Sunday, December 23, 2012

Silver Lining BS

Went to see Silver Lining Playbook last night and was surprised when, a little less than halfway through, it became a movie about a dance contest combined with a potentially ruinous bet on a Philadelphia Eagles football game. When the dance element was introduced, Dan turned to me and said, "Is this really happening? Are they really going to go through with a dance off?"

The movie devolved swiftly there, especially when we got the dance practice montage and the difficult jump moment ala Dirty Dancing. Lots of shouting in the movie, and lots or repetitive scenes of the dad (Robert de Niro) begging the son to stay and watch a game with him. Then another implausible scene where the crazy love interest rattles off the scores of all the Philly games along with the dates she's spent with Bradley Cooper, all out of nowhere and all meant to be this triumphant moment of confrontation that instead felt totally contrived--like, why would she just happen to know all those dates and their relationship to sports games when she's not (1). an idiot savant; (2). at all a sports fan? Lots of people liked this movie though, probably because it wasn't, on the surface, a typical film about family dysfunction b.c Bradley Cooper had serious bipolar issues (that he dealt with by taking up jogging in a garbage bag just like Rocky; thereby putting forth the argument that one can overcome mental illness through force of will, homogenized milk, and daily exercise) and the Jennifer Lawrence character was grieving from the death of her husband (another odd and not very satisfying moment that was supposed to resonate and instead fell flat: when JL tells BC how her cop husband died; she says he got hit by a car after going to the King of Prussia mall to buy her something from Victoria's Secret; they "found the box for me still in the front seat of his car." Good job with product placement at a supposedly pivotal moment in the movie and good job having his mode of death be an act of fate, so that it effectively reveals nothing about him or her).

The other thing that was odd was that none of the dramatic moments seemed to have any consequence. For example, there was a scene at a tailgate where BC, in defending his therapist who happens to also show up at the game with his face half-painted (what a crazy coincidence!), ends up punching a bunch of people, and instead of going back to jail or back to the nuthouse, he just gets delivered home and nothing comes of it. And then of course, we have the final moment of the movie, where JL thinks BC is going to end up with his ex-wife and so she runs away and he chases after her and catches her at the last second and hands her a note he's conveniently brought with him that says he loves her and they kiss, and no one dies, no one gets mugged, no one even breaks a heel. What started out as slightly promising instead becomes a typical ro-co that's not actually very romantic or very funny.

Anyway, what this  tells me is that I need to get serious about my writing--if this kind of nonsense gets made and praised, there's hope for all of us who hear alarm bells when montage sequences appear showing two characters in leotards.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Favorite Christmas Gifts as a Child

I couldn't really tell you if the gifts listed below were truly my favorite ones, or if they're just the presents I happen to remember most vividly, or if they were the ones that I recall from photographs. I have a terrible memory, so there may be dozens of other presents I'm blocking out.

I do know that I got a doll for Christmas every year, and they were always really good dolls (except for that one year when Baby Alive was popular. I liked her okay, but she was also one of the only dolls I had that pooped and peed and I just didn't see the point of having toy you had to take care of in that way. Do dolls poop now? Perhaps that was just a fad?). Anyway, over the years, I got several Madame Alexander dolls, but the one I remember most vividly was the baby doll. She cried when you turned her over and she smelled good--not like a real baby, mostly like plastic, but in a good way, and she wore a very pretty white christening gown with pink ribbons and miniature buttons. I named her Elizabeth. I still have her. She's in the little bedroom right now.

Then another one I really liked was this Richard Scarry toy hospital (see below). Now that I see it again, it was really a simple grid, but I loved it. Look how cute the rabbit patient is! Her name was Flossie, I think.More later. Have to run!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Holiday Miracle

Not really. But I've had the same item returned to me twice this month, one of great value, one that impacts me on a daily basis: my city SEPTA pass. Last Tuesday, I ran out of class to catch the train and discovered I didn't have it. A few days later, my teacher emailed everyone to let us know she found the pass. I got it back yesterday, after only a three day/$20 loss. Then today, I got to my stop at Snyder and realized the pass was gone again, even though I remembered putting it in my pocket when I walked out of the house. I retraced my steps all the way back to my house, didn't find it, started back to the subway and checked between the cars, and there it was, forlorn. I want to make something more of this about the universe giving back or perseverance in searching for lost things, but I don't know if there isn't maybe just a simpler lesson, which is that I need to keep hold of the damn thing and quit putting it in my coat pocket where it can flutter away.

And now, a picture of my favorite cat. He lives in a plumber's business office and is usually sitting in the window when I pass by in the morning. He has one blue eye and one green eye and a ringed tail like a raccoon. If I tap on the glass, he jumps at my hand and will go racing after it if I trail it along the windows. At night, he's usually curled up in the front window and I always wake him up. I went into the store the other day, just to pet him and met a bunch of S. Philly guys. They were eating pizza and told me that another girl had come in to pet the cat too. His name is Duke. He's already earned his keep from catching three mice so far.

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Ireland Photos

These are courtesy of Instagram. I didn't use my phone as much as my camera, in large part because I was on the wireless plan to avoid additional costs and there wasn't always a signal. Also, I can of prefer an actual camera to the phone. It feels more authentic.

Here are the remaining photos. Dan has some too, but neither one of us can figure out how to get them off his phone to my email. These are pretty much in no particular order and/or backwards from  a chronological perspective of the trip.

Dan in the bathroom at the Butler in Kilkenny, filling up the electric tea kettle.

Breakfast was included in the cost of the hotel, and had a hot and cold portion. Here is where Dan fell off his no-gluten diet and at an entire raisin scone with jelly (pictured in background)

In one of the rooms--not sure why Dan has made the puffer fish face.

The back of the cabbie's head from the Manchester Airport into the city.

Tea and poppyseed banana cake with white chocolate toothpicks on the side at Teacup.

Irish countryside from train.

Dan at fancy dinner in Dublin with French fries.
Padhraig and something or other.

My dinner--very good cheese pasta dish that Carrie and I both ordered. This was Dan's birthday dinner.

And now we're totally backwards, because this is in the Dublin Airport as we waited for our flight to Manchester on Monday morning. The guys getting ready to board a plane to Lisbon had a few pints pre-9AM.

Breakfast. Yogurt in three different cups.

At the film festival in Kilkenny.

Crappy breakfast place in Manchester where the only thing they had for Dan to eat was an orange. The woman gave it to him for free.

At the barber shop in Kilkenny. The barber mostly complained about how there was nothing to do around town.

Baby and dad eating pasta.

Getting ready for bed, maybe?

Don't know.

Dan at the Manchester Art Gallery--loved this place.

Part of the exhibits.

The hanging man in the staircases at the museum.

On train?

At the airport.

This was one of the many incredibly delicious desserts I had---meringue with lemon pie inside and melting vanilla ice cream. I believe this was at Zunis, a restaurant recommended by one of Padhraig's sister's friends, if that matters at all to you. 

I always felt I should order the porridge.

We returned to Dublin to become a part of a street protest, however briefly.

These photos are really totally out of order. This is the outdoor Christams festival in Manchester.

One of hte many cappuccino's I had.

Dan's rose tea, with a drawing of the rose tea pot in the background as well.

In Manchester at Teacup the second day. Lots of drama in the back ground--a man arguing on the phone, a woman picking up her crying baby, and the waitress hurrying away to get our cake. She was nice and remembered us from the day before.

These are the timers you get for your tea---three minutes, four minutes, five minutes.

I believe this was toward the beginning of our trip, prior to Dan's haircut.


Dan warming his hands by the fire. This was dinner the last night in Kilkenny at a place called either Toulouse or La Trec,

On the Dublin railway on the return to Dublin.

On the way out of Dublin.

And then at the Velvet, we were asked if we wanted the paper in the morning. I said yes, never knowing that it would be an extra 50 pounds or whatever it was.

One of the stops.

This is one of Dan's photos that I was able to get off his Facebook page. This is me, obsessively checking my phone to be sure it's charged, waiting at Newark Airport for the train into Trenton.

And here is Carrie blowing kisses to Seamus...

And Seamus' prompt response...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Feeling Squirrely

Yesterday, we had a photo shoot for our work holiday card. It involved stringing lights, rearranging the living room, and setting up the clip lights (I learned that movie lingo from Lisa Marie). Then, Jason and I hunkered down behind the coffee table to practice making two sock puppets look as if they were singing a Penn song.

Here's a sneak peek.

They pay me to do this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back from Ireland

I'm sure there is an easier way to post these pictures, but I am not able to download the program I need for the compatible photo platform, so you'll just have to bear with me on this long scroll down.
On our way. It's the 3 PM train from NJ Transit line from Trenton to Newark.

Luggage takes a full seat. That's my giant suitcase, stuffed with skirts I never wore.

On the plane to Dublin.

Still on our way.

Seamus was there to greet us at 7 AM. Here is the second bedroom where we slept.

Front door of Carrie and Padhraig's digs. A child actor lives below them. He's grown now and still an actor, but very disgruntled. We didn't ge tto meet him.

Padhraig against stick fence.

Exterior of the church where Seamus will be baptized.

Rubbish in the waterway. It was mostly cans of beer.

No bicycles allowed to cross at this time.

Map of the park.

No Scottie dogs allowed on premises.

Here we are at Trinity College. Dan and I have been up for about\ 30 hour straight and are delirious.


Tree at Trinity.

Breakfast with baby at a cute little breakfast shop.

I do not recall what I ate.

Dan said his eyes were burning.

This must be at dinner the first night. We went to a place that served gluten free pizza. The appetizer was amazing.

This was the beginning of my dessert debaucle. I ate dessert--usually cake of some kind--literally every day and sometimes, twice a day. This dessert was delicious. Please note pool of warm vanilla pudding on right-hand side.

We slept that night like babes.

I've missed some time here...Not sure if this is Manchester yet.

But I know that this is. We loved this tea shop. Jaime, the man at the front desk of the hotel, recommended it to us and we were proud to have found it using just the touristy map. You go there and just buy this delicious tea and cake. We visited twice.

Manchester graffiti.

Close up.

Our room at the Velvet was amazing. I confess that we let the Lonely Planet guide plan our trip for us. This was the top choice recommendation for places to stay in Manchester. We loved it.

These are the windows above the bed with curtains that you opened and closed by pullies.

Monkey lamp. We also had an electric tea pot and a tin of biscuits/cookies.

Wardrobe which was like a giant standing trunk.

Amazing shower that took up the whole room. It came with a little yellow duck, but I didn't take the duck b/c I was worried we would be charged 50 pounds for it.

I am modeling the robes that came with the rooms. There were also little white matching slippers.

Dinner the first night was at a restaurant from the guide. I have the name written down somewhere. Dan said it was the best dinner he had. He bought a dessert that was blueberry soup with sorbet and a giant toasted marshmallow on top.

Interior of restaurant. I like the wallpaper.

Place where you can get a beard trimmed or a hot towel head shave.

The Manchester Art Gallery was just blocks away from our hotel.

This is me inside the MAG, in need of a hair dye, for sure.

We also went to an outdoor Christmas festival where they were serving mulled wine. Dan had paella and I ordered a chorizo. This is the place where I almost bought a white cardigan covered with black kittens, but it was too small. Instead, I got two bird necklaces, one for me and one for Lisa Marie.

Inside the tent at the festival.

Street performers. We gave them 50 doubloons.
Took the Piccadilly Station train back to the airport.

Dan's eyes no longer burning.

Met up with Padhraig at Trinity. He gave us tickets to the Book of Kells. Dan loved it and I pretended to be reading the signs. This is Padhraig's office at Trinity.

Here, he pretends to work.

And pretends to smile.

He wanted us to capture what he mostly does in the office.

Next, we took a bus to the Irish Railway and headed to Kilkenny.

The countryside sped by.

We were lucky--they were holding an international film festival in Kilkenny that weekend.

Pizza shop in the middle of Kilkenny.

Odd to see a working garage in the middle of an ancient stone building.

The castle? Not sure.

This is the exterior of Kilkenny Castle. We took a tour right away. We learned that most people in the olden days slept sitting up because they thought that lying down caused you to breath bad air and kill you. This was because so many people died of consumption.


And again.


Mossy girl.

Inside our hotel room. We again took the Lonely Planet's advice and stayed at the Butler House, which used to be part of the castle. It couldn't top the Velvet, but few rooms could.

Very nice view.

An afternoon walk.

That mossy girl again.

We went into a lot of second hand shops. I liked that there was a whole section devoted just to angels.

These stone walls were all over the place.

Me looking ominous in an alley way.

A man singing his version of Britney Spear's song, "Hit Me Baby, One More Time."

Dan liked the faint writing above this window.

We took a self-guided tour of the Rothe House and learned that someone's job used to be to clean out the gutters from the toilets. He was called a "dungen fermer."


The orchard.

With medicinal herbs and plants.

A view of something.

And again.

Orchard bench.

We rest. I am wearing a hat I bought at the Oxrfam store for 3 Euros.

And a scarf that my friend Julie made many moons ago.

They keep geese there too as a way to show how the family used to live with livestock running around.

These geese were intent on slurping up the mucky water around.


Very cute when they try to get back into their home.

Tried to get a close up of these giant crows, but they kept escaping me.

Cat at St. Canice's Cathedral. We later learned that her name is Maggie.

She was flirtatious.

Kept coming over and then running away.

I deleted about 20 more similar pictures.

Houses next to the church.

And of course, very old graveyard.

We didn't do any old stone rubbings of the headstones.

Then this cat showed up and followed me around. We later learned her name too--I've forgotten it now. Something like Spark.

She and I fell instantly in love.

I do wish I could reach into this picture and fix my hair.

Many dead.

Another view. Note tower on the right side. 

Oh, and this was a little dog who lived in the houses behind the church. I made him nervous.


We climbed the 100 foot tower. I discovered that I didn't like doing that very much.

Just one of the hundreds of narrow steps we climbed up at our own peril.

For this view of the city.

Note precarious stairs down.

I stayed at the top for maybe three minutes before getting out of there.

Ancient door leading out of the tower.

See how high?

Inside the church.

They still hold services there on Sundays.


This is the floor.

Tombs all over the place.

Some were members of the Butler family.

Evidence of the Butler family's prominence.


Leaving tower. I have no idea why I took so many pictures of this place.

Exterior of the Rothe House we toured.

Castle again.

And again.

Once more.

Back on Saturday to the Kilkenny Irish Rail Station.


Back in Dublin.

I like the image of the little girl in upper right hand corner.

Dan liked the graphic design here.


We had afternoon tea at a local shop. I ordered a ham and pickle sandwich as well. This was the only time I didn't have cake with my meal.

The tea I ordered was called "Put the Cat Out." Please note bongos.

This is where we sat. The Elvis Costello picture on the left later fell on Dan's shin, injuring him.

Took this picture for a friend back home (rather than spending 7.56 on a joke present).

For the final dinner in Dublin, we insisted on fish and chips. While we were there, one of the women working behind the counter fainted from the heat of the ovens and hit her head.

Thanks to Carrie and Padhraig for being the hostess and host with the mostest. 

I do have several more photos to post from my Instagram account. Will do so tomorrow, but wanted to get these up fast so I could send them to Carrie and Padhraig.