Sunday, November 29, 2015

Growing herbs

Since I got a new apartment, much closer to work, I've been trying to add more greens to the place.  I've now got something of a small indoor herbal garden going.  I say if you want plants in the apartment, why not have them smell nice and edible?  And, you can always use some of these for your tea.

So far, I got basil, parsley, mint, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, oregano, a tarragon.  Although I know where I would use most of these herbs, tarragon is a bit of a mystery.  Basil is probably the least easy to control, but it seems to grow just fine now.  I tried to be careful when growing basil by using little water as recommended, but in my case, it seemed to backfire.  Also, the chill of the air from the open window probably didn't help. 70 degrees F is best recommended.  The other herbs seem to do just fine. I mostly got the plants from Trader Joes and Sprouts.

Basil has always been a bit of a favorite, as well as mint, because they have the most distinct flavor personality, if you will.  Basil does pretty well on pizza, and any kind of meat.  Quite common in Thai food, of course.  Still, for my cooking, my general go-to is still mostly the good ol' sesame oil and sea-salt, which tends to go with any kind of meat I know.  From what I can tell, herbs, being more subtle, tend to work best when your food is a bit bland.  I tend to find this best to use when grilling fish.
I've been checking out a page on Garden Glove
(not Garden Grove) which has some interesting ideas of organizing herbal plants using old items.

I'm hoping to add even more plant life in this apartment.  More nature, less walls.  More greens, less white.

Several years ago, I used to wok at a landscape architecture company as a graphic designer and a 3D artist. Aside from learning to distinguish between a Mexican Fan Palm tree and a Canary Island Palm tree, I remember something one of the landscape architects told me that had always stuck with me.  He said there is always a competitive animosity between architects and landscape architects--architects always want show off their building, while landscape architects always want hide them. It is an interesting dynamic. One can't have just the building or it'll feel lifeless and one can't have just the trees or it'd be a forest.

This is all pretty fun for me since I'm a big fan of life-hacks and DIU (do-it-yourself).  Yesterday I unclogged the garbage disposal using the stick end of a plunger, inspired by a Dummies site.  I didn't even know they had a For Dummies site.

Pretty cool.

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Review of "The Peanuts Movie"!

So I was able to watch "The Peanuts Movie" on Friday, which I was quite impressed by.  As some may know I also write movie reviews for  So, I'm posting the review I wrote here.  On the left is myself "Peanutized."  You can get your own "Peanutized" image at The Peanuts Movie Website.  Pretty sweet!

Review: 'The Peanuts Movie' re-introduces the familiar like a warm blanket

"The Peanuts Movie" (2015) Rated G. Dir:Steve Martino

This film is currently playing in theaters everywhere.

In this 3D-animated feature version of late Charles M. Schulz's famous comic strip "Peanuts", the lovable loser Charlie Brown falls head over heels in love for a new girl who has just moved into the neighborhood--a girl he refers to as the "Little Red Haired Girl." Feeling this could be an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, he attempts to make some changes in his life, and decides to enroll in a talent show to impress her. Things do not quite work out the way he expects as situations always seem to be conspiring against him. Meanwhile, his dog Snoopy takes to the skies and his imagination to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron.

One probably does not have to explain what "The Peanuts" is about, except for some of the young ones and a few people who live in foreign countries where "The Peanuts" comic strip hasn't been translated. To merely say that I've been a "Peanuts" fan is an understatement. It's perhaps the first comic I've ever read. I even remember picking up a hardcover of "Go Fly a Kite, Charlie Brown!" that some neighbor "donated" next to the dumpster. I've learned to appreciate Beethoven and Van Gogh from reading these comics. I remember Snoopy had a Van Gogh painting which was lost in a fire when his doghouse burned down that one time. And, of course, one can't forget the annual Charlie Brown specials that always played during the holidays.

So, being a fan, I admit I was pretty skeptical when I saw the trailer. The line work is pretty much what gave the original comics its personality and turning it into 3D seemed like a bad idea. The characters now had texture yet there were 2D lines for the eyes and expressions. The 3D also looked somewhat flat to try to accommodate the 2D-style. Anyways, after seeing the film, I have to say that they pulled everything off quite perfectly. It truly feels like "Peanuts," The 3D aspect didn't bother me at all. The characters and the spirit of the story remained consistent. The original humor and the nuances are still there. Admittedly, it was surprising how faithful they tried to match it to the spirit of the cartoon series. Peanuts characters are all about getting the expressions just right, and Blue Sky Studios, who did theanimation, nailed it.

I should note, though, that this movie is definitely made for the fans and for kids who are not familiar with the characters. People who were never fans at all will probably not get anything new here. There are many familiar elements here that one will recall from previous Charlie Brown specials, including many visual in-jokes. One memorable scene is a dancing scene that is reminiscent of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" special, complete with the hilarious "Peanuts" gang dance moves. The Red Baron scene is pretty awesome and action-packed, and is some of my favorite parts of the film..... 

The rest of my review can be read at below: