Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Movies Reviews

It has been a very busy summer so far. Outside the daily work, there are lots of yard works and volunteer works for the local Red Cross chapter. Even so, I still got to see lots of summer movies. Finally, I got a little bit time to spare to write reviews about some of them. Let's talk about the action packed one first, that is, "Wanted". I actually really enjoy this action movie directed by the Russian director who made the "Day Watch" and "Night Watch". It is full of the strangest stunts (CGI) you have never seen before. The fast-paced plots and interesting visual composure make this one even better than the "Hellboy 2". Now we talk about "Hellboy 2". It continues the monsters creation trend from the first one and some humor plots. However, the script seems to be tired and just not quite there. Some part of the movie actually is a little bit slow.

Now we come to some comedies. The first one is the bad "Love Guru". Even with the shameless promotion in the American Idol, its box office still tanked. It was one of the worst movie I have ever seen. Don't even waste your time to rent the DVD. Enough to say about that one. "You Don't Mess With The Zohan" is much better. The typical Adam Sandler comedy similar to his early work like "Big Daddy". It contains lots of sex related jokes. Don't expect too much from it then you will enjoy it. The last one is "The Dark Knight". There are lots of reviews out there already. As everybody else mentions, Heath Ledger did an incredible job to make "the Joker" very realistic. It is such a dark movie that you will be hardly to feel happy after seeing it. The only problem I have with it is the way they deal with the character, "Two-Faced". The character is rushed through and completely wasted. However, the movie has already reached the length of 2 hours and 32 minutes so I guess the director has done his best. Hope these help if you have not seen any of those movies yet.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bomb Stand-Off In City Hall Close To Work

There is apparently a stand-off in the local city hall cross the street from my work office here. No wonder multiple helicopters have been circled above in the air for almost 2 hours. We went out for lunch and the police blocked the main road so we had to make a big detour to get to the lunch place. We check on local news website and it seems that a person has locked himself in the city hall bathroom and claimed that he has the explosive device on him.

OK, they just report that the person has been taken into custody. And we just saw the police cars drove away and removed the road block. Good that nobody got hurt.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Guess What I Got?

Guess what I got? Saw it during the shopping at the Sam's Club and got one immediately. It talks, dances, sings, and does silly moving as you saw in the movie. It comes with a remote that you can even program different moves. By the way, its eyes will light up as blue when it moves/sings/talk/dance! Quite an interesting toy!

Also went to see "Hellboys 2". Very great visual effects and interesting monsters. Some parts of it was a little bit slow but overall was very entertained. The line for "Dark Knight" was too long so I would wait until next weekend when the everybody else has already seen it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lilies In The Garden

The summer is in its full strength now here finally. The sun blasts the hot heat around 90'F (33'C) and almost 70% humidity. It almost thunderstorms in the afternoon everyday, which is rare for Wisconsin usually. Plus the long snowy winter and the spring flooding, this year will be one of the wettest year in the recent history for sure.

The positive thing about the heat and rain is that all the plants in the garden start to grow fast and all the flowers start to bloom finally. This is the 2nd season of the Orienpet Lily in the garden. They really fully develop this year and carry lots of big flowers about the size of 8 inches (20cm) in diameter, or the size bigger than most of people's face. And it grows almost 7 to 8 feet high and reaches the roof.

Besides, the daylilies in the garden are in the peak blooming season now. All the different colors, sizes and patterns of the flowers really make the garden look great. At the night time, the garden is fully of the fireflies sparking all over the place. Of course, I also spotted a big buck eating some of the Hostas flowers the other night after dark. Guess the stupid deer was smart enough to pick the best salad bar in the neighborhood!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Kids Birthday Party

Had a great weekend to celebrate the birthdays of my 8-year-old nephew and the twin 6-year-old nieces. Since their birthdays are just one day apart, we celebrate their birthdays together. However, as you know, kids really do not like to share birthday cakes. So I made 3 individual furry aliens cupcakes with their individual favorite colors, blue, yellow, and purple.

In addition, I also made this orange marmalade cake with orange juice, zest, walnuts, and marmalade. It was decorated as the summer sun rings with the kids' favorite colors as well. I also made some of the cupcakes with the same ingredients. They were quite light but had great summer sweet citrus flavors.

Everybody seemed to love them since all the cakes and cakes disappeared so fast that I almost did not get to taste one. The weather was gorgeous, sunny, low 70s (22'C) and breezy. Kids got to play outside with their birthday gifts, the new scooters. I was just amazed how many tricks they could do on that small scooter. It was really a nice weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Take Me to A "Sweating" Ball Game

Yesterday, it was the company outing and we got to go a Brewers Game. The weather was quite cloudy, humid and hot around 90'F (33'C). We got a nice tailgate with all the typical summer party food, bratwurst, hamburger, cookies, chips, soda and of course, beer. Since I don't drink, I was not that exciting about the free beer as my other co-workers.
It was a sold out game and the stadium, Miller Park was packed with almost 45,000 people. The Miller Park has a retractable roof that can be open and close. Usually, they have to decide if the roof has to be closed about 30 minutes before the game. Due to the possible thunderstorm in the afternoon, the roof was close. It turned out to be a false alarm. Since they did not want to interrupt the game, the roof stayed closed through the game. But the closed roof blocked all the breeze and it was just very warm and uncomfortable in the stadium. It was like sitting in a steam room for 4 hours with people sitting shoulder to shoulder all around you. You could smell the stinky sweat in the heavy humid air 30 minutes into the game. After the big 7-point score for the Brewers at the bottom of 4th inning against Colorado Rockies (7-1), I decided to escape the "sweating" ball game. I got to avoid the post-game traffic and relaxed a bit for the rest of the day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summerfest On July 4th Weekend

Worked in one of the biggest music festival - summerfest on this past July 4th weekend as the first aid provider again. This is my 9th year to work in this festival. The weather was great, sunny and around low 70s. Very quiet and only one drunk drama. A drunk and obnoxious woman was screaming at her 13-year-old niece for nothing. The young girl just cried in the first aid station and would not leave.

That really caused the problem for us to take care of other people who needed the first aid service. I had to turn her and her drunk aunt over to the security. The security eventually evicted the drunk aunt out of the festival ground and sent the teenager to the lost-child area. Besides that, everything was cool. Was able to enjoy some music but bored to tears otherwise since nothing happened. I guess it was not a bad thing that nobody got hurt and for all the medical staff to be bored. :)

Got friends in town to visit during the long weekend and we also went to see Wall-E. I think it is just OK. The computer animation is really amazing for the realistic of the metal and plastic surface. The story line is the usual soft loving Disney thing pluses the environmental green theme. The first half is more interesting but the last 1/3 of the movie is a little bit yawning and boring. I don't really like it that much as the previous other movies. But it is still a nice family fun movie to watch in the summer. Hope that everybody had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two 80th Birthday Cakes

Finally,it's getting warmer but still around cool side. It was the 80th birthday of my best friend's mother the other day and I made 2 cakes for the birthday party. I was sent to Cleveland for work and did not come back to town until the night before the party so I had to stay up past the midnight and continued to work on the 2nd day the following morning. I did not finish the decoration of the cakes until 1 hour before the party since these 2 cakes were complicated to assemble and decorate.

The first one is the yellow cake with apricot filling. Decorated with basket weave of 2 flavor frosting: yellow is lemon and white is whipped vanilla. The second one is the dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting and filling and decorated with chocolate roses, etc. Since they were both freshly made, they stayed moisture. All the guests in the party really liked the taste and design of both cakes. Overall, the chocolate cake was more popular due to the taste but the basket weave one won by the look. I was just happy that I could finish both cakes and all the guests liked them.