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Parlor Magic

Posted by barb on Oct 12, 2010 in Around DC, Entertainment

I’m usually on the look-out for fun and different things that we can do in DC, so when I saw the Glenn Gary Parlor Magic show on Groupon, I thought it would be fun to give it a go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we had a great time! The show is in the Fireplace Parlor in the Westin Hotel in DC. The venue is small, and so only about 30 people can be in the audience at a time. This made the show feel very intimate, and ensured that nearly everyone was included in some part of the show. While tricks are important, a magic show is really only as good as the magician’s banter. Glenn’s banter started out a little slow, but picked up (and because a bit blue at points!) – by the end I was giggling quite a bit.

As far as tricks, Glenn did several standards, like handkerchiefs and rings. Also card tricks and sleight-of-hand. The most impressive was his closer…I don’t know how much I should give away, but Andrew and I walked out of there wondering how he did it!

If you’re in the DC area, this show is definitely worth a visit. (And yes, even at full price!)

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2010 Movie Project I & J Movies

Posted by barb on Sep 28, 2010 in Movies
  • The Incredibles – This is what movie-making should be all about. A favorite when it was in the theater, and a favorite today.
  • Independence Day – I don’t care how cheesy or cliche everyone says this is, I still like it. Maybe it’s Will Smith…maybe Brent Spiner in Area 51…maybe just the whole over-the-top-ness of it all.
  • Indiana Jones 1-4 – My favorite will always be “The Last Crusade”, because of when I first saw it. But, I have to say that “Temple of Doom” is not as bad as I’ve made it out to be in my mind. Not the strongest of them, but not as bad, either. And I don’t care what anyone else says, I liked the latest one, too. Cheesy? Duh…but if you tell me that “Raidiers” or “Last Crusade” aren’t cheesy, then you’d be a liar.
  • I, Robot – Yes, more Will Smith…so sue me. Yes, more cheesy scifi…again, sue me. I happen to enjoy watching it…and him.
  • Iron Man – Proof that Robert Downey Jr. may be redeemable. This is one of the superhero movies that actually works, even for a non-comic-book-reader like me.
  • Judgement: The Court Martial of William Calley – Ugh. This was supposed to have Harrison Ford in it, which is why I have it, but I only made it about 30 minutes in, before he showed up. The movie looks like a 70s TV show (which it might have been…at least a TV special?), and was essentially just a slow, plodding courtroom scene.
  • Just Like Heaven – Another romantic comedy, not my favorite, but one that I’ll watch occasionally.

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2010 Movie Project G & H Movies

Posted by barb on Aug 28, 2010 in Movies

I didn’t exactly power through these…must pick up my pace if I’m going to finish by the end of the year!

  • Galaxy Quest – Sorry, I still love this movie. I thought it might lose its appeal, especially since I’m not quite the Trekker that I used to be, but it reminds of the days when I was more of a sci fi geek.
  • Gladiator – Beautiful, artistic movie about a former Roman general reduced to life as a Gladiator, bent on revenge. Not sure how often I’ll want to watch this, but I shouldn’t be afraid of it (as I was this time around: I put it off for a good long time), because I really do like it.
  • The Golden Compass – I wish this had done better at the box office, because I’d love to see the other books made into movies (no, I haven’t read them yet, but I will at some point). I actually quite liked this one, even if it was obvious that parts were compressed in translating the book to a movie.
  • Good Will Hunting – any movie that features combinatorics is a-o-k with me. Love movies that feature smart people as smart people relating to the world.
  • Hairspray – Not the musical; the original. I refuse to watch the musical…some things just don’t need to be re-made. I still believe that after re-watching.
  • Hanover Street – This is another of my Harrison Ford movies. It was an odd WWII love story where a married woman falls in love with an officer. Her husband gets tapped to do a spy job, watched over by the officer. It was so-so, but not a favorite movie.
  • Harry Potter 1-6 – Love, love, love. I could watching these again and again without getting bored.
  • Hercules – This is the Disney animated version of Hercules. The animation style is much different from most Disney movies, and its refreshing to see such a difference every once in a while. It’s also refreshing to have a main character who is not a princess.
  • History of the World Part I – Ahhh Mel Brooks. Throw in the kitchen sink, and everything else in the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. Still, I can’t dislike this movie, not matter how “80s” it feels…that, and I love quick-time harch!
  • Hitch – Yum…Will Smith and romantic comedy. Another that I can watch over and over…love it every time, but I won’t admit to crying when they finally get together.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Slick version of the Douglas Adams classic. Quirky, as befits the book, so it’s fun to watch, if a little weird.
  • Hollywood Homicide – It’s nice to see Harrison Ford embracing a little comedy. This isn’t the strongest film, but it’s fun to watch.
  • Hot Fuzz – Big-town cop gets relegated to a small town where there’s never any crime…well except for the serial killings that have been hidden. Add in some British comedy and the cast of “Shaun of the Dead”, and you’ve got a fun movie. Just as fun on a second viewing.
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Another of my favorite romantic comedies; a women’s magazine writer is looking for a guy to “lose” in 10 days using age-old bad relationship tricks, but gets pitted against an advertising man trying to win a bet that he can get any woman to fall in love with him.

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2010 Movie Project E & F Movies

Posted by barb on Aug 20, 2010 in Movies

I’m definitely falling behind on the movie project, though I finished the E & F movies a long time ago and have just been too lazy to write them up. So, here goes.

  • Eagle Eye – Okay, this is not great cinema, but it’s a fun, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of action flick.
  • El Dorado – One of the few non-Disney animated flicks that I’ve liked…I’m usually opposed to animated movies that have to advertise their star voices, but this was one that I liked. Still do, and I love the music, too.
  • Enchanted – A fun take on the “princess” movies – I particularly love the scene where Giselle summons rats and pigeons to clean out Robert’s apartment.
  • Enemy of the State – The earlier version of Eagle Eye, I suppose. I love me my Will Smith, so can always watch this.
  • Ever After – The ultimate girly flick re-telling of the cinderella story. I could watch this every day.
  • Fantasia – This one has a special place in my heart – Andrew and I went to see this in the theater on our first date. The Firebird Suite is always a favorite.
  • Finding Nemo – I hadn’t actually watched this one since it was in the theaters, and I wasn’t really looking forward to it…can’t say why not. And after watching it, I really can’t say why not. Loved it the second time around.
  • Firewall – Part of my Harrison Ford collection. I can’t say its one of my favorites, but I can always watch him kick some butt.
  • Force 10 from Navarone – Another of my Harrison Ford collection…I had never seen this one. It’s a war flick, a genre I’m not terribly up on. I found some of the music to be disconnected to the action – for example a happy, peppy tune when they’re being captured or detained or something. Can’t say I liked this one much, but I’ll keep it as part of the HF collection.
  • Frantic – Yet another Harrison Ford movie. I didn’t remember much of it from my original viewing (when it was in theaters), so didn’t have many expectations going it. Not a bad thriller, though more low-key than more recent ones.

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2010 Movie Project C & D Movies

Posted by barb on Apr 11, 2010 in Movies

Finally watched all of our C and D movies (didn’t help that we bought some new movies a couple weeks ago at a Blockbuster that’s closing its doors – many of the new movies were C and D movies, d’oh!)

Here’s the rundown:

  • Casa de los Babys – This was really Andrew’s movie, but I wanted to see it. It’s the story of several women waiting in South America to adopt babies. A moving drama, but I can’t see myself watching it again.
  • Catch Me If You Can – This one is fun, and I enjoyed watching it again. Based on a true story of a young man who successfully conned millions before his 19th birthday impersonating an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – This is the re-make with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Love this one almost as much as the original. The oopma loompas creep me out less, and just make me laugh.
  • Charlie’s Angels – Okay, so not great drama or comedy, but a fun action flick. Totally fun watching chicks kick ass.
  • Cinderlla – Classic Disney. Haven’t watched this in forever. Glad to get a chance to see it again.
  • Clerks – Had forgotten how much I liked this one; I wasn’t really looking forward to watching it this time, but really enjoyed it.
  • Contact – I know a lot of people don’t like this; it’s not as good as the book. However, I was at Tech when it was filmed, so I have fond memories of the excitement that was on campus and in town. Frankly I like it.
  • Coraline – This was just as fun the second time…not much more to say.
  • Crossing Over – I had never even heard of this one until we saw it at the Blockbuster that was closing. It stars Harrison Ford as an immigration officer, and tells the stories of several immigrants, immigration officials, and an immigration lawyer. It was quite good, and I’m not sure why it didn’t get more attention when it was out.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – I probably will get my geek card revoked for this, but I’m just not enamored of “kung fu” dramas. It was okay the second time; though I think I was more absorbed in it the first time in the theater. Don’t really need to see it again.
  • The Cutting Edge – Two words: “toe pick”!
  • Dead Poets Society – Watched this numerous times at Tech; still as powerful and speaks to me even more than a decade later.
  • The Devil’s Own – I hadn’t seen this in the theater, and had meant to watch it many times since. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t exactly it. Having said that, it was quite good, with Brad Pitt as a IRA terrorist and Harrison Ford as police officer. Not sure how often I’ll watch it, but it was very good.
  • District 9 – Saw this in the theater, too. Wow, what great movie. And what a surprise. A spaceship stalled over Johannesburg 20 years ago. In this mock documentary, the 1.2 million aliens are being moved from the make-shift ghetto that was created for them in Johannesburg to a new facility outside of the city limits.
  • Don Knotts Collection – This is a collection of 4 movies: The Relucatant Astronaut, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Shakiest Gun in the West, and The Love God?. I mainly got it to see the first two again, since I hadn’t seen the last two. However, I really enjoyed Gun and Love God a lot…maybe even more than the other two. Probably will send this collection on my Mom.
  • Down With Love – Love, love, love, love, love this movie. That’s all I want to say.

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2010 Movie Project A & B Movies

Posted by barb on Feb 27, 2010 in Movies

We have a lot of DVDs in our house…not scary-numbers, but a lot. We have a 4-shelf case full of movies and a 5-shelf case full of TV shows. I have my favorites, and when I go to watch something, it’s usually one of my favorites because those are the ones that catch my eye on the shelf. That means I have a lot of DVDs that I haven’t watched in a long time (a few that I haven’t actually watched at all).

So, I’ve decided that in 2010 I’m going to try to watch ALL of the DVD movies (all of mine, that is…I don’t have to watch the ones that Andrew bought, though I can if I want to try them). We have approximately 200 DVD movies — so in theory I need to watch about 16-17 per month. Oh, and I’m going to watch them in alphabetical order, so I can’t skip ahead to my favorites and leave all the others for later (when I might not watch them at all). (Okay, there’s a little lee-way with the strict order, because Andrew wants to watch some of them, and I don’t want to wait for him necessarily before moving on.)

So far I’ve finished pretty much all of the A-D movies (still have Crouching Tiger, which Andrew wants to watch, and still have a couple of Don Knotts movies, because I couldn’t watch them all in a row).

Here’s the run down of the As and Bs:

  • Across the Universe – I hadn’t seen this in the theater…it was Andrew’s movie, but I wanted to see it. Found it so-so — story was not exactly strong, music was fine, but I’d rather hear the Beatles versions of the songs. Probably won’t watch this again
  • Aladdin – A classic, but I haven’t seen it in a while. While some of the jokes are a bit dated (I knew they wouldn’t age well even when I first saw the movie), the movie is still a lot of fun to watch.
  • Amazon Women on the Moon – I got hooked on this at Tech, and I wondered if I’d still like it now. Definitely still like it now – made me laugh!
  • Anastasia – Not bad, not great account of the Grand Dutchess Anastasia. Enjoyed it again, but not a favorite.
  • The Aristocats – Hadn’t seen this since Kirsten got it when it was re-released in the mid-90s. Classic Disney faire. Definitely a 60s flick, but a lot of fun.
  • Atlantis – I’ve always loved stories of Atlantis. This one is no different.
  • Batman Begins – Have to say I love the Dark Knight take on the series.
  • Batman Forever – Sorry, this one has a special place in my heart…and there’s just something about Val Kilmer in a tux…Yum.
  • Beauty and the Beast – More classic Disney – love the story.
  • Being John Malkovich – I had forgotten most of the plot of this one, so it was fun to see it again.
  • Big Fish – Another one where I had forgotten much of the story — tall tales at their best.
  • Blade Runner – Classic Harrison Ford and sci-fi…’nuff said.
  • Bride and Prejudice – hadn’t seen this one. Turns out I’m not a huge fan of the story, but loved the colorful Bollywood-style
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary – ah, Bridget Jones. Classic girly flick (yes same basic story as Bride and Prejudice, but better disguised, I guess).

I’ve watched more, but will leave those for another post later.

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Jeans report

Posted by barb on Sep 24, 2007 in Random Thoughts

I finally got a chance to wear those jeans I bought last month. It’s been such a warm summer that I’ve been wearing cropped jeans and bermuda shorts up until now.

One problem with the jeans is that they are way too long for me – I ended up doing a quick hemming job this morning with safety pins. I’ll have to decide if I have the time and energy to hem them for real myself or to bring them to a tailor.

Other than the length, though, they fit very well and were quite comfortable all day. The main challenge I have with jeans is that I have hips that are a size larger than my waist, so I end up buying jeans for my hips, but then have a gaping waistline. I didn’t have that problem with these jeans, because they were designed for someone with my body type – hips a different size from waist. They didn’t end up stretching out during the day, as other jeans I’ve had do. And, frankly, they were rather comfy.

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Jeans for Real Women

Posted by barb on Aug 9, 2007 in Random Thoughts

Sweetie and I spent the day playing, and our first stop was to Lane Bryant. Why LB? Certainly there are LBs at home, and I don’t need to pick up more clothes here. But, Sweetie had heard about a new line of jeans at LB that are made for real women. According to this article, LB invited women in to their stores to be scanned to determine how real women are built.

You see, men’s jeans are based on two measurements – waist and length. This works because a man’s waist and hips are pretty much the same size. Women’s jeans, however, are based on sizing determined by studying women in the 1940s. But, our pants have always been based on one number (sometimes a length is included, but only three choices – tall, regular and petite). But this rarely works well for women. For one thing, women have hips. Oh, and not all of us have the same proportion of hip-to-waist measurement. Odd how clothing manufacturers haven’t figured that out.

The new LB jeans are an attempt to rectify the situation. They have three types of fits that account for different amounts of “curvy-ness”. Certainly, LB is not the first to try different fits for women. A couple of years ago Eddie Bauer introduced different fits. However, I have yet to try EB pants, because the ones that would work for me have not come in styles that I would actually wear.

I haven’t worn my new LB jeans yet, but they seemed to fit pretty well in the store. I’ll update when I’ve tried them for a bit.

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I’m totally addicted…

Posted by barb on Apr 25, 2007 in Memes, Etc.

…to this.

Go. Now. Watch an episode or two.

I love Liza. She’s so cute, and I totally want her to find a guy….but then there would be no more 39 Second Single…so I’m torn.

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Book catch-up, part 2

Posted by barb on Jul 26, 2006 in Books

The rest of my books for the past few months:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix
by J. K. Rowling

Wow. Just wow. With Voldemort back in the picture, Harry has more to worry about than ever. Add to that the Ordinary Wizarding Levels at the end of the school year, and it’s a wonder Harry survives the year at all. Of course, the pressure does start to get to Harry. This book sees a lot of changes in Harry’s personality – he seems to be teetering on the edge for much of the school year.

The book is as engaging as the others, and left me gaped-mouthed and wishing for someone to turn to and say, “What? What just happened? Did I read that right? AAAAAA!”

Burning Road
by Ann Benson

I was a little surprised to find that this book is actually a sequel to The Plague Tales, but there was no indication of this on the book jacket (only a sentence like, “by the bestselling author of The Plage Tales).

That said, once I got past my surprise, the book was just as engaging as the first. As The Plague Tales, this novel follows two related medical tales that are separated by 700 years in time. In 14th century France, Dr. Alejandro Canches has kept a low profile since he saw England’s royal family through the last surge of the plague. He gets pressed into helping to translate a jewish text for an alchemist. Alejandro’s journal stumbled into Dr. Janie Crowe’s hands in the 20th century in The Plague Tales. We now find Janie dealing with a possible resurgance of DR SAM, a deadly and highly infectious disease that swept the world, killing a good percent of the population, including Janie’s family. The text that Canches had been translated also came into the possession of the same depository that Janie used to store Alehandro’s journal.

This was a good follow-on to The Plague Tales; however, in some ways it’s much the same, with the two parallel stories, and a bit unbelievable that two books with writing by the same person would first of all both survive 700 years, and second fall into the same book depositotry. It was just a bit too much to swallow. I likely won’t read a third book in this series if Benson continues. However, if she decides to start with a new story and new characters, I’ll be happy to give it a try.

Deep Wizardry
by Dian Duane

This is the secon book in Duane’s Young Wizard series, and I must confess that I missed the first one (though it is now on my to-read pile). Nita and Kit have only recently fell into wizardry, and now on a vacation with Nita’s family at the beach, they discover that they are needed by the wizards living in the sea – whale wizards.

This was a fun book. Fluffy and a quick read, but fun.

The Clan of the Cave Bear
by Jean M. Auel

The novel begins with an earthquake that takes the live of young Ayla’s family. After wandering for days, unable to feed herself, and attacked by a lion, Ayla collapses, on the edge of death. She is found by members of the clan of the cave bear. The clan was displaced from their long-time home-cave by the same earthquake that took Ayla’s family, and they are searching for a new home.

The novel follows Ayla’s struggles with becoming accepted into the clan, for she is clearly not of the clan – she is blonde and tall and likes to use her voice. The people of the clan are dark-haired, short and talk mostly with their hands. The people of the clan are also very set in their ways, with men and women having very particular roles, and both men and women seem happy with those roles, not only unwillingly to change, but unwanting. Ayla, on the other hand, wants to explore, hunt, and genearlly act unwomanly. Throughout it all, one member of the clan hounds her, Broud, son of the mate of the leader.

This was an excellent book – a page turner.

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