Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Jurassic World Explosive Experience

We’ve been waiting for a free afternoon to see Jurassic World, and yesterday was it. We wanted to see it in 3D, although in retrospect, I am not so sure it makes that big a difference. It was LOUD. We are not hard of hearing, and at the beginning I had to cover my ears, it was so loud.

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And, for all the movies I have seen, this one had some twists I didn’t see coming. It was full of exciting moments, and, within its own context, believable. You have to believe that humans let greed overcome their good judgement. You have to believe genetic manipulation is possible. You have to believe that the minute someone says “this is totally safe” you’d better be looking for a life jacket and a way out. All this, I believe.

AdventureMan had some struggles with unexplained things, but I think they were good at covering their bases, if you paid attention when the scientists were talking. I had a really hard time believing velociraptors could be tamed in any way. Trained – maybe if they are bored enough, and the training follows their normal instinctive practices. Tamed? Ummm, I don’t think so.

I loved the homage paid to Jurassic Park. I always love it when the bad guys get their just desserts. I always wonder, if we get curious and clone/create a prehistoric animal, will we be able to foresee all the possible outcomes?

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June 20, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Birds, Character, Entertainment, Environment, Experiment, Family Issues, Fiction, Financial Issues, Movie, Safety | | 1 Comment

The Emily Morgan and The Alamo in San Antonio, TX

This trip is checking off a lot of blocks for us. Not only do we like exploring new venues, we also like experiencing specialty hotels, and since we are going to make a pilgrimage to The Alamo, we want to stay in a nearby hotel.

I checked Trip Advisor, and other resources. I read and read and read. There are some older hotels with character, and their reviews also feature words like “cramped” “musty” and “seen better days.” Then, there is the Emily Morgan.

The Emily Morgan is elegant, and the Emily Morgan looks right over The Alamo.

Why visit the Alamo? Here is what Wikipedia says about the Battle of The Alamo:

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The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing all of the Texian defenders. Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution.

Several months previously, Texians had driven all Mexican troops out of Mexican Texas. About 100 Texians were then garrisoned at the Alamo. The Texian force grew slightly with the arrival of reinforcements led by eventual Alamo co-commanders James Bowie and William B. Travis. On February 23, approximately 1,500 Mexicans marched into San Antonio de Béxar as the first step in a campaign to retake Texas. For the next 10 days the two armies engaged in several skirmishes with minimal casualties. Aware that his garrison could not withstand an attack by such a large force, Travis wrote multiple letters pleading for more men and supplies, but fewer than 100 reinforcements arrived there.

In the early morning hours of March 6, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repulsing two attacks, the Texians were unable to fend off a third attack. As Mexican soldiers scaled the walls, most of the Texian soldiers withdrew into interior buildings. Defenders unable to reach these points were slain by the Mexican cavalry as they attempted to escape. Between five and seven Texians may have surrendered; if so, they were quickly executed. Most eyewitness accounts reported between 182 and 257 Texians died, while most historians of the Alamo agree that around 600 Mexicans were killed or wounded. Several noncombatants were sent to Gonzales to spread word of the Texian defeat. The news sparked both a strong rush to join the Texian army and a panic, known as “The Runaway Scrape”, in which the Texian army, most settlers, and the new Republic of Texas government fled from the advancing Mexican Army.

Within Mexico, the battle has often been overshadowed by events from the Mexican–American War of 1846–48. In 19th-century Texas, the Alamo complex gradually became known as a battle site rather than a former mission. The Texas Legislature purchased the land and buildings in the early part of the 20th century and designated the Alamo chapel as an official Texas State Shrine. The Alamo is now “the most popular tourist site in Texas”.[5] The Alamo has been the subject of numerous non-fiction works beginning in 1843. Most Americans, however, are more familiar with the myths spread by many of the movie and television adaptations,[6] including the 1950s Disney miniseries Davy Crockett and John Wayne’s 1960 film The Alamo.

There is a hint in that last sentence, just about every American around our age grew up singing about Davy Crockett, wearing Davy Crockett coonskin caps, and seeing Davy Crockett in the movies. We watched, horrified, as the wicked Santa Ana overpowered the Texans, including – Davy Crockett. Be careful, parents, what your children watch; some of these movies have a lasting impact. So here we are, a million years down the road, going to see the Alamo.

Our GoogleMap app guides us right into the heart of town, where we have to figure out how to be going the right way on Houston street to get to the valet service, because parking is a big problem around the Alamo/Riverwalk site.

 

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It all turns out to be a lot easier than we thought it was going to be, we get checked in and our bags are taken to our room and it is glorious. It feels like coming home, it’s spacious, with bath robes and a lovely big bathroom and windows from wall to wall overlooking the Alamo:

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This is our view of the Alamo:

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It had been raining, and after the rain the air was that clean, clear air that almost sparkles. I loved all the sights from our window:

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AdventureMan explored the Alamo. I have blisters on my feet from our huge walk around Benson-Rio Grande Valley Park, so I enjoy the big bathtub and a lovely cup of coffee and watch The Alamo from my birds eye perch. Now that we know about the Emily Morgan, we can come back with the grand-kids for a good visit on a sunnier day. 🙂

The Emily Morgan is a hotel you want to come back to. It has this great location by the Alamo, but also right by the San Antonio Riverwalk area, and a lot of great shopping and dining. The Emily Morgan also has special rates for military. 🙂

For those of you who did not grow up with Davy Crockett, you can listen the Ballad of Davy Crockett here:

April 16, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Biography, Cultural, Customer Service, Entertainment, Generational, Geography / Maps, Heritage, Hotels, Living Conditions, Movie, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Crime to be “Happy” in Teheran?

From today’s Kuwait Times:

 

TEHRAN: The arrest of six Iranian youths for dancing to US singer Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy” in a video that went viral highlights the rift between conservatives and youths fascinated by the West. Recorded on a smartphone and uploaded multiple times on YouTube, the clip shows three girls dancing and singing along to the song in a room, on rooftops and in secluded alleys with three young men. For the youths, the homemade video now watched one million times was merely an “excuse to be happy”, but for the Iranian authorities it was “vulgar” breach of the Islamic republic’s values. Originally posted online in April, the clip gradually spread online before it led to the arrest of the dancers and their director on Tuesday for having “hurt” the country’s strict moral codes, according to Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia.

The youths appeared on state television repenting for appearing in the clip, after the girls failed to properly observe hijab, a series of rules that oblige women in Iran to cover their hair and much of their body when outside.

Their arrest sparked international fury and criticism in the media and online, with many Iranians expressing shock and some observers questioning whether it was a “crime to be happy in Iran”. Supporting the young Iranians, Williams himself chimed in and hit out at their treatment, saying on Twitter and Facebook: “It’s beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.” Reports emerged Wednesday night that the dancers were released on bail, with one of the arrested girls, Tehranbased fashion photographer Reihane Taravati, saying on Instagram: “Hi I’m back.” The arrests came after President Hassan Rouhani-a selfdeclared moderate who claims to be for more social freedomsreiterated in a weekend speech his calls for a relaxation of Internet censorship. Rouhani’s statements have irked the conservatives, who have long imposed limitations on the Internet, blocking millions of websites particularly social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube. — AFP

 

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Experiment, Faith, Family Issues, Humor, Iran, Living Conditions, Movie, Music, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Stitching Together A Move?

I had a troubling dream which woke me early this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I dreamed I was working on a very large quilt, and I had promised to hand quilt it. I remember seeing it was not made as a usual quilt is made, with a top and a bottom, and a layer of batting (wadding) in between, but of 12 – 13 layers of cotton cloth, a very difficult quilting challenge, and it seems to me that the quilt was like 15 feet by 15 feet, a huge quilt, a size I have never even seen done. I remember having accepted to quilt a very complicated pattern, and as I awoke, I was stitching and stitching and stitching, hand stitch after hand stitch, but feeling utterly defeated and overwhelmed at the task I was facing.

I am confounded. In terms of quilting, I will never be caught up, but it doesn’t bother me, I just keep on. I finish most quilts; I do just fine. I don’t have any project deadlines, I don’t have any feeling of urgency on completing any of my quilts. I very rarely do any hand quilting; machine quilting gets the job done and hand quilting is hard on my hands and fingers.

My life, too, in this so-called retirement, is orderly. I take on what I can take on and complete the task. I don’t feel like I am behind in anything. I keep up with things. I feel no urgency.

So where did this dream come from?

I believe God calls to us in many ways (“Let he who has ears listen!”), through his word, through the voices and actions of Godly people, through a book one might be reading, through a friend, or a homeless person, or even through a dream. Being who I am, I prefer a clear message; interpretation is so fraught with personal prejudices, so filtered by what we know, by our particular dogma or belief system. I am praying now for clarity, and for the meaning of this dream to be made understandable so that I might know what I am needed to do . . . If I am meant to keep chipping away at something, please, let me do it with a joyful attitude, not this feeling of being faced with an overwhelming task.

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And as I go through the categories,getting ready to post this entry, choosing those words that best apply, I see “Moving” and I have to laugh; moving is that huge quilt, that elephant that one can only eat one bite at a time, that many layered monstrosity, and it has been three years since I have moved. Three years living in one country, one city, in one house. It may be that the dream is one of those anxiety dreams like your college exam dreams, a dream that is no longer relevant but a hangover from another time, another life. My subconscious is getting ready for a move, feeling overdue, LOL.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Aging, ExPat Life, Faith, Lent, Movie, Random Musings, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Lincoln Movie

We’ve never seen this happen in Pensacola before. We went to see the afternoon showing of Lincoln at the Bayou Rav Theaters and it was totally sold out. People! This is the weekend before Thanksgiving! Aren’t you supposed to be grocery shopping and baking and polishing silver for Thanksgiving? This isn’t James Bond, this is a historical movie! What are you thinking??

November 18, 2012 Posted by | Aging, Entertainment, Family Issues, Humor, Movie | 2 Comments

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife
Pauline Mclain

“This isn’t going to end well” you tell yourself when you start reading
this  book, and you tell yourself not to read any further but you can’t
stop. This is a very good girl who meets a bad boy – what is it about
bad boys, anyway? You know you should go for the serious guy, the one
who will always have a good job, be a good provider for the family, a
good father to your children. You know all this, and you choose the bad
boy anyway. Why?

Hadley Richardson is a good girl at one of those transitional times in
history; world war I had ended, the damaged young men, including Ernest
Hemingway, are back from war, it is the 1920’s and the world is turned
upside down. When they meet, the chemistry is hot and strong. Their
friends warn Hadley against marrying “Hem” but when the attraction is
so hot and high, who can listen?

You know from the beginning that she is just the first wife, so most of
the book is full of dread, waiting to find out just how awful it is all
going to be. The early years, living in Paris, being dirt poor while
Hemingway gets started with his writing, are good years. They meet lots
of interesting expats living in Paris, they drink a lot, they are off
to Spain for the bullfights, and to Austria for the skiing, on the move
a lot, even once the baby comes.

It’s a fascinating book, a snapshot of the roaring 1920’s, of the
transitional era when women started becoming less submissive and more
free, and of a relationship between a nice girl and a talented but
damaged and self-destructive man. You’ll hate having to put it down.

Post review add: I finished this book while in Zambia and wrote the review. I really want to read A Movable Feast, now, Hemingway’s last book before he killed himself, written about this marriage. I understand it is a nostalgic tribute to his first marriage and to Hadley.

We watched Hemingway and Gelhorn last night, and watched him leave Pauline, the false friend who snatched him from Hadley (this is not a spoiler, folks, this is history) for Gelhorn, and then in anger at Gelhorn, turn to the woman who would become his last wife. She is protrayed as a total twit.

The movie, Hemingway and Gelhorn, was only mildly interesting; Kidman was her glorious self but there was zero chemistry, her romance with Hemingway barely believable. And he comes off as a real jerk. The jerk part is consistent with The Paris Wife, but while The Paris Wife is more sympathetic to Hemingway, portraying him as damaged but vulnerable, in Hemingway and Gelhorn, he is just arrogant, egotistic and obnoxious. Still, after you read The Paris Wife, it is interesting to see the rest of the story.

June 19, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Biography, Books, Character, Civility, ExPat Life, Mating Behavior, Movie, Relationships, Values | 1 Comment

Contagion

As we rushed into the house, we both headed immediately to our bathrooms to wash our hands. Twice. And I also washed my face.

Contagion is a very intelligent movie. It is scary, but not in the Friday the 13th kind of scary, or in the Night of the Living Dead kind of scary, although come to think of it, there were some elements in common with the original Night of the Living Dead. No, what makes Contagion scary is that it could happen so easily.

I had no idea that we touch our faces, on the average, of three to five times a minute, more than 3,000 times a day, and that with every surface we touch, we transfer (germs) (bacteria) (things that could make you sick) close to an entry to your body, like your nostrils and your mouth. Once you start thinking about NOT touching your face, you become aware of how often you touch your own face, unaware. Like flipping hair out of your eyes, or covering your mouth when you laugh, or a million other things like that. You become aware of all the things you touch between the time you wash your hands and touch your food. You think about who may have touched your fork, and how well it was washed.

For me, the scariest part of the movie, beyond how quickly the virus mutated and spread, was how quickly civil society broke down when cities were quarantined, when people were concerned food was growing scarce, when people thought they had to fight for survival. The rules for avoiding spreading the virus were not to meet, not to touch, to stay apart. It’s hard to help one another when those rules are in play, but those rules make it easier for those without rules to attack and take what they can.

I liked the music in the movie, too, very edgy.

Before I ever saw this movie, I heard an interview with the author on NPR. She was saying that when they came to her wanting to make this movie, she said “it cannot start in Africa. . . (there were a whole bunch of rules, which were hilarious because they were like every plot for a movie like this ever made) I knew I needed to see this movie, to see how it could be done and still be dramatic, and follow her rules.

There is one hilarious quote. A blogger in this movie gains enormous following. As he is tracking down one of the scientists for information, the scientist says to him:

Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.

Excuse me, gotta go wash my hands again.

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Customer Service, Entertainment, Experiment, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Movie, Social Issues, Statistics | 6 Comments