I set some personal goals for the year (listed here) and I tally my progress monthly. We’re halfway through 2012 so that calls for some Pulling Up of My Bootstraps!
I have now been blogging for 6 months – thanks, everybody, for reading and being nice to me!
I aim to read a book and watch a movie or DVD every week.
This month’s movies were an odd bunch! My spouse, Rom, wanted to re-watch the Alien movies prior to seeing Prometheus when it came out. I watched Alien and Aliens with him last month, and Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection this month. The series became progressively worse with each instalment, but that would surprise no one. I drew the line at Alien vs Predator! Prometheus was fun to watch and had great effects and some good performances. I did find the characters unsympathetic, but hey, it was an action movie.
We got a kick out of Full Metal Village. It is a documentary that shows the impact of the annual Wacken metal festival on a tiny, bucolic village in Germany. Needless to say, they played up the “country bumpkin” qualities of the townsfolk, but I am sure they are astute business owners who make the most of their tourist influx. This year’s Wacken takes place Aug 2-4 but all 80,000 tickets were sold out by December. Incidentally, we are going to Halifax’s first Spread the Metal festival next weekend. Maybe there will be 800 tickets sold, LOL!
In Toronto, we went to see the new Pixar movie, Brave, with Link (Link’s choice). The intensity of the mother-daughter relationship at the beginning made me really uncomfortable. The bit about the tapestry almost brought me to tears! Of course, the point of the movie is that it all gets turned around. The scene with the witch was terrific, and the three bear cubs lighten it up. The CG quality, colour, movement and humour in the movie are all top-rate. It’s a good example of a movie that kids will find funny while it tugs at the parents’ heartstrings.
Finally, I watched a teen movie, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, on Netflix. It was based on the first two Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison, a teen series I’ve read, but the movie was never released in North America. I liked the books because they were not only funny in a chick-lit way, but they dealt honestly with teen horniness and its effects! Note that the original title of the first book is Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. The movie was produced and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who did Bend It Like Beckham and wonderful movies about characters with Indian ancestry: Bhaji on the Beach, What’s Cooking, and Bride and Prejudice.
The first half of the movie had some stilted and broadly-drawn teen situations. The second half was much more engaging as Georgia continually messes up her own intentions, embarrasses herself, and still manages to pull off a dream-worthy birthday while nabbing the Sex God she was after! I would be very interested to know what 11-15 year old girls thought of this movie. Two other things I liked about the movie were:
- The performance of Georgia Groom as Georgia – one of only a few teen characters in film that was credible and seemed like a real-life teen and not a Hollywood version, and
- It was set in Eastbourne, UK and was filmed mainly in Eastbourne and Brighton. I have been to Brighton a few times and I loved seeing the southern shore on film!
- Movie Goal: 4
- Movies Seen: 6
- June Goal: Exceeded (as long as you discount quality, LOL!)
- Half Year Goal: have seen only 14 movies in 26 weeks
Once again, I did tons of reading, which I did a separate post about here.
This month’s books were:
- Record Collecting for Girls – Courtney E. Smith
- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – Amy Chua
- Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? – Henry Alford
- Bone: Out from Boneville – Jeff Smith
- The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
- The Shack – William Paul Young
- The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill
- Book Goal: 4
- Books Read: 8
- June Goal: Exceeded
- Half Year Goal: have read 25 books in 26 weeks
I like to get to a concert once a month, but offerings in my area haven’t been as strong as usual this year. This month my spouse bought us tickets to see a Henry Rollins spoken word show. We had seen him two years ago in the same venue. This guy talks a blue streak. His show was 2-1/2 hours and he never once paused or had a sip of water. His last show was even longer! He ranted in an impassioned but genial way about politics, social issues, travel, and differences among countries. He also talked about answering his mail and the responsibility he feels to his fans. If you are liberal-minded, you should go see Mr. Rollins! (For anyone unfamiliar, he was at the centre of hardcore punk band Black Flag during its best years).
We also went to see Janelle Monae at the Toronto Jazz Festival, as shown here. I am impressed by her because she has her own vision and doesn’t fit into music industry norms in any way!
- Concert Goal: 1
- Concerts seen: 2
- Goal: Exceeded
- Half Year Goal: have seen only 3 shows in 6 months
Kulture: Fine Dining
I didn’t get to any restaurants on my wish list this month, because I was doing a vegetarian challenge, and the restaurants I chose in January are not veg-oriented! We did try out the only exclusively vegetarian restaurant in Halifax, Heartwood. We loved the food. The service was stretched to its limits, though, so it ended up also being a Slow Food experience!
To stay veg in Toronto, we mostly ate at chain restaurants, including Magic Oven, Loving Hut, and Milestone’s (not very veg friendly). I was shocked at how vegetarian unfriendly the Hard Rock Cafe is: every salad, soup and sandwich has meat! The only two vegetarian items were nachos and the veggie burger. We ate at a Chinese place that had only ONE veg entree, a veg and tofu stir fry. But we did have a great selection of veggie sushi and tempura at Wild Ginger.
- Wish List Restaurants visited this month: 0
- Goal: 4 for the year, have been to 1 of them
- # of local restaurants visited that were not on wish list: 10 (so have been eating out about twice a month)
Non-Kultural Goals: Food
This month was unusual because we pledged to use all new recipes for our vegetarian challenge. I tried out 5 new meals and ended up using 2 tried-and-true recipes because I got tired of experimenting with new things every day. Rom made 6 new recipes. I am sure that’s a record for our house in one month!
I only made 1 loaf of banana bread for snacks this month, but I finally got around to making up a new batch of granola. Otherwise I made bread and yogurt as usual.
- Try baking bread and decide whether to continue – yes and yes!
- Try buying local meats and decide whether to continue – not yet
- Continue meal planning – yes
- Continue using Diet Power software to track nutrition – yes
Non-Kultural Goals: Clothes
It’s time for a re-visit to my bloated wardrobe! Look for a post on this soon.
Non-Kultural Goals: Decluttering
My goals are still to clean out the home office/crafts room and my office at work. I’ve made no progress, except for a bit of filing. However, I have done 5 hours of weeding in my garden and it’s about half done. Does that count?
- Create master list of website log on details – yes
- Declutter work office – about 80% complete
- Declutter home office/crafts room – no
Non-Kultural Goals: Personal Finance
I met my savings goal of paying for the Toronto trip upfront. Next I will be using my “extra” paycheque in August to cover meals and spending money for our trip to the UK in late August (it is a 3-paycheque month). I have a new goal which is to gradually wean Link off of parental support since Link is living away from home and is no longer in school!
- Save for Toronto trip – yes
- Save for UK trip – in progress
- Save for university costs – no longer necessary
- Unexpected cost – new car (covered by the university savings!)
- Still to come: parents’ anniversary party, Christmas gifts, new glasses
Non-Kultural Goals: Driving
Keeping this on my goals list at least makes me mindful that I need to report on my driving skills publicly. I haven’t had any near-misses lately. I’ve had to change my driving techniques slightly because the new car needs more acceleration after a full stop, and it tends to roll back after stopping on hills. I’m still calculating the average gas mileage, but it’s looking positive!
Non-Kultural Goals: Magic the Gathering
I pledged to play MTG with Rom monthly, but it just isn’t happening (due to very low initiative on my part). Luckily, he was able to play a few games with my nephew this month, so I felt like I was let off the hook!
- Goal: 1 game per month
- Actual: 1 game in 6 months. Oops!
Note that I didn’t include this in the Kulture section. That is just for spite, LOL!