Saturday, July 28

harry potter and the deathly hallows: part ii

This was definitely my favorite movie of the series (and not just because it was the last one). It was quite good. After last week's setup, we were back to the action in this film. I loved how this story ended. I also liked how the movies stayed true to the books--that doesn't happen very often.

Monday, July 23

harry potter and the deathly hallows: part i

This was probably my least favorite Harry Potter movie so far. But, that's because they took the last book and split it into two movies. I realize this had to be done due to the length of the story, but it made for a weak first half in my opinion. The other negative about this film was it was darker than the others and didn't have as many cool special effects due to the storyline. But, I'm expecting good things from the final film now that the plot has been set.

Sunday, July 22

forest county

For vacation this year, we headed north to Forest County, Pennsylvania. It was a quick trip of about two hours, but it seemed like we were a world away from everything (mainly due to not having cell, internet or tv reception). We rented a little cabin called The Storybook Cabin for the week (5 nights, actually). And, I can't remember ever being on a more relaxing vacation than this one. 

While there were other cabins in the area, no one else was around (perhaps they were only used as a weekend retreat by their owners?) so we got a good taste of what it would be like to live in the country, which we would like to do someday. I have to say, I really liked the seclusion. 

The cabin was pet friendly, so we took Alice with us. I have never seen that dog so happy. She was off-lead most of the time and behaved very well. Now I cannot imagine vacationing without one of the dogs.

Our days pretty much went like this: get up, eat breakfast, do something, eat lunch, relax/read/nap at the cabin, do something else, eat supper, fish at the river or board games, campfire (with campfire snacks!) and then read before retiring for the night.

Activities for the week included fishing, canoeing/kayaking on the Clarion River, Cook Forest State Park (in particular we visited the Forest Cathedral area and the fire tower), Double Diamond Deer Ranch, Forest County Visitors Center, Sherman Memorial Lighthouse, the Tionesta Lake and Buzzard Swamp. There's a whole lot more to do up there, but we kept the pace pretty slow.

Fishing on the river wasn't good (it was all fished out), so we went to Buzzard Swamp (which is part of the Allegheny National Forest) to do some fishing. We only caught little fish there, but at least we caught something. That was my first time fishing since I was a teenager. Given what we had to pay for our fishing licenses, I imagine I will be doing some more fishing this year. Next year (yes, we are going back) we're going to try our luck at Tionesta Lake.

We ate most of our meals at the cabin. Brian and Jacob came up with a nice menu for the week. We ate lunch out most of the week--this gave us a chance to drive to Brookville, where there is cell reception, and check our emails and phone messages.

This definitely ranks as one of our best vacations ever. Who would have thought that we could experience that just two hours from our house?

Saturday, July 21

the ides of march

We watched this movie last weekend--I totally forgot to blog about it. Starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney, this was a tight political thriller. I've always been interested in politics, so it was pretty interesting to see what goes on behind a political campaign. Plus, you know, it had Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Worth watching.

Saturday, July 14

garden

So far, the garden has been producing nicely. This year, for the first time ever, I picked some large onions and beets. Normally both run small. I don't mind it for the beets so much, but tiny onions are a pain to deal with. I'm not sure what's the cause for the large vegetables--all I can figure is that it has something to do with the early spring because I planted everything at the same time of the year that I usually do.

No red tomatoes yet, but the plants look great. I should have a good crop this year. Due to the blight problem, I bought some fungicidal spray for the plants. I've only sprayed once so far. I'm trying to do it the least amount possible since I don't like using stuff like this, even if it is approved for organic gardening. Blight is dependent upon the weather (cool, rainy weather). I sprayed during one of the cooler times, but it's been pretty hot and dry since then so I haven't bothered to do it again (yet). 

I've been canning and freezing some things, too, but that won't get into full swing until more things start to ripen. I'm trying to stay away from novelty items this year (pickled butternut squash, anyone?) and just stick to things that I can really use. 

Tuesday, July 10

cross fire

I was in the mood for a quick read and this did the trick. I always enjoy James Patterson novels whenever I haven't read one in a while, as was the case with this book. It seems like his older books had a little more substance to them, but maybe I'm remembering wrong. At any rate, it was a good read.

Wednesday, July 4

google chrome

Firefox, my browser of choice for some time, had been acting up in recent months--it was hogging all of the RAM on my laptop and running slowly. A reboot of Firefox would fix the issue, but having to reboot several times a day was an annoyance. 

During all of this, I heard that Google Chrome topped IE as the most popular browser, so I thought I'd give it a try (again--as I tried it when it first came out, but didn't care for it). Well, I am converted this time. In general there's not anything I don't like about it--it has a clean interface and is super fast. The only negative is that one of the toolbars I use, the Web Developer toolbar, is missing some features that I need. So, I still need to use Firefox when I want to access these tools. I still see no need for IE beyond testing websites to make sure they render correctly in it (which I something I do at work, not as a hobby). 

Sunday, July 1

contagion

I was hoping for a little more "apocalypse" in this movie (there was some of that, though not too much), but it was still interesting to watch how quickly a global pandemic can occur. Jake is my new movie-watching partner and he liked it, too.