Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Movie Reviews: Our Mutual Friend, Emma, The Young Victoria

While in The Ohio I watched a few movies (we stayed up very late and tended to get up much too early, but isn't that how vacation is supposed to be?)

In case you are in need of something new and good to watch, here are my very brief reviews:

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The opening scene put me off at first--it seemed to fake to me--but soon after that, I forgot all about my apprehensions and fell headlong into the movie. 

This movie follows the book in all the major plot developments (as far as I can remember), but it cuts out some subplots--there are quite a few subplots in the book, and I think you'll agree with me that although it would have been fun to have everything depicted, the movie would have been much, much too long. 

(Because I realize that, I didn't miss them too terribly, though, the subplot that was included was one of my least favorite: it had to be included because it influences the major plot in minor ways.  Pity though, because I really had no interest in it.)

I think reading the book first is a great idea, because a few scenes will mean more to you for having done so.

Be prepared to be sucked into this movie.  There are some great love stories going on--with some really messed up relationships providing a perfect contrast--and the really bad guy is Very Scary.  (Which might taint your view of the latest BBC Sense and Sensibility because he plays Colonel Brandon--though, he's so different a character in each, you'll probably be able to pretend it's a completely different actor).


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I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this movie, and although I didn't get to see it until just last week, I put so much faith in the first 15 minutes (which I had seen) and the reviews of others that bought it for my mom for her birthday.

Now that I have seen it, I can join with her (and many others) in singing it's praises.  I've never particularly cared for the book Emma, so little in fact, that I skimmed most of it.  BUT! This movie has a fantastic view of the true situation of the characters.  Emma is all alone, left to care for a father who she loves too dearly to part with, and who is too selfish and myopic to let her go.  That may or may not excuse her stupidity in your eyes, but it certainly garners some sympathy from me.

There is plenty of playful banter and humorous situations to keep the audience laughing--and of course, *SPOILER! (though, I'm guessing most of you already know the plot and conclusion)*   Mr. Knightley's declarations of love are well worth the wait and quite touching.

*END SPOILER*



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I loved that the love story in many ways took a backseat to the political intrigue.  Because I'm sure that's pretty much how it was for Victoria (at least at first). 

I have very little by way of historical knowledge to say whether this movie is true to reality--but, frankly, I don't care.  I watched this as a romance and a romance is what I got.

The basic gist of the plot is that Victoria (who has had little, if any, by way of preparation) becomes Queen of England at a very young age.  She is being courted (both politically and romantically) by the man who becomes her prime minister. At the same time, her distant cousin from Germany is thrust into the scene by men who want to secure Victoria's allegiance to them.

He falls in love with her.

She is undecided about many things, including him.

An enjoyable film.  And I've been told that the real Victoria's letters to her Prince were quite romantic--it seems they really were very much in love with each other.  At some point, I'm going to have to find out for myself.

So!  In one vacation I saw two movies I've been wanting to see, and one I'd never heard of.  And how often is it that you see three movies in a week and like all of them?  Maybe I'm just partial to things Brittish.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Ohio, SURVEY for my 30th, and summer activities promise

Yesterday was my first day back from an almost week long vacation in The Ohio. I stayed with a friend from childhood and let me say: WE HAD A BLAST!

Sadly, some of my best pictures stayed with her in The Ohio, so I'll put them up on a later date. But I'll share two of them with you right now. First, a landscape--The Ohio is muy beautiful. Even with washed out gray skies it's beautiful.

sorry it's so small, blogger's being dumb. or maybe I am.  either way...sorry. click to make it bigger.

The next, the story of Maudine, the bovine homecoming queen! I love stuff like that. And the fact that Ohio State has an entire room in their student union dedicated to Maudine.




In other news (and hopefully you made it to this point in the post because this is importantish): I'm putting up a survey for my 30th birthday bash! I'm super excited to test out google docs and I'm super excited to get feedback from you!  It's over on the left sidebar.  Click it and let your voice be heard! 

While I'm committing to things, I'm going to add one more. I'm running a summer program for youth and it starts in just a few weeks. And because I'm chock full of funtastic (don't you love that word?) ideas to keep kiddies busy this summer, I'll be opening up another blog devoted just to that topic. That way, when you find yourself skulking around the house with nothing to do, you can just pop over there and nab some cool ideas.

Whew. I'd better get crackin'.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thirtieth Birthday Party Part Uno

Ok people. This is serious business.

Someday in the next two years I turn 30.
My philosophy about turning 30 is this: Do it in style! BIG FUN STYLE.

You think I'm joking?
I'm not.
I've been warning The Rock about my 30th for a few years now already. Because, the party is going to be BIG.

I find the best way to get myself to follow through with crazy schemes is to tell a lot of people, and then I start to feel sort of committed. (Ok, that's not really what I usually do because I'm not big on actually following through on my crazy schemes). But, this time, I sort of got carried away with joking about my 30th birthday, and now it's sort of catching on. You know, becoming a community joke.

At first I would just say that I was having a big bash and a week long celebration. Maybe renting a dancehall or something. And I definitely told The Rock I was flying some friends out for the week (see, it is going to be BIG, or at least, EXPENSIVE.)

But, then one day (and I don't remember now exactly it came about) it occurred to me that I wanted an elephant at my party. An elephant for me and guests to ride.  AND! Get this, the elephant will be wearing, no, not a party hat...It will be wearing a feather on its head.


And lest you think that's cruel of me to ask that of the elephant, I'll be wearing one too. 

The problem with telling people you want an elephant at your party is that they take you seriously. (well, maybe they took me seriously because when they laughed at the idea I told them, "Hey! I'm being serious over here." I don't know.)  And now they're sort of shaking their heads, not just because I want an elephant, but because they think (at least a little part of them thinks) that I'm actually going to do it.  Which is probably true.

But, there are two big hurdles:
1. I don't know the first thing about renting elephants for birthday parties.
2. I live in a little tiny meensy beensy town in the middle of a forsaken desert.

In good news, though, I have two whole years to get this sorted out.

And while this is spiraling madly out of control, it is sort of fun. So I thought I'd let you in on it too.

Whew.  This party is gonna rock.  Beware, though, I'll probably post about it again sometime soon, because, you know, some serious planning needs to be done.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Houseguest and a Joke for Mother's Day

My house guest for the next few days is:




As you can see, even a menial task like cutting up a watermelon provides him with an opportunity for expressing his creativity.  He's great fun to have around because he doesn't mind helping me out--so we chopped up 2 watermelons, 4 mangos, 1 pineapple, and 4 cartons of strawberries. We're making some killer smoothies later today! Woo hoo.

He also has a dorky sense of humor, e.g.: 
Aaron: Lu!  You missed Star Wars Day!
Me: What?
Aaron: Yeah, May 4th.
Me: Oh.
Aaron: You know, May the fourth be with you

yuk. yuk.

A few weeks ago Aaron went to a bike junk store called The Bike Guy in Rye (actually, it's called All Bikes, but if we could rename it you know what it would be).

He brought back a sweet vintage bike that he's in the process of restoring AND some cool photos. Here they are:

love the trike on the hood of the amphibious car

do you see that really old bike behind the bars?  I want one of those.

I love the composition of this one

We decided this bike shop would make a great backdrop for a photoshoot.  Road trip anyone?



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Craft Activity For Kids (and it's recycling too!)

I'm helping with an activity for children in my church congregation tomorrow, and this is the craft project we're doing. 

my sample flowers on the left, original demo flowers on the right

I enjoyed making the sample flowers quite a lot.  Maybe you'd like to make some too.  (they're really easy).

I used styrofoam egg cartons because that's what was available, but the original instructions call for cardboard ones (because the cardboard can be painted to make the flowers even more colorful) (though, it turns out you can use crayons to color the styrofoam a little).

The steps are as follows:
1. Cut up an egg carton (each egg "cup" equals one flower).
2. Cut out a 4inch-ish square of tissue paper (I used three different colors of tissue paper for each "flower").
3. Stick the tissue paper into the egg carton in the arrangement you like, then poke a hole through the tissue paper and the bottom of the egg cup.
4. Put a pipe cleaner through the hole and make a loop on the tissue paper side so that it won't slip out.
5. Wrangle with the pipe cleaner a little till it holds the flower head on the way you want it to.
6. Cut a leaf shape out of green paper, punch a hole in it and thread it onto the pipe cleaner.  (I mushed the pipe cleaner around the hole so that the leaf wouldn't slide up and down).

THE END!

Easy, cheap and fun to make.  The box they're in is just a shoe box covered in wrapping paper.  And by tomorrow afternoon, the box will be full of flowers!  No watering required.

P.S. If you're lucky, my next post won't have anything to do with flowers or gardening. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

We Planted a Garden

Follow the white arrows below to see the beginning of the end of my flower bed.

Those dark circle indents, the ones those arrows are pointing to... are none other than javelina tracks.  Aka snorty, nasty piggy tracks.  In my freshly sown flower bed.  The small green plants already sprouting are sunflowers, but just 2 days ago I planted zinnia seeds...right where the piglet walked.  Grrr.

Which validates all the effort The Rock put into fencing off our backyard.  I can only imagine that Mrs. Pig would love nothing more than to forage in our well stocked garden mid- summer.  At least the sunflowers seem to be unappetizing to them right now.  Though, I wonder if that will change?  Do javelinas eat sunflower seeds like all other good hillbillies?

Speaking of the backyard: our garden is finally planted.  Though it's not much to look at right now.  Mostly, you would say it looks like a plot of dirt with a few very scraggly weeds.  Let me tell you about seedlings:  if they get enough light, they are a wonder!  and a money saver.  If they don't get enough light--they look like very scraggly weeds.

But, we here in The FP aren't ones to give up easily!  No!  We planted the seedlings in spite of their stunted growth in hopes that they will rally. 

We have prior experience with hanging in there with scraggly looking things (take me for instance. Naw, just kidding.)  Take my chives.  They were nothing more than sickly looking blades of grass.  And then there were baby bugs crawling all over them and their dirt...it was sort of gross.  So this winter, we left them well enough alone in their wee little pot on our front stoop.  (mostly thinking that we'd use the pot for something else come spring)

But, lo and behold!  They did rally, to the utter surprise of us all.

here are the happy chives very much in bloom.  I hope piglets don't like chives.  Because I do.