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Laura's Online Journal August 2004


The most recent entries are first. If you haven't been here for a while scroll down or click on a date. And remember most pictures are links to a larger version.

Comments? Your movie reviews? I would love to hear from you!

Enough about you, let's talk about me....

August 31, 2004

I have seen some good movies lately. Kill Bill Vol 2 was excellent. It was so different from the first but certainly as good. Every scene, every character was so enjoyable. The actors did such a great job, Michael Madsen in particular. It turns out that my aunt Mary Anne is good friends with Michael Madsen's uncle. I think that is so cool.

I was a little uncomfortable with the coffin scene. I went on a county recreation department sponsored caving trip a couple of years ago. Every thing was fine until we had to crawl on our stomachs through a long tight winding tunnel. There were people in front of me and people behind me. There was no light except the flash lights on our hard hats. It might have been OK if I had known how long the tunnel was and if we had not had to just stop because of a bottle neck up ahead. Watching that scene in Kill Bill and just writing about the cave trip causes a panic. I feel a big knot in my upper chest/throat and I feel like I could start hyperventilating.

Another movie we saw is Garden State. It is about a depressed over-medicated struggling actor who goes home for his mother's funeral and has to deal with why he left home and has not returned for 8 or 9 years. He reunites with his old friends who have not really grown up much but they and a new girlfriend help him get back on track. The acting is good. I was very impressed by Peter Saarsgard and Natalie Portman is always good. And some parts are visually stunning - interesting settings like a group of people swimming in a steaming heated pool, a small pet cemetary in a back yard on a cold winter day, a quarry in the rain. There are some scenes that seem forced, some gimmicky but there were some truly wonderful moments. It is sad at times but also very funny. I cried at the end but it was ok. There have been movies where I cried but was so angry that they made me cry because they were crap. Hope Floats was one such movie.

August 23, 2004

My viewing of the Olympics has been spotty. I saw more swimming than I thought I would - Phelps was so overexposed I was kinda disgusted. But the swimming races have been exciting. I happened upon the synchronized diving - I had never heard of that one before. It was interesting to watch. We made sure we watched the cycling road race. I missed the time trial cycling race that Tyler Hamilton won. But I was very excited to see that Bobby Julich had won the bronze. I felt like I know him since I took his picture at a race here in June. And a Latvian won a medal today... Woohoo!

New phone update: I received and sent my first text message yesterday! I guess you don't have to be a teenager to do it. My Italian friend Lorella has been dying to text message and since I am now on her network I was her guinea pig. Austin, William, Lyla, Tracy, my parents and Nick and Lorella met for dinner last night. We ate a nice restaurant called Logan Tavern near Logan Circle. I hitched a ride with Lyla and Tracy and on the way I exchanged messages with Lorella (she was driving in with Nick from Maryland) that went like this:

Lorella: We are on florida
Laura: we are at dupont
Lorella: we are on p
Laura: we are parking
Lorella: we r on logan

Somehow the teenagers make it seem so much more hip.

August 22, 2004

I entertained yesterday morning for the first time in a long time. It was just a little breakfast buffet type thing but it was still tough. I guess if I kept the house more clutter-free I could have spent the 2 hours after waking up preparing food instead of trying to find a place to put all the clutter, a place that I will remember next week when we need one of the clutter items. Luckily my parents arrived early and the other guests late. Everything was ready on time.

After breakfast we went to the Hillwood Gardens, which I had visited in June. It was raining but it was still nice. The best part was watching people steal glances or blantantly stare a my brother's leopard print rain coat.

Here is a fuzzy picture of Austin and his fab coat, plus two other pics from the greenhouse.

Austin's leopard print coat
Greenhouse Greenhouse

August 18, 2004

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Lovely and Amazing
There was disagreement in this household over the worth of this movie. The story is about a family - a mother, 2 grown daughters and an adopted 8 year old. The movie was about self-image and self-esteem. The main character is in an unhappy marriage. She tries to convince herself and others that she is an artist but she is not very convincing - she is just too angry. Her sister is a model/actress who should not be in the business. She buys into the skinny heroin-chic look and believes everything her agent tells her. The adopted child is a black girl, a bit overweight and born to a crackhead mother, now living a white affluent lifestyle. She is confused and acts out to get attention.

Katherine Keener plays the older sister with great angry wit. All the acting is quite good. Several events happen that bring a reality check to all the characters. Nothing really changes during the movie but I felt like things were turning around for them all. I guess I enjoyed the good acting, the depth of the characters and the story.

Joe did not like the movie. He did not like the characters. He thought that they were all screwed up, that they were not sympathetic and that they would never change. His comment early on was "This is like a Hal Hartley movie for the Lifetime Channel" (Hal Hartley's movies are known for their deadpan unatural dialogue but we both like his movies alot.)

Documentary about Jerry Seinfeld trying to develop a new comedy routine and return to small comedy clubs after his successful TV show. It was interesting enough.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Not too good but I did like Cameron Diaz dancing and playing a butch crime scene investigator.

August 16, 2004

Time: Where does it go?
I really want to do a beach page and a Graeme at Camp DC page before the memories are gone. I just can't seem to get my act together. Maybe this weekend? No, my parents will be here and that is always go see this, go do that and let's eat some more. But I'll give you a preview .
Beach Sunset Van Ness Pandas

Some more movie/DVD reviews
After seeing the Bollywood film Devdas we wanted to see more of Madhuri Dixit because we thought her performance was quite good so we rented Dil and Mohabbat. Now my stardards for Bollywood movies are a bit lower than for Hollywood movies. I watch for the songs, dance, costumes, and the melodramas. The plots are usually convoluted and I expect that. If the plots are solid like Devdas or Dil Se I am pleasantly surprised. Well, even by my lowered standards Dil sucked. The story was stupid with a coming-out-of-nowhere special lesson on rape, the characters were totally stupid, the costumes were ugly which made the dancing unpleasant. Mohabbat was much better but still not great. There are secret admirers, arranged marriages, lots of gratuitous violence made cartoonish by the bad hong-kong-style sound effects. One character dies and comes back to life (or is it really him?). One character becomes mute. One character develops brain cancer. Now, this is what I expect from a Bollywood movie.

Underworld This was a decent movie about a war between vampires and werewolves. It was a good story about love and betrayal. The acting was good but it was hard to see Scott Speedman, the male lead, as anyone other than Ben from the TV show Felicity. I think it is his voice. The special effects weren't too cheesy and overall it had a nice dark look.

August 11, 2004

So with the spiffy new phone I needed some accessories. I took some pictures (mostly of the toys on my desk) with the built-in camera to use as wallpaper on my phone. I downloaded some ringtones, including the theme to the TV show Angel and "Mundian To Bach Ke" by Punjabi MC. I know you have heard "Mundian To Bach Ke" - if nowhere else you've heard it in the background of the Mountain Dew commercial with Steven Segal where he accidentally defeats the criminal element in a convenience store.

Fuzzy pictures:
piyo piyo goddess wall paper
little girl cat

Mundian To Bach Ke

Oh and I got a cute phone pouch. It is made of neoprene and smells a little funky but I am hoping that will go away:

A phone pouch
(click to see it up close and personal)
Some more movie/DVD reviews
A Knight's Tale
What fun! A peasant impersonates a noble to be able to participate in jousting competitions. The story takes place in the time of Chaucer (a character in the film). The costumes are slightly out of place and the music is totally anachronistic but it works well. Heath Ledger is a real cutie and his buddies are fun. I enjoyed the jousting scenes and loved the introductions the Chaucer character provided before the competitions.

August 4, 2004

Well, I have finally fully joined the 21st Century. I have been on a $5.00/month mobile phone plan for about 5 years. I pay for every call and long distance and roaming are very expensive. My phone was state of the art at the time but is a dinosaur at this point. So for my birthday I got a new phone and joined Joe's plan. Now I have pictures, voice commands, long distance and bluetooth! It was fun transferring my address book from my computer to phone via bluetooth. It is also a really pretty phone. And it matches my car.
My new phone Side view of new phone

My beach trip last week was very nice. You'll see pictures soon.

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