Mockingjay & D-BOX

David and I went to go see Mockingjay Part I in theatres on Monday. We also decided to see it in D-BOX, which was pretty exciting!

Mockingjay Part I

Cover

First of all, the movie itself was, like Eli Glasner said in his review, the best so far. Jennifer Lawrence definitely carried the film. For those who have read the books, I don’t know about you, but I find the movies do a better job of characterizing a flawed and psychologically traumatized character than the books. Katniss always seemed whiny, spoiled, and narcissistic in the books.

The adaption was very close to the book, and the action sequences were thrilling and engaging. I must say that the ending didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I do think that, considering they decided to create two movies out of one book, Part I ended at a good point in the story. I would agree that the book could’ve been made into only one movie, but I was pleased with what they chose to include in this first movie nonetheless. I suppose part of the reason I am rating Mockingjay Part I so well is because it was not obviously lacking in material like The Hobbit, which clearly should never have been made into three movies. Of all the films I’ve seen broken into two parts, I felt Mockingjay Part I was one of the better ones.

While I thought that Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal was fantastic, the other characters were a little flat. I never liked Gale, but Liam Hemsworth’s portrayal was especially flat this time around. And, while it was nice to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, and I enjoyed Julianne Moore’s portrayal of President Coin, there’s no emotion, and not a lot of complexity.

Hoffman, Moore

The only character that really gets much attention is Katniss, which is certainly understandable, but if you’re breaking the book into two movies, you have the time to focus a little more on other characters. I remember in the books Finnick was my favourite character, but he gets little attention in the movies.

On a final note, only Natalie Dormer can make this hair style look badass and sexy at the same time.

Cressida

A solid 4/5 film!

D-BOX

Dbox

David and I really enjoyed watching Mockingjay Part I in D-BOX. It was especially exhilarating whenever there was a scene with an aircraft maneuvering through the skies – the chair would move as the aircraft moved and it really helped create an immersive movie-viewing experience! My favourite D-BOX scene was when a large stone tower collapsed and crashed through a building in District 8. I thought I was going to fall out of my chair from anxiety and the chair’s replication of the action was pretty phenomenal.

Not to mention, the seats themselves are wonderfully comfortable.

Chair

While I wouldn’t recommend paying the extra cash for D-BOX unless you’re watching an action-adventure movie, if you use SCENE points, like David and I do, you can purchase D-BOX seats as you would any other seats with your points!

Finally, I should state that, while our experience was overall very good, there was about 20 minutes of the movie that the chairs were not functioning. I had to bring this to the attention of the theatre attendants, which did cause me to miss about 3 minutes of the movie, but they fixed the problem fairly quickly and gave us free tickets to see another movie. The issue was handled quickly and I was not expecting the free tickets!

I’d rate our D-BOX experience a 4.5/5. It would’ve been a 5/5 had there not been a mechanical/technical error during the movie!

It’s been a while…

Hello friends,

So it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since my last post from September I’ve flown to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then drove from there to Charlottetown, PEI for Thanksgiving, applied for two jobs at the library (one a promotion and another a 6-month contract), enjoyed some great PEI wine, more wine, taken some Autumn pictures with friends, and… began planning a 4-month adventure to Europe!

First, a long-belated report of our Newfoundland trip, consisting primarily of pictures.

We started in Deer Lake, spending a week in Pasadena & Corner Brook before driving to St. John’s.

While in St. John’s, I got to attend my best friend’s wedding! Bethany looked beautiful. I recall watching her get her hair styled and I felt like I was watching my younger sister get ready for her wedding day. Can’t believe we’re all grown up, Beth!

Bethany getting ready

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The next day David and I finally met up with our friends from Austria (they flew to Newfoundland so we could road trip together!). First stop together – Ferryland for a picnic.

Picnic

???????????????????????????????Next stop: Laurenceton, where David’s family owns a cabin. We had a great time there, great food, great company, and no internet or phone. It was truly relaxing! There were friendly horses, rock skipping, visits to the public well, and great views.

LaurencetonRoad

Amanda&Horse

SkippingRocks

PublicWell

When we got back to Pasadena, we spent one day there before starting the long trek to St. Anthony and L’Anse aux Meadows. We stopped in Woody Point on the way, explored the Tablelands in Gros Morne, and spent the night in Rocky Harbour before we continued to St. Lumiere-Griquet.

Weather

Tablelands

Tablelands in Gros Morne.

Vinland

Visiting L’Anse aux Meadows, found on the northern-most tip of Newfoundland!

Elisabeth and me :). In the L’Anse aux Meadows reconstruction site, we hopped in one of the wheelbarrows!

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Rawr! Also in L’Anse aux Meadows.

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We went for an evening walk in Straitsview, Newfoundland.

We then drove back to Pasadena for the last few days in Newfoundland, which included a trip to Corner Brook to visit my parents, more great food, a sunset on Pasadena beach, blueberry picking and a walk through David’s parents’ backyard.

Fisherman

Back in Pasadena, some people were fishing off the shore of Pasadena beach!

On the beach in Pasadena with David’s family dog, Kippy.

We went blueberry picking. It was awesome! Yummy, we enjoyed them with our breakfast the next morning too.

David's parents have an apple orchard in their back yard, and the apples were ready for picking!

David’s parents have an apple orchard in their back yard, and the apples were ready for picking!

We were so happy to share our homeland with two of our most favourite people! Love you guys! I need to start developing some pictures – there are so many good ones!

About a month after our return, we were off again. This time to Halifax, and then a drive to Charlottetown, PEI for Thanksgiving! Every year my family gets together for Thanksgiving. The first year we all went to St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the second year was Halifax, Nova Scotia, third year was Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and this year it was Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

I got to see my parents and all my siblings and their cute little kiddos!

We enjoyed great food and weather and two birthdays (my older sister Rachel’s is on October 10 and I am on October 11).

We went to a PEI winery and bought a few bottles of wine. My Mom, brother, sister-in-law, David, and I spent a couple nights playing board games and enjoying said wine. Wonderful. I took my camera with me but didn’t take any pictures. Here are a few my Dad took:

07.Amanda & Ruben

24.Oma, Ruben & Jacob

19.Jacob, Benjamin & Ciqala

When we got back from our Thanksgiving vacation, I feel like I was finally able to settle back into work and my regular routine. We enjoyed catching up with our friends from This Dusty House and took some Autumn pictures together!

Amanda&David

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David&Amanda5Thanks Jeanette for these great photographs!

We’ve had a very busy couple of months, with David having focused primarily on research grants and scholarships for our upcoming trip in 2015. David has to complete research for his dissertation, which requires a trip to Paris, France and The Hague in the Netherlands. We’re planning to be gone for a total of four months – May to September 2015.

We’re leaving our apartment and storing our things as well, so there’s a lot to plan! We need to find apartments in Europe, find an apartment upon our return, store our things (including our car), book our flights, and get the necessary paperwork (i.e. Student/Research Visas).

It’s a little overwhelming to think about, but it’s exciting all the same! We’re saving some money for the trip, but hopefully David will win a scholarship so we won’t need to go into any debt. Fingers crossed!

We went to watch the movie Interstellar a few nights ago. It was fantastic. I may write a review for the blog, we’ll see ;).

That’s all for now!

Phew, it has been busy!

 

 

Newfoundland Adventures Part I – The West Coast

What a vacation it’s been so far!

David and I had a pretty good flight home from Toronto. We were lucky and found a direct flight that ended up being cheaper than a connecting flight! That meant that our flight was just over 2 hours – not bad!

You can always tell when you’re flying to Newfoundland when you start hearing and talking to the people aboard. Lots of friendly faces.

The flight attendant was also a laugh, she told everyone a bunch of jokes, mostly pertaining to the pilot, her husband, and the co-pilot her ex-husband (it was really funny!).

And the man we sat next to chatted us up like we were old friends. When we got to the airport to pick up our bags, he found us and shook our hands (he gave me a hug) and wished us a great vacation. What a wonderful start to our trip!

Our first week home has consisted mostly of relaxation and family visits. We’re staying with David’s parents and alternate spending time with them in Pasadena and in Corner Brook with my family.

First, we visited the insectarium in Deer Lake with my family. They have a butterfly pavilion which you can walk through and they fly all around. Generally I hate butterflies because they’re annoyingly unpredictable. But they’re so pretty. We also got to hold some insects!

Ruben

Me and my nephew, Ruben, with a stick bug!

Ruben&Bug

Ruben with his Mommy, Abby, and the stick bug.

LeafBug

An insect that uses camouflage to hide from predators. Very cool!

Bug

A large (and somewhat different) stick insect.

Flower

I just thought the colour of these flowers was nice…

We’ve also spent time with David’s uncle and his family while they also visit all the way from Seattle. We went to Springdale, where David grew up, and explored “Glassy Beach” – getting its name because the shore is made up of all kinds of worn-down glass. It’s very colourful!

David

David on Glassy Beach looking for a good rock to skip.

SkippingRocks

David skipping rocks. His best was 7 skips.

Amanda&GreenBay

I went out on some rocks to get a better look. It was quite windy!

Newfoundland

I also, for the first time ever, got to experience what it’s like on a motorcycle (when it’s actually moving!). What a thrill! The helmet was so heavy, but it fit snugly. The jacket, however, did not fit at all. It felt like it weighed half my body weight! But I can understand why motorcycle jackets are so thick and heavy – we went on the highway and the wind was whipping at my face but I didn’t feel a thing through the jacket.

Amanda&Outfit

Don’t I look badass?

MotorBike

Ready, set…

We’re leaving for the east coast on Wednesday, stopping in at Grand Falls-Windsor to see David’s grandparents. See you in St. John’s!

Rain, ukulele tunes & the mystery of the empty envelope

We’ve had a lot of rain this week. A LOT. I thought we were going to experience some minor flooding in our little apartment (we live in a walk-out basement). Seriously, check out that rain.

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That’s a lot of water coming out of that drainage pipe…

And here’s a video, too. You can hear the thunder. It got much louder than this, but you get the idea. I had to close the door because the rain was getting blown in at me.

I love rain. I almost wish we’d been camping because the sound of rain on the roof of your tent is so relaxing! But, if I can’t lounge around in a (waterproof) tent during a nice downpour, I can always leave the door open and listen as I sit at the table and stare out the window. Sounds boring, but I tell you my friend, it was delightful.

This week I’ve also been practicing my ukulele and today I decided I was ready to play it for my family storytime at the library! The song in the video below is called “The More We Get Together.” The video only includes the first stanza, but I also include “the more we sing together” and “the more we read together.” It only involves two chords – G & C – but considering I’ve only been playing for 2 weeks or so, I’d say that’s not bad!

Annnddd, clearly I didn’t get hired for my natural singing ability…

Other than the song in the video, I also played “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Skip to my Lou.” I did a book called Noodle and Lou and segued into the song by telling the kids that: “FUN FACT! Lou is a name, probably short for Louis, but it also comes from the Scottish word Loo, which means love! So now we’re going to sing a song using the word lou as love.” Hehe, I love those “fun fact” moments.

It was a great morning with lots of support from my colleagues. When my shift was over, my boss and a few more of my colleagues came in for their shifts. They knew I was playing this morning and had missed it, so we all got together in the staff room and I played my ukulele while we all sang together. Isn’t that nice?!

Today was also my last day of work before our trip home to Newfoundland. One of the reasons we’re trekking home is because my best friend is getting married! I’m so thrilled to be able to attend, and be a part of, her wedding! She sent me an invitation in the mail a few weeks ago, only for David and I to find… an empty envelope!

Enter The Mystery of the Empty Envelope

It had been perfectly cut with the contents removed.

I was a little freaked out. I wondered if any of our mail had been stolen previously (we had been invited to a wedding earlier in the summer, and though the invite was sent twice, we never received either in the mail!). I also wondered why someone wouldn’t take the entire letter. Why leave an empty envelope in someone’s mailbox? If you’re going to steal my mail, at least do it right… what an amateur.

I spoke to someone at the post office and they said there wasn’t much they could do if the letter wasn’t insured. All in all, she didn’t really have much to say… my Facebook friends were much more helpful.

Perhaps someone mistakenly took my mail? And yet, why not put it back in the opened envelope with a sticky note apologizing? I’d accept that. Why steal the contents at all? After opening it and finding nothing valuable, you’d think they’d just toss it.

I’ll let you know if any crazy people show up unexpectedly to the wedding…

While the mystery may never be solved, at least it ends happily.

Because I had the envelope, I talked to my friend and let her know what happened. She quickly sent out another invitation. This time, it arrived unopened. And this is what I found:

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Can’t wait to see my best friend and be back to one of my favourite places on earth!

The next time you hear from me I’ll be back in Newfoundland, the rustic jewel of Canada :).

 

Things Loved in July

July has been great month. David and I traveled to Montreal to spend some time with friends. Germany won the FIFA World Cup. I bought a Ukulele. AND Weird Al Yankovic released some new music videos! See below for my things loved in July.

 1. Our trip to Montreal. Read about it here. It was great to spend some time with friends and catch up.

IMG_4692We also played some board games that David and I haven’t tried before which brings me to…

 2. Pandemic. Awesome board game. We’ve decided that the next board game we buy will probably be this one. We have several competitive games (including one of my favourites, Dominion), but no co-op games. This would be a great addition to our rather meagre collection.

 3. Weird Al’s Word Crimes music video. If you haven’t watched it, see below.

One of his best, in my opinion. Although, I do often find myself singing his Foil song (a parody of Lorde’s “Royals”) at work… oh, what they must think of me…

 4. Puzzles! David and I bought a really beautiful puzzle in Montreal.

IMG_4747We don’t actually own any puzzles of our own, but my sister-in-law Sarah Joy reminded me how much fun (and relaxing!) puzzles can be. It’s 1000 pieces, and we finished it in a little less than a week. Time to get another one!

 5. BonesI just started watching this new television series, on the recommendation of my other sister-in-law, Laura. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind human remains found by the FBI. It’s similar to CSI (kind of), but with a lot more humour. Here’s a trailer for season 5 to give you an idea. It kind of has a spoiler… but at the same time, it’s a really predictable one… so yeah, I don’t care, haha.

The series is actually based (though quite loosely) on the life and writings of novelist and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, who also produces the show. So far I’m really enjoying it, and am half way through season one. Clearly I’m a little late jumping on the Bones bandwagon – it premiered in 2005 and they’re currently filming the tenth season! At least the series is still running and I have some time to catch up! The tenth season premieres in September (so I guess I don’t have that much time to catch up…).

 6. Last, but not least, I bought a Ukulele!

Ukulele I found it on Kijiji for $30.00 and it looked like an amazing instrument to play with children. Part of my job at the library is to deliver our family storytime program. I couldn’t help imagining how much fun it would be to play the ukulele during this program. I’ve already learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! Right now I’m working on something a little more difficult (and indiscernible when I’m playing it, yikes) – The Indiana Jones Theme Song! Wish me luck! Maybe I’ll get it mastered in a few months…

What are your things loved this month?

Summertime Guacamole!

One of my favourite snacks during the summer is guacamole. It’s no secret that I absolutely love avocado. I eat it all the time, usually with a little rice vinegar. You can’t beat the creamy texture of avocado! Occasionally, however, I make guacamole.

I found a great recipe for guacamole online many years ago, before I left home for university, but I’ve never been able to find it. So, I’ve had to re-create the recipe from memory, and I think it tastes just as good, if not better, than I remember it!

Summertime Guacamole

Ingredients

2 ripe avocado, mashed
1 tomato
the juice from 1 lime, freshly squeezed.
1/8 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander (you can also use fresh cilantro)
salt and pepper, to taste

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Very simply, add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir together!

I like to use half the lime first, adding the juice from the other half at the end after tasting it.

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I also like using my mortar and pestle for the cumin – I find when you grind it yourself, it has a more distinct flavour. Plus, you know, it’s just darn fun to use!

CuminCollage

Here’s what it looks like with all the ingredients added, without having stirred it altogether.IMG_4756Yummy! That’ll be all gone in one evening…IMG_4757 Do you like guacamole? How does your recipe differ from mine?