June 6, 2009

Ode to Pixar

So, I just saw the latest installment of the Pixar franchise..."Up". Of course it was fantastic, as all Pixar movies are. Although, I thought the story was quite random...not sure how they came up with some of that stuff. But, in typical fashion, it was captivating, colorful, masterfully created, and funny. Heard the adults laughing more than the kids....watch out for those snipe :)

So, being that there are 10 Pixar movies total, I thought I would share my Top 10 Pixar movie picks: (They are all a "must-see")


The original is still the BEST!! I saw this for the first time when I was 16, and I have seen it many times since. Characters and story are unbelievably creative! I mean everything from the army men doing a "re-con mission" of Andy's bday party to the aliens with "the claw"...it's priceless! Not only is it my favorite Pixar movie, it's one of my favorite movies of all time! Love it :)


"P. Sherman. 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney" :) Without a doubt...the funniest of all the Pixar flicks. Great story and great characters (love the sharks, Dory, sea turtles,and the fish tank captives). So do you speak whale? "Maybe you should try a different dialect, like humpback." :)


Probably the most under-rated of the collection, but once again...the story is perfect! They capture a day in the life of "monsters in the closet". "Boo" steals the show...and she hardly speaks at all, except to say "Kitty" or "Mike Wazowski!". Soo cute :)

#4) WALL*E

The best love story of 2008 was, in fact, a cartoon. I didn't really care for the political undertones, but the fact that the first half of the movie was done essentially without dialogue...only mannerisms of robots and sounds...GENIUS!!!


Some movie critics like this sequel better than the 1st...a feat that is rarely accomplished. Truthfully, I remember loving it, but haven't seen it in forever...need to revisit it again, since next year's Pixar movie is said to be "Toy Story 3"...YAY!!


The hardest part is pronouncing it or spelling it :) I remember leaving the theater after this one, and wanting to go cook something fantastic! Only criticism...I think it missed the mark on witty adult humor that is so prevalent in the other films.

#7) UP

Parts of the story were so well done...like capturing the "growing old together" relationship, but other parts were so random and off-the-wall, like Kevin and the dog collars, that I found it a little distracting. Colors and concept were great, but just fell a little short in my eyes.


Very cute and creative, but I must confess...it's been a long time since I've seen this one also. My opinion might have changed since the last time I saw it.


I know some of you are shouting at your computer screens right now, because most people loved this one. Here's what I think it is for me...Pixar is at it's finest when they capture the soul and personality of animals and objects, that in reality, do not exist. That is when I'm truly captivated! So, main characters here were people...eh...a little blah for me. Also, a little tired of the superhero thing.

#10) CARS

Someone had to be last, right? This had such potential!! Maybe I was let down because I love cars so much, and was excited to see how they would capture that. Also, felt that this was the least funny. But, the worst Pixar movie is still one of the best movies I've seen in the past 10 years.

May 28, 2008

The Xterra

Last weekend, we went to Canyon Lake for an XTERRA race...it's basically a triathalon off-road. 1 mile swim, 14-mile mountain biking, 10K trail running. Many of our friends participated, and I spectated (of course) with our friend Travis. His wife Katie did the whole thing by herself...rockstar!!! Our other friend Hayley did the "sprint" version by herself...rockstar!!! Andrew was part of a relay team, that included Beck (who did the mountain biking), and a girl who did the swimming. At least that's what we were told. We never actually met the swimmer or saw her after the race...but apparently, she did a really good job. :) Our other friends Noah and Jamie were there too. We haven't seen them in 4 years, so it was great catching up. Noah also did the whole thing by himself...these people are insane!!

I was so proud of Andrew. He's not typically a runner, and I still don't think I would give him that label. :) But, he did so good. He didn't have much time to prepare, and just went out and did it. 6 miles of trail-running...no thanks!!! So, here are some pictures of the spectacle: (Travis is holding the signs)

Beck doing the mountain bike leg

Noah on his run. The sign says "Geez, you are slow"

Andrew doing the "marathon shuffle"

At least Travis was nice to his own wife

May 13, 2008

"I just felt like ruunniing..." --F. Gump

I am signed up to do the running leg of an XTERRA race in New Braunfels this weekend. It is basically like an off-road triathlon, with the swimming being about the same deal, except the bike leg is mt. biking and the run is trail-running. Anyway, the XTERRA appeals to me now that I finally got myself back into shape. Two races, 1/2 distance and full, two categories, individual and team relay. I wanted to do the 1/2 distance XTERRA all by myself, but I could not find a place to train for the swimming without getting roped into a big contract, so no dice. My neighborhood pool opens the weekend of the XTERRA so that wouldn't work either. Sooooo I had pretty much written it off until my buddy Beck calls me and says that he needs a runner. (there is a relay division and he has a swimmer, HE is mt. biking, and his runner had a scheduling conflict).
I had been wanting to to the 1/2 race as I mentioned and figured I could whip out a decent 5k time so I agreed. I was excited. NOTE: I do not run. I am not a runner. I am a cyclist. I have never run longer than 4 miles at a time ever. Period. This seemed really doable and fun-- through the woods and across rocks and streams-- not like pounding asphalt following a never ending yellow line. Game on. Beck and I talked for another 10 minutes or so, then towards the end of the call, the word "10k run" comes out of his mouth. I asked him to repeat and he conifrmed that the team was signed up for the full XTERRA. Yikes! I was under the assumption that it was the 1/2 (5k). Now things just got interesting. I told him that I had a mtb. race that weekend, but after Sunday, I would ditch the bike and be a runner for the next two weeks and really devote some effort to training for this (although I was not, and still am not confident that I can even do this). I can walk it, but c'mon....
I have been running for a little over a week now and DANG THIS IS HARRRD! I hit it too hard, too fast and destroyed my right calf and had to take two days off four days into it, but after proper stretching and massage, I am back on it. I am running 3.5mi. at a time after work, at an 8:30 pace, but will only work up to 4mi. by the end of the week,rest Fri. and Sat. then go for all 6 at once on race day this Sunday. Not the most ideal training plan, but I don't have much time. My only goals: no stopping, no walking, no injuries. Otherwise let the chips fall where they may. Should be interesting. My 8 minute pace will probably fade by mile 4 and I'll be doing the old-man marathon shuffle, but oh, well.
I REALLY miss my bike, but kinda like the shorter distance runs. I may keep them up from time to time and learn to swim efficiently this summer and do a 1/2 X by myself next time.

May 10, 2008

New nephew!!!

Baby Seth is here, and he is so cute and precious. It's kind of fun having a boy in the family. It's sad, but I think I understand boys better than girls...oh well. :) We spent some time over at Emily and Joel's on Tues night. I got to hold the baby, ate some good food, and watched American Idol. Sorry to you Jason Castro fans, but he was terrible.

Here are some pics of our new nephew:

It looks like I'm a natural, but you should feel my heart rate :)

He's so sweet!!!

Andrew...picture face without even trying...c'mon!!!

We look forward to the wonderful things that God has in store for him, and we especially look forward to watching Ella interact with him. :)

On a side note, I've been sort of absentee from the blog lately. Mostly due to a combination of work and school, which has made for a very stressful past few months. The good news...I'm getting a new position at work, and Microbiology is over!! God is doing some great things, and I'm just trying to wait for His timing...sometimes easier said than done.

Another side note...is anyone watching Survivor!?! This season has been awesome...blind-side after blind-side!! I can't wait for the finale tomorrow!!

April 29, 2008

What we've been up to....

I went to Guatemala on a mission trip with several men from church where we all worked like slaves constructing a cinderblock building without power tools. Overall, it was GRRRREAT!!!! One of the better trips I've ever been on. Nope, not Photoshopped, that's me working.....

Next, in sports, I'm riding my bikes more often and even doing a couple of mountain bike races this spring. It feels great and I don't know how I'm finding the time, but I am managing to ride alot more. I got worked pretty hard at a race in Austin and realized how much I had let myself get out of shape. I did my best but the finish results were less than stellar. I did manage to have a blast while "holding down" 14th..HA!

After getting worn-out from a long ride at Huntsville State Park, I was ready for a PBJ, but so was this guy....... (I couldn't resist)

Then, this past weekend our small group from church went camping at Huntsville. I'd always heard rumors of there being gators in that lake, but Aaron made a believer out of me thanks to his boat. I saw two when I went out, but earlier he saw about 8. The "Crocodile Hunters" Aaron and Jeremy:

A strange thing happened when we were just sitting around camp. No breeze, just as peaceful as can be then we heard "crack, ....boom,POP,POP,etc." and saw a big tree just 40 feet from our campsite come crashing down towards us. It was right there before our eyes and I saw it fall in slow-mo. It was pretty cool. It fell on a power line and knocked out the power to half the park.

Keith who is a fireman for Houston put out the blaze 'with his bare hands' conceivably saving the lives of thousands and preserving the park for future genarations at the rate the fire was growing. It was just billowing smoke, and Keith dissappeared into the smoke and within seconds it was out.

As you can tell, it could only have been done by a professional fireman. Thank God for Keith.

Liz has been acing exams in her classes this semester and only has one week left!!!
Go Liz!

February 19, 2008

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!

I found our camera's charger, revived the battery and shot a few pics to share. First, I gave Abby another haircut--with Liz's help and coaching this time--and the results were MUCH better than the last time (for those that didn't get to see her think "shorn lamb").

It was more of a "trim" than anything to make her look less scraggly. We basically just removed the indian fringe from around her legs and underbelly. She now resembles a bear --especially from behind. The camera does no justice here. We like how it turned out.

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last month --YAHOO

I've been making a career our of our master bath redo it seems. Really more of a career of procrastination. That has changed. I finshed the demolition and removal! It only took 8 months! --ah, but the project is still not done. I should finish in a month or so. To those who I've been describing this to, I'll let the pictures do the talking. To summarize, water leak plus lots of time equals decay equals forced remodel.

I know how an archaeologist feels now after spending 2-3 hours chiseling out the pan hidden in our slab beneath it all, but I didn't find any bones or anything cool.

I finally removed the last of the wallpaper our home that was in the dining room. I textured, added chair rail and crown molding and painted. I'm actually about 40% through a total re-paint of the whole house. This room captures our color theme--only two colors with the baths and kitchen being dark and the rest being light brown with a dark accent wall here and there. Its looking good but sure takes a long time. My painter at work asks me every week how its going then scoffs at the length of time it is taking me. Pros,...they always feel the need to prove their superiority. I didn't bring up my current time table on the master bath project!

January 9, 2008

Best of 2007

While I am certainly no movie critic, I consider myself to be a passionate movie-goer with an eye for great movies. What does "best picture" mean to me? Usually, that I walk out of the theater, and can't stop talking about it. Also, when the movie comes out on DVD, and I add it to my collection...that's a good sign. So, here are my "best pictures" from 2007 (in order):

5. The Bourne Ultimatum - I missed every single "three-quel" this summer except this one. But, it seems I picked the right one to spend 2.5 hours on. Action scenes were great, and the story was not too confusing. The franchise did a great job tying together all the loose ends and closing the door on the Bourne series. This one was almost as good as the original.

4. Juno - maybe a little unorthodox, and some of the dialogue is a little overdone. But, what a unique, quirky, and entertaining little film. You can't help but become attached to the characters and their story. You will certainly laugh, and maybe even cry (I did). And Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight K Schrute) makes a cameo appearance delivering one of the best one-liners of the whole movie. Acting is good, but the soundtrack is better (very Garden State-esque). I'd say it's this year's Little Miss Sunshine.

3. 3:10 to Yuma - I must preface this one...I love westerns!! And Christian Bale is definitely becoming one of my favorite actors. He never lets me down. I loved this one from beginning to end. The only thing I would have changed...the final shoot-out scene was a little unrealistic in comparison to the rest of the movie.

2. The Kite Runner - The movie was a good (not great) adaptation of the book. The cast of mostly no-name actors worked, and the scenery was beautifully shot. Heads-up...most of the movie is in subtitles, but I didn't find it distracting at all. It was moving, powerful, and had a storybook ending. Loved it!! But, read the book first.

1. No Country for Old Men - It's the Coen Brothers at their finest!!! Great story, great script (very little diaglogue), and superb acting. I love Tommy Lee Jones, and his small part in this one is still great. Josh Brolin should get nominated for Best Actor, and Javier Bardem should win Best Supporting Actor. He played one of the most scary, chilling bad guys that I've seen in recent years...flawless!! I repeat, it's the Coen Brothers (which I love for films like Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou?), so don't expect the stereotypical ending. But, hands down, my Best Picture of the year.

Honorable Mention (in no order): Zodiac, The Kingdom, Ratatouille