Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joint Effort

I make the filling. Ross makes the crust. This week we made blueberry pie. Last week--cherry.

Look What I Did!

Every weekend I try to make latte art. Most weekends I have too much milk in the pitcher and I make something up---It was supposed to be a swan! See it? This past weekend I was making 3 cups of coffee instead of the usual 2.  I ran out of milk and had to steam more. Just the right amount of steamed milk was in the pitcher and this is what came out! Now, if only I knew how much was in the pitcher.

Monday, June 30, 2014

I Can't Wear Antiperspirant

When I was growing up my Grandma always had a glass bottle of Avon liquid deodorant next to the bathroom sink. It might have been the only kind of deodorant or perfume she ever used. My mom and I also used the Avon stuff, along with deodorant sticks. My mom doesn't like antiperspirant because she feels like it blocks off her pores and and doesn't allow her to sweat, which she sees as unnatural and uncomfortable. I have tried all sorts of antiperspirants and they all cause big, red, painful lumps to form in my arm pits after just one use.

I always thought that antiperspirant worked via some chemical signal or something. Nope, just like my mom always suspected it physically clogs the sweat glands and doesn't allow sweat to come out. Kind of creepy.

I read in a magazine last week the solution to stinky pits: extra strength antiperspirant--so you won't sweat, which starves out the odor-causing bacteria. Wow. I take a totally different approach. If my pits get especially stinky I wash them with some heavy duty antibacterial soap--chlorhexidine gluconate--the same stuff that surgeons use to scrub up. Also, I wear a stick deodorant with anti-bacterial ingredients--lavender, tea tree oil, that sort of thing.

My one complaint about deodorant is that it is nearly impossible to find in travel-size. I recently bought Ross some Old-Spice deodorant and it came with a travel-sized stick. As soon as I got it I wondered if I could reuse the container once the actual deodorant stick is used up. We'll see at some point.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Journey to the West

When I saw this photo as the graphic for Journey to the West I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. I had no idea what it was about, but I knew it would be good. This movie was awesome. Yeah, it was corny in a lot of spots, and at times the graphics/special effects were laughable, but I loved it. This movie was in Mandarin with subtitles. I like that. I like trying to pick out words that I know.

The movie was very funny and starred Qi Shu, who you might recognize from the 2002 Transporter movie. The story, writing, and acting were all pretty good. I just kept finding myself saying "I love it, this movie is awesome! This movie doesn't pull any punches!" Journey is the perfect movie for a lot of laughs, but I'll warn you: Even though it is a comedy, it is like every other foreign film. It ain't all happily ever after.

Many Movies

In the last two weeks I've seen a lot of movies--both at the theaters and on Netflix. Here's a rundown:

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Despite the time travel aspect, I enjoyed the movie. Of course seeing Hugh Jackman naked was a plus.
  • Raid 2: It was no Raid, but it was good. I was really confused at the start of the movie, and a woman in the theater shushed us and glared at us the whole time. That took away from the experience. Still, it was a good movie.
  • Captain America 2: Ross really liked this one. I liked it too, but it lacked the eye candy that X-Men so graciously provided. And it is so annoying when the good guys catch a bad guy and they don't shoot him so he gets away or does something bad. Or, when they knock a bad guy down and he later gets back up and does more bad guy stuff. Hello---immobilize/double tap bad guys!!!
  • Divergent: This movie is okay---it gets me thinking again about creating a book/movie/merchandizing franchise. I liked the movie, and so did Ross, but he over-analyzed it and got annoyed.
  • Non-stop: Typical Liam Neeson movie--"There's no time!" I really liked this action-packed movie. It was fun, if I didn't think too much about it or analyze it too much. 
  • Dragon/Wu Xia: Great fight scenes and a story reminiscent of History of Violence. I watched this one without Ross, but made him watch the opening fight scene and then the blow by blow of the fight scene given by the story's detective.
  • The Eagle: I have a soft spot for any movie with Romans, Knights, Dragons, that sort of thing. This movie is about Romans in Britain. I thought it was going to be a cheesy B rate, but it featured Tatum Channing and well written story. I don't know why I have trouble imagining Britons as tribes. I guess I just think of them either as knights or as tea-drinking colonialists.
  • Ravenous: this 1999 film set during the Mexican-American war is an odd one. I'm still unsure if this was supposed to be a comedy or a horror film, but I had fun with it. I enjoyed the performances by Neal McDonough and Jeremy Davis, who are both in Justified.
  • Operation Condor 2: Armour of the Gods: This Jackie Chan movie was actually filmed before Operation Condor, which we also recently watched. Armour of the Gods sucked. It was fun to see Jackie Chan so young, and with a really short hair cut, but that's it. This movie isn't really worth the time to watch it---just skip to the outtakes, they really are the best part of the film.
  • Operation Condor on the other hand was a good movie. It had a Nazi story line. I seem to also be attracted to any stories, movies, books, etc. about Jews and/or Nazis. Ross and I enjoyed it. I just wish it had been subtitled instead of dubbed.
  • Curse of the Dragon Slayer: Here is my predilection for bad dragon movies getting the better of me. It wasn't a very good movie. It was better than Scorpion King 3, which we couldn't even finish. I think we turned that off after 10 minutes. It was horrible.
  • Dragon Crusaders: This Asylum film was bad, but exactly what I was looking for--a cheesy B rate about dragons and crusaders. Just the thing to watch on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Juan of the Dead: This is an awesomely funny zombie movie set in Cuba. This film is only available on Netflix DVD.
  • Warm Bodies: I had forgotten about this movie, and my friend Charlie had recommended Juan and this one as good zombie movies--I told him about Dead Snow. Warm Bodies is a sweet zombie movie, also only available on Netflix DVD.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hiatal Hernia Relief

A few years back I was diagnosed with a sliding hiatal hernia. My main symptom: belching. It comes and goes. I'm supposed to eat small amounts at a time to keep it in check. I think a combination of full sit ups, alcohol, and eating too much last weekend severely aggravated my hiatal hernia. It had already been acting up for about a week. This whole week I have been miserable.

So, anyway, this week I was talking to Aunt Judy and she said that her chiropractor helps her with her hiatal hernia. I did some reading on the internets. I found an exercise that I tried yesterday: I drank some warm water, put my arms out to my sides, brought my hands in to my chest, stood on my tippity toes, then slammed down onto my heels.  This was supposed to jar my stomach back into my abdomen.

Yesterday I ate applesauce, had a double espresso, soup, and did the exercise a few times. I also tried a self-manipulation technique to try and physically pull my stomach back down through my diaphragm.  I felt a little better, but not completely back to normal.

When Ross got home I demonstrated the heel slamming technique. It triggered the hiccups. Well, that proved that it does affect the diaphragm. The hiccups didn't last long, and afterward I felt much better. When I got into bed I used the manipulation technique, and I could just tell that things were better. I slept like a rock, and this morning I felt like a new person. No belching first thing after waking up. After being miserable all week I feel like a new person.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bedtime Stories: Battle Bunny

I couldn't resist checking out Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett from the library. This is an ingenious book...well, two books really. The idea is that Alex modifies his Birthday Bunny book into the Battle Bunny book. Two stories and two sets of illustrations in one book. Super clever--with illustrations by Matthew Myers.