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    The Avengers


    2012 - 05.14

    We went to see The Avengers this past week on Tuesday in the VIP.  We all enjoyed the movie, and it was good!  Lots of really good one liners.  I’d guess this one is going to keep raking in the big bucks (and it did $200 million in the first weekend and over $100 in the second weekend) mainly because it’s good movie.  Well paced and satisfying with characters and actors that people like.

    Something strange did happen though, we were in the VIP 19+ theatres, and during the movie a couple of times we heard crying.  It wasn’t often, and it wasn’t even loud enough that I was sure until after the movie was over, but someone had brought their baby into the movie theatre.  Not sure how they managed that.  The end result was however that in addition to getting to see the movie and mostly not being annoyed, we also got free passes for another movie.

    So all an all it was a very good day, and we’d recommend that you go and see it.

    Lucky Number Slevin


    2012 - 04.14

    Saw this movie was on Showcase a little while back and taped* it, I’d seen it before and quite liked it.  I’m even going to go so far as to classify it as a favourite, which is interesting since it’s one of the few favourites which I don’t own in any form.

    If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching.  Stylish thriller with strong comedic elements, nice twists and turns and good dialog.

    * “Taping” a show, I suppose perhaps I’m dating myself now, what do the kids call it these days, do they use the technically correct and technology neutral “recorded”, or do they actually say “PVR’d”?  It won’t be much longer before kids won’t know what a VCR was and that for most of 30 years people used magnetic tape for watching movies or recording television…

    Safe House


    2012 - 03.18

    After trying for a couple of days to make it to the movie we final were able to shake our tail and caught a matinee in one of the VIP theatres courtesy of a free pass we received for Christmas.

    We were predisposed to liking the movie as we’re fans of Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington.  We quite enjoyed the movie, it maintained a high degree of plausibility and the characters consistently acted rationally.  The trailers did a good job of getting us to want to go and see Safe House, but they didn’t really explain the actual title.

    Unlike the David Fincher movie Panic Room the entire movie doesn’t take place in a safe house, rather it’s a good action/spy movie which features a safe house.

    I don’t know if this actually reflects the way they actually do it in the intelligence community, but in the movie there are Safe Houses spread around the world and they are manned by a CIA agent, who’s whole raise d’etre is to babysit the house for the landlord in case they have a house guest.

    In the movie there’s a house guest and things go very very wrong.

    Enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to those who enjoy the genre, solid movie.

    Hunger Games (the book)


    2012 - 03.15

    So a while back I asked whether I should read the book before I watched the movie or not.  This decision was partly made for me as the book materialized on the nightstand.  It took me all of a day to read the book, which is related to the pacing and the relative size of the font in the book.

    Overall I enjoyed the book although I found some of the writing style employed to be odd, particularly around the dialogue where we would be in the midst of a section of dialogue and then we would be told that additional things were said as narration.  Whatever, threw me a few times because I needed to see where the quotation marks were, but otherwise it worked well enough.

    The story didn’t seem totally original too me, although it blended sufficiently many elements from other stories I was familiar with to make an original story.  The characters were well developed, had unique voices and were sufficiently compelling that you cared what happened to them.  So it worked.

    Worth reading, but the mature content warning on the cover is appropriate.

    I wonder what they are going to do in the movie, given that there’s a lot of nudity in the book, and although it may not be deemed inappropriate in a book for 16 year olds to be naked, or for younger children to read about them being naked (and it certainly isn’t inappropriate in the setting of the story itself), it is not the case that it would be deemed appropriate by the people who rate movies…

    I guess it’s likely that in most cases the story could be changed for the movie in such a way that you wouldn’t notice unless you had read the book.  Which is probably fine except for all the teenage boys who read the story and are hoping to see Katniss naked… (what are the odds we get some weird search engine traffic because of that phrase?)

    Keeping with the Food Theme: Nandos


    2012 - 02.04

    So the one thing that we’ve had recently which I haven’t mentioned in the recent plethora of food related posts was something that Karin got for Christmas: Nando’s Sweet Apricot Peri Peri Sauce.  Strangely not listed on the Nando’s website (which although cute and amusing is ridiculously difficult to use).  Regardless it combined two things: Karin’s love for apricots and her love of Nando’s and incorporated it into “favourite dinner” (a.k.a. dinner that someone else makes for her).

    Anyway, there’s no instructions on the bottle, so went to the website to see what the recommended usage of the sauce was (which of course is how I know it wasn’t listed on the site).  Basic instructions are brown chicken pieces then add sauce and cook for another 10-12 minutes.  So that’s what we did, and had that accompanied with oregano garlic oven fries, and that might have been it.

    The heat of the sause was rated as a “medium” and we learned that medium was not too hot for us.  So we definitely learned something.  We’ll probably try some of their other sauces before we go back to this one, as we didn’t notice a strong apricot flavour.

    Ribs


    2012 - 02.01

    Made ribs on Monday following the recipe from the blog: Delish for Juicy Tender Oven Roasted Barbecue Baby Back Ribs.

    They turned out well.  I wouldn’t say that they are the best ribs ever or anything like that, but they are simple and not incredibly time consuming either (takes a similar amount of time as a frozen lasagne), and everything is done in the oven.

    I received some House of Q sauces for my birthday specifically the Apple Butter BBQ Sauce and the Slow Smoke Gold Sauce and Slather.  So given that I got two racks of ribs from Costco we did one each.  We liked them both, but I think for ribs we prefer the Apple Butter.  I think I’d use the Slather more for pulled pork, or something that I was putting multiple sauces on.

    Overall it was very satisfying (rounded out the menu with garlic mashed potatoes, maple carrots and Karin’s mushroom and zucchini).

    Movies


    2012 - 01.08

    There are a number of movies that we saw during the holidays, in particular:

    • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    • Mission: Impossible 4 – Ghost Protocol

    We saw both of them at SilverCity Coquitlam in the new VIP theatres.  We enjoyed them both, and would recommend them both to others.  Both would be action movies, but good entries into the genre.

    If you’ve seen and enjoyed the previous Sherlock Holmes then I expect that you’ll enjoy the new one.  If you’re a fan of a the previous Mission Impossible films, you’d like the new one as well.  Both were solid and enjoyable.

    We’ll talk about the VIP experience later…

    It’s that time of year…


    2011 - 12.14

    That’s right the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band is selling tickets for their annual Robbie Burns Dinner Fundraiser.  This year it will be Saturday, January 28th 2012, starting at 6pm.  It is at the Famee Furlane Hall, 2605 E. Pender, Vancouver.  Tickets are $60 each or a table of 8 for $440 (that’s $55/ticket).

    If you’re interested in going, you can let us know, or you can just follow the contact instructions from the band’s website.  Karin’s father normally gets a table or two, and there might be space remaining, so you might be able to sit next to us.

    Dinner is traditionally roast beef with haggis and assorted veggies.  Many of the people who attend attend for the haggis, which historically is served as 1 per table (e.g. 1/8 people), given this love of haggis, people who DO NOT like haggis are very popular at the table as it leaves more for the haggis lovers.

    The evening also includes a few performances (traditionally, although not in this order):

    • the band
    • highland dancers
    • the Selkirk Grace
    • Address to a Haggis
    • Toast to the Lassies
    • Reply to the Toast to the Lassies
    • opportunity to try various scotches if you’re interested (extra charge)
    • silent auction as well
    I’ve been several times now (4 maybe?), and it’s definitely an experience ;-)  Be warned that the band can get quite loud, and if you don’t like bagpipes or have an active aversion, you should stay away, also there’s a bunch of stairs which you need to climb (the bathrooms are also require you to use the stairs).  Maybe we’ll see you there.

    Review: El Mirador by Alex J. Kane


    2011 - 12.12

    I’ve finally managed to get around to reading Mirror Shards, that would be the Anthology in which Karin is published.  Because of that I wanted to do a careful reading of all the works in the anthology, and write reviews of them.  Because of the desire to write reviews it’s been on my “to read” list much longer than I’d like.  Partly because other books were out of the library which puts you on an actual deadline, and partly because I mostly read before bed.  When I read before bed it’s pleasure reading, which isn’t appropriate for something that I want to review.  Not having anything out from the library at the moment (or at least not that I haven’t already finished reading), it made it possible for me to get started.

    So the first story in Mirror Shards: Extending the Edges of Augmented Reality, Edited by Thomas K. Carpenter is El Mirador by Alex J. Kane.

    I was very much caught off guard by the story.  I really didn’t have any idea what to expect based on the title, but I definitely had not expected a second person story, but that’s what I got.  Interesting choice that.  The ideas are good, the pacing is good, the story overall is good, although it left me wanting more.  More depth, more detail, more Tzitzi.  I guess realistically being left wanting more is definitely a better thing than wanting less.  I also expect that it’s something that’s totally common among people who are primarily book readers, and even more so in my case as I primarily read series.  So going from stories which typically are told in hundreds of thousands to millions of words, and instead down to something that’s more appropriately counted in hundreds of words.  Odds are that it’s going to leave you wanting more.  Even stories that very clearly have a completed arc are likely to leave you with questions like: but what happens next?

    Bottom line, I enjoyed the story and would consider reading more work by Alex J. Kane, but at this point I’m not going to go to any particular effort to seek it out.

    Tempe vs. Temperance


    2011 - 11.14

    A while back Karin had some books she’d weeded from our shelves as ones that she could part with.  Often times when she does that I don’t even look at the books, after all picking some out of the box is not part of the solution.  This time I did look however.  I took out a couple of books, one was book #6 in the Women’s Murder Club (don’t know if it’s representative of the series or not, but it felt like multiple unconnected stories told in parallel in order to get the appropriate page count; parts were interesting but on the whole disappointing) and Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs.

    I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but as some of you will be aware Bones is back on (second week of the season), and man was it weird watching Bones after reading part of one of the books.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but Temperance (from the show) is so very different from Tempe (what everyone calls her in the books).  I expected that there would be differences, there’s very few adaptations which don’t contain significant differences from the source material, but realistically in this case the characters personality wise seem to bare almost no resemblance to one another.  Truly a case of “inspired by” and not actually trying to be true to the source material.

    In this particular case it works and was perhaps not a bad decision.  As someone who was previous ignorant of the gulf of differences between the two characters, well it was just very surprising how different they were in core personality.  You expect things to be different, like maybe build, or hair colour, or what have you.  But to have what appears to be a completely different backstory, different mannerisms, a completely different emotional make-up, well beyond the fact they have the same name, the characters only bare a similarity (as far as I’ve been able to tell) in the science.

    So far the book is good too… just surprising to be totally unfamiliar with a character I thought I knew…