littlereview: (get critical)
Lyin' Larry )

Guess what fell out of the sky this morning! If you guessed money or kittens or something awesome, you would be wrong...we merely got more snow, enough to close schools yet again, delay classes at the University of Maryland, and require shoveling, though since temperatures were above freezing by noon, it mostly collected on top of the snow that was already on the grass. It was enough to cause the bunnies and deer to stay hidden, but not really unpleasant unless you had to drive somewhere early -- it was worse south of us.

I did get a bunch of work done and some more kitchen organization and I watched Wednesday night's Nashville, which I might secretly enjoy a lot more than The Americans especially when it's heavy on music and light on soap. Since Elementary wasn't on, Cheryl suggested that we watch Jurassic Park, which remains as riveting as ever! We want to see all three before Jurassic World! Here in honor of the movie are ancient mammals from the now-closed Smithsonian Natural History National Fossil Hall:


Lost Mammals )
littlereview: (green little review)
Our Daily Becoming )

Yet again, there is a winter weather advisory on my phone. DO NOT WANT. Really I have no business complaining, since this storm is supposed to dump most of its snow on the South and only give us a couple more inches, which doesn't come close to what New England has suffered. But I haven't seen grass in ages, I'm worried about what the bunnies and deer are finding to eat, and I've had enough of shoveling and slipping and fighting to drive, not to mention wearing wet socks.

I spent too much of Wednesday on a stupid kitchen organization project (stupid because I can't reach my own kitchen cabinets, so it's all about figuring out where to put the things I need most). It was a nice day, above freezing, and I did get to see a bunny in the snow before The 100 (women still ruling the world) and The Americans (PHILIP, NO!). Here are some of the last photos I ever took at the National Zoo's invertebrate house before it closed forever with little warning:


Lost Invertebrates )
littlereview: (green little review)
The Doll's House )

I had my annual check-up on Tuesday morning, and I am relieved to report that I have a pulse and a normal temperature. I like my doctor a lot, though the practice drives me crazy -- after leaving me two reminder messages that I have an appointment, they called yesterday to warn me that I had to call and confirm, which is a new thing, and when I called this morning, since I got the message yesterday after they were closed, I got kicked off being on hold twice after waiting 20 minutes until I finally lied to the system and claimed I was a pharmacy calling (I was told I could avoid this problem by putting myself on the text messaging system, but when I tried to do that, I was told by the system that my mobile phone number was not a real phone number and I had to enter a real number). It's a wonder my blood pressure was not dangerously high when I saw the doctor!

When I left the doctor to drive home, I got to see a geyser! This was really exciting for a minute before I realized that it meant a water main had broken from the cold, and the sudden influx of WSSC and emergency vehicles made me glad I got out right when I did. The rest of my day was not as exciting (filled the gas tank, did laundry, etc.) but there were manatees rescued in Florida, so that makes me happy. We caught up on Downton Abbey, which was okay except I think the Drews have been SO screwed over and I get mad whenever I think about it. I liked that Agent Carter tried to provide something for every ship fan and that Peggy got to use her brain more than her ass-kicking, but I did not like Forever (Fifty Shades of Grey meets Single White Female, ugh). Here are some of the miniature houses from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's Winterfest last month:


Mini-Buildings )
littlereview: (green little review)
Wild Silk )

Another quickie because I spent Monday with Cheryl, though we didn't get started any earlier than we do when she drives up here because we slept late after staying up watching most of Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars coverage -- did Matt Damon actually appear, for a change? We woke up in the mood to watch the 1998 Les Miserables (a.k.a. the Neeson/Rush Les Mis), though I was horrified to discover that my DVD apparently has a flaw and two scenes must be completely skipped (a.k.a. I have to buy a new one). That film makes massive, problematic changes to Hugo's novel, but a really strong Cosette and some really glee-inducing Javert moments that are well worth seeing.

We were going to try the new crepe place in the mall but were distressed to find that it's not open yet! So we got Blaze Pizza and came back to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel, which Cheryl had not seen (and I think should unquestionably have won Best Original Screenplay on top of the four design awards it did win, though Boyhood would have been acceptable). Paul came home just as we started watching The Jane Austen Book Club, which is a little flick-chick-y for my taste but has a good cast, and some Shoujo Cosette before Cheryl had to leave. I loved the Sleepy Hollow-in-early-America season finale though I'm very bummed it's over for now. Look, snow bunnies!

littlereview: (get critical)
Extreme quickie because Academy Awards! Not much to report from the rest of the day anyway; we met up with Cheryl, took Daniel back to College Park and went food shopping with him, then stopped to see Adam for five minutes to drop off cookies, after which we gave Cheryl the quickie car tour of campus where we saw a lot of snow and a big flock of geese and some of the Testudo sculptures:


Maryland in Snow )


My main goal for the Oscars was for American Sniper not to win any big awards, so since Selma regrettably couldn't either, I was reasonably happy. Spoilers. ) More tomorrow!
littlereview: (get critical)
The Passing of the Wise Men )

When I went to bed on Friday night, the forecast was for 2-3 inches of snow on Saturday. When I woke up, the forecast was for 3-6 inches. By midday, the forecast was for 6-10 inches. In the end, I think we got about eight inches of snow on top of what was already on the ground from last week -- nothing like what New England is suffering through, but enough to shut down the entire region, especially our neighborhood which was not plowed sufficiently to drive anywhere. Here are some photos taken over the past week, since we've had multiple snowstorms come through:


Snow On Snow )


Since we were stuck in the house and couldn't take Daniel back to College Park, we decided to watch The Fifth Element since none of us had seen it -- what hilarious, glorious crack -- and then I, Frankenstein -- not hilarious and not as entertaining, though I will confess that it made my eyes less than The Battle of the Five Hours, which is my new standard for disappointment (mediocre movies should at least be only 90 minutes long). We shoveled twice and I walked enough to see deer, then after dinner we watched the Inspector Lewis with Sleepy Hollow's Tom Mison and Katia Winter!
littlereview: (trek)
Borderlands )

One morning I will wake up without a weather advisory on my phone, but Friday was not the day -- we had wind chill warnings all day, plus alerts about snow and freezing rain expected on Saturday. I don't particularly dislike winter -- the dark before the solstice bothers me more than the cold -- but I am really over arctic temperatures and snow disrupting going anywhere, particularly to see relatives and friends who live north of here! We had plans to see my father-in-law for his birthday on Saturday, but due to the forecast, those have been postponed.

We did retrieve older son from College Park so he could drive us around, and I did post a review of DS9's "The Changing Face of Evil", another of my all-time favorites. We had Chinese food with my parents and now we're watching the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special since we missed it when it first aired -- it is a delight to see McCartney and Simon singing together and a delight to see Steve Martin looking like he hasn't aged, though except for Betty White, a lot of the new material dragged in comparison to the clips. From Baltimore's Druid Park last spring:


Druid in the Park )
littlereview: (get critical)
Get Up )

Quickie because we went out to dinner (California Tortilla was having a cold snap special, everyone who knew the code words got chips and queso for the price of the wind chill -- which was below -9, so everyone got the chips and queso free plus a dime back) and to see Caitlin Canty, with Lynn Hollyfield opening for her, at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. I had never been there before -- when we lived across Route 28 from Kentlands 20 years ago, it didn't exist -- and it's lovely, coffee shop and gallery downstairs and wonderful performance space upstairs.

The music was fantastic. I've loved Canty since I first heard her; I discovered her via Peter Bradley Adams, whom I discovered in turn via Vienna Teng, with whom he was touring. Adams and Canty perform together as Down Like Silver, and while I love them both separately, together they are exponentially amazing. I wasn't familiar with Hollyfield's music before, so she was a delightful surprise. Plus I got to see some of my friend's sister's artwork on display downstairs -- another surprise! Here's Caitlin and a bit of the artwork -- more tomorrow!


Gaithersburg Arts Barn )
littlereview: (get critical)
The Snow-Storm )

We got warnings all of Wednesday morning that we would have serious snow squalls arriving in the afternoon, possibly as early as 2 p.m., so I rushed through some work and went out to get various shopping chores done early (no way was I wasting my $30 in Kohl's bucks, and I got to see Washingtonian Lake frozen over, though I have no photos of it because I left my phone in the car and had to go all the way back to the parking lot to get it). The snow did not arrive till after 5 p.m. and we got very little accumulation, though it did come down hard and fast. We took a walk right in the thick of it and saw two deer munching the neighbors' plants without seeming to mind all the cold fluff on their backs.

We had leftover chili for dinner with the Hurricanes we didn't manage to get for Mardi Gras, so I was a bit tipsy while watching The 100, the greatest girl power show currently on TV (and I would like to note that it is fine with me if Abby and Marcus follow up all that hurt/comfort with some canoodling). I would probably enjoy The Americans more if I watched it drunk, since it is always very stressful even weeks like this when it's mostly about characters not the Cold War -- I often find myself yelling "DON'T DO IT, PHILIP" to the screen about something, usually though not always involving women. Here are a few more photos from the National Geographic Museum's global food exhibit:


Eat Around the World )
littlereview: (get critical)
Roadside Attraction )

Our Mardi Gras was not very wild or colorful because the entire region was shut down due to snow, though we ended up at the lower end of estimates -- 3-4 inches, not 6-8, and nothing like the Alps of M.I.T. Our neighborhood was plowed by mid-morning, though we didn't get trash picked up or mail delivered. Paul worked from home, so we had lunch together.

In the late afternoon we saw Paddington, since I was in the mood for a British movie and am still wary of seeing Kingsman. The plot isn't terribly engaging and it's impossible to recapture the dated charm of the books, but the cast is 1/3 Harry Potter plus 1/3 Doctor Who, the London scenery is lovely, and the steampunk bits with Bonneville in a frock are very fun.

Paul made veggie gumbo for dinner, though we had neither king cake nor hurricanes due to the snowstorm creating local shortages and store closings. Agent Carter seemed kind of meh to me; I was more engaged by The Flash even though the women's roles were a one-two-three of epic failure, at least there were no lectures. More photos of the dinosaur exhibit at the National Geographic Museum:


Thunder Lizards )
littlereview: (photos)
Going Home: New Orleans )

Our plan for Presidents' Day was to go to go to Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, with Annmarie, which we figured would be perfect for getting in some history before the 2-4 inches of snow arrived at 6 p.m. Except by morning, the forecast had changed to 4-8 inches where we are and 6-10 inches in Northern Virginia, and it was supposed to start around 3:30. So we regrettably canceled, and instead our big expedition was to wait in lines at World Market and Trader Joe's along with everyone else in the area trying to get food for Mardi Gras and the Chinese New Year before we all got trapped in our houses!

Indeed, it was snowing by the time we got home, though it's been very fine and light so far -- maybe an inch on top of what we already had, though so cold that every flake is sticking. Local schools and the University of Maryland are closed tomorrow (my kids are not devastated) so we are not counting on getting out of the house. We watched Sleepy Hollow, where the producers finally seem to have figured out how to make Katrina interesting and give the snow lots of new twists, and Broadchurch, which is going to cost me all my nails! From the National Geographic Museum's Food: Our Global Kitchen:


A World of Food )
littlereview: (jewitch)
If the ocean had a mouth )

It was painfully cold on Sunday -- temperatures we'd gotten used to when we lived in Chicago, but rare for Washington, especially the wind chill. We'd had plans to do things in Baltimore, but Daniel had homework to finish and we didn't much feel like schlepping out in the cold, so we spent the early afternoon doing chores around the house, then we drove to College Park, where we picked up Adam (whose girlfriend was conveniently out eating with her parents) and went to Blaze Pizza for a quick dinner before the kids went back to school.

We stopped at the food store on the way home to stock up for the coming blizzard -- the forecast has gone from a couple of inches to four to eight, and most of the Mardi Gras food ingredients had been snagged already -- and got home just in time for Downton Abbey, where I was delighted to see Tom back in form and the Earl uttering his best line of the season ("I do not endorse Tom's language but that is certainly how we all feel!") though I still dislike Mary and am really pissed at how everyone is treating the Drews. Some photos of National Geographic's fossils:


Spinosaurus and Friends )
littlereview: (green little review)
Love and Friendship )

I had a nice, low-key Valentine's Day starting with a quiet morning because Daniel wanted to sleep in. Eventually we dragged him out of bed and had him drive down the GW Parkway to the Columbia Island Marina with lovely view of the Pentagon, at which point Paul took over driving because the District doesn't let anyone without a DC learner's permit drive there. We went to the National Geographic museum to see the exhibits on sustainable food around the world and the huge predatory Cretaceous dinosaur Spinosaurus, both of which were excellent -- lots of short films and tactile exhibits, plus there were food samples at the former and a history of the dinosaur's discovery before the fossils at the latter).

We switched drivers again on the way home in the Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot, unaware that the snow was supposed to start so early in the afternoon! So Daniel got some experience driving in a snowstorm, and we got about two inches on the ground -- beautiful fluffy snow that will be here for days because it's going to be very, very cold. We had delicious cheese fondue for dinner courtesy Paul, who made me the card below, and exchanged chocolates, then watched A Good Year, which Cheryl and I decided in chat was a really good Valentine's Day movie. Now I'm catching up on Nashville, which is leaping over sharks -- how does a woman with type O blood give birth to a daughter with AB blood?

littlereview: (trek)
love is more thicker than forget )

I got to review one of my absolute favorite hours of television on Friday, Deep Space Nine's "Strange Bedfellows", in which Winn and Dukat have sex all over the place and snipe and conspire and are generally hot and awesome. Oh yeah and Worf and Ezri finally look like competent adults, while Damar comes into his own. I love watching Louise Fletcher and Nana Visitor as the Kai realizes she's not giving up her power for anything, not even the Prophets! And Marc Alaimo and Fletcher sharing bon-bons and secrets!

After lunch, we went to pick up Daniel in College Park and had him drive us home, though we stopped at the Silver Spring Kohl's so he could get new shoes (and I took advantage of the 70% off sale to get a lightweight black jacket). When we were all done with work, we had early Valentine's dinner with my parents, then watched the Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet episodes of Shakespeare Uncovered with cameos by Alan Rickman and Geoffrey Rush. Here's Great Falls in winter, though not as cold as this weekend:


Winter Falls )
littlereview: (get critical)
What is the Grass? )

Nope, still nothing exciting to report. Thursday was clear and pretty, but there was serious wind chill which is supposed to be much worse on Friday; the bunnies and deer were hiding, even the squirrels were sluggish. I worked at home and only went out to do thrilling chores at CVS. I forgot until late in the day that it was Free Nutella Chips day at California Tortilla so I missed it!

I am reviewing DS9's endgame, which is thrilling and depressing at the same time -- great episodes but it's almost over, this week it's "Strange Bedfellows" which has the best scene between Kira and the Kai of all. Elementary made me bite my nails because animals were in jeopardy, but it had a good though unresolved twist! Flowers from last spring at Baltimore's Howard Rawlings Conservatory:


April Flowers )
littlereview: (photos)
As Adam, Early in the Morning )

My Wednesday was completely unexciting. I had chores to do and didn't get them all done, and in one case I regressed (is there ANY good way to hang up scarves that doesn't take up a lot of space, makes them easily accessible, and stops them from either getting tangled in each other or falling off onto the floor?). I did see two deer and two bunnies while walking in the evening, which always excites me but I think my neighbors think I'm weird when I talk to the animals, even though they talk to their dogs.

Paul made awesome veggie shawarma and Greek potatoes for dinner, which we had with hummus and pita, though that is small consolation for my mourning for The Daily Show and seeing Kingsman reviews warning about homophobic jokes, rampant misogyny, and the killing of animals. Wednesday is the night I watch my two most violent shows, The 100 and The Americans, and neither one of them raised my blood pressure the way those reviews did. Since I am boring today, have some porn!


Fall Friskiness )
littlereview: (get critical)
Farewell! Thou Art Too Dear For My Possessing )

It was a bleak, cold day, which started with wintery precipitation and ended with cats refusing to leave their blankets to keep us company. Paul worked from home since we had to take the car in for service, something we discovered would be necessary last weekend when the warning light came on, and my only major expedition out was to drop him off to retrieve it, though we also saw bunnies and a deer while walking near twilight under a beautiful cloudy pink sky. And we watched Newsies, which for some reason I had never seen before -- I don't know why I thought it wouldn't be that good, but it's a pro-union, anti-big media Disney musical with Christian Bale singing and dancing! What is not to love!

Tuesday is a busy TV night, though it was a total downer because we'd already heard the news about Jon Stewart retiring from The Daily Show before it started. I don't know how I am going to get through the next election season without him and with a likely-very-different Colbert. Plus I read an atrocious warning about Kingsman involving dead animals which means Colin Firth won't be enough reason for me to sit through the movie. The Flash had bad sex, Agent Carter had bad comic book violence, Forever was probably fine but I was already cranky from the other two so the plot-trigger corpse did not improve my mood. Here are a couple of photos of Lewis Orchard closed for the winter:


Looking Bleak )
littlereview: (get critical)
Economy )

It was a pretty typical Monday around here -- some work, some laundry, some cats pacing around me the entire time I was in the house begging for petting, food, fuzzy blankets, the heat on, even Smartfood which lately is Cinnamon's obsession (is it all right for cats to eat cheese popcorn?). It was overcast all day and drizzly toward evening with a winter weather advisory, though we haven't had any actual winter weather yet, and given what's going on in New England, I'm not going to feel very sorry for us if we do.

We caught up on Downton Abbey, which I have gone from being grateful does not have as much Big Dramatic Shit as last year to being bored and annoyed -- I really loathe Mary, she's an incredibly selfish, entitled person, I know as a feminist I'm supposed to cheer for her man-juggling but I find her interest in them all (Matthew included) very shallow. It really annoys me that they wrote Bunting so intolerably and spend so much time adoring the aristocrats; even pathetic Edith thinks how she's treating the Drews is okay.

The Bates-and-Anna-and-Green storyline has been dragged out for so long that I no longer care who killed Green or how Anna is recovering because I feel personally jerked around. They should take a lesson from Sleepy Hollow, which should have kept Miraculous Thomas Jefferson around much longer but at least I will not be complaining that they need to wrap up that story already. Here are some photos from the VMFA's sculpture garden, including the amazing La Riviere (three down) by Aristide Maillol:


At the VMFA II )
littlereview: (get critical)
We spent most of Sunday in Richmond at the VMFA, where we had tickets with Cheryl to see The Lion In Winter at their theater, which hadn't had a full theatrical run of a show in more than a decade. The film version is one of my very favorite movies and I am very picky about productions -- I can't stand the Stewart/Close version even though I love both of them, they just don't compare to O'Toole and Hepburn -- so I wasn't sure whether I'd have trouble seeing it live, but David Bridgewater and Melissa Johnston Price and the rest of the cast had great energy and did a wonderful job with the dialogue.


At the VMFA )


The cast and director did a talk after the show and took audience questions, which was a lot of fun. We took a walk in the courtyard after the show because the weather was almost ridiculously beautiful, nearly 70 degrees, then we went to Mexico for dinner before coming home just in time for the Grammy Awards. I didn't care who won in many categories so much as I cared that Iggy Azalea lost, so it's fine with me that Sam Smith cleaned up major categories, though I want to know where Tom Petty's Grammy for "Stay With Me" went and I think John Legend's song from Selma is better than any of the Song of the Year nominees!
littlereview: (get critical)
Preparation )

I had a quiet morning reading and catching up on email. When eventually Daniel woke up, we had him drive us to Sugarloaf Mountain, though we stopped on a rural road to make a phone call because the car's maintenance light came on -- Toyota assures us that it's because we're over the requisite number of miles for an oil change and we'll be fine for another couple of days. So son drove us up to the mountain parking lots, where we walked to some of the overlooks, though we did not hike to the summit because we were all chilly and there wasn't anything growing this time of year!


Up On Sugarloaf )


In the evening we took Daniel back to College Park, then watched two movies new to cable, Edge of Tomorrow and Draft Day. They're both serious Guy Movies; neither one passes the Bechdel Test, and they're entirely about the main dude and what he wants and what he can do and how great he ends up being for everyone around him, plus Cruise and Costner are basically playing the characters they play best, though in both cases they have to send their hero personas up a bit before they hit their typical stride. But I enjoyed them anyway, because aliens and football!

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