22 November 2010

a movie from the year i was born

I'm on a roll with my 101 list lately!

✔ 63. Watch a movie from the year I was born (1984)
I know I've mentioned this before, but my latest Friday ritual is to peruse the movies at the library.  I'll point you to all the other posts about me "not being a movie person" to see why I go the free route instead of wasting my money on movies.  But that is also why I added so many movie tasks to my 101 list.  I have some serious catching up to do here.

Case in point: finding a movie from the year I was born.  I'd already seen Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Amadeus, and whichever John Hughes teen flick was released that year.  In hindsight, I should've picked Footloose, since I'm pretty sure I've never seen it.  But Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was there at my fingertips and it had the correct copyright date on the DVD case.  Maybe it was fate, maybe it was just convenience, but at age 26 years, 5 months, and 20 days, I decided to watch my very first Indiana Jones movie.

I know, I know.  Isn't that the worst one?  How could I start my Indiana Jones-ing in the middle?  And how could I have gone my whole life without seeing Harrison Ford ride in a mine cart when I even have extended family that named their dog Indy after this character?  (Sorry, family!)  Well, rest assured that I have indeed seen the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney World.  That's an acceptable consolation, right?

And after handing over two hours of my life watching this movie, I'd much rather have the 30-minute stunt show.  This movie obviously didn't win any awards for cultural sensitivities or women's empowerment.  Or plot.  But according to the description on the box, it "brings non-stop thrills and excitement."  I will give it that.  Maybe I haven't watched enough action movies, or maybe they've changed over my lifetime, but this was seriously the most constant action I've seen in a movie.  Also, watching a movie from 26 years ago shows just how far technology has come.  There were shots that I couldn't help but laughing at because it was just so obviously green-screened.

Overall, the movie was decent, which is sort of a compliment coming from me.  I wouldn't mind following up with Raiders of the Lost Ark (it could help fulfill #74), as long as it doesn't have all the nasty creepy crawly critters that took up a good half of this movie.  Yuck.

17 November 2010

my first air show!

Check another one off the list:

✔ 79. Go to an Air Show

I'll admit, I had a few opportunities to go to air shows in Virginia, but I never did.  I hated hearing the jets there near Oceana.  They were SO LOUD.  And they would pass over at all hours of the day and night, luckily only in the eastern half of Virginia Beach--interrupting my beach time but luckily not my sleep.  I didn't grow up in a military household or anywhere near a base, and I also didn't marry a pilot.  All that being said, I didn't know the difference between a F-16 and a B-52 (still don't, by the way).  Nor did I really care (also still kinda don't).

We now have the good fortune to be living in "the cradle of Naval Aviation" and "the home of the Blue Angels."  Which means that I see these special planes (jets?) flying over a few times a week and occasionally see a loop-de-loop over my head while driving to the gym.  The locals here love "the Blues," as they call them.  On any given week during air show season, you can go to the museum on base and watch a practice and get some autographs from the pilots afterward.  Really, that's all these pilots do, since the full name of the command is the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.  It's a "multi-million dollar recruiting tool," according to B.

Every year, the Blue Angels end their air show season with a grand finale Homecoming Air Show here in Pensacola before they pack it up to train their newbies in California during the winter.  This is THE EVENT around here.  Jax has GA/FL weekend, Norfolk has HarborFest, Pensacola has the Homecoming Show.  Three days worth of it, too!  Even the base gym was closed for it, so I'm guessing it was a big deal.

I decided that the Saturday show would be best for us to attend, but we did get to watch the Blues all three days anyway.  The first day of the show was Thursday, when we trucked over to Fort Pickens (free admission for Veterans Day!) on Pensacola Beach.  It was neat watching them from afar while exploring the old fort.

The second day of the show, it was so loud over our apartment that we just had to go outside and watch it.  Here's a video B took near the mailboxes while I comment on the mail we received.

And then on Saturday, we went to the main event!  There were so many acts, and most of them weren't loud at all!  That very much surprised me, considering they were selling earplugs.  I took a gabillion pictures, and B had his handy flip-cam out for videos of most of them. 

For brevity's sake, I give you my 3 favorite pictures and my favorite video.

Paratrooper with American flag being circled by a plane

Otto the Helicopter!  I definitely think all helos should have faces.

The Blue Angels!!  In the diamond formation with 2 of them upside down

And now for a video:

To see more videos, check out all the ones on B's youtube site.

Also, I just want to mention that the Commanding Officer of the Blue Angels from this year (guy in the #1 plane at the front of the diamond, a Captain in the Navy) is now working at B's command (Deputy Director/B's boss's boss[?]).  While watching him fly, all I could think is how BORED he's gonna be now at a paper-pushing office after doing this crazy air show stuff all the time!

15 November 2010

the thankful list

I have a confession to make. I've actual been "blogging" [in a way] since 10 years ago. Yes, you heard that right: TEN YEARS. It all started my junior year of high school, when I took Driver's Ed at a neighboring school and met a guy named Jay. He had a weekly email called "The Jay Newsletter" that he sent out to all his friends (and me).  It was witty and weird and I loved to get them in my email box.  So of course I started my own for my own friends.   I called it "The Litterbox" Because my name is Cat, and that's just downright cool when you're in high school.

So anyway, in its heyday, my 'Lbox' had over 50 subscribers (including my AP Econ teacher), its own Geocities website (R.I.P.), and articles written by some of the greatest 17-year-old minds in suburban northeast Atlanta.

I was thinking of doing a "what I'm thankful for" post to celebrate the upcoming holiday, but then I remembered that I had already done that!  I still remember going around and asking my high school friends what they were thankful for and then compiling a list for The Litterbox.   And thanks to floppy disks, hard drives, and flash drives, with no thanks to defunct geocities, I am bringing you this article today, in its original form.

So here it is, the Thankful List, originally published in issue #21 in November of 2001 (my senior year of high school).  The only edit is that I've added a few links into the mix to help you out if needed.

The Litterbox
(A place to deposit crap)

Topic 1)  The Thankful List:

Compiled By Me

      In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I asked around for a few days, and here are the many wonderful, Litterbox-worthy things that people have said they are thankful for, in random order:

      Bowel regularity . . . a cappella music . . . duct tape . . . cheese . . . genitalia . . . Comic Sans . . . Poptarts . . . breathmints . . . email . . . Pez . . . disposable diapers . . . dumb people who make others look smart . . . "my clavicle" . . . the Shakespeare Tavern . . . cheesy pickup lines . . . monkeys . . . Fibercon . . . the BBC . . . German exchange students . . . clear skin . . . Homecoming dances . . . Jell-o pudding . . . toes . . . 2-ball blue . . . optimism . . . homeostasis . . . Burger King . . . sexual innuendo . . . the way girls' hair smells after they wash it . . . the Dollar Tree . . . deodorant . . . Pop Rocks . . . boxer shorts . . . 3-ring binders . . . indoor plumbing . . . "that I'm not Afghan" . . . rainbows . . . Velcro . . . sidewalk chalk . . . long underwear . . . Harry Potter . . . Grant's t-shirt collection . . . mojos . . . cargo pockets . . . parallelism . . . "myself" . . . curly hair . . . peristalsis . . . green M&M's . . . mix tapes . . . SparkNotes . . . the Naked Chef . . . dirty jokes . . . processed meat . . . Rodney Mullen . . . March 15th . . . "my musical nose" . . . Dr. Seuss . . . my mind . . . Frau . . . ambiguity . . . bliss . . . unslurred speech patterns . . . LIFE

What are you thankful for?  And what were you thankful for 9 years ago?

As for my old Litterbox newsletter, I'll definitely pulling some more articles from there to re-post here!

13 November 2010

postcard swap

I recently participated in the Postcard Swap hosted over at Jesstagirl and Her Officer, and I am happy to report that I have received my postcard!

 Maranda from over at My Camo Colored Life sent me an awesome postcard from Missouri!  Ah man, I loved Missouri when I visited through there on a road trip with my mom.  I remember the fun ride up to the top of the St. Louis Arch, and it was great to be reminded of happy memories from six years ago.  And I remember thinking I should get this AWESOME t-shirt:

From Busted Tees
 Well I never got the shirt, but now I have this awesome postcard.  Maybe I'll tape it to a shirt and start something.  Okay okay, maybe not.

Half the fun of this is that I really had no idea where she lives until I got the card, since I sent my postcard to someone else (see Chantal's post for the postcard and the freakin' novel I wrote to her!)

 As for Maranda, she kept it short and sweet (something of which I have entirely no concept).

12 November 2010

follow friday: regretsy

I haven't done one of these in a while since I am by no means a creature of habit. But this one is too funny not to share!

I love me a good "FAIL" site, and this one definitely makes the cut.

I mean, there's some AWESOME stuff on Etsy.  But there's also a ton of AWFUL stuff.  And the latter is what Regretsy is here to triumph!

Name: Regretsy
URL: http://www.regretsy.com
Tagline:  Where DIY Meets WTF
Publication: Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF
Facebook page:  Regretsy
Twitter: @Regretsy

The language used on this site is quite profane, but this site is hilarious.  So check it out!

11 November 2010

what is a veteran?

And more importantly, am I married to one?

No, seriously, people.  We have this debate in our house often!  He says he's not, I say he is.  A lot of people's definition of a veteran is someone who has served in a war.  Yes, my husband an active duty U.S. Navy officer who served 41 months on a submarine and now sits behind a desk every day.  Even though he did two deployments, he says he feels weird when people thank him for his service and claims he "didn't do anything."  (He does respond with a simple "You're welcome" to strangers, though.)  No, he has never set foot on Iraq or Afghani soil.  His last deployment included a "blue-nosing," which means he crossed the Arctic Circle.  Yeah, no wars going on up there currently, as far as I know.  And he may or may not have earned the ribbon for the Global War on Terror from his first deployment - he still doesn't know (and probably never will).  He refuses to even call himself a "sailor," since he insists he's simply an "officer" instead.  That totally hinders my swag purchases, since those "I ♥ My Sailor" mugs are so ubiquitous (and B would seriously ROLL HIS EYES if I ever bought one).

Anyway, let's get back to the original topic here.  So what is a veteran?  According to Merriam-Webster, it is "a : an old soldier of long service b : a former member of the armed force."  Alright, so he's neither of those, but give it two years and he'll qualify for the latter since he has no intention to be a "lifer."  So after the dictionary, I turned to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, if for no other reason than to see if he'll qualify for a stint in one of their nursing homes later in life.  While their site has lots of useful information about specific benefits, none of them really answered my question on a precise definition.  I did some further digging and found this insanely helpful About.com article on the matter, with this lovely paragraph toward the top:
In actuality, there is no standardized legal definition of "military veteran" in the United States... Each time Congress passed a new law authorizing and creating a new veteran benefit, they included eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. Whether or not one is considered a "veteran" by the federal government depends entirely upon which veteran program or benefit one is applying for.
Aha!  Perfect.  So I read further and started to get pretty excited to see the kinds of stuff my husband will qualify for the second he sets foot out into the big scary civilian world in a few years.  VA Home Loans!  Veteran's Preference for federal jobs!  Military Funeral Honors (umm yeah, I don't think he'll want those, knowing him, but good to know)!  The GI Bill!  The list goes on, and most of them require only 24 months of active duty (check!) and no dishonorable discharge (reminder to B: don't do anything stupid in the next two years!).   

Since he's technically not a veteran (yet) by those terms, I wanted to know if the ceremonies today would be honoring him as well.  (Yes, I already know that the freebies and discounts are.)  Can I thank him today, or should I wait until Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday in May?  The National Veterans Day Ceremony conducted at Arlington National Cemetery this morning says it "is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces."  I believe that does, in fact, honor and thank my husband, who has served and is serving still!

So thank you to all veterans who have served and are still serving our great nation!

09 November 2010

day two with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

This is a continuation of the account of my three days spent on the set of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  You should probably read about the first day first, which you can find here.

So on the second day, I showed up at the same time as the first, right before noon.  There were a lot more people this day, and I noticed that the tent had switched to handing out numbers instead of calling names.  Just another day at the DMV, it seemed.

The morning of I had decided to alter my giant shirt down to make it fit.  I did it really quickly and realized I had lost my bobbin cover, but hey, it fit.  When I got up the counter to get my number, the volunteer coordinator asked me if I had a shirt.  I replied, "Yeah, I'm wearing it."  Then I added, "I made it fit" to a few chuckles from nearby volunteers drowning in their size-XL's.

My "fitted" shirt and I in front of the house on Day 2
Since there were more people and still not too much need for unskilled labor, we waited around A LOT.  It took over 45 minutes just to get our numbers called to go to the site.  But once we got down there, only a few people were needed for something.  The gals I found myself with were a few I had met the day before and they were determined to resume their post as lunch-servers.  I followed them to the cafeteria/warehouse thing, where we found a group of other ladies taking labels off of water bottles.  We immediately joined in the fun.

No free advertising for you, Wal-Mart!
Why water bottle labels?  Well, I'm pretty sure the water bottles given to all the workers and talent on site were donated, but not by the actual company who produced them.  Most of them were Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, and we needed to take off all the labels as to not give them a free plug on television.  So armed with a plastic butter knife, there we we found ourselves with a task.  It was also the cause of my only casualty from this EM:HE adventure.  On my second bottle, before I had really worked out a system, I cut my thumb with my plastic knife and drew blood!

My "construction" casualty, a day later.
Since there were quite a few of us, we finished the water bottles pretty quickly.  And I wasn't one of the "chosen ones" to serve lunch, so I got sent out to the "sit around and wait" tent.  We were all getting pretty frustrated because they had us waiting for quite a while.  I decided then to come back for the early morning shift (6am) the next day so that maybe I'd actually get to DO something.  But it was during this time that I met an Army guy who told me about how his aunt was the recipient of the previous extreme home built in Mobile by Heritage Homes and EM:HE.  He missed all of it due to boot camp, but it was nice to chat with him and hear how it really did help his aunt.  And she hasn't had to sell it because she couldn't afford taxes on it, which is one of the biggest criticisms of what this show does.  He mentioned their "multimedia" room with like 6 flat-screen TV's a few times, so it's apparently still impressive a few years later.

After waiting around for a while, seeing neighbors walk by with their "Neighbor" lanyard badges and giving water to the goose next door, we were all called to go up the street and participate in "the Braveheart March."  We were so excited about this!  And on our way up, we got some pretty good views of Ty standing next to the bus shouting into his megaphone.  I have a hunch I heard him talking to a different family - I'm pretty sure they tape more than one show simultaneously and he travels back and forth.

Holy cow, it's Tyyyyyy!

Gotta love the megaphone!
As for "the Braveheart March," we were handed Santa hats to put on over our construction helmets (Christmas special, that's us!) and led farther up the street.  The director in charge of our crowd gave us pretty explicit directions about not looking at the camera and cheering and stampeding and not having our cameras out to take pictures of Ty.  He also had this ridiculous Boston accent and was trying his darndest at a Southern one.  And failing miserably.  Until someone told him to say the words "sweet ass tea," which he really enjoyed repeating.

We did the March twice, and the highlight of the first one was watching this refrigerator of a woman firefighter completely BITE THE DUST as she tripped on a root going down the small hill we all had to run down.  I knew she was a tough woman, and her firefighter friends helped her up (I knew my 110-pound frame was helpless in this situation), and all I could do was laugh.  She was laughing too, I promise!  I'm pretty sure that's gonna end up on the cutting room floor, but I hope the editors enjoy it.

The firefighters being cute with their Santa-hat-helmets
After we marched down to a certain area, we were instructed to form a "doughnut" around the 4 members of the design team.  While we were in this formation, Ty did a few of his "Ty cam" scenes where he "talks" to the family on their vacation and lets them know what's going on.  The "Ty cam" is a real handheld video cam, and yes it was on, but not for all of it.  And I'm almost 100% positive it wasn't being live-fed to the family (in Disney World for the week), the way it is portrayed to be happening on the show.

In the scenes we filmed, the one I remember the most was when Ty had the people who nominated the family speak out why they did.  It really was just as heart-warming as it is on TV!  (I didn't expect this at all because there's a lot going on in the background during shooting and everything just seems so . . . staged.)  But I think Ty really did sorta choke up as touching things were said about a family that nobody else in the crowd really knew.  It was also nice having all 4 members of the Design Team in one place, because I think that was the only time that happened (not sure who was there for the reveal since we didn't go).  It took us over 3 hours to get all those scenes, and it was definitely quittin' time by the time we were done.  But I did get a good picture of Tracy on my way out!
She's really pretty when she's not making this face
Be on the lookout soon for my account of the third (and best) day of my adventure with EM:HE Pensacola.

christmas already? it's not even advent!

But I've learned that waiting until Advent to start planning for Christmas is just a bit behind the ball. Especially when I have some coupons to use at the outlets in Foley which expire before Thanksgiving.

Last year, with the craziness we had after the wedding, moving across town, a Nor'easter, B being gone and then back and then gone and then schedules changing (sea duty, I don't miss you one bit!), and me quitting my job and traveling to Georgia amidst all that, we just did not have the chance to send Christmas cards.  But this year, I really want to!  It's the married thing to do, right? 

We'll definitely be doing the customizable kind with pictures, like these from Shutterfly:

Snowman with style. 

How cute is that?  (Too bad I've never actually seen snow on Christmas!)

Christ is King.  Hooray for religious cards!

Another thing I've been meaning to do before the year ends is to make a fun photo calendar.  I always loved looking at the picture calendar hanging in my friend's kitchen.  It told a lot about their relationship and their family.  The calendar we've used this year was cute (it had submarine cartoons, and I bought it to support the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation), but I've already threatened B with a "cute kitten" calendar for next year.  I'm pretty sure he would throw such an atrocity away, so I think a photo calendar would be pretty awesome.  I've actually already started making one using the following template:

Rain or shine.  Simple and elegant.

I also love how you can customize the dates and even put pictures on the date block.  Hopefully we won't forget my mother-in-law's birthday again!

Our only issue now is to get some more darling pictures of the two of us.  I think I need to convince my mother to play photographer when we visit for Thanksgiving : )

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I will receive 50 free photo cards for writing it.  The content and opinions are my own.  Bloggers, get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly here.

02 November 2010

books i've read lately

Thanks to getting set up with the local library here, I've been able to get back on my reading train. I usually only read books once, so most of the books I own were gifts. I heart my library.

Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim.  I read a wide variety of books, including non-fiction.  I saw this book on display at the library as a "new arrival," and I swear I heard it beckon to me.  And when I opened it up, there were tons of reprinted vintage ads that go back almost a century!  As a gal with an degree in Advertising, I took it as divine intervention.

The book was very well-researched, albeit a bit pushy on the 'feminazi' front at times.  But it also gave me a brand-new appreciation for my period and the means we have now to just be normal during that time.  It's weird to think that 200 years ago women were just stuffing whatever they could down there to soak it up...or they were just lying around in bed pretending they were dying.  I've never used birth control (and never will), so I never thought about WHY women actually menstruate while on the Pill, since it's not necessary if you don't actually ovulate.  I now call that anomaly the "red-headed stepchild" of my awesomely REAL time of the month.  Yeah, I'll take a few cramps here or there (none this month, I'm a lucky one!) to not be playing tricks on my body or have to shell out money to do something I can do myself (NFP works, I promise!).  This book also taught me a bit about menopause and pregnant horse urine used in estrogen pills (umm, ew?).  However, thanks to this book I've decided to give re-usable panty-liners a try and I have some on their way to me from this Etsy shop.  Overall, this book was pretty great for a non-fiction read, even if I did get a few weird looks from both my husband and the librarian.

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer
I like chick-lit, so it's a wonder I hadn't found this author sooner.  This book was pretty true to the genre, but it did raise a few philosophical/cultural questions about the weight we give to marriage.  The basic premise is that 30-something Genie's boyfriend proposes on a national talk show, but she knows it's not directed at her.  Instead of admitting defeat to everyone she knows, she decides to ride it out and pretend she's engaged to him.  And then her best friend decides to join in the fun and pretend as well.  I mean, why should these successful gals have had to wait for an engagement to get nice linens and a Kitchen-Aid mixer anyway?  Some parts of the book were predictable, and some parts weren't.  I definitely liked it and will be reading more of Strohmeyer's work in the future.  This book has inspired me to give a future daughter/niece a "welcome to real life shower" one day.  (Although right now I will thank my family for giving me kitchen appliances for Christmas and birthdays for the years between college and marriage!)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
I read this for a book club.  I've never been to a book club in my entire life and I rarely read from the bestsellers list, but I decided to give both a go.  The book is told from the voice of Christopher, a 15-year-old British boy who has some type of high-functioning autistic disorder.  (The jacket just said autistic, but one of the ladies in book club said it sounded Asperger-esque.)  I LOVED the main character and especially his aptitude at math and love for Sherlock Holmes.  However, there was only one adult in the book I actually liked (his teacher who provided him with some great coping mechanisms).  The rest just didn't have the compassion needed to deal with a kid like Christopher, and I think they were all too selfish to want to deal with him.  This book really got me thinking about how hard it is on families of special needs children (many marriages fail in this situation), and if B and I really have the patience for it.   I also questioned how the author was able to write this book -- on his bio he says he worked with autistic kids years ago, but he really didn't research much for this book.  That kind of annoys me, actually.  Something else brought up in the book club was comparing this character to Sheldon on my fave show "The Big Bang Theory."  Sheldon might have Asperger's?  Hmm, that puts things in a slightly different perspective now.

What have you been reading lately?