Archive for January, 2011

January 28, 2011

What the Newbies Ate

by brandt

Jenn, over at Peas and Crayons, has a wonderful idea going for anyone who’s ever felt that middle-of-the-week-timeless question of “What should we have for dinner tonight?”

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January 28, 2011

Oscar Movie Review: The King’s Speech

by brandt

Some people really get into the British lifestyle and way of thinking.  I knew a couple of people who loved watching BBC America and the comedy shows from overseas.  I knew people who went on university-sponsored European tours, where they got to visit the birthplaces of famous authors like Dickens and Jane Austen.  There are those that love British royalty,  the concept of knights and ladies, and the glamor that goes along with it.

I’m not really one of those people.  I mean, I’m interested in the lifestyle, and I’m fascinated by the accent, but it’s never been a primal urge to get into the history and culture of England.

So when Ashley told me she wanted to watch “The King’s Speech,” I was a bit hesitant.  Yes, the movie had been nominated for a ton of things, and the acclaim was almost unanimous in its praise, but it’s all about KINGS and PRINCES and PRINCESSES.

Boy was I wrong.

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January 27, 2011

Its Oscar Time!

by brandt

(Obviously, we have no house news.  But I like to write.  So in lieu of house information, I give you information about life.)

As you may or may not have heard, the 2011 Oscar Nominations were released on Tuesday, and I may or may not have squeed in excitement that the tradition could start again this year.

My tradition originally began back in 2008.  Ashley and I had been married for about 6 months, and we were immersing ourselves in the poor-newlywed-college experience.  We would go on dates on Friday/Saturday nights to Wal-Mart or the local grocery store to get food.  We kept RedBox in business by grabbing DVD’s all the time.  But the greatest part of the small college  town in Southeast Idaho we lived in was the movie theater(s).  There were 3 of them: A first run movie theater, and 2 second-run movie theaters (or, as we fondly called them, the “cheap” theaters).  Friday and Saturday nights were $3.00 for each of us.  Tuesday nights, we could see a movie for $2.00.  Wednesdays were free popcorn days.  And the best part?  It was literally one and a half blocks from our apartment complex.

So we watched a lot of movies.  And I would get so frustrated when I would invest my hard-earned $3.00 (and a valuable 2 hours of my time) into bad movies.  I would come out of the movies feeling like I’d been ripped off, or that I’d made a horrible mistake (a feeling akin to taking the HUMONGOUS BURRITO CHALLENGE at some of the local Mexican restaurants).  And the biggest problem was there was no secret formula to a good movie.  Some movies that were really long were excruciating.  Some that were short left me wanting more.  Some PG-13 movies decided to throw a couple of choice words in there to bump the rating up that had nothing to do with the movie (Vantage Point?).  Some PG movies were fantastic (Hairspray), some were wretched (*Ahem* “Old Dogs” anyone?).

So we became snobs.  Movie snobs.  We would watch a movie, and one of three things happened.  We would discuss it until 2AM, mock it mercilessly, or walk away feeling nothing.  Obviously, the goal was to see movies we could discuss.  But there’s nothing wrong with walking away feeling nothing.  I mean, I’m a man.  I like explosions and car chases and guns.  Ashley’s a woman.  She likes her chick flicks, her rom-com’s, and her Brits (oh does she swoon over British men).

But we wanted to stay informed, so we tracked the hot movies leading up until the Academy Award nominations.  It’s one thing to track what critics are saying, but critics have opinions, and everyone knows what they say about opinions:  Opinions are like…erm…bellybuttons – Everybody’s got one.  And instead of someone like Roger Ebert telling me who should win best movie of the year, we decided that we should come up with our own opinions.  And once the nominations were released, there were a good amount of movies that we hadn’t seen yet.  And we came up with the wild idea of going on a movie blitz.

So here’s the tradition: Every year, we watch all the movies in the following categories:

  • Best Movie
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director

We then come up with who we think should be the winner of the Academy Award in each category, and compare our individual picks to each other and to the Academy.  I’m proud to say many times, I’m almost spot on, but there have been a couple that I totally disagreed with (for example, Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” losing Best Actor a couple of years ago to Sean Penn in “Milk.”).

So instead of watching movies and being selfish, I’ll watch a movie and write a review for it.  That way, I can put my thoughts on paper, and if ever you need a recommendation for a Netflix, RedBox, or traditional movie-theater movie, you can come here and read what a (somewhat) normal person thinks of the supposedly “best” movies of the year.

Here’s my question to kick of Oscar Season: Do the Academy Awards sway you at all in what movie you watch?  Have you ever watched a movie based on the fact that it was nominated/won an Academy Award?

PS – Another integral part of the tradition (that was started last year) has been watching the Academy Award Nominated Short Films.  The high-brow film theater down in Detroit does a film festival every year showing the nominated animated and live-action short films, and we had such a fun time at it last year that we’ve included it in the “tradition” as well.  Highly recommended if your local film houses are doing something like that in the area.

Pictures via FataCulture, Zazzle

January 25, 2011

Day 15: Still No Word

by brandt

Wow…not writing any updates for a while felt like I was on a deserted island, with barely any communication with the outside world.

As a matter of fact, since we haven’t heard any news yet from our agent, it does feel like we’re on a deserted island.  Where’s Wilson when I need him?








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January 18, 2011

The Manny Chronicles

by brandt

Sometimes, having young animals can be extremely frustrating.  For our 2 kittens, we had some health issues to work through, then some behavior issues to work through, and I think we’re now at a point where both Ashley and I and the cats have a mutual understanding about what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t.  For example, chasing each other around and playing, even in the middle of the night while we’re trying to sleep is something we’ve conceded.  Chewing on electronics cords (like for our entertainment center, surround sound, or computers) isn’t acceptable.  Shedding all over our clothes is another compromise we made.  Fine, go ahead and shed.  But when I catch a kitty paws deep in our sink eating our leftover food, I’m not happy, and that’s not acceptable behavior.

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January 14, 2011

Random Friday Five “Are We Done Yet” Edition – 01/14/2011

by brandt

The purchase agreement is in, the EMD check has been deposited, and now we’re officially on the clock with the waiting game.  Thank you very much to all you kind people sending your positive karmic wishes over to us!  We could really use the good vibes as we begin the wonderful task of waiting on the bank.  It’s like “Waiting on the World to Change,” but instead of hope and optimism for humankind, we’re hoping and optimistic that a number cruncher spits out the numbers we want.  Our agent thinks that we’re in good shape, based on length of time on the market, the current time of year (sales are slow during the winter), and especially the comps in the area.  However, she’s warned us that the bank (GMAC) is going to do what the bank is going to do.  Obviously, updates will come almost as soon as we hear something (after Ashley and I both do our “happy dance,” make the appropriate phone calls, and come back down to Planet Earth).

Anyways, on with the countdown!

wait…aren’t I missing something?

Oh yeah….can’t believe I almost forgot.

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January 11, 2011

Somewhat of an Announcement

by brandt

Well, it’s finally happening.

After all this time, I never knew how it would feel to get to this point.

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January 11, 2011


by brandt

Jenn over at Peas and Crayons was kind enough to bestow the prestigious high honor of “Stylish Blogger Award” to us.  Wow!  How incredibly kind!

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

Blah blah blah thank you random big name director blah blah blah loving husband/wife/life partner/children/cat/dog/fish/iguana supporting me blah blah bl-

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January 7, 2011

Random Friday Five “FIRST OF 2011” Edition

by brandt

The first Random Friday Five of 2011. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  I always liked this time of the year.  Personally, it reminds me of my high school days when my swimming season kicked into full force and we were actually competing in meets.  Metaphorically, it’s the start of a new year, and a start of a new chapter in the story of Ashley and I’s lives.  And from a kitty perspective, this is what they think of the new year: “…………………”  (that’s them thinking absolutely nothing).

Wait,  did I say kitty?

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January 6, 2011

House #10 – Lake Orion

by brandt

We viewed this house last year.  Yes, I know “last year” is only 6 days old, and it’s weird to say that about something that happened a week ago, but it’s true.  I was working from home during the break, and after juggling schedules with the owners of the house, my agent, and our schedule, we finally got a chance to tour the house.

This one was a long shot.  I was scouring through the listings (after getting an updated pre-approval for a much higher amount), and this one was on my radar.  I knew the subdivision, had friends in high school who lived there, it met our location requirements, but it was priced high.  I got in touch with my agent, and figured it couldn’t hurt to take a look.

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