Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Missing Out on the Crown

I was in Kansas a few weeks ago and made time to go to a Royals game. In my desire to beat traffic, I got there super early. It was a nice day so I didn't mind. I was feeling rather emotional as I went down by the field to check out the players. I had attended my friend's funeral earlier in the day and was still emotional. On top of that, everyone at the K was so nice to me. It touched me so much, with thoughts of my lovely friend Susan never far away, that I had to fight back tears a couple times.

So I spent my hour before the game really just being sad.

My friend Jess was on her way. Before she arrived I was sitting by a woman there with her young son and mom. We bonded immediately and had a fun time. She made me laugh and I felt less sad.

It wasn't until the end of the game, when we were leaving, that I thought about the World Series trophy. I wanted to see it. I needed to see it. We made our way over to it, only to discover that viewing it ends in the 8th inning.

I was randomly in Kansas, and had been at the stadium for a whole hour before the game started, and didn't think until the game was over to see the trophy. And by that time it was too late. It made me sad. So I took a photo of me with the photo of the trophy.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Shining

I've sort of seen The Shining before. I watched it with a then-boyfriend eleven years ago the night before Halloween. I sorta dozed between the beginning the end, and really only remember the opening scene of the car winding up the mountainside, and the final chase through a snow-covered maze.

I missed a lot. As I found out today when I checked out the TCM Big Screen Classic's screening of it. It's a Stanley Kubrick film based off a Stephen King novel, so clearly it's a bit weird. The film's initial story is innocent enough - wannabe-writer Jack Torrance takes a job as the winter caretaker of a hotel in the Rockies. The hotel closes down in the winter because it would be much too costly to keep the road to the hotel plowed during the winter months, hence the need for a caretaker. A caretaker who will be there all by themselves for five months. Jack, though, will have his wife, Wendy, and young son, Danny.

A month in, things get strange. Really strange.

What Kubrick excels at is creating an atmosphere of creepiness. And he does it with all the tools at his disposal - music, mise en scene, set design, cinematography.

Let's start with music. The music makes the film. With out it, nothing would feel as creepy as it is supposed to. And it's not just regular-scary-movie music; it's distinct and deeply jarring. Musical cues can sometimes be annoying (see my take on music in Terms of Endearment), but they work well in The Shining because that atmosphere of creepiness is integral to the film.

The staging of the scenes, mise en scene, is crucial. I love all the tracking shots, especially as the camera follows Danny on his big wheel. It's a disorienting view point.

The set design adds a lot to the film. Think about the red bathroom. Or the carpet. Or the green bathroom. The hotel design has a lot of inconsistencies, which Kubrick did intentionally to disorient viewers. Hallways come out of nowhere. Windows are placed where they wouldn't exist in a real building. The large ballrooms would not fit in that size of hotel.

Apparently Stephen King wasn't happy with the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. According to him, audiences see Nicholson and expect him to be a bit creepy/off balance. So the decent of Torrance into crazytown isn't as unexpected as it should be. And I kind of agree with him; Jack Nicholson comes with actor-baggage. The kid who plays Danny, though, is amazing. For being just five, he successfully mesmerizes as the kid who "shines". The look of terror on his face when he's at the bottom of the window that his mom has gotten him out of is just so real.

This movie is cuh-reepy. Classicly so.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Small Changes

Today I made small change to my living room and it immediately felt more homey and comfy.

First I added curtains. The previous owners left the curtain rods, and they have been sitting empty since I moved on. I bought white ones with a simple pattern at Ikea.

Second, I moved my couch from the wall at the front of the home, to the wall on the north side of the home. This makes the living room flow so much better. It feels connected, especially with the chair and ottoman my mom and sister bought me as a housewarming gift when they were here. (The bike and couch have been swapped.)

Don't mind the measuring tapes on the floor. I'm measuring what size of rug I need, which will be my next purchase. Something that will tie the room together.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Texas State Fair

On Wednesday my friend Stephanie and took a half day and headed to the State Fair. It was Stephanie's first time, and my second. We just so happened to choose the hottest day of the week to attend. That was unfortunate.

While at the Texas State Fair, it is expected to eat a lot of foods that are fried, some expected and some not expected. Expected: a corndog, which was probably one of the best corndogs I've ever had; unexpected: a fried s'more and fried mac cheese, both of which were fantastic.

I insisted we made time to see the pig racing, which is probably the best thing about the Fair. We then checked out the rest of the animals. That's by far my favorite part of the Fair, especially since I don't ride the rides anymore.

We did ride the Ferris Wheel, which was kinda fun. Since it was five o'clock in the middle of the week, the line wasn't long. We had to ride with a group of three, since the carriages can't carry less than 4 people (I guess for efficiency). It offers some great views of the fairgrounds and downtown Dallas.

I'm glad I did the Fair better this year - not waiting until the last Saturday at 5 p.m. I had a lot more time and it was nice. I think I'll keep getting better at Fairing each year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Goonies On the Square

Denton is quite possibly perfect. And Tuesday was one of those perfect days. I went from my early kickball game (we lost) straight to the Square, where my friend Suzi was saving a place for me for that night's movie presentation - The Goonies. The weather was perfect. The movie was perfect. The people were perfect.
 I love outside movies. 

Since moving from downtown, I haven't spent much time there. I used to go for random walks around the Square (generally with an ice cream in my hand from Beth Marie's). It was my neighborhood and I always felt comfortable in the shadow of the Courthouse. As I walked up to it from Oak Street, I was in awe of the lights on the trees and the towering Courthouse. I have missed it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


I'm still unsure how I feel about yardwork. Generally I like it. However, I don't really know what I'm doing. Yes, I know how to pull weeds and cut down overgrown trees. That's the easy part. Easiness that takes sweat and getting dirty.

And that's what I did today. I have sort of neglected the backyard since moving in. I pay to have the lawn mowed, but not for the weeds to get pulled. Today I noticed that the bamboo, which has creeped into my yard from the neighbors behind me, were severely overgrown. And that the landscaped area was looking pretty sketchy with all these weeds and such.

This is what it looked like:

Bamboo is literally the worst. It's strong and hard to get rid of. All I did was trim them all back. Then I tackled the landscaped area and pulled out all the weeds. I would have done more, but the garbage can was completely full. I felt pretty satisfied when I surveyed my work.

I realize these pictures aren't the best; the sun was in the wrong location to get good photos. But it looks great.

Now to figure out the hard stuff - like what to plant. That's what I know nothing about, and it's the one thing that overwhelms me the most about being a homeowner.


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