and white, and while the photos are interesting in themselves, it is the text that gives you a peek into these stranger's lives. The handwritten words on either the back or the front of the photos document various things: who, where, when, what, why. The combination of the words and text creates a little tableau on each page that is quite fun, and sometimes disturbing. Will one be able to have such a hobby in the future now that we are all digital? Rating: 3 stars.

38. The Lion and the Bird
This delightful picture book is a quiet meditation on life and friendship. The pacing is lovely, and would work well as a curl up and read aloud story with a little one. Rating: 3 stars.

39. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
Let me start by saying (in case you did not already know), that 300 is one of my all time favorite movies, and I'll probably watch it about that many times before I die. AU!

My love affair with the Spartans goes way back to primary school, so, when Ann Kingman raved about this book on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, I went out and picked it up immediately. 300 is the story of the epic battle of Thermopylae, and this historical novel is told through the eyes of a non-Spartan in the years leading up to that battle. We enter the story after that fateful battle, and find Xeones injured and under the care of Persian surgeons. He is the only survivor of the battle, and King Xerxes has commanded him to recount the story of the Spartans, so as to better understand this worthy adversary. The entire book is the verbal transcript, with some asides by the scribe, of that story. The story starts many years before the Gates of Fire, when Xeones is but a young boy. As Xeo shares his tale we learn all about his life, how he gets to Sparta, the training and lifestyle of the Spartans, and the years that lead up to the Battle of Thermopylae, and its aftermath. 

Yes this is a war novel, but it is surprisingly philosophical as well. The characters are well developed, and while the attention to detail was a little dense at times, I was swept along for the ride. My only complaint is that the pacing was off in certain sections of the book - sometimes way too fast with too little detail, sometimes way too slow and bogged down with minutiae. 

I knew how this story was going to end, and still I was in tears for portions of the book. If you are interested in a compelling, well-written book in which you learn a few historical facts, move this up your TBR pile.

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
that here obedient to their laws we lie.

Rating: 5 stars.

April 19, 2015

CY365 | March Done | April Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.

88/365 - 032915 #OffPrompt #cy365
Changed the sheets today, and yes still using flannel ones.

89/365 - 033015 #Blossom #cy365

90/365 - 033115 #Illuminated #cy365
In my happy place. Surrounded by magazines that inspire me and a hot soy chai tea latte. #currentlyreading #timefortea

91/365 - 040115 #Sundown #cy365
Shadows cast on the Boston Harbor Chart. So ready for #sailing season.

92/365 - 040215 #currentlyreading #cy365

93/365 - 040315 #InTheGarage #cy365
Bikes standing by. Cannot wait.

94/365 - 040415 #LibraryBooks #cy365
So many books, so little time. #shelfie #bookstagram

As always, click o photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

April 17, 2015

Currently reading

I've been wonderfully distracted by my sister who is in town for a month long visit, so have not been keeping up with my blog as often.  In the meanwhile, I am posting regularly over on Instagram, so you can see what I'm up to there - including pics of what I'm currently reading.

April 15, 2015

CY365 | March Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.

81/365 - 032215 #StepOutside #cy365
Heading out to book club on this cold blustery Sunday.

82/365 - 032325 #Weather #cy365
I've got a fondness for the weathered patina on buildings.

83/365 - 032415 #RunDown #cy365
Scaredy Squirrel gives us the run-down of his protective gear. So loved reading these books with my nephews when they were little. #bookstagram #currentlyreading

84/365 - 032515 #OffPrompt #cy365
I continue to be delighted by $2 daffodils.

85/365 -032615 #EscapeFromTheEveryday #cy365
Library books are my go to escape. #bookstagram #shelfie

86/365 - 032715 #Reflections #cy365
Quick sketches of the Quan sisters in my journal. So interesting to see reflections of what is currently beautiful in the fashion world. #sketches #art #draw #journal

87/365 - 032815 #OffPrompt #cy365
#ontheblog today I share a video of some journaling tips. http://kisiwa.blogspot.com #journal #sketchbook #writing #art #draw

As always, click o photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

April 13, 2015

Recent Reads

34. Bumperhead
The first thought that came to mind when I closed this graphic novel? So what? This is a meandering coming of age story, about a young boy who is bullied, and abandoned by his parents in various ways. There is a log of the girls he crushes on, the music he loves, and the main events of his life from young boy to older man, but the story lacked any emotional impact. The most interesting thing was the iPad subplot. On the plus side, I did like the black and white artwork. I am clearly not the target audience for this one. Rating: 2 stars.

35. A Life In Hand
Well, I'm not even going to pretend to be objective about this one. This book has been out of print for years, and I've searched high and low to find a copy. Finally got one from a neighboring library system, and it is dog eared, and musty, and marked up, and the mustiness made it hard for me to read, but I loved every single page. It is rare that I read a book, get to the last page, and want to turn around and start reading it again. I have resisted that impulse so as to be kind to my lungs, but this is a book I plan to own.

The author explores keeping a journal of one's entire life - the beautiful, the mundane, lists, sketches, everything but the kitchen sink. There are wonderful writing and sketching exercises, and some of her rather impressively intimidating artwork in the back of the book. I have loved her other work, but this one is my fave. A book I plan to dip into regularly. Rating: 5 stars.

36. The Solitude of Prime Numbers
I love prime numbers, and this is the second book in as many months that has math and prime numbers as a theme. One of the wonderful things about reading translated works (Italian in this case), is that I get a little taste of the culture the story is based on. 

Alice and Mattia experience traumatic events in their childhoods that leave them damaged in ways that most people cannot begin to understand. When they meet as teenagers, each recognizes a kindred spirit in the other, and a friendship blossoms. 

This is a bleak story, so is well suited to reading in the winter, when the weak sun barely warms your skin. The author does a masterful job of inhabiting both the male and female characters in a way that seems authentic. The characters are complex, and awkwardly themselves, and I often felt like shaking them - both could have really used some therapy to work on their wounding. I am not a happily-ever-after junkie, nor do I need things tied up in a bow - after all life is more complicated than that - but while this was a quick read, I found myself not quite satisfied when I turned the last page. Rating: 3 stars.

April 11, 2015

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

It is not often that I feel the urge to courtesy, but if I was in this woman's presence I would.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

April 9, 2015

Cinemascope: The Wind Rises

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2013.

Plot line: From Academy Award(R)-winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Best Animated Feature, SPIRITED AWAY, 2002) comes a spellbinding movie beyond compare. Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted and unable to be a pilot, he becomes one of the world's most accomplished airplane designers, experiencing key historical events in an epic tale of love, perseverance and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. 

I loved so many things about this Japanese animated movie. It's the personal story of Jiro and his passions for planes set within a historical context. I loved this window into Japanese culture and aviation history. 

You can see the movie trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is a movie worth watching.

April 6, 2015

Recent Reads

31. 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations
I'm on a roll with creative, artistic books lately, and revisited this one again. It is a collection of journal pages from various artists, and is a good source of inspiration. I loved this book the first time I read it many years ago, but this time around, found that I merely liked it. Fun, and colorful, but not what I need anymore I guess. Maybe because there is so much available on the web today. Rating: 3 stars.

32. Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals of Clare Walker Leslie
Book blurb: For journal keepers, nature lovers, birdwatchers, artists, and anyone interested in using nature as a source for self-reflection or meditation, this book will be a welcome companion and source of inspiration.

This is probably the third time I have picked up this lovely book. I'm a fan of the author and her work, and this is a collection pulled together from her journal pages - a journal page anthology if you will. A reminder to notice what is around us, and make note of it with text and sketches. Rating: 4 stars.

33. My Favorite Things
Every time I read a book by Maira Kalman, I want to invite the author over for tea and crumpets. Or maybe a glass of sherry. She sees the world in a way that most of us adults lose touch with as we drape ourselves in our serious-grownup-adult cloaks. And our lives are the sadder for it.

This picture book for adults contains paintings, photos, and wonderfully quirky text by the author. We surround ourselves with objects, but how often do we really look at them? The author does just that in "this beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum." An ode to the whimsy of collections.
 Rating: 4 stars.

April 5, 2015

CY365 | March Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.

74/365 - 031515 #Patterns #cy365
Current bathtowels in use.

75/365 - 031615 #Markings #cy365
These might just the cutest bandaids ever.

76/365 - 031715 #Repeat #cy365

77/365 - 031815 #OffPrompt #cy365
So ready for Spring.

78/365 - 031915 #OffPrompt #cy365
The indoor plants are excited that Spring starts tomorrow. Can they move out onto the porch soon?

79/365 - 032015 #Design #cy365
A peek into my #journal. #sketchbook #art #draw

80/365 - 032115 #Swirl #cy365
How is it that I'm shoveling snow on this second day of Spring? So love these Trader Joe's daffodils. They help keep me sane.

As always, click o photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

April 3, 2015

Harry Baker: A love poem for lonely prime numbers

In celebration of April, which is National Poetry Month.

Performance poet (and math student) Harry Baker spins a love poem about his favorite kind of numbers — the lonely, love-lorn prime. Stay on for two more lively, inspiring poems from this charming performer.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

April 2, 2015

Cinemascope: The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2015.

Plot line: Filmmaker Andrew Jarecki examines the complicated life of reclusive real estate icon, Robert Durst, the key suspect in a series of unsolved crimes.

Is this the way documentary films are going? This HBO mini-series is a fascinating show, but what I found more interesting is how it changed the news in real time. I knew nothing about Durst, and did not read any articles until I watched the series, and I think that is the experience this story. How it ends opens up so many questions in regards to due process and the legal system.

You can see the series trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is TV worth watching.

March 31, 2015

CY365 | March Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.

67/365 - 030815 #Green #cy365
Gift cards to Indie bookstores make me happy.

68/365 - 030915 #Lime #cy365
A rather literal interpretation. Lime and friends.

69/365 - 031015 #OffPrompt #cy365
It has been all about pills, naps, mugs of tea, and bad movies today.

70/365 - 031115 #OffPrompt #cy365

70/365 - 031215 #Texture #cy365
A sad thing about this nasty bug is that my taste buds are not working. Everything tastes like oatmeal, so decided to have just that with some added tidbits for additional texture.

71/365 - 031315 #OnTheEdge #cy365
The hard part after reading a great book is deciding what to read next. #bookstagram #shelfie

72/365 - 031415 #Pi #cy365
The date just makes me happy. On this rainy and dreary day we made a roaring fire to celebrate Pi day.

As always, click o photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

March 30, 2015

Recent Reads

28. Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor
Book blurb: For the past decade, Lynda has run a highly popular writing workshop for non-writers called Writing the Unthinkable - the workshop was featured in the New York Times magazine. Syllabus: Notes from an accidental professor is the first book that will make her innovative lesson plans and writing exercises available to the public for home or classroom use. 

I have read the entire book, re-read portions, and implemented some of the exercises already. Chock-full of ideas and exercises, there is so much I loved about this book. Whether you think you are creative or not, if you have tried to journal and failed, or if you simply want to look at a fun, colorful journal of a creative teacher, give yourself the gift of getting your hands on this book. This is a class I would love to take in person, but in the meanwhile, I'll keep thumbing through sections of this book. Rating: 5 stars.

29. The Sandcastle Girls
I've waited three days before reviewing this book to see if I would change my mind. I have not. I love historical fiction, and find the genre a wonderful way to immerse myself in a world/time/place. This novel contains a piece of history that everyone should know about - the genocide of approximately 1.5 million Armenians - and I applaud the author for writing an easily accessible book that might make this atrocity more widely known. And yet.

In preparation for a trip to Turkey a couple of years ago, I read several books, fiction and non-fiction, set in the country. As with most countries, history shed some unflattering light on the Turks. I might have heard about the genocide in passing before that trip, but I knew much more about what had happened by the time I arrived in Turkey. I was fascinated (is that the right word?) by the outright denial by every single Turk I met that any such thing happened to the Armenians, let alone in their country. 

This novel contains two stories - one set in present day New York, and one set in 1915 Syria, and this story should have worked. Yes, I found the atrocities a compelling, if difficult read, but I did not find any of the characters or their motivations - either in the past or present - believable, credible, or fleshed out in a way that made me care about them. I found the present day story line too contrived, and found it jarring that the present and the past sections switched within a chapter, and often with only a paragraph break. And if that were not enough, there are other narrators, and plot lines (photographic plates, the other orphan girl, and what's with the sandcastles?) which in my opinion detracted from the flow of the story. I also did not understand the author's decision to include a Gallipoli story line. Watertown, yes. Gallipoli no. There is a lot of movement from place to place in this story, and I think a map of the region in the front of the book would have been useful. 

However, as I said earlier, this might be just the right book for certain audiences - this is after all the One Book selection for the town I live in. I'll be curious to hear what my local book club members have to say, and plan on attending the author talk as well. The history of the region is one well worth reading about, and there are fantastic books that worked much better for me. Rating: 2 stars.

30. The Sculptor
There are many reviews on the "brickness" of this graphic novel, and I for one would have loved the heft if the story was any good. I'm a fan of the author's non-fiction, but am not impressed with his foray into fiction.

This is a story about a "stubborn, self-absorbed, and aggravating young man" - and that's what his love interest calls him! I'd add immature, whiny, and narcissistic. Is this what the emerging adults of today look like? I sure as hell hope not! The premise is an interesting one: a young artist with promise destroys his own career, and now is broke and uninspired. A classic lead-in to a dance with the devil, right? What will he give up for his art? Is it worth it?

There are so many things about this guy that annoyed me - his focus on fame and not his art, his infantile fixation on a girl, his ridiculous promises, his tempter tantrums - what is he, four?! There is no new ground covered with this story, and that is a shame, because the art, people. The art is fantastic. Lovely illustrations in black, white, and blue. I give the story 2 stars, and the art 4, so will average out at a generous 3 stars. It is the art that kept me reading to the end.
  Rating: 3 stars.

March 28, 2015

Journal tips (Video)

I share some journaling tips that I've found useful.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

March 26, 2015

Cinemascope: Pride

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2014.

Plot line: PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It's the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers' families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person.

Most life affirming movies are so sweet that my teeth hurt, and I am delighted that this is not one of them. A wonderful story with a great ensemble cast.

You can see the movie trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is movie worth watching.

March 24, 2015

CY365 | March Update

Are you playing along with the CY365 project? You can read more about what I'm doing here.

Here is another week of 2015 Captured.

60/365 - 030115 #OffPrompt #cy365
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. I'm ready for sailing season.

61/365 - 030215 #Vignettes #cy365
A sampler from my art journals. This just makes me happy. #journal #draw #sketches #art

62/365 - 030315 #WhereIStand #cy365
Yes, the stretching area of my gym is carpeted with green astroturf. Classy.

63/365 - 030415 #Celebration #cy365
So fun to see a collection of the books I have read so far this year. #bookstagram

64/365 - 030515 #Legacy #cy365
I am the grateful beneficiary of the public library legacy in this country. #librarylove

65/365 - 030615 #OffPrompt #cy365
Nightime rituals. #timefortea

66/365 - 030715 #AnHeirloom #cy365
I love that I have some of the jewelry my Mom wore on her wedding day.

As always, click o photos to view larger. You can also follow along with daily updates on my Instagram and Flickr accounts.

March 23, 2015

Recent Reads

25. The Housekeeper and the Professor
I loved the premise of this story: A math Professor has suffered a traumatic brain injury and and cannot remember anything later than 1975. He does have short term memory, but only in 80 minute loops. The tape erases and starts over every 80 minutes. The Housekeeper, who is the narrator of the story, is hired to take care of him, and she has a ten year old son.

This slim Japanese novel is less than 200 pages long, and I really liked how the story explores "what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family". I enjoyed the math, glossed over the baseball, and really liked that the relationships that develop in this story are not the kinds that poems or songs are written about. But I wanted more. The writing is so sparse as to not really allow me to connect deeply with the characters, and while there is some wonderful imagery, and the writing is lovely, I did not love it. This was my book club selection this month, and the themes explored in this novel make it a good choice for discussion. Rating: 3 stars.

26. Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
As a girl who disliked dresses and often had shorts on underneath (who wants everyone to see your underwear when you do a cartwheel or hang upside down, am I right?), actively disliked anything pink, was not into dolls, and was your classic tomboy (oh how I hate that word), I would have loved this book as a kid. I so wanted to be a boy, and it took me many years to realize that what I really wanted was not to change genders, but to change gender roles and expectations. Yes, we've come a long way baby - after all, we do have Skirts With Benefits (read built in shorts) available these days, but I still have nieces who are so angry that they are girls. "It's so not fair!", is a refrain that comes up often when I talk to them about the roles/rules/dress code that applies to girls as opposed to boys. I'm sure my Mom heard that same thing more times than she cares to remember.

This graphic memoir is targeted at a teen/YA audience, and the author is honest and unflinching on her trip down memory lane. This would be a wonderful gift for all the little, and not so little tomboys in your life. And while you are at it, have the boys read it too. Rating: 4 stars.

27. The Clothes They Stood Up In
Book blurb: When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility.

The physical book is a delight to hold - so tiny that it could fit into your pocket - it reminded me of books for little hands. It is hard not to be drawn in by the premise of this story, and then to find yourself quite in like with Mrs. Ransome. A charming, humorous story with some surprising depth, this is a quick, one sitting read. Rating: 3 stars.

March 22, 2015

David Eagleman: Can we create new senses for humans? (Video)

Consider my mind blown!

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces to take in previously unseen information about the world around us. 

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

March 20, 2015

Journal page

I was recently flipping through this book, and used some of the images as inspiration for this page.

As always, click on image to enlarge. Done with a blue ball point pen in my large cheapo journal.

March 19, 2015

Cinemascope: Royal Cousins At War

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2014.

Plot line: At the outbreak of the First World War three cousins reigned over Europe's greatest powers - Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of Britain. This two-part series looks atthe role played by the three monarchs, and their relationships with each other, in the outbreak of war, arguing that it is far greater than historians have traditionally believed.

Sometimes the sheer amount of things I do not know stagger me. I found this fascinating documentary educational, informative, and entertaining. It helped connect many dots for me, and left me some questions I plan to explore further. 

You can learn more here. If you have yet to see it, this is TV series worth watching.

March 18, 2015

WordlessWednesday: 03.18.15

Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

March 16, 2015

Recent Reads

22. The Children Act
Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I decided to read another book by an author whose work I tend not to like. I blame my local book group.

I listened to the audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Lindsay Duncan. This slim book tackles some big questions: What is in the best welfare of a child? How does one handle the news that your husband needs one last passionate fling with someone else? How does work and the decisions we make at work - especially if they involve life and death - affect our personal lives? Can we really be objective when it comes to the lives of others?

I quite loved the start of this book - the court cases and the dynamics between Fiona and her husband - but as the book went along, I found my attention wandering, and by the end I simply wanted the book to be over. Cut out some of the rambling, and things that matter not one whit to this story, and this would have gotten a higher rating from me. Also, did not love the bullet form/summary manner of storytelling - that style of writing pops me right out of the story and I become a mere spectator of something I can only view remotely. Nevertheless, this book had me thinking about the questions mentioned above, and it made for a good discussion. Rating: 2 stars.

23. Ant Colony
I found this graphic novel surreal, dark, and gross in parts, and yet I could not look away. It's the story of a civilization writ small: war, corruption, sex, angst, ennui, the search for meaning, them versus us, gender politics, murder, etc. all set in an ant colony. The art is creepily good - I especially loved the spiders, and was more than a little disturbed by the queen illustrations. My fave parts include an ode to the Lion King, the 300 style battle scenes, and the final bucket list. There are multiple narrators in this story, and I found it rather male-centric, but it is an interesting and colorful read nonetheless. Rating: 3 stars.

24. Flowers of Evil, Volume 1
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Adults who want to be young again must not remember how hard growing up can be.

This graphic novel series is a semi-autobiographical story about Takao Kasuga. He is in middle school, an avid reader, failing a class or two, and puberty comes knocking. Nakagawa, the class bully and all around strange girl, sees Takao do something that he is deeply ashamed of, and uses this power to make his life hell. Nanako Saeki is the beautiful and smart girl Takao has a crush on.

On the surface, this is a simple coming of age story, about a boy, a crush, a bully, and peer pressure. What I loved is the honesty with which the story is told. Like most of us, Takao is neither a hero nor a villain. He is just an average kid, who loves books, especially one by Baudelaire, and cannot find anyone in his little town who understands his passion, which makes him feel trapped and lonely. The tsunami of emotions he experiences in this first volume are those that can only be felt by the very young - the highest highs and lowest lows. 
I really liked the art, and this black and white manga needs to be read back to front, and each panel reads right to left, which takes a little getting used to, but is quite fun. I'm not sure if this series is targeted at middle school kids, but this volume would certainly stir up some great conversation with kids that age. There are ten volumes in this series, and I've already got the next two in the series on hold at my library. Rating: 4 stars. 

March 13, 2015

Journal page

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels this year, and love trying to capture a specific artist's style in my journal, in this case  this book.

As always, click on image to view larger. Done with a sharpie pen and markers in my large cheapo journal.

March 12, 2015

Cinemascope: Tell Me You Love Me

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2007.

Plot line: This series is a drama about three couples and the therapist they share, Katie confronts Dave after catching him in a private moment; Carolyn and Palek face an ongoing fertility crisis; and Jaime questions Hugo's ability to remain faithful after they are married.

I watched this HBO series recently, and found it fascinating and disturbing. This is not your typical sappy-happy-ever-after trope that Hollywood continues to generate. It is an adult exploration of relationships, love, sex, secrets, and baggage. Yes, the couples were mostly Caucasian, hetero, and well off, but the themes explored are universal, and topics we do not really see explored often. A heads up that the sex is very explict, so if that bothers you this might not be for you. 

I could not find an official trailer, but you can see some that people have created online. If you have yet to see it, this is TV worth watching.

March 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: 03.11.15

Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

March 9, 2015

Recent Reads

19. A Matter of Life
What drew me to this graphic novel was this on the back cover: "An Autobiographical Meditation on Fatherhood and Faith." I guess I expected a more in-depth exploration of those themes, but alas, that is not what I found. Yes, there are faith and fatherhood and growing up memories, told in short story form, and while not everyone has huge epiphanies, I expected a little more than a fortune cookie style memoir. No depth, and I did not like the art either. This will probably be a wonderful treasure for the author's son, but not a book I'd recommend to anyone else. Rating: 1 star.

20. The Freddie Stories
I am a huge fan of the author, and this graphic novel does not disappoint. This coming of age story is told from Freddie's point of view, via a collections of comic strips - each double page moves the story forward. While many complain about her sketchy illustration style, they work really well for this dark, and so very sad story. The author's unflinching look at growing up, friendship, bullying, and child abuse is raw and often gut wrenching. To say more would be spoilery. A word of caution, do not read this if you are already sad, or looking for a pick me up read.  Rating: 4 stars.

21. Saga, Volume 4
Volume 4 collects issues #19-24. These collected volumes are coming out way too slowly - isn't there a kickstarter I can fund to speed things along? I am continually surprised by where the story goes - I mean that opening scene! There is humor, and darkness, and plain ol' shoot-the-messenger drama. The art is fantastic, and I have no doubt that I'll re-read the entire series when the set is complete. Cannot wait. Rating: 4 stars.

March 6, 2015

Journal page

My photo project for the year has distracted me from sketching in my journals, so am delighted to be back playing in them. This page was done using a ball point pen in the large cheapo journal I started last year. You can see a video of my 2014 journal plans here.

March 5, 2015

Cinemascope: Blue Jasmine

Cinemascope is a regular blog post where I will share with you movies and TV shows I think are worth watching.

Released in 2013.

Plot line: Poignant, romantic, and mesmerizing, writer/director Woody Allen's latest masterpiece centers around Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a former New York socialite teetering on an emotional tightrope, balancing between her troubled east coast past and a fresh start in San Francisco. Having moved into her sister's humble apartment, Jasmine ricochets between the tumultuous acceptance of her new limitations, and the dreams of reclaiming her past life's glamour. Join a powerful cast for an intimate portrayal of the battle between fantasy and reality which rages within us all.

This movie has stayed me with since I watched it on a flight a couple of months ago. Cate Blanchett is incredible, and gives an oh so cringe worthy performance, and for that alone this movie is worth watching. It is easy to believe in the facade we present to the world, but who are we really beneath it?

You can see the trailer here. If you have yet to see it, this is movie worth watching.