cairistiona: (nom nom nom)
January 31: layne67 Your favourite dish ever and its recipe :)

Hmmm... I've been thinking about this for over a month now and I'm not entirely sure what to choose. So many of my meals these days are very simple--some fish and veggies or chicken and veggies, or something that's not really something that has a "recipe" so much as "assemble on a plate". LOL

Long rambly attempt at recipe-fying my soup methods... )

That's the last of January and the last of the Q's to A. :D Thanks for such good questions, y'all! It's been fun.
cairistiona: (Happy Aragorn)
January 30:shirebound What's the most beautiful place you've ever traveled to, and what place would be at the top of your "to be visited" list if you could win a free trip to anywhere?

Oh boy, hard to pin down the most beautful, because I've been fortunate to visit some truly wondrous spots, and each has its own unique beauty that's not diminished by another's. Some of the best places:

- Estes Park, Colorado. I've been there many times in my life and the rugged, majestic Rocky Mountains always take my breath away and stir my heart. Nighttime in the mountains is a revelation: you feel you can reach up and snatch a star from the sky.

- the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The utter silence of that place fills me with... something I can't really put my finger on. There's a feeling of vastness and grandeur and ancient things that speak to something deep in my soul. It's a view that demands silence, I think, and so I usually find myself vastly irritated by the hordes of chattering, oblivious tourists that clog the place.

- the beaches along the east coast of Florida. I love the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean, the cries of the seabirds, the waving of sea oats. It amazes me to look to the far eastern horizon and imagine that the next land I'd reach if I set sail straight across is Morocco.

Looking over that list, there's one thing missing: anything man-made. I've seen some beautiful cities and historic places, including the Great Wall, but they don't move me like nature does.

That said... a free trip to anywhere would have to be to the British Isles. :) That's my ancestral homeland and I've always wanted to walk along its lands. Second choice would be to Hawaii. Because Hawaii. :D
cairistiona: (Happy Aragorn)
January 24: lilybaggins If you could have any tangible, material gift in the ENTIRE world given to you for your birthday---what would it be? Living things and intangible items such as health or world peace don't count. :)

Darn, I can't ask for Sebastian Stan or Viggo. *sigh* Okay, then...

Right now, at this point in life, what I really need most is a....

Wait for it...

Are you waiting?...

This is so exciting...

... a new kitchen.

I know, I know. It's not Anduril or Cap's shield or Bucky Barnes' blue jacket from WWII (though what I wouldn't give for THAT gorgeous little jacket), but seriously, I need a new, updated kitchen. My house is nice in every way, and it seems really weird to think that, with my parents gone and the apartment space now empty and designed for assignment to some other purpose, I now actually have TWO working kitchens, but the thing is that "my" kitchen, the main upstairs one, just isn't that functional. We need a wall knocked out to open it up to the dining room and family room  (though the family room would be off to the side in a sort of L-configuration, so not optimal, but still better). That would let us add either a peninsula or an island. We also need to replace the nearly 20 y/o stove, which still works but the oven has always baked unevenly, which drives my baker hubby nuts. The counters are all formica that's now getting rather scratched up and dinged. The cabinets drive me nuts--they're beautiful on the outside, even though the golden oak is now kind of dated. Painting them would solve that, but it wouldn't fix the problem of the interior shelves not adjusting. It's hard to get things to fit, especially larger items.

We recently bought a new, bigger french-door fridge-on-top fridge and our plans are to go to the homebuilder show next weekend and see if we can't find an interior designer who'll come in and give us pointers and maybe even an overall plan, and then do the work ourselves as we have time and money. Having a working kitchen downstairs will help immensely--no matter how long it takes us, we'll still have an actual kitchen and won't have to cook in the microwave out in the garage. But if I'm asking for anything in the world for my birthday, hiring out the entire project to professionals (like maybe the Property Brothers guys or Candice Olsen, whose work I always love) would be it.
cairistiona: (starry night)
The week got a wee bit busy Tuesday and Wednesday, so trying to get back on track now:

January 20: imbecamiel What are your top 5 favorite quotes, from books or movies? (Or just list five you really like, basically, since I know actually picking "favorites" for something like that can be hard.)

Thank you for giving me the out, because a favorite quote tends to change based on mood and circumstance! But here's five that always stick with me (and thank you Goodreads, Google, and the rest of the Internet for letting me copy/paste!):

1. "But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." - Gandalf to Frodo, Tolkien, FOTR

2. "I understood that reference!" Steve Rogers, The Avengers.

3. "The price of freedom is high, but it's a price I'm willing to pay." Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

4. "Good and Evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor ar they one thing among Elves and another among Men." - Aragorn, Tolkien, TTT

5. Gosh, can I just say, "FOTR, TTT, & ROTK" for the last one? LOL  Seriously, it's a 3-way tie at least, and could probably be a 4,012-way tie:

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." - Bilbo

"Not all those who wander are lost." - Tolkien (the whole poem, really, but that line is so good.)

"How could the world go back to the way it was when there's so much bad that had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass." - Sam to Frodo
cairistiona: (Winter Soldier)
January 19:marjun Who would be the worst miscast ever for Captain America? (Expand the fun to any/all roles you see fit).

Heh... what a fun question. If I were to go "ridiculously miscast": Gilbert Gottfried. Can you imagine him giving the "the price of freedom is high" in that horrible voice of his??? Even the non-HYDRA loyalists would turn on him! :D

But in the "they tried but really blew it" category... I'm terrible with actor names, especially ones that I think are bad, but in general, any actor who matched his physical characteristics but couldn't convey the complex and often subtle emotions of Steve Rogers. Any of the "action" actors who've come over from the MMA because they're ripped and handsome, but really aren't skilled at acting. Chris Evans brought such a nice "everyman" quality to the role that he really made it his own. Like Viggo and Aragorn, I have a really hard time thinking of anyone else playing Captain America now.

Other miscasting, from the ridiculous to close-but-no:

Black Widow: Kathy Griffin. Yes, she's got red hair. But.

Nick Fury: Anyone but Samuel L Jackson would be a misfire... they changed the comic book character because of him before any of the movies, after all!

Nicholas Cage for... anyone. *shudder*

Bucky Barnes: in my mind, Sebastian Stan IS Bucky Barnes, so inseparably that I really can't think of anyone else in the role, but... I shudder to think of the "what if Justin Bieber had made his movie acting debut..."  (Actually, thinking about that goes beyond shuddering to full-blown seizures with probable brain damage.)

Thor - Triple H or Clay Matthews, both in the "hey, he's a sports dude but has blonde hair and is all muscly so let's plug him in" category of No, Not Even.

Tony Stark - Tom Cruise, who was in the early running. I actually like Tom Cruise in a lot of his roles (Ethan Hunt, and yes, even though I'm a huge fan of Jack Reacher novels and found Tom a complete misfire as far as physical characteristics, I had to admit that he actually... wasn't horrible at that role), but this one I just don't think would have been a good fit, because Cruise, sadly, doesn't inspire the sympathetic reaction in audiences that RDJ does, and for a character who can come across as extremely obnoxious and overbearing, you need someone who can walk both lines of obnoxious/sympathetic. RDJ brings a certain amount of "okay, he's overcome a lot of personal demons" rooting when he takes on any role and he really came in an owned and loves Tony Stark. And actually doesn't mind the fact that people are now thinking he *is* Tony Stark (because sometimes, when I look at his FB page, I kinda think HE thinks he's Tony Stark...)

Bruce Banner. Ugh, there've been enough misfires with that character that I don't think I need to explore imaginary ones! Thank heavens for Mark Ruffalo. And back in the day, Bill Bixby.

Hawkeye... that one's kind of tricky because I don't think the movies have quite given us the full-range Hawkeye yet (I look for this to change with AoU). I *think* Jeremy Renner is a good casting, but he hasn't shown Hawkeye's full... zany airheaded moments? I mean, jeez, we haven't seen Pizza Dog yet, nor any "aw pants, aw coffee, aw____" "I thought you said 'sex'"  moments yet. So I can't offer a miscast until I know for sure that Renner is the perfect casting (which I really think he will be, but.)

Think I'll stop now. I have other things to do today, drat it. I could go on about Marvel casting forever. And DC casting, for that matter!

Any of you Marvel fans out there, chime in with your "worst miscast ever"'s!
cairistiona: (ROTK movie offset)
January 18: dreamflower02 - How do you think Aragorn would fare as a leader today? Could he be a president of a modern country, or do you think his ideals would not let him get elected? What issues could you imagine him tackling?

This... is a tricky one, because I don't discuss politics online, ever. I haven't broken that vow, nor will I ever. So answering your question in the broadest possible way that still allows me to stay true to that principle: I see him putting priority on the same things he had to tackle as King in Gondor: defense, justice (both social and the criminal justice variety), and the welfare of all those he leads--education and health and making sure everyone had their basic needs of food and shelter met and given opportunity to thrive in whatever vocation they wished. I think he'd also work on cleaning house when it comes to any corrupt leaders in whatever modern version of his council exists (his cabinet, Congress, Parliament, etc etc). Corruption in government would be something I'm sure he would work extremely hard to weed out.

I would hope his ideals wouldn't stand in the way of his being elected, but they might, especially since in this day and age, debate has largely sunk to name-calling and demonizing your opponent in any way you can in order to get yourself elected, even if it means manufacturing dirt on your opponent when none exists. I don't Aragorn would stoop to such tactics and sadly, that might cost him in the end. But that's probably my own cynicism talking!
cairistiona: (ROTK movie offset)
January 15: lindahoyland Your favourite Aragorn moment in LOTR.

I suppose it would be cheating to say, "All of them!"

I'm going to address the book and the movies separately, I think, because some of my favorite movie moments aren't in the books.

In the movies: It's a toss-up between seeing him in the Prancing Pony for the first time...
 photo a0002a-1.jpg

vs his speech at the Black Gates...
 photo a0956bb.jpg

They're sort of bookend pieces, really, because in the first we see him as a stranger, for all we (and the hobbits) know a villain, and that's exactly how the Rangers were looked upon, so kudos to the film there. By the march on the Black Gates, we know who is in all ways: noble, brave, self sacrificing, and moreover an inspiring leader of men. Much as I also love the "for Frodo" moment, to me the speech is the "Ahhhhh" moment for me.

In the books, I love the entire Strider chapter in FOTR.

Strider, by Matthew Stewart photo 864x1068_5554_Strider_2d_fantasy_to.jpg

In this chapter, we get a really rather deep glimpse into the man, despite a lot of information about his true identity not coming until later chapters (like what we learn at the Council of Elrond). Grand nobility and royalty revelations are still to come, but there's nonetheless something very impressive about this ragged stranger sitting in the corner, and when he finally does get a chance to chat with the hobbits, he becomes even more impressive. The line, "I hoped you would take to me for my own sake. A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship. But here, I believe my looks are against me" is so telling. He's a hunted man, but by what we're not sure at this point, and he nonetheless wants friends, even though he apparently doesn't have many. He's also rather self-effacing in his humor--I imagine him saying that bit about his looks with a wry twinkle in his eye. He's just frightening enough to leave us feeling he must be a fighter, maybe even a vicious one and maybe not for the good, but he's just kind enough to assure us that, despite the initial feeling of distrust his looks gave us, the hobbits will be in good hands... so long as they can also push past his looks-foul appearance and trust that here is a fair man who will be a staunch companion.

And too, this is the chapter where we get the wonderful poem about him:

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

Analysizing him line-by-line could fill volumes! That entire chapter is just fascinating as a character intruduction, because it's both misleading and revealing all at the same time, but you're left by the end feeling that this is a major player in the story and one for whom the title of "hero" is going to fit well.
cairistiona: (read any good books lately?)
In a comment to my answer post for "desert island books", [ profile] layne67 asked what 5 fanfics I'd take with me... which is an almost impossible question to answer because I have so many favorite stories across several fandoms.

But since there's no questions for today or tomorrow, I'll give it a go. I'll list them in no special order other than "Captain America stories" followed by "LOTR stories", with the caveat that if I made another list next week it would probably contain completely different stories, because my favorites list is seriously huge and what tops it largely depends on my mood on any given day.

The first two are nothing new to anyone, as I keep gushing about them. They're my current go-to stories when life gets stressful and I need an escape:

1. Owlet's "This, You Protect", wherein the Asset's mission parameter abruptly switches from "this, you kill" to "this, you protect". Because it's chapter after chapter in Bucky's slowly-recovering brain, and has stuff like this scene, where Bucky learns old people can be interesting allies, and cats, particularly his old lady neighbor's cat Eleanor, are attracted to him:

“She doesn’t usually take to people,” the old woman says.

She’s carrying a tray with mugs and a plate on it. An ancient urge rises to get up and take the tray, but the risk of severe puncture wounds is too great if he moves.

“Eleanor’s a tough customer. You must be high quality.”

Assessment: high quality assassin, fighter, and spy. Cats are predators. Maybe cats are attracted to the tough and deadly. He scratches a little more firmly, and Eleanor rises, pads over and snuggles down on his lap.

She is purring, right on top of all his tender parts, and that’s where all her claws are. Terrifying.

2. "The Third Directive" and "Simple Conversation", by [ profile] marjun (linking them together under one because Simple Conversation basically continues the story started in The Third Directive. If that's cheating, I don't care). It's very similar to #1, with chapter after chapter inside Bucky's brain and Steve's brain, too, but with a more serious tone and a ton of Steve-taking-care-of-Bucky h/cccccccccccc and hugs and tears and all that you'd want in a Post CA:TWS Bucky Recovery Fic. Plus there are Avengers. Win.

3. Canafinwe's Pale-Faced Tark. (I'd also like to take her A Long and Weary Way but it's not finished yet....and I have no idea if/when it ever will be. *sigh*) This one made the list because I love stories with unexpected strangers coming to Aragorn's aid, and this one is a primo example of that.

4. Mirach's Crossroads of Light and Shadow, because it's just so doggone unique and original and creepy and full of peril and... *flails* It hit me like a ton of bricks the first time I read it and remains one of my all-time favorite LOTR short stories. I mean, seriously... Aragorn and mewlips. And the Shadow-bride. *shiver*

5. Ugh, there are far too many to choose what the last one would be, so would it be terribly egotistical if I listed my Bowen Rushlight WIP instead? I figure if I was stranded on a desert island, I might actually have time to work on it. :P
cairistiona: (Arda's Next Top Ranger)
Dates still open for questions here, if you would like to ask. :)

January 2: claudia603 If you could be whisked away to Middle-earth (a real life Mary Sue, lol!), and could meet Aragorn in person, which Aragorn would you like to meet? Aragorn in Rivendell? Aragorn as a Ranger of the wild? Aragorn during the War? Aragorn as King?

Definitely Aragorn as a Ranger of the Wild, meeting him on a quiet night in Bree, where I could actually sit at a table and talk to him over a mug of ale and a plate of some of Butterbur's good roast beef and crusty bread. I think because I live in an area similar to Bree-land, plus live in the woods, we'd have a commonality that could lead to some easy conversation, swapping stories about small town life (ugh, the gossip and provincialism) and woodland adventures (hey, picking blackberries and came face to face with a bear! Okay, I've never had that happen but it could. Bears are moving into our area closer and closer each year). Meeting him during the war would be too fraught with danger, meeting him in Rivendell would mean I'd have to dress nice because Elves Dress Up For Dinner, and meeting him as King would be Made of Intimidating. *shudder* But catching him on a lonely night during that period of time when his looks were against him and he longed for someone to be a friend... yep.

*volunteers as tribute*
cairistiona: (The Road)
BTW, there's still open slots, if you want to ask a question! Original post here.

January 1:just_ann_now Your 5 desert island books!

Great question! I'm going to choose from the actual books I own that are ink-on-paper since my Kindle couldn't be recharged on a desert island, unless I built a coconut-powered or solar-powered powerplant. Which I don't have the skilz for. So... books.

Marvel's Captain America: Winter Soldier - The Art of the Movie - which is big and beautiful and if I have no electricity to see the movie, will do in a pinch.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy, because words and how he uses them are made of brilliance.

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (I'd get the one that has all three bound as one, so it counts as 1 book)

My Bible

A book on how to get OFF a desert island and back to a library and a Starbucks and my Kindle and LJ (which technically I don't own but would order if I ever had to take a cruise or fly over the ocean or go anywhere that might plausibly end with my being stranded on a desert island sans electricity, libraries, the Internet or Starbucks.)

And I would also print off my favorite fanfics and use them as book marks in said 5 books. LOTS OF BOOKMARKS (because yes, I cheat on memes all the time. And no, I am not ashamed of said character flaw. I even had my Cheater-McCheater pants tailored to fit).


cairistiona: (Default)

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