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Will Write for Nutella

24 Feb

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.52.54 AMIt may not have been the most lucrative assignment I’ve ever taken on, but definitely one of the tastiest.

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A Quick Beck Check

10 Feb

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Whetting for Work

20 Jan

IMG_9696I was in Brattleboro, Vt. last week for a work visit, and got a chance to check out a new brewery and restaurant the Northeast beer community has been buzzing about.

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Tim’s Awesome Burger

The reasons to visit Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery are countless. If the great food – Tim’s Awesome Burger with peanut butter and bacon, anyone? – and beer brewed on-site don’t tickle your fancy, then how about dining on the banks of the Connecticut River as trains chug by? Sampling small plates in the Bier Garten from May to November? Or how about this … checking two states off of a cross-country beer tour list under one roof? That’s right, the New Hampshire – Vermont line runs right through the Whetstone.

The Noms are Out!

15 Jan

It’s the first official step toward our annual Oscar Party and Food Contest … the nominations have been released. This is it, kids: a veritable menu from which to choose your edible, Oscar-themed creation and vie for the prizes and glory that come with a win.

Let’s take a peek at some of the contenders — for both the Academy Award and voting at our fiesta, via the uncomplicated ‘pen and piece of scrap paper’ system. PriceWaterhouseCoopers was unavailable.

The Academy nominated eight of a possible ten films for Best Picture this year, and it looks like Boyhood and The Theory of Everything are the front-runners. The Grand Budapest Hotel did surprisingly well at the Globes, though, so maybe that’s the Dark Horse.

Best Actor… Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne took the Globes home, but can we get a win for Steve Carell? He’s virtually unrecognizable in Foxcatcher and for my party purposes his nomination makes ‘Steve Carvel’ a potential reality.

It only took 30 years

Best Actress… Bummer that Jennifer Aniston was snubbed for her role in Cake.

Best Supporting Actor… Fun fact: in high school, my friends Patti, Heather and I went to a screening of a short film by nominee Ethan Hawke in Provincetown, then proceeded to tail him around the town in my 1978 two-tone Chevy Monte Carlo when he left with friends.

Best Supporting Actress… Oh hi, Meryl.

As for some of the lesser-followed categories, this is the bread and butter of the Oscar Party Food Contest. If a food-themed dish didn’t come to mind in the major categories, these always offer a ringer or two. For instance: 2015 documentary nominee Salt of the Earth and Foreign Language nom Tangerines.

To review, here are some of last year’s entries!

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5 am.

14 Jan

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.13.51 AMAs it’s at the tail end of the period during which saying ‘Happy New Year’ still flies, it’s my last chance to write a little about a poetry challenge I took on earlier this year. Think of it as a wrap-up post and a resolution to write more poetry in 2015 in one.

Back in April — National Poetry Month — I signed on for the 30/30 Poetry Challenge organized by WordxWord. The goal was 30 poems in 30 days, with a different prompt each day and a 24-hour deadline to submit. Full disclosure: I only made it to poem 26 before life took over and I ran out of time. But that’s still 26 new works; some rushed, some thoughtful, some containing flashes of brilliance (dare say I) and some kinda crappy.

Such is the stuff of writing.

Prompts ranged, literally, from ‘Things we Carry’ (April 1) to ‘All she Wrote,’ (April 30). It’s strange to write poetry with the overall goal of quantity versus quality, but as the challenge progressed, I realized this is a great exercise: I was writing on a theme presented by someone else, and stepping outside of my writing comfort zone, which generally lasts longer than a day as I tinker and tweak. I found that ideas would pop into my head, and instead of torturing them into something that I felt reflected my poetic voice and viewpoint, I simply ran with them. The result was a broader selection of styles and topics than I normally tackle, and probably plenty of nuggets that I can coax into something even better later down the line.

One of my favorite poets is the singer/songwriter Mike Doughty, former Soul Coughing front man. he came to mind on April 17, when the prompt was ‘5 am’ and his song Screenwriter’s Blues, largely spoken word over an instrumental strain, started rolling around in my noggin. Instead of trying to get as far away from his words as I could and write something that was totally, uniquely me, I instead merged with his lyrics full force. Call it an homage, call it a mash-up, call it dreck … the point was not to amaze and dazzle. The point was simply to write, and the result is one of my favorite submissions, even if no one else thinks it’s worth a pile of magic beans.

I reiterate … such is the stuff of writing.

It is 5 a.m.

It is 5 a.m.,” (as a matter-of-fact.) “And you are listening to Los Angeles.”

The words are Doughty’s on the mic.
But could I say it better? No matter:
5 a.m. is bleak and hopeful, confusing and stark
the light is gray and piercing

there’s little noise, but what sounds
is deafening.

To drive seems foreign, to sleep natural,
but sleep evades (if we’re recognizing time).

It’s a gloaming when night fades and morning resists
It is 5 a.m.
and my own words don’t come
but those spoken by others
resonate like the snapping of a trap.
~ Jaclyn C. Stevenson (with an excerpt from Screenwriter’s Blues, written by M. Doughty) 2014

2014 in review

29 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Excitement Builds…Golden Globe noms announced

15 Dec

OK, kids … this is one of the big ones. The Golden Globe nominees were announced last week, giving us our first glimpse at what are expected to become the quintessential films and shows of 2014.https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8229/8403541010_4ba428f83a_z.jpg

The winners in the film categories (to be announced at the Big Show on January 11, with Amy and Tina at the helm again — yay) often go on to the Big-Big Show, the Oscars, on Feb. 22… that means the Globe noms are not just a preview of award-winners to come, but also our first chance to start devising movie-themed goodies for our annual pre-Oscar party and food contest. 

In fact, it’s become hard for me to scan the list of nominees without automatically assigning food-puns to the actors, directors, and producers — Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch, anyone? — and even more so this year because I have yet to see most of the films. That said, here are a few early impressions:

It’s nice to see Jennifer Aniston on the Best Actress (Drama) list, finally, and for a movie called Cake, too! That’s an easy entry for a food contest… so no excuses, future guests. Aniston did win a Globe for her role on Friends in 2003, but she’s never been among Jennifer Aniston 2011.jpgthe heavy-hitters on the film side of things, and from the looks of it she has as good a chance as everyone else in the category: Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon, and Felicity Jones. I dare say she might even be the favorite, with Moore nominated in another category (Best Actress, Musical or Comedy), Pike and Jones representing the newcomers, and Witherspoon starring in a film that was just released to the masses this month.

In the Best Actor, Mini-series/TV Movie category, it feels like Take Two for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, who were already pitted against the all-powerful Bryan Cranston at the Emmys and therefore only worth a handful of beans. I personally feel like their collective moment has passed but I’m always game to hear McConaughey wax poetic about Neptune, so may the best Wood-a-been win. 

Best Supporting Actress, Mini-series/TV Movie is another interesting category for performances; we’ve got Kathy Bates playing a bearded woman, Allison Janney playing a recovering alcoholic, Uzo Aduba as an inmate, Joanne Froggatt as a maid, and Michelle Monaghan as a cheatin’ heart… it seems to be the year of the unsung hero.

One of my favorite categories, Best Song, is largely populated by the new pop elite: Sia, Lorde, Lana del Rey, Common, and John Legend are joined by veterans Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye. My pick here is Lorde for Yellow Flicker Beat (Hunger Games: Mockingjay), because it’s just a great tune.

…What say you?

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