Sunday, February 24, 2013

Goal Completed!

You probably don't remember this, but in 2008, Deal & I set a goal to watch all the Academy Award Best Picture winners over 80+ years.

As of April 2010, we had finished and blogged about 1958 through present. See here for 1981-2009 and here for 1958-1980. Please note, we rate on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best).

We made our way through 1929-1957 and just about finished before we hit the AT in May 2011. I didn't have time to post our reviews before leaving civilization and in the midst of putting our stuff in storage and moving a few times, the list got lost. Guess what I came across the other day??

So just in time for another Oscar winner, I am gracing you with our remaining movie reviews of the Best Pictures from 1929-1957 (plus 2010-2012)! After almost 4 years of trying, we realize how lofty of a goal it was. If you've been reading the blog for awhile, you should know we have lofty goals.

Thankfully we still had the good ol' VHS player around for the 1929-1957 round because most of these did not deserve a DVD reproduction (and our ratings would agree).

Wings (1929)
P=4, J=3
Silent film, black & white, made in 1927, more than 2 hours long. Need I say more?

The Broadway Melody (1930)
P=3, J=3
A poor attempt of a love story in the form of a musical.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - Yes, there were 2 movies for 1930!
P=6, J=5
A movie about WWI from the point of young, German soldiers. Touching and well done (for 1930!)

Cimarron (1931)
P=4, J=4
This movie confused us a bit, although the plot of settlement in the 19th century was interesting.

Grand Hotel (1932)
P=3, J=2
The movie tries to follow the story line for individual characters who cross each other's path in a luxurious hotel, but it wasn't done well.

Cavalcade (1934)
P=2, J=1
No. Not worth my words.

It Happened One Night (1935)
P=7, J=5
Who knew the 1930s were so scandalous??

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
P=6, J=7
We were pretty impressed with this story about this mutiny (led by Marlon Brando) aboard a British Navy ship in the late 1700s.

The Great Ziegfield
P=2, J=2
The main character was rather annoying.

The Life of Emile Zola (1938)
P=7, J=8
I really for the life of me can't recall why we liked this, but it's not often J gives a higher score than I do, so it must have been impressive. And again, we are still in the 1930s here, so kudos to them.

You Can't Take It With You (1939)
P=8, J=7
This was quite comical with a very eccentric family at the center of attention.

Gone With The Wind (1940)
P=5, J=5
We are probably getting imaginary daggers thrown at the computer screens for only giving a 5 to this classic romance film with dreamy Clark Gable, but Scarlett O'Hara is just plain spoiled and annoying. I was not rooting for them to get together.

Rebecca (1940)
P=8, J=8
I have ALWAYS loved this book and J & I listened to the book on CD and he loved it too. The movie is just as good. It's not often you see a mystery film among the Oscar winners, so we love it even more for being in that genre.

How Green Was My Valley (1942)
P=4, J=3
If you want a peak into early century mining life, you might like this, but the plot could have flowed a lot better.

Mrs. Miniver (1943)
P=4, J=4
I think it would have been a good movie if they focused less on the wife/mother (Mrs. Miniver).

Casablanca (1944)
P=6, J=5
Another romantic classic and I can see why everyone fell in love with Humphrey Bogart.

Going My Way (1945)
P=7, J=8
I can't fully remember this one, but our ratings speak for it because again, J rated higher than me!

The Lost Weekend (1946)
P=6, J=5
Depressing movie about alcoholism.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1947)
P=7, J=7
Poignant movie about post-war life for WWII veterans.

Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
P=6, J=5
Pretty good movie depicting anti-Semitism. Definitely timed well following WWII.

Hamlet (1949)
P=2, J=0
Just watch the 1996 version. I heart Shakespeare and even this play of his, but man did this movie version suck.

All the King's Men (1950)
P=6, J=4
I thought it was an interesting look into politics, but I also think there was a 2006 remake of this movie, so it was probably much better than the 1950 version.

All About Eve (1951)
P=7, J=6
Well, this was all about Eve, a Broadway star.

An American in Paris (1952)
P=4, J=3
The plot about two men falling in love with the same woman sounds like it would be good, but it just didn't get there.

The Greatest Show on Earth (1953)
P=7, J=7
A behind-the-scenes look at the circus. Very exciting stuff!!

From Here to Eternity (1954)
P=6, J=6
I'll have to apologize again because I just can't trigger my memory on this one. But a 6 is not bad?

On the Waterfront (1955)
P=6, P=5
A neat look into the life of a longshoreman ... they work hard and apparently there's some corruption! PS, Marlon Brando is in this one!

Marty (1956)
P=4, J=4
Ugh, once again, I can't give you any feedback, but it looks like it is worth skipping based on the ratings. 

Around the World in Eighty Days (1957)
P=7, J=7
Adventure awaits!

The More Recent Films:
The Hurt Locker (2010)
P=8, J=8
More war education! Very good acting!

The King's Speech (2011)
P=7, J=6
My sister is a speech pathologist and who knew they go way back!

The Artist (2012)
P=6, J=5
Much better than the silent films in the 1920s! A sad story about how actors in silent films were left behind when sound came into play.

And after tonight, we will have a new one to watch!

How many of these have you seen?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A New Job! A New Job! A New Job!

The point of this post is to tell you some exciting news ... at the beginning of January, I started a new job as a medical writer/researcher for a small nonprofit ... but before I get to that, let's entertain a little stream of consciousness, shall we?


It's been almost a year since we moved to NoVa and been living at BD. This year has been an interesting one. I could write a whole post—maybe even 4-5 posts—about our first year at BD; every day is an adventure here. But what I want to address in today's post is more about my journey this year in terms of how I make my money.

For about the fourth time this year, I've transitioned into a new "job." I've worn multiple hats this year. I spent six months at a health writing company where I successfully failed (see previous lament on this). In fact, it was a year ago today that I started that job. The next six months from August on were spent hoarding cats, cleaning toilets at BD, washing dishes at catering jobs, driving hikers to and fro and occasionally writing something for pay. My resume has become very eclectic and I was content enough.

I still yearned to be a "medical writer," a role I stepped into in 2002 and loved dearly. Well, anyone who has done a job search in the last 5 years or so knows the task is depressing. I really wanted a part-time, work-from-home gig, cause you know, beggars CAN be choosers.

Well, guess what? Back in July, while searching the WANT ADS (remember those??) in our small town newspaper, I found a part-time, work-from-home writer/researcher job. At the request of the employer, I sealed and mailed (remember that??) my resume, then just about forgot about it because it really was too good to be true. Snail mail must take awhile, so 5 months later, I got called for an interview and was offered the job on the spot!!

I've waited a month to tell the blog world because I didn't want to be too excited about it; I remember being this excited one year ago today actually and well, look at the outcome of that lovely adventure.

But, after a month at this new job, I can happily say, I love it. My new boss has told I am smart. She makes me feel like I have something to bring to the table. My talents are valued, appreciated and utilized. My self-worth has skyrocketed and I have already grown professionally in just one month.

And I while I will still pick up the toilet bowel brush and dish rag every so often, I am happy to report the title of medical writer in that mix.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What have we been up to? - Part Dos

I know y'all enjoyed my "What have we been up to?" post from a few weeks ago, so I decided to write a part two. Okay, the truth is, none of these things warrant their very own blog post, so I am lumping them together.

First of all, while Deal and I DO NOT celebrate the Hallmark holiday called Valentine's Day, he may have given me the best non-Valentine's gift ever. Last night, he took me to see Mumford & Sons!! Let me back it up and say that these tickets were about as difficult to find as a four-leafed clover on a ski slope. They sold out in about 3 seconds and every Craigslist seller tripled the sale price. But, he didn't earn his name "Deal" for no reason. He of course snagged them for not a penny above the regular sale price just 2 days before the show.

And I know what you are thinking. Hell must have frozen over for me to want to go to a concert that isn't Carbon Leaf. Mumford holds a close second to Carbon Leaf for me. And the show did not disappoint, especially the acoustic versions of 2 songs played in an arena for 8,000 people. Deal came home from Telluride 2010 raving about them. I was instantly hooked. It is a rare occasion we like the same music and that he likes something that is popular, and not just among his hippie friends.

Unfortunately, he couldn't work his magic for the world tour of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, so we missed out this year. First time in 4 years!

We are on Insanity Day 37 Max. To say it is killing us would be untrue because I am writing a blog post, so clearly I am still alive. But, it is killing us. A slow death, I suppose. If the first 4 weeks were not insane enough, we have now entered the "max" phase where they step it up a notch.

We added a new foster cat to the BD family. It is official. We now have more cats than hikers. The short story behind it is I should never bring Deal to an adoption event.

We are still going strong on our game get-togethers. Deal is no longer a reigning champ. Our friends keep introducing new games that we've never played. Give him time; he will win his title back. 

Lastly, I am extremely jealous of our friends in New Hampshire who got dumped on this past weekend. Man do I miss huge snowstorms. Don't get me wrong, we get snow here, especially being on the mountain. And it is very scenic, but it is not much and doesn't last.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Party Like A One-Month Old

We ventured up to the Philly area for a quick overnight trip with 3 purposes.

1) Meet my college roommates' 2 new babies. Here is my public apology to my 2 other friends in the Philly area who also have newish babies, but didn't make the visit list. It was a short visit!

2) Attend a friend's Superbowl Party that we've been invited to for the last 6 years (same friend with newborn baby).

3) Bag Delaware's high point.

Babies were met and cuddled. Seriously, our friends/family have the cutest kids. No bias at all.

The first baby is my college roommate's Chile/Kelly's latest addition to her family. Kelly is really happy she finally got her Latino baby. Look at the picture. It's like 2 separate families (her awesome mom is in the middle). Antonio is almost 5 and blue-eyed and blond hair. Cecelia is as Latin as they come and takes after daddy 150%. I am not afraid to admit I am a little jealous of her hair.

The second baby is sweet Zachary produced by college roommate Charlotte/Rachel. Zachary already had his 15 minutes of fame when he became the first baby of Delaware County. Rachel and her hubby PADutch/Chris worked really hard to have this baby and I am so happy their dreams finally became a reality.

I tried to get a picture of the new family of 3, but they weren't too happy with my efforts and asked me to use this professional photo taken by their sister-in-law, Kaila Regina. I don't blame them. Something about having a newborn and hosting a Superbowl party could be a formula for fatigue. 
I am shocked Rachel is as relaxed as she is with the baby. She will admit it herself; she is a little OCD and germaphobic. Nonetheless, Zachary is just about 1 month old and she still let her husband host his annual Superbowl party. Or Mass Germ Party, as some would call it. Chris may have been hosting the party for the last 13 years, but Zachary has taken the reins. We've been invited to umpteen times, but only came the year Zachary invited us. Thankfully, it lived up to its infamous glory. The game itself and the tomato pie served did not, but small details.
As for Delaware's high point at 447.85, it was definitely not perfect training for Rainier, but hey, every little bit helps. 

It was another "drive-up" high point, but we were able to make it more of an adventure because Rachel & Chris now live down the street from it. So we walked from Pennsylvania to Delaware! Not nearly as exciting as the time we walked from Maine to Georgia, but worth something. We left their house at 9:59 am and reached the summit at 10:07 am. 
I do give Delaware a little credit. A lot of the states take zero pride in their high point and I gauge this by strewn garbage and signage. Delaware had a nice sign surrounded by an open field and lined by a sidewalk to get there and no garbage, so it is not the lowest of the low. Probably the most memorable thing about it though is the tongue-twister of a name ... Ebright Azimuth.

Yeah for High Point #27!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What have we been up to?

It feels like it's been forever since I blogged, but it's only been 10 days. Still, let me tell you what we've been up to!

BD hosted a hiker ruck last weekend. We had no idea what a ruck was, but when we looked it up, it said this: the undistinguished crowd or ordinary run of persons or things.

Okay, that cleared things up. Glad we know what to expect now.

After being a part of the ruck weekend, we can attest that there is no ordinary run of things, that's for sure. Here's a snippet of what transpired at the ruck.

We ate cherpeachel. God bless you. Sorry, that wasn't a sneeze. It's a food. It's kind of like a Turducken (duck stuffed in a chicken in a turkey), but it's a dessert. It's a few pies within a cake. I had 3 helpings for a person who does not like pies.

We burned the 2011 Christmas tree. This was right after we heard a talk on Leave No Trace principles, which include making sure all fires are contained.

Out of the 50+ people at the "hiker" ruck, about 4 people went for a hike. Instead, we did a lot of eating. And, the rucksters left behind enough for a whole week of leftovers. The perk of being a caretaker and not many hungry hikers around to eat up!

All in all, we cannot wait for next year's ruck!

We have found a great contingent of gamers up here. No, not electronic gamers. Board gamers. We are not on a regular schedule, but we try to get together often and beat Deal. We don't play traditional games, and the point in whatever we are playing is always to beat Deal. So far, we have been unsuccessful. A few ties, but he is a force to be reckoned with.

What else? We attended another REI garage sale. We've been to a few garage sales in NoVa and like them just as much as the ones in Arizona, North Carolina and Massachusetts. We always try to be in the top 50 people to get in the store first and always walk away with a "deal" or two. Dad, please take notice of the hats we are wearing!!!

I also want to report that it's not New Hampshire, but we have had our fair share of snow up here. Not enough for any cross-country skiing, but pretty scenic. 

Lastly, these 2 cutie hostel cats are still up for adoption!!