Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week Two


A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on




Last Friday I had my follow-up with my surgeon, who gave me clearance to ditch the binder I’d been issued and slowly go about my business. Emphasis is, of course, on slowly. I got a little too confident maneuvering in the kitchen and between reaching a bit further than I ought to have and the fact that I can’t wear a bra, I pulled my muscle a bit. It doesn’t help that I am still swollen and bruised – so my skin is extra sensitive. My nurse checked on me yesterday and didn’t think I did any major damage – just a bit of strain. So I took it easy today and have been focusing on a huge Mix CD project for my friend Liz. Oh, Liz. You have no idea what you got yourself into.

My mom speculates that my nerves are zinging with heightened sensitivity, and I think she may be correct. I have a particular sensitivity to my stomach regardless of major surgery, but add that on top of everything and I am a squirming mess. I just need to find a project that will keep me amply distracted and safe and not bored out of my mind. I would love to say that this is the perfect time to tackle the pile of books I have to read, but alas, most of my books are in stacks because we did not finish erecting my renovated bookshelf in time before my surgery! Yup. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Ah, well. Time to review the titles I got through in my Netflix queue this week!




Happy
Synopsis: Happy takes viewers on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.
Opinion: I’m pretty indifferent to this documentary; it was edifying in a generic, scratch-the-surface kind of way to open up the discussion of the scientific study of how people generate happiness. I wasn’t surprised by some of their findings, but still came away feeling more informed than I had been before I began
Rated: Three stars


Spinning Plates
Synopsis: This gastronomic documentary profiles three distinctive restaurants based in very different locales: Chicago; Tucson, Arizona; and Balltown, Iowa.
Opinion: We all know I’m a sucker for a solid food documentary, and Spinning Plates is no different. This film made me hungry and pulled on my heart-strings while filling my head with knowledge. I appreciated that the filmmakers decided to profile 3 types of restaurants – not just A list Alinea or only hometown legend Brietbach’s Country Dining. I’ll not say much more other than if you’re a fan of food documentaries that profile both the establishment and the humans behind them, watch this.
Rated: Four stars


In Your Eyes
Synopsis: Two strangers on opposite ends of the country have a telepathic bond that lets each one see what the other sees, a deep connection that leads to love.
Opinion: I confess, this was not actually in my queue. Mister J put it on and I found myself sucked in despite myself. I was particularly drawn to the very accessible character of Rebecca, portrayed by a new favorite Zoe Kazan. The juxtapose of settings reminded me a lot of The Good Son, but otherwise the similarities stop there. I think overall it is a quirky cute movie and I actually gave a damn what happened to our two main characters. Give it a watch.
Rated: Four stars



With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story
Synopsis: Explore the life of comic book legend and pop culture icon Stan Lee from his Depression-era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics.
Opinion: Geek girl that I am, I honestly did not know too much about Stan Lee before watching this, aside from the friction with Jack Kirby and the longevity of which he has endured at Marvel. I think the biggest surprise of all is the 60+ year marriage to his wife Jane and how, uhm, bombastic? passionate? their relationship can be. I, for one, do not get my jollies by arguing – especially with a significant other – but apparently the Lee’s do! Hah! The evolution of Marvel is the stuff of legends and I’m pleased this documentary was 85% Stan and only about 15% other people talking about Stan and Marvel.
Rated: Four stars


Dear Mr. Watterson
Synopsis: Nearly two decades after the last original “Calvin and Hobbes” was published, this documentary examines the comic strip’s enduring legacy.
Opinion: Unlike the Stan Lee documentary, this is one which features everyone but the aforementioned Watterson, a known recluse who famously opted out of merchandising his iconic comic characters. Whether you agree with his decision or not, this documentary focuses on how Calvin and Hobbes not only influenced a wide variety of people – from the average student to Watterson’s peers – but the comics industry as a whole. I really enjoyed it, and my inner 8 year old was particularly happy.
Rated: Four star



Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Synopsis: An eccentric efficiency expert and his good-tempered wife raise 12 lively children, although their quirky methods often lead to raucous misadventures.
Opinion: I’ve never seen the remake, and only became intrigued by the original film when it popped up as a suggestion by Netflix. My mom prompted me to watch it with her one evening and upon seeing that Myrna Loy portrayed the matriarch of the Gilbreth family, I became enthused to watch it. As I get older, I find myself a touch more critical of older films due to their less-than-savory take on women and social issues. Cheaper by the Dozen had such a moment with a Planned Parenthood representative that made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the core story of actual scientist Frank Gilbreth and his industrial engineering psychologist wife Lilian is endearing as lovingly narrated by their daughter based on the book of the same name, penned by two actual Gilbreth children.
Rated: Three stars


What have you been watching as of late?

Conquering Recovery and Netflix: Week One


A photo posted by Rachael Faught (@moonstruckq) on




No, I haven’t forgot you, dear blog. I’ve just been busy, and then of course, major surgery. Seems to be a running theme in my life these last few years, to have a surgery between the fall/winter. Well, my latest surgery happened last week and now is the time to trudge down the long and hard road to recovery. I’ll be at home, or relatively sequestered away, for a solid 8 weeks. I’m not permitted to lift or strain myself in any way – so it’s just a lot of loafing around. On the surface seems like an amazing thing for a lot of people, but speaking as someone who has undergone many surgeries and lived a mostly shut-in life these last few years, this is torture.

So it’s time to set some goals for myself – however frivolous they may seem in the grand scheme of life. Case in point: My Netflix Queue. I currently hold 127 titles in my instant watch. Of said 127, roughly 29 are titles I have viewed previously and therefore do not count. The remaining figure is 98. It is currently my goal to complete half of this number (and since it’s odd, we’ll just round up) within 8 weeks. Get through 47 titles of my Netflix Queue. This includes:
movies
documentaries
comedy specials
TV shows (I’ve either yet to start or never completed)

49 does not divide evenly, so let’s round up again to 50, which will give me 6ish titles per week in 8 weeks to accomplish. This probably does not sound like a lot to many of you, but for me, it is. I’m also tackling some writing and holiday card projects on top of everything, so that will keep me busy, too.

Every Friday, I will round up the titles I’ve watched and check them off publicly with you with a brief synopsis and if I enjoyed them. As of today, week one of at-home recovery has been completed and here are the titles I conquered from my queue:

Carol Channing: Larger than Life
Synopsis: The astonishing life of Carol Channing unfolds in this entertaining biopic, which captures the bold Broadway legend’s outsize personality.

Opinion: I cannot even begin to describe the adorableness of this documentary, nor will I even begin to explain why it made me cry like a little bitch. Just watch it. Even if you hardly know who Carol Channing is, just watch it. Rated: five stars

Miss Annie Rooney
Synopsis: A poor inventors daughter (Shirley Temple) falls head over heels for the son of a millionaire rubber magnate. But joining his daunting social circle proves to be difficult.

Opinion: I used to be such a Shirley Temple fan, but I truthfully had never watched any of her teenager movies until now. As this film is the only one available on Netflix, I gave it a go. I don’t think the latter half of the description is accurate; this is more of a case of a girl whose self-serving father keeps screwing up her chances. I wasn’t a big fan, to be honest. Rated: two and a half stars.

The Restaurateur
Synopsis: In this foodie documentary, director Roger M. Sherman shadows restaurateur Danny Meyer in an attempt to find out what fuels his business cravings.

Opinion: I think the Netflix synopsis is somewhat misleading, or vague anyway. This documentary does shadow Danny Meyer, but its main focus is the two restaurants Danny is bringing to life in Manhattan. What goes on behind the scenes of these two very different restaurants from conceptualization to debut and a little beyond is really the plot. Rated: Four stars

Inside: LEGO
Synopsis: The famous colorful building bricks company nearly becane a pile of plastic rubble. Here’s how they re-built the dream.

Opinion: What an interesting story. I honestly had no idea that LEGO was ever in trouble, so this was insightful. I have a friend of the family that works for LEGO in Denmark, so this gave me a glimpse into his job. My only complaint is that it was far too short! Rated: five stars

Advanced Style
Synopsis: This documentary profiles seven stylish New York City seniors who disprove the notion that advanced years and glamour are mutually exclusive. Brought to us the blog of the same name.

Opinion: What a fabulous documentary! I am tickled every time I see a fabulously unique and stylish elderly woman walking around town, and I look up to these women to continue be as fabulous as I can no matter what age I am! Rated: five stars

Sushi: The Global Catch
Synopsis: This documentary traces the history of sushi from its origins as Japanese street food to its current status as an internationally popular cuisine.

Opinion: Once again, a misleading Netflix description. This documentary does touch on the history of sushi, but its main focus is the sustainability of bluefin tuna and the consequences of supply and demand in the sushi world. I think every sushi enthusiast should watch it and become more aware of the problem at hand. This is definitely an issue consumers are going to have the most impact with. Rated: five stars

I hope you will join me every Friday as I cross off another week of recovery and another week of reaching my Netflix goal.

High-Five Friday



1. Anime Expo

I’ve not glanced at the largest anime convention in North America since 2008, when I attended for one day to co-host the Jrock Events in honor of one of my favorite musicians. Over the last 10 months, though, my momentum and interest in what was once an annual tradition for me kept gaining speed until finally I solidified plans to attend on Saturday. That doesn’t mean I haven’t already been down there – twice – to accompany friends and pick up a badge for a friend meeting me tomorrow. Anime Expo has always been large, but this year is reminiscent of Comic-Con 2006, the last SDCC I attended due to overbearing crowds and little to no progress in getting to the events I wanted to get to. I have to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow just to give myself ample time for the line of the Sailor Moon panel. Not something I am looking forward to, but a small price to pay to capture a bit of nostalgia.

2. SAILOR MOON!

Tomorrow is the world debut of Sailormoon Crystal, the official re-boot anime of the classic magical girl anime. While Sailormoon was not my first anime by any means, it was the anime that made me propel myself head-first into the world of Japanese pop culture. Words can’t even begin to capture what Sailor Moon means to me and how infinite my love for her world is and will always be.


3. Central Air Conditioning

Enough said.



4. Trying new things

Ever since starting Glass of Win and getting into my kitchen to really learn how to cook, I’ve broadened my palate by leaps and bounds. Still, there are certain foods I’ve yet to try, either out of wariness or lack of opportunity. Last week I had the opportunity to try chicken feet – something I never had the desire to try. I’ll be honest, I disliked it, but better I try and know then wonder if I am missing out on something.


5. Mushy, junky TV

As much as I love to tackle big reading during the summer, I also like to let my brain rest and turn a bit to mush with the worst kind of television imaginable. I only binge a couple of times a year on crap like this (honestly, shows I am too shamed to even name here!), and am only sorry I am not sorry about it!

A Taste of Summer

Summer is for


August Sunset over the San Gabriel Valley
Sunsets that look like paintings…

A Morning in Highland Park
Discovering a new summer drink…

Highland Park
Midweek movie deals…

Home Grown
Fresh fruit off the vine…

My Parasol and I
Parasols…

Bee on Rose
Stopping to smell the roses…

Birthday Kebabs
Backyard barbecues…

Going Cukoo
Flea markets…

White Sangria
Mother effing sangria!


What does summer mean to you?

High-Five Friday


This week has been a roller-coaster of highs and lows. There is a lot of preparation for my upcoming surgery, including an out-patient procedure on the 24th of July just to get a better idea of how my heart and liver pressures are doing, and that pre-op running around has me running ragged and frazzled. As this is all happening less than one year of another surgery, and less than 3 years from another surgery that took 7 months to heal from due to complications, you can guess exactly how thrilled I am and how difficult it may be for me to come up with another list of positives. The point is to try, though!

TACOS!


1. TACOLANDIA

Tacolandia and the LA Street Food Festival wound up being scheduled on the same day. I received a media ticket to both, so I had to make a Sophie’s Choice with a good, old fashioned and impartial coin flip. Then a pro/con list, because I am not neurotic enough. Tacolandia won out because I’d already attended LASFF three times, and it isn’t as easily accessible by public transit. If I’m in town during LASFF next year, though, I’ll be sure to make that event my priority. Whichever event you choose, I hope you have a fabulously delicious time! I can’t wait for the taco-laden fiesta.


2. HOUSE-SITTING

Is it cheating if I mentioned this last week? …No. Dog and house-sitting is going well so far, and I’ve already fired up the grill twice and had both Evan and my sister in law over (separately) for a nice summer dinner. Having to care for the dog gives me a new appreciation for my slightly more independent cats, although I relish the fact that I can leave food and cords out without worrying about an animal leaping up and mercilessly devouring both.

3. DATING…KINDA

I kept it fairly under wraps, but at the end of last summer, I had a decent sized heartbreak. I’ll not go into details, but suffice to say, I felt no desire to date for a while. I tried again a couple of nights ago, and while I don’t think I’ll be pursuing the gentleman I went out with, the point is I went out there and did it. Woot, vulnerability.

4. MY GP IS RETIRING

Not really something in and of itself I’d like to give a hefty high-five to, but I did make an appointment with him under the guise of checking out my still healing finger, when in reality, I plan to say goodbye. Most people, as in people not chronically ill, list their GP as their primary physician, whereas all of my GP’s have kind of been the doctor I see the least. Dr. H has always been a god sport, and taken care of all of the run-of-the-mill ailments that luckily do not plague me as often as my more pressing health issues do. I’m sad he is retiring, and a bit more than nervous about having to break in a new GP (I’ll probably see one of his partners, who is my mom’s GP, since she’ll have some notion of my health from having undoubtedly heard it from my mom), but I want to give the man my thanks before he settles into retirement for good.


Shrimp Bhuna - Electric Lotus
Shrimp Bhuna from Electric Lotus

5. SHARING IS CARING

Monday was bad. Very bad. After a breakdown at the doctors, mom took me to dinner and I finally had the wherewithal to remember that one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Electric Lotus, is on the way home. My sister and I went there years ago and have been singing its praise ever since. It moved to a neighboring spot last year, but it still serves up some of the finest Indian cuisine Los Angeles has to offer. I stuck with my same old, shrimp bhuna, while mom went balls to the wall with garlic chicken tikka, lentils and bhindi masala (okra) – plus garlic naan, rice and vegetarian samosa. It was an all out feast, and judging by the way she is still going on about the food, it won’t be long before we’re back.


How was your week? What are you looking forward to in the coming days?

High-Five Friday!



I have been trying to get my shit together to start this series for, oooohhh, about two months now. This is sort of a mash-up between “Things I love Thursday” and “The Friday Five”, which after a little research, seems to be fairly open to interpretation. Sometimes it’s always really easy to micro-focus on the negatives and obsess over the stressors in our lives, but I’m hoping High-Five Friday will help teach me how to stay focused on the positive. Five reasons I’m looking forward to the future rather than dreading it.

Ready? Here we go:


1. Steffie’s Hen Party in San Diego

An event I’ve been both dreading (financially, alcohol-themed shenanigans, the stress of co-piloting an event) and looking forward to at the same time. We leave in a couple of hours, and I know I am going to have a good time if I allow myself to have a good time. Tonight will kick things off the right way, with a reservation at Lips San Diego dinner and drag show. Nothing will perk up my mood more than a fabulously bawdy drag queen possibly embarrassing the hell out of my best friend.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning is very cathartic, and this week I tackled my room once more. Having a floor I can actually see and walk on without tripping over piles of clean clothes I was too lazy to put away is awesome. Now if I can tackle all of the little piles of clutter, THEN I’d feel super powered.

3. Cool Summer Haircut

My sister, shortly after becoming my sister, turned to me one summer and asked, “Hey, do you wanna buzzcut?” To which I replied, “Sure, why not?” What followed was a series of undercuts I received for several summers to help thin out my luxuriously thick locks, to help keep the summer heat off of me. I decided to embrace the long hair undercut again and have had no regrets.

4. House/Dog Sitting Adventure

Next week I embark on my annual dog/house-sitting adventure, which means I get to play house and enjoy cable TV, a stocked fridge and a grill any master chef would be proud to barbecue on. It’s going to be awesome.

5. Summer Cook-Outs!

Piggy-backing off #4, I am looking forward to tackling many new dishes this summer and mastering all of them. Among them: Grilled octopus, Boiling Crab dupe recipe for “The Whole She-Bang” shrimp, pizza on the grill, and the perfect potato salad.


Do you have anything to high-five about? Share in the comments!

Sunday Social


Don’t ask about this week. Just…don’t. All I can say is that I am ever so pleased May is officially behind me. Time for another episode Sunday Social ~ as hosted by Neely and the gang.

1. Introduce yourself and your blog to us: My name is Rachael. I’m a big geeky dork and Glass of Win is my ode to all of my adventures in food & travel – with a splash of lifestyle topics thrown in for good measure.

2. What is your favorite form of Social Media and why? Twitter. I’ve met SO many excellent friends on Twitter. All of my friends in Ireland were met via Twitter; I participate in fabulous food blogger chats; I find the best links there…It’s a constant conversation, and that is my medium.

3. What made you start a blog? Well, Glass of Win is not my first venture in operating my own website. It is, however, the most public and dedicated I have been to a single website, and for that I’ll take a slight bow. What inspired the inception of Glass of Win? My desire to talk about all of the things I held dear: food, travel, fashion, geeky shit and my life with a congenital heart defect. Some topics have fallen by the wayside over the years, but where inspiration strikes, I shall follow it.

4. What do you feel the most meaningful/special post you’ve written is? I’ve stopped doling out advice, but 7 Steps to Evaluate Energy Vampires & Eliminate Bad Relationships is something I stand by as being one of the best pieces I’ve written simply because I practice every word I preached in it.

That’s all I’ve got. As I’ve said, this week was pure hell and I am looking to tomorrow – A new month, a new episode of Welcome to Night Vale, a new planetary alignment, the works. I hope June brings each and every one of us the peace and serenity we all deserve.