Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rennovation and Harry

My dad called on Tuesday and asked if I had been by the civic center (Von Braun Center/VBC) lately. “No,” was my reply. Then he said that I should grab my camera and go downtown to take some photos because the entire front of the arena was torn to pieces.

Now, this may seem odd if you don’t live in Huntsville, but if you do live in Huntsville, then you know that the VBC is getting a makeover. Thanks to the generosity of some folks here in town, both the area and the concert hall are in the process of being renovated. You can go here and take a look at some photos of both the inside and outside construction zones as well as the renderings of what the finished product is supposed to look like.

Since I’ve spent my whole life attending events at the VBC – everything from concerts to plays to sporting events – I figured I’d better take a trip downtown (all of two miles from my home) to document the progress. I mean, after all, how often is it that a major facility in your city gets a makeover?

So, yesterday morning, I packed up my camera before heading in to work and then after work, I drove to the VBC, parked the car and took some photos while freezing my hiney off. Luckily, I was only outside for 11 minutes – per the parking meter. Here are my findings:

This is the first photo I took, which actually has nothing to do with the VBC renovation. This is the Huntsville Museum of Art and as luck would have it, they are also under construction – adding on to the existing building. So, I decided to take this photo as well.

The following photos are of the outside of the arena. The arena was once connected to the longer building to the right, which is where the ticket office is, but not anymore. That part has been torn down as has the stairs leading up to the arena. There are signs all over the place saying Arena Entrance with an arrow, but I haven’t quite figured out exactly where that is. While I was there, a bulldozer was in the process of tearing down some remaining stairs.

These next few are from a different angle.

Of course, being this close to the park, why wouldn’t I take photos of fountains, fish and ducks?

Speaking of the VBC, tonight Tony and I are going to see Harry Connick, Jr. at the under construction concert hall. I went down to the ticket office an hour before the tickets went on sale and was able to get seats on the FRONT ROW! I am so excited! This will be my third time to see Harry live. The first time was in Birmingham when I was in high school and it was just Harry and his piano and I sat way up in the balcony. The last time was when he came to Huntsville a couple of years ago and I went with my mom and we sat in the handicapped section which is about 15 rows or so up from the stage. But this time, I am on the FRONT ROW and I couldn’t be happier about it. I will have to try and refrain myself from crying when Harry walks on stage! Oh how I love him! I’ve loved Harry since I was 15 years old! I guess that makes him my longest love or something like that. Unfortunately no camera are allowed – a bummer if you ask me. But, I’ll give you readers a recap as soon as I can.

I’m heading to Birmingham for the state basketball tournament tomorrow; so, this will probably be my last post of the week. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My New Table

I have a new table and it was made by my dad! My dad’s friend, Buddy, does woodworking and somehow it came about that my dad decided he wanted to make a table for my mom for Valentine’s Day, with Buddy’s help, of course. The table was going to be on casters and be designed so that it would fit over my mom’s wheelchair so that she could use it with the computer or use it to chop vegetables in the kitchen, etc. So, my dad started going over to Buddy’s about once a week or so to work on my mom’s table.

Well, one Saturday back in January, I was at my parents’ house and Buddy and his wife June came over with the table to see if the dimensions were going to be right for my mom. Well, as luck would have it, they weren’t. The table top was the right size, but the legs were too long and the skirt was too long and so they decided they would start over and that’s how it came about that I got a handmade table too.

My kitchen is small by today’s standards and sometimes I run out of counter space when I’m cooking and I’ll have three TV trays randomly placed around the kitchen to hold different pots or pans or ingredients. So, I have been looking forward to receiving the finished product so I could put it to use. The table was finally ready over the weekend and I went over to pick it up on Sunday afternoon. The only problem was it wouldn’t fit in the car. So, my dad was kind enough to bring it over to my house yesterday afternoon so that I could have it for the American Idol party last night.

My table is stained with a red a tint and also has casters so I can roll it around the kitchen or roll it into the laundry room to fold clothes; basically, I can roll it anywhere and use it for anything. Last night I served taco salad for dinner and I was able to put all the taco salad ingredients on the table, which made it very convenient for everyone.

It really turned out quite lovely, and I think Buddy’s wife wanted to keep it for herself. I’m so thankful to have it; not only because it provides me extra space, but mainly because it was made by my dad and I’ll always have a reminder of him when I’m slinging pots and pans around the kitchen. Here are some photos:


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Movie Review - Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl came to theaters in October 2007. I remember I had wanted to see it, but for one reason or another I never got around to it… until this past Friday afternoon. If you have Showtime, then check your listings because Lars and the Real Girl is probably playing. I had recorded this movie a week or so ago and finally found some time to watch it and I was not disappointed.

The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Lars, along with Paul Schneider as Gus (Lars’ brother) and Emily Mortimer as Karin (Gus’ wife). Ryan Gosling did an AMAZING job as Lars, a socially inept man who develops a “relationship” with an anatomically-correct life-sized doll he ordered from the internet.

While the premise of the story is a little odd, I found the movie to be quite moving actually. I thought it showed the loving and kind nature of people, which cannot always be found in today’s society. I laughed and even cried at times throughout the film at the interesting situations these characters were in all because of a doll. This is definitely not your typical blockbuster movie, which was one of the reasons I loved it so much. As some of you may know, I tend to like movies that are often not the norm, and this was one of the better ones I have seen. I won’t give any more of the story away, but if you haven’t seen this one, check it out from your local rental store, Netflix or try to catch it on Showtime, it is definitely worth it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Random Thoughts for Friday

It’s been a busy week for me at work this week and I also haven’t had much exciting going on, which makes for a boring blog. My apologies. So, to close out the week, how about some random thoughts?

It never hurts to complain about something you are not happy about. So far this year I have gotten a free DVR upgrade, a refund on shipping on some Alabama National Championship stuff I ordered, a refund on shipping and an item I bought for Tony for Valentine’s Day and I am due a free guacamole salad at Little Rosies – which I redeemed at lunch today. In the past I would sometimes let stuff slide unless I was over the top mad about it, but these days if I’m not happy, then I’ll say something and as a result – look at all the loot I’ve gotten!

I really hate to give Tiger Woods any press here on my blog – not that the world is coming here for their Tiger Woods info – but seriously, that “press conference” he held today was a joke. First of all, I don’t need you to apologize to me, Tiger; but thanks anyway. It’s not any of my business what you did to ruin your life; the person you need to be asking for forgiveness from is the Lord and your wife. Secondly, he sounded like a robot. It was obvious that he didn’t write the statement he read and I’m sure he practiced it 100 times with hand motions and everything so that he would send out all the right signals. I could go on, but seriously, what’s the point?

Speaking of Little Rosies, whoever designed that place did a terrible job. It is always super crowded in there and the layout is not user friendly. I realize they converted a Kenny Rogers’ Roasters building, but still a woman’s input might have been beneficial.

Speaking of a woman’s input, the concession stand at Butler High School and Huntsville High School is the same way. Butler, I’ll give a pass because it’s an older building, but HHS is fairly new and the place to line up for concessions is super small and when there is a line it blocks the pathway to the restroom. Not great planning. Are there no women architectural consultants out there?

Has anyone been watching the Olympics? The winter games are my favorite of the Olympics and I have really enjoyed watching each night. The US is doing really well so far. I hope they keep it up.

The Amazing Race started last Sunday and I finally had an opportunity to watch it yesterday afternoon. I have never in my life seen such a large group of idiots before. Seriously, that is one group of dumb folks. Where did CBS find these people? It should make for an interesting and frustrating season.

I sewed a button on my winter coat yesterday. This may not seem like a huge accomplishment to many of you out there, but to me, it is awesome! I am so proud of myself!

I just realized last night that I didn’t have a birthday cake this year and it made me a little sad. Would it be weird to make one for myself? ** Update - Erika read this and said she would make me a birthday cake and bring it to American Idol party on Tuesday! Thanks, Erika, you are awesome!

Speaking of sweets, I’ve been craving doughnuts for about a week now. Maybe I should stop by Krispy Kreme this afternoon. Hmmm.

I checked my Jim Brickman post today since it occasionally still gets comments. There was a new comment on there from yesterday, February 18. I’m happy to say, I finally agreed with what a commenter had to say about Jim’s concert! Thank you, anonymous, you hold a special place in my heart. If you still haven’t seen the Jim Brickman demonstration, please ask the next time you see me. I’m always happy to oblige.

Well, I guess that will do it for random thoughts today; I’m sorry they weren’t very interesting. I hope everyone has a really good weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Half Broke Horses: A Book Review

I think this may be the first book review I’ve ever done here on The Chronicles of Nat, which is strange because I am an avid reader. I just finished reading, Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls and it was wonderful.

Ms. Walls wrote the book The Glass Castle in 2005 about her childhood, growing up in various towns and sometimes being homeless. She was the child of two rather flighty parents to say the least. The Glass Castle was an excellent book; riveting from page one. So, when I heard that Ms. Walls had written another book, this time about her grandmother, I knew I had to read it.

The book actually came out in the fall, but because I wasn’t in a reading mood, I didn’t get around to reading it until last week. It was every bit as excellent as I expected it to be and I found myself not wanting it to end. Lily Casey Smith is Ms. Walls’ grandmother and boy did she lead an interesting life. Ms. Wall’s says the book is a true-life novel and calls it a work of fiction because she writes in the first person and the stories were handed down to her from her mother and from what she can remember as a child; but it doesn’t make it any less interesting.

Mrs. Smith grew up on a ranch in Arizona; started teaching in one room schoolhouses at age 15, moved to Chicago at age 18, eventually earned her high school diploma and later in life earned her college degree. She also learned to fly an airplane, raced horses, played poker and sold bootleg liquor from under her baby’s basinet. This lady has spunk. Ms. Walls’ is a great storyteller and I would recommend either of these books to you if you have not read them before. They are both excellent and you will not want to put them down, which can be detrimental to your house cleaning. Check these out from your local library or splurge and buy them. You may even be able to find them for a cheap price at; but if you are a reader, then these two books are a must.

Valentine's Day Recap

I haven’t had a lot to write about this week; not to mention that yesterday I was really busy at work and didn’t have time to post. Since Valentine’s Day was this past Sunday, I figured I would go ahead and write something about that. I’m sorry to say, Sara, that I didn’t take pictures of anything. I thought about it many times. I thought, “Sara will want to see a picture if I write about this,” but then I never bothered to get my camera out and now I’m writing with no pictures. Sorry, girl!

Well, needless to say, my Valentine’s Day wasn’t quite as humorous as Candy’s, but it was a good day nonetheless. When I got up, it was snowing! I love snow; I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I’m ready for the big one; and I was so excited to see the snow coming down in bug flakes and covering the ground. I went to church and while I was sitting in church, I kept thinking about how I was going to go home and build a snowman and have a lot of fun playing in the snow. Then church was dismissed and I walked outside to have my hopes crushed because it was raining and the snow was melting away. So sad.

I then drove to Gigi’s cupcakes because they were opening on Valentine’s Day even though it was a Sunday and I wanted to see if they would have either of the flavors that Tony or I liked. When I got there the sign said they weren’t opening for another hour. So, I went to the Star Market and got a loaf of bread and went home to make grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was good and is one of my favorites to eat on a cold day.

After a nap, I was going to make some shortbread cookies, but they weren’t cooperating and I threw them out. So I read the newspaper, watched some Olympics and put the lasagna I had made for dinner in the oven to cook while I went to church.

After church I came home, had lasagna for dinner with Tony, we exchanged gifts and then went to see A Chorus Line – he got me tickets for my birthday, remember?

Are you wondering about the gifts? This is where I had intended to take pictures for Sara, but never got around to it. Tony got me some Edward Cullen Twilight Sweetheart Candy, A bag of Reese’s Cups, and the hardback set of books 1-5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Good gifts! Tony’s gift didn’t arrive until yesterday so he hasn’t gotten it yet; however, I was able to give him one thing I bought. It was a large iron thing that you hang on the wall that has hooks on it for coats, keys, etc. It was sculpted like a set of six bicycles. I should have photographed this too because obviously I’m not doing too good of a job describing it. Well, he liked it and that’s all that mattered.

A Chorus Line was good. There were some parts that were slow, but overall I really liked it. So, Valentine’s Day was a good day and I hope you all had a nice Valentine’s Day too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Movie Review - The Wolfman

I haven’t had a lot of time to write today, but I wanted to save your pocketbook a few dollars if you had any intentions of seeing The Wolfman. Apparently The Wolfman is a remake of a 1979 film. I haven’t seen the original, but have seen in other reviews that it is better than its modern day remake. I don’t see that is could be much worse. Luckily, I had a movie pass and we didn’t have to pay for this film; I would suggest you hold on to your money as well. I’m not even sure I would recommend this on DVD. Here’s a summary:

Blood and guts and limbs: You got it

Plot: Dull and boring and extremely predictable

Acting: Mediocre, even from Sir Anthony

Special Effects: Not great – the werewolf transition was much cooler in New Moon

Believable: Nope

Basically, the previews were the best part about this movie. It really could have been a lot more if it had been better written, etc. The movie was just a werewolf tearing folks from limb to limb. If you are in the need to see a lot of blood and guts, then maybe this is for you, but I doubt it.

Tony's take: not good

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Case of the Missing Pizza Slice

Wednesday night, I ordered a Domino’s Pizza for Tony and me. Recently I wrote this post reviewing the new Domino’s Pizza. Let me tell you, people, it’s good. If you hated Domino’s like I did, I suggest you give this new recipe of theirs a try because you will be pleasantly surprised.

Anyway, I got a large pizza, figuring there would be enough left over for us to have some for lunch on Thursday. We regularly eat leftovers for lunch – it saves money and doesn’t waste the food. And I was right; there were eight slices in the large and we each ate two at dinner, which left two each for lunch on Thursday. I bagged up the remaining four slices and put them in the fridge and then Thursday morning, I grabbed the bag of pizza slices and came on in to work.

Once I arrived at work, I put the pizza in a refrigerator, the same refrigerator I use every day mind you, and then went to my desk and got busy working. Tony and I usually each lunch at 11:00 or a little after. So, a few minutes after 11:00, I asked him if he was ready to eat and he was so we walked over to the refrigerator to get the pizza and warm it up in the microwave.

I opened up the refrigerator and at first didn’t see my bag. Then I realized someone had sat their lunch on top of it (thanks, loser!). I grabbed the bag pulled it out only to realize that a slice was missing. What was four slices at 7:30 a.m. was now three slices just four short hours later. I was in total shock and awe! I couldn’t believe it. I have worked at the same company for almost three years and have never had any lunch stolen. It would have been one thing if the thief had grabbed the whole bag of pizza and ran off with it, but the fact that the bag (a Ziploc bag) was opened and one slice taken out was just the strangest thing to me. Not to mention that now there wasn’t enough pizza for both me and Tony. I let Tony have the pizza for lunch and I ate meatloaf from the cafeteria, which wasn’t half bad.

If anyone sees a lonely slice of pizza wandering around, let me know, but I suspect it’s in someone’s stomach and I’m now on the lookout for the pizza slice thief.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Thoughts for Thursday

There’s prediction of snow for Alabama tomorrow – the unfortunate part of that forecast is that it’s for the lower portion of the state, which means, if the prediction holds true, then Huntsville will once again be passed by. This makes me sad. I’m ready for the big one, people!

The Olympics start tomorrow night; well, the opening ceremony at least. I’m a big fan of the winter Olympics and am looking forward to watching over the next couple of weeks.

I love the DVR! If you don’t have one, call your service provider and complain about something; tell them you are switching services, maybe you’ll get lucky and get one for free!

I watched American Idol last night. There seem to be a lot of good male vocals, but I’m not so sure about the girls. Maybe I just don’t pay as much attention to them. Why did so many groups sing that Gwen Stefani song? That was like career suicide. I also hate it when people get the boot and then start begging for a second chance. It’s not flattering.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains starts tonight and I am super excited about it. There are a lot of people I like and a lot of people I don’t like coming back and I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.

I love comments and haven't been getting many lately. Am I really that boring, or is the subject matter boring? Wait don't answer that. Just leave me a comment and let me know someone is reading.

I’m working for The Huntsville Times tomorrow night. It’s the first time since December. I hope I remember how to write a story about high school basketball. Speaking of which, it is really annoying trying to find high school rosters on the internet. School web sites are just not what they should be and I think that’s sad because it’s 2010 people and a lot of folks rely on the internet to find information. I shouldn’t have to call a school and ask them to fax a roster. It’s annoying. Annoying, I tell you!

Valentine’s Day is coming up on Sunday. Don’t forget about your sweetie, or your dog, or your kids, or well, you get the point. I was in Hobby Lobby last weekend and overheard a lady say, “Oh I forgot I had to get my kids something,” which I thought was funny because it’s not like she had kids overnight. I’m pretty sure she’d had them for a while. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I don’t think people need a specific day to love someone or take them on a date, that should happen regularly, but what do I know?

Have a good Thursday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Photography Class #5 and Other Thoughts

Last night was the final photography class until March 23; the title of the class was “Light Inside and Out.” Lisa, Tony and I attended, although Derek and Morgan joined us for dinner at Rosie’s (yum!)

It seemed like Farley really got into this class. He loved demonstrating all the different types of flashes and the different flash accessories you can use while working with a flash. He even showed us some of his homemade tricks, which were quite funny – one thing he had was made out of what looked like a pudding pack. He admitted it was a cup from a restaurant. Funny. He went through the slides awfully fast and I wasn’t able to write everything down; but here are some of the things we learned:

• There are two possible sources of light to illuminate a subject – natural and artificial
• Whether your light source is natural or artificial, there are three main characteristics of light that are of interest to the photographer: direction, quality and temperature
• The three main directions of light are: front, side (emphasizes texture), and back (emphasizes shape and form)
• Direction can have a powerful effect on the outcome of your photo.
• Polarizing filters work best when the light source is a 90 degree angle to the subject
• An extreme form of backlighting creates a silhouette
• Back light is the most difficult to work with
• In photography, the quality of light is generally hard of soft
• Hard light is from a bright point
• Soft light is diffused light that seems to wrap around subjects and reduce or eliminate shadows
• Temperature is measured in degrees of Kelvin
• The warmest temperature (light wise) for natural light is at sunrise and sunset
• You can get really interesting photos at twilight (also a great book!)

The rest of the class was spent looking at different photos and Farley explaining to us what kind of light was used and also showing us the various gadgets. I didn’t think Farley was ever going to let us out of class last night. We didn’t leave there until almost 9:30!

A couple of non-photo related notes.

I watched American Idol when I got home last night and loved, loved, loved the guy that sand “Straight Up” – very original. I also liked that girl with the almost white hair. Ellen did okay as a judge, but I miss Paula – can’t believe I am saying that. Maybe Ellen will grow on me because I really like her otherwise.

Captain Phil Harris from the boat Cornelia Marie on The Deadliest Catch passed away last night after suffering a stroke on January 29. Captain Phil was one of my favorites and has been the source of many laughs throughout mine and Tony’s courtship; Tony even gave me a Cornelia Marie sweatshirt for Christmas. I’m very sad for his family and my prayers are with them at this time of loss. RIP Captain Phil.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Movie Reviews

I’m continuing with movie reviews today because there’s not much else to write about when it’s raining and cold. I fear it’s going to be raining and cold for the rest of my life. Will the sun ever shine again? I think not. At least we know the Earth won’t flood, thanks to that rainbow; but, it sure feels like I’m about to float away. Either that or my house is going to sink into a mud hole. On to the movie reviews…

These reviews are for DVDs that are currently available for rental at your favorite video store or Netflix or whatever makes your skirt fly up. So, if it’s raining and cold, you can stay inside and warm while watching one of these; although, I’m only recommending one of the three.

The Invention of Lying stars Ricky Gervais, who I happen to find very funny. This movie, in fact was also written and directed by Mr. Gervais, and also stars Rob Lowe and Jennifer Garner. I happen to really like Jennifer Garner although a lot of folks can’t stand her. The premise of the film is that the world is a place where no one lies. Everyone is honest, even brutally so at times; so you never have to worry about what people are thinking because their honesty allows them to just blurt it out, which I guess can be funny at times. During the film, Ricky Gervais’ character says something that isn’t true and everyone believes him because after all since everyone tells the truth, why should they not believe him? This goes on throughout the film and as a result of the lies, Gervais’ character becomes rich, but is still unhappy.

I won’t reveal much more because in my opinion, there isn’t much more to reveal. Gervais’ character is in love with Garner’s character and she wants to marry Lowe’s character because he is better looking. In the end, Gervais and Garner end up together, which I guess is the silver lining at the end of this ridiculous movie.

When I saw the previews for this one, I wanted to see it; it looked funny – it’s not! The only funny parts are what the previews showed and it really gripes me when that happens. All I can say is that I’m certainly glad I didn’t waste $10 at the theater on this movie or I would have been extremely upset. The fact that I spent almost $5 on the rental doesn’t make me too happy either. The movie was boring, didn’t hold my attention, wasn’t funny, and just wasn’t good. In fact, both Tony and I dozed off while watching it. So, if you’re thinking about renting this one, don’t waste your money.

Tony's take: not good

Amelia stars Hillary Swank (who I happen to think is a good actress even though she gets on my nerves) as Amelia Earhart, and Richard Gere (loved him in Chicago) asGeorge Putnam, Amelia’s husband. This movie was boring from the start. I started watching it when I got home from work yesterday and could barely keep my eyes open. I finally brought out a Sudoku book to work while I was watching so I could finish the film. Now, I will admit, I don’t know much about Amelia Earhart, but I do know that she had to have had an interesting life, she was the first women to cross the Atlantic for goodness sakes! But whoever wrote the script for this film did not capture the essence of adventure in my opinion. I don’t know if not enough research was done or if there just isn’t enough known about Earhart to warrant a film; but, I was expecting a really great movie and was thoroughly disappointed. It seemed like the film jumped around a lot and there wasn’t a lot of substance to the storyline, which makes me wonder if there just isn’t a lot known about her personal life. I don’t know because I’ve never really read anything about her. The part I did enjoy was the very end when she was flying across the Pacific and her radio communication failed. Since I have never really read much about her, I wasn’t sure how her disappearance happened; so, I thought that was interesting just because it was new information for me. Overall, I didn’t like the movie and wouldn’t recommend it; it definitely didn’t do Ms. Earhart proud – she deserves better.

The final movie review for today is Whip It, directed by Drew Barrymore and written by Shauna Cross. It stars Ellen Page (who I’ve loved since Juno) and Barrymore as well as Kristin Wiig (hilarious) and Juliette Lewis. Marcia Gay Harden plays Page’s mother and Daniel Stern her father, and Jimmy Fallon is also in the movie.

The film is about a high school girl whose mother wants her to be in every beauty pageant in Texas; but clearly, this girl is not the beauty pageant type. On a shopping trip to Austin, she sees a flyer for a roller derby match and talks her best friend into driving her to the big city to watch. She immediately falls in love with the sport and tries out for and makes the team without her parents’ knowledge. Long story short, she becomes the star of the team and in the process the team goes from worst to playing in the finals of the Derby. There is also a love story intermingled in the plot; and also one of the main stories is the relationship between the mother and daughter and their struggles to understand one another.

This movie was really good; and unlike a lot of mainstream films in theaters these days, the script was well written and witty. This movie isn’t just a chick flick either; Tony liked it as well. I had wanted to see this one in the theater too, but when it was out, I wasn’t able to find the time to go see it. I’m glad I thought to rent it on video and recommend that you do too.

Tony's take: pretty good

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Movie Review - Paper Heart

It was a rainy and cold weekend here in Huntsville; so, Tony and I rented a couple of movies. We only watched one because honestly, I don’t think he was too keen on the other one (Amelia). I’m going to watch it solo tonight.

The one we did watch was Paper Heart starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. It’s a hybrid-documentary because it contains both fact and fiction in the film. The short of the story is that Charlyne doesn’t believe in love and so she goes across the country interviewing all sorts of people from young children on a playground to bikers in a bar and asks them about their opinions on love – does love exist, how do you know when it’s love, what is love, etc. While on her cross-country adventure, she meets Michael Cera (they both play themselves in the film) and they develop a really close relationship and begin dating. Does Charlyne find love? Well, you’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out.

This film had a lot of funny parts in it I thought; but then again, I really like these independent type films. I honestly didn’t know if the story between Cera and Yi was factually being portrayed on the screen and had to look it up this morning. It appears that it was rumored that the two had a relationship and therefore it was incorporated into the film. I thought the film was really light hearted and sweet and definitely a nice change of pace from the mega blockbusters of today. I remember seeing the previews for this film (although it never came to Huntsville) and thinking to myself that I wanted to see it. I’m glad I remembered it when I was at the video store this weekend. Go rent it – it will do your heart some good.

Tony's take: pretty good

Friday, February 5, 2010

Circus: Barnum's Funundrum

Last night, my parents, Tony and I went to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. This show was called Barnum’s Funundrum. It was a pretty good show I thought. Something new that they had, which they have never had before were screens along the long portion of the arena that showed different scenes. It would either tell the name of the act, show scenery for the act or in some cases it showed scenes from vintage circus posters and “articles from newspapers” about the act. I put “articles from newspapers” in quotes because it wasn’t from actual newspapers I don’t think, but it looked authentic. I don’t know about everyone else, but I rather enjoyed those screens. They were not distracting nor were they in the way of any of the acts. They were also mesh so you could also see through them when they weren’t on. Not that it was necessary because the screens moved up and down in order to get out of the way of whatever act was performing.

We got there an hour early as always so that we could go down on the floor and see some of the circus people up close and in person. There were lots of clowns around including this on juggling

And this one pictured with me and Tony

We also saw this lady swinging high above on a ring

Then came a group of Asian men who juggled hats (check out that action shot!)

And jumped through hoops

We saw this strong man juggle some large weights. Tony and my dad both held the weight. I guess the performers didn’t want anyone thinking it wasn’t real. The weights were supposed to be 65 pounds, but my dad said it was probably more like 35. I didn’t lift it – I guess they thought it was too heavy for a girl. Later in the show this strong man, The Mighty Meetal, lifted over 1,000 pounds with his legs and feet. I told Tony that the band should get some outfits like these; I especially like the boots. (Note: This is not the Mighty Meetal, but his buddy - The Mighty Meetal's picture did not turn out well).

This guy was not the ring master, but he spoke in the microphone during the pre-show. He also introduced the ring master and opened up the second act where he said something like, “Are you having a good time, Birmingham?” Well, that fired up the natives including my dad who yelled out, “This isn’t Birmingham, bozo!”

My favorite part of the pre-show was these Caribbean stilt walkers – they were SO TALL! When they came out, the one in red gave my dad a high five. Well, I guess it was a low five for Red. They danced around and then each lifted a leg while the other held on and hopped around in a circle, and then the one in blue limboed under red’s leg. It was a lot of fun to watch. There was one time when I thought one of them was going to lose his balance and fall on Tony and another time one of the guys pretended like he was going to fall on some kids. I laughed so hard. After it was over, Blue walked right over me – literally – I was standing under his two legs. It was so fun! I laughed and laughed!

Here’s another photo of Red later in the show:

When the show got started, we were all surprised to find that Candy’s husband, Andrew was working in the circus! Ha, just kidding Andrew, but I think this guy could be your brother. I think ya’ll look alike!

The circus also brought elephants. This is the only elephant picture I have with me today. I copied my pictures to a disk this morning and for some reason the ones took at the end of the show didn’t copy over to the disk and I didn’t notice it until now. So, this is the only elephant picture I have with me. Lisa and Candy, I panned when I took this picture (a little tip from Farley Vaughn).

There were also tigers at the circus. This year the tiger act came early in the first half. There was a white tiger and many other “regular” tigers – you know, the orange ones. They performed some tricks for us, but also seemed stubborn. I should have spot metered these tiger pictures, but I haven’t practiced yet.

There were other animal acts as well, although not a lot. There were a few horses and llamas and only one dog in the whole show. The dog rode in on the back of a horse; and in his act, he sat in a basket lifted by an elephant. I’m pretty sure The Tide would not sit in a basket for me, let alone an elephant. Tony said he wished there were more dog acts, I agree.

There were also the tightrope walkers

And also the flying trapeze and a really cool trampoline act that reminded me of Cirqe du Soleil. I also took pictures of these, but these are some of the ones that didn’t show up on my disk. Ya’ll might be viewing more circus pictures come Monday.

My favorite act of the night was The Globe of Steel, which I have always called The Globe of Death – I think it may have been called that in the past. Anyway, it’s a large steel globe and they lock guys on motorcycles inside and they drive around. They put four, five and then six folks inside driving around! And one of them was a girl! She’s my new hero! I took a picture of her, but guess what? Not on my disk! I’m really perturbed about this disk situation. Here are a couple of photos I did take:

Every year we always are amazed at how much the circus souvenirs cost. You have to be rich to buy any of them! The toys that light up and spin around were $22 this year! The lemonade was $9! The popcorn was $7! The cotton candy was $12! Talk about a profit! I think I’m in the wrong business! The cheapest thing I saw was after the show and it was a coloring book for $5. Of course, they wait until after the show to bring these out. I also saw a DVD for $8, which is a bargain compared to everything else.

This last picture wasn’t part of the show, but it was something I haven’t seen since the 1980s! I though the rat tail was dead; but apparently in Alabama it’s making a comeback. Please pray for us.

May all your days be circus days!