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Friday, August 19, 2011

New Year's Highlights

Wow! This is an old one! How did this not get published seven months ago?!
Better late than never, I guess.
I really need to go through my unfinished blog posts more often...
Anyway, here is the much delayed review of my New Year's celebrations.

We went to see Tron: Legacy in 3D IMAX.  It was pretty cool! Amazing score!


We watched Brian Regan at home as a family.  He is so dang funny! No matter how many times I watch his DVDs I end up laughing my head off!


Pizza for dinner, lots of snacks, sparkling cider, and my brother in some weird scarf thing...


We played family games like Uno, Go fish, and Apples to Apples.
We also told a really lame progressive story thing.

To celebrate the new year we opened fortune cookies and popped those party popper things.  Good times.


That night/early morning, after the festivities were over, we had a slumber party with family and friends.


Oh yes! I almost forgot! Every year we always buy a variety of brands of egg nog and do taste tests to see which one is our favorite.  It's pretty fun.  I'm always surprised at the weird variety of nogs that my Dad manages to find.

Lastly, my very most favorite New Years activity, (and pretty much everyone else's as well) was...

NERF WARS!





We ran all over the house flinging hundreds of little foam darts at each other.
It was pretty dang awesome!
Even my mom joined in on the fun for a little while.  She liked it.

(As a side note, we are still finding darts strewn about the house in odd places.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Midnight in Paris


This is the most enjoyable film I have seen in YEARS!
Seriously, you need to see it!
You ESPECIALLY need to see it if you like literature and art!

I realize it is possible that many of you have not heard of this film.
Where I live, it was not in wide release for some strange reason.  You may have to wait until you can rent/buy it, but don't worry, it will be worth the wait!

Midnight in Paris is the latest work from Woody Allen.
I've never really been much of a Woody Allen fan, but I admit that I haven't seen many of his films.
That's primarily because I haven't liked any of the ones I have seen...until now.

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a film this much!
There have been many other recent films that have impressed me, or moved me, or inspired me, but Midnight in Paris is just delightful in every way, from start to finish.  I laughed a lot, and it left me smiling and wanting more.
Good job Woody, you've convinced me to check out more of your films.

Also, it made me want to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Elliot, and listen to more Cole Porter.

Wonderful characters, witty dialog, fun situations, and a good message.

This was an absolutely terrific film that I would recommend to anyone.

One thing that I thought was really interesting was Owen Wilson's performance.  As you may know, Woody Allen frequently stars in his own films.  In my opinion Mr. Allen really isn't much of an actor since he usually just plays himself with a different name.  With that said, it was obvious that the main character was intended to be Woody himself.  What we got instead was Owen Wilson playing as Woody Allen.  It was fun seeing someone else play this now famous role.  What was even more fun though was seeing him do it so well!

With Woody Allen being too old to play the kinds of roles he writes for himself, I wonder if we will see more actors portraying the character, or if Owen Wilson has secured the part for the foreseeable future.  Personally, I would prefer if they left it to Owen.  He was just so dang good!

I've seen this masterpiece twice already, and it was even better the second time.  Go see it!

5 stars.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Peace Like a River

I recently read Peace Like a River.

It was excellent!

I loved the characters, the language, the narration...it is just a really great read!

It also has one of the most incredible moments I have ever read. I don't want to give it away, but it is simultaneously thrilling, and horrifying, all in the space of one paragraph.

My only complaint is that I didn't much care for the ending. The ending is good, I just thought it seemed a little out of place given what we know about the characters. Very good read though. I really enjoyed it.
If you like books with narrative styles similar to To Kill a Mockingbird, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I think you will really enjoy this book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau


I liked this movie quite a lot.  More than I was expecting to, actually.
I always read film reviews, and The Adjustment Bureau was getting a mixed reception.
With this in mind, I was very pleasantly surprised.

I thought that Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were incredibly good together and had excellent chemistry.  I would like to see them together in more films.
I would even say that it is worth watching just so you can see their performances.

I thought that the plot concept was interesting, although a bit cheesy at times. It did make for a reasonably thought provoking film which was very fun to watch, so I'm not complaining at all.

One of the cool things that I didn't know going in, was that the film is based on a short story called Adjustment Team, by Philip K. Dick. In case you are not familiar with this author, he wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which is the original story behind one of the most famous science fiction films of all time, Blade Runner.

The film was especially fun to watch having recently visited New York.  The entire film takes place in New York City and prominently features many well known buildings and landmarks.
If you have been to New York City, I think you will enjoy seeing many of the places you probably visited, shown in the film.

I don't think The Adjustment Bureau will be winning any big awards anytime soon, but it is pretty fun, fairly interesting, and displays some excellent performances.  I would give it 4 stars out of 5.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Welcome to the Temple of Doom!"

Do you like Star Wars?
Were you dissatisfied with the prequel trilogy?

If so, you MUST check out this awesome video!



It's especially funny because for years, my brothers and I have theorized that the only way for the new Star Wars movies to be so awful is if George Lucas either went crazy, or was abducted and replaced with an impostor.  It looks like we weren't alone in our thinking.

Special thanks to Katie P for introducing me to this YouTube masterpiece!

Oh, and if that isn't funny enough for you, then check out this picture courtesy of Mrs. James.

Fourth of July in Review

This year I had a particularly awesome Fourth of July!

Robin and I started out the day by running in the Murray City 5K.
This was my second 5K, and Robin's first.
We decided to run together, which made it a lot of fun.
Also, by total chance we literally ran past my good friend Kendra and her new husband Eric.  They were sitting on the sidelines watching the runners.  It was really fun having someone cheer for us. :)

We finished in 33 minutes, 40 seconds.  Not bad.

Following the race, we had pancakes at the park, courtesy of the Lions Club.
They were delicious.

Next, the adventure continued with ROCK CLIMBING!
We met up with Dave and Meagan and some of their friends down in Provo.
Robin did so well!
It was her first time climbing outdoors, and really her first time doing real climbing with a harness and rope.
She got to the top of the climbs with no problems!
I think she might be a natural.

After rock climbing, we got cleaned up and then had a barbecue with my family.
It was really fun...and delicious!

Finally, we finished out the day with...

wait for it...

Fireworks!
(duh)

The show was shorter than I remember, but really fun to watch.
:)

Monday, August 8, 2011

200th Post!

Well friends, the time has come once again.

I have posted my second hundredth blog post!

As with last time, I would like to make a list of my personal top ten posts written by me.
It would make me really happy if you, my faithful readers, would take the time to revisit these classic Spratt Actual posts. :)

Here we go!

10. Tron: Legacy, and the Uncanny Valley
I was pretty pleased with how this film review turned out, and my smartness in discussing the "uncanny valley" concept.  Too bad nobody read it...or commented on it...
Don't I have any film buffs/snobs reading my dang blog?
I kid, of course. ;)

9. Midnight Bike Adventure
This was just fun to do, and fun to write about. I hope you have fun reading about it.

8. "Watch Out! He's Got His Probe!"
The most hilarious accidental game discovery ever!  The innuendos are endless!

7. Top Ten: Ansel Adams Photographs
A collection of some of my favorite photographs.  Also, this is my all-time most frequently viewed post!

6. Timpanogos: Top Down
This was quite the adventure! We had a lot of fun, and were pleased with our accomplishment.  I got a lot of pretty pictures out of it too.

5. NYC (All five parts)
A five part series guiding you through the best vacation of my life! I really hope that you all enjoy reading about it; especially my New York readers.

4. Dot Dot Dot
This is a very humorous exploitation of another persons poor spelling, grammar, syntax, and word choice.  It's also pretty funny even if you don't ever think about any of those things.  Or if you just like stuff that makes fun of people that are less smart than you are. Or if you like humorous rants.  It's just funny.  You should watch it.

3. Top Ten: Josh Pyke Songs
This post was a labor of love, intended to share with everyone out in the blogging universe my new found love for the music of Josh Pyke, and hopefully to persuade some of you to love his music as much as I do.  The only comment I got was from the amazing person who introduced me to Josh Pyke in the first place...so didn't anyone else listen to the songs I posted?  Now is your chance to give it another try! He is really great, I promise!

2. Ten Reasons You Need Validation
Probably the most amazingly beautiful short film I have ever seen.  I love everything about it. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to! It will be worth the 16 minutes, I promise!

1. Orchestra Fail
This post is just hilarious! It doesn't matter how many times I listen to this orchestra fail, I bust a gut laughing every time.  Whenever you need a good chuckle, I recommend listening to this wonderful trainwreck.

There you have it! My ten personal favorite posts! These were actually pretty tough to select.  I really had a lot of favorites over the last 100 posts.  I hope my next 100 turn out as well.

I just want to thank everyone for reading my blog. I really have a lot of fun sharing with you the things that I enjoy doing, or the things that I find interesting, and I really hope that you enjoy reading it.
If you enjoy my blog, and aren't already following, please follow.
I like knowing who my readers are. It helps me personalize things a bit better.
Plus, I want to follow you!

Thanks everyone!