Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tomorrowland, Mini Movie Review

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars

The more I think about this movie the more upset I get.  Tomorrowland.  Based on the land of the same name in Disneyland.  A place of wonder and innovation.  Exploration.  Experimentation.

And a place where the dreamers go and build.

It's the sort of place Walt Disney himself would have loved to live.

And Casey Newton () just got a one way ticket to visit this futuristic land.  She's the "chosen one," the last person who can save Tomorrowland from becoming extinct.  I went into this movie thinking, "I'm tired of movies where the only way a conflict can be solved is if there's a "Chosen One."  My Dad came out thinking, "I'm tired of movies where humans are the bad guys."

In a nutshell Tomorrowland is Wizard of Oz meets Atlas Shrugged.

The movie is convoluted, emotionless, and violent.  Crazy violent for a PG rated film.  It should be rated PG-13 due to the amount of violence and swearing.  My Mom saw it before I did, and one thing she said over and over again was how she couldn't believe the amount of violence and swearing there is.  Some swearing is done in halves, like "Son of a b----," but it's enough.

The only redeeming quality this movie has is the actress who plays Athena, .  She did an absolutely fabulous job.

By the end of the movie I felt more hopeless then inspired.

BTW, that pin is crazy dangerous.  For a land that boasts the best and the brightest, that's a really stupid design.  I get that the pin serves as comedic timing in spots, but who in their right mind in Tomorrowland thought this was a good idea?

MPAA: Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language.

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Brother the Physics Nerd

 My brother Michael gave a lecture to a group of Physic students on how to get a job in computer programming with a Physics degree.  He's pretty brilliant, not just graduating with a BS in Physics, but then completing a year of graduate school at the U of U where he also taught undergrads.

BTW: Michael was channeling his inner Time Lord, not Bill Nye.

Just have to point that out.

 Here's my brother being amazing.

 And here's my Niece coloring and trying to whisper quietly.  It's amazing how far the sound of a whisper can travel.  Both my nieces did very well.

Crayons and Red Vines have magic powers.

Overall I'm very proud of my brother.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Don't Be Afraid of Difficulties

"A wise man once said, 'Whatever came to me, I looked on as God's gift for some special purpose.  If is was a difficulty, I knew He gave it to me to struggle with, to strengthen my mind and my faith.'  That idea has sweetened and helped me all of my life." ~ Anonymous

Friday, June 26, 2015

In Which We Have a Dr. Who Party

 A few months ago my family had a Dr. Who party.

Why?  Why not?

Does everything need an explanation?


So my Mom and I went to the mall and gathered up red bow ties for the boys.  Red hair bows for the girls, which made me feel more like Kiki's Delivery Service.

 We went to Swig to buy special cookies.  Special cookies have nothing to do with Dr.  Who.  It's just nice having an excuse to buy and then eat said cookies.  Though I typically don't need an excuse, simply devouring the yummy goodness whenever they present themselves to me.  Because cookies like to be devoured.

Also, Swig's Chocolate Chip Cookies taste a lot like the cookies you can buy in Critter Country at Disneyland, right next to Splash Mountain in the bakery, though last time I also noticed them individually wrapped at the Penny Arcade, now a sweets shop with the occasional penny machine, on Main Street USA.  They're so good.  Like cookie dough cookie good.  The Cookie Monster would go crazy.

 And my Dad and I picked up a cardboard stand up 10th doctor, aka David Tennant.

To be honest I have no real connection to the 10th doctor, though I know so many people who love him in the role.  (Goodness, confession time:  I've only watched the 11th and 12th doctors!!!  I have a lot of catching up to do).  I did see the episode where Rose gets stuck in a different parallel universe.

My first Matt Smith, aka 11th doctor, episode was The Silence.  It's crazy good.  And that was the episode that got me hooked.

I just need to go back and watch everything that came before.

BTW: Seeing David Tennant stare me down is quite disturbing.  Really disturbing.  Freaks me out.

But then life size stand ups are kind of weird to begin with.

 My favorite nieces with my beautiful Grandma.

 My brother with his then girlfriend, now fiance.

 Having a good time.

Family and friends.

Just us nerds being nerds :0)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jurassic World, Mini Movie Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I remember when Jurassic Park came to the movie theaters.  I was a kid, 11 to be exact, and I was excited to see realistic looking dinosaurs on screen.  (The Land Before Time came out 5 years earlier, so I was going through a dinosaur phase.)  That movie was thrilling.  It was scary.  And I was sure glad dinosaurs, the T-Rex especially, was extinct.

Fast forward 22 years and the dinosaur theme park is in full swing.  Jurassic World.  Complete with a petting zoo.  Over 20,000 people a day visit to see these wonders.  But the only way to keep the guests coming is to create new, scarier, meaner, bigger teeth, etc, etc, etc (and at this point I'm thinking "Didn't you learn from the T-Rex?") in order to keep the crowds excited.  Because dinosaurs are now commonplace.  And the science experiment lab has cooked up quite the dinosaur, but only the scientist know what this dinosaur is a hybrid of.  Soon enough, as plot would have it, the dinosaur escapes and craziness spreads.

My thoughts?  This is a fun movie.  Bright.  Sparkly.  Exciting.  Popcorn worthy.

It's also predictable and a little cheesy.

With magic high heel shoes that would make the Wicked Witch of the West jealous.

Want to know what made the movie experience for me?  D-Box!!!  I tried it for the first time.  Moving chairs that syncs with the movie.  I experienced a ride within a ride and it was pretty awesome.

If you're in the mood for big box office flair, or love the original Jurassic Park flick, I recommend Jurassic World.

MPAA:  Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 2015 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review

 "Yoga Warrior, Sun-kissed, Outdoor fun, Coconut" were some of the inspirations for this box.

POPSUGAR Must Have is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.  On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

The info card.

Is it weird that I love the packaging as much as the eyeshadow?  It's so pretty.  The eye palette is pretty, too.  A nice mixture of neutrals with a pop of Summery color.

 The funny thing is I was looking at Pacifica makeup at Target, curious about the brand, thinking that it would be cool to get an item in our box.  And here it is in the box!  Really funny how life words sometimes.

I really like the color.  The band itself is pretty thin, but it works good, even though the sides curl a little.  The booklet states that you can use this as an eye shield of sorts, to block the sun.  I tried it, and it works decently well.

The big ticket item!! I wear prescription glasses, so these are a throwaway item at the moment.  They do fit over my glasses, but when I do this I get a distinct 3D glasses feeling.  I'll hold onto these, in case I want to finally try out contacts again.

 When I heard we were getting this, I was really hoping for the coconut verbena scent, since one of our hints was coconut (the Pacifica eyeshadow has coconut), but we got the Papaya Yuzu scent.  It smells really nice.  Very Summery.  So I can't wait to try this product out.

 In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume  $28, unless you buy on Amazon.

Our Summer read.  At the moment I'm not going to read this book, because I'm going through Science-Fiction/Fantasy short stories, but I do like the fact that Popsugar includes books in their subscription.  And it seems a lot of people were excited to get this book.  I have honestly never read a Judy Bluum book, so I guess now is as good a time as any.

These are post workout snacks.  I like how they have B vitamins and electrolytes.  They're tasty.  But they also have too much sugar.


The items on this site are too expensive for me, but that's because everything is one of a kinds, found at Estate sales and antique shops.

And that's it!  The June box!

My feelings are so-so at that moment.  Not everything is for me, but that's okay.  You win some; you lose some.  That's the subscription box way.

Here is the July spoiler. June is now sold out, but you can sign up for July.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Inside Out, Mini Movie Review

Rating: 3.75

This isn't a kids movie.

Watching this movie is like reading the last Winnie-the-Pooh story: Christopher Robin and Pooh Come to an Enchanted Place, and We Leave Them There.  This last story I would never read to my nieces.  All the other stories I'd read because they're fun and silly.  But the last story is best enjoyed as an adult.  A kid may read it, but they won't understand it.  As an adult it's best to take this last Pooh story and find a corner, maybe under a bed sheet tent with a flashlight, and read it in silence.  There the story's meaning is truly felt.

This is how Inside Out, the latest animation by Pixar and Disney, felt to me, and it's funny that I use the word "felt," because this movie is all about emotions.  More importantly the emotions running trough Riley's mind, a girl who just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, and all the emotions this move affects.

Each emotion is represented by five different characters: Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness.

There are elements in the movie kids will enjoy and appreciate, but the themes within the movie are a bit complex.

In the middle of my showing I could hear kids squirming in their seats, some getting a little reckless, one kid singing and speaking at the top of their lungs, completely unaware of the screen.

A lot of praise for this movie is coming from adults who are touched by Inside Outs message.  It's very meaningful if you've struggled with, or are struggling with depression, which this movie delves into.

Will kids enjoy it?  Sure, but like the last Winnie-the-Pooh story, it's best understood by those of us with years of experience and memories.

When does a kid movie stop being a kid movie?  This isn't Finding Nemo or Toy Story.

MPAA: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action.

Monday, June 22, 2015

In Which I Fail At Putting Together a Metal Earth NCC-1701 Star Trek Enterprise

 Last March when my Dad and I were at Party Works getting St. Patrick day celebrations, we were momentarily distracted by the Metal Earth display.  I've seen them before.  One time at Hallmark I contemplated buying a Star Wars X-Wing, but thought against it when I pondered over my available spending money.

At Party Works my Dad spontaneously bought the NCC-1701 Enterprise from the original Star Trek series.  When we got home I asked him if he was going to put it together, he then handed it to me and said, "You are."

This kit has been sitting in my dresser drawer this whole time.

For Fathers Day I thought I'd finally put it together.

 Suddenly feeling super overwhelmed by the instructions.

 It's difficult removing the pieces from the metal sheet without bending it; I did a pretty decent job with the pieces I did remove.

 Suddenly realizing, after 40 minutes of trial, that I put the end on upside down and inside out.

 Finally got this piece done without breaking anything.

 Wondering if they were asking me to put together a Klingon Bird of Prey.

 And thus the inevitable happened: a piece snapped.

I tried to fix it with tape.

 And then it completely broke off.

 Penning my frustrations on paper.

The problem is that if you move a metal piece back and forth, it wears down and brakes.  Being asked to shape the ships body before attaching some pieces made it difficult to secure those pieces without bending the body.

I was going to trudge through, regardless.

 The final step that put a nail in the coffin.

Curling this little piece while it was attached to all that weight.

 It broke off . . . 

And I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I laughed.

I showed my Dad the results of my effort, and he was grateful I tried.

Thank goodness I had a Star Wars theme for the rest of my gift, because Star Trek totally didn't work out.

(P.S. This bag makes me giggle :0)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

When a Man Becomes a Father

"When a child is born, a father is born. A mother is born, too of course, but at least for her it's a gradual process. Body and soul, she has nine months to get used to what's happening. She becomes what's happening. But for even the best-prepared father, it happens all at once. On the other side of a plate-glass window, a nurse is holding up something roughly the size of a loaf of bread for him to see for the first time."

~ Frederick Buechner, 'Whistling in the Dark'

 Happy Father's Day, Dad :0)

Thank you for everything.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In Which I Won't be Going to Japan this October

A few months ago my going to Japan this October was really solid.  Plane tickets purchased, got a really good deal flying into LAX on September 28 for the layover and then onto Narita Tokyo airport.  Paid in full for an apartment in Tokyo.  Down payment paid for an apartment in Kyoto.  Hotel reserved for three whole days at Tokyo Disneyland.  (Going to Disneyland would have been my very first activity, taking the bus or JR line from Narita.  I was so very excited to finally visit Tokyo Disney Sea.)

Then a couple things happened:  My brother wanted to get a new job; his wanting this began in early May.  And after the Chili Volcano eruption in April I was prompted to google Mt. Fuji, regardless of the fact I knew it was a low risk volcano.

Last thing first: Mt. Fuji.  

(I must quickly insert that Mt. Fuji isn't the reason at all why I'm not going on this trip.  When my Mom was 17 she visited the Egyptian Pyramids and got to go inside.  One friend got claustrophobic and turned around. My Mom decided to proceed, stating that if she was going to die, she would rather die in a Pyramid.  I must state that I've grown up hearing this.  And if I was going to die in Japan, I would be perfectly okay dieing in Japan.  You can't live in fear.  I can hop in a car and get in an accident down the street.  More people die in car accidents then in airplanes.  We've got to live our lives.  What I state below is what I found out, and being into Geology I had to tell my whole family the craziness that is the current state of Mt. Fuji.  That aside, I live next to the devastating Wasatch fault line which is due to fracture at any moment, and trust me it's going to be really, really bad.  I won't get into it.  But you never know.  I'm visiting California next week and we all know about the San Andreas fault line.  The Ring of Fire is on fire.)

I found out that the 2011 earthquake that caused the major tsunami in Sendai Japan caused Mt. Fuji to go from a low risk volcano to the top of the high risk volcano list.  From wikipedia: 

"Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, much attention was given to the volcanic reaction of Mt. Fuji. In September 2012, mathematical models created by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention suggested that the pressure in Mount Fuji's magma chamber could be at 1.6 megapascals, higher than it was in 1707. This was commonly reported in the media to mean that an eruption of Mt. Fuji was imminent. However, since there is no known method of measuring the pressure of a volcano's magma chamber, such research is speculative. The other indicators mentioned, such as active fumaroles and recently discovered faults, are typical occurrences at this type of volcano."

An optimistic 2012 WIRED article by said, "Little is known about how much magma or whether it is eruptible, so as of right now, there are no signs that an eruption will happen soon at Fuji – next week, next month or even over the next few years."

Then in 2013 professor Masaki Kimura of Ryukyu University predicted that Mt. Fuji may erupt by 2015.

And last July, 2014, many scientist from France and Japan went to investigate.  From the Telegraph, UK:  "We have no direct observational record about the next eruption of Mount Fuji," Shigeru Suto, a volcano expert at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, told The Telegraph.  "We simply do not have enough data. There are 110 active volcanoes across Japan and 47 of them are under close observation because there are fears they could erupt, but it is very difficult to get precise observations and to make accurate predictions."

10% of the Earth's volcanic population lives in Japan.

It's the risk of visiting.

I'm okay with this risk.

Then my brother got a job offer, on my birthday, in which he wouldn't be able to take off vacation time.  He passed on that job, going with a job that would allow him to take the time off.

Then last week the perfect job, which pays great and is right in line with his major, came out of no where.  We decided to cancel the Japan trip once and for all.  I was devastated.

A couple days ago, in a valiant effort to take a fractured trip to Tokyo, I pitched the idea of not visiting Kyoto, but staying in Tokyo, because our plane tickets are fully paid for, and the apartment is payed for.

That fell through, for good reasons, honestly.

And after a three hour conversation with Delta in which I found out what I could do with my ticket credit, which was non-refundable, I'm now going to . . . France!

I'm going with my Mom, and she's thrilled.  We're staying with one of her, and mine, dear friend, who I call Tata Patou.  (Tata means Aunt.)  Patou is super excited.  And we may visit Scotland.

I've honestly been depressed all week, because of how desperately I want to visit Japan.  I know it's not the end of the World.  I know others are going through far worst.  But it's been hard.

After my ticket was changed, suddenly this feeling of peace flowed throughout me, and I could hear the words in my mind: This is right.

Ironically my Calender this month has a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

I'm still going to Yume No Yume: Dream of dreams.

And study kanji because I really need to.

And I'll keep wearing my Japanese CTR right with the character Gi (rightousness) on it, which I've been wearing for over a decade.

And I'm not going to stop studying Japanese.


I'm going to visit one day.

It will happen.

meanwhile I need to start studying French again! 0_0

French is the bane of my existence.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Do Not Pray for Easy Lives

(Photo taken while on a walk in Michigan a couple weeks back.)

"Do not pray for easy lives.  Pray to be stronger men.  Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.  Pray for powers equal to your tasks!  Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle."  ~ Phillips Brooks

And because I couldn't choose between these two quotes, here's another:

"Whenever two ways lie before us, one of which is easy and the other hard, one of which requires no exertion while the other calls for resolution and endurance, happy are those who choose the mountain path and scorn the thought of resting in the valley.  These are the men and women who are destined in the end to conquer and succeed."  ~ Anonymous.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 4 & 5: Odyssey of the Mind World Comp. 2015

It's crazy to think that just last week I got back from the Odyssey of the Mind World comp. 2015 in Lansing Michigan.  Where does the time go??

Those five days were such a blast.

I judged Long Term for Div. II (middle-school),  problem 5 (performance) "Silent Movie."  Along with needing to include a silent movie in the 8 minute skit, subtitles included, the teams had to have a director character, a villain who commits three acts of villainy, a movie critic, a movie trailer for a coming attraction (which can have sound), and a team created instrument.

As a musician I really enjoyed seeing all the instruments the 65 teams created.  There were many drums, shakers, and PVC like instruments, but different fun takes on each.  One team took the PVC xylophone idea and added tubes and water, so that when you blew into the tube a different pitch would sound.  Another team took the xylophone keys and connected them to a vertical wooden board with a ramp; they dropped a ball down the ramp and timed it perfectly so the xylophone keys played "three-blind-mice."  Really fun.

Then there was another team who took the team created instrument to a whole new level.  They used a body current to cue different, originally created synthesized music loops.  The skit had an animal theme (the lion and giraffe were gorgeous), and the musical instrument was made to look like a food stand.  Behind the stand the DJ wore special shoes that grounded the current, and then when he touched metal (Hershey Kisses, some pennies, aluminum foil under a water bottle) the current was completed, and that cued the different sound/music loops, which was cued up on a computer.  After each performance the judges get to talk to the kids and ask questions about the items we're scoring, and when we looked at this particular instrument we got to create a body current link while holding hands.  I was the final link in the chain and got to touch the Penny on the table causing the music to turn on, touch it again and it turned off.  I did the same with the Hershey's Kiss, touching it to turn the music loop on and off.  Super cool.

At the end of Day 4, technically the third and last judging day, there's a closing ceremony where awards are given.  My friend works with the Spontaneous team, Spont, aka short term, is another element in the competition worth up to 100 points and deals with problem solving improvisation. Long Term is worth up to 200 points.  I had dinner with some of the spont people, and then we walked from the Marriott to closing ceremonies.

Those whole three days I couldn't understand why the spont people never took the bus to campus, choosing to walk instead.  Boy, was I missing out!!!  The walk was so beautiful, going through a park and seeing older architectural buildings.  And the light was absolutely gorgeous, deep golds casting long shadows.

Day 5: I had to get up early to catch the early bus to the Detroit airport.  2 hour drive.  And my friend Lauren and I got to the airport with a full three hours to spare.  (taking the later bus would have gotten us there 30 minutes before boarding.)

We had lunch at a Texas Stake restaurant, and the burgers were so juicy!!   It was nice being able to relax and not stress. 

Somehow my seat got messed up and I sat by this guy who was super stressed out.  When we got our beverages he asked for a Sprite, and then quickly got a small bottle of liquor out of his bag to pour it into his glass, causing him to sleep the rest of the way.

I'm sad 2015 Odyssey is over, except for a wrap-up planning meeting this weekend.  Next years Performance problem is going to be really cute.

Divisions I, II, III & IV The team's problem is to create and present a humorous performance depicting problem solving from the perspective of three different animals. The animals will help a stranger, help each other, and solve a problem that threatens the survival of all animals. During the performance, the animals will sing and dance. They will also show curiosity, sympathy, frustration, and joy.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

Until next year!!!