30 March 2007

Various Mini Movie Reviews

I am behind on reviewing various movies I've seen in the last month. So I'll be brief.

"Night at the Museum": Ridiculous premise. Cute for kids, I guess. Good special effects. Surprising cast (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, among others.) 2 out of 4 Jujubees.

"Casino Royale": This remake is very much the same as every other James Bond movie ever made... except it has Daniel Craig. Taking off his shirt. A lot. 'Nuff said. 3 out of 4 Jujubees if you want to see Daniel Craig take his shirt off. A lot. Which, quite frankly, I do. Otherwise, 2 out of 4 Jujubees.

"School for Scoundrels": This is a Billy Bob Thornton/Jon Heder (yes, the star of Napoleon Dynamite that's showing up everywhere) collaboration that works. Though it's slow in places it is funny in spots and has enough twists to keep you tuned in until the end. Pleasant but not great. 2 out of 4 Jujubees.

"In My Country": A gut-wrenching, thought provoking drama starring Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson as a white Afrikaner and a black American witnessing and reporting on South Africa's "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" in 1996. The commission's job is to listen, evaluate, and reconcile the unreconcilable: 21,800 blacks were tortured and killed in the final days of apartheid. It's a brutal but important story to tell and it raises important themes/questions including: is anyone innocent when evil is done? 4 out of 4 Jujubees.

29 March 2007

We Won the Lottery (Ask the Universe for What You Want Revisited)

So I guess it's true: ask the universe for what you want and you will get it.

Last night I am putting the rice up to boil for dinner when hubby says "I won the lottery."

Me: "What?"

Hubby: "I won the lottery. I checked the ticket online today."

Me: "You won the lottery?"

Hubby: "Yeah. The MegaMillions."

Me: "How much did you win?"

Hubby: "Three dollars. I had one number plus the powerball number."

So, go ahead and ask the universe for what you want. Um, you might want to be a little more specific than I was.

All the same: Thanks, Universe!! :)

26 March 2007

The Vacation Philosphy Applied to Everything

Expectations are powerful things.

My hubby and I have adopted a philosophy when we go on vacation: we start with the expectation that a few things are going to go wrong. We'll pick a number, say 3, for how many things can go wrong before we get upset. This is not to say that we put our hands over our ears and yell "LALALALALAICAN'THEARYOU" when something does go wrong. It's just that we don't get spun up so quickly because we're expecting one or two things to go wrong. It just seems more realistic.

So we have the same kinds of experiences we've always had, because let's face it it's rare that everything goes without a hitch or bump, but it doesn't get to us because we expect it. Here's a hypothetical for how it works... we're at the airport ready to board and they announce a delay. Okay, we say, a small delay is no big deal, that's "thing that wen't wrong #1." We're calm and we go forward from there, mentally checking it off the list. What we find is that we rarely get to "thing that went wrong #3." This is sort of the opposite of catastrophizing. We don't go in saying "this is going to suck" and "anything that can go wrong will." Just a built in cushion for the minor things everybody encounters.

This has worked so well, I'm thinking I should apply this to all phases of my life (social events, work projects, house repairs, etc.) Plan for the best, be delighted if the best is the reality, but expect something less. Getting spun up rarely helps a situation. Sure once in a while you want a full head of steam when you're dealing with someone who isn't dealing with you appropriately but most of the time it just gets in the way or makes you feel lousy and doesn't affect the intended target at all.

Hm, maybe I could start a "Vacation Philosophy" movement. Might make everybody a little more serene. :)

23 March 2007

Paula Poundstone @ the Birchmere

Got to see Paula Poundstone in person at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on March 17th. Not only is her prepared shtick humorous, current and insightful but she's amazingly good at inviting audience participation and then making that funny as well! I believe she comes back to the Birchmere this weekend for a second show (since the one on the 17th sold out so quickly.) If you're in the area or get the chance to see her perform wherever you are, I recommend it! I was laughing so hard I had to wipe the tears away. :)

21 March 2007

"Oooooooooooh... Mexico..." --James Taylor


I am back from an extraordinary trip to Cozumel!

What a wonderful island Cozumel is! First, though, I can't say enough good about the Internet deal I got. I found it through Travelzoo's weekly Top 20. I booked it with BookIt.com and it couldn't have been easier or smoother. We stayed at the Park Royal Cozumel and were treated royally. That's our view from our 8th floor room. Ahhhhhhhhhhh, what a relaxing vacation. And all for $99/night for all-inclusive! 4 restaurants, five bars including 3 swim-up ones in the three pools, beach with fishies and crabs for the viewing, discounts on all kinds of tours including our trip to Chichen Itza where we came across one of the many iguanas we spotted happily sunning.

Plus, we went into a cenote (very cool!), explored the reef in an honest-to-goodness submarine, toured the island in a tin can of a car, went into town repeatedly for shopping, occasional meals, the Sunday evening concert in the square that the locals enjoy, I went parasailing for the first time, did some snorkeling (of course!) and we even looked at beach-front condos. This is definitely retirement viable. The people are very friendly and accommodating and quite used to/welcoming of outsiders (2 million by cruise ship every year and 1.2 million by ferry from Playa del Carmen to this island of 85,000 residents) and the water is amazingly blue and clear (no run off!). You have all the joys of casual, low-key island living, including a lower cost of living, with all the convenience of being 30 minutes from the mainland and major towns like PdC, which is very chic these days, not to mention being head-over-to-try-that-new-restaurant close to Cancun, which is supposedly getting an image upgrade in the rework after Wilma.

Yeah, there's hurricanes. Just like in the southern US. But in Mexico you can get insurance to deal with it. It's true! And they rebuild quickly! No Katrina shambles there. And get this, the lovely little island of Cozumel has Thai food and sushi and Chinese food and Italian food in addition to excellent Mexican cuisine. And if you miss the US, there's a Pizza Hut! *shakes head and chuckles* Amazing.

If you're considering a laid-back getaway, I heartily recommend Cozumel!

01 March 2007

Blog Hiatus

I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for the next few weeks. I'll (likely) resume mid-March. Thanks for the viewings. Wishing you well--lacochran