Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Away We Go Movie Review

Away We Go
Grade: A

BW's on vacation this week, so I took the afternoon off and we went and saw Away We Go. Not only is it cheaper to see a movie in the afternoon, but we practically had the theatre to ourselves.

What a lovely little movie. It's a funny, touching, quirky film that would best be described as an adult coming of age story. This is the story of Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) who are expecting a baby together. This propels them to take to the road to find a place to call home. Along the way the visit family and friends (Catherine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhaal to name a few of the fine actors who show up here) who expose them to situations that unknowingly help guide them home.

The girls and I are big John Krasinski fans. He plays Jim on The Office and he is just adorable. He's made a couple other films recently that turned out to be busts, so I am so pleased he finally got to be in a really good film.

This movie was also a nice change from the series of mega-films that we've recently seen (Wolverine, Star Trek, Transformers). It just felt really good to see a simple movie based on a story, characther development and quality acting.

Go see it if you get the chance.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Review

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Grade: B

We finally got a chance to see the new Transformers movie on Saturday evening. I really enjoyed it and and thought the one review I read, in People, was a little harsh. Sure there were times I wasn't sure which robot was which but overall I certainly understood the good guys from the bad guys. (Bad robots have red eyes.)

I was glad to see the return of many of the original cast especially Josh Duhamel as Major Lennox and John Turtorro as Agent Simmons. They also added some fun comic relief in the character of Leo Spitz, who plays Sam's new college roommate who gets dragged along on the latest fight against the Decepticons.

This chapter in the Transformers saga has the Decepticons returning to Earth to kidnap Sam and extract important ancient codes implanted in his brain. Sam is joined in this battle as usual, by the ever impressive Omptimus Prime and his particularly full lipped girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox).

My only real gripe with the movie is that Megan poses and pouts her way through the film looking more like she's on the cover of Maxim, then in the middle of a battle for the fate of the world.

In this scene...visualize if you will, that they are running in slow-mo...and now let's zoom in even closer and you can only imagine the full on bounce effect that takes over the screen. It was at this moment that BW said..."I think her boobs are Decepticons". I think he might be right.

Now in chatting with a few younger guys I know that have seen this movie...none of them saw any problem with how Megan was presented in this film. In fact, to quote Stinky, "Megan Fox is hot.". (I'm just so proud. He's so...articulate and quote worthy. I'm sure all the major publications will be after him for his succinct and deep thoughts.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Card of the Week (CPS #121)

I used the CPS Card Sketch for this week as the inspiration for Jena's Wedding Shower card. Here is the CPS Sketch:


And here is my version:



I'm trying photos again as the scan doesn't look good at all. Using the "Close Up" setting on the camera seems to help. Although, I'm still not thrilled with my photography as you can barely see the detail on the ribbon, which is really very pretty. (Caaiittyy....Help!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

My One Perennial

I'm not the a super flower grower. I find veggie's a little easier to grow. Several years back though, I did plant this Blue Clematis on the side of my house. I thought it would like nice climbing up the side of my house. Despite my ignorance, it's done pretty well.







I likey. You likey?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Testing the Opening of a New Window

The is a test of how to get a URL link to open in a new window. Normally, when you add a link to your post and a reader clicks on it, they are taken to the new site...away from yours.

Here is a friend's website. Go ahead, click on it. See how it opens in a new window. Now I won't lose readers when I add a link to one of my posts. (When you only have 8 readers...you can't afford to lose a single one!)

I've been trying to do this for week's and finally figured it out. I'm so excited. Nerd joy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Garden Update - June

We've had an unusually cool and wet Spring. In fact, this week is our first week of hot weather. This slow Spring has ushered in a magnificent growing period for my container garden.

Here are my veggies and flowers; before and after:






































Pretty amazing. Happy Summer Everyone!


(I give up...this post has been a formatting nightmare. I'm just leaving it as is, despite the fact that it looks off balance with way too much white space.)
Latest Update - I reloaded one of my pictures and I think this is formatted a little better now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wedding Placecards - The Blurry Version


As promised, here is a picture of the placecards Caity and I made for my niece Genevieve's wedding. Under no circumstances should you blow up this picture or you will truly see what a disaster it is (and this was the best of the 3 pictures that I took).

You can at least get the idea of what we created. The aqua colored ribbon matched the girls dresses perfectly.

(Caity - HELP! If you get a break from texturing your bathroom wall, could you upload a better photo. Did you even get photo?)

Which brings up another point. Has anyone ever textured a wall before? The stuff is so thick and then flakes off when she uses the whisk broom for the design. We don't know if this is how it's supposed to go on or if Cait just got a really old bucket of texture goop.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Card of the Week (CPS #120)

Here is the CPS card of the week...







and here is my submission.

This is the card I used for my niece's wedding yesterday. To be honest, it took me two times to get this card right. The first version had some good ideas, but ended up...pretty ugly. It is now happily residing in the bottom of the garbage can. (Yes...it was that nasty. Just ask Caity. She'll tell you.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What a Cool Idea!

As a happy little cardmaker, this idea pleased me completely.

A woman at work is participating in a gift project for a new mom. Twenty-one friends and family are making birthday cards for her newborn son. Each friend is assigned a different year. The woman I spoke to had his 6th birthday. When completed, the new parents will have 21 years worth of beautiful, handmade birthday cards for their child, all coming from family and friends who love this new little guy.

I think this is such a cool idea that I wanted to share. To a non-cardmaker, this idea my sound challenging, but it is amazing what you can do with cool paper, stamps, buttons, ribbon and makers. If you've never made a card, you should give it try. You might like it.

See this thing here. It's a paper trimmer. This is the Fiskars version. There are many out there on the market. When I first started making cards I purchased a smaller paper trimmer. Since then, I've upgraded a bit, but of all the supplies I've purchased, this is the the most practical and it has nothing to do with cardmaking. This thing has come in so handy for school projects, I can't even tell you. Trimming construction paper, articles, pictures from magazines or internet, this does it perfectly. Much, much better then scissors. I just wish I had this tool back when Stinky was in elementary school. My life would have been a lot easier. If you've still got kids in school, you might want to get a paper trimmer and save your fingers and your patience.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Up Movie Review

UP
Grade: A+

We saw the new Pixar movie UP on Saturday evening, in 3D no less. What a wonderful movie. It's a sweet, sweet story with great characters and the visuals are stunning. So real. The 3D aspect was truly amazing. They are getting so good at the 3D effects, that it's well worth wearing the ridiculous glasses.

This is the story of charming older gentleman's last effort to have a special adventure in his life. Along the way, he's joined be a young wilderness explorer, a talking dog and a bird named Kevin. There's an exciting and scary climax with the movie's villain that left me jumping in my seat. There were a couple of pretty scary dog characters, so I'm not sure if RJ is ready to see this (or maybe he is, after all Darth Maul is his favorite Star Wars character). I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it yet.

Would love to hear from someone who's already seen this as I am wondering if anyone else thought the character of Muntz, looked exactly like Kirk Douglas.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Welcome Home Kelly Belly

Look at this adorable little peanut. Granted this picture is probably 20+ years old, but she is still an adorable little peanut. This is my cousin (feels more like a niece) Kelly and she just completed her 6 year stint with the Navy. Her last deployment was in Iraq and we are all so glad she back in the good old USA.

Kelly - Best wished to you and Zoli as you start your new life together. We love you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Until You've Walked in My Shoes....

Did I happen to tell you that last Thursday I wore two different shoes to work? On top of that, no one noticed. Heck, I didn't even notice until I took them off. I am either:
  • Getting old and mentally losing it
  • Under too much stress
  • Way to distracted

Or my closet is so a complete, disorganized mess.

Maybe, it's all of the above. Ugh!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hunt for Dual Power!


Cait and I both love Spray and Wash Dual Power stain remover. Works great. Just squeeze it on to the spot and wash as normal. Considering the abnormal amount of stains Cait has to remove from EVERY shirt she EVER wears, she has become a stain product connoisseur and removal expert. She just managed to get mustard off my brand new white sweater.
Well, we are having trouble finding this magic product. It's not at the grocery store anymore. Cait emailed "Spray and Wash" and they even replied. (I kind of wonder how those green bottles manage to type...ha ha) They say it's still out there but in limited distribution. So, we need your help. Can you help us find Spray & Wash Dual Power? If you can tell us where to find it, we will buy you a bottle as well.
Good hunting!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just Finished...

Went to bed a tad early last night so I could finish reading The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan (of Marley & Me fame). I'd almost finished it last week, but got to the point where I knew the tear your heart out part was coming up and I wanted some alone time so I could just let go and cry if I wanted to. (Stinky always laughs at me when I cry at movies, TV, books etc.)

And that's just what I did, I balled my eyes out. What a truly wonderful book. I lauged out loud and I cried out loud. What more could you ask for in a book. Being a product of the Detroit area Catholic school system myself, the stories are so vivid and real. Gosh, the pranks we used to play on some of the crazy nuns. It also was particularily poignant as a child of the 70's myself. John's description of his long frizzy hair and big bow tie on graduation day was right on. Can't tell you how many guys wore those big-ass bow ties.

(I remember once seeing Tom Hanks graduation picture. I would have sworn he was in my graduating class. He looked identical to about 4 guys from my class. But I digress...)

This book is all the more relevant fo me as we are having our 35th reunion from high school later this summer. So, I've had the old yearbooks out and have been in touch with old friends I haven't heard from in....35 years.

Anyway, I loved this book and highly recommend it. Don't let my crying deter you, I cry at Hallmark commercials.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cheers!

Let's start with the fact that I come from a long line of beer drinkers. Must come from my German heritage.

The best beer I ever remember having was when my older brother converted an old refrigerator in the basement into to a tap. He kept it well stocked with Labatt's Blue. Yum!
He eventually de-installed the device when he got tired of supporting all his buddies. (and his mother and sister, I think)

As of recent, I've noticed a distinct change in the type of beers the kids have been drinking . There seems to be a influx of more unique and distinct beers on the market and many of these are being sampled by my family (although hopefully, not Stinky). Here's some of the brands that we've been most impressed with:

1. Blue Moon (Molson Coors Brewery) - This beer was developed on the Molson side of the house. The beer is orange-amber in color with a cloudy appearance because it is unfiltered. It is also spiced with corainder and orange peel in addition to the hops found in most beers. Blue Moon does have a more pronounced orange flavor than many other beers of the style (gently lifted from Wikepedia). Blue Moon has been a favorite of ours for some time now. Delicious with a slice of orange. This is the dessert of beers.

2. Final Absolution (Dragonmeade Brewery) - This local beer is produced in Warren, Michigan. It's Dragonmeade signature product and it is considered a Belgian Ale. The Belgian wheat gives it its banana and clove aromoas. Just found out that this brew has a 10% alcohol content. So careful if you try it. (Right "Doc Hollywood".)


3. Landshark (Margaritaville Brewing Company) - Jimmy has sure turned the whole Margaritaville thing into a profitable brand. This is a smooth lager that goes well with a wedge of lime. Kind of an Americanized Corona. A good summertime beer.




4. Oberon (Bell's Brewery Company) - An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon (gently lifted from Bell's website).



5. Magic Hat No. 9 (Magic Hat Brewing Company) - An English ale that is a dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. (gently lifted from Magic Hat's website)




6. Shock Top (Anheuser Busch Brewing Company) - This is an unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale which is naturally cloudy and unfiltered with a light golden color. Seems to be Bud's competitor for Blue Moon. Again delicious with a slide of orange.


To give a more well rounded list, I enlisted the help of my cousin Evan, in Texas. He's a proud beer aficionado, so I asked for a few of his favorite beers. So here's a couple more that are worth a try.


7. Shiner Cheer (Spoetzl Brewery) - Although a dark wheat beer, it boasts an extra taste of Texas. It's brewed with pecans and Stonewall peaches from the Texas Hill Country. This delicious, fruity beer delivers remarkably pleasant peach and apricot flavors, with light spice, caramel and toffee notes. (gently lifted from the Dallas News review)


8. King's Peak Porter (Uinita Brewing Company) - This beer is a deep mahogany in color and has a full-bodied malty flavor. Hints of chocolate malt are easily detectable. Topped with a tan creamy head, this beer has a definite hop character that nicely balances its mild bitterness. (gently lifted from Uinita Brewing website.)

So, the next time you are at an establishment with a long line of beer taps, you might want to venture out to one of these beverages. Enjoy

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ansel Adams You Ain't

If you've been reading this blog for a little bit, you are probably aware that I have been using more of my own photos and almost always apologizing for the poor quality of my photos. Well, yesterday as I'm leaving home, I get a call from work. "Grab your camera, we need building photos." Seriously?? After a 10 minute whining session about what a lousy photographer I am, I finally agree to give it a try.

You know what I found on my camera...a "scene" option setting. You can select what kind of picture you are taking and it helps make the adjustments that I don't know how to make. It was a real "aha" moment for me. (Probably, also a plug for reading the actual instructions.)

So here is an interior photo using the normal setting:


See how all the flash is on the plant in front and not the distant area. I then changed the scene setting to museum (low light available) and got this picture:

I improved on the lighting...now if I could only hold the camera and focus properly, I'd be a much better photographer.

I also found out that my camera has a "panorama" scene setting. Can't wait to try that sucker. (I did actually try that yesterday, but it didn't really turn out too well.)

So, here's the takeaway - the pictures worked fine for the person who needed them and I learned a little more about my camera including how to turn off the stupid date thing. Here's hoping for better photos from me in the future.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Song and Dance Man!

You all know how a couple weeks ago, I got a little shout out on the local Fox station in Austin, TX. It seems like little moments are kind of running in the family as of late.


On May 22, Doc Hollywood's little bro got a big shout out on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Just click on the link to see Chris in action. Chris is a DJ down in Fort Wayne and this video is very funny.

Nice Job Chris!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Wonderful Read!


I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What a great read. I got this book from mom, who just knew I would love it and she was right.
It's all written in a series of letters, which at first made me think - "how am I ever going to figure out who's who", but after a couple letters, you get the flow and find yourself drawn into all the characters. It's set right after the conclusion of WWII in England and Guernsey (of course).
Th other unexpected perk of this book was its large print format, which I found decidely easier on my eyes. Now, I don't wear reading glasses, but at the end of a long day it was sure nice to have this book in large print. It was almost refresing for my eyes. Granted I did have to take some crap from Stinky about reading "my 1st grade reading book", but still worth it.