Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alamo Drafthouse: The Grand Budapest Hotel

After our Jailbreak Run, Gerred and I drove out to Austin to visit the Alamo Drafthouse, a theater chain that has been dubbed the "Best Theater Ever" by Time Magazine and "#1 Theater in America" by Entertainment Weekly. Why? Because this theater has a bar and restaurant set into the cinema. It even caters to quote-a-longs and sing-a-longs and shows cult and classic films.

Gerred and I made the trek to see The Grand Budapest Hotel because both of us became big Wes Anderson films after seeing Moonrise Kingdom. We began to gobble up more of his work soon after like Fantastic Mr. Fox, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Rushmore. Obviously, we still need to see Bottle Rocket. The Grand Budapest Hotel fits the Wes Anderson feel. This one is particularly hilarious and dark.

It was great to see the reoccuring Wes Anderson cast of Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton. I love how it's a story within a story within a story. I also loved that the countries of Austria, Germany, and Budapest were combined into one "Lutz" during the 1930's where he combines both wars into "the war." He'd created his own history of one we all know.

Alamo Drafthouse provided us with the key cross club pins and we ordered Mendl's pastries from the movie and delightful movie-themed cocktails to have with the film. In the end we got to dress up like the characters Zero and Agatha.I would love to visit a theater like this again and definitely recommend the film to you all.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

San Antonio Jailbreak

Since I wasn't in Texas for Gerred's 24th in February, I decided to do something special for him when I came out in March. Knowing we both love running, I signed us up to race in the San Antonio Jailbreak 5K.


When it came time to race day, we get there a half hour late. I was freaking out about how long it would take us and if they would let us run at all. They almost turned us away since volunteers were already taking up the course, but they called on their walkie talkies to see if anyone would help. Thankfully, they allowed it. We got our bibs, ran over to another station, and began our race 20 minutes in.

It was just us. We had the course to ourselves. Since, the volunteers had already taken down the flags of the beginning of the course which made it a lot more real. It looked like we were actually running from something: prison guards or zombies or whatever. It was definitely post-apocalyptic, in fact, we were running on The National Shooting Range in San Antonio, TX. They had shut down more than half of the range for this event so we could run through obstacles, but there were people still shooting off live rounds not too far away. So really when we were running around and we he ardthe pops of guns in the background we felt like we were really living in this adventure world. It made us both think about the zombies run app, which I swear by.

First thing we do is follow this silver truck up into the hills. We hear the pop pop pop of the guns in the background and we find our first obstacle, a small mud patch. It's not threatening, just a mud patch we run through. We think this is going to be easy then we run into the woods and find our first real obstacle, the under over hurdles. So I had to climb under then jump and hop over an orange parking barrier. I was a little less skilled with going under but I surprised myself. Our next obstacle was a dark wooded area with stretchy cables laced through the tree like a spider web james bond laaser that you had to find yourself through.


Once we got out of there we went through a small tunnel. I had a bit of a fear going through. I don't think I have a fear of heights or of small spaces, but I definitely have a fear of crawling through long tunnels because I think I'm gonna get stuck. I'm in there and I find small rocks and gravel inside. I was crawling through with my arms and hating it.  I say to Gerred "sing to me to get me out" and he immeditately sings "Talk to Dirty to Me." That helped me get through, surprisingly.

 We pop out and we had to do high knee tires, It was fun 'cause it was like a work out. I took it like a bootcamp or interval ladder. The whole time we are running Gerred is coming up with a post-apocalyptic story since it looks like we are on an abandoned farm with obstacles. After that we run under barbed wire. We get out and crawl through more tunnels before reaching the water slide cut into the side of a hill. It's essentially soap mud and water and we slid down it and got wet. We had water in our shoes and come back and jump over the tunnels.

We get to the pallet walls. I got to the wall and said I didn't think I could do it but I give it a try. Gerred coaches me over like just swing your legs over and I did it. I made it past this obstacle. And I've always thought I'd never be able to do that and that's why I never joined the military--well there are plenty of reasons why I never joined and that's one of them.

Then we got to the first mud pit which was the hardest thing for me because gerred jumped in just fine. I tell him to watch me jump in because I thought I'd jump in and get through it like it's black Hawk down but I didn't I slipped and fell backward submerging myself in the muddy water and kept slipping as I was trying to climb out.

After that we made our way over to more barriers to jump over. We then caught up to the people that started before us. We actually caught up to them, passed them, and beat them in the end. So we meet these guys at a diagonal rope climb wall. I think I'm too muddy and almost give up, but I start to pull myself up this wall by grabbing knot after knot and I get over. Coming down I fell though. I pretended to belay but actually just chose to fall so that I could continue the run quicker.

Soon after we made it to the tire wall and I thought I was done with the tall walls. But I make my way over, passing more people. I couldn't believe it. Then we had to climb up a cargo net. We passed more people and soon we reach the last obstacle of the 5k: the water slide. Gerred and I race each other up it and I screamed when I slipped down.

Finding we weren't 100% worn out, we decided to take the road less traveled. The Road Less Traveled was an added 2 miles to the journey that included us running up and down a severely steep hill 6 times, army crawling under barbed wire, carrying a tire up a hill, running around trees with sandbags. Basically the last part was added Crossfit that I still can't believe we did. I flipped that tire all the way up the hill. I told myself like I was doing the whole race that I wasn't going to quit.

When we came to the last part, we found it was a swimming mud pit. Oh, it was great. When we passed the finish line we were both awarded medals and given a beer. We threw our shoes into a donate pile and got hosed off by firemen. It was definitely a great birthday gift for Gerred and I loved that I got to be a part of it.
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Old Navy Anchors

This week a girl came into work to return a camera and she wore the most adorable anchor pants I'd seen. I had to know where she got them. She said they were from Old Navy. Really? I had to look immediately and found there were a ton of cute nautical items out for spring.
Women's Hooded Jersey-Lined Raincoat

Happy first day of Spring!
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Corpus Christi Run

Last time I came to Corpus Christi to visit Gerred and I went for a few runs and it really kicked off my love for running. This trip I told him I wanted to run all over Texas. So we set out to run in Downtown Corpus Christi. I'd never been and we thought a run (with a few stops here and there for a picture) would be a great way to see it.

We wound up running 3.2 miles all up the shore and even ventured out on this rock formation for a mile. I saw tons of palm trees, beach, and birds and loooooved it.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet Fergus

I got a text back from Gerred around finals last semester asking:
 "What if I got a cat?"
"A cat?"
"There is a cat in the area that needs a home ASAP." He sends a photo of him and adds, "He's a 4 month old kitten."
"Are you thinking of actually getting a kitten?"
"Not without you, but he's so cute."
"Well, he is cute."

And he got the cat. We named him Fergus after Fergus Mac Roich of Irish mythology. Apparently the previous owner had him about a week and said this kitten was trouble. The guy claimed he kept crying at night and that's probably because he didn't feed him since Fergus was malnourished. Some people should just not own pets.

Fergus is such a well behaved, goofy, soft kitten. He likes to perch on shoulders like a parrot, he likes to jump, lick faces, bring over toys to play with, and cuddle. Basically he's an oddball kitten and we love him. He even has his own hashtag #fergustheweecat
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Thursday, March 13, 2014


Gerred has been in flight school for about a year and a half now. Yes, it has been a long long journey. He spent the first half in Pensacola, FL flying a Cessna 152 and taking Naval Aviation academics before up and moving to Corpus Christi, TX for Primary. In Texas he flew a T-34C and also flew a 3 week stint in Las Cruces, NM. In this past year and a half he has learned so much about aviation. He's flown solos and formations and the more I hear the more I'm proudly surprised.

Now, that he's completed he gets to select what he'll be flying. For a year he's been changing his mind. Do I want jets? Do I want maritime? Do I want helicopters? He has the grades for all of them, but today he finally found out he'll be flying-- Helicopters!
For those following at home, he'll be following the Advanced Rotary path and will be in Helicopter School for another estimated 7 months or so.

Congrats Gerred! On to Helicopter School in Milton, FL!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Painting Date

This Spring Break I decided (last minute) to visit Gerred in Texas again! Come to think of it I've spent each Spring Break in a different state to visit him. I spent 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2012 in Washington D.C. (and a little day trip to Connecticut for Katie's Maury Bachelorette Party), 2013 in Pensacola, Florida, 2014 in Corpus Chrisi, Texas. I guess seeing the world is certainly one of the perks I can check off for being a Navy wife. Speaking of perks, we went on a date last night and we had a blast.

Gerred found a groupon for Pop Goes the Easel! a painting BYOB party place where you learn to paint with a drink in your hand. Gerred and I chose whiskey sours in the always respectful Bubba Cup. Let me tell you what, it made him in artist. Maybe it was the whiskey or maybe the sour, but he was painting like Van Gogh for someone claiming to have zero artistic talent.

Actually the whole time I was reminded of our last artistic endeavor in Disney World. We drew Woody and Stitch. Let me tell you he's come a long way since drawing "the cowboy who has seen things."

Our instructor, taught everyone how to paint a seaside landscape. But I saw this painting of an anchor on the wall and I asked (since there were only 8 attendants) if I could try my hand at that. She said yes and made sure to check up on me in between the explanations of how to make a cloud which was seriously channeling up several images of Bob Ross in my head.


Anyways, I got a pretty neat how to course on how to paint a striped background (tape it, paint it, dry it) and free styled from then on. 

I loved our end products and would definitely do this in the future. Maybe when I reach my dream goal in life of joining a wine club fronting as a book club I'll do this again.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Regardons-le en Français

J'aime la langue française, though I'm a little rusty. For the past few events for Cultural Ambassadors (a club on campus headed by the Global Education Office), I've planned foreign movie nights of only French films: Romantics Anonymous and The Intouchables. The movies were such a big hit it got me thinking that there are a ton of great French movies out there that I love.

Romantics Anonymous (2011)


Two people with intense anxiety + chocolate = a strangely cute love story
To sum it up even further its"Amelie meets ChocolatFilm Journal International,

Summary from Tribeca: Romantics Anonymous tells the story of Angélique (Isabelle Carré), a gifted chocolate-maker whose uncontrollable shyness prevents her from acknowledging her talents. Struggling chocolatier Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), who also suffers from a similar case of awkward bashfulness that threatens to drown his company, hires Angelique as his new sales associate. Realizing she's attracted to her boss, Angelique decides to anonymously develop a new line of chocolates to save the company. With the future of the business hanging in the balance, Angelique and Jean-Rene must overcome their limitations and confess their sweet affections for one another in this delectable comedy.

The Intouchables (2012)


Guy from the projects helps out handicapped millionaire = friendship 

Summary from Weinstein: An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust and human possibility, The Intouchables has broken box office records in its native France and across Europe. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicap millionaire (Francois Cluzet) and his street smart ex-con caretaker (Omar Sy), The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humor between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.


L'auberge Espagnole (2002)

International students studying abroad in Spain live together in one apartment which is essentially my Senior Year at WAC in a nutshell.

Summary from Mark Deming, RoviA man eager to learn Spanish gets an education he wasn't expecting in this comedy drama. Xavier (Romain Duris) enrolls in a language program inBarcelona. Upon his arrival, Xavier moves into a large house shared by a large group of students from all over Europe. Xavier finds that his ideas and attitudes are challenged in a positive way by the diverse personalities of his housemates, and that his loyalty to Martine is tested by his attraction to Anne-Sophie (Judith Godrèche), a sweet but lonesome woman from France who has been away from her husband for too long.

Mesrine: Killer Instict (2007) and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2010)

  [via]                                                            [via]

Bad ass guy + crime + prison time = More bad ass guy

Summary from Nathan Southern, RoviThis tough and gritty French-language crime drama represents the premier installment in a two-part series of features on the life and doings of notorious Gallic hood Jacques Mesrine (1936-1979). Beginning in 1979, with Mesrine's uncommonly violent death, whereby he and a beautiful young woman are suddenly (and fatally) ambushed by Parisian police not far from Mesrine's place of birth. Richet then flashes back to the Franco-Algerian War of the late '50s and a brutal interrogation undergone by Mesrine. Following a military discharge, Mesrine returns to his parents' suburb of Clichy, where his dad has arranged a pathetic job for him in a lace-making factory. Never one to take humiliation lying down, Jacques perceives burglary, larceny, and racketeering as much-superior options and decides to pursue a life of crime via a "business partnership" with childhood buddy Paul (Gilles Lellouche), who works for mobster Guido (Gérard Depardieu). As the years pass, Jacques works his way up through the ranks of the underworld; via Paul, he also meets and falls hard for two women: Pigalle streetwalker Sarah (Florence Thomassin), and Sofia (Elena Anaya), a beautiful Spanish woman with whom he cohabitates after doing time in a French prison. Following a brief and unsuccessful attempt to "go straight," Jacques reconnects with Guido, then finds it necessary to escape from France to Canada with his new mistress, Jeanne (Cécile De France). Unfortunately, another prison sentence is waiting for him there, replete with brutal solitary confinement, but the possibility of a daring escape beckons.

Amelie (2001)


Quirky girl does quirky things.

Summary from Mark Deming, Rovi: One woman decides to change the world by changing the lives of the people she knows in this charming and romantic comic fantasy from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who had a decidedly unusual childhood; misdiagnosed with an unusual heart condition, Amelie didn't attend school with other children, but spent most of her time in her room, where she developed a keen imagination and an active fantasy life. Her mother Amandine (Lorella Cravotta) died in a freak accident when Amelie was eight, and her father Raphael (Rufus) had limited contact with her, since his presence seemed to throw her heart into high gear. Despite all this, Amelie has grown into a healthy and beautiful young woman who works in a cafe and has a whimsical, romantic nature. When Princess Diana dies in a car wreck in the summer of 1997, Amelie is reminded that life can be fleeting and she decides it's time for her to intervene in the lives of those around her, hoping to bring a bit of happiness to her neighbors and the regulars at the cafe. Amelie starts by bringing together two lonely people -- Georgette (Isabelle Nanty), a tobacconist with a severe case of hypochondria, and Joseph (Dominique Pinon), an especially ill-tempered customer. When Amelie finds a box of old toys in her apartment, she returns them to their former owner, Mr. Bretodeau (Maurice Benichou), sending him on a reverie of childhood. Amelie befriends Dufayel (Serge Merlin), an elderly artist living nearby whose bones are so brittle, thanks to a rare disease, that everything in his flat must be padded for his protection. And Amelie decides someone has to step into the life of Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), a lonely adult video store clerk and part-time carnival spook-show ghost who collects pictures left behind at photo booths around Paris. Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain received unusually enthusiastic advance reviews prior to its French premiere in the spring of 2001, and was well received at a special free screening at that year's Cannes Film Festival.

Know any other great French films or any other foreign films worth the watch?
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