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Feb 10th, 2016 - 01:20 am - Egyptian licorice tea time
winter
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Here they have been snowy.

Here is the cardboard box of the day :

* From the desk of Geoff

Things have been well here. Just earlier today we got our first 'real' snow of the season, following a relatively mild weather (at points being, literally, in the 60's!). Of course certainly not surprising that it is snowing.
Last week I celebrated my birthday @ Spaghetti Warehouse. A fun time! Chris, Ryan, Tony, Scott, John and a boy John is seeing (Bryan - unrelated to another Brian he and I know) all attended. Courtesy a birthday coupon from their mailing list, I was nicely able to eat for free too. Everybody even sang the copyrighted happy birthday song, haha.
I passed out some scratch-off lottery tickets as party favors, as I do if there is a birthday party etc. John's friend Bryan won $3, and there were two extras. I scratched them off and... won $4! woo

* LJ updates

I had noticed a while ago that an old associate (AlectheGreat) was posting his Twitter feeds here on Livejournal as well. I wasn't sure how to get that feature, but thankfully the help section of this site helped. For those who would like to add it to their entries, you can visit the extensions page, log in and set the preferences to 'yes' (one can also post one's entries to Facebook, if one likes, and from Instagram as well). Just a good way to cross-post everything platform-wise.

* Hail, Caesar! (part 1 of 2)



A still from the Coen bros. latest film of star Hobie Doyle, played by actor Alden Ehrenreich.

* Hail, Caesar! (part 2 of 2)

Courtesy a free pass, I was recently able to nicely see an advance screening of this particular movie, the latest from the famous sibling duo (on my actual birthday, as well!). A wonderful send up of the by-gone days of Hollywood ("before there was a TV in each living room", as one character describes it), we spot the visual archetypes : the private eye, the studio backlots that seem to stretch on indefinitely, the lavishly-large sets.
A loose connection of stories, "western pic" star Hobie (pictured above) gets "recast" in a 'parlor room' movie adaptation of an acclaimed stage play, something he has no idea how to translate acting-wise. Elsewhere gossip is managed, dance numbers happen and the studio even gets blackmailed ("take the $100,000 out of petty cash", the main character helpfully suggests, hinting at how ridiculously-wealthy the studio is).
Refreshingly essentially PG-rated (no violence or unclothed people!) ; the kind of movie that looks great on the big screen. I may have to see this one again at some point.

* Misc. other

Some other small things, for which I am thankful : the 'suggested videos' the Youtube channel on my Roku pulls up. 99 cents for a dozen large eggs (this week @ Aldi's, woo!). organizing and donating many things to Good Will as part of my semi-annual deep house cleaning. nice neighbors. World Market nicely reinstating their "free $10 for your birthday" promotion.

Okay. Have a good evening!

Take care,
* Geoff
Jan 3rd, 2016 - 06:44 pm - 2015 year in review (part 2 of 2)
my winnipeg
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Hopefully well. Here is part 2 of my annual 'year in review'. Over the course of 2015 I was able to watch...

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... for a total of 40 movies + 4 TV seasons + 2 TV 'one-time series'. Of those media I saw, I recommend The Babadook, Jamie Marks is Dead and The One I Love.

The Babadook, winner of the equivalent of 2 Australian Oscars, sounds as though it comes from an existing story, but is in fact created just for the movie. A recently-widowed mother and son live in a large house, where something "unpleasant" has taken hold. A 'horror' movie essentially only in description, the story is more psychological and has an ending different from what one normally expects in venues such as this. For those who have seen it, Hachi (the dog) is of course totally fine ;) .

Jamie Marks is Dead manages to successfully combine genres independent filmmakers are always trying to : horror, homoeroticism, teen romance and cinematography-worthy drama. Based on the book One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak, the gray tones set the stage for the tale. High schooler Jamie has died, and comes back as a broken-glasses ghost to two classmates : Gracie and Adam (who don't know each other). Why he is returning forms the thrust of the narrative. Liv Tyler also appears as Adam's mother. A bleak, unfunny tale, but ultimately uplifting and a reminder to give everyone you see hope.

The One I Love also mixes genres, being equal parts romantic comedy and science fiction. I describe it in my head as a combination of When Harry Met Sally and It's a trap, the tagline for the violent Saw series. Sophie & Ethan, on the advice of their therapist (played by Ted Danson, whose guest house is actually the one we see in the movie), visit a fancy 'cabin' for a weekend getaway. Then things get weird. Essentially featuring a cast of 3 ("or so", for those who have seen the movie), ultimately a character study asking : how idealized do you want your relationships?

Of brief additional mention is episode 6 of season 19 of South Park, a very atypical-for-the-series addition. Entitled Tweek x Craig, it focuses on what other people think of you vs. who you really are. Surprisingly emotional and (largely) non-ironic for a show normally otherwise consumed with satire and exaggeration.

* One-click charities

As I pass along each year, there are a number of website one can visit, to donate - for free! - to various charities. By simply visiting a website and seeing the ads on it (and clicking a button), a few cents are donated to a variety of causes. There is a small list of links in the column on the left-hand side of my own blog, and just recently I was able to discover even more : caretoclick.com is a simple, no-fuss site with 10 causes to support. Easy and helpful for others!

Okay. Thanks for reading, and have a good 2016!

Take care,
* Geoff
Dec 28th, 2015 - 01:07 am - 2015 year in review (part 1 of 2)
Ginch Gonch boys
Good evening Lj readers,

how are things? Hopefully well. Happy holidays!
Each year, originally inspired by my friend QKellie, I make a list of some of the interesting foods and drinks I had an opportunity to try throughout it. In a generalized sense, makers of food often experiment the most with sweeter items as they know there is, for better or worse, a large market for those sorts of things. But of course the occasional dessert is nice.

In 2015 I tried...

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... for a total of 131 items. Of those items I tried, I recommend Golden Supreme apples, veggie sliders from White Castle, eggnog-flavored salt water taffy and Yirgacheffe Kochere coffee (assuming Starbucks brings it back again).

GS apples naturally taste like cinnamon! Amazing. Although White Castle's menu is filled with things like salt and high fructose corn syrup, the variety of sliders (if only seasonally) available on their menu is a welcome step.

Also worth mentioning is the popcorn-flavored ice cream from local ice cream place Jeni's. It was buttery. I've never had buttery ice cream before. It was out of control, lol.

*******

In unrelated news, local dance club Wall Street passed along that they would, after 28 years, alas be closing at the end of 2015. Opened in 1987, the club was from an era where having the entrance literally down a random side alley of downtown seemed 'in place' for a gay bar. It was touted as being America's longest continuously-running dance club, which sounds possible given that LA and NYC are always opening and closing new places.

Originally designed as a lesbian bar, the owners throughout the years nicely had Wednesdays be "boys night", although indeed of course anyone could go any day. Last year the club brought back their "underwear nights" on this day, typically the last Wednesday of the month, where - if the mood struck you - you could check your clothes and dance in your "legal" underwear. From time to time the bar staff would get into it too.

A great-designed club ; it had a circular, open stage on the ground level and a spacious viewing area upstairs (with another bar, second set of restrooms and even a quiet lounge where one time I watched boys literally try on underwear in front of me (a 'pop up' underwear shop was present) and another time watch boys essentially slowly get out of their underwear (as the "underwear nights" were occasionally frisky) ). I only visited a few times over the years, but it was clean and spacious - always nice things for a bar.

For a gallery of 8 pictures, one may check out my Vanished Buildings album.

The bar is slated to close after New Year's, as the new owners were alas unable to pay the rent for the space. Thanks for the memories, Wall Street!

*******

Ok. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
Nov 2nd, 2015 - 09:06 pm - Don't worry about what others think
Autumn colors
Good evening Lj readers,

How are things? Here they have been reasonably expressive.

Here is today's state fair :

* From the desk of Geoff

Things have been well here. Welcome to November! Yesterday was All Saints' day / Dia de los Muertos (in Mexico and some other places). I took in my pumpkin from where it was (outside on the 'stoop' ; i.e. area by the front door), de-seeded it (to roast them later) and cut the remainder down in to bite-sized pieces to slowly eat over the month. I hope to toss the stem and few remaining bits out to the woods, to return some of the nutrients to the soil.

* Starbucks 'update'

Earlier yesterday evening I swung by a local Starbucks, to have a cup of green tea post-dinner (Chipotle ; courtesy a buy-1-get-1 coupon). While the official launch date for the 2015 holidays in-store is later this week, this particular location had everything up early. Many of the drinks from last year (including chestnut praline and peppermint mocha) will return. The red cups and (free!) 2015 gift cards / ornaments were available also.
Their famous Advent calendar, known for changing its form every few years, was back - this time as 25 numbered ornaments. Now $45 ($10 more than last year), it is a change from the tin board versions for which I was a fan from previous years.

* Calendar



The 2015 edition. I wonder how the ornaments open? Likely very easily, heh.

* Tweek x Craig

Episode 6 from season 19 (19!) of South Park caught myself and others off-guard this past week. Breaking almost every 'rule' the series had, the episode barely featured the four main characters, had bully Cartman in all-too-rare non-idiotic form and relied not on over-the-top reactions but rather extended, genuine sentiment. A unique observation, that the humanity in the series is almost impossible to normally find.
Two minor characters, 'tweek' and Craig, are drawn by the new local Asian school students as a (gay) couple - even though they are neither. The drawings are just goofy / for fun. The boys have to decide if they are going to pretend to be gay to inspire that 'love conquers all', or not. While clearly not devoid of humor, this is the first time I actually cried while watching an episode of this normally satire-heavy show.
For further actual thoughts on everything, I refer interested readers to this handy episode review (note : helpful if you have seen other episodes of this season).

* Misc. other

Some other small things, for which I am thankful : onions on sale @ Aldi's. the nice cool autumn weather. a great deal on grape hyacinth bulbs (99 cents!) I found a while ago. my roomie Jeremy taking me to a water park for the first time in years earlier this summer (water slides & lazy rivers, woo!). a free pass I used earlier this year to see movie The Gift (a unique movie, plot-wise).

Okay. Have a good night!

Take care,
* Geoff
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