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January 2009 Archives

January 10, 2009


The longer I live away from my home state, the more I notice the accents when I go back. Minnesotans, I love you, but you do talk kinda funny.

We had a good time back in the Twin Cities for the holidays. Here's a run down of what kept us busy:

  • The Candy Party. My college friend Maren and her dad host a party every December where lots of Christmas cookies are frosted, delicious taffy, caramel and peanut brittle are made, and lots of catching up with old college friends is done. I haven't been to this in five years and Samantha never has. But this year's was no exception. We even sang some Christmas carols. Oh, and the man has a pipe organ in his house. That's worth mentioning even out of context.
  • The usual Christmas Eve and Day festivities. I even went and sang a solo at my old church.
  • The Second Inaugural Boxing Day Skate-watdee. 'Nuff said.
  • An excellent Saturday evening date planned by my mother (!), consisting of seeing the Brave New Workshop's Christmas comedy revue (freaking hilarious) and a night at the fancy new Marriott hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Thanks, Mom!
  • A trip to Mankato to engage in a Wick family tradition -- making Swedish sausage. Also helped my aunt out with her computer and stayed in the Best Western -- a hotel I've stayed in with my family more times than I can count. Nostalgia-riffic.
  • A very fun New Year's Eve at Mancini's Char House in St. Paul, dressed ridiculously with about 20 friends and friends of friends. It's been a while since I had a really fun New Year's Eve, and that qualified.
  • Lunch with Gillian. Yay! Always great to catch up with her.
  • A lot of sitting by the fire and reading. I read Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and American Nerd by Ben Nugent.
  • Our Cheapo Records pilgrimage. More on this later.
  • Going out to eat many times, to old favorites (Punch, French Meadow) and new favorites (Common Roots, Hell's Kitchen).

As far as Christmas swag, it was a lighter year because my mom was gracious enough to buy our airfare for the trip. But I still got a nice mix of thoughtful gifts from the family, including music, clothes and cash. Samantha and I got each other a couple small things, but also spent some money on something we sorely needed: a new television. So we now own a 26" LCD flat-screen, high definition, widescreen TV. Whee! We didn't really need all the fancy stuff (we're just excited this one has a remote and doesn't crackle ominously) but we wanted one that will last us through the next decade of TV technology innovation. Oh, and I should mention we don't have any sort of television service other than antenna, so we still only get one decent channel. But the DVD player sure looks nice on it.

So we're back in Connecticut and have been back to work for a week. Not a whole lot of big plans for the new year yet. But we'll keep you posted.

January 20, 2009

Local Culture

One of the weird parts about our current living and working situation is attempting to simultaneously settle in to three different towns. As you can imagine, it's hard to get to know anyone in the town you work in when you only work there, and similarly it's hard to meet anyone in the town you live in when all you do is sleep there.

Despite this, we've tried to venture out into the area in the months we've been in our adopted hometown. Admittedly we haven't done a lot, but here's the highlights of our local culture excursions:

  • Keeler Tavern Museum, Ridgefield. We were looking for some highbrow entertainment on a rainy Saturday afternoon, which brought us to this cute little spot. We were shown around the old inn by a docent in period garb, and learned quite a bit about local history. Nothing earth shaking, but a pleasant visit.
  • The Greenwich Choral Society's Christmas concert. I'm a sucker for choral concerts, especially during the holidays. I thought that this obviously well-organized group had promise. While the soloists and orchestra were all excellent, the program was pretty esoteric and the choir itself lacked definition, distinction or any other distinguishing characteristics. Forgettable, except for an unfortunate minor altercation with a fellow audience member (I'll direct you to Samantha for the details, if you're curious).
  • The New England Chamber Choir's Christmas concert. Another local ensemble. Similarly disappointing, but in a different manner. Or maybe we're just insufferable elitists. *shrug*
  • I would, of course, be remiss in not mentioning my own Christmas concerts. Not that there's much to say; we sang slightly under-rehearsed music with a modicum of technical proficiency and musicianship. I mean, the audience gave us a standing ovation! That's good, right?
  • Enter the Haggis at The Towne Crier Cafe. Last Sunday night we enjoyed the Celtic-inspired rock musical stylings of one of my recent music discoveries. This is the sort of concert I really like -- an intimate setting with a band that's fun to see live. The excellent food was just an added bonus (though a little pricey -- maybe we'll just come for the show next time).

January 25, 2009

#70 - The French Connection

This 1971 crime thriller features Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as police detectives on the trail of a narcotics trafficking scheme. Directed by William Friedkin.

Many of the films we've seen so far on this project are linked by a common theme -- portraying a world where morality is not black and white, but cast in infinite shades of gray. And I've commented before that, by dint of my viewpoint as a Gen X / Millenial generation member, movies with ambiguous morals are not that impressive or groundbreaking to me. But the list just keeps throwing them at me, so I'll keep repeating the same things.

So it's police drama this time around. And wow, look at that, there are cops that aren't sterling examples of humanity. And things don't always have a happy ending. Shocking.

Look, I don't like to trivialize the major aspect of why this movie is on the List, but there it is. It's realistic. Great. Why is this so amazing, by the way? It's not like reality is that awesome -- I mean, I'm watching a movie, here. You can safely assume that I'm looking for some sort of escape from everyday life. I guess the point is that no other police dramas really took an honest tack before this one. Which just makes me wish (as I've commented before) that I had watched other similar movies from the era that aren't as good in order to get a clear sense of why this movie is great.

Yes, the acting was good, the cinematography was excellent, and the famous chase scene was a show stopper. But the plot was quite complex and tough to follow, and the appropriately ambiguous ending left me unfulfilled.

Meh. That's it. I don't know what our next film with ambiguous morals is, but maybe by the time we get there, I'll be able to review it in some new and interesting way. Feel free to suggest one.

(See this post if you're confused why I'm reviewing movies.)

About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to This Side of Lost in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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