Podcast: The Villian was Right
My latest fun listen is a light-hearted romp. Comedians Craig and Rebecca take a look at movies and television from the villain’s perspective and dare to ask if they were really all that bad. The hosts go into detail about movie or series characters and their motivations, and theorize whether or not they deserve to be the hero or villain.
Was Ariel really innocent? Or was Ursula just trying to run a small business?
What I find especially fun is that Craig and Rebecca don’t just review the obvious movies. They look into Father of the Bride, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones’ Diary, the Magic School Bus, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Friends, Mary Poppins and many, many more. I recommend you start with Ferris Buller’s Day Off, Jurassic Park or the Incredibles.
*Available on Spotify, Apple, or here: https://www.fromsuperheroes.com/the-villain-was-right
Book: Project Hail Mary
I whole-heartedly recommend this recent read. If you like science fiction with actual science, this is for you. If you like stories with interesting, well developed characters, this also has that. If you want excitement and a thrilling plot, here you go. If you want romance and sex, well, there you’re completely out of luck.
I challenge you to read the first five pages and NOT want to keep reading. What an opening! Ryland Grace wakes up alone with no clue where he is or how he got there. His body isn’t responding the way it should and he struggles with the fog that is keeping rational thoughts at bay. He slowly comes to the realization that he’s hurtling through space and his crew mates are dead. While that opening alone is enough to keep me turning pages, Weir infuses Ryland with unique wit and humor that elevates the story beyond the run of the mill science fiction thriller.
As Ryland’s memory returns, he flashes back to the past and slowly reveals how he ended up as the sole-survivor of this last-chance mission to save Earth. And as things seem hopeless, he finds glimmers of hope in unexpected places. He also just might be the perfect person for the job.
This well-written novel is a mix of things: science fiction, mystery, fantasy, thriller. There’s a diverse cast as the entire planet comes together to save humanity. And I can only hope Hollywood takes notice.
Music: Equals by Ed Sheeran
Okay, so this one hasn’t completely been released yet, but I am eagerly awaiting it. And fortunately, I have heard a couple early release tracks, so I think it’s fair to add to my line up list.
The album is set to drop October 29. It’s been 4 long years since we last heard songs featuring solo artist Ed Sheeran playing and singing all by himself (no collaborations). I have read interviews about this release and it appears the songs are all personal to him as a recently married man and father who has experienced loss. Sheeran says the album is a reflection of those experiences. For a man to state that this is a coming of age album, I feel it should be chocked full of nostalgia, eye awakening moments and experiences that make us who we are. Bad Habits, one of the early release titles is dance music story of late night bad choices while Visiting Hours is a heartfelt, personal sort of song you play in the bluest hours. It’s raw and emotional.
*I believe the library will be purchasing and adding this title to the catalog for checkout. I don’t see it there yet, but all the other Sheeran albums are, so it’s a good guess it’s coming soon.
Television: Below Deck Mediterranean
In another year, where I haven’t been able to travel abroad like I planned, I am “escaping” via my television and “reality” TV.
What I like? No dull waiting period–this is entertaining IMMEDIATELY.
This show has it all: attractive people, vastly different personalities, relatable protagonists, loathsome antagonists, money and a BIG yacht. It’s fun, interesting, and has changing locals (Greece, Croatia, Italy, South of France and Mallorca). The guests are interesting. There’s TIGHT quarters (GREAT for drama), a social element and very merit-based workplace element.
I think the two most important components of any reality show are the “characters” and the editing. The characters here are in spades, but the editing brings us the stories, and man do they make the stories POP! Hats off to the editing staff. I think we all like to see justice because we so rarely get it in real life, and the editors don’t let anyone get away with ANYTHING. When someone does something stupid, we get to see the consequences, which is a great little respite from real life. I also love the insight you get, to see all that goes on under the surface of a luxury yacht.
Family Outing: Wild Lights at Sedgwick County Zoo
This one I am super excited to get out and see for myself. Recently, when I volunteered at the Zoo for Zoobilee and the new Asian Big Cat exhibit grand opening, I discovered that Sedgwick County Zoo has a new “Wild Lights” exhibit in the works. Think Asian lantern sculptures illuminating paths throughout the zoo.
The company who has provided and set up the exhibit brought in 13 semi-truck loads of giant animal lanterns. These creatures are spread out throughout the zoo. They are everywhere! Installation began in early September. The exhibit has filled the zoo with 47 glowing Asian lanterns, most of them larger than life.
They’re in the shapes of animals. Guests will find pandas, elephants, turtles, rhinos as well as other displays in the shapes of flowers, bugs, fish, butterflies, and plants. Many of them are animated: A peacock’s plume of feathers goes up and down every five minutes. A baby panda spins with a ball on his head. A massive crocodile opens and closes his giant jaw. About six people accompanying the tour, which travels to zoos all over the world, spent a month erecting the wire frames that form each sculpture’s “bones” then covering them with translucent fabric and filling them with colorful lights. It will take visitors about an hour to walk the path where the sculptures are set up, which stretches from the zoo entrance to the gorilla exhibit and back to the exit. Not only do they set up the lights, but they stay here in Wichita throughout the show to maintain the exhibit.
I plan to enjoy the zoo like never before with this larger-than-life Chinese lantern festival!
*Wild Lights will light up the zoo Wednesday through Sunday nights 6:00-9:00 p.m. through December 5, 2021. Tickets are on sale now at scz.org/event/wild-lights.
Food: Seasonal Soups and Stews
It’s that time of year – fall (or maybe the fringe of fall with our ever changing Kansas weather). Maybe you’ve noticed the chill in the air, or that the leaves are starting to turn shades of orange and red. The first pumpkin spice lattes of the season have already been sipped, and perhaps you’ve taken out the sweaters that make you feel like Cameron Diaz courting Jude Law in a cozy cottage in the English countryside. But is it really sweater season without a pot of soup bubbling away? Or a hearty stew on the table, served with a fistful of crusty bread? A few veggies, possibly some beans, aromatics and broth are just about all you need for a satisfying meal.
So let this be my reminder to you. If you have yet to avail yourself of all the ways your local library can help you be a better, more inquisitive cook (or simply save you some money) there’s no better time than now. With many of us cooking at home more than ever, we could all use a little jolt of inspiration and novelty. Or just some escapist reading. Take a look at our KanShare catalog for in print cook books, Sunflower eLibrary (Libby app) for eCookbooks and magazines, Pinterest and the good ole internet for general browsing! You are sure to find something new to try.
I’m sharing my easy-peasy Taco Soup recipe. It’s a go to my family always loves. Hope you will too!
Slow Cooking Taco Soup – 6 to 8 servings
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
16 oz can Mexican-style tomatoes
16 oz can whole-kernel corn, undrained
16 oz can red beans, undrained
16 oz can black beans, undrained
16 oz can ranch beans
16 oz jar picante sauce (your choice on mild, medium or hot)
Optional additions when serving:
Shredded cheddar cheese
Corn or tortilla chips
- Brown meat and onions in skillet. Drain.
- Combine with all other vegetables and picante sauce in slow cooker.
- Cover. Cook on low 4-6 hours
- Serve with corn or tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese as toppings.