2.22.2015

and the 2015 nominees are...

the coolidge

For the seventh year in a row, Ian and I watched the Oscar-nominated animated shorts (our fifth year watching at the Coolidge Corner Theatre). Our prediction record is now 3 for 4, counting just the years we've seen all the animated shorts. Here's hoping we're 4 for 5 after tonight!


Me and My Moulton — This was a delightful recounting of a memorable summer for a young Norwegian girl and her two sisters growing up in the 60s. Their quirky and unconventional parents, both modern architects, often leave their daughter uncomfortable, wishing they could be more like other families. But over the course of that summer she learns to appreciate her family, quirks and all. I loved both the storytelling style and the bright, simple, yet expressive animation. Ian and I relate closely to the parents' design sense, which made us enjoy the short even more. (Someday, we are going to be those parents. #notpregnant)

Feast — This year's Disney short is a boy-meets-girl story told from the perspective of the boy's dog — more specifically, the dog's food bowl. Food is love, so reflecting the story of a relationship through a series of meals is an intriguing concept. However, the pet perspective reminded us of Adam and Dog, a 2013 animated short nominee. The animation also felt very similar to Disney's Paperman from two years ago. Like Paperman, this short was sweet but a bit contrived, and the ending seemed too cliché.

The Bigger Picture — Two brothers deal with the responsibility of caring for their aging mother. Her increasing dependency changes her relationship with each of her sons, and also reveals the brothers' differences. Most impressive is the stop motion animation of the characters, painted life-sized, frame-by-frame, on the walls of the rooms, and the way they interact with the three-dimensional rooms and the objects the contain. This unique technique combined with the creators' willingness to address such a difficult topic makes this a serious contender for the Oscar.

A Single Life — An album mysteriously turns up at the door of a young woman, and it turns out to be, quite literally, the record of her life. It's a hilarious two minutes of film that still achieves a poignant message about what can happen when we're in a hurry to get to the next phase in life. And the soundtrack is fantastic.

The Dam Keeper — A young pig has inherited his father's job as dam keeper, protecting his small town from the ominous dark cloud on the other side of the wall. His job is thankless and unappreciated, and the other animals at school bully the dirty pig. When a new student appears at school, the pig begins to hope he might not be so alone. But with friendship comes vulnerability. The story touches on important issues of bullying, loneliness, and metal health. Beautiful and epic, this is my pick to take home the Oscar.

Highly Commended Shorts

Sweet Cocoon — A well-fed caterpillar needs some help squeezing into her tiny cocoon. Two kind bugs work hard to assist her, with surprising results. I loved the almost slapstick comedy, and the humor of a lady working hard to wear a too-small dress translates so well into the insect world.

Footprints — From the creator of The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger is a story of a man who wakes up in the middle of the night to a crash through his window. He grabs his gun to track down the intruder, and with each new clue, the imagined monster grows larger. This was a dark short with a deep twist, the meaning of which we're still debating.

The Duet — Glen Keane, an animator who worked on The Little MermaidPocahontas, and many other Disney classics, created this short for Google's new virtual world app. A love story is told in one continuous spiraling shot, twisting to follow the two characters crossing paths until they finally unite. It's a beautiful animated short, which I can imagine is even more impressive when experienced in the viewer for which it was created.

Bus Story — A woman has an idyllic dream of life as a school bus driver, picking up happy children and waving at parents while rolling along the beautiful Canadian countryside. When she gets the opportunity to drive the only school bus in town, she soon feels the reality of a temperamental boss, charmless passengers, and an unwieldy bus. This was a delightfully funny short, and I particularly loved the narrator.

As always, we enjoyed all of the shorts, and highly recommend catching them if you have the opportunity. Have fun watching the Oscars, and may the best films win!

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

2.13.2015

77.3 inches and counting

We thought the January 26-27 blizzard dumped a lot of snow on Boston. And it did: 24.6 inches made it the sixth biggest snowstorm for the city. (I can't find snowfall totals for Brookline, but based on other nearby totals, I'm guessing we actually got more than Boston proper.)

Post-blizzard commuting with @scherling200 and #llbean. #24inches #moresnowtonight

And then the past two weeks happened, setting record after record (making national news and prompting the Boston Globe to create a fun infographic for our current season total). In 18 days, we've had 71.8 inches — more than two feet higher than the winter season average. The snowstorm this past weekend is now Boston's seventh biggest. The MBTA is struggling. Schools are cancelling vacation days to make up for snow days. Commutes are twice as long as usual.

It's off to work we go. #llbean #76inchesandcounting #makeitstop

And there's another storm on the way. Thanks goodness for L.L. Bean winter gear and a long weekend.

Curious about our past snow adventures in Boston? 2013 still stands as the fifth biggest snowstorm. And winter 2011 was impressive as well with a season total of 81 inches, 4 inches short of maxing out the Boston Globe's Shaq-o-meter (we documented 20 inches and 70.1 inches).

2.01.2015

thankful list | January 2015

Even in the winter rain, clam digging and oystering is so much fun! #capecod #family #thankskarla

01. time in Manhattan to celebrate our anniversary (a day late).
02. a quick hike at Konza Prairie.
03. Old Chicago, for being open so we could actually enjoy an anniversary dinner.
04. Christmas lights in Manhattan.
05. getting to stay at the B&B where we spent our wedding night.
06. visiting Manhattan Hill, where we started dating and Ian proposed (on the first T).
07. coffee with Kate.
08. watching the K-State bowl game with friends and family.
09. breakfast with friends in Nathan and Sara's new neighborhood.
10. getting a tour of Nathan and Sara's new house, currently under renovation, in KC.
11. a bit of snow.
12. REUNION.
13. discovering Super Cluckin' Sundays at Cutty's.
14. belated Christmas presents.
15. Rick Bayless's tortilla soup.
16. a new person joining the REUNION slide creation team.
17. when it was -15 degrees out, a nice bus driver who let us wait on the bus instead of outside.
18. snuggling under a blanket on a cold day.
19. dinner at Comedor with Nolan and Ingrid.
20. figuring out how to keep our antique bed slats from sliding off the frame.
21. Top Chef.
22. a visit from the Nichols.
23. a new session of community group.
24. feeling better after taking a day off to help my body beat a head cold.
25. yoga at the office.
26. Spike, my Christmas cactus from Grandma, flowering for the first time in five years.
27. an informative and applicable presentation on emotional intelligence.
28. a day around Boston with Ren and Emily.
29. Christmas on the Cape.
30. the funny experience of getting the car stuck on the beach outside the Kennedy compound.
31. Karla, the awesome neighbor who took us to harvest oysters and and dig for clams.
32. driving around shopping and seeing beaches all afternoon.
33. accidental naps in the car, a.k.a. magic sleep.
34. kitties.
35. a roaring fireplace.
36. a cozy new sofa in front of said fireplace.
37. lobster and steak for Christmas dinner.
38. a safe drive back to Boston.
39. sharing our fresh oysters with friends.
40. Boostrap Compost (because it feels so good to not throw away organic waste anymore).
41. a quiet day at the office.
42. a snow day.
43. a quick copyediting gig.
44. exciting changes at the office.
45. a visit from Micki and Grandma Judy.
46. a fun office super bowl party.
47. the all clear after the fire department paid a visit to our apartment complex.
48. that the firefighters determined there was no fire before sawing into our roof.
49. a delicious (vegan) lunch with our fellow DR team leader to plan for the trip.
50. progress in decluttering our apartment.
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