Monday, August 31, 2015

I Can't Stay Away from You, England

It had been almost a year since my last business trip to England, so off my manager and I went.And this time, it was to a whole new customer which meant whole new cities.

This time, we were based in Southampton, so in our first bit of free time for exploring, we drove toward the coast and just wandered around.

My boss likes old architecture and history bits, so he directed us that way.

Towards crumbling churches,

and the remnants of the former town wall,

and the ports, where the Titanic sailed from.

This was all well and good, but I made sure to swing by a Superdrug to stock up on all of the British only products I had been missing. I even used part of that bath bomb bar during my hotel stay to take a nice bath after a long night of work.

Because we actually worked overnight on this trip, there was a lot more time to go exploring. I was a zombie from exhaustion for the majority of it, but still. We got to see a lot.

The second day of exploring, one of my coworkers who is based in Germany came with us and he really wanted to see the preserved boats of Portsmouth. So off we headed to a slightly different coastline.

At the end of the day, we had dinner in one of Jamie Oliver's restaurants, which was a first for me. Who knows? Maybe it's the English equivalent of Olive Garden, but it was damn yummy. Only downside was that he hovered over me in book form for the whole meal. A little creepy.

On this trip, I finally talked my boss into going in to London. We boarded a train from Southampton and spent the morning at the Natural History Museum.

Do you know what the Natural History Museum has? Dinosaurs! So many dinosaurs!!!!

From there, we grabbed lunch at Pret A Manger and spent the afternoon taking in the touristy sites of the city. Like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament,

and Trafalgar Square,

and the British Museum. Unfortunately, the museum closed about 20 minutes after we arrived, so it was a mad scramble to see as much as possible. I'd visited it before with Dan, so I wasn't heartbroken, but I did get to see some of my favs.

For the first time since my first trip to England when I was 15, I saw the Tower of London. I mean, I didn't want to go in and the crown jewels and stuff, but the outside was cool. We walked to entire perimeter, strolled the river by Tower Bridge, and then went and finished up the day with a big (veggie) burger dinner.

So, after a very long day, we took the subway back to Waterloo station to catch a train back to Southampton. If you're a newbie to their train system, it can be quite overwhelming, staring up at all the boards of train lines and schedules, trying to find the train that will get you home right now. After a few minutes, we had figured it out, gotten through the turnstile, and were hustling toward the train.

Apparently, the train was about to leave, so my boss ran up to it and hopped on. However, he hopped on a first class carriage, so I shouted at him to wait because we didn't have first class tickets and so we should go down the train in get in one of the other cars. But as soon as he jumped onto the train, the door slammed shut behind him and I was left standing on the platform alone.

Now, maybe there was a way to delay the train and get him off of it or get me onto it, but that really wasn't clear at the time. So I just stood there as the train rolled away.

What followed was about 20 minutes of me figuring out how to get back through the turnstile, finding another train to take, and just general panicking. Fortunately, I figured it out and headed back to the hotel. Here's my evidence of my solo train trip, with the conductor checking tickets. My train had fewer stops than his so I ended up at the station about five minutes after him.

It was a hell of a trip. A tiring, draining trip that, although fun, has put me off traveling for a while. At least traveling with people, I suppose...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Jurassic World Recap

OK, you know how I've become reaaaaaally terrible lately about posting anything in a timely manner? I keep thinking I'll finally catch up, but it's not looking good.

Anyway, here's a post I should have written over two months ago. I'm just the worst.

The Jurassic World Premiere! We did the 7PM show the night before it officially premiered. Like I mentioned in my Jurassic World prep week post, I dressed up in my awesome dinosaur onesie. {Sidenote: please excuse the poor quality of the pictures from inside a dark movie theater.}

It was a wee bit warm in the onesie. It is fleece and it was June in Tucson. Granted, movie theaters are always cold, but it wasn't cold enough. I really thought I was going to overheat by the end of it.

You know what's a weird feeling? Trying to sit for any length of time with a fake tail. The only comfortable way to sit was with it sticking out from between my legs. I may or may not have taken this picture to send to one of my friends who couldn't come with us as an obscene text.

Since this movie was a big deal to me, I wrangled up as many friends to come as possible. There were probably a dozen of us. It was a great time.

In a weird twist I still don't fully understand, I was the only person dressed up for my showing, the first showing. However, sooooo many teenagers dressed up for the second showings of the night. Here's me and Dr. Grant and Ian Malcolm.

There were also two guys in full raptor Halloween costumes. They were getting full applause from the movie theater lobby. I slowly plauded after them until I caught up and we had a little dinosaur circle of excitement. After the movie itself, it was the highlight of my night.

Since it has premiered, I have seen Jurassic World three more times: once with my mother, once in 3D with my friend Kristine, and this past weekend with my friend Bekah.

The first time I saw it, I was a little disappointed. It wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. However, in seeing it several time since, I really like it now. There is still a lot of backstory I wish they could have covered, but ignoring that, it was a great movie.

Not all of this post is horribly late. I wrote a review of the movie the first weekend I saw it. Here's an excerpt of it:
Some people who have seen Jurassic World have called it sexist. I'm not sure if I agree. I'm not sure I disagree.

Yes, there are only five female speaking roles in the entire movie. They include: Claire, the female protagonists; Vivian, an employee who manages park services from the control room; Zara, Claire's annoyed assistant; Karen, Claire's sister and the kids' mother; and Zach's nameless girlfriend. 

However, the remaining three female characters are played with incredible nuance that make them real, not necessarily 'strong'. Claire is a HBIC. Her job is her life and she takes no prisoners. But, at the same time, she is shown trying. She tries so hard to have authority and control. We're supposed to believe this effort for control is counter intuitive when dealing with such a fluid, flexible system, but I interpreted it differently. She's not exercising control to bend nature to her whim: she uses it to be taken seriously by all her male coworkers looking down their noses at her. She's the odd woman out and she doesn't want any mistakes that they can pick apart. As a woman who works almost solely with male coworkers, this may be one of the first characters I've seen to portray this feeling correct. When things do start to go wrong and crumble, she pushes back against the men who try to take over with mixed results. You can see the fear in her eyes as she loses control to these men who don't have the parks or the animals best interest at heart until she breaks and goes rogue, working to fix the situation without them.

You would think Claire would be my favorite character given how I relate to this redheaded control freak, but you would be wrong. My favorite was Vivian. She is feminine, nerdy, vulnerable, and good at her job all at the same time. She wears sun dresses with leggings. She is one half of the pair that basically runs everything from the control room. She cries when people are killed. She worries about the safety of the visitors. And, in a minor spoiler, (SPOILER BEGIN) she shuts down a man who tries to play 'hero' and kiss the girl. She had a boyfriend, but she just doesn't talk about him at work. That would be unprofessional. (SPOILER END).
In that initial review, I was a little too hard on Claire. I've grown to appreciate her character a lot more. I've watched youtube tutorials on how to get her make up look. I've found her shoes and bought them. They frustratingly didn't fit, but still. The movie has grown on me each time I've seen it. 

I'm so glad that the movie didn't disappoint me and that it did amazingly well, basically guaranteeing several sequels.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This is just a post of my cats sitting in weird places

Apparently my cats have been extra rambunctious lately and getting into all sorts of things they are not supposed to. Here is the evidence.

Whenever I'm in the workout room (which is rare, let's be honest), Rusty loves to be tall by laying awkwardly across the weight rack.

Sam prefers to cuddle with Dan, so I will accept anything I can get from him. Even if he is only 'cuddling' with me in an attempt to cross my leg bridge to get to my ice cream bowl.

Being the lovely, little pain he is, Rusty shows no fear about jumping into unknown places. Accidentally forget to close the fridge door and he suddenly has all sorts of new things to smell.

Last one. Having a laundry pass through should be a nice feature of our house. However, with our cats, it's just a tiny door into our bedroom without a lock. Sam loves to have a good cry in front of the pass through until you push it open for him.

That is all.