Three sentence movie reviews: Kings of Summer

Having just finished Everything, Everything, we then partook of Nick Robinson’s earlier role.  It was the wonderful movie I remembered and–in the case of the parents–even funnier than I remembered.  Also fun this time around were the number of cameos of people who have become famous in their own right.

Cost: free via Amazon Prime streaming
Where watched: The Grey House with Sara and Shawn

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I like this poster, an homage to movie posters of my childhood.  I even like how the three main characters are drawn as more attractive than they are. Except the weird one.  He is drawn a little weirder. His nose is off.

Three sentence movie reviews: Everything Everything

Even more delightful than watching this alone in the theater, was watching this with a friend who gasped in all the right places.  Both leads are still good.  Rendered into celluloid (or whatever the digital equivalent is,) the story seems much more far-fetched, but it is still a delightful ride.

Cost: there was possibly a cost?  We streamed
Where watched: At The Grey House, with Sara and Shawn

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Capitol Wander

After our campus tour, and a trip home for lunch, we took the light rail to St. Paul to visit the newly renovated capitol building.

It looks great, as every newly renovated capitol should.

Here’s the informative plaque when the capitol was first built.  The renovation had a similarly-styled plaque across the hallway.  I neglected to take a picture of it.

Sara fills an empty niche.  Why is this niche empty?

There is a grand view under the rotunda.

The rotunda itself was very impressive.

Sara as governor in the governor’s reception room.

We loved all the guilding and that very ostentatious “M” on the curtains in the reception room. 

Why have two flags when you could have six?

There were quotes about government.

Some good manifest destiny imagery.

The worker, working away.

Looking down on the star that is a symbol of the motto “The North Start State.” 

A closer look at the rotunda.  All the detail!  Such a good color of blue!

These lights were very fun.

Sara and I rounded a corner and spotted this elevator.  We both gasped in delight.  It was so beautiful!

The mail slots were still there, but alas, no longer usable.

We looked at all four of the season murals.

Looking down to the main floor.

One of the most interesting thing about this capitol building was that it housed not only the governor, House and Senate, but also the Supreme Court.  I feel that this is an unusual setup.

Great staircase.

More quotes about government. 

Here’s what the murals looked like, before the restoration.

We took the fabulous elevator down to the basement, where we were delighted to find…

The Rathskeller Cafeteria.  It was designed in the style of a German Beer Hall and included fun mottoes, written in German, along with small animals painted on the walls.

Here are some of the mottos and how they were changed during Prohibition.

We also found the media area, located right under the star below the rotunda. When we looped back around, there was a man vacuuming, so we got to see it lit up.

It’s not surprising that chilly Minnesota has an underground tunnel system built into its physical plant.   We could have walked the whole loop, but opted for a trip to the Senate Office Building and back. Aside from having a good capitol building, they also had an impressive amount of grounds.

Campus Wander

Sara had an interview today on the University of Minnesota Campus, and so I wandered around until she was done.  Here are some things I saw.

Man, the Richardson Romanesque of this campus?  Amazing.  So many good details. 

I heard this group coming long before I saw them.  I’ve never been in the kind of running shape to run with a group, but this looked fun.

There’s a big mall/quad area that has these red Adirondack chairs scattered around.  Quite lovely.

Outside Coffman Memorial Union was this formidable sign.

I wandered around Coffman Memorial Union. It’s the student union. They had this great photo of TV time in the (presumably) 1950s, or early 1960s.

And look, you can still have TV time today.  I would bet there is a lot less newspaper reading, though.

I hung out with John Sargent Pillsbury for a while.

I wasn’t the only one hanging out.

I enjoyed this person following the rules of the sign.

Sara & I walked across the Washington Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.  It crosses the Mississippi and joins the East Bank of Campus with the West Bank of campus.  And! The student clubs paint ads in it.  Here are some of my favorites:

Game of Thrones was a theme in many ads.

Being formerly Idaho girls, we easily spotted the Mormon club.

It’s always good to have a good artist in your club.  Then your panel looks better.

Quiddich and a Yule Ball? Amazing!

And, oh my gosh, if this club had existed in my college days, I would have signed right up.

You can see that the SOBER club was lacking a full-artist-type person.  But they did a pretty good job with what they had.

Here she is.  The Mississippi!

And our next stop, the Weisman Art Museum. 

The museum had some good stuff.  I even found a platter on display made by my friend Sue, who participated in the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. That was pretty exciting.

And the Pedicord Apartments?  It rocked my world.  I loved it.

“What is that?” I said to Sara, while pointing.  She gave a shudder.

Inside, the hallway was super claustrophobic. The artists had used forced perspective very effectively.  Plus, there was goopy stuff all over the doorways.  I loved it!

And then I went back out and read the informational sign and it got even better.

When you leaned in to listen at the doors, you could hear what was going on inside the rooms.  Really creepy and incredible.  Highly recommended.  I spent some time figuring out what made the sound start when you leaned into the doorway.

Here is more information about the piece.

From a balcony at the Weisman we could take a picture of the Washington Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.  The light rail runs below the part we walked on.

We went in search of postcards, which afforded me this picture of these overalls, worn by enthusiastic students to games.  Earlier in the day, at the campus bookstore, I watched a guy trying a pair on.

Books read August 2017

Hello August! The month in which I discovered Mr. Money Mustache.  Between that and my class, there wasn’t much reading this month.  If I hadn’t had vacation, I would have only finished five books this month.  Eeek!

Young Adult: Midnight at the Electric
Grownup Nonfiction: No Impact Man

Maze Runner
James Dasher
Read for Teen Book Council
The idea is a good one: waking up in an elevator that deposits you in a giant field which contains a bunch of other adolescent boys, their living and farming areas, plus a very large maze that changes every night.

After that, everything goes downhill.  The writing is clunky, a lot of the plot isn’t logical and inspired befuddled follow-up questions that remained unanswered.  The fact that there were only boys was annoying. It was the kind of book that while reading, inspired the thought: “I can’t wait to finish this, so I can read the wikipedia summaries of the other books in the series.”

And so I did. Based on what I read of the summaries, I can’t say the plot improves any.

However!  This was part of the After Hours Book-to-Movie Night that the Teen Council put on at the Hollywood Library.  The teens created a maze throughout the library using standard library items (chairs, carts, string, streamers, LEGO) and then an epic game of Sharks & Minnows was played after the movie was over.

Witnessing one enthusiastic teen yelling “I’m a griever and I am going to KILL YOU ALL!” while chasing a herd of stampeding, screaming teens made reading this book totally worth it.

The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
Flora doesn’t have short-term memory, but she does have her journal and her friends and family.  After kissing her best friend’s boyfriend Drake, she then follows him to the Arctic Circle.

As Flora travels, she comes across pieces of her story which lets those of us reading piece some things together.  Though her journey was fairly anxiety-provoking for this particular reader, this was an interesting and engaging book.

Midnight at the Electric
Jodi Lynn Anderson
It takes place in the future (2065) and also tells additional stories through letters (1920s England) and diary entries (1930s Kansas dust bowl). Tying everything together is a turtle named Galapagos.

As stories told through diaries or letters is perhaps my favorite way to tell a story, this was a big winner.  But I also loved hearing stories of young women trying to find their place in this world (or in one case, out of this world).

As with Tiger Lily, the writing is very beautiful and the characters are memorable.

Once & For All
Sarah Dessen
Book 1-of-2-in-a-row where the mother figure is a wedding planner and the friend character’s family runs a food truck.  This was a nicely-plotted romance that has an interesting take on the ex-boyfriend issue.  The insight into the wedding planning business was fun.  It was the type of book that normally I would like just fine, but the coming together of it’s run-of-the-mill parts elevated it.

Ashley PostonBook
Book 2-of-2-in-a-row where the mother figure is a wedding planner and the friend character’s family runs a food truck. In this case, we have an updated retelling of the Cinderella story, with the ball being a cosplay convention based on a beloved sci-fi show.

While the characters of Cinderella (Ella)  and Prince Charming (teen actor Darian Freeman) were well-rounded, fully developed characters, I found that the stepmother and stepsister characters were one dimensional and entirely too evil.  This distracted from the overall goodness in the story in an unfortunate way, which was too bad, because this was a great update.

All About Mia
Lisa Williamson
I’m a sucker for books with three sisters told from the point of view of the middle child. This one had me from the beginning.

Mia makes some pretty terrible choices, and you can see the consequences coming a mile away.  Thanks to some deft writing, I understood where she was coming from and was rooting for her to find a better place for herself.  All three sisters were nicely developed.

No Impact Man
Colin Beavan
A man (and his wife and child) spend a year trying to reduce their impact on the world, and discovering how much better their life is when they do.

I think it’s pretty easy to judge authors like this, as opportunists looking to further their careers.  Mr. Beavan seemed sincere in his efforts and enjoyed following him along on his journey.

Early Retirement Extreme
Jacob Lund Fisker
A detailed primer on how to build up a skill set to allow you to live on less and save massive amounts of money.   Jacub Lund Fisker doesn’t give us a step-by-step guide to early retirement, but instead lays out the principles of how one would craft a path to early retirement for themselves.

We sample the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar & Grill and also eat a good donut.

When I last visited Pike Schemes in 2015, we visited the 5-8 Club for their Juicy Lucy. Thus it followed that on this visit, we should go to Matt’s Bar & Grill to have their Jucy Lucy. 

Aside from a different spelling, Matt’s Bar is not one for a lot of choices.  You get your Jucy Lucy with American Cheese.  You can get some fries and beer too.  It’s cash only.  There aren’t plates, though the fries come in a basket.

And you know what?  It’s my winner in the Juicy/Jucy Lucy rivalry. That is one good burger.

After our dinner, Sara and I visited Glam Doll Donuts, where I got a donut with cookie dough, and Sara got that fluffy confection sitting next to the milk.  I found my donut to be a bit too much, even for double-dessert me.  I still ate it, though. Sara enjoyed her concoction.

Minneapolis bound!

Having completed Vacation Phase I: Seaside, I’m now ready for Vacation Phase II: Minneapolis and the Minnesota State Fair.

But first I must go to the airport to transport me to the location of Vacation Phase II.  And once again lament that I never have a six hour layover in our lovely airport.

The food is delicious, and the same price as it would be outside of the airport (they check).  There are musicians playing music.  And now, you can even go to the movies.

I got to the airport early enough to watch a music video, and the short “The Bee Hunter” which was very good.

Three sentence movie reviews: Florence Foster Jenkins

I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting myself into with this movie: delightfully terrible signing by Meryl Streep, nice main plot where presumably something possibly slightly boring happens.  But darn it if there wasn’t a plot element of Florence Foster Jenkins’ life that didn’t make this whole story a much more emotional journey than I had predicted.   Overall, this was an unexpectedly  very good movie, which is always a nice development.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home while painting toes pearly white.

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Saying goodbye to Seaside

Here’s the other half of the front room of our rental.  I’m standing in the kitchen to take this picture.  It was a delightful little spot, perfect for exactly what we needed. The bedroom was classy-looking, the bathroom was charmingly tiny and we enjoyed being able to lower that table and stretch the couch out to watch a movie.

Our house was in a long line of maybe ten similarly-sized beach houses (There was a 518 square foot studio for sale for $105,000) and its front door overlooked a parking area, and then another line of apartments, so this wasn’t a view property.  Still, it was very close to the beach and to downtown Seaside and we mostly walked everywhere, so it was prefect for us.

Yay for Seaside vacations!