Recipe: Veggie Sausage and Portobello Breakfast Casserole

First of all, I apologize for the less-than-stellar iPhone pics. My DSLR is currently in the trunk of the car, and it’s chilly and rainy so I didn’t feel like venturing outside before eating breakfast. In any event, it’s a breakfast casserole–there’s not much to see other than the delicious cheesy topping.

Last night we had grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with tomato soup for dinner (yum!), and since I had to go to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for dinner and for the cake I’m making this weekend I decided I may as well get something for Saturday morning brunch. I bought some hearty white bread from the bakery section (my local ShopRite has bread from Teixeira Bakery, which I think is about as yummy as you can get from the supermarket) for the grilled cheese, but figured I’d have enough left over to whip up a breakfast casserole. I also knew I had some veggie sausage patties from Morningstar Farms hanging out in my freezer which, combined with the cheese left over from the grilled cheese and some portobello mushrooms would make a tasty breakfast.

This is definitely something that you can prep the night before if you’re like me and prefer to just stick something in the oven on Saturday morning instead of standing in the kitchen chopping veggies and grating cheese. Continue reading

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Socks…the slow way

I like to knit. Out of all of the various crafts I’ve picked up over my 31 years on Earth, knitting is probably my favorite. And my favorite things to knit are socks. Which is somewhat ridiculous because they take forever (when you’re like me and only knit once a week for a few hours) and the materials put the cost at around $20 a pair. And yet, there’s something so satisfying about a little portable project that can be as colorful or silly as you want because you’re just wearing them on your feet where hardly anyone will notice.

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Review: Limitless

Really, this should go without saying in a review, but there will be spoilers in this post. If you don’t want to know how Limitless ends, stop reading now.

This weekend, the husband (he really needs a nickname for this blog) and I went to see Limitless, in which Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, a struggling writer who takes a pill (that he gets from his drug-dealing former brother-in-law) that unlocks all of that supposedly wasted potential in the human brain (which, incidentally, is a modern myth). The magic drug enables our “hero” to learn anything with ease, and after completing his novel, learning a few new languages, and making friends with either Eurotrash or the children of Central American drug lords, he puts his new brain power to use playing the stock market (and securing a loan from a shady Russian loan shark–not sure why Super Brain thought that was a good idea).

Morra’s success at day trading attracts the attention of Robert DeNiro’s business tycoon Carl Van Loon. And yes, that’s exactly how it’s spelled. Until I saw it written out in one of the scenes I thought the name was spelled Van Leuwhen, or something a little less reminiscent of either a crazy person or a waterfowl. Van Loon is, supposedly, very short-tempered, but maybe DeNiro didn’t get the memo on that one, because I wasn’t feeling any menace from him. Van Loon wants Morra’s help in a merger with another giant company, and to be honest the business aspects of this whole plot point were lost on me. Meanwhile, Super Brain is starting to have problems–Morra is blacking out for huge chunks of time in which he gets in fights with random guys in the subway and (maybe?) kills a woman. He tries to stop taking the magic drug, but is alarmed to find out that all of the other people who have stopped taking it are either dead or dying. Also, a creepy guy is following him and the Russian loan shark has found out about the drug and demands a steady supply.

And, all of the above is the first thing that is wrong with this film. There’s just too much going on. I would say there are too many subplots, but I’m not even sure which is the main plot. There are at least three “villains” (and none of those are particularly scary) even if you don’t count what should be the real antagonist in this film–the magic drug that causes homicidal blackouts when you’re on it, but kills you when you stop taking it. With so much going on, the audience doesn’t get to delve too deeply into any of the conflicts in the film.  I understand that the filmmakers wanted to create a frenetic look and feel to the film, which is emphasized with heavy-handed (and nausea inducing) fish-eye tracking shots through New York City. The action makes for an entertaining ride of a movie, but there isn’t much to think about when the lights come up.

I was left thinking about something, though–what Limitless could have been. The film ends with Cooper’s character seemingly having it all. One year after the climactic scene (in which he literally drinks the Russian loan shark’s blood), he is running for Senate and apparently so popular that overflow fund raising events are sold out. When Van Loon, who has purchased a drug company capable of making the magic brain drug, tries to strong arm our hero, Morra informs him that: 1. he no longer takes the drug, 2. he was able to re-engineer it to work effectively without the nasty side effects, and 3. his short-term use has permanently increased his mental capacity. Maybe Morra is bluffing, but the effect is the same. Ladies and gentlemen, our hero has achieved the new American Dream–he has everything he ever wanted, and all he had to do was take a pill and kill some people. What I would have rather seen was a film in which the hero really learns something–perhaps that hard work pays off, or that all the money in the world can’t buy happiness. I wanted Eddie Morra to go through the pain and struggle to get free of his chemical dependency, and then I wanted him to realize he could write a fantastic novel all along. Or, I wanted him to stay addicted and die a very rich, but lonely man, never able to make lasting connections because ultimately he lost touch with the imperfections that make us human.

My rating: 3/5 for a fun film that had potential, but ultimately fell flat.

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Goals

Goals are important, right? We’re all taught fairly early on that we should be setting goals throughout life. The ideal, I suppose, is to continually set and pursue manageable goals that help you get closer to a Big Goal. Certainly, we’re all expected to be working toward something at all times.

I am not a particularly good goal-setter. That’s not to say I don’t have hopes and dreams, just that I’m not very good about setting goals in order to achieve them. I tend to just sail along doing the same thing and expecting the things I want to fall in my lap. You can probably guess that doesn’t work out so well for me most of the time. I can recognize that this is a self-defeating behavior (I think that’s what my therapist would call it), and I would even like to change that behavior, but changing a habit is hard. And, honestly, I find the whole never-ending cycle of “make a goal, pursue that goal, attain the goal and make a new one” somewhat exhausting. Do we ever reach a point where we can just relax and enjoy what we’ve achieved?

I’m not sure anyone can answer that question. But, I do know I probably won’t get to the point of being able to relax if I don’t achieve anything in the first place. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, after all. And step one of getting somewhere (which is, I suppose, my Big Goal in life) as amorphous as it may be, is setting some goals.

So, I’ll start small. I’ll set some goals for blogging and see where that takes me:

  1. At least one new post per week. I thought about making my goal one post per day, but that seemed like biting off more than I can chew. One per week is doable. It doesn’t even have to be a long post–even a picture counts if that’s all I can manage in a particular week.
  2. No limits. Just because I have a goal of one post per week doesn’t mean I can’t post more if I feel like it. This also applies to the content of this blog. Nothing is off limits–pictures, random musings, film reviews, recipes. Whatever I’m in the mood to write about I can post. That said, you probably won’t find any pornography, serious political discourse, or sports here.
  3. Promotion. So far, no one’s reading Split Darkness. That’s because no one knows about it besides my therapist (and even she doesn’t know the URL). That needs to change. This isn’t a personal journal, and I want people to read and be interested. For that to happen, I need to get the word out. I’ll start with friends on Twitter/Facebook/etc., and see what happens.
  4. Edit. There are few things in this world that irritate me more than sloppy edting. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect and that I’ll always have meticulous grammar, but I will at least proofread before hitting “publish” and I will strive to make my posts as pleasant to read as possible.
  5. Connect. I read loads of blogs every day, and I’m going to make an effort to link to those I find interesting. I haven’t set up any formal Blogroll or sidebar yet, but I will pay attention to what I’m reading and, if I think it fits, I’ll link to it.

I think those are some decent goals to start with. Not too onerous, but each point is important to me in creating the sort of blog I have in mind. I promise something a little more interesting next time.

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What’s all this then?

So . . . I’ve decided to start blogging. Again. This is not my first foray into the blogosphere; I’ve had a knitting blog, a gardening blog (I think I put up a whole two posts at that one), a LiveJournal (does anyone do that anymore or have Facebook and Twitter pretty much killed it?), and probably a few other things I can’t even remember. But, I’m feeling the need for an outlet and, more specifically, a place to put all of my “stuff.” I like to think of myself as a creative person, and I’ve been toying with the notion of setting up something of a “gallery” for my photography, my writing, and whatever other things come to mind.

Stay tuned!

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