Learning to Love Summer (Even in Alabama)

The summer keeps rolling on here in Alabama, quite greenly and steamily, and for once I feel like I am taking full advantage of it.  Can we talk about the food?  Piles and piles of fresh, local, organic, in-season produce every week, and I’ve got nothing but love for it (now that the vicious onslaught of cabbage has finally come to an end anyway).

Just today, my bag was chock full of butternut squash that I can save and use for months to come, according to the ever-informative letter from Farmer G.

Butternut Squash!

Here’s a mystery item that my friends on Twitter and Flickr helped me identify:

Mystery Item

The internet is so useful! It was a lemon cucumber! So named, I think, because it looks kind of like a lemon, not because it tastes especially lemony. (Thanks for the assist on this one, peeps!)


I’ve also got a wealth of melon lately (watermelon and cantaloupe) plus the usual summer squashes, cucumbers, carrots, and so on.

This has led itself to the great return of bento lunchboxes! (As always with photos, click the image to go through to Flickr for more info, including what’s in the box, etc.)

[188/365] Back to Bento

Oh yes indeed.  If you’ve been around here for long, you may remember a few years back when I got enchanted with the idea of making cute little lunches in tiny Japanese bento boxes — well, the fever has returned!

[193/365] Bento Lunch Again!

I’m not making any elaborate recipes or anything at this point, just using the lunches as a nice way to pack fruits and vegetables instead of the old routine of CLIF bars or yogurts or whatever.  It has become a great success!  My friend M. has already requested that I make some for her and mail them to her (she lives in another state), and my guy friend tells me he is jealous and is going to start showing up to work any day now with a (Hello Kitty-shaped!) bento box of his own. A joke, I assume.

[194/365] Leftovers

But isn’t there just something charming about the small, pretty lunches? I think so.  If I could make them downloadable for all of you, I would, but until The Future (when such things will surely be possible) (and old fogeys such as we will be by then shall forever be reminiscing about the quality of Vintage Analog Food that we just can’t get anymore), these photos will have to suffice.

In other seasonal news, I have been actually enjoying the outdoors lately too — quite unlike myself the past couple of years here! Ever since I have become a runner again the idea of heat and humidity that I might experience doing lower-intensity activities such as walking, sitting, or just being outside? Not so bad. No need to hide in the air conditioning now! I’m still hitting the trails every weekend for a lovely long run in the quiet, green, and eerie woods:

[192/365] Plant Life

If I can run ten miles in this weather, or do seemingly endless 200-meter sprint reps at a track that is as humid as the inside of a dog’s mouth, I can certainly walk downtown, for example, to catch a World Cup game at the bar.  Especially when there will be a cold beer there waiting for me.

So the outdoors and I? We are getting along famously. I am even the proud owner now of sunscreen and bug spray.

This past weekend, we tried to go to an outdoor screening of Night of the Living Dead at a local park.

[190/365] Night of the Living Dead

It wound up getting rained out (HUGE torrential thunderstorm), but fun was had admiring the amazing view and the pink sunset and throwing the Frisbee.  My first time throwing a Frisbee in probably over 20 years, I feel I must add.


It’s a summer of firsts in a lot of ways — including my quest to (FINALLY) watch a bunch of classic movies I always felt I should have watched but never got around to.  The project is ongoing and this post is already long enough, so I’ll have to write more on that later.

But! If you’re in the mood for audience participation: What are your favorite classic movies? What classic movies have YOU never seen? If I haven’t seen them, they’ll get added to my Netflix Queue! Tell me what to watch!


  1. What the crap. How much are you paying your CSA guy? Because I am not getting this kind of goods and I am the annoyed.

  2. Hmm…let me go ahead and list some scary movies for you that you MUST see if you haven’t (Sorry, I can’t remember; if you’ve seen them, ignore moi, please.)
    In order of amazing (IMO):
    Rosemary’s Baby (if you can forget/forgive Polanski for a minute, or 90)
    The Exorcist
    The Omen
    The Shining

    The best thing, to me, about these classic horror films is that they’re really more psychological (with possibly the exception of Poltergeist) than horror, and, thus, they are awesome. Gosh, I almost hope you haven’t seen these, so you can watch them for the first time.

    Please to add me to the Bento mail order. LOVE. They look so yummy. Maybe I should just make some for myself, but can you even imagine the search for bento boxes around here? It makes my head hurt.

    What else? (oh, you know I am surveying my DVD library now…Also, our, ahem, definitions of “classic” probably differ a bit.)
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    All About Eve
    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (a Mischker family favorite 😉
    Blade Runner
    The Neverending Story (seriously, just give it a chance 😉
    On the Waterfront
    Streetcar Named Desire
    Transylvania 6500 (just for shits & giggles)

    Oh, and I guess if I were a better friend, I would have hyper-linked (?) all these, but I’m already exhausted just from this comment. Heh.

  3. If you liked Annie Hall, you should see Manhattan. Other classic movies that are so amazingly good oh my god: Singin’ in the Rain (even if you hate musicals), Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman is dreamy), Kiss Me Deadly (a detective movie too), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (very little made before or since is creepy-funnier). Oh, and recent but classic (and I just rewatched it with Paul) is a cool Errol Morris documentary called Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.

    I have never seen classic Japanese movies like Rashomon and The Seven Samurai. Could you check those out for me?

  4. I’m not sure, I might lose coolness points with you for of some my suggestions, but whatever — these aren’t scary or particularly dramatic, but they’re movies my mom sat me down and had me watch when I was in high school because they were the movies she watched when she was younger, and you know what? It was really fun.

    American Graffiti
    Beach Blanket Bingo
    How to Catch a Thief (one of my all-time favorites)
    Charade (definitely my favorite)
    High Noon
    Roman Holiday
    An Affair to Remember
    How to Marry a Millionaire

    There are loads more, but I’m gonna need to think on this for a while. I’ll be back!

  5. I tried to watch That Hamilton Woman, starring the real-life couple Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, but the audio was slightly off on Netflix Watch Instantly, and I gave up. I’m pretty pathetic when it comes to seeing all of those “classic” movies (I haven’t seen any of the ones you’ve been watching lately), so I have quite a few in my queue.

    There are the classic classics: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, North By Northwest, The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca, Bonnie and Clyde (which I actually saw most of one day).

    And the more recent movies everyone and their dog has seen, but me: Fargo, Parenthood, Caddyshack, Life Is Beautiful, The Graduate, Being John Malkovich. Those are just the ones I have in my queue right now, but there are a ton more that should be there.

  6. Oh, I forgot one suggestion for you: “Paris–When It Sizzles,” starring Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. Not sure if you’ve seen it, but it’s totally bizarre and funny. That horrible movie “Alex and Emma” was based on it, but don’t hold that against it! It’s about this guy who has to write a movie in two days or something, and he hires Audrey to be the typist. They come up with some crazy plots and twists on twists on twists. I love it, but that might be because I first saw it when I was 15, and my friends and I have a lot of inside jokes based on it.

  7. If you have never seen Wait Until Dark, I highly recommend it. It’s a psychological thriller starring Audrey Hepburn. She plays a blind woman who is targeted by a murderer. And it’s phenomenal!

  8. Danimal – I am paying 350 for the whole season, which is about 15 weeks. The newsletters from the farmer always talk about how they are not getting enough rain out there and/or how a few crops didn’t produce as much as they expected, so I “should” actually be getting more. Not sure what you guys pay or are getting, but around here I belong to the cheaper of two possible farms — the other one is about 500 a season and I think they do get a bit more. Mine is perfect for a singleton (if I occasionally share the excess with friends).

    MC – I think the refrigerated overnight shipping would be pretty prohibitive! Thanks for the suggestions. His Girl Friday was on my queue and I have moved it right on up to a place of prominence. It Happened… has been added as well.

    Clarabella – Awesome list! I have added all the ones I haven’t seen. Looking forward to checking out some of the classic horror I haven’t seen yet. As you know I wasn’t allowed to watch much horror growing up, so it has a special place of intrigue for me now.

    Golightly – LOVED Annie Hall, so Manhattan is on there now. I have added all the others that I hadn’t seen (had seen some on your list). Re Kurosawa, I liked Ran and Dreams and I had Rashomon in the queue already, so I just moved it up. You should definitely check the guy out.

    Katie – I think I’ve seen all your more contemporary pics, but I haven’t seen any of the older ones on your list except Casablanca. I have added all the others — been meaning to see N x NW forever now, so this is a great excuse to move it up in the queue.

  9. Katie and 1LitChick – Thanks! I think you guys were commenting at the same time I was. Heh. Anyway, both of these Audrey Hepburn movies have been added!

  10. Your question’s so open-ended that it’s difficult to answer, but here are some (very random) suggestions:
    12 Angry Men – Incredibly intense. Both the original and 1997 version are worth watching.
    Chinatown – An almost perfect drama.
    Dr. Strangelove – Of course.
    F for Fake – You’ll love it or hate it. Overwhelmingly indulgent. But brilliant.
    Glengarry Glen Ross – The screenplay and performances are about as good (and over-the-top) as films get.
    Hard Boiled – Maybe the best action film of the 90’s.
    Jackie Brown – The Premier Rennie’s Debate Subject: Is this Tarantino’s best?
    L.A. Confidential – It’s honestly almost as good as Chinatown.
    Network – Permanently relevant.
    Short Cuts – Altman’s direction is overrated, the dialogue and acting in it are not.
    Unforgiven – The Western’s epitaph.

  11. LOVED Annie Hall, so Manhattan is on there now.

    Manhattan’s brilliant. And strange, particularly now that we know what we know about Allen’s personal life.

  12. Good suggestions, Ian! Thanks. Basically I’m just asking for movies you love/think are classic/think everyone should see. I realized lately that a lot of the movies everyone “should” see, I have never seen. Remiss in my movie watching no more! Heading back over to Netflix to keep adding to the queue.

  13. @Ian: I almost put Glengarry Glen Ross on MY list; it is a phenomenal movie. I think you will like it, Kate.
    Also, @1litchick…I can’t believe I forgot _Wait Until Dark_. Shiver. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch it again, and you know how I am about scary movies.
    Kate, if you saw _Blink_ in the 90s (w/ Madeline Stowe & Aiden Quinn, it’s reminiscent of WUD, but no where near classic classification.)

    Also, I would like to add Goodfellas to my suggestions. You will mos def like it better than The G-Father, I promise. And/or Casino if you’re game for organized crime.

  14. Gah! Kristen, your comment ended up in the spam! I have no idea why since there aren’t even any links in it (that’ll usually trigger the spam filter).

    Anyway! I have seen An Affair to Remember and How to Catch a Thief (both great!) and I feel like I should have seen Roman Holiday but I can’t remember so I’ll count it as a haven’t-seen. Anyway, Netflixing everything.

    Clarabella, I shall add Goodfellas and Casino, but I am de-prioritizing organized crime on the list.

    Post to come soon on all this stuff!

  15. chiming in late with the following:
    a couple more animated features, since you brought it up:
    spirited away (esp since you like totoro), the fantastic mr. fox (i feel like you’ve seen this already, though), and coraline (i mean…it’s neil gaiman.)
    rachel getting married (recent but SO GOOD)
    the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie
    la dolce vita
    night of the iguana
    baby doll
    city of god
    shadow of a doubt
    the snake pit
    the long, hot summer (young robert redford ain’t got nothing on young paul newman)
    ordinary people
    leon: the professional
    terms of endearment (i know, i know. it really is fantastic, though!)
    and no classics list would be complete with out raising arizona.
    i will second manhattan, life is beautiful (oh god, but prepare yourself), short cuts, and goodfellas, but i will also highly recommend you just watch the sopranos and skip the mobster movies. it’s just better.

  16. From this list I still need to see: La Dolce Vita, City of God, Shadow of a Doubt, The Snake Pit, Long Hot Summer, Ordinary People. They have been added!

  17. I have to say, my very favorite old movie is Desk Set. Libraries, research, computers, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn….how could you go wrong?

    Also: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Tim Roth, and an great soundtrack by Michael Nyman). Disturbing, but brilliant.

    Oh, and if you want an awesome horror movie, go with the brilliant French flick HIgh Tension. Goooood twist on that one.

    OOOh, and the amazing monster movie from Korea, The HOST. Ah. May. Zing.

    Goodfellas is very good, as is Casino. I don’t recommend both on the same weekend, or even in the same month, but you should see them eventually.

    I will try to think of others for you!

    Please tell me where you got the adorable bento boxes. I must have a few for lunches. You are inspiring me, and gladware does not make for pretty lunches.

  18. Ruby – Thanks for the suggestions! I will add them. I got a couple of bento boxes from ebay and one from http://www.jlist.com/.

    I am now going to close the comments on this entry, as I am already almost 33 years old and don’t know if I have time in my remaining years to actually see all these movies.

    Thanks to everyone who suggested!

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