Thursday, June 23, 2016


Hamilton the musical is the hottest thing since sliced bread these days. It just won 11 Tonys after being nominated for a record-setting 16. It's kind of a big deal.

Back in 2005 I bought the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow. I was extremely excited to buy this book. I have always loved American history, and this book was fairly popular at the time I purchased it. I even remember where I bought it - at the Sears Grand in Jordan Landing because I had a coupon. I started reading it. But never actually finished it. Not even close.

When I moved to New York, I was still quite taken with Alexander Hamilton even though I had not come close to finishing the biography in the year I had it. Even still, when we were in Philadelphia on our way to New York I insisted on getting my photo taken with the First National Bank.
The caption I put with this photo on Facebook: Big fan of Alexander Hamilton, so this was a big deal for me. 

While in New York, I took a couple opportunities to visit Hamilton landmarks. The first was a statue of him in Hamilton Heights and the home he lived in while uptown (where it's quiet).

A little bit later I took a day to travel the Staten Island Ferry and check out the grave site of Hamilton and Eliza in the Financial District.


I lost my interest in Hamilton and the biography has sat unread on my bookshelf. Lin-Manual Miranda, however, did not lose interest and read the biography all the way through. And then he created a fantastic hip-hop musical about the life and legacy of the bastard, orphan, son of a whore, Scotsman. I've taken the biography off the shelf, and have listened to the Broadway cast recording on repeat.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Love You

Last week 49 people went out for a night of fun and did not return home. They left behind loved ones who did not know they would not be seen again. I read stories about each and every one of them. And I cried. And I couldn't help but think about the things left unsaid, because we always think there's a tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. Or the next time we see someone.

Today an actor died in what can only be described as a freak accident. He was getting ready to leave to meet up with friends when he got out of his car for some reason and then got pinned to a wall when the car rolled. He was 27. I was 27 once. His friends were expecting to see him. He was expecting to see his friends.

These incidences have made me reflect on my relationships. I want to be better about telling my loved ones I love them. I am sentimental and loving, but am sometimes awful at keeping in touch. I let far too much time go by between communication with people I love. I am determined to be better, in honor of those 49 people who senselessly lost their lives in an act of violence. Because love is always the best choice.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Friday morning I had some things I needed to do that involved being outside. I started sort of early, 7:30, to beat the heat and humidity of the afternoon. It didn't matter though. I was dripping in sweat in five minutes. And it didn't get any better for the hour and a half I was outside.

I had to take a shower during my lunch break.

Today I spent the day in Dallas with friends. Another hot and humid day. And another day where I had to take another shower later in the day. A trend of two showers in the day.

I hope this doesn't become a trend. However it IS summer in Texas

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm Not Joe or Max

This morning I woke to the sound of someone yelling outside my building. It started at about 6 a.m. and continued for a good 45 minutes. He'd yell out, "Joe!" then he'd yell out, "Max!" then he'd mutter to himself that this was "f*ckn' crazy". Yeah, I'd have to agree. He'd wait a little while, then do the whole thing again. And again. And again. At one point he asked if they could just open the door.

I thought about opening the door for him. However, I thought that if he didn't have a key to the outside building he likely didn't have a key to the apartment either. I didn't want him inside the building making a ruckus outside someone's door in the hallway.

Turns out, though, that someone did let him in. Which allowed him to come knocking on my door. I was in the shower when I first heard the knocking. When I got out I heard the knocking a couple times. When the knocking got louder and more insistent, I went to my door and checked the peephole that it was him. Yep.

So through the door I asked who it was. "Austin." Sorry dude, I have no idea who you are and I am not Joe or Max." He quietly apologized and left. But he didn't leave leave, because he was back to yelling for Joe and Max when I left for work.

Living downtown is awesome for lots of reasons. But it also sucks for lots of reasons.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Superhero'd Out

I am officially superhero'd out. I started to feel this after the latest Captain America movie. I knew it was legit when I had no desire to see the latest X-Men movie. But I haven't stopped seeing movies. Far from it.

It started a couple weeks ago when I caught a showing of Zootopia, after reading a friend's impassioned status update regarding it. I remember seeing the trailer for it while experiencing The Force Awakens way back in December. I thought the sloth scene was hilarious, but was one of those scenes that would only be funny the first time you saw it, and I didn't think the entire movie would be able to live up to that scene. It DID! And not just because it was funny, but because the story was so timely and needed. I love the message it sends about going for your dreams, not giving into stereotypes,and that we are all in this together.

I also found it refreshing that the main character was a female and that a romance wasn't shoehorned in. Don't get me wrong, I like romance just as much as the next person and romcoms are one of my favorite genres. It's just that sometimes it's nice to see a story play out that is just about having friends. The female protagonist is not very common, considering that three of the trailers before the film were for cartoons that are populated by men and the token female voice. It's depressing.

My friend Rachel and I had a movie night last week. We generally focus on romcoms and this time around we watched Notting Hill as Rachel had never seen it. Notting Hill came out way back in 1999, and is the story of a regular ol' book-store-owning English bloke and the famous movie star he falls in love with. It sounds ridiculous, but in the deft hands of Richard Curtis and stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, it is wonderful. What I like about the film is that the characters are adults and act as such. They don't have any cloying, annoying misunderstandings that keep them apart before the end of the movie. There are no getting ready montages. No character types - "She's a stiff, he's a life-force" in the words of Joss Whedon - just regular people with regular, normal personalities. And the soundtrack is killer.

Last Saturday my friend Steph and I hit up the Angelika to see hot indie flick The Lobster. The premise is that couples are favored over single people. Anyone who is single is sent to The Hotel where they have 45 days to find a companion. If they don't they are then turned into an animal of their choice. The first half of the movie was clever and just the right kind of satire and commentary on society's fascination with pairing off. But then it veered wildly and was rather strange. The best part of the film was the experience when the film ended, the lights came up, and everyone in the theater awkwardly laughed and wondered aloud what had just happened. It was a shared movie-going experience that was both fleeting and everlasting. Steph and I have discussed the meaning of the film multiple times. I would only recommend this film to a small number of people; it's not for the masses.

Yesterday I went out to see Love and Friendship, another indie that's been pretty hot since it debuted at Sundance earlier this year. The film is based on a Jane Austen novella, however I hear this film version has been heavily adapted. I did not enjoy this movie. I found it boring and insufferable. I didn't care about any of the characters and is only the second time I wanted to leave the theater before the film ended (the first being X-Men Origins: Wolverine). I get what it was going for, but for me it fell really flat. However, my movie-going cousin loved it, so for another side of the story read her review.

Then there is Me Before You, which I have seen more than once in the ten days it's been out. I rather adore this film, and it was just what I needed in a testosterone-filled summer movie season. Before leaving for Seattle I had seen the trailer, and decided that I would make it my in-flight reading material. I purchased the book at the airport and read it on my four-hour there and back flights. I love the friendship between the two characters, and how they each provide what the other needs. Read this gentleman's write-up of it, and then make the blueberry scones he recommends (I just did and they are wonderful). My cousin also has a lovely review of it.

The Summer Movie Season isn't always the time to find small, character-driven stories. It's also not the time to find female-oriented stories. So I was happy to have found these, even if some of them I didn't like.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

You Look Like.....

Everyone has a celebrity look-alike. Mine is Kirsten Dunst, or at least that is what I've been told for years. Especially during her heyday in the late 90s and early 2000s. When I was purchasing the soundtrack to Spiderman 2, the cashier looked at the cover, looked at me, then said, "You look like her." Here she is in Bring It On.

The other day I was at Rusty Taco getting dinner. I have been here a lot, and I recognized the kid behind the counter as someone who had helped me before. He finished taking my order, and as he handed me back my card he said, "Has anyone told you you look like Bryce Dallas Howard?" No, I've never heard that. But obviously I was flattered, because Bryce Dallas Howard is beautiful.

Right? (I mean I clearly found the best picture of her to share)

I don't actually think I look like her, and I really don't think I did when that kid made the comment. But whatever, thanks for the compliment. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hashtag Heroes Take the PNW: Bellingham and Seattle

The second half of our adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

May 22, 2016 - Day Three: Bellingham
Sunday was kept simple. Kate showed us around Bellingham briefly before we went to church. Afterward we had lunch and then did some exploring of Bellingham. We went to the beach and checked out a cool waterfall and bridge.

 Some friends who also lived in Kansas (and are from Bellingham) were in town visiting, and since it coincided with our trip they came over for dinner. It was a mini-Kansas reunion in Washington. We stayed up late playing games (it was just like old times, except we were missing game-playing stalwart Will Bishop).

Monday morning we left Bellingham and headed south to Seattle. We first stopped at Deception Pass to check out the beach. With its huge black rocks and pieces of wood, Kate refers to it as a "Washington" beach. We rode a ferry before making our way to Seattle for a helicopter tour.


 Yes, we did a short helicopter tour and it was amazing!

Before heading to downtown we made a pit stop at the Fremont Bridge Troll, because if you are going to visit Seattle you need to see it at least once.

We then made our way to downtown Seattle. I LOVE cities. It felt fantastic to be in one. Don't get me wrong, I also love nature and I loved being in the mountains. But I feel alive when I'm in a big city, surrounded by tall buildings and people and rushing cars and passing buses and people on bikes.

We had lunch at Dick's, which is a famous/well-known Seattle hamburger place. It reminded me of Crown Burgers in downtown SLC when we walked in. If you ever go, please know that they only take cash and they do not take special orders. However, the food and milkshake was still delicious.

We then headed to Pike's Place. Which is every bit as awesome as you might imagine it to be. We stood around with all the other tourists to catch a fish toss (which we eventually did), then perused the marketplace. It's a beautiful place full of colors and smells. We walked along the pier and had dinner at Ivar's, another famous Seattle location, for fish and chips. If you eat outside by the water you can feed fries to the seagulls. They can be tossed at them, but it's much more fun to stand with a fry in your hand and hold it above your head so a seagull can fly by and snatch it away. Jess and I both did that.

Next it was a train ride to CenturyLink Field to catch a Mariners vs. A's game. It's a beautiful stadium with a fantastic view of downtown.

Then we headed to Kate's parent's home, where we slept before each heading home the next day. But not before planning on our next adventure. #FourCornersOfTheUSAPartTwo

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adventures in Transit

I love transit. I love meeting new people when I'm on the bus or train. Here are some delightful encounters from my trip to Seattle.

Not wanting to pay for 6 days of parking at the airport, I walked to the train station in downtown Denton and rode the train to the connection with DART. After some minor issues (thank you Google Maps and the random coincidence of me checking at the exact right moment - it was at the Royal Lane stop so clearly it was kismet), I made it through the downpour to Love Field two trains and two buses later.

My bus driver to the airport was chatty. He wanted to know where I was going, then proceeded to tell me the things he liked about Seattle. He was friendly, and I enjoyed his good attitude as I embarked on my vacation.

Once in Seattle, I needed to make my way to the Northgate Mall to meet my ex sister-in-law. Once I knew I was going to Seattle I planned to make time to see my nieces and nephew, who moved up there last year when Joylynne got remarried. She and her husband were going to meet me halfway between Seattle and where they live in Edmonds.

I hopped on the lightrail and spent the time talking with my realtor (the option period on the home I had made an offer on was expiring this day and we were trying to get the extension of it all sorted out). Then I got on a bus headed for the mall. I chatted with a guy on the bus who asked if I was coming home or arriving in Seattle. When I told him I lived in Texas we made a connection because he used to live in Austin. He helped me with the best walking route to the mall from the bus stop, and I waved as I left the bus.

When we took the train to the Mariners game we were able to have conversation with another passenger. I was wearing my KC hat, as was Kate, and he asked us how we became Royals fans. We chatted and it felt homey, something that brought us together.

When I got on the train headed to Denton,  a girl noticed my "Check Meowt" shirt, which I was wearing. I heard her tell her grandma that we were wearing a shirt with the same words on it. And we did!! Which obviously made us instant friends. I then chatted with her and her grandparents as the train made its way to Denton.

Once we arrived and were walking off the platform, I looked over to see my friend Suzi! She was returning form a trip to San Francisco with her boyfriend. It made me so happy to run into friends. Suzi and I chatted as we walked, and the check meowt girl's grandma made a comment that it was probably my shirt that helped me make friends (yes, that made me very happy).

I treasure these transit experiences. None of them could have happened in a car. And each of them made me feel connected to the people and world around me. Yes, I'm glad I have a car, but I'm also glad for the transit opportunities I have.

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