Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mid-Life Bucket List

Lately I’ve been feeling out of sync with others and depressed with life. I feel lately all I do is work. I know I do it to myself because I’m selfish enough to want a dream car. With the goal in mind of the Camaro I’ll be getting next year, I started to think about my “bucket list”. What do I want to do before the big man calls me back home. So I thought I’d share my top five things I want to accomplish within the next 5 ~ 10 years.

1. Become a mom
2. Travel to all seven continents
3. Get my helicopter pilot’s license
4. Learn to skydive
5. Do a cage dive with sharks

Can you tell I need more adventure in my life?!

Random Recommendation: Shakra Healing Chants

Quirky Quote: "Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on a elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.” ~ Jack Handy

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Rated ~ PG-13

124 Minutes
Nicole’s Rating: B

*~* WARNING *~*
Spoilers Ahead

Watching this movie I felt like I stepped back into time when I first watched the series when I was just a kid. It had all the typical Indy moves, quirky one liners, lavish death scenes with the bad guys and extreme adventures, that would never truly happen, but that’s what makes it Indian Jones.

I myself love conspiracy theories and the legends of the 13 crystal skulls, so I knew going into the show that it was going to be about the Mayans and extra-terrestrial beings. I know that many people had a hard time grasping the concept of the aliens, but I thought that overall it was done well. Yeah the major special effect of the final being at the end could have used some major revamping, but the effect with the craft disappearing in the ruble, at the end was remarkable as well as the acrobatics of the Mayan guards. To see people move like that amazes me.

As for the acting, I thought that Harrison Ford’s role was the weakest, he still can pull of the Indy character, but I don’t think he could do it much longer. Cate Blanchett and Shia LaBeouf; they truly made their characters credible, but then again I’m a bit bias with Shia.

I’d recommend viewing this film on the big screen so you can get the full effect of the scenery. I also recommend that you go with an open-mind, if not, you’ll hate it. I made myself revert back to a 10 year old and how much I enjoyed the originals when I was young. Hate it or like it, you’ll end up leaving the theater thinking about what could be true about those inhabitants that may be watching us.

Memorial Day 2008

I got up early this morning to drive to Wyoming to spend some time with the family up there. I always enjoy a day where I can get together and see my family. We always have a great time getting together no matter how big or how small the gathering may be.

At first we headed to the town cemetery where I visit the plots of two of the greatest women to enter my lives; my grandma Luella Bigler and a wonderful friend Shannon Clark-Wagner. I think about these two almost daily still, as well as many other family members and friends who have passed.

After visiting the memorials, we headed off to my aunt LaRae’s where we got together with some family and just had a great time talking, reminiscing and enjoying the entertainment of my cousin Chrissy’s boy Jackson. That kid is a hoot!
I then got to go and see one of my adopted families, the Hartmanns. It was good to see how much Connor and Brodey have grown. Like weeds those two! And of course it’s always good chatting it up with April.

The weather in Kemmerer was better than I expected. Usually on Memorial Day we’re sweeping on the plot markers because of snow, but today we got lucky with only wind, rain and slight hail, but the bad weather couldn’t ruin a good outing with family and friends.

The plots of Luella Bigler and Shannon Clark-Wagner

Random Recommendation: The Original Pancake House (went there last week and it was delicious)

Unfortunate Namesake: Urna Slutskin

Quirky Quote: What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life; to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. ~ George Eliot

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Baby Girl is 15 Years Old!

Abbey turned 15 today. Hard to believe that I’ve had her in my family for almost half my life! When we brought her home she didn’t even weight one pound, and now she’s a whopping eight. We celebrated today by treating her to a cheese quesadilla and her own cake. For her present she got huge bags of Pup-eroni treats, her favorite.
My eyes well up knowing that this will be her last birthday with us. Her health has taking a toll for the worse in just the past six months. Her sparkling eyes have clouded over and she practically blind. Her arthritis gives her issues on bad stormy days and her hearing is to the point where we have to shout at her. But, her sense of smell still works great though and has a very healthy appetite. Just the other night she went outside, went through the garbage and found a steak bone to gnaw on. It took me about an hour to find where she was at. Still the tricky pooch and my baby girl no matter what age she is.

Quirky Quote: "Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." - Bonnie Wilcox

Random Recommendation: Write a friend that you’ve thought about. One you haven’t heard from in a long time.

I know, I know...I shouldn't give her chocolate or sugar, but give her and me a break. She's 15! She deserves to live on the edge in her old age.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Rated ~ PG
144 Minutes
Nicole’s Rating: C

Just like the first movie of this series, I can take it or leave it. The movie didn’t have much of plot, but what can you expect when the book itself was approx. 100 pages long. With the lack of plot and dialogue, the movie was filled with many battle scenes that just seemed to drag out. And during one of the fight scenes, I thought I was watching a WWE wrestling match. All that was missing was the tight ropes. When the movie actually had dialogue it was fairly good. Some cheesy parts, but it made for good laughs.

The film also had the problem I see with a lot of movies that depend on the CGI and that is getting the accuracy of sizing correct. The mice were as large as lap dogs, Asland’s size seemed to differ from seen to seen, and the blending of the man to horse with the centaurs could have used a lot more work. The water and ice effects were better than most I’ve seen lately though.

One more thing that needed touched up on was the accents. They seem to come and go and change from scene to scene. Most of the time I was thinking that they were Spanish, but in the next scene I would think they were Welch or Polish.

There is also a lot of violence in the movie. There’s no blood, but a lot of fighting and animals getting hurt, so the younger viewers could get a bit frightened. Overall, the movie was a good way to pass a couple of hours. I most likely will not be seeing it again until the next movie comes out and I need a refresher.

Friday, May 16, 2008

YouTube Entertainment

It’s been quiet couple of days for me. So when it’s quiet, I get lazy. I’ve spent most of my time catching up on the TV shows and Podcasts, taking stupid online quizzes, and hanging out on YouTube. These are the main reasons why I work two jobs….well, that and the needed money for the Camaro fund. I thought I’d share a some videos that I find myself going back to now and then, just for a good laugh.

I can't go too long without something about The Beatles or Transformers. You children of the 80's that saw the animated film back in the day will get a kick out of this:

You might have to turn up the volume on this one:

And finally, one of my favorite Podcasts! I can spend hours watching "The Ninja".

Quirky Quote: Those who don't know fear, don't know courage. Real courage is to conquer fear. ~ Unknown
Random Recommendation: Nothing Bunt Cakes (a very yummy store)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flat Super Hero

Today wasn’t anything too exciting, just an ordinary day, but I did have the chance to play hero for just one moment. I was pumping gas when I went inside to pay for a car wash. A younger man was inside trying to see if the attendant could help him with the broken air pump. Well, there was nothing they can do about the pump until tomorrow and the nearest gas station is about 1/2 mile away. Far enough away that he could do major damage to his tire. Lucky him, that I am the queen of flat tires! I yet to see anyone that gets more flats than me. I say lucky, because I come prepared for flat tires (as long as there is only one flat). I got out my repair kit and Viola! No more flat….well, for the time being.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I honestly like helping someone in need, even if it’s something as simple as having the right tools at the right time.

Helpful Tip: To repair scratches on CDs and DVDs use mayonnaise. Put on disk and let dry for 3 or 4 minutes, then wipe off.
Random Recommendation: Fix-a-Flat tire repair kit.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Speed Racer

Speed Racer
Rated ~ PG
123 Minutes
Nicole’s Rating: B

This movie was like a drug-free acid trip mixed in with a high dose of a sugar rush! If you easily get motion sickness or your brain hurts from quick action scenes and bright colors, I don’t recommend this for you, but if you like to experience the thrill of being a young kid again, see it.

Speed Racer was a lot better than I predicted it to be. I was expecting the cheese factor to be at a maximum level, and even though there were a lot of cheesy moments, the plot was actually quite good. The main reason I say it was a fine plot because there was an unexpected twist at the end. I love shows that do this! The stars of the show were Paulie Litt, who played Spritle, and his chimpanzee companion Chimp Chimp. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this young man I guarantee.

There were some issues I had with the special effects, but somehow it still worked along with the rest of the theme of the show. One other issue I had was the jumping around with the flashbacks. It works at a couple of parts, but I wish they would have done just a sequential sequence instead. Just a heads up with you with kiddlets, this movie is rated PG but I honestly felt it should have had a PG-13 rating. There’s a bit of crudeness and language that you might not want little ones to hear.

I grew up watching the cheesy cartoon back in the day and this movie brought out the kid in me again. I even caught myself cheering a couple of times during the movie. I honestly think I had more fun watching this film than most of the children at the theater. And if you don’t like that, go and see it for the crazy vehicles and all the eye-candy for you adults. Oh and did I mention, there’s ninjas! Gotta love the ninjas!

Mothers, Babies and a Day Off For Me

Mother’s Day was good to me, even if I’m not a Mommy myself. I actually got to have the day off, the first since President’s Day. My mother is on vacation so I wasn’t able to spend time with her, but I had an opportunity to go to church and witness the baby blessing of Celeste’s baby, Liliana. Such a beautiful baby girl and she didn’t cry at all during her blessing. Afterward Celeste’s husband, Shane gave a wonderful talk. I have a whole new respect for this man after I heard the wonderful things that he said about his wife.

In the early evening I took off to the park and spent some time with another single friend, where we had a great time feeding the ducks, even thought there were signs everywhere not to feed them. Yeah, I know I’m soooo rebellious! We made the excuse that it was Mother’s Day and the mommies were just getting their presents.

It doesn't sound like much of day, but to have a full day off of work and spending time relaxing with friends is always a good day. To all you mother’s out there, thank you for all you do, not only for your children but for anyone else that you have influenced in your life.

Quirky Quote: Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own ~ Aristotle
Random Recommendation: Palmer’s Coco Butter Body Lotion

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Today was one of those days that was jammed pack of emotions.

The Good:
I got to go see one Bobbie, a friend that I haven’t seen in…well, it’s been so long, I can’t honestly remember the last time we saw each other. I was able to see her beautiful baby boy for the first time. He looks just like his papa and he is sooooo cuddly. And I’m serious when I said I’d take Max and Daisy in the will (Max and Daisy are adorable doggies btw). May the government treat her well, and get that refund check to her in time, so that Bobbie and Jeremy can take that wonderful trip planned. I hope it’s not another couple of years before I see her again.

The Bad:
I had to be a part of the firing of an employee. These are never fun. It just makes the rest of the day awkward. I enjoyed being around this guy, we had a lot to talk about and had a lot of similarities. Unfortunately his work ethics were sub par. Yesterday he got caught going home, instead of working. It wouldn’t have been bad if it the first time, but…well, you probably get that it wasn’t. I wish him the best in life and hope that he finds a workplace that makes him happy.

The Ugly:
I got an email today saying this “Now that I’m married, I don’t need you in my life”. How am I supposed to take this?! This was a man that I have known for a few years now; someone that I took under my wing and took special care of. I was always there for his material needs such as groceries, a ride, I even paid a bill now and then and of course I was always there emotionally, always listening about his issues with life. I’m always good to be there for a friend in need, but when I saw this email, I feel used. I’ve been played!

Hopefully tomorrow will bring about a more somber day. A roller coaster of emotions like this can really exhaust a person!

Quirky Quote: "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." ~ Benjamin Franklin
Randon Recommendation: Wendy's biscuts and gravy

Made of Honor

Made of Honor
Rating: PG-13
101 minutes
Nicole’s Rating: C-

If there is one word to describe this movie it’s…PREDICTIBLE. My goodness is Hollywood running out of good movie ideas. With movies like this it makes me wonder what the next recylced plot will be.

This was like any other chick flick that involves a wedding and a love triangle. By the middle of the movie you know who she ends up with, what conflicts are going to be coming up and you can basically end most of the major taglines.

If the story line wasn’t bad enough, the camera angles made it worse. There is one part of the film where there is a conversation going on and the camera just spins and spins in a circle. I get the point of why they did this but they didn’t have to do it for 2 minutes straight. I got sea sick watching this scene.

I will admit that I gave this movie a bit higher rating than I wanted, because I did enjoy the outdoor scenery shots, the friendly dogs they showed and the music. Besides that, if you haven’t seen the movie…don’t. Wait until it comes on TV and you can see it while doing your chores. That’s about the most you’ll get out of it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Howling and Cartoons

Today after a hellish day of work, I came home to my precious pooch Abbey greeting me. This isn’t anything unusual but before I got inside, I could hear her hollowing. Not barking up a storm like she usually does, but actually hollowing like a Basset hound and even more strange, sounding like one as well. I have never heard her make a sound like that before. I got to admit I was highly amused by it. This old dog had learned a new trick!

I also got the opportunity for a professional cartoonist to do a specialty drawing for me. I was one of ten that won a contest to do a TF Animated style of the Transformer of my choice. Yeah, I know I’m making myself sound like a bigger geek than usual with that reference, but I think it turned out great. My two favorite characters are already in the Animated series, so I chose the first TF action figure I got...
It’s Beachcomber from the G1 series!

Odd Fact: You can cure canker sores by using your earwax.
Random Recommendation: Relax by feeding the ducks and geese at your local park.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Animal Observations

After a long weekend of work, I decided to take a couple hours to myself and head off to one of my favorite places, The Living Planet Aquarium. I love being around the water and its creatures, even if they are behind glass. There were new displays and new relaxing music. So relaxing I spent a half hour alone watching the jellyfish alone. At first I felt kind of foolish going there alone, but it all change once I noticed there wasn’t many people around and I got to pet the stingrays without being pushed around by others. Sure they feel like squishy mushrooms, but it was good relaxation therapy. The animals seemed very relaxed and I was able to get some great pictures. I finally realized how much tension I’ve put on myself lately when I about feel asleep during the feature movie there. I guess I should find a bit more “me time” in my weekly schedule.

Yesterday was the Kentucky Derby, an event that I look forward to every year. I think the reason why I love the horse races so much is that it’s the first pro-sport event I remember. My parents took me to see the horse races when I was four. My dad turned to me and told me to pick out my favorite, so I picked out the one I thought had the prettiest outfit (give me a break…I was four). Well, he put $2 down on him and the horse actually won. What a fun memory! Unfortunately, yesterday’s event took a turn for the worst. As I was watching the pre-show commentary of the Kentucky Derby, I overheard that there was only one Philly in the race, Eight Belles, so it was natural of me to route for the young gal. Well, the race finished and she came in 2nd! She then collapsed on the next turn after the finish. Vets examined her and found two compound fractures in both front legs and major heart strain. Eight Belles was then euthanized on the track, after 10 minutes after the race started. I couldn’t help but cry, but you know how I am…a major sucker for animals.
If you have a pet, go give them a hug and realize how precious they can be, for they might not be here tomorrow.
Random Recommendation: Donate to Humane Society and save a life of a furry friend.
Random Fact: I currently have 300 goldfish.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Iron Man

Iron Man
Rated PG – 13
126 minutes
Nicole’s Rating: A

My first movie review on this blog! This movie is the start of my favorite movie season, and with my favorite shows ending their seasons, look for plenty more reviews coming. Just to let you know, I can be bit of a stickler when it comes to reviewing movies. After many film and acting classes, I tend to tear movies apart, but I try not to. These are my reviews, you can take it or leave as you please, but I also would love to hear your opinions on the films as well.

May contain spoilers

I’m love action movies: kung-fu, true crime, super hero and everything in between. As far as super hero flicks go, this is one of the better ones. It had the main components as any Marvel comic-book movie. The hero with a past who wants to change; the woman he is around the most, he does love, but he doesn't know he’s in love with her, but everyone else knows he is; the older man mentor; and an evil rival that was at one point one of the closest people in his life.

Robert Downey Jr. plays his typical role of an alcoholic, womanizing smart-ass, but it works for this role. He brought out some humorous scenes that I don’t think another actor could pull off, due to his real-life history. Gwyneth Paltrow did a great job as his hard working assistant who has to pull off many of the difficult situations that Iron Man is put in. At first when I heard that Gwyneth was put into this role, I didn’t see it, but this Oscar winner did a great job. Jeff Bridges plays his part well, but he gives it away who he really is too soon in show. But the scene stealers came to the robots that Tony Starks uses to create and test the suit out with. Who knew these objects could make you want to see more of them?!

The special effects overall were good, there were some scenes that could use some touch ups.
*~* Gwyneth’s hair color seems to change randomly in the movie
*~* Why do they have to destroy classic sports cars?!?
*~* There are some war/violence scenes that were a bit emotional and young children could have problems with it.
*~* Product placements could have been done a bit more discreetly. I swear Marvel and Burger King have some kind of side dealing going on. Every Marvel movie has major advertising it.
*~* Many scenes reminded me of either Batman or Transformers. There's many moves and fight sequences looked too familiar.
*~* The ending leaves you hanging, so you know there’s going to be one or two more sequels in the future. This movie could have been a stand alone film, but good ol' Hollywood made it to make you wanting to spend your $10 again in two years.

With this being said, I enjoyed it overall, and most likely will see it again in the future. But for all of you that have not seen it yet, you MUST wait until the very end of the credits to see a two minute clip. This will change the ending of the movie for you and all you comic-book geeks out there will be happy to see what is being revealed!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Singlehood ~ Blessing or Curse?

For some odd reason, people love to tell me what I need to do with my life and constantly give me advice when I don’t ask for any. The biggest issue is my “marriage status”. In the very recent past I have the following said to me:

You really should get on that…you know, marriage. You’re too old playing the single game”.

I thought you gave up on the idea of marriage. You are over 30 now”.

You’re just not marriage material anymore”.

Why are you thinking about starting a family at this point? You should have done that years ago”.

A smart adoption agency wouldn’t give a child to a single woman”.

And my personal favorite that I overheard about 3 years ago…

She’s over 25 and not married?! She must be gay”.

I don’t understand why my being single is offensive to others or why people think that 30 is the age of no return when it comes to starting a family of my own. Many people have started families at a more mature age. I am not worried about it, so why should anyone else. Yes, I thought at this point in my life I would be married and have at least one child, but apparently it wasn’t meant to be as of yet. The only thing that I ever figured out in my life was I wanted to be a Mom and though it may not show in my face, it cuts deep when people say such things as being too old or why do I bother thinking about having a family.

I know many people that were lucky enough to get married to the first person that they had a serious relationship with, but for me that would have been a disaster within just a few weeks, as with any other relationship I had since. A few years ago I had the opportunity of being engaged (very briefly). I was ready to make the commitment, but unfortunately he was not ready to commit to me. I look back and see what a blessing this was. I learned from this relationship, as with all the others, and know what to look for in the next companion.....hopefully. When it comes to setting up others, I do a great job (eight successful marriages started by me), but when it comes to myself…ah, yeah… I usually find the bottom of the barrel types. Hence another blessing of being single…I’m not stuck in a miserable relationship; I can walk out at any point.

I guess my biggest complaint above all is; most people that tell me that I need to get married are the ones that turn around and tell me how miserable they are in their own marriage. Most complain about their spouses and many of them wish that they would have waited a bit longer to start up their own families. The word “Confusing” comes to mind in a situation like this. Yes there are many downfalls being over 30 and single such as the above situations, but there are many blessings as well.

~ I have my own money and can spend it as I see fit. Yeah the bills can be tough with the single status, but in the end, my eBay addiction will only affect me.

~ I can get up and go where I want when I want.

~ My free time, is just that….Mine

~ I can work two or three jobs and not feeling the pressure of getting in “quality time”.

There are blessings and disappointments on both sides of the marriage status spectrum. Personally think one of the best quotes I heard was from a comedian on Comedy Central about being single and/or being married. I can’t remember his name, but this is what he said:

The biggest difference in being single and being married is the decision of whether you want to be lonely or annoyed”.

I want to add a new thing to my blogs. It’s just little tidbits about me, minor things on going on with my life and a random recommendation of something I enjoy or something I’ve discovered. Here is the first of many:

Latest iPod download: The album “Riot!” by Paramore
Spent on eBay the last 24 hours: $54.75
Random Recommendation: Almond M&M’s

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Social Butterfly Is I

What a week! I had a lot going on, which is wonderful, but I think I’m getting to old for all this excitement, the exhaustion is starting to set in. Starting last Thursday I had a great time with Rob going to a Jazz Playoff game. It would have been better if only the Jazz won by two points instead of losing by two. Oh well, I still believe that they can win this part of the series tomorrow.

Friday I had the opportunity to go to a conference held by the renowned physic Sylvia Browne. I honestly believe that this woman has a gift from God. She gave not only me but most people there a spiritual inside to the unknown. I went there with a friend, Wilma, in hopes that Sylvia would pick Wilma out of the audience to help her with the murder mystery of her mother. Unfortunately, she was not picked, but we did get to chat with her for a few seconds, while getting our books signed and we got some information that hopefully will help Wilma end this hellish nightmare.

Saturday was great, as I got to get together with some of my girlfriends for ladies night. I always look forward to any ladies night and catching up with others that I don’t get to see on a regular basis. Oh and Heather, nice try thinking you would get away with acting like the good guy in the game. :-P

Sunday was a fun time as Mike and I introduced Adell into our nerd-dom of Transformers Animated and made her watch a few episodes. I know she enjoyed it, because she was laughing out loud. I don’t know if that was a result of the show or of our geekish talk about it. Oh well, it was still fun. I tell you this series is great for all ages.

As for the rest of the week, I’ve been busy doing what I do best…planning parties for brides, babies and grads and when I get bored it’s onto eBay. Yep, still have that habit brewing. I just keep telling myself and others “This is a healthy habit. I helping stimulate the economy”.

With that brief description of my week, being able to be social and getting out of the house, there is so much that I have swimming around in my mind that I’ll have to write down my opinions later on, so you might see a bunch of “rants” coming to the blog, once I get a spare moment.

Luvs and hugs to all!