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Archive for April, 2011

Entertainment Weekly’s annual Summer Movie Preview is staring me in the face (actually an unshaven Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, is staring at me with what are meant to be piercing, soul-searching eyes). It’s that time to ask ‘What are my movie desires this summer?’ ‘Which popcorn-guzzling, chick-flick, action-adventure, Rom-Com, special effects driven plot will capture my attention?’ ‘Will the world end if I don’t write about this topic?’* Let’s find out.

From last year ‘s summer movie post (2010 Summer Movie Preview) I saw 11 of 14 movies I was keen for (yet only 3 of them in theaters). I saw a mere 3 of 9 of movies I was lukewarm about. And a hardy zero of 8 from the list of awful looking movies. Not bad. Not bad. Another year, another list. Get on with it.

Gonna happen!

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
  2. The Hangover Part II
  3. Super 8
  4. Green Lantern
  5. X Men: First Class
  6. Cowboys & Aliens
  7. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger
  9. Cars 2 (gotta see all Pixar movies)
  10. The Debt
  11. The Change-Up
  12. There Be Dragons
  13. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
  14. Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

 

Might stand a chance

  1. Thor
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (mermaid and Penelope Cruz alert!)
  3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  4. Bad Teacher
  5. Larry Crowne
  6. Horrible Bosses
  7. Our Idiot Brother
  8. 30 Minutes or Less

 

Not even if you were cute and needed a date

  1. Kung Fu Panda 2 (hiiii yah!)
  2. Bridesmaids (already have my own Hangover, this is unnecessary)
  3. The Beaver (Mel Gibson with a beaver puppet – not liking the concept)
  4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (oh heck, I’ll probably see it and hate every minute)
  5. Zookeeper (ummm, no?)
  6. The Smurfs (almost tempted because Smurfette could be hot)
  7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (You maniacs! Ah, damn you!)
  8. Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (yes, to do something else)

Miller time! Uggh, wrong choice. It’s time for a beer at any rate. Peace.

* The answer to this question is usually ‘yes’.

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Nothing quite like ‘canyoning’ in Costa Rica (e.g. rappeling down 220, 25 and 150 foot cliffs, river ‘tracing’ and cannonballing  into shallow pools) to excite the liver enough to release of its own accord. Whatever else you do, do not look down before you start.

Do not look down

 

Nice view

 

Almost there...

 
 

What am I doing?

 

Oh sh%@! Do not let go!

 

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

 
 

Getting tangled!

 
 

 

Ready

 

Set

 

Go!

 

Boom!

Take that!

 

Fin

 Let’s get a taco.

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God Save the Queen (Revived)

Update: I spent another week in Newport Pagnell in July and had a chance to take a few photos to replace the ones I lost. I added them below, so enjoy!

With church bells pealing away to the tune of ‘My Country, ‘Tis of Thee’ (or more precisely ‘God Save the Queen’ since the same tune – different words – is England’s national anthem), I strolled through the small village of Newport Pagnell in the borough of Milton Keynes, England. Along the way, I spied a grand church with an ancient graveyard. I spied a peaceful river surrounded by walking paths and weeping willows. I spied curry and Thai food. I spied pubs. And I spied random things. Let’s take a look*, shall we?

Bells of Peter & Paul Parish Church (http://www.newportpagnellbells.co.uk/home) – someone decided that the peals of normal church bells were not sufficient in tiny Newport Pagnell. So in comes a variety of melodies on the hour to entice the common folk to greater things. ‘God Save the Queen’ was the gift the bells gave us during our stay.

 

Parish Church

 

 

 

River Ouzel – two small rivers oozing together, with walking paths, rows of weeping willows, a cemetary and a park all bookending the proceedings. Peaceful.

Duck, duck, goose

 

Weeping willows

 

Aston Martin – back in the 1950’s, Newport Pagnell was the heart of Aston Martin. Its factory, on Tickford Street, churned out all Aston Martin cars until they moved recently. Sadly, I didn’t get to drive a DB5.

Tickford Bridge – built in 1810, it is the only iron bridge left in Britain still carrying main road traffic. While crossing, pause just long enough to take in the silhouette of the Church at sunset.

Graveyard – ancient and moss-covered with the traditional flat front, round top head stones you might see in an old Frankenstein movie.

 

 

 

Indian food – there are by various accounts, around 5-6 Indian restaurants in this small village. That’s a lot of curry and vindaloo. The place we chose to ingest naan was in the middle of an immigration incident. By this, I mean there were six fully riot-gear suited and armed immigration officers in the dining area, concentrating on huge piles of paper and forms, while the owner stood by sweating and pacing. We witnessed no actual arrests. And after all that fuss, the food was just average.

Frog & Nightgown pub – I’m sure the stories behind names of British pubs are rooted in something akin to humor and history, but this name is a classic. What level of drunkenness does it take to visualize a frog with a nightcap and nightgown? Oh wait, you could just look at their sign. This pub is conveniently located within the hotel we stayed at (The Swan Revived). We failed to step lively for the boisterously crowded Pub Quiz night, but did have a more sedate pint on another quiet night.

Frog & Nightgown Pub

 

Of frogs and pints

 

Mini-roundabouts – such a cute white circle, slightly raised, in a normal intersection that acts as the main traffic control system of the downtown streets. I can’t imagine this working too well in the USA.

Such a cute roundabout

 

Newport Pagnell High Street

 

Random stairway to…nowhere – (photo here*) this piece of architectural genius can only be seen to be believed. After a rather unfortunate remodeling venture (one assumes), there remains a small 3 step, carpeted staircase about 1-1/2 feet wide that leads into the wall behind. You could stand in it if you were so inclined. I wasn’t.

Let's hire this architect

 

The Cannon pub – (photo here*) with old school locals welcoming visitors and grinning into their pints, you probably can’t get more British than this. As you sipped your warm, frothy pint the game was to stop staring longingly at the paintings of epic sea battles of British ships of the line, cannons blazing, adorning its back walls. Proper pub, this.

 

* Author’s Note: I dropped my laptop, and as hopes and hard drives were crushed, I lost all the photos I took of this trip. So you get words only, whether you like it or not. Although, I did find some photos on Flickr that can assuage some of the pain.

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