Saturday, March 30, 2013

NYC Day 5

I am currently laying on my bed (with a new bedspread and now green walls!) back in my hometown/parents' house. After spending five days in New York, I have been reminded about how much I want to travel, not just the world, but also the USA, which I still have much of to explore. Needless to say, we got home safely.
Anywho, our last day in New York was a bit slower but still just as much fun. We got up a bit earlier than normal in order to get in line at the SONY Wonder Technology Lab. We ended up getting in without a problem, even though they do say that you are supposed to call over a week in advance, it seems like most people who lined up in the morning at least today. The pictures below are from the Lab, it was really neat and I do highly recommend it to anyone interested in computers, digital art/media, robots, even digital surgery! All of these and more were shown here at the SONY Wonder Technology Lab.

We spent a few hours at the Lab, and had a great time there! We had a video of a 'news broadcast' we did, but unfortunately my recording on my phone of a playback of our recording is less than stellar :(. So no videos here today, maybe when I better figure out my videos...
After the Lab, we headed back to Central Park, following a craving for those delicious Belgian Waffles before we left New York for home. We did, and they were delicious, and I took a picture of the stand so that I could pass on the goodness to those of you who have not had the wonderfulness of a Belgian Waffles from a Waffles&Dingys stand (this one located by Central Park). Anyone who goes to New York should seek out one of these stands, it's worth the calories I'm sure come with these.
Speaking of which, something interesting that I noticed in New York was that many restaurants and cafes put a helpful number next to their dishes indicating the number of calories. I do believe that I have seen this before in London, but never in the States to my recollection. Correct me if I am wrong, but this seems to be a new thing that could really catch on!

Shoot! I'm forgetting my new timezone, so this is a bit late to have it on Friday, but that's when we had our last day in New York. I will get back into it in a bit. I have a fashion post coming up (an "If Only..." that is) and hopefully some food ones within the next few months!
I also want it to be known that I have been listening to music, in fact, I am currently listening to Ben Folds!
Sara :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

NYC Day 4

The fourth day of our New York trip was quite busy, and involved lots of pictures being taken and a bit of frustration, and a fair amount of walking (though not quite as much as yesterday I feel). We slept in a bit but then headed to the Rockefeller Center in order to catch a tour bus to take us to the 9/11 Memorial which was on the route. The trip itself was nice, the top four pictures are taken from our view on top of the tour bus. It was so high up that the taller people did have to duck when we came too close to stop lights or signs hanging above the roads.

The pictures below are from the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial itself is almost done, but I think that it will be even more moving when the museum itself is done, which should be 2014. It was a really neat place, although for any who plan on going there, the security is quick but extensive for a free ticket. I would suggest going there. The pictures below are of the pools that have the names around them of those who died and gave their lives on that historic day.

The big drama of the day happened when we tried to come back on the same bus, which was supposed to stop by every 30 minutes, and we waited for over an hour and by the time it got there, they didn't have any room left to take those of us left, so my mom, sister, and I just ended up walking the 50-ish blocks back to the hotel. It was actually a pretty nice walk and I'm glad that we did walk because we got our exercise in for the day that way as well. :)
For dinner, we went to Potbelly, where I got their loaded baked potato soup, and then we headed to the Rockefeller Tower which we climbed at 8:30 pm. The pictures below are of the Rockefeller Building and the view from the top, which was pretty incredible!

I've also come up with the idea of getting a group of friends together this summer and us heading to Chicago and doing some parkour/free running along with our touring, just for fun. Any suggestions for this?
Have a great night friends! It is our last night in NYC :( I will miss the city, but look forward to going home and getting ready for graduation in May.
Sara :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NYC Day 3

Our third day in NYC (well technically we are in Manhattan all week, but NYC sounds cooler :P), was pretty long and we actually spent time planning out some of it! We got up pretty early and had breakfast at the same place as yesterday (eggs and cheese on a bun) from the street vender who remembered us, which was pretty neat. We then headed out to the Guggenheim Museum, which was a little over a three mile walk (I understand why New Yorkers are all in such good shape, they walk everywhere! Another good reason to live in the city). The pictures below are from the museum, the first being the museum itself from the outside (pretty awesome looking right?!), the second is a part of a large canvas on which all guests could color on with crayons, so of corse I did! :P The third and fourth are inside the museum, pretty sweet! I would recommend this museum even if it is just to look at the architecture of it!

We then headed back to central park for something we had been craving since yesterday: Belgian Waffles. I think that the picture below speaks for itself. THEY WERE DELICIOUS!!!

We were pressed for time in a way since we had a musical to go to that afternoon: 'The Phantom of the Opera', which none of us had seen on stage (I've seen the movie, but the play was definitely better!). We walked through Times Square on our way which is where this first picture comes from. The play itself was amazing! I loved it, even if the people behind us were complaining about the singing (that there was too much is a broadway MUSICAL about an OPERA....silly people!), and would be more than willing to see it again! We even got some souvenirs, including a t-shirt that I plan on wearing on Friday for the trip home.

We went out to dinner and ate at T.G.I.Friday's, which was another place where we hadn't been before. I am glad that I eat fish (even as a vegetarian) because otherwise I would not have found much (as would be expected). It was good food, but they were understaffed and really busy so the service was slow, but worth it. Afterwords, we headed back to Times Square and wandered around in the dark for a while, finding our way into the M&M store, Toys R Us, and the Hersey's store. It was a good night! I even ran into Luigi, and got a picture after having to tip him (weird...).

I've noticed a lot of Jazz being sold around here, as well as French and Italian music around, and am thinking of increasing my collection of these musics due to how popular they are and how much I like them! Also, going to the musical tonight has rekindled my interest in my music and I am looking forward to continuing playing in summer pit orchestras, maybe someday getting to play with a traveling broadway show O.O that'd be super crazy! :P
Well, another day come and gone, have a great night, dear readers! Gwnite!
Sara :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NYC Day 2

Day Two of our five day adventure and I must admit I'm getting that familiar feeling of being a city person again (I get this feeling every time I visit a big city; meaning that I could stand living in one for a while, not sure about permanently, but it would be possible). We started off the day by sleeping in, in our defense we did go to bed quite late last night! But around 11 am we got out of the room and were on the hunt for some brunch. We found this small street cart/stall called Primos Cafe, where we got some pretty good egg and cheese on a bun sandwiches for $2.50, and it tasted a lot better than breakfast yesterday!

After getting our food, we made our way to Central Park. No it's not green in the pictures, but it was still really pretty and we walked around about half of it, still feeling like we were getting our exercise as we ran onto the large rocks they have there and eventually found a merry-go-round where my sister and I rode once :P. My strange face in the picture is because my horse was angry (you can tell by the ears!)...

We then headed to the Museum of Natural History, not far from Central Park and were able to get into two different special exhibits there. Since it was the site of the movie Night at the Museum, we had to stop by and take a look around. It's a lot bigger than I remember, and if we didn't have a map I would have gotten lost and missed the times for getting into the special exhibits. The two exhibits we went to were "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture" and the Planetarium for "Journey to the Stars Space Show". Both can be found at the website here. The dinosaurs are yes, a necessary picture :P

On our way back to our hotel and the Rockefeller building for dinner, we made a detour to the Guggenheim Museum, but we will be stopping there tomorrow morning to look at it. So there should be some pictures up from there tomorrow because it is a very cool looking place! We got a few card games there that we will be trying out over the next few days and I may have a post and will definitely be trying one or two at further Hideaway get togethers! We also made a stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral after dinner. It's currently under construction, but the architecture and the art there is still beautiful! We even made a few offerings at the alters.

Overall, it was a very good day and we got quite a bit of walking done. I will admit that my feet hurt by the end of the day, but my arms are looking for a workout of some sort, so push-ups might be in order later on tonight, just to balance out the two halves of my body. I also had the question while walking through Central Park of whether or not parkour (street running) was legal or practiced in New York. While my limited search revealed a New York Parkour organization, I came to no conclusive answer on that so further searching seems to be necessary!
On a very different note, I'm going to be looking for spring clothing soon, I'm trying to stock up on clothing now while I have money and before I graduate and have to figure that out (going to be hard to choose where I want to be, so the job I get might be the deciding factor...). So, be on the look out for a post within the next week or so of some cute spring picks that I have been finding lately :D
For now, dear readers, I say adieu! :)
Sara :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

NYC Day 1

Starting today until Friday my posts will be a bit different. It's Family Vacation time, where are we going? NYC!!
Our day started with us checking in at 7 am, and then headed to Chili's for breakfast. I have decided that Chili's is more for lunch/dinner... On the other hand the white chocolate mocha I had after tasted much better, and held my coffee fix for the morning. I hate to admit it but I do have mornings when I just really need a coffee to pick me up!

We arrived in NYC's LaGuardia airport a little early. And proceeded to wait until a car could come and pick us up to go to our hotel. Our hotel was pretty sweet! Two full sized beds for three if us, and helpful employees who assist with directions :D
We tried to go up to the top of the Rockefeller tower, but were told to come back tomorrow morning because we would be able see off the top floor. We then attempted to get a tour with NBC Studios but learned (after running around the building) that they are sold out thorough Thursday, so if we don't tour the Sony Tech Lab on Friday morning, we may try and tour NBC! We shall see. We ended up hanging out around the Rockefeller center, doing some window shopping, and then got dinner. I got Chinese from a place called Manchu Wok, and it was pretty good.

Our last stop of the day was Carnegie Hall! It was pretty amazing to be able to sit in the theatre while listening to a full concert. It started out as a middle school choir concert and then moved up until we heard the New York Chamber Orchestra and a few professional opera singers (at least we thought so) and we got back to the hotel around 11 pm. Making today a very long day! But a fun day! I look forward to a few more days here in the city :D

Sara :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Hideaway

For the past two weekends, I have been spending some off time at a café downtown in Northfield called The Hideaway. A friend invited me last weekend and we have since decided to head there most Saturdays for cards and coffee.
The place is cute, a sort of retro look to lots of it, not to mention it serves really good coffee and lattes! Not to mention this was the first place I had an actual Cubano, which I must say if you are looking for a pretty tasty expresso buzz, this is what you want to have! It was quite delicious. There are two sections, if you will, inside of it, the front part, which has wifi and comfy couch-like chairs, and the back part, has mis-matched chairs and retro tables. We tend to sit in the back, or have the past two times we have gone and have played cards there. Quite a lot of fun if you ask me :P

What kinds of places do you guys go to in order to escape your life? This is our place to get off of campus and not do work (usually).
Sara :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fun Facts about Howard Hawks

Howard Hawks was born May 30, 1896 in Goshen, Indiana. He was the eldest of five children born to his mother and father, however in 1911, the youngest of the siblings, Helen, died from sudden food poisoning. They had moved to Pasadena, California around 1909, in hopes of improving Helen's health and began spending their summers in Wisconsin. After Helen's death, the family moved to Glendora, California. Hawks was an average student throughout school, but thanks to his family's wealth, he was sent to an elite private school in New Hampshire right after his junior year in high school, where he lived between 1913-1914. While living there, Hawks often attended theatre performances in Boston, which was quite close by. In 1914, Howard Hawks moved back to California where he graduated from Pasadena High School. Later that year, 1914, he was accepted to Cornell College in Ithaca, New York, where he majored in mechanical engineering and became a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He was still an average student, and friends remember him spending his time drinking and playing craps rather than studying, yet he was also known for being a big reader of American and British literature.

In 1916, Howard Hawks met Victor Fleming, who at the time was an auto mechanic but would later become well known for directing/producing The Wizard of OZ. Meeting Fleming led up to Hawks taking his first job in the film industry: a prop boy for a film, In Again, Out Again, in which Fleming was the choreographer. He ended up redoing the set for the movie himself since the set designer was not available. Int 1917, Hawks was drafted to fight during the First World War, yet before he was sent off, he managed to work on the Mary Pickford film The Little Princess as well as The American. While in the army, Hawks never saw any action, but eagerly returned to Hollywood after the war.

Howard Hawks source: Wikipedia
Howard and his brother and Yale graduate, Kenneth Hawks, moved to Hollywood. Howard's first important job came after he used the family wealth to lend money to studio head, Jack Warner. In return, Warner paid back the loan quickly and hired Hawks as a producer for a new series of one-reels staring Monty Banks, an Italian comedian. When Hawks left the series, he formed his own group called Associated Producers, which created fourteen films between 1920-1923. The group drifted apart in 1923, when Hawks decided he wanted to direct rather than produce.

Throughout his career, Hawks made a name for himself in silent films as well as in sound films. Between 1925-1929, he worked on silent films including: The Road to Glory (1926), Cradle Snatchers (1927), and The Air Circus (1928). When the talkies came out, both Howard and his brother, Kenneth, who was also a director, jumped on the bandwagon and began directing talkies. Kenneth, however, died January, 1930 while filming Such Men Are Dangerous, during which filming was taking place up in the air with three planes, two for cameras and the third for the stunt man, when the two camera planes crashed killing ten people, including Kenneth. This was considered the first major on-set accident in Hollywood and made national news. Howard's career continued with the talkies, though he first had to re-prove himself to studios who believed he would be no good after his silent film career. in 1930, Hawks reentered the film career with his first all sound film, The Dawn Patrol, which became one of the biggest hits on 1930. He hired by his previous rival Howard Hughes in 1930 to direct his film Scarface (1932). Other early talkie films from Hawks include: The Criminal Code (1931), The Crowd Roars (1932), Tiger Shark (1932), and a three-picture film composed of: Today We Live, The Prizefighter and the Lady, and Viva Villa! after which Hawks walked out on his MGM contract without completing the last two films, due to studio interference during his filming.

In 1934, Hawks made his way into a contract with Colombia Studios and continued filming here. He directed four films before getting fired in 1936, during the filming of Come and Get It, by producer Samuel Goldwyn.

In 1938, Hawks directed the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby for RKO Pictures, which was called "The screwiest of screwball comedies" by a film critic. While this was unpopular at first, over time Bringing Up Baby became known as Hawks' masterpiece film. He continued to produce films, mostly in the screwball comedy but some in other genres, up through 1970. Some of his bigger hits included: His Girl Friday (1940) which won him 2 Academy Awards in 1941 for Best Actor and Best Editing, Ball of Fire (1941) playfully based off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Outlaw (1943) with Howard Hughes staring Russell Crowe which was originally set to be released in 1941 but because of the Production Code had to be continuously re-edited until 1943, Air Force (1943), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948), A Song Is Born (1948) as a remake of his earlier film Ball of Fire, I Was a Male War Bride (1949), The Thing from Another World (1951) his first science fiction film, The Big Sky (1952), Monkey Business (1952) staring Marilyn Monroe and called Hawks' "most organic comedy", Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) in which Marilyn Monroe famously sings her song 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend', Land of the Pharaohs (1955), Rio Bravo (1959) starring John Wayne and one critic claimed that if he "were asked to choose a film that would justify the existence of would be Rio Bravo"(Robin Wood), Hatari! (1962) again with John Wayne, Man's Favorite Sport (1964) was his final comedy, then Red Line 7000 (1965), and his final two films also starring John Wayne were El Dorado (1967) and Rio Lobo (1970).

For awards, he was nominated for Academy Award for Best Director in 1942, but he didn't receive his only Oscar until 1975 when he received an honorary award from the Academy. He does have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the film industry. He also has three films on AFI's (the American Film Institute's) 100 Years...100 Laughs, including Bringing Up Baby (#14), His Girl Friday (#19), and Ball of Fire (#92).

Howard Hawks was married three times and had three children, two children, a daughter, Barbara, and son, David, with his first wife, Athole Shearer, and the third, Kitty, with his second wife, Slim Keith. Hist third wife was actress Dee Hartford. He died December 26, 1977 due to complications from a fall he had taken several weeks earlier in his home in Palm Springs, California.

Hawks was well thought of throughout his life and even after. Jean-Luc Godard, a French-Swiss film director, screen writer, and critic called Hawks "the greatest American artist". Another critic, Leonard Maltin, calls Hawks "the greatest American director who is not a household name".

Monday, March 18, 2013

Musica Monday

Alright, so for those of you who don't know, I am in the St Olaf Handbell Choir. Yes, I play handbells. And yes, it is awesome! We went on tour a few weekends ago, which was the weekend when I posted absolutely nothing (sadly which has been happening quite a bit lately :(, working on that sorry!), but I did want to share with you our home concert and a few of the pieces we played. A full concert can be found here. Otherwise I will post a few of the videos that made their way onto YouTube :). We have to go through the proper copyrights in order to put the different pieces we play up on YouTube, so there aren't a lot of them, but some of them were pretty easy to get rights for, so those few are up online. We also have another home concert that I will do my best to post up when it happens closer to the end of the semester. Our conductor explains our pieces during the full concert so I won't get into that, but here are some of the YouTube approved songs (actually some of my favorite as well :P).

Above is Scottish Festival Dance, which was a lot of fun to play and learn :P If you listen you can hear the 'fiddling' parts :D
Below is 'Idyll', another good piece, it was more complicated to learn and play, but once we got the hang of it, it sounded really neat! :D

Alright guys, I hope you enjoy my music choice today :D You really should watch the entire concert, it will show you that anyone can have a mishap during a show, and that they show truly must just go on (even if you are now minus a C3).
Sara :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Movie Fun Facts for 'Double Indemnity' (a 1944 film)

*warning: possible spoiler alerts!*
For those of you who are not fans of film noir, you can skip this post. I, however, am a fan (I admit). All the way down to the at times incredibly cheezy dialogue and over-dramatics presented by said genera of movie. Double Indemnity is one such movie. I couldn't  stop watching it throughout the entire movie, which is quite rare for me, since I get distracted by many things even when a scene comes that is just a little boring. This 1944 movie is all about insurance fraud and murder. It brings up some interesting thoughts about human nature and the emotional toll that money and actions can have on a person, not to mention what money can make a person do. While it takes place in America, it really does not put America under a good light, showing how our own insurance people can be influenced by the reward of money just as much as anyone else can! It shows the head of a major insurance firm solving a murder simply because he doesn't want to pay out the money to a client, and a client willing to commit murder just to get the insurance money from their death; not exactly the American dream that everyone thinks of.

Anyways, I shall now move on to my fun facts about the movie instead of my analysis of what can be learned from/seen in it :P

~The scene where the car doesn't start after disposing of the body was aded by the director after his own personal car wouldn't start that day.
~Fred MacMurray was actually married at the time and if you look during the scene where him and Phyllis first kiss, you can see it on his hand.
~It was ranked Number 29 in the 2007 American Film Institutes rankings of the Greatest Movies of All Time. (It really is a good movie, if you haven't seen it, do it now!!)
~The movie was based off of a novel by James M. Cain, which was in turn based off of the true story of Ruth Snyder, the subject of a 1920s murder trial.

So, there ya go :P A few fun facts about a pretty awesome movie :D. Again if you guys haven't seen it yet, you really should!
Sara :)