Saturday, 30 March 2013

Reader Questions #1

     Who doesn't like interesting questions? My favourite game show, "Jeopardy," is all about the questions. A good question will tell you as much about a person as a good answer. Philosophy is all about asking questions, but it's also about douchy answers. I prefer to stick with non-douchy answers. I'll try to do so below with our very first set of Reader Questions. It's very exciting to have questions to answer since I'm always so filled with questions to ask. I'm one of those strange people who enjoys filling out forms and questionnaires. I love being asked questions! Once, my aunt asked me over the phone, "An M.P. [member of Canadian parliament] used a term the other day and I didn't know what it meant. Katie, what's a MILF?" Yup, amazing, right? I love a good question! I can't share them all at once, but I've chosen a couple of good ones to answer below in our first ever Reader Questions.

Do you like people taking pictures of you?
Signed, Posing in Peterborough

      You know, I love posing for pictures. I love the idea of having a forever-frozen memory of a great moment. I take hundreds of pictures. I like to share cute pictures of my cat, pictures of food I've prepared (as you've seen in previous posts), and pictures of friends (though I often forget to actually take pictures when I'm out with friends!).

      Here's the thing.

      I'm not terribly photogenic. It's not that I'm not cute- I'm definitely cute when I put a little effort in. Pictures of me just don't accurately convey that cuteness. A guy I worked with once asked me why 50% of my Facebook pictures were of my cat. I told him there were two reasons: my cat can't take pictures of me since she can't operate the camera and she's far more photogenic than I am (except for one picture which makes me laugh every time I see it). I make weird, rubber faces without realizing it (I do this in conversation as well, but no one regularly documents my conversation in photos, thank goodness!). What can a girl do? Embrace it and remember that every one of these pictures documents a great moment and a wonderful memory in rubber faces, crooked eyes, and hilarious body language. I'm a party in a photo. So yeah, snap a picture- and be sure to post it on Facebook and tag me in it.

When bad pictures happen to cute girls

 I like to call this one Sweet Pea's "Come here, Sailor!" look

What book are you reading right now?
Signed, Reading in Regina

      I just finished Of Matters Great and Small (1975) by Isaac Asimov. I'm only too aware of how few things I really know- especially since I'm a liberal arts major- so I love reading non-fiction books to learn new things. I tend to have these strong urges for learning when I'm out of school for more than two weeks, so I try to keep a small stock of pre-loved books on my bookshelf. When I moved to Ontario, I didn't pack any books. I got a few for Christmas, but they were fiction and a cookbook (all wonderful books!). Luckily, there is an amazing used bookstore downtown and I visited a few weeks ago. Even more fortunate, the bookstore was having a 50% off sale for the entire month of March! Since I'm on a tight (almost non-existent) budget I bought five books for $12.50: three Asimov essay collections (I've got a couple of these in storage and I love them!), one Carl Sagan novel, and one Stephen Hawking novel.

      These wonderful, affordable finds should keep me busy for a while. I can't devour science and mathematics quite as quickly as a Stephen King novel. Next up, I'll be reading the Sagan novel The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (1977). If I ever go back to school, I'd love to study science, perhaps evolutionary biology. I should choose some sort of technology, but the brain wants what it wants! Clearly, I've gone with this sentiment before- check out the philosophy degree in the box in the storage closet.

Asimov makes science fun!
How do you motivate yourself to keep writing when no one is leaving comments or sharing the links?
Signed, Curious in Calgary

      This one is easy. I like to write. I enjoy coming up with ideas. I like having that spark and having an outlet. It's great to have a place to share my ideas. For most of my adult life, I've written things that I had to write: papers for school and reports for work. I've enjoyed this writing, but it's nice to choose my own topics and write for myself.

      I also thought that this blog might be a great tool for me someday. I've looked at job ads that have asked for a writing portfolio and I never had that, aside from school papers. I think it would be pretty interesting to have a whole array of posts with different topics to share with a potential employer. Right? I mean, if you want to read my Bataille paper I'll send you a copy. I can write a mock incident report or Plan of Care to share. This blog is a demonstration of a more generalized writing style- not to mention that I don't get to share my sense of humour in school papers or work reports very often.

      So, if other people are reading (and you are reading- Blogspot tells me how many reads each post receives) that's a bonus. If people were to love my blog so much that they feel a burning urge to comment and share my blog with their friends, well, that would be the icing on the cake. Imagine this blog is a delicious chocolate cake- and remember that chocolate cake always tastes best with icing. Don't be stingy with the icing.

      I hope the Reader Questions keep coming so we can all share in this- feel free to post them right here on the blog or on the blog's Facebook page. Remember, you can post them anonymously on the blog! If you've got a question you've been aching to ask me, send it in!

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

How to look like a highfalutin chef with a delicious and easy risotto recipe

            Risotto is one of those dishes I always wanted to make but I thought it was impossibly difficult. It sounds fancy- there's no way to say risotto and not sound like a fancy pants. I went to dinner at some friends' house in January and they served me a delicious dinner of roast chicken, green beans, and risotto. I knew I had to have it again! I came home and began to do some online research to find a recipe that sounded right- and not too difficult. And you know what? It's not that difficult. It is, however, time consuming. You can't walk away from the stove. Risotto, like my cat, commands your full attention on its own terms. Chef Michael Smith gave me the basic proportions and I've added my own flavours, as he encourages on his television cooking shows on Food Network.

  • 9 cups of chicken broth (I've used a few different types of chicken broth, but I'd suggest you always stick with a low sodium broth- you could use veggie or beef broth too!)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used canola because that's what's in the cupboard)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup minced onions (about two small onions)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (I like to grate mine, but you can mince it)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice (you'll find it in the rice section of the grocery store, I swear!)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used white cooking wine from the grocery store because I'm on a budget, but you use whatever white wine you like!)
  • pepper to taste (I've never needed to add salt because the broth is often salty enough)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I've used provolone or Parmesan and they've both been incredible)
  • a fun stir-in: I've used sautéed cremini mushrooms or frozen peas and they've both been fantastic!
Use a giant pot to bring your chicken broth to a simmer. You want it to be hot when you add it to the rice later so that you don't cool down the rice when you add the liquid.

In a deep skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat just until they're soft, but not browned. 

Stir the rice into the onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about three minutes. The rice will go from clear to opaque and that's how you know you're ready to begin adding liquid. 

Add the wine to the rice and stir it in, allowing the alcohol to cook off for about five minutes  while you stir. You need to make sure you cook off the alcohol because you want the wine flavour, not the alcohol taste! (Unless you do, ya boozer, but don't say I didn't warn you!) Feel free to swig a drink of wine from the bottle, but I wouldn't suggest this if you're using cooking wine like I did. Not so tasty!

Now, you can start adding the broth, one cup at a time, to the rice. Make sure you stir the rice and allow each cup of broth to be absorbed before you add more broth. Yes, this is the time consuming part. Don't leave the stove. Stir, stir, stir. I chose to stir while I talked on the phone and that kept me entertained. But seriously, be patient. Stirring and slowly adding the broth is what will make the risotto creamy and delicious. If you don't want to stand over the stove, make Minute Rice instead. On second thought, don't ever make Minute Rice. Ever. Microwave a package of Uncle Ben's rice if you must. That Minute Rice stuff isn't even real rice, you know. This risotto is the real deal, and the real deal will take about 20 minutes from the time you add the first cup of broth. Taste it to make sure the grains are cooked.

When the risotto is cooked, take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese. I used a cup of grated Parmesan cheese here- actual Parmesan cheese, not the stuff in the can. But I'm not snooty. That stuff is tasty, too. Use a cheese that makes you happy!

I decided to jazz my risotto up with sautéed cremini mushrooms, so I used a little oil and browned the mushrooms up nicely before adding them to the risotto.

            Michael Smith says this recipe makes enough for four main dishes or six to eight side dishes. I've only ever used it as a side dish and it definitely could serve eight people! You can refrigerate leftovers and enjoy the risotto for a couple of days.

            And enjoy it you will. I promise. You can take the basic proportions of rice to liquid and switch it up however you like by choosing different broths, cheeses, and stir-ins. If you've got a fantastic idea for a delicious stir-in, please leave it in a comment below. I'd love to keep trying new ideas and new flavours! Let me know what you think when you try out this fantastic recipe from a great Canadian chef... oh, and Michael Smith!

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

I'm more romantic than "The Bachelor"- and that's saying a lot!

            So, I can't say I'm unfamiliar with "The Bachelor," but I can say that I have never watched an entire season of it. I can't say I've ever chosen to watch it. Mom hadn't watched any of the current season, but she wanted to watch the finale last week. So, I snuck disgusted peeks at it while watching my Bridesmaids DVD on my laptop. I am the first to admit that typical romance and chick flick nonsense makes me ill, but I can't be the only one who thinks "The Bachelor" is the anti-romance. There are so many things that make a sane person scratch his or her head, but some people just lap this shit up- and call me unromantic!
            Yeah, I'm pretty intolerant of the typical romantic bullshit that so many women fall for, but that just means I have different taste. I want to know a person before I begin my courtin' (yeah, I went old school there). I'm no prude, but I really don't think you can date double-digits worth of prospective partners concurrently and expect to really get to know a person. There are way too many problems with this set-up, but people are still watching. How could it go so far off the rails? Wait, are we starting with the assumption it was ever on the rails?
            Before the finale was even over, there were promos playing for the next season of this reality TV show. The voiceover asked, ""Are you the best choice for the new bachelor or bachelorette?" The problem is that, at this point, they had not even announced who the next bachelor or bachelorette was going to be. How am I to know if I'd be a good match for a person I don't know? I mean, the confident part of me wants to think I'm perfect for anyone (of course, it's not the case that everyone is perfect for me- I'm choosy!). That's ridiculous. Not everyone would enjoy my love of cheesy horror films, how I always wear pajamas if I'm at home, or my crazy cooking/baking exploits. If you're sitting at home watching "The Bachelor" and think, "I don't know who this person is, male or female, but I know I'm perfect for him... or her," I have to wonder about you. Imagine showing up, as the person chosen as the next bachelor or bachelorette and knowing that people applied before even knowing who you are. Can you honestly believe that you're going to find the love of your life in this pool of people chosen for you by a stranger?
            Sure, you might point out that the producers of the show likely interview the new bachelor or bachelorette a number of times to get a good idea of what he or she would consider a good romantic match. I can only imagine, from seeing the pool chosen this time around, that the bachelor asked for conventionally attractive women with fairly boring personalities and a love for crappy reality TV. Clearly, that's why I've never received a call back from the producers of "The Bachelor"... kidding! You guys know me too well for that! I'd be far more likely to audition for "Flavor of Love" because Flavor Flav is at least entertaining (I wonder what slightly degrading nickname he'd give me...).
            Speaking of degradation, what is romantic about being one of 25 people dating a person simultaneously? Sure, "The Bachelor" isn't a typical dating situation, but how do you really get to know a person in a pool that large? Sometimes I think adopting a second cat might make me worry about spending enough time with the first- how did the bachelor know he was eliminating the right people? How did he know he was getting to know the women well enough before eliminating them- and proposing to just one- in the six weeks it takes to film the season?
            Now we should acknowledge that many people believe you can love more than one person at a time. I'm not going to throw myself on that grenade right now, so let's stick with the concept of the show: that a man is searching for his ONE true love. In six weeks, he whittles a pool of 25 women down to just two. He takes them both home to meet his parents, takes them both on romantic dates, and tells them both how he cares for them- up until the final episode. I know it's a show and it really wouldn't be good TV if you knew who he was going to pick, but you'd think he has got to know which girl he is going to pick when he's making out with both of them the day before he proposes to one of them. Where is the romance in that? Either he really isn't sure who he is going to marry or he does know and he continues to make good TV by having his cake and eating it too. This can't be the romance that people dream about their whole lives, can it?
            Bachelor: I want to marry you, not that other girl.. But if you ever watch this season on TV, just know that kissing her meant nothing even though I said I was falling for her. It's just good TV, baby.
            Contestant: This has been the best six weeks of my life, having gone on only a handful of televised dates with you, only some of which did not include other women. I'm sure our love will last forever. Get yourself tested before you touch me, though. Who knows what you did with the other 24 girls!
            Now, I may have left you with the distinct feeling that I hate romance. This is not the case. You want to know my favourite romantic moment on film? The scene in Stranger Than Fiction (2006) when Will Ferrell's character brings Maggie Gyllenhaal's character, a baker, a variety of flours. It's so real. He brings her something that shows he knows what she needs and would love. That is so much more romantic and real than a generic red rose. I once dated a guy who brought me a vacuum cleaner and it was the most romantic gift I've ever received. He knew my vacuum was broken and that I couldn't afford one immediately. Sure, he could have brought a bouquet of red roses, but that isn't going to clean the Doritos crumbs off my carpet. I'm romantic- just in a real way, which is why "The Bachelor" is so off-putting.
            If I created my own reality TV show to showcase my search for love, I can tell you I'd be choosing the group of men. No producer is going to be able to choose a proper pool of men for me when I haven't even been able to choose a proper pool of men for myself yet. Maybe I'd have "American Idol"-type auditions where men need to impress me with some sort of talent. I wouldn't be giving out roses- they'd be the one bringing gifts. And cheap red roses wouldn't cut it for this bachelorette- they'd better get creative! You guys should nominate me for the next bachelorette because you know if you're going to watch reality TV you'd want to watch someone who would actually keep it real- and you know you can always trust me to do that! I'll be waiting for my call from the producers of "The New Bachelorette." You know my schedule is completely open right now.

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Why do so many single women love cats?

            I'm pretty sure my minor in psychology makes me uniquely qualified to delve into the female psyche and tackle one of the most puzzling questions about young women. We're not talking about jeggings, why we choose such horribly wrong partners, or Channing Tatum (I'm sorry, ladies, but I just don't see it!). I want to talk about why so many single women choose cats as pets. You may want to challenge me on this and say, "Katie, not every single girl has a cat." Well, there are enough of us that "crazy cat lady" is a phrase and phenomenon we are all familiar with. Why is this? 

A friend of mine identified this photo as the moment I became a crazy cat lady- for the record, I'm in my Cheshire Cat costume

            I wasn't single when I adopted Sweet Pea. I was in a nearly three-year-long relationship, but I was living alone, going to school full-time, and working full-time hours. I went to the SPCA more than a couple of times before finding Sweet Pea. Two months later, I ended my relationship and became a single woman with a cat. Sweet Pea has outlasted two relationships now and a cross-country move, so it's pretty clear that we're inseparable. But why? Is it the unconditional love? The emotional support? The non-judgmental company?
            Not bloody likely.
But Katie, my cat is so loving!
            I have used this very same justification to excuse the scratch and bite marks on my forearms. "She just likes to play!" I've also told people that my cat prefers to adore me from a distance. It can feel like you're trying to justify a less-than-perfect romantic relationship when you explain this to friends and family. "I know s/he loves me- s/he doesn't have to say it! I can just tell!" I'm not saying your cat doesn't love you. I'm sure mine does. She just has a terrible way of showing it. But we single women accept this. We've likely dealt with it in relationships and been unsatisfied. We might have ended relationships with people who don't love us the way we need to be loved. I have. Love is about compromise, but in a single woman/cat relationship, it's all one-sided. 

            Single Woman: Cat, let's snuggle. Come here and curl up on my lap.

         Cat: *walks over towards you, stops three feet in front of woman, and flings self onto ground, just out of reach* Nope.
            There's only so much of that we'd take in a relationship before giving a partner his or her walking papers. Somehow, cats get a free pass here and are free to love us as they choose- and when they choose. This leads nicely to the next protest from single women cat lovers.
But Katie, my cat is always there for me!
            Nope. Your cat is always there for him or herself. In general, I'd say that cats are some of the least supportive pets. I had dwarf rabbits in high school that were more sensitive to my feelings. When I'm feeling sad, Sweet Pea watches from a chair across the room, looking at me as if to say, "I could care less, sugar. Is it time for breakfast yet?" In general, cats don't go out of their way to cheer you up. You know when my cat wants to snuggle? Around 3am. She'll wake me up to curl up on my arm try to suckle on my earlobe (I know, weird right?). Cats are not terribly considerate- of anything. At the last brunch I prepared, Sweet Pea sat next to the table and licked her butthole in front of the company. Yes, my cat is always in my apartment but I'm fairly certain that's only because she can't open the front door on her own yet. Cats are like the completely self-absorbed friend you love, but who makes everything about themselves when you really need a shoulder to cry on. They're not the ideal company.

Yes cat, your flexibility is impressive, but this is just impolite.

But Katie, my cat is great company!
            Are you sure about that? Living with a cat can be like living with a terribly inconsiderate roommate. I was lucky because I had pretty amazing roommates in college but I lived in residence long enough to see the potential pitfalls.
            Cats don't hesitate to wake you up for food, creeping into your room like drunken frat guys wanting you to drive them to McDonald's at 4am before they start serving breakfast. Sure, cats may put a little flourish on things with cute meows and little nuzzles, but the result is the same. You're in the dead of sleep, dreaming about David Duchovny in "The X-Files" (or Channing Tatum, whatever!) and you're woken up by your furry roommate for some kibble. I never feed the cat at this point because I know all about positive reinforcement: if I feed her when she wakes me up, she'll keep waking me up. The only problem with this? She wakes me up anyhow, two years later, psychology minor be damned.
            Cats rarely contribute anything to the household. They can't hold jobs or clean up after themselves, but it would be nice if they could do something. Dogs often act as a deterrent to burglars. Cats only act as a deterrent to potential boyfriends. They get hair everywhere and kick litter all over the place. My cat doesn't even kill the occasional bugs she finds. She corners them and meows, indicating like a drug dog, until I come and take care of them. Like a bad relationship, the bar is set low. Couldn't s/he just do the dishes once?
            Thankfully I have never experienced this one because Sweet Pea is an indoor cat, but how about those weird gifts that outdoor cats bring home, like dead animals? It's like waking up in the morning to find the strange dude your roommate brought home from the bar the night before and having that odd morning interaction outside the bathroom. You're wondering, "Why the hell would you bring that home?" in both instances. To be fair to the cat, it has got to be easier to clean up after the dead animal than deal with an awkward morning encounter, not to mention that the cat brought that dead animal home for you. I've never had a roommate bring home a strange dude for me. Thank you for that, old roomies.
            I can only conclude that single women subconsciously choose cats as furry roommates to prepare them for the compromise of relationships. They are willing to overlook the slightly asshole-ish qualities of cats in favour of their great qualities. This is great practice for remembering to have reasonable expectations of your future partner. Your cat might not come when you call his or her name, but they are fairly independent and can stay alone for a weekend without blowing up your phone with, "Where u at?" texts. Your future partner may dress terribly, but he or she may watch cheesy horror movies with you even though they hate them. Cats aren't perfect and neither are people. You bring home a cat knowing it is going to shit in a box in your home, but you accept that because it's way more convenient than 6am dog walks. Why would you meet a future partner and expect that he or she would never pee with the door open or clog your shower drain with hair? We're all assholes sometimes. Cats, better than any other domesticated animals, remind us of this. If you really love someone, you have to love them for their eccentricities- not in spite of them. I'm a single woman and I love my cat.

* I truly love my cat. Please don't send me hate mail for bashing cats. They're awesome- but they're assholes, too. But since she loves me for all my eccentricities, like taking hundreds of pictures of her, bothering her during her naptimes, and decorating her e-collar with a mustache, so we're good.

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

This Job Search Feels More Like a Quest

            There are times when you get discouraged. Times when things just aren't going the way you want them to. Maybe your plans to eat healthy aren't going so well. Maybe you're not hitting the gym as much as you would like. Maybe your whole life plan seems to be stuck. That's where I'm at. I quit my part-time job (where I worked shift-work and crazy, full-time hours) to move 1000 miles away to search for a job in a bigger centre. I'll accept pats-on-the-back for this ballsy move, but in my mind, this ballsy move would be rewarded in short time with a job offer.
            No such luck.
            People tell me that three months isn't a long time to be searching for a job and I suppose it isn't. Three months is a long time to go without money coming in. Three months feels like an eternity when you're used to working crazy hours and always having things to fill your time. Three months feels longer than an eternity when you're staying with your wonderful, loving family while you search for a job. These extra challenges to the job search are things you might expect, but I didn't count on how much they would contribute to that desperation and increase the pressure to find a job- any job.
            Sure, I wasn't raking in the big bucks at my last job. I had enough to pay my bills, buy groceries, and occasionally treat myself to a sushi date with a friend or a trip to the local pawnshop to get some four-for-ten-dollars used DVDs. I was doing just fine. I didn't have a car. I was renting a tiny apartment. I had what I needed for the basics and a teensy bit extra. I'm missing that right now. Three months with no income means no sushi dates. It means no new shirt for a job interview. Severely limited visits to the used bookstore to stock up on some non-fiction with which to educate myself (I love those Isaac Asimov books where he explains complex scientific concepts using great examples and clear language!). It also means that my meagre savings are being used up pretty quickly to help buy groceries, pay for my toiletries, buy bus tickets, and get new glasses (those suckers nearly drained me, but glasses aren't exactly something you can go without!). I'm not one of those people who enjoys being taken care of by others, so not being able to contribute financially the way I would like to is extremely difficult to deal with. I try to compensate by doing everything I can in the home: planning and cooking all the meals, doing all the laundry, and keeping the house clean. It helps a little- at least I feel a little less useless. It also helps kill the time that I'm not searching for a job or watching episodes of "Doctor Who" and wondering when The Doctor will come and take me away for an adventure.
            And there is a lot of time. I understand exactly how retirement can kill a person. I went from working 40-60 hour work weeks, going to school full-time, and having a decent social life to job searches and daytime television in my pajamas. There is a good chunk of time I spend every day searching the regular job websites, writing cover letters, filling out applications, and emailing resumes, but it's not an eight hour affair. I watch way too much Food Network which means I've done way too much baking. I search for new recipes and plan new meals to try out (I made my first mushroom risotto last week and it was amazing!). Home manicures and pedicures happen weekly. I started one of those memory boxes that you keep little slips of paper in and write down good things that happen all year before reading them all on New Years' Eve (the box is pretty empty right now, I've got to tell you). So I've learned something very important. I don't think I'm looking forward to retirement as much as I previously thought. I mean, if I'm independently wealthy and can spend my time in the Caribbean on a beach making people uncomfortable because I'm the 65-year-old lady sunbathing topless that would be great. If my retirement life involves knitting, baking cookies, and waiting for my grandchildren to visit I think I'd rather stay working as long as I can. I need something to fill my time other than family time.

 My Dutch apple crumb pie, another product of my spare time

            I'm getting plenty of quality family time right now since I'm staying with my mom. I need to stress the point that I am STAYING with my mom. I don't want to be the person who moved home- and I'm not. It may seem like a tenuous distinction, but it isn't. I have an amazing family: my brother, living far away, calls all the time and is so helpful with job application stuff since he's a professional type. My mom is so supportive and I know she loves having me around to cook and help her out with things. My extended family is always calling with suggestions for new fields to look at or organizations to contact. It's tough going from living on my own, alone, and suddenly having my mom as a roommate. We have all the usual roommate-type squabbles, only with a twist. We have different taste in many TV shows. We sort laundry differently. I use too many dishes making delicious meals and she occasionally comments on this when she does the dishes. But we also have some great laughs. We watch Friday Bride-Day on TLC (yes, we love "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Something Borrowed, Something New!"). She has even come to love my cat and she has never been a cat person. The cat and I are both looking forward to having our own space soon, though.
            I know I will find a job, but patience is difficult to hold onto sometimes. That desperation sets in. The little voice in your head tells you, "Just take anything!" and you apply for any job. You get depressed when Wendy's doesn't call you back for an interview (I'd make a mean Baconator and you all know it!). I'm there. I'm at that point. I'm so ready for income, responsibilities, and personal space. I want it tomorrow. I keep reminding myself that there is a difference between taking your time to find the right job and passing over jobs. I've turned down one job offer since I've been here because it wasn't right for me. Taking any job isn't a solution to all of this. It has to be the right job. I hope the next offer that comes in is the reward for that ballsy first move I made when I moved back here. I'm ready to finish this quest and begin a new one.

© Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, written or visual, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Jolicoeur and Blackhearts & Raspberry Tarts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Ten Cheesy Horror Films You Must See

            It might seem odd that I've admitted to having questionable taste in movies and now I'm going to suggest some films for you to see. I may have questionable taste when it comes to movies in general, but I have excellent taste in cheesy horror films. I'm a bit of a connoisseur. I've got a reputation for it. A friend and her husband were flipping through Netflix when they came across Rubber (2010). I got a Facebook message from her which said, "Katie, we saw this movie about a telepathic tire that kills people. That's your kind of movie!" I haven't seen that one yet, but I keep hoping I'll find a copy somewhere. For Christmas last year, my biological mother and her husband sent me a copy of The Capture of Bigfoot (2005) with a note stuck on the front of it which says, "Katie, it's really bad. Enjoy!" So, you can see that I have extensive experience with cheesy horror films.
            There are so many ways a horror film could be cheesy. It could be playful or silly, both of which I enjoy. It might be low budget or perhaps it has cheesy special effects. Or it could be masterful, serious, and overacted. I love cheesy horror films like I love cheese: I love them all. There are some that you really must see and they're all so unique. No spoilers ahead- just the key selling points, I promise! They're in no particular order- I can't rank my favourite cheeses and I couldn't rank my favourite cheesy horror films!
            Gary Busey. Need more? Gary Busey as an evil gingerbread man run amok. And there are two sequels so watching this trilogy is a whole evening of family fun! Well, it depends on the family, I suppose.
            A lovely, quirky vegan couple get married and tragedy strikes on their honeymoon. Love and zombies- I haven't seen Warm Bodies (2013) yet, but love and zombies are an interesting combination. I hate chick flicks, so this is about as close to sap as I can get! So if your partner wants to watch something romantic, you can feel good about suggesting this film, I promise you. It's a perfect relationship compromise. But I am single, so perhaps I shouldn't be doling out relationship advice. Nah, you can totally trust me on this one.
            Vincent Price, in all his wonderful, talented, creepy glory. Skip the 2005 Paris Hilton remake. This one is theatrical, artistic, and creepy. I love gore, but you don't miss it here. Sure, there are no boobs, but there are old timey costumes, a masked psychopath, and fight scenes. I almost feel bad for calling it cheese because I know the connotation attached to that, but I mean Mr. Price no insult. He's great in this, as in all of his films.
            No, this is not the heart-warming Michael Keaton film. An evil snowman bent on revenge stalks the people of a small town, including Shannon Elizabeth. Hilarious death scenes. I watched this on a first date once (his choice, since he knew I loved cheesy horror films). We never went out again, but I love having great things to take away from dates. This man, whose name I can't even recall, gave me the gift of this film. Now, I give this gift to you and you don't even have to buy me dinner. But it would be a nice gesture.
            A nurse starts a new job at a mental health facility with some apprehensions. 70s cheese at its best, but also a little scary. Not the film itself, but it's scary like Orphan (2009) because it makes me think, "What if?" I had a job interview where I seriously wondered if I was walking into a similar situation. I assume, since nothing scary happened, that my overactive imagination once again got the best of me, but nothing keeps things interesting for me like imagining weird things. There is a 2012 remake that IMDb lists as being in post-production and I can't wait to see it and tear it apart. I can't imagine it can be any better than this 70s gem!
            Gross. Just disgusting. In all the very best ways, of course. Gore, eyeballs, a curse, bad things happening to a pretty girl- all the good stuff! This film is directed by Sam Raimi, the genius behind The Evil Dead (1981), so you know what you're getting into. You could also watch it simply for the devastatingly sexy Dileep Rao because his voice and his beard are both awesome. Go on. Google his picture and then check him out on YouTube to hear his voice.  Thank me later.
            While I only named the first movie, I really mean the whole Puppet Master series. There are lots of films and they greatly vary in their cheesiness. The puppets are sometimes evil and sometimes heroes. They're adorable. They battle the Nazis. As the series goes on, more puppets appear and the history behind the puppets creation is revealed. I'm not a collector of movie merchandise, but I would love to own the whole collection of puppets. And yes, I would command them to do my bidding. And yes, you'd have to remind me they're only toys.
            A good-looking, socially awkward Crispin Glover makes friends with the rats in his house and plots revenge on those who have wronged him. And not just any rats. These rats have personality and pretty impressive intelligence. Like Master Splinter before the ooze mutated him, only a little evil. It's fun, it's gory, and it features R. Lee Ermey, who I love. This is a remake of a 1971 film of the same name, which I have not seen, and that fills me with sadness. I have a sudden curiosity about filmmaking with rats in the 70s. I wonder if the Humane Society was on set for the 70s version.
          The title tells you exactly what you're going to get in this movie and you won't be disappointed, I assure you. Adult film star Jenna Jameson stars as a stripper at a club that is infiltrated by zombies. This film also features Robert Englund, well known for playing Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series from the 1980s, as the sleazy club owner. The gore is entertaining and the final fight scene is incredibly amusing. It's entertaining, hilarious, and attempts to be thought-provoking, which is wonderful. I was a zombie stripper a few years ago for Halloween and I'm happy to report that the makeup effects in the film are much better than the job I did on my own face!

 Me as a zombie stripper, Halloween 2010
            Okay, it may seem as though I've got a lot of non-human killers on here, but so often that's all it takes to make a movie cheesy. This movie features a murderous, talking turkey. It doesn't matter if the movie is Schindler's List (1993). If Oskar Schindler had been played by a talking turkey instead of Liam Neeson, we'd have cheese. Spray cheese, even. The turkey is hilarious. Like The Gingerdead Man (2005), there are just so many wonderful, cheesy lines. And boobs in the first second of the film- you know, in case they forgot to put some boobs later in the film. Sadly, this wonderful film is not a part of my DVD collection yet, but my birthday is coming up in May!
            I suggest you print out a copy of this list and head out to your local store to purchase copies of these DVDs. No, wait. There's a very good chance that you won't find any of these films available locally on DVD. Try Amazon or eBay. Check local pawnshops and the like that sell used DVDs. Watch a few and let me know what you think of my suggestions. Or maybe you've already seen some of these, so feel free to comment with some suggestions. I'm always interested in hearing about cheesy horror films I may have missed out on!

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