Laura's Online Journal November 2003


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.

November 19, 2003 Breaking News
November 16, 2003 Toying with me
November 11, 2003 Pictures in the Hood
November 9, 2003 Projects
November 8, 2003 Moons and Balloons
November 2, 2003 Toys
November 1, 2003 Chutzpah
Main Journal
October 2003 entries
September 2003 entries
August 2003 entries
July 2003 entries

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

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

November 24, 2003

Like a squirrel rushing around storing nuts before the winter or maybe like those machines that pitch balls in the batting cages (i really want to go to one of those places one day) I have been very active with this blog lately. But you probably won't get another entry until I get back from Charleston after Thanksgiving so enjoy it while it lasts.

I ordered my first $0.99 song from the iTunes Music store this weekend - "Joints and Jam" by the Black Eyed Peas. It is a song I had downloaded from somewhere a while ago but I had misplaced the file. I wanted to put it on a CD I am making for my nephew Graeme. Since the original download probably had a low bitrate anyway I decided to do the right thing and buy it. It was easy and almost painless - turns out they charge tax so the total came to $1.05.

Some more movie reviews
Mysterious Object at Noon Ok, the idea of this movie from Thailand intrigued me. Start a story and have a bunch of people continue it and intersperse people acting it out. Well, my feeling is that the director sort of did what he set out to do but mostly he just turned the camera on and took footage. The movie was slow, confusing, boring, not particularly pretty and shot in black and white. The best part was actually at the end (I can't believe we watched it until the end) when a bunch of school kids continued the story. It was not what they said but their interaction with each other standing and squirming very close together under a microphone. Many did not want to say anything but they definitely wanted to be there.

Haibane Renmei Japanese Anime series about teenagers living in a walled village. They aren't totally human though. They have wings and halos but are not angels and so far none have flown. The story is a bit sad as it unfolds but the friendships amongst the Haibane is strong and sweet and the animation is also lovely.

November 23, 2003

Catch up
I took this picture in Rockville near the train station. We did not know if this was the work of a gang or a rock band. I liked the choice of color.

Gang or Band?

Some more movie reviews
Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald Japanese film about a late night radio show. A housewife wins a contest and gets to write the script. The prima donna star of the show decides she wants to change her name and the location of the story. Other actors want to make changes now too. The script then becomes chockfull of discrepancies and they are about to go live on the air in minutes. And the room where the sound effects CDs are kept is locked and no one has a key so improvisation is necessary. Cute, funny and ultimately heartwarming.

Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl Fun Japanese Yakuza (gangster) movie. A family of gangsters and several sets of henchmen are all looking for a gangster who ran away with some money. Nice film style, great bad guys (most with a unique fashion sense), violent but funny.

Love Actually This is an ambitious movie. There is a huge cast and many story lines each involving romance, some happy, some sad, some interrelated. Some of the story lines are predictable, some sappy, some totally implausible, some annoying, some just odd. Several held my interest. Overall it is a nice movie. Oh, and Hugh Grant is in it.

Ice Cream Report
Chocolate (***) not totally sucessful. The flavor was very good, very rich but the consistency was like chalk. Mmmmm, chocolate chalk.

November 19, 2003

Breaking News
Johnny Depp has been named the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Now some of us have known this for a long time. Some of us even have him at the top of our "Lust List". Hell, even my parents know and like him. Well, they will know him when you remind them that he was in that gypsy movie and that awful movie "Chocolat" and that violent movie where he wears a fake arm. If you need a reminder or just want to gaze at some pictures here's a little collection I have. (Just kidding, it's Google's collection.)

November 16, 2003

Toying with me
I have said before that there is usually one new TV show in the fall that I like a lot and it typically gets cancelled immediately. Well I think I have finally found that show this fall. It is Arrested Development on Fox on Sunday nights. It is about an extremely dysfunctional rich family with one sane member who is trying to run the family business. Very funny show with a lot going on. There have been three episodes so far so it is just about time for it to be cancelled.

Here are two more of Joe's pictures. One at home, the other at his work.

Domokun & Woody Stain Boy

Some more movie reviews
2 Weeks Notice: I will see about anything Hugh Grant is in and this was no exception. It was fairly mediocre and the scene involving the Sandra Bullock character having to go to the bathroom really bad, a traffic jam and an RV a couple of vehicles back was fairly lame. Their business relationship was well thought out but their romantic relationship was uninspired. I'll watch About a Boy and While You Were Sleeping a few more times to make up for this one.

Ice Cream Report
Cinnamon (****) another great one! Joe says it tastes like snickerdoodle cookies. He gives it 4 stars with a circle and a snap.

November 11, 2003

Pictures in the Hood
I was off today and made the mistake of not making plans. I did practically nothing. I put about 200 of my email messages in folders so I don't have quite so many in my inbox, I thought a bit about my stuffed toy (christmas contest) and thought about rearranging some furniture (but didn't). I did some yoga and managed to drag my butt to ballet class tonight and I am glad about that. It was a nice small class.

Here are some recent pictures from Joe's walks around the neighborhood.

pumpkin tragedy Sad piano
Bird on Bike
Guest Neighborhood Photo by Gail and Chris

Some more movie reviews
Chinese Chocolate A group of Chinese immigrants in Canada whose lives intersect. There is a fair amount of adultery and manipulation. It was OK - it just wasn't particularly interesting.

Ice Cream Report
Vanilla (****) excellent! We can't seem to make a bad ice cream, well, except for that green tea fiasco.

November 9, 2003

Besides making the stuffed animal for the Christmas contest I need to make labels for the Christmas beer. I make beer once or twice a year and the label is always the hardest part. I am in need of some inspiration.

One year I bottled on the day the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory satellite returned to earth in a guided crash into the Pacific Ocean. This was a project I used to work on so I made a label commemorating this event. I gave all the scientists and other programmers a bottle. I got rave reviews on the label and the beer.

CGRO front CGRO back

One batch's label was inspired by a dream. I dreamt my first boss at NASA Goddard (someone I admire but have trouble understanding due to his thick Indian accent) told me to name it Shepherd's Pearl. I had no idea what Shepherd's Pearl or the dream meant but I did what he said. No picture or image was in the dream so Joe suggested I put a picture of my boss's daughter on the label. I had attended her Hindu dance performance years before and still had the program with her picture.

Sheperd's Pearl

Last year I did a beer for the White Trash Cookoff. There were two labels - Carolina Cooter Ale and Beaver Beer.

Carolina Cooter Ale  label front Carolina Cooter Ale label back
Beaver Beer label front Beaver Beer label back

November 8, 2003

Moons and Balloons
Dana's dance concert is over (it went very well), the parents are gone (they drank most of my coffee) and the moon is being eclipsed as I write.

Last weekend we took a shopping trip to Rockville and stopped for lunch at Baja Fresh which serves the greatest burritos this side of Chicago. We sat near the window to people watch. There was a sign with a balloon hanging off it just outside the storefront and we noticed that there was a certain group of boys, I'd say age 1-5, who were extremely attracted to this balloon. Some of the little girls would eye it but not many played with it. One little boy stopped as his mother walked on and spent a fair amount of time joyously hitting the balloon up in the air. Mom eventually came back to get him and I took this shot just before he left.

Balloon Fun

Ice Cream Report
Coffee and Coffee/Hazelnut (****) excellent! My father wanted to use the leftover soaked beans to make something like bread. I told him he was a nut job.

Rhubarb (****) - This recipe needs a bit more work because the ice cream was not as flavorful as it should be. I made a syrup from the leftover juice and the syrup poured over the ice cream kicked up the rating to 4 stars.


November 2, 2003

We like toys. We have way too many and no clear surfaces on which to put them. Our latest purchase is a set of rechargeable lamps called Candeloo - brightly colored lamps that kind of look like slugs and throb with soft light. Here's a picture from the ThinkGeek website:

Here they are in action. Actually this location would not allow me to sleep (not allowed!). We place them on opposite ends of the room at night.


Some more movie reviews
Roger Dodger This movie was good in the acting department but the situations seemed weak. Campbell Scott plays a successful business man but an unsuccessful womanizer, probably because of his caustic pickup lines. His 16 year old nephew appears for a surprise visit and asks his advice in "scoring". What follows is a sleazy night with the nephew having to make moral decisions that he was not at all prepared to make. The ending scene which was so different in style and mood seemed totally out of place and unnecessary.

Earth Indian art film (not Bollywood) chronicling the life of a group of friends of mixed religions (Sikh, Muslim, Hindu) during the end of British rule and the subsequent division of land in that region. It was a good film but not a happy one.

November 1, 2003

Thursday night I went to a lecture/demo at the Smithsonian featuring my friend and dance teacher Dana. Dana has choroegraphed a piece based on his family history that will be performed at the Kennedy Center next Thursday and this lecture demo consisted of a discussion with Dana and his mother and snippets of the dance. Afterwards the moderator asked for questions from the audience. A couple people asked some questions and then a woman stood up and said she was an artist and wanted to ask Dana to consider her art. It was not clear if she was trying to get Dana to hire her in some way or just have him promote her art. She went up to the stage with a folder with some samples and her card. Dana and the moderator were very friendly even though the audience members were muttering amongst themselves. Nobody could quite believe she was trying to garner attention in this way. It was weird but entertaining.

The parents are coming up this week. Gotta clean..

Ice Cream Report
Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch (****). I do not really like sweet candy/cookie ice cream but this was quite good.

Heath Bar Crunch

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