Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Let Us Step Into the Night and Pursue That Flighty Temptress, Adventure"

-Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince)

I will be off on the trail once again around midnight tonight: this time to my second homeland of Florida!  My old college friend, Shelby, a friend of hers from her hometown, and I are making the drive down to Fort Walton Beach for a quick five day beach getaway.  I'm so excited!!

(photo by e.hunt)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cloaking An Art Deco Personality

As of last night, I am officially on Spring Break!  I had my last class of the week yesterday and completed this quite impressive notebook doodle during the lecture.  I have a pretty good collection going for this class.  I take pride in being a really good note-taker; I'm quite good at picking out the important details worth noting that'll probably be on the test, or things that I just find interesting.  But when my professor is trying to be funny, or engage the stupid freshmen (they didn't know who Isaac Newton was-- I mean, really?!), I start doodling away.

(photo by e.hunt)

The Evolutionary Story

I recently read this article about vestigial structures.  These are things we still have in our bodies (muscles, ligaments, etc) that escaped the productiveness of evolution.  They no longer serve any purpose, but we still have them, leftover from times past.  Well, not everyone has them.  For example, I still have this weird monkey muscle in my forearm.  They were helpful in climbing and swinging from tree limbs.  As another example, I don't have extra dog ear muscles used for detecting where sounds come from, but people who can wiggle their ears do.  I thought it was quite interesting-- here's the article I read if you want to read more.  If you're really interested, type vestigial structures into google and it'll give you a lot more information.

(photo by e.hunt)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Where the Sun Shines, and the Rain Rains, and the Snow Snows, It All Comes Together

Well, it snowed Sunday morning.  I was at work (of course) so here's another snow picture I took through the front window while I was on my lunch-but-really-breakfast break.  The snowflakes looked like little pieces of tissue paper blowing around.

And then yesterday it made it up to the mid-sixties, so I went running and took this lovely blooming tree pic.  I think it's a magnolia.

So it goes here in Missouri.  But I kindof like it.  Rather than having buckets of snow that's pretty to watch but then you have to deal with all of it melting and becoming dirty and grey over the course of several days, here we have some nice snow to look at, but it's gone almost instantly and we can enjoy the outdoors once again.

(photos by e.hunt)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Children of Spring Never Grow Old

Last weekend Taylor came home for Spring Break.  Hard to believe that it's already Spring Break time; I feel like classes just started up again!  Anyway, his was this last week, Mom's is this week, and then mine is the following week.  It's been fun having Taylor home.  I've been on a new work schedule trend where my boss schedules me fewer days during the week, but for longer shifts on the days that I do work.  It's fine with me, and I've had a few more normal days to hang out with Taylor while he's home.

Last weekend we had a big Sunday dinner with Nana and Grandma.  We had decided earlier in the week that it would be fun to make homemade margaritas, so Dad was squeezing fresh lime juice when I walked in from work.  Margarita night had begun!

We found a good recipe and mixed everything together in the shaker.  We even put salt on the rims of the glasses!

It was probably the best margarita I've ever had.  While indulging in the Mexican favorite, Dad and Taylor barbecued a variety of meats and veggies (including zucchini of course!).

Between the meats, veggies, rice, and salad, we had quite a spread when everything was put on the table.  It looked and tasted delicious!  And as a bonus, daylight savings happened that morning so it was still light out when we sat down to eat.

(photos by e.hunt)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Now Present and Active In the World

Today is a beautiful day to go out and vote!  I did, and didn't even have to wait in line.  Now, go do your civic duty and head to your assigned place of voting!  And enjoy the lovely springtime weather.

(photo by e.hunt)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Every Few Hundred Millenia, Evolution Leaps Forward

I went running yesterday because it was an absolutely beautiful sixty degrees outside.  And I wore my new running shoes for the first time.  They were a long overdue purchase, as I've had my other ones since sometime in early college.  At this point I was probably better off running barefoot!

Don't they look nice!!?  I decided to stick with New Balance, and found the least neon pair in the store.  My old grey pair weren't actual running shoes, so they were always a bit heavy, making my legs tire faster.  These are bouncy and light, allowing me to run longer in between walking moments. I'll have to wear them a few more times before they are broken in and really comfortable, but so far they are perfect.  And when I was walking up the driveway at the end of my run, I noticed the yellow tree in front of our house had awakened!  And you know what that means: spring is coming!!

(photos by e.hunt)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ahhhhh Weekends

Last weekend was a busy one, so I'm looking forward to just working, homework, and hanging out this weekend.  I got a new pair of running shoes today so I might start breaking those in as well.

Back to last weekend, on Friday I made a trip down to Springfield.  It had been about three months since my last trip down, and two months since returning from my last travels, so I figured it was time to get out of town for a night.  I didn't have any plans, so I arrived late afternoon and went to The Mudhouse for a while before meeting up with an old friend at The Mudlounge, which is the alcoholic version of The Mudhouse.  After my regular coffee at The Mudhouse, an Irish coffee at the Mudlounge sounded quite lovely.

We ended up staying there for the rest of the night, with my friend Hannah meeting up with us after she got out of a concert.  It was a fun, low-key way to catch up with friends, and it was nice to get out of St. Louis for an evening.

After driving back the next day, and a much needed nap, my Mom and I went out to Maggiano's for pasta with Nana and my Aunt and Uncle, who was visiting for a few days.  We ordered my favorite, zucchini!

And continuing in the when-family-is-in-town tradition, we just never stopped eating good food.  The next night Dad made his famous guacamole and barbecued something delicious.  And look, more zucchini!!

(photos by e.hunt)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

When the Wind Is Blowing In the East; 'Tis Not Fit For Man Nor Beast

Another notable non-posted event from the past couple weeks is the strange weather we've been having: snow one day, seventy degrees out the next!  One of those snow days I was able to sleep in; no work and the sleepy opening of my shades to this snow-land wonder.

It was beautiful, and wasn't enough that it lasted for days and days, which is always such a slushy, grey problem.  And the second one, well, was a bit worse.  I was opening that day at work, and luckily, it wasn't deep enough for the roads to be really bad yet.  It was rather hard to see driving to work though!

I got there a few minutes late, and surprisingly, we had people waiting at the door at our 5am opening.  After that first round though we were empty.  It was kindof nice: we made ourselves drinks and watched the snow fall.

And by the time I was off work, the roads were all cleaned off and easy to drive on.

(photos by e.hunt)

No TV Week

Ironically, after posting two posts about movies, this post is going to be about not watching any TV at all.  I had the idea a couple weeks ago, and decided I would spend a whole week not watching any Netflix or TV.  I had a couple projects I'd been wanting to spend a little time on but it's so easy to just go upstairs every night, take a shower, and then start a movie before my early-for-work bedtime.  And then I remembered back in elementary school we did a No TV Week in the spring where we had to document what we did at home rather than watch TV.  We never had an issue watching too much TV, although we did spend a while every day playing video games.

Anyway, I talked to Taylor about it and he was interested in joining, although his would be more of a No Youtube Week, as that is where he spends a lot of time.  He was coming home that weekend so we thought we'd plan it out a little more, make it a little more official, and begin that Monday.  By this time, Mom and Dad were on board as well.

It was a tough week, but I started several projects, did a little reading, cleaned up my room, and got ahead of some homework.  I cleaned up and cleaned out several areas in my room, set up a coffee station, and Mom and I went out for margaritas one night too!  The week was about being productive, and I have to say, I feel like I accomplished a lot.  We talked about trying to do a week here and there throughout the rest of the year, which I think is a fantastic idea.  Stay tuned (ha!) for round two!

(photos by e.hunt, and designed by t.hunt)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Movie Reviews: The Martian and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

I watched three movies on my eleven-hour overseas flight back to the states in January.  I also slept for four of those hours.  Not as much as I’d hoped, seeing as how I only napped for an hour before getting up at 4:45am that day to get to the airport on time. 

One of the movies, the last one, was a familiar favorite, Moulin Rouge!  Ohh, that Roxanne tango gets me every time.  Not to mention that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are gorgeous in it.  The first movie I put on was The Martian, the Matt Damon space saga based on the novel by Andy Weir, which has nothing to do with aliens or shooting lasers or planet-blower-upper-guns.  As a fan of older space movies (Apollo 13 and Space Cowboys), I thought it might be good.  Also, Matt Damon is absolutely delightful.

The movie was well-done.  It is entertaining, and the red planet is beautiful in all its desolate and deadly glory.  I’ve heard complaints from people who have read the book, but since I haven’t read it, I don’t have that perspective.  Matt Damon gets stranded on Mars when a storm hits and the rest of his team assumes he is dead and makes an emergency evacuation back to Earth.  The movie details his quest for survival and rescue through journal/video log style tapes and traditional movie narrative.  Once he re-establishes communication with NASA, they help him solve problems by using duplicate space models here on Earth, while Damon is trying to figure it out with the real pieces up on Mars.

I would have liked to see more of the problem-solving, on Mars and on Earth.  Matt Damon gets left for dead on Mars, but happens to survive, growing a crop of potatoes and using the remains of Pathfinder to communicate with Nasa in the meantime.  There seemed to be a lot of characters that were just there, for a quick quip or two in emotional scenes.  It was like, well, we can’t just have the two head Nasa guys argue about the morals and what to do, so we better have a few other people in the room to add to the discussion.  That was their whole purpose.  I also would have liked to see a little more from Jessica Chastain as the crew commander.  Why did Damon respect her so much?  What did she do to earn that?  The ending also seemed a little bit of a last-minute addition.

The second movie I picked was The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  There are a lot of characters, and a lot of “conning the other guys” plot twists, but the two leads, Henry Caville (of Superman, The Tudors, and Count of Monte Cristo fame), and Armie Hammer (of Gossip Girl and The Social Network) both look damn good in a suit.  This turned out to be the flight of good looking people!

This movie was entertaining, once it got going, although that took a while.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of the old TV show (thanks, Dad!), which stars the bleach-blonde guy who’s in The Great Escape, and it seems that they did a good job trying to keep that style.  It is set in the 60’s, right in the middle of the Cold War, and somehow, a US ex-high-art-thief secret service agent, and a Russian KGB agent come together on a case that takes them to the beautiful backdrop of Rome.  

Caville’s Solo is pretty much a straight rip on a Mr. Bond, James Bond, but he pulls it off nicely.  The period piece flair adds a lot to the movie, otherwise it would just be another buddy-spy flick.  It follows in this year’s theme of nostalgia (think Jurrasic World, Spectre, and Star Wars), but doesn’t overexert it like the previous examples.  It had an element of fun that these others missed because they were trying too hard to impress everybody.  Even though it’s a little long, I’d say it’s worth watching, if only for the beautiful cast and entertainment factors.

(photos collected from blogs.lcms, static6.techinsider,, universetoday, imgur, images1.villagevoice, and lovelace-media.imgix)