Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tommy Nightmare (The Paranormals, #2)Tommy Nightmare by J.L. Bryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the first book in this series, "Jenny Pox." I was riveted from the first chapter and couldn't put it down. This book, while also interesting and riveting, seemed a lot shorter, and like many middle books in trilogy (though, I see a fourth is out now), it had a cliffhanger.

There are so many unanswered questions that this book left me with. Who is Alexander? Are Jenny and Seth soul mates? Will Esmerelda get her life back from Ashleigh? What about Tommy? Will that semblance of a conscience return in "Alexander Death?"

Suffice it to say, my next payday, I'll be getting book 3. I won't wait so long to get it (I finished "Jenny Pox" last spring).

For what it's worth, I enjoyed this book. It was a really quick read, I loved hearing more about their world, and how insane large crowds of people can get.

I did feel it was too short, and things happened a bit too quickly, but I still enjoyed it. JL Bryan has a way with story telling. He's so good at it. He's painted this world that is vivid (and it might be the cover of "Jenny Pox" talking, but also sepia-toned) and rich. I'll probably start to turn to him when I need to get sucked into a book. This is two books that have sucked me in and not let me go.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I've been having an interesting few weeks. Without going into too much detail, things have been stressful at work, and I haven't had time to write. I've done plenty of imagining and dreaming, but no real writing. I'm really behind on NaNo, too.

Today, someone made a comment that was basically belittling those that want to do ore with their lives than what they're doing. Like they should just be content with the mediocre. That's never been my style. I've always had big aspirations and have always been certain said aspirations would come true.

Source
It always bothers me when someone pooh-poohs someone else's dreams. If they aspire to be something bigger and to do something that is more meaningful to them, why belittle it? Maybe it's because I've been around seriously negative people that never understand why I do the things I do, but if someone does something that I consider off-kilter or wonky, I just leave them to their own devices, and figure it'll come to fruition eventually.

If someone wants a change, why act like it's the most terrible thing in the world? People are constantly changing. Even those who are set in their ways do their own changing eventually. It's how the world works.

I don't want to do my job forever. I want to be a writer. I want to be financially independent. If that's a terrible dream, then let me continue to dream anyway.


The world is already ugly enough. Don't take aspirations away from people, even if you think they're dumb. Even if they don't fit into your plans. It's like this person I'm thinking of forgot that people do have lives outside of work. It's insane.

Eleanor Roosevelt had some fantastic quotes about life and dreams, so I'm going to leave you with them, for a positive note.

~“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 

~“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn 
his back on life.” 

~“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” 

~“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?” 

~“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” 

~“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!

I haven't blogged since Election Day? I swear I wasn't THAT depressed my candidate lost! Wow! I'm gonna go with I've been super busy lately, between two jobs, plus NaNoWriMo (which I'm behind on), and sleeping, I guess I've been too busy to blog. I do have one blog that's been stewing, but I'll probably write it tomorrow. Lots of pics to be had on that one!

I honestly thought this day would never get here. I've had to work so much this week that I'm ready for a break.

I started my Thanksgiving break (of one whole day) off right by meeting my parents at Perkins in Omaha, where we also met up with my cousin, Joey, his wife, Brooke, and their adorable little girl, Abby. It was our first time meeting Abby, who celebrates her first birthday next month, so I was so ready for my workday to be over.

Imagine our surprise (my parents and I) when shortly after Joe and Brooke got there, Joe's parents, Jim and Julie, younger brother, Danny, and Danny's girlfriend Jada showed up! I haven't seen Julie or Jim in about a year, and Danny for even longer. I have tentative plans to hang at the Henry Doorly Zoo with Danny and Jada on Friday, when I'm between jobs.

Right now, I'm relaxing, watching a movie with my daddy, and getting ready to do my pre-Thanksgiving baking. What I always do is bake corn bread. And not just any corn bread. No. This corn bread recipe, I got when I was nine. That year for Christmas, my grandparents got me a set of Little House on the Prairie books, and in the back of one of them, you could send away to join the Little House Book Club. It was free, so I did.


Source
I didn't get much out of that club (which, I don't know if it's still around or not), but I did get a recipe in the mail for Buttermilk Corn Bread. I get rave reviews on this stuff every year. Not to mention, it's super easy. Just remember to put it into a deep pie pan. I didn't last year, and it kind of exploded all over the place. Luckily, it was on a cookie sheet, but still.


Yep. That really happened.
I got the recipe on a postcard, and every year, I would have to dig through all of my stuff to try to find it (You know how it goes when you're nine and have no idea what a recipe binder is). Last year, my parents got a wild hare to put all of our family's recipes into a big cookbook. It was mostly my mom's side of the family, who were hoarding fantastic German dishes they brought over from Europe and passed down at least two generations. This was the perfect solution to my missing post card problem.

 So, here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family always has.

Buttermilk Cornbread
Adapted from My Little House Cookbook, with recipes by Amy Cotler and illustrations by Holly James

6-8 Servings


Ingredients


1 Cup Flour

3/4 Cup Yellow Corn Meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 10 inch pie plate

2. Combine flour, corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar in a bowl, breaking up clumps.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (I cheat and use the microwave)
4. Combine eggs, buttermilk and melted butter in a second bowl. Wisk until well combined.
5. Mix wet and dry ingredients until just blended. Pour into pie plate
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cut into wedges and serve warm with plenty of butter.


Ah. MUCH Better. And in a pretty plate, too!
So tasty! I love it. I need to make it more than once a year. Especially because it's so easy!


Source


Wishing you and Yours a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People don't understand that everything is connected. Everything we do, everything we say, no matter how insignificant or flippant, it can effect someone to the point that their life is altered.

In Jay Asher's novel "13 Reasons Why," Clay Jensen receives a box of tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who had recently killed herself. On the tapes, she recounts exactly what happened leading up to her suicide, and pin pointing certain people and events that caused her to think that her life wasn't worth living anymore.

Her design for the tapes was that they were supposed to go, in order, to the people mentioned on the tapes. Everyone who got them had a hand in her decision. Clay, a decent enough chap, had no idea why he would be included on the list. He could have loved Hannah. He certainly had a crush, and they shared a nice kiss. Why would he be included on the list? That's for the reader to find out, because I'm not going to tell what happens.

That being said, I read this book extremely quickly. I was dying to find out what happened. How was Clay involved? Was it all a ruse? Was Hannah really dead? She seemed like such a lively, lovely person that you'd never imagine what kind of inner turmoil was happening. She wasn't a sharer. She was more of a "this is my life, and it's as good as it's gonna get"-type girl, I felt.

The people that she mentioned on the tapes probably had no idea the impact that their actions could have. She'd been labeled a tramp, among other things, because she'd accidentally, or inadvertently insulted someone. Rumors hurt. Maybe if she hadn't been bombarded with the rumors by so many people, she would have moved past it. Maybe there was something bigger at work. Whatever the case, Clay had some answered questions, but I had too many unanswered questions for my liking.

Example, I would have loved to have found out how the few people who received the tapes after Clay reacted. Would it have changed them? Would they have realized what they'd done? Sadly, it's difficult to say, but this was definitely a good read.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Night at the Opera

So, anyone who knows me knows that I love music. I have since I was a kid, having grown up with a mother who sang to me all the time (and not necessarily silly "kiddy" songs, either. When I'm 64 was a very prominent song, as was You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr, though she changed the words)., and a father who played piano and sang. We have a player piano, and TONS of piano rolls.

When you're three years old and the piano plays itself, you can easily imagine that the world will always be magic.
When I got to high school, I actually started singing opera music with choir, and for two years, my choir got to sing with several other area schools, the Omaha Symphony, and Opera Omaha. Those two performances were the highlight of my high school music experience.

In college, when I started voice lessons, I was told that  I might have a future in opera by my voice teacher, the late Harry Morrison (Happy Birthday, Harry!), and I honestly believed that after five years of college, studying to be a writer, I could continue to go back to school at Mizzou to be a singer. I was one math class shy of being admitted (lame!).



My voice is a bit more musical theater now, but that's okay. I still really enjoy opera. I've been seeing at least one show a season at Opera Omaha since I came back from Columbia. After I'd been home about two months, my best friend, Sam, got us tickets to a Broadway review (two rows from the front), the following fall, I went to Opera for the Cure with my mom (a four year breast cancer survivor!) and my aunt, the next year, my aunt and I went to Madama Butterfly, which also featured my former voice teacher, Shelby VanNordstrand (she was also in the Broadway Review, but I didn't know her yet). Last night, my aunt and I went to see La Traviata

Pretty decent seats, if I do say so, myself.
This production starred Inna Dukach as doomed heroine, Violetta Valery. Her voice reminded me of Anna Netrebko's Violetta in her performance of La Traviata. Very beautiful.

Joshua Kohl played her lover, Alfredo, and he honestly reminded me of Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria. He has a beautiful voice, but his performance was almost spot on with the meekness that Friend had when he first met Victoria.

The rest of the performance was wonderful. It was a fun party in Act 1, what looked like a nice life end for the ill Violetta in Act 2.1, another party, not as much fun in Act 2.2, and a freaky, trippy death in Act 3 (What do you expect from an opera? A happy ending? ~Bugs Bunny).

It was a lovely evening, and I'm glad I have someone to go to shows with. My aunt and I have a tentative date to see The Magic Flute in February! It will be my third time seeing it, and I don't think any performance can top the Santa Fe Opera performance back in 2010 (There was heat lightning in the distance and they have a quasi-outdoor theater while the Queen of the Night sang her Aria. Pretty epic).

The Lobby of the Santa Fe Opera House
It was nice to get away and spend an evening in the theater. And it was really packed. It always surprises me how many people go to the opera, since there are so many cliches about it. And I always feel I have to drag people with me. The first time I saw The Magic Flute at Mizzou, I went by myself.

I don't think people understand how taxing opera music is on the performers. It's exhausting, even when done right.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding LucasFinding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not going to lie when I say that I had a hard time getting into this book. It has nothing to do with the writing style, or even what was being written. It was about the treatment of main character, Jamie, by her pretentious, soulless, bourgeois boyfriend. Anytime something bad happened to her, he had absolutely no care to discuss it. He treated her worse than he would have treated the chic, dog du jour that he most likely would have had. The guy gave me panic attacks because anytime Jamie did something that a normal person would have thought was just an accident (tripping over and breaking a lamp while coming home late to a dark condo, for example), her boyfriend was determined that she did it on purpose. I don't know why he stayed with Jamie if he didn't think she was good enough for him. That's how the first half of the book was with him. He kept saying that Jamie wasn't good enough.
I've been there. Not with a boyfriend, but with someone I considered to be a friend. The first half of this book took me back to an ugly place I don't want to revisit, but it certainly made me thankful for the whimsical family that I have, and the whimsical family that Jamie had. Her parents, step mothers, sister and friends are all so supportive of her, but when she finally snaps and dumps Derek (though he claims he dumped her), they are with her every step of the way. They were outrageous, funny, supportive, and while they all had their own opinions, they ultimately let Jamie make her own decisions.
I will say that I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but it doesn't mean that I didn't have fun getting there. After Derek stopped being in 80% of what I was reading, I could relax a bit, and actually enjoy Jamie's journey (again, not Samantha Stroh Bailey's fault, but my own memories. It happens).
I would recommend this book for those that aren't easily offended by language (Holy F-Bombs, Batman!), and who want a quick read to take the edge of their boring days (Lord knows that I have far too many boring days in my life, so this was a nice escape!).

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

This movie has been showing previews for ever a year. I've been excited to see it since I first saw the trailer last year. I love fantasies that happen in the "real world," so I thought this would be right up my alley.

Before we continue, the  trailer:


Like reviews past, I won't be divulging much plot, because I believe to experience a movie, you shouldn't know what happens. I'm also an avid reader of TV show spoilers, so I don't practice what I preach, but I digress.

I honestly felt for the Greens, Cindy and Jim (Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton), a working-class couple who exhausted all resources to having their own child, and after a night of wine and list making, they bury a box of the features they want in their child. Later that night, a little Oliver Twist-looking urchin is running around their farmhouse. He explains that he's their son. He's a very matter-of-fact child, asking no questions about who they are. He knows. He was sent to them.

They're such a great family.
The Greens' family and friends all want to know where Timothy came from, especially Cindy's "perfect" sister, Brenda (Rosemarie DeWitt), who had, I think, the most insensitive line of the whole movie: "I thought you wanted a "real" child." Seriously. Who SAYS that to an infertile couple who have been given a wonderful gift? Her character didn't grow on me at all throughout the movie. She was a BAD sister.

Where Cindy had a bad sister, Jim had a bad father. He didn't have a good relationship with his father growing up, as his father never settled for anything less than a star-making sport (which, Jim wasn't), and when it looked like Timothy would spend the entire soccer season as a water boy, Big Jim (David Morse) would show up for five minutes and then leave. Until Jim (Timothy's father) made him stay and watch Timothy's last game. It was memorable to say the least.

Timothy and his girlfriend, Joni. Yes. A 10-Yr-Old has a girlfriend.
The movie was sweet. It had it's hysterical moments and definitely was a tear jerker, but not to the extent of some super sad kids movies (My Girl, Land Before Time, Honey I Shrunk the Kids-When Anty died, my sister and I were supposedly inconsolable, according to my grandma). As an adult, I can understand the ending. I can see where kids would probably take issue with it.

All in all, I liked it, but I probably won't rush to own it on DVD. It was good for a rainy afternoon before a baseball game.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

As a huge baseball fan, if someone asks me if I want to go to a game, I almost always say yes (there has to be serious illness involved for me to say no). Last night at Werner Park, located in Papillion, Ne, my parents, aunt, uncle and I met for a game, our Omaha StormChasers against the New Orleans Zephyrs.

From inside the gate, looking at the ONE bit of Sunshine we had all evening.
Well, it had been rainy and drizzly all day. I spent most of the day with my friend, Sam, hanging out, learning to play SongPop on my phone, and we went to go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Review to come in a later post). Good movie. Not as sad as some led me to believe (My Girl (1992) is sadder!), but still heart-wrenching.

Sam's boys, Kevin and Snoopy. So cute!


I made it home at about 5:15, and my dad wanted to leave at 5:20. Just made it. It was still pretty drizzly, but we hadn't heard anything about the game having been cancelled, so off we went.

They were working on protecting the field from rain when we got there.
There were lots of people in plastic ponchos and carrying umbrellas. I wasn't aware we could have umbrellas in the park (At Rosenblatt, our now demolished former baseball stadium, they made us take an umbrella back to the car). I guess they make an exception when it's actually raining and not many people are there? We got our food (I was starving. I hadn't eaten since the movie, several hours earlier), and I got a chicken burrito from the La Mesa kiosk, and later some sweet potato fries. I thought about getting a margarita, and really regretted it after trying my mom's. So good!

The game still hadn't started by the time we were done eating, so my mom, Aunt Pat and I decided to walk around a bit.

Werner park is almost completely open, whereas Rosenblatt's eateries/restorooms were all under a  large tin roof
So, I'm not proud of this (okay, I kind of am), but the park encourages fans to tweet and check in and everything, so having gotten pretty impatient, I tweeted them.

, what's with the delay? You're called "STORMChasers!" Please start soon!


Not two minutes later, we got an announcement over the loud speakers saying they were still waiting for the weather to make a decision and to please be patient. Did I hit a nerve? I like to think so. *snickers*

But, before the game started, we did get this lovely image.

Love Rainbows. Reminiscent of God's promise to Noah.
I'm so glad I brought my Kindle. I was getting seriously bored. And Cold. I really wish there was a Starbucks or Scooters Kiosk in the park (There wasn't one at Rosenblatt, either). I finished reading Our Husband by Stephanie Bond, and kept checking out Facebook. For two hours.

Dad had the same idea.
When the game finally started, I was getting tired. The Stormchasers actually did pretty well, but I wanted a Grand Slam. I feel the wait would have been justified if I'd gotten my Grand Slam. Early on, they kept setting it up, but not following through. It was heartbreaking. I know that you can't plan these things, but it will would've been nice if it had bappened.

When we left, the StormChasers were ahead of the Zephyrs, 3-0. We left at the fifth inning, as it was almost 10 and dad and I needed to get up for Worship Team this morning (incidentally, the Team did a Baseball song for the offering music, and it was "Center Field" by John Fogerty, with a Christian Twist).

I love how great our seats were. Absolutely fantastic.
Probably my last game for the season. Wish it had been a better experience, but it hasn't marred my love of the game.


  • What sports do you absolutely love?
  • Got a favorite team? I love the St. Louis Cardinals. I blame college.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number

The cousin whom I considered to be a younger brother turns eighteen tomorrow. It makes me feel so old. I still remember when he would cuddle up to me to watch George of the Jungle and I would teach him Looney Toons impressions.

Two years ago at a wedding, Ages 15 and 24
I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about it, but I realize that he needs to grow up. *sigh* Love that kid a lot.

It did get me thinking about my own age. When I was 21, I NEVER got carded. It actually kind of pissed me off. Did I look old? Before my time? It was actually pretty discouraging at the time. I was a sophomore in college, I was doing what all college kids did, but I didn't get carded? What was THAT about?

Here, six(ish) years later, I'm almost 27, and people confuse me for someone much younger, like...21. Let's compare, shall we?
-
Age 21, at my friend, Jess's rehearsal dinner, with my friend, Kristen
Age 26, heading to a film premier with my bestie.
Now, tell me. Do I look 26 here? Or do I look the 21/22 that the people I work with seem to think I look? It's got to be a combination of lots of water and being a nonsmoker, because my eating and exercising habits, though they are getting better, aren't that great.

About a week after my darling Jake turned eighteen, his younger sister, my Mini-Me, Laura, will turn fourteen. I think I'm less ready for her and Jake to get older than for me to get older. They were just so darn cute as kids!

Sweetest kid in the world, with the biggest heart (Ages 10 and 23)
I hope, mentally, I stay young. Getting older doesn't scare me so much as getting sick and getting old. I don't want to be a bedridden old cripple. I want to live healthy and have tons of energy and keep up with kids half my age, like Laura (Jake, I'm convinced, has been turned into a vampire, as last time I went to visit, he only came out at night and stayed up until sunrise every night).

So, I've more or less finished week one of C210K, but I think I'm going to repeat it. I spent a lot of my time walking today. I was trying to run faster, and I think I got a bit burned out, and my hamstrings tightened up. I should keep a steady pace of walking 3.0 mph and running 5.0 mph. Speed will come later. Right now, I need to focus on endurance.

As for eating healthier, I honestly tried this week. I was snacking on a bag of clementine oranges (they are so fab, I must say), but after I peeled one, I found black stuff inside. After doing a bit of googling, I found out that a fly had gotten in there and done...something. *shudders* No, I didn't eat it. I was too grossed out to even think about food until I got home from work. I tell ya, ya try to eat healthy and THAT happens.

I think it's funny what people go through to look younger. I don't watch non-competition reality TV because, frankly, it's not as unscripted as they'd like you to believe. I've seen commercials for the Real Housewives, and I don't want to look young like they try to. If that's forty? I'll try to do it naturally. Keeping in good health and taking care of the body God has created for me to further His kingdom (she says after eating pizza and pie, but to be fair, I didn't eat dinner before work today).

I believe in taking care of yourself, acting your age, but having fun at least once a day, be it a joke or doing something you enjoy. Take your life into your own hands to make every day a better day. Be a positive influence to yourself and those around you. Don't dwell on the negative, but rejoice in the positive. I think that's what I want to focus on. I see too much negativity in my attitude in my day to day life. What can I do to make today great?

Considering it's almost Midnight now, I think I'll get a head start on tomorrow by getting some rest.

Peace out!

I seriously adore these two, and they make me proud to be their "Big Sister." (Ages 14, 23 and 10)

  • What do you do to stay young?
  • Any health tips to share with the class?
  • How old do people think you look? (Proud to look 23!)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Diary of Darcy J. RhoneThe Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Darcy is just the kind of girl I would've been (and WAS!) friends with in high school. At that age, there are the people you're friends with because you've known each other for so long that if you stopped and actually looked at who they were and what they did, you would be appalled, which is why so many friendships don't last past high school.

Knowing the type of girl she is (though, I admit I only knew because of the movie version of "Something Borrowed"), I was pretty sure I wouldn't like Darcy. Not on the page, not in the real world. I've known too many Darcys in my life, and their drama is best kept on the page, bothering fictional characters. She's the stereotypical cheerleader: beautiful, popular, overly dramatic, wonders why everyone doesn't worship the ground she walks on. I honestly don't think you're supposed to like Darcy. It was HARD to like her. I didn't even try.

That said, I think Emily Giffen has Teenage Darcy's Journalistic voice DOWN. It's probably not hard to write the journal of a teenager (hell, I did it when I WAS a teenager!), so channeling that angsty time could be as simple as going back to your own journals (I blush when I think of the stupid things that made me mad back then).

This book took me back to when I was that age, but having read it and having seen the movie "Something Borrowed," why does ANYONE put up with her? Probably leads me back to my original thought of people are too scared to let go, even with Frenemies like Darcy J. Rhone.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lee G. Simmons Consvervation and Wildlife Safari Park

Growing up across the river from Omaha, Nebraska, I feel like I've had some of the best and coolest opportunities afforded me. There is the Henry Doorly Zoo, one of the best zoos in the country (and actually beat out Disney World in a best for families vote), the Orpheum Theatre, where I feel like I grew up (had many an opportunity to explore it as a child, and also sang there in high school choir), several museums, including my favorite, the Durham Western Heritage Museum (they have trains. I love trains. Just call me Sheldon Cooper), and it's also the home of the NCAA College World Series!

Anyhoo, I never really appreciated it until I left and went to college, where there wasn't nearly as much to do so close (Had to drive two hours to either KC or STL to do anything nearly as cool as the stuff we have in Omaha). One thing that I didn't realize we had nearby is the Lee G. Simmons Conservation and Wildlife Safari Park. It's a drive-thru park with areas that you can park to hike to see more animals (bears and wolves and frogs, oh my!), as well as a petting zoo. Here are some of the pics from the trip.

Coming in, there were elk everywhere! I think my mom counted.

Check out their antlers!

At the first stopping point, heading toward the Eagles.

Not sure if you can see them, but there ARE owls in that picture.  Right in the middle.

Pretty AND Interesting. I love Native American history.

On my way to the frog pond, I stopped at a map and found a  typo.  Have I mentioned grammatical errors like this are a pet peeve?

Mom petting goats.

Goats are cute. This one was super hungry.

Chicks!

I want chickens of my own one day.

I would have four and name them Antonia, Stephanie, Thora and Betty, and they would be Avengers Hens.

And the coolest part of the whole ride, I think.

White buffalo! I'd never seen them before! So gorgeous!

This handsome Bobcat has the same look of disdain my Henry gives me!

Partner-in-Crime running from the Camera

Foxy ladies! They were tiny!

Did you know porcupines attack with their tails?

This turtle was running all over his cage, trying to get out.

This little guy I photographed because he reminded me of my advisor, Kate Kogut, in college. She LOVES moose!
Honestly, this place is an inexpensive stop if you're in Ashland, NE. Only $6.50 for adults, and I think $4.50 for kids. There are some animals that you just can't see at your local zoo, and buffalo is one kind that we don't have at Henry Doorly. Granted, this isn't as big, and we were in/out in about two hours, so the fact that it's half the price of HD is pretty decent. I HIGHLY Recommend this place. It's great for kids. I'm only sad I didn't get a better look at the wolves and the bears. I saw them, but the darn trees were blocking me from a good view. Guess it was an off day.

Afterward, we went to use a Groupon for  Nothing Bundt Cakes  on Pacific in Omaha. It was worth $20, so we were able to get about six of their mini cakes (decent sized. We split the Red Velvet three ways during Project Runway tonight!), in almost all the flavors they had available: Red Velvet (obviously), Cinnamon Swirl (which we got to sample), Chocolate Chocolate Chip, White White Chocolate, Lemon, and Pecan Praline. Loved it. If it were more on my way home from work, that could present a problem. LOL

  • What places do you like to visit in your own hometown?
  • Do you love zoos and museums as much as I do?
  • What's your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"


I don't know about the rest of the country, but after the tragedy at the Aurora, Colorado theater on the opening night of The Dark Knight Rises, I was a little wary of seeing this movie right away, as originally planned. After viewing it with my friend, Ryan, today, I'm glad I waited a couple of weeks. There were a few scenes that would've been hard to watch if I'd actually been closer to the tragedy (I have dear friends in the area, but none of them were actually at that theater, thank God).

I loved Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. They paved a new path for superhero movies that I don't think has been met by any other superhero movie out there right now. Batman Begins started a whole new generation of the beginnings (Spiderman totally doesn't count. Not even close!). Even with next year's Man of Steel is following suit. Up until Batman Begins, I'd always thought of Batman as a comical, cartoony superhero. Blame it on Adam West. Christopher Nolan took Gotham and its residents and put them in the real world. He made Batman's journey seem like the realistic journey of a troubled young man looking for his place in a world that doesn't necessarily want him.

That being said, the tradition continues in TDKR. Bruce Wayne, having sustained physical and mental injuries at the end of The Dark Knight due to The Joker and Two-Face, has been living as a recluse in Wayne Manor, ignoring his business, friends and even his charities. His faithful servant/father-figure, Alfred, has been taking care of as much as he can, but even Alfred is only one person. There are jokes of Bruce turning into Howard Hughes, but I think after what he'd been through, he has a right to it.

Believe it or not, this is Bruce Wayne post shave, but after having been a recluse for eight years.
Anyway, having met Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) at a charity ball being held at Wayne Manor, we realize that she's a cat burglar with a strong desire to erase her past discretions and lead a new life. She owes people a lot of money, so she steals jewels, including Martha Wayne's pearls which had a homing device on them.

I honestly wasn't sure what to think when they'd cast Anne as Catwoman. I knew she could play bad and reckless based on her performance in Rachel Getting Married, but I was completely won over by how quickly she could go from mousey to vamp to criminal to damsel to Catwoman. She played so many roles just in the first fifteen minutes. VERY Impressive, Ms. Hathaway.

Mia Thermopolis No More.
As for the next villain, Bane, played by Tom Hardy, I knew he could do well with it. He's played the villain several times before. I actually adore Tom Hardy. I think he's good looking, talented, intense and mesmerizing. Everyone kept talking about how they couldn't understand what Bane was saying through his mask, but I understood him well enough. Problem was, though, he sounded JUST like Sean Connery. It was INSANE! I kept expecting villainous Bond-things to come out of his speaker, but they never did.

A Martini. Shaken, not Stirrrrrrred.
No one had any idea who Joseph Gordon Levitt was supposed to be playing this time around, and I have to say, I think it was better that way. I went in without any idea of his background, and I fell in love with him. He played Officer-turned-Detective Blake, who never gave up on Batman, and actually became a good friend and ally to him. He was concerned with always doing the right thing, taking care of children, and keeping Gotham a safe city to live in.
NOT a Side Kick. Badass on his own.
I can't give anymore character information without giving everything away, and I don't want to do that. I think this, like Brave would do better without a full synopsis. There was a bit of an ambiguous ending. I'm not sure I liked that, but it seems Christopher Nolan likes the ambiguous ending. He certainly keeps you wanting more. It's been said that Christian Bale was ending at three movies, so time will tell, but despite his continued use of the Batman garble (Sounds like Gollum with laryngitis), he's a great Batman. I don't know many men who can do troubled like Christian Bale. Talented, talented man.

I doubt they'll see this, but Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, rest of the cast, I would LOVE if you did another. You can't just leave me like this! It was amazing!

I do love that like many directors before him, Christopher Nolan has a group of people he likes to work with. This movie damn close to being an Inception reunion (If Leonardo DiCaprio were Bruce Wayne and Ellen Page played the bit part played by Juno Temple) with Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Joesph Gordon Levitt, and Cillian Murphy (YES! Scarecrow is BACK!), . 

And on a final note, there were a few scenes that really shook me. There was a scene at the Gotham Stock Exchange, where Bane's cronies have all sneaked in, and he joins them, and just starts shooting people. That part really threw me because of the recent Aurora events. I think Christian Bale is a wonderful person for visiting the victims, and it looked like he would have preferred it without all the hoopla. Even his wife was there.


On a final note, a picture I found on Facebook the other day.


Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.