Friday, May 13, 2016

The Universal Coffee Vortex

Setting: Land of Checagou
A Panera, a Starbucks, and a Peet’s directly alongside one another.

I’ve found the Coffee Vortex of the Universe, my comrades. They say no mere mortal ever returns.

It beckons, and I must follow. There is good chance you may never see my face again.
I do not advise coming to my rescue, but if you must pursue, bring a sawbuck to tip the ferryman to guide you across the River Styxigan Avenue (make sure to use the passphrase “Come Sail Away”), and I will find you when Hades and Persephone open at 5 am.

Fortitudo!
More on my APAC adventures to follow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

RUM SWIZZLES – What Are They, and Which Is Best?

 

–A Guest Post by Christine Woodson–

 

On a recent trip to Bermuda, and my very first time, I made it my personal mission, during my limited time on the island, to see which establishment made the best rum swizzle.  I visited three.
 
The Rum Swizzle, while many establishments have their own way of making it and their own secret ingredient, mostly consists of Black Rum, Gold Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Grenadine, and various other items depending on how you make or where you get it.

 
 
SWIZZLE INN – near Grotto Bay Resort

 
 
During my husband Paul’s research, we knew we were going to be going to the Swizzle Inn a few times as it's located just down the road from where we were staying.
 
The Swizzle Inn’s site says that Bermuda’s national drink originated here.  Their motto is “Swizzle Inn - Stagger Out!”.  Our first night in Bermuda, I tested out this theory of theirs.  Instead of a single glass of swizzle, Paul and I decided to go all in and ordered a pitcher of it.  Granted, he probably slugged back more than I, but I did my fair share.  It had not only the extra ingredients but a good amount of rum.  And I was “almost” staggering by the time I left the establishment.  Definitely had the tipsy going on.  
 
 
 
 
HOG PENNY PUB - Hamilton

 
On our second day in Bermuda, we ventured all over the place.  At the end of the day, we wound up in Hamilton.  We stopped by the Hog Penny Pub, another place Paul had researched.

Hog Penny’s website says that they had one of the best swizzles around.  Happy’s Famous Rum Swizzle (“Happy Jack” Godfrey’s original and highly secret recipe).  I was game.  While Paul ordered a beer, I asked the bartender for the Rum Swizzle.  In his very apparent British accent, he told me it was a good choice but also warned me that the mixologist did not make the best ones that day.  Another bartender, laughingly agreed with him and even went further to say that it had the essence of a cherry Hi-C.

I am not, by any means, a cherry person.  But I was still willing to give it a go.  The drink was poured, the straw put in place, and the drinking commenced.

The second bartender hit the nail on the head.  It DEFINITELY tasted like a cherry Hi-C.  It had been a long while since I have even HAD a cherry Hi-C, but that memory will always stay with you, no matter the experience.

While, cherry was not my favorite, I finished it nevertheless.  But with much less enthusiasm.  There was way, way more cherry flavor and hardly any rum.  In no way was I staggering.  Granted, I only had one drink but it was a pretty good sized glass.  Not even any vocal slurring.

To be fair, I was warned about the batch made for that day.  Would I give it another try?  Sure!


 

WHITE HORSE PUB & RESTAURANT – St. George



 

On our third day in Bermuda, we explored St. George and the surrounding area.  For dinner that evening, we went to the White Horse Pub & Restaurant.  The website says that their rum swizzle is Gosling’s secret recipe that will have you coming back for more…they promise.  Well, perhaps they shouldn’t make promises they cannot keep.  Okay, I’m not saying it was bad.  I did drink it, but it had more pineapple in it than rum.  You could barely taste the rum.

 

ASTORIA, QUEENS – PAUL’S RUM SWIZZLE JOURNEY
 

 
We had such a great time in Bermuda!  We enjoyed all of our adventures.  At the airport, we even went shopping at the Duty Free shop and picked up Black Rum and Swizzle Inn’s own “secret ingredients” package.  As an afterthought, we also bought their Rum Swizzle which comes already made for consumption.
 
After we arrived home, and since we were still on vacation, Paul made us homemade Rum Swizzles with the rum and packet of “secret ingredients”.  WOW!  In no way can I complain that it wasn’t strong.  He had picked up the 140 proof black rum!  That’s my husband! J  Over the week, he did perfect it with the additional fruit juices, which we switched to after we finished off the packet.  My honey does make a good Rum Swizzle!
   
 

WHICH WAS THE BEST ONE?

While each place had their own versions of Rum Swizzles, the Swizzle Inn was hands down the best!  While you could argue that we had ordered a pitcher, their glasses were small.  Two of their glasses equaled one glass from the other establishments.  Not only could you taste the rum in the drink, but there was a perfect blending of the ingredients within the cocktail.
 
This personal journey of tasting/testing one of Bermuda’s most famous cocktails was worth the headache that “may” have accompanied the first night ;)
 
Congratulations, Swizzle Inn!
 
- Christine Woodson 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Interviewed by Author D.P. Prior about my Audiobook Career, as well as the recording process of his new Fantasy novel, CARNIFEX: LEGENDS OF THE NAMELESS DWARF!

 

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Carnifex-Audiobook/B01C6CUIXS/



I had a great time recording the audiobook of CARNIFEX; hopefully you'll have an equally great time listening to my narration of it! Learn about the ins & outs of producing an audiobook, my history with accents, both acting and personal, and what it's like to voice a Scottish dwarf.

Read the interview HERE on D.P. Prior's Website

 

LISTEN to the Audio Sample from CARNIFEX here  

 

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"SPRING" merges Linklater-style verbal romance with Lovecraftian weirdness


On the recommendation of a podcast, I just caught SPRING, a quirky, suspenseful romance with just a dash of horror.

I can't reveal too much without spoilers, but this indie, beautifully shot in Italy, is an understated gem. Don't let the "Horror" moniker fool you; although there are some grotesque moments, this is a Romantic Drama through and through. (And the "horror" parts are actually kind of sweet.)


 This scene, and SPRING itself, evokes BEFORE SUNRISE. Literally.


After the death of his mother, our downtrodden 20-something hero Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) journeys to Italy seeking to find something to give his aimless life meaning again. After a series of twists and turns, he finds himself in a picturesque coastal Italian town, and falling under the charms of Louise (played by the utterly captivating Nadia Hilker). As they walk and talk and fall in love under the European twilight, Evan seems to have found his perfect mate. There's just one snag…

Basically, imagine a variation on BEFORE SUNRISE, except that Julie Delpy has a pretty important secret. (And it's probably not what you're thinking.)

I hope to see more of Ms. Hilker, who's German, in more English-language films very soon! She's in the next 2 Divergent films, so I guess there's that.

B+. Seek it out on DVD or various streaming services!

Also Read Rolling Stone's capsule review, which is in their "10 Best Horror of 2015". (Though again I admonish, "horror"? Is it, though? Welllll, a little bit, sorta…)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

John Lennon Remembered, and CHAPTER 27 (film)

My 2nd residence in Manhattan was the same block as the Dakota. (I'm still not sure how I got such a great deal on W. 72nd St. to be able to afford it.) Every time I walked up the street to Central Park I thought about him, and all the history there. And every 8 December, there were always many acolytes both at the Dakota Apartments, and the "Imagine" Memorial just east, inside Central Park.

My parents were massive Beatles fans and I know that my birth name was at least partly influenced by Paul McCartney. John Lennon, though, was the strongest id of the group. He had such an amazing life journey, not just the fame and fortune of it all, but his transformation from a frustrated, pent-up, almost criminal youth to a peace-and-love, universalist embracing philosophy. What a cultural touchstone he was. And what a tragic waste.

Mark Chapman was an addled excuse for a human being, but he was portrayed with intriguing commitment (seriously, with the weight gain he is unrecognisable) by Jared Leto in the sleeper CHAPTER 27 (2007), which follows Chapman's time in NYC leading up to his assassination of John Lennon. He's not glamourized or sympathised at all, and it's sad because you know how it's all going to end, but it does put you into an interesting time and place, and the supporting cast (generally all playing Lennon fans – Lindsay Lohan, reminding us that she CAN be a really good actress– or paparazzi– Judah Friedlander of 30 ROCK fame– that Chapman interacted with) are all phenomenal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

3 Fun Low-Budget Thriller/Horrors for Halloween!

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN ENTERTAINMENT

3 Fun Low-Budget Thriller/Horrors…

Currently on Netflix

All released within the Last 3 Years!


Image result for creep movieImage result for zombeavers movie



Did a Triple Netflix thriller feature today, in the spirit of Halloween!

All 3 made on a shoestring budget, all worth catching in their own way (but your mileage may vary):

1. CREEP. Videographer gets hired to film creepy Mark Duplass for a day. Starts normal, then #ThingsGoWrong.

2. ZOMBEAVERS. The title really says it all, doesn't it? Surprisingly far better than it has a right to be, probably because it was far worse than I was expecting. But worse in a good way. Characters are all unpleasant assholes, but the cast playing them is surprisingly engaging, which makes them watchable. Obnoxious oversexed college girls visit a Cabin In the Woods, Toxic Beavers rise from the dead, and #ThingsGoWrong.


3. WOULD YOU RATHER. Agatha Christie meets SAW? A dinner party is hosted by ghoulish billionaire Jeffrey Combs (veteran of Re-Animator), who promises a lucrative prize to the 1 of his 8 guests who "wins the game". Which means that #ThingsGoWrong.

Happy Halloween viewing!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fargo Season 2 So Far


Well, I am still waiting for Season 2 of FARGO to wow me in the same fashion as Season 1. Last season kicked off with a thrilling opener and never eased up.

2 Episodes in on S2, though, and despite some nice touches, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Problems:
1) No Lorne Malvo, or any character resembling him.
2) No Lorne Malvo. (Yes, a second time. It's that important.)
3) S1 showed our sleepy, smiley Midwest folk being shaken up by evil influences (again, it all comes back to –mostly– Malvo.) In S2, it seems the Evil is already alive and thriving, and nobody's surprised or shocked. It's all jaded cynicism from Day One.
4) The motivations of our young couple make no sense. Unlike S1 Lester (the delightfully weasel-y Martin Freeman) who was pulled into the Vortex by Malvo (see? again!), our S2 antiheroes begin their misdeeds and cover-ups for no understandable reason whatever. As a result, they are unrelatable.
5) I don't want to spend this much time with the quirky gangsters. There are far too many of them, and besides, they're not really amusingly quirky at all. They're mostly just very unpleasant.
6) Aliens? Really?


One plus: if this gets any new generations to listen to Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, well, that's a minor win.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Having finally seen Waitress, I'm reminded of how much I liked Adrienne Shelly: her acting, directing, writing were all utterly charming. In interviews she always had a guileless, quirky sweetness about her, and always looked like a radiant ingenue even in her late 30s, which belied her fierce intellect below the surface. Plus she'd attended my alma mater, Boston University, only a couple years before me. I'd always wished to see her make it bigger than she did, but this allowed her to create a lot of her own opportunities in film.

It still stuns me to remember that she was murdered in 2006, at age 40, by a 19 year-old Ecuadorian construction worker, in her own Manhattan apartment. She had a happy marriage, a 2 year-old daughter, and WAITRESS had just been submitted to Sundance. It would be her final acting and directing project. She never had the chance to flower into the fully-fledged writer/director she certainly would have become on the heels of that film's plaudits.



It seems such a senseless waste of life of a woman who clearly embraced the bittersweet humor of everyday life. That some violent kid could just take it away from her, and from those that loved her, blows my mind. Remembering Ms. Shelly gives me pause and reminds me that every day is precious, that your life can turn on a dime. Perhaps I'm driven to write this because of the recent murders of journalist Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward, whose deaths were equally shocking and sudden.

On this, my wedding anniversary, I am grateful for my life, the love of my life Christine, and the great family and friends that surround me. I guess my tribute to the late Ms. Shelly is also partially meant to inspire all of us to seize our opportunities to live every single day as fully as possible. Even when things are presumably on track and stable, tragedy can strike– yet the world must continue on. This seemed to be Adrienne's own outlook. May your legacy live on, Ms. Shelly. I admired your work greatly.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Interviewed for AudiobookReviewer Website!


Thanks to www.audiobookreviewer.com and Paul Stokes for interviewing me for their website! I didn't think to sexy-up my booth before getting a picture, but despite the milk carton and the wall cracks, I really do get great sound in here.


http://audiobookreviewer.com/interview/narrator-paul-woodson/