Sunday, December 28

to live and die in l.a.

This was a pretty good movie that we watched on Brian's recommendation (he saw it when it originally came out in the mid 80s). This crime drama starred a young Willem Dafoe as a counterfeiter who was wanted by the Secret Service. It had a great chase scene in it and was engaging overall. Brian felt that it held up well (oftentimes those older movies don't).

My rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, December 27

s.o.b.

What an unusually beautiful day for December. I took advantage of the nice weather and mulched the strawberries and garlic. While I was out there, I glanced into the pond, only to find that the koi had died. Curiously, a goldfish and the catfish also died this fall. I'm not even sure if there are any other fish in there at this point, but I do find it odd that potentially all of the fish have died. I guess there's nothing I can do about it till spring, but it's a bummer.

Friday, December 26

the 4th day of xmas

We had Christmas at our house yesterday. My parents, brother and his crew, and a friend of my mom's attended the dinner. Brian's mom had to work so the three of them stopped over later in the afternoon. It was a nice day. I'm off today, so Brian went to work. We always alternate days off over Christmas to ensure someone's at the office, though this is becoming less of an issue since our employee numbers are growing.

This concludes our scheduled Christmas activities. Not sure if anything else will come up, but I woke up with Jake's cold this morning, so I doubt I will be in the mood to do anything over the weekend.

Thursday, December 25

the 3rd day of xmas

We spent Christmas Eve at my in-law's. It was fairly laid back--just us, the in-laws and our niece and her boyfriend. We had a nice dinner and then went to church, which was less than an hour in length (gasp!). After church, we went back to the house and did my favorite Christmas activity--we opened gifts.

Wednesday, December 24

blue ruin

I read an article on the best moves of 2014 or some such time period and this one looked interesting. It was available on Netflix streaming and I didn't have anything going on last night, so I decided to watch it.

This was a revenge film, but not in the classic sense (i.e. not in the Liam Neeson ass-kicking sort of way). Basically, this homeless guy finds out that the person who killed his parents (is he homeless due to what happened to his parents? who knows.) is being released from prison and he decides to kill him (or maybe he planned to do this all along). Also, don't think what I just wrote is a spoiler because this all happens within the first five or ten minutes of the movie. What else is left, you might ask? Well, I guess you'll have to watch the movie to find out. Also, I wanted to note that there is a distinct lack of dialogue in this movie as a lot of scenes only have the main character in them and he doesn't go around talking to himself (and there's no voiceover to tell us his thoughts), but it was a pretty engrossing film nonetheless.

My rating: 3.5/5

Monday, December 22

the 2nd day of xmas

We had our annual Christmas visit and exchange of gifts with Judy last night. We met up at our house in the evening. It was a fun time, as always. We've gotten to see a lot more of Judy this year and that is just fine with me. We'll be meeting up for dinner after the new year in order to meet her new-ish boyfriend. We'll call that a bonus!

Sunday, December 21

we need to talk about kevin

I came upon this movie because I really liked Chevelle's song, "Take Out the Gunman". I heard it on the radio and wanted to listen to it again, so I did a search on YouTube and watched what I thought was their official video. I was surprised to see that actress Tilda Swinton starred in it, so I did a little more research on the subject only to find out that it was a fan video that I was watching and it (effectively) used scenes from "We Need to Talk About Kevin". Intrigued, I added the movie to my Netflix queue. Brian saw it sitting on the tv console table and asked when I was going to watch it. He heard about the movie in a different context and was interested, so we popped it in the DVD player last night. It was quite engrossing. You can probably guess the subject matter from the Chevelle song.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, December 20

the 1st day of xmas

Brian and I went to a Christmas party last night. Jake stayed home to rest up because he has a cold and has his first formal dance at school is this evening. The party was held at the same place as the Halloween Party we went to in October. A former schoolmate of Brian's hosts Halloween and Christmas parties each year for friends and family. This is our second year for both parties. They always put out a great spread of food, so it's not to be missed!

Wednesday, December 17

breaking bad (reprise)

I've been wanting to watch Breaking Bad again ever since it ended. Jake, who didn't see it the first time around, also wanted to watch it, so we watched it together over the course of the past few months. It was just as good the second time around, though you definitely have a different perspective on all of the characters. Jake really liked it and Brian even joined us for a number of episodes. Up next in the Netflix streaming queue: American Horror Story.

Sunday, December 14

divergent

The three of us did a Family Movie Night last night and watched this movie. For what it was, it was fine. On a scale of Ender's Game to The Hunger Games, it fell in between. Apparently there is a sequel, which we will be watching. Jake read the first book in the series and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if I will be reading the books, but I just might.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, December 12

sons of anarchy

Jake and I watched the series finale last night. I was mostly satisfied with the ending (but at this point, I'm happy any time a show ends and the main characters are not sitting in a diner while a Journey song plays). This final season, on the other hand, was a bit much to swallow. It definitely had some interesting moments, but the whole premise for the season was off. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this show.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, December 9

christmastime

We've been prepping for the holiday ever since Black Friday. I managed to do 99% of my shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend and figured out the rest. We usually don't decorate and put the tree up until mid-December, but Jake wanted to do that earlier this year, so we did just that. I finished making the Christmas cards and am in the process of mailing them this week. I still need to wrap gifts (which I will be doing this coming weekend) and make some treats. I'm only doing people treats this year (and not many at that). Sorry, dogs (I'll make it up to you later). We're having Christmas dinner here, but there's not a lot I can do for that until closer to the day. I do have the menu figured out. I hope I'm not missing anything. If I am, I'm sure it will become apparent closer to the day.

Sunday, December 7

rental

I've been wanting to get out of the rental business for a little while now. But, since we have continually had renters since we bought our rental house in 2011, getting out hadn't been an option--until now. Our most recent tenant moved out at the end of last month. This has given me time to sow the seeds of my discontent with Brian. After spending yesterday afternoon painting the living room of the rental (and my argument was helped in a small part by the fact that the toilet wouldn't stop running when we were there and, when he tried to use the shut off valve, it started leaking all over the place. now the water to the whole house is off...), I think I finally have him convinced.

On one hand, having the extra income is great. On the other hand, our main source of income keeps us quite busy and it would be nice to be able to relax on the weekends instead of having to do improvement projects at yet another property (in addition to our house, we also own our office building, so we're already maintaining two properties).

Of course, if we're going to sell it, we have a lot more work to do than if we're just going to rent it again. Our intention of painting the living room and dining room and replacing the carpeting has turned into painting (or possibly remodeling the kitchen), replacing outlets/switch covers,installing new blinds, doing some cleanup maintenance outside, performing a thorough cleaning of the place, and more! So, I guess this means we're going to be busy for the next couple of months.

That said, I would be amenable to having rental properties in the future. Note, that I said properties. If we had a couple of them, we could afford to hire someone for all of this maintenance stuff. With one, not so much.

Worst case, if the place doesn't sell quickly, we could always rent it out again.

Saturday, December 6

revival

This book was Stephen King's take on the classic Frankenstein story. It was much more original than Dean Koontz's take. At any rate, I really, really enjoyed the first part of the book (the part where the main character is growing up--no one does that like Stephen King), but after the main character became an adult, things got a little slow. And, I didn't care much for the twist at the end. It was a quick read, though.

My rating: 3.5/5

Friday, December 5

busting myths

We went to IUP's Kovalchick Complex last night to see the MythBusters Behind the Myths Tour. It was quite entertaining. While they did not exactly bust any myths, they did talk about a lot of things from the show and had a bunch of audience participation opportunities. It was a fun night and definitely worth seeing for fans of the show.

Thursday, December 4

senioritis

Today is Buster's seventh birthday. Typically speaking, larger dogs are considered to be a senior once they turn seven. So, now we're officially running an old pets home (it's like an old folks home, but with pets). Marley is 15; Alice is 14.5; and Lizzy turns 13 next month. Perhaps it's time to increase our monthly veterinary allowance.

Monday, December 1

long weekend

It was nice catching an extended break from work. I had a lot of things to do around the house, and was able to accomplish most of them. I also put a dent in my Christmas preparations, including wrapping up almost all of my shopping (the exceptions were a few last minute items that need to be purchased closer to the date). Unfortunately, it is time to go back to work. I could do with some more four day weekends.