When I say Weekend Baby, I mean WEEKEND

I saw The Rocker on Friday night. I love Rainn Wilson on The Office, he plays a character named Dwight Shrute who somehow manages to steal the show. (In my opinion.) I wasn’t sure what to expect out of his feature debut as the lead character, though I had appreciated his cameo in Juno, and his roles in My Super Ex-Girlfriend and The Last Mimzy. This was really HIS film. He carried it off admirably. Rainn Wilson has such an unusual charisma about him, both dorky and charming, likable and vaguely off putting at the same time that he is a real magnet for the eye on screen. You are literally waiting to see what he will do next, his face can make the strangest gross out contortions and then moments later look bereft and all little boy lost. In this film he plays a man stuck in a moment that happened 20 years ago when he was booted from a band that went on to great fame. He has burned with rage ever since and when his Emo nephew asks Fish (Rainn) to sit in as the drummer for the Prom gig his band ADD has managed to scare up, all hell breaks loose. While the plot can be a bit predictable, what’s fresh are the supporting actors who play ADD, the nephew’s band. A couple of faces will be familiar from SuperBad. The performances all around add depth and development to the relationships in the film which relieve it of the one note gimmick it could have been in the wrong hands. Poignant and sweet with a clear message. I.E. hope and optimism and the values of friendship versus the values of shallow, self serving, self promoting pursuit of fame and wealth. Overall a nice little pic. A perfect Friday night flick. Also the added benefit of seeing it at the Grandin.

On Saturday a good friend from Greensboro came up to visit and we had lunch at Metro to try their new Emma pies, kind of like a little popover invented by the owner’s 5 year old daughter. It was ham and Gruyere cheese rolled into fresh baked yeast rolls. In theory it sounded wonderful and for only $6, with hand cut fries, quite a deal. Only, it came to the table cold which was a real disappointment. I enjoyed the fries and had a nice cup of very fragrant Revolution Teas Earl Grey. They have a semi decent selection of teas there, though I have to mention they do not carry my two favorites, staples in my estimation: Rooibos and English Breakfast. Since I ate there for dinner on Friday at Sushi Happy Hour as well, I feel like I should get frequent flier miles or something. I did get OpenTable points. 🙂 After lunch we went to see Tropic Thunder. Again for me, which was twice as good as the first time. No, wait, just as funny the second time around. I also read about a new film with RDJ coming out soon called The Soloist, perhaps then I can slake my thirst with a bit more screen time for him. After that I had to rush home to get attired for work. I served at an 80th birthday party for a judge. He and his wife were wonderfully sweet and charming and I enjoyed working with them and my team mates to ensure the party met their expectations. One funny thing happened, the wife wanted to add confetti streamers to the tables and had brought them, but couldn’t figure out how to unfurl them. I say funny because every child in Mobile, Alabama has thrown reams of those streamers at Mardi Gras, so it was interesting to use a childhood skill in this capacity. She was happy I was able to take care of it for her because she was really having the dickens of a time with it. We served the wine and cheese, and several vodka tonics along with it. Grey Goose was the most popular brand with this crowd. Then they had shrimp cocktail, salad and a plated dinner before we led them in the singing of the traditional birthday anthem for the guest of honor. A lovely party all in all. It did run late which was a shame.

I had to dash home, jump in the shower and get all dressed to go out with my friend for a drink. We went back to Metro, which turns into a nightclub after 10 and had a Stoli Cosmo and danced to a great mix starting with Viva La Vida by Coldplay all spun by a visiting DJ. We then headed over to 202 for a little Latin salsa to close out the evening. With all of that I slept in this morning, only dragging myself out of the house in time to meet for a late breakfast at noon at Ye Olde Cracker Barrel. Comfort Food. Just a scrambled egg and biscuit, and a nice cuppa tea and then we went off to the mall to window shop for a while. We talked and browsed the book store before I got dropped off at church for the 5pm service where I was reading the Prayers of the People and my friend headed back to Greensboro to tutor a student.

I’m in a real Amy Winehouse mood for some reason. A couple of her songs have been with me for the last 2 days so those will be my songs of the moment. One is a little melancholy and is about waking up alone and missing someone you care about. It’s very atmospheric, moody and filled with a mixture of longing and fear. Interesting song. It’s called Wake Up Alone. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black - Wake Up Alone The other Winehouse song that has been playing the back of my head is You Know I’m No GoodAmy Winehouse - Back to Black - You Know I'm No Good. I pretty much like this one because of the very creative and tangible writing style she uses, the language is fantastic, one line is “…and sniff me out like I was Tanqueray”. This song kind of lingers with you. As much as I dislike her lifestyle and choices, she certainly spins dross into gold. What a talent. But to finish on a high note, this last song has to be my happy summer song, Mr. Jason Mraz has delivered the goods before with Wordplay, and I’m Yours is even better because he’s not bragging about his Mad Skillz, but instead singing about unexpectedly falling for someone. Take a listen.Jason Mraz - We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things - I'm Yours

Here are the Lyrics to I’m Yours for those of you who can’t bear to click links. All my links do open New Windows or Apps (Like iTunes) though, as that is a pet peeve of mine. I hate being made to leave the page I am on.

I’m Yours: By Jason Mraz

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you’re so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
and now I’m trying to get back

Before the cool done run out
I’ll be giving it my bestest
And nothing’s going to stop me
but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn
to win some or learn some

But I won’t hesitate
no more
no more
It cannot wait
I’m yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
I look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment, people dance and sing
We’re just one big family
And it’s our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved

So I won’t hesitate no more, no more It cannot wait,
I’m sure There’s no need to complicate,
our time is short
This is our fate,
I’m yours

Do-da-do do dooj, do dooja, d-d-do, do you want to come?
Scooch on over closer dear,
and I will nibble your ear
Oh yes love, love love love love love
Love you love, love you love

I’ve been spending way too long
checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and I laughed

I guess what I be saying is there ain’t no better reason
To rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons
It’s what we aim to do, our name is our virtue

But I won’t hesitate
no more, no more
It cannot wait,
I’m yours

Come on and open up your mind and see like me
(I won’t hesitate)
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
(No more, no more)
I look into your heart and you’ll find that the sky is yours
(It cannot wait, I’m sure)
So please don’t, please don’t, there’s no need
(There’s no need to complicate) There’s no need to complicate
(Our time is short) ‘Cause our time is short
(This is our fate) This is, this is, this is our fate
I’m yours, I’m sayin’
I’m yours

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Euphoria or Exhaustion? They feel kinda the same…

My daughter called me from Clearwater, Florida yesterday morning to say that she was enjoying day one of married life, literally at the beach. 🙂 Mom, Aunt Anne and I went to Downtown Disney yesterday afternoon. I had a fantastic fresh caramel apple and then we went to see Tropic Thunder. OK, I habitually fall in love with Robert Downey Jr. every time I see him. Even though he plays a couple of different people in the film, his presence is so electrifying. Especially near the end when you see him with blond hair and Siberian Husky blue eyes. Not his normal look but wow, a good one. The movie was shocking, funny, action packed and worth a second viewing. I found myself laughing at parts of it hours later. After the movie we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurant, a place called Jiko or The Cooking Place. I had corn chowder with Meyer lemon creme fraiche, vanilla Rooibos tea and BBQ chicken flat bread. The chowder was light and flavorful with a garnish of slightly dehydrated corn that was a little chewy. It gave it a nice texture in contrast to the smooth base of the soup. It was nicely spiced with plenty of black pepper and a little fresh fennel. Vanilla Rooibos is my favorite non-caffeinated tea. Yummy!

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a lesser known resort on Disney property, yet it’s one of the most magical. They have night vision safaris for the hotel guests and the property abuts the animal sanctuary of Animal Kingdom so your room can overlook the “Serengeti Plain” portion of the park. You can wake to see antelopes grazing. It’s built on a grand scale, similar to the Wilderness Lodge in its scope and the vaulting of the ceiling in the lobby area. Truly a destination even if you aren’t staying on property.

This morning we checked out, dropped off the rental car and then my Aunt Anne drove us to the Venezuelan restaurant called Q’Kenan I found online for lunch. It was heavenly. I had cachapas with Guyanesa cheese. This is a cheese that is native to Venezuela, in fact it is illegal to export. Luckily the owner of the restaurant knows how to make and its produced locally. I never thought I’d taste it again. I also had a little bit of an arepa with carne mechada, a kind of corn cake sliced open on the side with spiced shredded beef. We had yucca frita and cafe con leche, a strong Venezuelan coffee with steamed milk. I even had a little bit of Frescolita, a strawberry soda. I took home some Venezuelan chocolate for another day. It’s just been a fabulous time.

I look forward to church tomorrow. I’ve missed my ministers. I’ve also missed my little Tucker dog who I will see tonight.

Quick Note

Hello from Orlando. I am now a mother-in law of a wonderful son-in-law and of course still mother to my beautiful daughter. The ceremony was joyful and the party was about 6 hours long. She wore three different intricate, breathtaking dresses that were hand sewn in Morocco. I will post pictures of them soon. Mom, my Aunt Anne and I went to Downtown Disney after the party last night and had a stiff drink (Jameson’s for me) at the Irish pub to toast the happy couple. Of course, in the Muslim religion there is no drinking so they knew nothing about it. 🙂 The pub, called Raglan Road, had a live Irish band and step dancer. Tonight we are going to see Tropic Thunder, check out a restaurant at the Animal Kingdom resort and might go to the Adventurer’s Club one last time since they are closing it forever in September.

This morning I woke up and had a nice cup of Harney and Sons English Breakfast before going to meet my dear friend Aimee from Universal for lunch at Bubbaloos bar-b-que. One of our old faves. Unbelievably, our first boss at Universal who we had both lost touch with, just happened to sit next to us. Talk about serendipity. That was great. I loved catching up with both of them and hope to see Aimee and her family  more often now that Bonnie is married. I would like to try and visit a little more often.

My good friend Hugh let me know that Tucker attended the Community Living Club meeting, a social club for mentally challenged adults in our community that I volunteer at, that took place at church yesterday and livened up the party. I was so happy to hear that. He’s such a good dog. I am about to go to a gourmet dog bakery and get him a special treat.

I only have internet access at a local Panera and since I am always accompanied by my aunt and mom I am limited by my alloted time. I also forgot my cell phone charger so I am rationing my cell phone use. I picked up one of those battery operated quick chargers but it is sporadic and not entirely dependable.

Pineapple Express, Dog Kennels and Venezuelan Food

After seeing the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince preview, I happened to catch the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on HBO today. As it ended I remembered the ending of Deathly Hallows and got a little choked up. I think J.K. Rowling really is a remarkable storyteller and I am definitely putting her new book of stories set in the world of Harry Potter, Beedle the Bard, on my wish list. I think I will also re-read Deathly Hallows.
I went to see The Pineapple Express last night. The first few minutes had an intro set in the 30’s and featuring Bill Hader (Officer Slater from SuperBad) in a very funny scene. The director lingered on one obscene gesture Bill Hader was doing long enough for you to catch yourself wondering why the hell you were studying it with such fascination and laugh uncomfortably. Masterful. There are a couple of places where that happens. Actually I, and the audience, laughed a lot through the movie. You kind of just have to let go of rational thought and go with the reactionary, alternately mellow, laughing at everything, paranoid and on a mission vibe that pot seems to infuse people with. The movie captures that well. It also makes me wonder if all young men are like these guys to a degree. For sure some of moments in the film remind me of the young guys I’ve managed over the years. I used a free movie reward I had from the Regal Crown club to see it, but I wouldn’t have regretted paying.

Still, I think Tropic Thunder is going to be much better. I’ll be in Orlando when it comes out though so I’m not sure if I will see it until I come back.

When I got home I put on The Bank Job. It’s a heist movie set in 70’s London. Very crisp, fast paced and fun. Lately I’ve liked everything British. I hope I can visit there one day, especially to see some of the great Anglican churches. Like St. Georges Hanover Square. It’s been featured in many stories I’ve read that were set in London.

Bernie Mac has passed away. He was only 50 years old. How sad. How surprising. He died of pneumonia.

I’ve just remembered that I have to find accommodations for Tucker while we are in Orlando. I hate to put him in a kennel. Number one, he has to go and get a shot, he is due for a Bortadella. I hate putting him in a kennel. I think he gets traumatized in them. No matter how nice they are. Pet sitters are weird because they come to your house and who knows what they get up to. If we were flying anyone other than Southwest I would take him with us, but they don’t allow pets at all.

At least we will be staying at a nice hotel. The Wyndham Orlando is near Universal so I can surely meet my friend for lunch or dinner while I am there. I read there is a new Venezuelan restaurant there which I would really like to check out. I love Venezuelan food and have since I lived there for a year as a child of 12. There aren’t many restaurants in the US though. There was one in Boston and I think there are several now in NYC. There was a tiny one in Orlando called Rica Arepa but I couldn’t find it the last time I went. I’m not sure it’s still in business. The new one is called Q’kenan. I read that they have Frescolita, a strawberry soda and my brother’s favorite when we were little and they might have my favorite, a lime flavored soda called Chinoto! They have cachapas which are like a sweet corn pancake with cream and arepas, more of a corn cake filled with meat and or cheese, two of my favorites. They even have yucca frita, which are like french fries. I hope they are still open and I get to eat there. Mom would also enjoy it.

The weather is beautiful and mild today, sunny but not too hot. You can tell it is August. I saw three shooting stars last night. It’s the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower. The peak night is the 12th, which is perfect because mom and I will be driving to Norfolk in the early morning hours to catch our flight out. We can do it with the top down and see bunches on our way.

I’m watching the women’s fencing Gold medal bout for sabre. It’s Zagunis vs Jacobson (a Yalie). Zagunis won the Gold last time and she is up 12-8 right now and only needs to get to 15 to win the Gold. (First one to 15 wins the Gold.) Ahh, there she goes, she just won the Gold. Mariel Zagunis. So USA won Gold, Silver and Bronze. I wonder when Foil is. Ahh, it’s only available streaming on the web tomorrow. Well, I’ll have to see if I’ll be able to do that. I am doing my first Lay Eucharistic Visitor trip tomorrow after the 10:00 a.m. service. I will accompany someone who has already done it, to observe. Then I’ll be officially ready to do it on my own. That means I’ll be able to take the bread and wine to people who aren’t able to come to church for some reason, like illness or injury. Then at the 5:00 p.m. service I am serving as Chalicist.

Since my mother manages an industrial bakery that makes gourmet breads, they sometimes have spills of the ingredients. She will bring home batches of seeds, cranberries and raisins that have been on the floor and we spread them for the birds in the back yard.  I’ve seen so many different kinds here. We get finches, cardinals, blue jays, morning doves and robins. We get quail and other birds I don’t recognize. It’s nice to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics and look out of the french doors into the yard to see  dozens of birds of different sizes and shapes. We even get squirrels and bunnies. Tucker likes to chase them, but he never comes close.

I kind of want to go to Metro and get Happy Hour sushi. I am trying not to hold my one bad experience against them, especially since I’ve had so many good experiences. But I guess I need more time to forget.

Instead I’ll just go to the new Super Kroger and cook mom something home made. She got an unexpected night off.