Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How I spent my Winter Vacation

So. New Years. Yay? The party was a blast. Nearly all of my favorite people were there and it was nice to be able to spend time with so many different people. We partied, listened to music, drank, got silly, and took a lot of silly pictures. It was a pretty mellow party, we mostly just stood around drinking and listening to music and having weirdo random discussions, as you do. Before the party actually started we watched a few episodes of Star Trek: TNG, which was fun.

The evening mostly was done by 1:30 and I was in bed by 2. The next morning was blissfully hangover free but I mostly lounged around Liz's house until around 6 because I was very occupied with the book I was reading! (Discussed on 1/02) I was home by 7ish and cuddled up with my cat, who was very happy to see me after over 36 hours away! (He's very needy.) I relaxed by watching a movie and woke up with what I thought was a mild ear problem. I couldn't hear out of my right ear, it felt like I was swimming underwater!  I thought it would go away on its own (it didn't) and I thought I'd try various home remedies, which also didn't help. My sniffles/cough/mucus making factory issues that I had over Christmas came back with a bang as well.

Friday I felt awful but slightly better, so I ended up going to dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday. Big mistake! We ate at a very nice steakhouse (Ruth's Chris) and I had to get a salad/soup because I had virtually no taste buds and therefore steak would be useless. I could barely hear, my nose was experiencing leakage problems, and conversation was difficult at best (due to the ear.) Afterwards, we went to a local bar that is generally fine on weekdays, but intolerable weekend nights as one section is reserved for live music and it's terrible and I'm old and after several hours I wanted to die. It didn't help that loud music + ear problem made conversation impossible and the smoking from everyone around me likely made my ear problem worse.

Saturday I slept until 3. Sunday the Same. Monday I decide to go to the doctor (and sleep until 2ish) and end up getting antibiotics to treat an ear infection and upper respiratory infection. Tuesday (today) I also stayed home under Doctor's orders, sleeping again until 3 and I'm finally starting to feel human again, but still have the ear problem. Is it getting better? Hard to say. It feels like less pressure, maybe? I really hope it clears up soon, regardless!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I can still read!

I really slacked off in December with books. I'm pretty sure I only finished ONE book, but considering some months I finished more than two and January I'm on track to finish at least four, I think it evens out! So I'm going to discuss one December book, and one book I read almost entirely on New Years Day (minus the two chapters I had read before)

Book #1
Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford

This was on kindle special for $1.99 so I figured what the hell. She's a "twitter celebrity" that has somehow gained a whole lot of fame and followers. I've never been overly fond of stuff that I've read of hers, minus the very rare times she's actually pretty emotionally honest. This seemed more like Look How Cool I Am: Humblebrag edition. This is a memoir without any sense of self awareness. She comes across as very full of herself and falsely modest. (You know, when people mention that OTHER people say that I'm x, y and z but oh golly I don't know...) I liked it the most, I think, when she was talking about her childhood, though even those were tinted with various degrees of how smart and amazing she was.

This is a person that came from a good family, married very young (and very well). Her writing is full of privilege of varying degrees and I can't imagine how exhausting it would be to be around such a narcissist full time. It would be impossible to be her number one fan because that title will always belong to her. Maybe the title was more literal than first thought?

Book #2
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Okay, I have a mega crush on John Green. Gosh, he's cute! Okay, that out of the way.

The first few chapters were a little jarring. It's a book written from the perspective of a 16 year old girl with cancer. If I didn't know that this was written by a man in his mid 30's I would have assumed it was written by a young girl and the protagonist, Hazel, was a total Mary Sue. This isn't a good thing, by the way. But as the book went on I feel like he found his voice and it become more authentic and realistic. As previously noted, I read almost all of this 313 page book in a single day, having read two chapters the day before.

The plot itself, even the "twists" I saw coming from a mile away, but it was still relatively moving. It's important to keep in mind that this is, indeed, Young Adult fiction. It's a good book and a fairly quick read. It's being adapted into a movie which I will likely see, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the other 3 books he's written. And mooning over his youtube videos. Smart, funny, and handsome! Gosh.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Holidays

So. Christmas? It was spectacularly uneventful, for the most part. Most of my family (save a mostly estranged Uncle) live either 4 hours North in the wastelands of Oklahoma or four hours south in the terribleness of Houston, so I don't go out of town typically. Add to that the fact that I had to work the day before Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, and it really didn't logically make sense. So. I stayed home, ordered pizza, and was mostly a lazy layabout. I started getting somewhat sick on Christmas itself, but by the weekend it had mostly cleared up.

That was fortuitous timing because a friend that recently moved (back) to LA was in town visiting and we had our friend group Christmas exchange party the Saturday after Christmas. It was a lot of fun! We did a White Elephant/Yankee Swap exchange instead of buying individual gifts, with the stipulation that we spend around $50 and buy gifts that people would actually use and want. This year was a good haul! I bought about 10 classic 80's movies and some boxes of various types of popcorn and the recipient seemed pleased. I ended up with a beautiful box I'm seriously keeping from Darcy, with a $40 gift card to Steam, a box of chocolates, and a twee little candle.

There was lots of food, alcohol, music, lively discussion, and picture taking. I made gift bags for everyone with candy, chocolate bars, snack bags, and candy canes that were fun to put together and seemed to be well received. Cost about $10 each (eep!) but was worth it.

Now, tonight is New Years Eve! BFF Liz is having a party at her place and is expecting 20-25 people, so it should be a hoot. I'll be arriving early to help set up and to get my ridiculous costume of sequins and glitter put together, so that should be fun!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December movies: (mostly) Christmas Edition

Gosh. Okay. Here's one final blast of movies for the end of the year. Why do I watch so many???

Seen these, not much to say:

A Christmas Story - watched this a good 6 times on Xmas Even and Xmas. Yeah, that's right. I was painting and stuff! This never gets old.
Scrooged - As good as I remember
Bad Santa - Not as good as I remember.

Rapid Fire! Quick!

Don Jon - This was good but the ending felt a little shoe horned, neat, and undeserved. I would have preferred it to not have that ending, otherwise very enjoyable!
Catching Fire - Much better than the first one. Can't wait until the next two, not a lot bad to say about this!
Europa Report - A very low budget film that would have had even more stressful parts if not for Gravity stealing some of the space thunder. If you like sort of slow burning space horror this is worth watching.
Final Destination 5 - Second viewing of this. Not my favorite of the bunch but it amuses me that someone I'm one step removed from was in this.
Parker - Not the best Jason Statham movie, but certainly not his worst. JLo was by far the worst part of the movie and I feel like her entire part should have been reworked or written out entirely.
Brick - This has been on my list for a very long time. The last time I tried to watch it I was tired and a bit sick, so I ended up falling asleep. It was okay, if a bit hokey. Watching what are supposed to be (and some nearly were, I'd imagine) teenagers speak as if in a noir pulp detective story was jarring, and at times distracting. Like watching a high school play or something.
Asexual - It was a bit depressing because one of the people featured seemed very dissatisfied with their life and that's always a little sad. Otherwise, very informative and easy to watch.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Things I watched in December: Documentary Edition

So. Back to movies! I've been watching a lot of documentaries lately because it's easy to watch them while I'm surfing the internet or painting. Good background noise, basically. Here are a few of them that I've seen this month

I won't say much about this to prevent spoiling anything, but I can tell you what we learn in the first minute or so. A man in his mid 40s befriends an 18 year old girl over the internet. Another man ends up dead. This is the true (as far as we know) story of how this happened, and it's fascinating to watch this unfold. I don't think it surprises anyone here that people aren't always who they say they are over the internet, but it's still troubling to know stuff like this happens. Worth a watch!

Best Worst Movie
This has been on my radar for a very long time! This is a documentary based on the infamously bad (Best Worst Movie, you might say!) movie Troll 2. I've long heard amazing things about this doc and I'd say it mostly delivers. If you're a film fan, even if you haven't seen this particular movie or don't especially like it, this is worth seeing. It's always interesting to see what goes on in the minds of people that make unintentionally bad movies, and this provides a lot of that.

I watched this on Christmas day because apparently I'm a masochist. This is about methadone and follows a group of about 8 people using it for various reasons. Depressing, eye opening, and interesting. Probably don't watch alone on Christmas!

American Addicts
I only watched about half of this because while it was interesting and factual, it was also extremely dry. I like my documentaries to be a bit more than just live action news articles and that's pretty much what this was. A lot of interesting facts about prescription addiction and the problem we have with over prescribing but I just wasn't in the right head space to focus on hard hitting pure facts based stuff.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

AFI 100 Movies: Shane Edition

I finally watched another AFI movie! Shane. A 1953 Western based on a 1949 novel of the same name. It, apparently won an Academy award for Cinematography.  Personally, I found it so dull and slow that I had to watch the 2 hour long film in several chunks spread out over a few days. Here's the basic plot.

Shane, a lonesome cowboy, wanders into Wyoming sometime in the mid the late 1800s. He befriends and starts working for the Starrett family. Apparently, there's some drama with a cattle baron that wants to force the Starrett's and everyone else in the area off of the land. I guess... to... give himself... more... land? I... don't really know.

Conflict arises, people die, there's a showdown, good guys win, bad guys lose. The end. I guess all things considered it's a good movie. Obviously it was good enough to end up on this list, but I just do not like most Westerns. Obvious exceptions for a handful. Western Lovers will probably like this, I guess? That's up to you, man.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dinner with people not named Andre

This is another one of those slice of life posts, so if those annoy you feel free to move on. :) Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending a dinner party hosted by some friends of mine; Lyn & Brad*.  I've been to their place several times before and it's always fun and informative. We've cooked, hand made pasta, played rock band, and drank the night away. This time I attended kind of last minute as I had previous plans that ended up falling though and therefore had already eaten a light dinner (small cup of soup and a quarter sandwich.)

L made roast beef with a couple different sides, and we had cupcakes and chocolate for dessert. Oh! And Yorkshire pudding. Everything was delicious as always. Both Lyn & Brad are very talented cooks and even better company. Afterwards we played a variety of card type games while listening to records and drinking wine. Yes, records! I also got to play with their adorable kitty who is a total ham and sweetheart.

Dinner parties are something that always make me feel very Grown Up. Probably because my dinner is usually a hot pocket in front of the computer. I don't even have a table! Unless you count tv trays. My dining room has 4 bookshelves and a desk crammed into it. In retrospect I could easily move my desk into my bedroom... but I don't really do much entertaining. Hmm. I don't know. Anyway!

It was a delightful evening and I'm always glad to spend time with them. They are always a hoot and we are usually in a large group when we see each other so being able to actually have conversations is definitely nice!

*Not real names

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