Monday, March 31, 2014

March come in like a lion and goes out

I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned before that March is my least favorite month of the year. It teases and taunts, leaving spring just out of grasp. The weather has been iffy, and most of March has been spent checking things off of our mundane to-do list, so we were looking forward to a wonderful treat at March's end, a concert at Union Transfer.

We decided to eat at Sazon because...chocolate. And also because it is conveniently located across the street from Union Transfer.

I tried an empanada this time.  It was super tasty.

Of course there was chocolate.
My husband kept talking about how amazing his chocolate drink was, so everyone wanted to steal a taste.

We arrived at Union Transfer just as Typhoon was getting ready to go on stage. This was the second time we went to a concert because we wanted to see the opening band (Typhoon) more than we wanted to see the headliner (Okkervil River). We really love Typhoon and look forward to them coming back as a headliner. Their set was great, and thankfully, Cassie and her friends were nowhere to be seen so there were no annoying violin twerkers at this show.

Typhoon was amazingly gracious.  The band members hung out in the lobby after they played and talked with  fans. They were even nice enough to sign cds and/or anything else people wanted signed.
It was fun getting to meet the band; being able to tell them face to face how much we enjoy their music.

On Saturday night we went out to see Sisters (Linsey, Julie, and Laurie). Keep an eye on these ladies, they are extremely talented musicians/songwriters.

picture courtesy of Scott Buchanan

picture courtesy of Scott Buchanan

Hot drinks and mellow music was the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday night, and mellow was the agreeable way for March to end since April and May are gearing up to be crazy chaotic.

One of my favorite Typhoon songs

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chase Utley watches me eat gravy fries

With a parking ticket thankfully avoided even though we were about a half- hour late getting back to our car, we decided to grab a bite to eat.

Though we haven't watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia in probably more than a year (some of the cast members own the bar), we still wanted to check out Mac's Tavern. Now seemed as good a time as any.

If you want to go out for a romantic evening or catch up with old friends, I wouldn't recommend Mac's. It is a loud, boisterous place that requires you to wear your voice thin in order to be heard by your dinning companions.

It is also fairly small, and although we easily found a table, by the time we left, there was not an empty spot to be found.
This March I am learning that some people celebrate St. Patrick's Day all month.

I enjoyed my seat as it directly faced a picture of a smiling Chase Utley. It was a little weird though because it was also kind of like Chase Utley was staring, watching me as I stuffed my face with Mac's gravy fries.

We ordered the gravy fries as an appetizer.

We were brought a plate of thick cut fries covered in gravy, short ribs, melted mozzarella cheese, with a dollop of horseradish on top.  They were yummy (though not quite as yummy as Village Whiskey's short rib cheese fries).

For my entree, I got the fish tacos,

and my husband got the kielbasa sandwich.

Both entrees were delicious. I usually get worried when I order anything breaded because I don't like when the coating is too greasy and/or too thick.Thankfully the tilapia for my fish tacos was just right. Enough to give it flavor, but thin enough so that the tasty flaky fish was what stood out.  I especially liked the aioli that came with my fish tacos, and the dipping sauce was that came with my husband's fries. If you're in Olde City and looking for a bar to hang out at that has excellent, better than usual bar food, Mac's is a good option.

The post dinner weather was still fabulous (well compared to the weather we have been having), so before we ended our evening we decided to take a stroll.

"Oh look we just happened to walk by Franklin Fountain. I guess we could stop in for ice cream."

I wonder how much old-timey dressed soda jerks make?  Do you get great benefits and a retirement package?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What do you dream of?

The Graveyard By The Sea

by Paul Valéry

The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!
The huge air opens and shuts my book: the wave
Dares to explode out of the rocks in reeking
Spray. Fly away, my sun-bewildered pages!
Break, waves! Break up with your rejoicing surges
This quiet roof where sails like doves were pecking.

Yesterday we bid a happy retirement to Japanese director/animator Hayao Miyazaki.

I fell in love with Miyazaki the first time I saw my first Miyazaki movie, Spirited Away.  After that I couldn't get enough, and although I haven't seen every single movie he has made yet, I have seen almost all of them.  I love him because he understands me.  He understands the whimsical, magical, innocent way that I view the world. He brings that world to life.  I also love  his films because they are not just movies, they are the perfect combination of art and storytelling.  They are often light on dialogue, keeping to the show don't tell method of storytelling. There are no showy song and dance numbers, no goofy one liners that are thrown at you at full speed, no epic 3-D action sequences (not that I am completely against any of those things). He animates with such deliberate stunning detail. Some of his frames of animation are as gorgeous to look at as a painting in a museum.  Can you tell I love him? But alas, in September Hayao Miyazaki announced that he would be retiring from film making after creating one final movie, The Wind Rises.

Since it was such a nice day, and we were desperate for fresh air, we decided to see the movie in the city.  Usually it just ends up that a movie we want to see in the city is playing at the Ritz Bourse, I think we may have been to the Ritz East once or twice, but this was our first time seeing a movie at the Ritz Five.

We were just getting settled into our seats when a girl came running over asking about my t-shirt (it is a representation of some of the best Miyazaki film characters).

She said how much she liked it and then beckoned her dad to come over.  He was wearing a t-shirt that was a mash-up of Miyazaki characters and The Wizard of Oz.  It was awesome. The girl then took out her phone and showed me a picture from a Comic Con they attended.  Her dad was wearing one of the best No Face (from Spirited Away) costumes I have ever seen and she was dressed as Kiki (from Kiki's Delivery Service). The girl's mom shouted over, "we're hardcore Miyazaki fans!"

 That girl gave me faith in humanity.  I wish we could have chatted with them after the movie, but we had to rush out and feed the meter before we got a dreaded Philly parking ticket. On the other hand, there was a group of 20 something year old girls sitting in front of us who were positively annoying and disrespectful.  The romantic parts of the movie are lovely, sweet, and modest, and for some reason they found this absolutely hysterical.  I guess they would have liked it more if there were hot heavy make-out scenes and people ripping each other's clothes off?  They also couldn't go ten minutes without checking Facebook and Twitter on their phones. So by the end of the movie the score was 50% for humanity and 50% for its inevitable destruction.

The title, The Wind Rises, is based on a French poem. There were a lot of moments and themes that were woven in that seemed to be Miyazaki spilling his heart about this being his last movie.  I felt like it was semi-autobiographical, but it traded a passion for film making with a passion for aviation.  The movie is about a boy, Jiro, who is passionate about aviation. He is so passionate that he often dreams of airplanes. In his dreams he is accompanied by an Italian aviation engineer named Giovanni Battista CaproniThe dream sequences were some of the best parts of the movie. They were most representative of a Miyazaki film. In each dream, Caproni doles out inspiration to Jiro, and guides him in his pursuit to achieve his dreams.
The movie was rated PG-13 and was more of a straight movie compared to the more magical imaginative movies like My Neighbor Totoro or Howl's Moving Castle. It carried a lot of adult themes such as war, death and what happens when you create something for good that others use for evil. It was a beautiful film.

If you have never seen a Hayao Miyazaki movie, I recommend starting with either, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away or The Secret World of Arriety.

The name Jiro reminded us that we hadn't seen the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi yet, so when we got home we found it on our Amazon watchlist and pressed play.  Afterwards we talked about how similar, though completely different genres, the movies were.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about an 85 year old Japanese sushi chef named Jiro.

 He is considered one of the best, if not the best sushi chefs in the world. He's quite a character. He loves making sushi so much, he often dreams of sushi. Some of his creations have come from the dreams that he has had. The movie is less about sushi, and more about taking the thing you are passionate about and working hard, striving, to consistently elevate your craft. I found it quite inspiring.
If you have Amazon Prime, I highly recommend watching it, especially since it is currently free.

I enjoyed our wonderful day of passionate dreaming. I hope you have some passionate dreams of your own.

"The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!"

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Wall of Toasty

On Thursday I came home to find our heater dead, kaput, finished. I’m not sure what happened, perhaps it finally realized that the air conditioning unit departed from us during the summer and the heater didn't think he could live without her?  No matter the reason, it was bad, because the weather hasn't been in the mood to be kind to those of us without heat.  My immediate fear was for our cat.  She couldn't stay in a freezing house and relocating her would probably freak her out (my husband pointed out that I appeared to be fine with us freezing to death as long as the cat was safe). After much frustration and wringing of hands my husband remembered that there were two un-renovated rooms in our house, meaning that we hadn't pulled out the old electric base board heaters that remained even though the house was converted to gas heat well before we bought the home.  


  We were saved, even if it meant having to live on the second floor until the issue gets resolved. Surprisingly it hasn’t been terrible. The downstairs is quite chilly.  There is a distinct difference when you step onto the upstairs landing. I have dubbed it the wall of toasty because as soon as you step on the landing you are hit with a wall of warm toasty air. 

Where the wall of toasty begins

On Saturday, I had to get bundled up to put my groceries away.

There is still no word on when we will get our new heater.  We have a home warranty which means that we will save a lot of money, but in exchange they aren't in any rush to help us out.

One good thing about the whole situation is that I found a new favorite writing spot. I was able to get a lot of writing done since I had a snow day today.

My new spot provides me with a view of a snoozing kitty,

And a view of the bird feeder. 

The only slight issue is that someone else discovered the great view of  the bird feeder making writing at times problematic.  

Hopefully we won't have to wait too long before our whole house has heat again, and once the weather clears, and getting out and about is less of a challenge, I should be back to writing about more interesting and fun things like concerts, plays and places to eat.