Archive for August 2011

The Killing (1956)

originally posted at

Just watched an interesting movie last night. It is called The Killing. It is a film noir from 1956 by Stanley Kubrick (yes, the 2001 guy, among others). It centers around the robbery of a horse race track on one of the bigger race days of the year. Various people involved with/employed at the track and the local mobsters collude to arrange it so they can take the biggest amount of money possible with the least risk possible. Essentially they arrange it so they will be able to rob the cash storage and couting room after the betting is closed on the big race but before any bets can be paid out, thereby maximizing their take. It’s an interesting movie, definitely not your usual heist movie that you would see these days. Many of the characters are surprising complex when they could just as easily been simplified in service of telling the story. In the end it becomes clear that the characters are the focus of the story and the heist is more of a framework to expose their values and flaws.

The most interesting character to me was a bit player in the story, a big bruiser of a thug named Maurice. He is hired solely to start a bar brawl at an opportune time to distract and occupy the track security guards but it turns out he is a sort of sage philosopher. The brains of the heist, named Johnny, hires him for his muscle but Maurice obviously sees Johnny as a bit of a slow child, he tolerates his shortcomings and tries to teach him something about his future. Here is their first scene together and the quote from it (the actor who played Maurice is Georgian and has a pretty thick accent.):

You have not yet learned that in life you have to be like everyone else. The perfect mediocrity; no better, no worse. Individuality is a monster and it must be strangled in its cradle to make our friends feel confident. You know, I have often thought that gangsters and artists are the same in the eyes of the masses. They are admired and hero-worshipped, but there is always present an underlying wish to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory.

It’s a sad quote but interesting in how it reflects Maurice’s experience and serves as a warning to Johnny not to be too confident in his success. Maurice has obivously come to appreciate the same Japanese idea of Deru kugi wa utareru or ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.’ Referring of course to those nails you just can’t seem to get pounded in to the wood straight and end up having to hammer down all bent and smashed. Don’t stand out too much or the universe will put you in your place. A very different idea from Western culture that says everyone is unique and should be pushed to excel. Of course, if everyone is unique and everyone excels, then really no one is unique. No one performs any differently.

Anyway, it’s a very good movie and a very different take on the heist type film most people are used to these days.

Last Week of Summer

originally posted at

Knowing it was our last week of Summer I wanted to enjoy it with some fun activities with the kids. Tuesday morning we had to stop at the school for Savanna’s kindergarten assessment test. She did very well while Miles and Avery tore apart the class room. After the test we headed up to Thanksgiving Point Farm Country. We had never been before I wanted to take advantage of the 2 buck Tuesday deal. It would have been well worth it to me to go on another day, pay full price and not have to deal with the crowds! It was nuts, but the kids had fun anyway. They got to see and smell various farm life and go for a tractor ride. We had lunch at the restaurant there then stopped to get new shoes for the girls on the way home. I wanted Savanna to get velcro shoes for school so she could easily get them on and off by herself. She picked out her own shoes so Dora the Explorer will be going to kindergarten with her. A couple of days later she brought me some older shoes she has and showed me that she can now tie her own shoes, no problem. I hope I haven’t stunted her shoe tying ability by making her wear those velcro ones anyway, oh well!

Later in the week we spent some time at the splash pad and playing in our backyard. We ate popsicles and ice cream cones too. On Saturday we went up Provo Canyon and had a picnic with my family and went to Bridal Veil Falls. The kids loved sitting at the bottom off the falls fishing rocks out of the water and throwing them back in. We also happened to have Backpack (we like Dora ok?) with us and filled him (her?) up with river rocks. While we were at the park having our lunch, there were a couple of guys going around with metal detectors. My dad filled his pockets with change and casually walked around the field where the metal detector guys were. My dad started dropping change at random spots in the field, just to give the guys something to find you know? That’s just the kind of guy my dad is, kindhearted and helpful. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a long time!

Family in Town

originally posted at

On Wednesday, August 10th, my sister Trisha and her family came to visit for a few days. I got out some fun stuff for my little nieces to play with. First we had princess time.

Ava and Mya sure make adorable princesses.

It also happened to be my birthday. Do you like what Andy had put on the cake?

Dork is our pet name for each other!
The next day we enjoyed some time outside with water guns and bubbles.

On Friday we went to the Lindon pool. I was trying to get Mya to take a little nap, but I guess she didn’t want to.

However, she fell asleep for her mama. Mya is under the blanket on Trisha’s lap.

Jeremy and Ava were swimming like crazy.

I think the girls had a blast!

This is what happened to me after spending 3.5 hours in the sun. (I’m sorry about the amount of skin I’m showing.)

I had so much fun with my family. It was really nice to have them staying with us. I miss them!

Manual Labor

originally posted at

The joys of being a land lord are in full abundance lately! James and I get to trade off either telling adults to clean up their messes or just cleaning it up for them! It’s awesome! I’m being sarcastic of course. The Orem house is giving us grief again (as per usual), so we have had to put more work into it. We have gotten discouraged, but right now we are being positive about the whole thing and just getting it done. This post is mostly being written as a shout out to my husband. He has been working himself to the bone this summer. Work with his business has been extremely busy and when he is not doing that he is working on the apartment. I wanted to help out and take some of the pressure off him, so I offered to do some of the apartment work myself. Monday I spent an entire FOUR hours cleaning and prepping the place for paint. At the end of the day I was exhausted! My eyes, nose, and throat hurt, I was so dirty and tired. Today I was there for just over FIVE hours doing some more grunt work because I have no skills. I am also very tired today. The whole time I am working I am thinking, how does James do this? I have been here for two hours and it sucks and James works like this for 12, 15, 20 hours a day! He is Super Man and I am a huge wuss. For all my hard work this week I get to have a break and go to dinner with a friend tomorrow while James does a backyard camp out with the kids. Things seem a little unbalanced, don’t you think? I can make myself feel a little better by remembering that James has never used the dishwasher since we moved here five years ago.

Room #7

originally posted at

Here is our main living room. This is a picture of how it looked when we bought the house. The room was red and green, and made me think of Christmas. I do love Christmas, but I don’t need a room to look like that all year long. Andy hated the red wall, and it was very splotchy. We decided to get rid of the red, so we used porcelain skin color on that red wall.

We are both pleased with the way the green and porcelain skin goes together.

Here is what it looks like now with decorations and all:

Andy already had the couches and the TV. The little coffee table used to be my TV stand. We did have to buy a new TV stand to fit in the corner and to hold his giant TV. The door on the left goes into our office, and the one on the right goes into our bedroom.
The door on the left is for the guest bedroom, and the one on the right is for the bathroom.

Before we moved in I had told Andy that this room can be his man cave, but since I was in it for a good deal of the summer, I took over. I decided the room needed some grown up decorations. However, I did let him keep his toys out so he could play with them when he gets bored! If you can’t tell, most of those toys are Star Wars figurines.

Things I Don’t Want To Forget

originally posted at

This post is for random, completely unrelated events that don’t deserve their very own post but are things I don’t want to forget. Most of life is like that actually, random events that somehow merge together to form an existence. And because it’s my existence, I better not forget! I will start with “I am grateful for the splash pad.” Last year a new park opened up about 5 minutes from our house. The best part of the new park is the splash pad. The kids love it, and it has given us something new to do this summer, it’s free and safe and a great way to cool off!

Next: Funny posing and playing with camera. Savanna and Miles like when I get the camera out, especially Savanna. She is always posing in weird ways and making funny faces. They also like to take pictures themselves. One day we were playing in Miles’ room and Savanna and Miles started playing “freeze pose”, a game Savanna made up. I got out the camera and we took a bunch of silly pics, it was fun.
Finally: Paint Stick Swords. As I was preparing for Miles’ pirate party I came across a crafty blog that had the idea of making swords out of paint stirrer sticks. I went to Home Depot and got a bunch, the sign said FREE! Take as many as you need! Sweet! My mom came over and helped us make them. We cut, painted, glued, and wrapped leather around the handles. I think they turned out pretty cool.
The End!