Sunny Weekend

Happy Birthday to Jeannette!

She and Chris came over last night for a fun birthday dinner. She had requested that I make my now-famous black bean enchiladas, so I did, and we had chocolate cupcakes with candles in them as a birthday-cake substitute. Really, the enchiladas are only famous to Jeannette and Chris, because I made up the recipe about a year ago, so nobody else besides Jack has ever tasted them. But anyway, we had a nice time eating, chatting and telling random stories, and listening to Radiohead, a music group Jack is trying to get them interested in. I personally love Radiohead's sound, except that the voice of the lead singer is at times whiny and off-key--I know it's supposed to be part of their effect, but I have trouble enjoying all of it. The instrumental and electronic stuff they do is great, though. Anyway, as part of the birthday celebration, we had virgin margaritas (because of Jeannette's status as a pregnant woman), and they ended up tasting just like the frozen lemonade one can get at an amusement park. They were still yummy, but they really had very little in common with margaritas. =)

Earlier in the day yesterday, Jack and I took the nice weather as a sign that we should continue to work on staining our two remaining chairs (they came in boxes, unfinished and unassembled, so we get to do both things and save some money!). Unfortunately, I didn't think until after we were done that I should have put on sunscreen, so I got a little bit burned. And leave it to me to get unevenly sunburnt, too; the sun hit my right side harder than the left, so when it turns into a slight tan in a few days, I'm going to be mismatched. Anyway, we've made good progress on the chairs these last few weeks, and it's wonderful to feel a bit productive. All the spindly bits are ready to be assembled, and all that's left on the seats and the back pieces is a coat of polyurethane. Maybe I can manage to do one coat well so that I don't have to touch it up, which I ended up having to do on the other chair we did (my grandfather coated the first one because we were scared of polyurethane at the time). I'm glad we're now so close to having four matching dining room chairs, instead of two nice chairs and two wooden folding chairs from Target.

We've been watching a lot of movies in the past few days, because I got in a mood last weekend and requested a bunch of DVDs from the public library. I requested 15 or 20 different movies, because most of them were checked out or at other libraries, and I figured they'd trickle in over time. On Wednesday, I got an email saying that one of the movies was ready for me to pick up, and when we went there to get "it," there were actually eight there waiting for us. It's a good thing Jack and his library card were with me, because one person can check out only five at a time! We got a nice variety, but we're lagging behind and have watched only three of the eight so far.

Murder on the Orient Express, the first one we watched, is a Hercule Poirot mystery, and it was entertaining but slightly disturbing at the end. Once he reveals how the murder took place, there's a bit of a fortuitous twist involving the culprit(s), and the film ends with the train speeding along to the same peppy British train music with which the film started. Anyway, it's got a masterful cast and is told really well, so I'd recommend it if you don't mind a bit of a grizzly revelation about the whodunnit and why.

We watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Friday night and the whole disc of special features on Saturday, and that was really good. Neither of us is a devoted fan of the original Star Trek series, but we've watched the spinoffs and have seen several of the movies, including the first one and the later movies involving the spinoff crews. I liked it, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Jack liked it too, though there's not a whole lot to talk about on that front. I'm guessing you either like Star Trek or you don't.

The movie we just finished watching is Changing Lanes with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, which was interesting and not as bad as I feared it might be. I had been intrigued by it since the first time I saw the trailer, but I could never decide whether I really wanted to see it. The two main characters become locked in a day of vengeance because of the way one of them treats the other after a car accident. Because of the endings of all the dark movies I've seen in the last year or so, I was afraid that one or both of the characters would either murder the other or become so overwhelmed by the whole ordeal that he'd throw himself under a train or something. Luckily, none of those things happened, and the ending was rather uplifting. Given the natures of the two characters and how easily Ben's character in particular had slipped into this life of treating someone else so horribly, it was hard to imagine two real people being that nasty and then realizing the error of their ways and making up at the end. But whatever. It was a crap shoot to begin with, and I still think we came out ahead.

We have a few classics yet to watch: Breakfast at Tiffany's (which I caught most of on television several years ago but which neither of us has ever seen in its entirety), Sunset Boulevard, Funny Face (Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire), Play it Again, Sam (an old Woody Allen movie), and Sidewalks of New York (an Edward Burns film from a few years ago). Wish us luck on watching them all before Wednesday night! Ha! If only we didn't have schoolwork or jobs!

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Sounds fun! Another movie you might like is "Deconstructing Harry" (a Woody Allen film, he is the main character and directed it). Steve & I saw it a couple years ago and just rewatched it this past weekend. The basic storyline IS IS :-) (hehe) that he is a writer and all of the people in his life are only thinly veiled in his books. People get pissed at him for this, because all of their secrets are exposed. The movie goes back and forth between real life and real life as depicted in his books, so there are two people playing essentially the same character. It is creative and hilarious! :-)
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