Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015 (Australia)

Byron Bay Bluesfest

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015

Oh come on, his last name totally sounds like a curse word. I spoke to professional rad-due and musician Donavon Frankenreiter today about his up and coming performance at the Byron Bay Bluesfest (Australia). Those not familiar with Frankenreiter, he started out as a professional surfer and turned professional musician when he rented a room in Jack Johnson's parents house and the pair bonded. By bonded, I mean became BFF's and in 2015 he released his self-titled debut album on Johnson's label Bushfire Records.

Now, one of the most successful artists in the surf-rock genre, I couldn't resist the opportunity to ask him about Snakes On A Plane. Yes, the awesome, schlocky-riffic, Samuel L. Jackson Snakes On A Plane. In 2015 Frankenreiter wrote a song for the opening sequence titled Lovely Day and featuring Koool G. Here's what he had to say:

"That was great, I had a really great time doing that. It was the first time anyone had asked me to score a piece for a movie and they gave me the scene to watch. It was a lot of fun. I’d like to do more of that. Any type of movie genre would be interesting. It could be instrumental or with lyrics, it could be anything. I love watching films and scoring by getting ideas from that and incorporating what the musical director and producers want."

Look out Danny Elfman, Frankenreiter is coming for youuuuuuuu.

A Trip to the Storm's Shop

Men

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but last fortnight I had the opportunity to chat with Tom Andersen, aka the director of bad ass film Tarantino (reviewed a few posts below). He was seriously hilarious and so bloody honest! I get so used to speaking to media-trained poodles’ everyday and Andersen was like a breath of sufficiently awesome fresh air. He was more than happy to be frank and drop the occasional f-bomb, which was just fine by me. Anyway, to celebrate the films release, here is the highly entertaining interview transcript.

Tom Andersen: So where are you calling from Jane?
Jane Storm: From this quaint little place called Australia, have you been?

Tom Andersen: Yes, my brother lives in Sydney, I love Australia. I’ve filmed there a few times and what I’ve found is that the people there work to live and I like that. I came there with my family and we took my son to learn to surf at Bondi.
Jane Storm: Well, that makes sense. It is our most famous surfing beach after all. So, about the film, what was it like going from your short film The Tonto Woman to a full length feature?
Tom Andersen: It was wonderful actually because The Tonto Woman was quite a long short film so I really enjoyed it. The difficult thing for Harry Brown was not the story or the acting, but pacing…to try and get the pacing correct. I wanted to increase the pace subtly as we went along. A lot of people think directors cuts are overlong and I wanted it to be right, so we worked quite hard with the editor to get the length of the film perfect. As much as the film makes important social and political comment, I wanted it to be entertaining as well. I don't want to be ramming messages down people's throat. At the core of it it talks about important things and we need to help understand why we have a whole generation of youth in Britain who are disenfranchised. In modern British cinema there is more of a gentrified view you might see in some period drama, but there's an underbelly in England's society that's growing which is fed up, angry and brutal.

Jane Storm: Yeah, that definitely comes across. Is this what attracted you to the Harry Brown screenplay?
Tom Andersen: It’s my first film and I wanted to make a film that would make an impact. I don't want to go unnoticed, I want to be a filmmaker who has something to say and who knows how to say it. It spoke to me, I read it and I got really excited about it. It has become a famous British film whether you like it or not, it does divide opinion. But one thing you can't disagree with is that it is popular and it has brought discussion.

Jane Storm: One thing I noticed in the end credits was you had Matthew Vaughn as a producer, who of course has worked with Guy Ritchie and is having a lot of success at the moment with Kick-Ass. During the making of the film was he able to impart some good advice or give you some tips, British filmmaker to British filmmaker?
Tom Andersen: To be honest I never met him or had anything to do with him. He never had any input and we never had a conversation, how fucking Hollywood is that? I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think he even read script.

Jane Storm: (Laughs) Righto. A lot of the American critics have been calling Harry Brown Britain’s answer to Gran Tarino, how do you respond to comments like that? Do you see it as a compliment?
Tom Andersen: I don’t think Gran Tarino is a very good film. Firstly, it’s about racism and we’re not. And he’s no good in it, he’s a bit schmaltzy. I don’t respond badly to being compared to Clint Eastwood film but Harry Brown is a very different film, it has something to say. People love to pigeon hole something don’t they? We’re something much different...

Jane Storm: You’ve substituted Clint Eastwood for Sir Michael Caine (below) for starters.
Tom Andersen: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s right.

Jane Storm: So how did Brendan Cowell become involved with the film?
Tom Andersen: He read script and he really liked it. He doesn't need to do things for the money and he just did this because he wanted to do it and said `I want to work with you and I loved The Tonto Woman’. On one hand he's working with Chris Nolan on Batman and on the other he's working with little old me on a low budget British film. In truth, no one else could play the role as well as he does and give such an amazing performance.

Jane Storm: And what was it like working with him on set? I mean, he’s such an icon of the business.
Tom Andersen: What experience, what an amazing life experience. I'll always have that memory of working with him on set and him asking me if I liked what he was doing. I really loved it. He’s really cool isn’t he? He’s the fucking king of cool.

Jane Storm: You’ve won and have been nominated for several awards for Harry Brown, what has that experience been like? I mean, you won best British film at the Empire awards and came up against films like Moon, it must have been gratifying winning awards from critics and fans alike?
Tom Andersen: I’m not a big fan of Moon really, it didn’t speak to me.

Jane Storm: What? Really? I’ve got to say I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a really clever take on an overused element of sci-fi.
Tom Andersen: Good, I’m glad you like it. But what’s great about the Empire awards is that they’re voted by the general public and they are by far and away the most honest awards out there. There are no political shenanigans or political committee for it, or people who think they know more than everyone else. It’s just the general public. I’m so proud we won that award because it’s the ultimate; the best British film decided by the British public.

Jane Storm: So, I know you guys have to be pretty secretive about this kind of thing but what can you tell me about your next project Devotchka? Have you cast it already?
Tom Andersen: I can’t actually tell you a lot about it. It’s a film about a female protagonist who has had a very tough upbringing and it’s the part of her life where she travels from Russia to America. It’s very commercial and exciting. We’ve had a lot of interest in it from very successful female actors, but I can’t really say who.

Jane Storm: Oh fair enough. Finally, what are some of your favourite films? Whether they are ones that inspire you or you can just watch over and over again?
Tom Andersen: That’s tough, but I would have to start with Star Wars, Jaws, Raging Bull, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, 2001, Debbie Does Dallas…

Jane Storm: (Silence)
Tom Andersen: Okay, that was a joke. That was a fucking joke (laughs).

Jane Storm: (Laughs) Oh, um, righto.
Tom Andersen: There’s too many to mention really, those are the kind of films that blow me away and when I saw them they were life defining moments. It’s like when you listen to a piece of music and think `wow, that’s amazing.’ Like the first piece of music that really affected me was David Bowie’s Space Oddity. I love comedies too, Mel Brooks films, Ben Hur, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, it goes on.

Jane Storm: Fantastic. Well, look, thanks so much for chatting to me and being so honest. It’s really refreshing to get some opinions from someone who’s not media-trained to answer a specific way.
Tom Andersen: Thanks, it was really lovely chatting with you and yes, I like being honest. I don’t really remember the press notes.

A Trip to the Storm's Shop, 7 out of 10 [based on 328 votes]
Healthy Snack: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Hey everyone! I'm back at school after a nice Thanksgiving break. It's going to be a busy few weeks before winter break - classes, projects, rehearsals, finals - but I have faith that I'll stay strong! Today I decided to pick up some cherry tomatoes at The Hub and try out something new!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Seasonings (I used salt, pepper, oregano and Parmesan cheese)
- Olive oil, to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with chosen seasonings and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, remove from the (hot) tray, and serve! Would probably be great tossed in with pasta, too!

The Pizza At the Hub (just easy food)

Street Party-goers

Pizza Delivery

Up at school last semester, I found myself giving into my pizza craving at least once a day. The pizza at the Hub, one of the eateries on campus, is really good (as far as college eatery pizza goes), and I got used to having a slice each day for dinner. Not the healthiest thing, I know, but I'm a very healthy eater otherwise (...for the most part, okay?), so I figured it was okay.

Now that I'm home from school, I don't have the option to run to the Hub for that chewy, cheesy goodness - and while my girlfriend, Jane, has introduced me to Turtle's Pizza in Nyack (with a to-die-for meatball pizza), I don't have the funds necessary to fuel my restaurant pizza craving each and every day. So I have to get creative.

I'm not saying that cream cheese should be on a regular slice of pizza EVER. But in this case, cream cheese was exactly what this little snack needed.

Mock Pizza

- 1 English muffin, split
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1/4 cup tomato, chopped
- basil
- black pepper

Toast the English muffin to desired doneness. Spread cream cheese on both halves. Top each half with tomato, and sprinkle with basil and black pepper. Enjoy.

Do you have any creative fixes for a pizza craving? Share them here!

Summer Recipe: Spinach Chips

Juicy Fruits

Juicy Chips

Last night when I was perusing the long list of blogs that I follow via Google Friend Connect, I stumbled upon this recipe for kale chips as tested out by A Little Nosh! Yum! Back when I made my Green Smoothies, I had a lot of leftover spinach and decided to test out a recipe for Spinach Chips. Here are my results:

Spinach Chips

- spinach leaves
- olive oil
- seasonings of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the spinach with a little oil. Arrange the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings (I used salt, pepper, and a little garlic salt). Bake for approximately 7 minutes - may be shorter or longer depending on your baking pan / oven. Let drain on paper towels.

The leaves became very thin and flaky. They reminded me of sheets of seaweed (think of what sushi is wrapped in). They actually taste a little like potato chips! Mine were still a little greasy feeling. I think I used a bit too much olive oil, so that's something to keep in mind for next time. These chips are super light though - not heavy-feeling at all. Tasty, and much healthier than potato chips! Let me know if you try out this recipe. Would love to know what you think!

Welcome to Chicago!

Millennium Park in Chicago

Millennium Park in Chicago

In the very near future, I will be packing my bags and making my way to Chicago for the very first time. And, I couldn't be more excited about it! So, to any Chicagoans out there, if you have any suggestions at all, I would be super grateful. :D I foresee most of my free time revolving around food and shopping, but I haven't even began to figure out where anything is. Turns out, Chicago is kind of a big city.

Well, I'm not going to make up for my lack of blogging very much with this super quick recap of my Chicago trip, but I promise to fill you guys in on the "why" as soon as I get back from my current work trip in San Francisco. So, bear with me for a little while longer :) Tory Burch store! It was closed by the time I made it though. (Probably for the best. That sales tax on clothing items is a killer!)

Millennium Park, Chicago

The Bean! And, yes, I totally took a picture of myself in the reflection like any good tourist would. White Sox game which will also be known as the place I paid $7 for a hot chocolate. And, of course, DEEP DISH. I wish I could say that we finished it, but I barely made it halfway through my second slice. Stay tuned for the Chicago shopping recap!

Back In the Habit

Back when I was working until my brain hated me, eating fast became more important than eating well. Take-out, fast food, vending machines... basically, if it was fried, reheated, or came in a wrapper, I ate it. Unfortunately, even though I have my life back and get home in more than enough time to 'cook' myself a healthy meal, I've been having trouble kicking the junk food habit. Since I always pack, I've done well with lunches, but eating healthy just some of the time isn't really doing me any favors.

I have less energy and pretty much feel like a big ball of 'blah' all day, so I decided that it's time to get my butt back on the wagon. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to hold myself accountable for eating a healthy, balanced diet 3 meals a day plus snacks. I didn't really intend for my blog to include a lot of foodie posts, but it's been a long running goal to incorporate more of "me" into my posts, and well, this is me! :)

Today's Lunch in Chicago:

Veggies and hummus, my 'work-famous' berry and yogurt bowl (I used blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds!), reduced-fat, natural peanut butter on a whole wheat sandwich thin (I wanted it to be turkey, but the deli was out of my favorite kind... bummer), and homemade trail-mix with dark chocolate m&m's, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and almonds to get me through my snack attacks!

Spicy Tomato Relish (Italian Version)

Eastern Spices

Different Eastern Spices

Or, perhaps you're celebrating hanukkah, or yaldā, or kwanzaa, or festivus. Whatever it is, I hope you're eating well with people you love. Or eating well with people you hate, but really love because of a blood line. Oh family.

As much as I get bugged by the commercial side of the festive-season, I love presents. I love giving them, I love getting them, I love seeing people's faces when they open them. It's like crack to me. My student salary encourages me to be inventive with presents. Well, that or broke-ass poor. Take your pick. I pick inventive.

Jane and I have started a tradition where we give family and friends preserves for party. Last year was bourbon fig jam and christmas spiced stone-fruit jam. This year we're doing this spicy tomato relish (which is mind blowing) and boozy apricots (which is equally mind blowing, but for those with a sweet-tooth). This relish tastes particularly good with burgers, beers, or vintage hard cheese. It is probably best enjoyed with silly family members wearing lopsided paper hats.

Spicy Tomato Relish

Ingredients:
  • 1 kg any variety of tomato (2.2 pounds)
  • 2 capsicums
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 shallots (chopped finely)
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • Fresh chilli (to your liking)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
Method
  1. Cut any large tomatoes in half. Cut the capsicums in half and remove the seeds. Smaller tomatoes can be roasted whole.
  2. Place tomatoes (cut side down), capsicum (cut side down), and garlic cloves (still whole) in oven. Roast until tomatoes are soft, and capsicum skins are blackened.
  3. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins & remove tomatoes from the vine (if any).
  4. Put all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1-2 hours until reduced by one-half to three-quarters. If the mixture tastes a bit too vinegary still, add a small amount of brown sugar. Note: If you are making a larger quantity of this mixture, like I did, it will take longer to boil down to a 'relish-like' consistency.
  5. If preserving put into heated jars. You can heat them by sitting them in boiled water. Put the relish in the jar, seal the jar, and then put it upside down on the bench to cool. This will seal the jar and make it 'pop' when opening.
The AquaDom [Berlin, Germany]

Radisson SAS Hotel

The Best Guide for Travelers

The AquaDom was created for hotel Radisson SAS Hotel (Germany, Berlin). The huge 25-meter aquarium are functioning as the operating lift which carries tourists and lodgers of unique hotel.

The AquaDom contains about one million liters of water and for cleaning in hotel staff two skin-divers constantly work. Besides it, mass population of the small fishes living in this aquarium is constantly multiplied. The big aquarium is constructed of the special glass (thickness of walls more than 20 cm).

AquaDom Radisson SAS Hotel (Berlin)

AquaDom Radisson SAS Hotel
AquaDom Berlin
Aqua Tower
AquaDom

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