Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sucker Punch

***warning - mild spoilers in the fourth paragraph***

Tonight I went to see Sucker Punch.  I mostly knew the premise of the movie before I got there - a mental patient imagines a different life for herself.  There are a couple more layers to it than that, but it's the basic idea.

Steve told me that it was getting pretty iffy reviews, that some found it to be too unrelenting and thought that it was obviously written by a man who likes video games.  These reviews were pretty spot on - but I fail to see how that's a bad thing!

It was a pretty gritty movie, but the visuals were just amazing.  If you are like me and consider imagery to be the most important thing when deciding which action movies to see - go see this movie.  For reals.  It's very pretty.

There's a rather predictable plot, but that doesn't mean it's a bad plot.  Not ever movie has to have unexpected twists and turns.  There's a little more sister-death than I am comfortable with, but then again any amount of sister death is too much for me.

In short, it's a good movie.  The visuals are great, the story is good if a bit predictable.  There isn't a lot of blood or swearing or sex or anything like that, which is kinda surprising now that I think about it.  Weird.  But yeah, if you like action and pretty imagery and attractive ladies, this is the movie for you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



So I've been listening to a lot of 80s music lately, thanks to Sirius 80s on 8. I heard this song on the way home from my parents' house and remembered how much I love it, so I thought I'd share it with you (even though you've probably heard it before).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Golden Oaks and the Reading Country Club

Today I went with my sister and my mum to see the other two possible choices for my wedding/reception.  Our first appointment was at Golden Oaks.  The building was really nice, with stone and old beams.  I believe it is a converted barn.  It's really pretty and rustic.  The only downside is that the main room only seats about 70.  So thirty of our guests and the DJ/dance floor would be out on the enclosed deck.  Which is fine, I mean, it is heated and has a lot of windows looking out onto beautiful scenery.  I was really just hoping to keep everything in one room to avoid separating everyone.

Next we went to the Reading Country Club.  My cousin-uncle got had his reception there and I really liked it, and I was really still pretty in love with it when we went to the wedding expo there a few months ago.  And when we were there again today, I still really loved it.  There is a cocktail room and a bar room and a room down the hall where the bridal party can hang out if the wedding gets to be too much, which is highly possible with my low stress-tolerance.  The menu looks good and all the packages include an open bar, which is awesome.  And, for weddings in January - March, they are offering $500 towards your honeymoon, which is also a nice touch.

Honestly, I am really leaning mostly towards the Reading Country Club at this point.  the other part of me likes the Rajah, but I have some concerns about the parking situation as I've mentioned before.  I have to talk it over with Chris so we can make a decision.  My mum took videos of all three places, so I'll have those up for you guys too look over as soon as she sends them to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Celtic Women

On Monday night, I went with mu mum and aunt to see Celtic Woman - Songs From The Heart at the Reading Eagle Theater.  We had pretty good seats on the floor.  I could see very well from our row.

They sang a wide variety of traditional songs, modern music, and songs written spefically for this tour.  Most memorable to me were Fields of Gold, Lullabye (goodnight My Angel), and Danny Boy.  These all reduced me to tears.  I also really enjoyed Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears and Dúlamán.

My mum and aunt seems to prefer the voices of Lisa Kelly and Chloë Agnew, but I really liked Lisa Lambe.  Her voice wasn't as... clear as the other two?  But it had a sort of otherworldly, lively quality that I really enjoyed.  Which isn't to say I didn't like the other two, I definately did.  I just think Lisa Lambe wasn't getting the respect she deserved.

Speaking of respect, let me just mention how totally in awe I was of Máiréad Nesbitt, the violinist.  She just, like, runs around playing the violin.  Literally running.  I would be hard pressed to move around like that and still be able to breathe, let alone also playing the violin.  And she was wearing heels!  It was unbelievable!

In short, I would definitely see these ladies again any time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2nd Blogoversary

Can you believe it has only been two years since I started this blog?  It seems like ten years' worth of things have happened since then! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Today's Tune is Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine.  I think she has just about the best voice ever and I enjoy all of her songs, but I heard this one on the radio this morning and decided to share it with you.  I still think my favorite song from this album is Cosmic Love, which I linked back in February of last year (here's a link in case you missed that one), but Dog Days has some great lyrics:
Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you had and what was left after that too
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head
Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that
 So yeah, go check out more Florence + The Machine.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rajah Theater

Yesterday we (me, Chris, my mu, my dad, and Kylie) went to check out the old Rajah Theater, which is now the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, as a location for the wedding/reception.  I really like that it is an historic building, obviously.  That's kind of my thing.  There are three rooms from which to choose.  The first room is a large room with an arched ceiling, tall windows, and polished wood floors.  The second room has a high ceiling with exposed pipes, a balcony, and a stage.  The third room has an ornate ceiling, lots of windows, and a carpeted floor with a tiled dance floor.  I really like the first room as the location for the actual ceremony, since Chris and I don't belong to a church.  The second room is a little large for my purposes, since we will have 100 people or less.  The third room would be just about perfect for the reception.

I've been looking through the catering packet and the food options look pretty good and decently priced.  There are tons of possibilities, from various themed buffets to served dinners to specialty food stations.  I'll have to look at it more closely with Chris, but I am sure we will find something to suit us perfectly.

The only thing I don't like about it is the location.  It is in the middle of the city.  There is a parking garage, but it is a block or two away.  It didn't seem like such a big deal yesterday, but that might be a different story in January.  It cold be a little too cold to make guests walk all that way, especially if there is snow on the ground.  It's something to think about.

We have two more appointments next weekend - one at the Reading Country Club and one at Golden Oaks Golf Club.  Originally I had narrowed my choices down to five locations, but it looks like two of them have been vetoed...  That's fine, since I can't even remember which places they were,  I mustn't have been too excited about them!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sketch 12



Can I just say that I am embarrassed to have actually listened to Bet Me? I don't want people getting the idea that I enjoy terrible romance novels, because I don't. We only listened to it to ridicule it. Twice.  It is easily one of the top five most ridiculous romance novels I have every heard. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fun


Helping Steve and Meghan move today! Too busy to post!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seasons

There is something about every season that leaves me debiliated by memories. They are good memories, which is what makes it so weird to me. But it happens, all the time, year after year. Something, anything, will trigger a memory of something from my past and I will be rendered unable to go on. I will be left longing for these happy times. And it doesn't make the least bit of sense - I have everything I ever wanted out of life. Why can't I be happy about it?

This quirk of mine has made it almost impossible for me to enjoy most things "in the moment". I can't experience anything for what it is; I spend my time trying to recreate moments from my past. And then, whennothing lives up to my unrealistic expectations, I am left sad and disappointed and even further convinced that nothing can ever be as good as the things I remember. And it is mostly imposible for anything to go exactly as I would like, since nothing is the same as it was when those original memories occured.

I don't think this is normal, i don't think everyone feels this way. I think that most people remember fond times, are happy for the memory, and move on with their lives without feeling guilty for leaving these memories behind. That's the best way I can think of to describe it - I feel like I am betraying those memories, and the people in them, if I try to do anything differently. Take holiday traditons, for example. If I try to do something different and make a new tradition for Christmas, I am wracked by guilt and the experience is ruined. But there is no way to continue every old tradition and recreate every old memory associated with the holiday. It just isn't possible. And I know this. But even so, I am wracked by guilt if I don't try. And when I do try, and the experience feels forced and not at all the way I remembered and had hoped for, I am devistated. EVery time. So no matter what, I feel like I am condemned to live the rest of my life feeling sad and guilty and unable to fully enjoy the wonderful life I have right now.

I don't want you to think that I spend all of my time feeling this way because that's not true. But strange, unpredictable thing can trigger these thoughts, so I can go from having a fine, happy day to being incapacitated by grief and longing and guilt. I know that people sometimes feel this way when they have really bad memories, but my memories are good - they should be making me happy! They shouldn't be turning my life into a broken-down shrine to the past. But I really just don't know what to do about it. I am missing out on so many good things that are happening to me right now, unable to be fully immersed in the present.

I am feeling this way tonight, in case you didn't gather that from this uncharacteristically emo post.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Taste of Crepes

On Sunday, before the aforementioned jog at the museum, Kim and I went to Taste of Crepes on Penn Ave in West Reading.  It's very exciting to me that we've been to Penn Ave twice this month, since it's something we've talked about doing for just about ever but never actually got around to until now.  I hope this trend of following through with things we talk about continues.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about Taste of Crepes.  So.  We got there a little after noon and were seated immediately.  It's a tiny little place, but they've got four or five little tables in there without making it feel too cramped.  I had been intending to have a banana nutella crepe, which I've had before at Art on the Avenue.  However, when we were given menus, I saw that they have a breakfast section that isn't listed on their website - and they serve breakfast all day!  So I just had to try the bacon, egg, and cheese crepe.  Kim chose the strawberry nutella.  She also got a gourmet hot chocolate.  I decided upon tea as my beverage (shockingly enough), and they had a wide selection from which to choose.  I went with English Breakfast (another shock).  The food and drinks came out decently fast, and everything was quite delicious.  Mine was so large that I couldn't even finish the whole thing!  But I gave it a good try.  The crepe itself was soft and sweet (but not too sweet), and perfectly cooked.  The egg was also cooked to perfection.  The bacon was crunchy, not chewy.  It was pretty much perfect.  Kim even liked it and she doesn't care for scrambled eggs.

The environment was so charming and homey that we stuck around talking long after our crepes were gone.  I felt kinda bad about it since there were so few chairs and we were tying up two of them.  There were also some tables outside, but it was still too cold to sit outside.  I can't wait until it is warm enough to dine in the outdoors.  Eating outside is one of my favorite things about the spring/summer.

I will definitely be going back to Taste of Crepes.  I am hoping I can convince Chris to go with me next time, even though he seems to have some sort of personal vendetta against breakfast.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

This week I had Chris take my photo for me and it is still blurry.  It's so hard to tell on the camera preview if a picture is going to be clear or not.  Ah well.  At least you get to see another portion of our ramshackle kitchen.

Shirt - Target
Pants - Old Navy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Today's Tuesday Tune is one of the saddest, most true songs. These lyrics really speak to me about being an adult:
This is our decision, to live fast and die young
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute?

Forget about our mothers and our friends
We're fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend

I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone
It's pretty depressing. 

Time To Pretend - Mgmt

Monday, March 14, 2011

Out of Shape

You may or may not know this, but lately I have been obsessed with the idea of joining a gym. I have a treadmill taking up space in my living room, but I haven't used it since last summer. I had been very diligent about jogging a mile every day, but then the Big Sadness of 2010 took hold and I lost all interest in ever moving again. I am much less sad (for now), but I still haven't been using the thing - even though February was the month in which I had intended to start "working out" again. It is now mid-March and I still have not touched the thing. I don't know why, but as soon as I sit down on the sofa I am pretty much unable to do anything else for the rest of the night. It's a very comfortable sofa.

So I thought that maybe I'd be more inclined to work out if I joined a gym. There are two reasons for this assumption. Reason 1: I'd be paying for it. I f there is one things I hate it is wasting money. So I'd have to work out so as not to be throwing away $20 a month. Reason 2: The gym in question is directly on my way home. Like, I practically have to drive through it in order to get on the highway. So I would be doing my work out before the sofa got a chance to suck the life out of me. These both seem valid - right? The only reason I haven't joined yet is my inability to go anywhere alone. See, the brilliant part of this plan is that I'd be forcing Chris to come along with me. We'd go to the gym together on the way home from work on carpooling days, which happen twice a week. Unfortunately, Chris doesn't own any sneakers or any work out pants. So I can't join the gym until Chris buys these things (which might be a while since he is not nearly as excited about this plan).

I have been getting more and more antsy about this. I've been picturing myself trim and fit, running for miles and miles per week. I wasn't taking into consideration that a gym is not a magic zone that bestows amazing powers upon those within. The fact is that I am horribly out of shape and and a gym membership is not going to immediately change this. I became vividly aware of this yesterday when I went jogging with Kim at the museum. I Was very excited about the trip - I had on my track pants and the sneakers I hadn't worn since July. I was in the work out zone. We took Kim's dog with us and set off at a decent pace. The dog kept stopping to sniff things, but even with these short pauses I was pretty much done after five minutes. I was panting and out of breath; my legs hurt; I was coughing like crazy. Part of this is possibly the fault of the bronchitis from which I am still recovering. Unfortunately this can't possibly be to blame for all of my difficulty. We kept going at a decent walking speed for quite a while, though, and I didn't die, but I was still pretty ashamed of myself.

So I've decided that I should probably use the perfectly good treadmill in my living room to build up my strength before I jump into joining the gym. It wouldn't make sense to pay for a membership when I can only work out for five minutes at a time. That would be a silly waste of money. So I'm just going to have to suck it up and drag myself off of the sofa a few times a week until I am less likely to die from exercise. Uggggh.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sketch 11



Mostly random drawing except for the one labeled Mitzi. She is Mitzi from Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lottery

The other day I was called stupid for buying Powerball tickets.  I would have to be stupid, I was told, to actually believe that I ever have a chance of winning.  Imagine how much money I would save if I just put my Powerball ticket money in a jar every week instead!  Not much, actually.

You see, I buy one Powerball ticket fore each drawing.  There are two drawings per week.  Each ticket costs $1.  So that's $104 per year.  Big deal.  Even if I play the Powerball twice a week every week until I am 80, that's still only $5512.  Really not all that impressive.

What some people fail to understand is that I am not buying Powerball tickets because I think it is a legitimate and reliable way to make money.  I know very well that it is not.  I am paying $2 a week for hope.  If I buy a Powerball ticket, there is the chance (however small) that I will wake up the next morning to a brand new way of life.  That I'll be able to pay off my house and travel the world and never work another day of my life.  Let's be realistic - there is probably no way I am ever going to make $20 million in a year.  It's just not going to happen.  But for two measly dollars a week, I still have a tiny little chance of making it happen.  I think that's a bargain.

I'm not stupid, I'm just not ready to resign myself to a life of drudgery just yet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Drink More

When I was sick last week, my mum and sister kept telling em to stay hydrated.  I know I don't drink nearly as much as I should, but I wasn't sure exactly how dehydrated I was.  So I did a little internet research to find out just how much I should be drinking.  There seem to be few differences of opinion, but my favorite is the easy to remember 8 x 8 rule, which is eight 8 oz glasses of water every day.  It is okay to substitute other beverages, but you should not make tea, coffee, and soda the majority of you liquid intake for the day.  So basically, you should drink at least 64 oz of liquid every day.

Yesterdat I decided to track my beverage intake, just to see how terribly water-deficient I am.  Here is an illustrated guide to the things I drank:


So there you go.  I am at least 30 oz below the recommended daily serving of water.  And almost a quarter of that was tea, which I should be avoiding.  Oops.  Guess I should probably work on that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haute Chocolate

On Saturday Kim and I found ourselves on Penn Avenue in West Reading. It's weird, I really enjoy the shops and stuff on Penn Ave, but I hardly ever go there. Usually I only find myself there for Art on the Avenue and at that point it is all hot and busy and I am not really getting optimal enjoyment out of the experience. So I was pleasantly surprised when we ended up there accidentally on our way home from lunch at Panda Heaven.

It was windy and colder than we had though, so we went to the first place we could find that was still open (it was 5:00 and a lot of the shops had already closed). This led us straight to Haute Chocolate, which is open until 10:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

I've had Haute Chocolate's chocolates, which are both beautiful and delicious, but I'd never actually been inside before. It was very... orange. I hate the color orange, so this was not necessarily a good thing. There were some chairs and tables, but not enough to make it too cramped. There were chocolate bars and stuff to buy along the wall as we came in, nit the the fancy truffles are in a display at the counter. The counter area was a little tight, but it was pretty busy and it didn't really cause any problems, so I guess it wasn't so bad.

There was also a nice selection of cupcakes, which seem to be all the rage these days, but we didn't try any since we'd just had a rather filling lunch. They looked really good, so I imagine I'll be having one before too long. I am, in fact, considering a series of cupcake review posts, since so many cupcake places have sprung up around here lately. So I'll have to add Haute Chocolate to my list of cupcake locales.

The drink menu is very large. Kim and I both got a variation of iced dark hot chocolate - I got coconut and she got raspberry. Oh. My. God. It was like drinking a giant melted chocolate coconut candy over ice. It tasted like Easter and childhood and amazing. And it was so thick and rich! And the dark chocolate keeps it from being too overwhelmingly sweet.

The service was speedy and everything was very clean and well-kept. Kim and I took the last table available, but there were more outside that we could have used had the weather been better. I definitely plan on going back.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday


Fiiiiinally, another WIWW post.  It's been a while!  Sorry for the blurry quality, it is very hard to take clear pictures of myself.  Stupid auto-timer.  Also sorry for my dumb face.

Hat - somewhere in Paris
Shirt - Boscov's
Jeans - Bon Ton
Shoes - Boscov's

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Today's song (The Leaving Song) comes from the album Sing The Sorrow by AFI.  I just recently remembered how much I love this album and have been listening to it non-stop since Friday.  When I was first introduced to this album way back in 2003 it was pretty much the only thing I listened to for months and months.  Silver And Cold still has the ability to reduce me to tears if I am in the right mood.  It was difficult for me to choose just one song from this album to share with you, so I suggest you go and listen to it on your own time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

MedExpress

Last Tuesday I got pretty sick. Most of the day is a blur, I am not entirely sure how I got home. Actually, I didn't go home, I Went to my parents' house to use their thermometer. My temperature was 102. Rather impressive, don't you think?

As you may or may not know, I am somewhat prone to bronchitis .Since three of my friends have been diagnosed bronchitis, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor right away. Unfortunately, my doctor's office was closed when I called them at 4:00. Seriously, who closes at 4:00 on a Tuesday?

I wasn't willing to pay the $100 co-pay for an emergency room visit, so my only choice was to go to the nearest urgent care center - also known as the walk-in clinic. The nearest one to me was the MedExpress Muhlenberg branch.  Now, I know what you're thinking - probably the same thing I was thinking when I heard about the walk-in clinic. I bet you are picturing a cramped, stuffy office with grimy seats and dirty carpets, full of sick, screaming children and bedraggled parents. But it was not like that at all! It was large, brightly lit, and very clean. Hardwood floors, modern furniture, and a large flat-screen TV made the waiting area very inviting. I was rather pleasantly surprised. The receptionists were friendly and helpful. The nurses and doctors were kind and efficient. The whole experience took a little under an hour. They told me it will be even quicker if I come back because they'll already have all my information on file. Nice!

Honestly, if nice, well-run clinics like this are available, I don't understand why everyone doesn't use them. I didn't have to wait very long, I didn't have to make an appointment, I didn't have to miss work (since they are open until 9:00 pm), my co-pay was only $20... I mean, it seems like a no-brainer. This doesn't mean I'll be giving up my actual doctor any time soon - he's rather... visually appealing. Also, I don't know if the clinic does usual doctor stuff like physicals and that sort of thing (but I could be wrong). But if I'm sick and can't get off of work in time (or it is the weekend) I will definitely be going back to MedExpress.

In case you were wondering, I did end up having bronchitis, so that's my excuse for missing so many blog posts. It was pretty bad, though, I think it's a reasonable excuse. Just ask any of the multiple people to whom I ended up spreading my plague.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



This song inspired me to drink horchata, and let me tell you - it is delicious. I think this is my favorite Vampire Weekend song ever.

Horchata - Vampire Weekend