Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What a long, strange trip this is

I've been at my current job for 6 years.  For five of them my coworker had been going to chemotherapy and away for periods both long and short.  For the last year my worst fear was that one day she'd leave, leaving me to pick up the work-pieces.

That happened last month.  She passed, after letting things slide for two months.  She passed, and left me to pick up the work-pieces.  My worst fear came true.

I think in the last few weeks I think I've called every department on campus asking about outstanding paperwork or if money has already been requested.  I've run up against things that I don't know how to do.  I've run up against things that multiple departments don't know how to do.  I've spent a lot of the last few weeks feeling dumb.  I've spent the last few weeks thinking that I'm close to being caught up and remembering a pile of undone tasks.
Frankly, I'm surprised that I haven't decided to say "screw it all" and have a cake for dinner. I deserve a medal for all of that willpower.  I'm even managing to work out almost every morning!

I know that eventually this will end.  Eventually the fiscal year will end, wiping the slate clean.  Eventually we'll hire someone to take over the extra tasks that I have to do.

Thankfully, the panic attacks aren't as frequent.  I no longer want to spend weekends in a blanket fort.  (Well, most weekends anyways..)

Can I got to Disney World yet?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Iron Fist....yeah...

So Iron Fist dropped this weekend.

And the critics hated it!!

We've been watching it, and while we're only through episode 9 or so, I've been enjoying it!  It's not a masterpiece, but it's good TV watching.

I had thoughts about it from the beginning when they cast a white guy.  But in bullet form, my thoughts on Iron Fist:

  • Why did they have to cast a white guy?  We've done the "white guy learns martial arts and saves us all" genre to death.  There's absolutely nothing keeping them from not casting an Asian or biracial actor.  It would give another character to a very under represented population.
  • They way they wrote Danny's character just annoyed the hell out of me.  He's too naive to be believed! (I know.. 15 years in a monastery, but still!) (EDITED TO ADD: And the complete 180 at the end? Can he someday soon find a happy medium?)  Maybe we're all jaded because we've already met everyone, but at times I want to take him home and feed him a cookie and give him a long talking to.  And slap the kid every time he bring up his parents.
  • And can we get more of Colleen and Claire?  I like them better than him most of the time.  (I'm not going to get into the sex scene... dude has moves, but unless he's been throwing it to the lady-monks he's never touched a girl... ever...)
    from money.cnn.com
  • I'm also missing his motivation.  He's the Iron Fist, the Defender of K'un-Lun, one of the Seven Cities of Heaven.  Isn't he supposed to be THERE?  What happened?  Did the mist clear and he come running out of K'un-Lun singing about wanting adventure in the great wide somewhere?  They could have done a better job with his motivations.
  • In fact, the Meechams come across a bit "caricature"ish.  Also, there's a lot of time spent at Rand Enterprises, watching Danny good-deed himself out of a job.  And that wan't the best use of time.
from Cinemablend
Have a feeling that Iron Fist was a victim of a time crunch..  I know that contractually the Defenders needed to air this summer, and for that to happen Iron Fist had to come first.  The scripts could have used a but more time to flush things out.

I'm hoping that the writing team is looking at the criticism and taking notes as to how they can improve.  There are some critics that say that the series is terrible.  It's not.  But there is room for improvement!

If you don't believe me, Emergency Awesome agrees with me.  Here's his thoughts:  (And I ESPECIALLY Agree with the Into the West comparison!)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

OMG French Fries!

Or: Busch Gardens Williamsburg Passmember Preview Day.

Every year before the park opens for the year the Passmember are invited in for a day.  There usually is a presentation and we get the park to ourselves.

This year's presentation gave us some interesting information:

  • The new coaster, InvadR, opens April 7th.  
  • The Food and Wine Festival has 1 extra weekend and has 3 new booths: India, Mediterranean and Frozen Tropical Drinks.  (That last one... oh yeah....). I wonder if they are taking any booths away.  Time will tell about that one.
  • There is going to be a kid's Halloween event (during the day) this year. 
  • There is another Howl-O-Scream surprise.  I heard the show Fiends had its last show last season.. so maybe a new show?
  • Europe in the Air is gone forever.  Next year we get an Ireland-themed VR ride.  (I'm not a coaster person.. so this is big!
  • There's 2 new shows:  Britmania and OctoberZest.  I'm hoping that the British Invasion show is good!
  • And there's a new place to eat!  Les Frites!  It's a restaurant that serves fancy French Fries!  OMG!  
I LOVE French fries!  We decided to try the Smokehouse and the Irish fries.  The Irish fries weren't that great, but the Smokehouse Fries will be my new go-to lunch!  OMG!
Irish on the left, Smokehouse on the right

We walked around the park, but was dismayed by the lack of the animals.  I heard that they were going, but it was so sad!  The sheep, cows, goats and the conservation area are all gone.  Even my favorite tortoise us gone!  (He's at Bluebird Gap Farm now, I was told)

Before the big InvadR reveal, we decided to finally get our wood plaque for the door.  I need clear tabs to hang it, but we're official now.
I need to order some clear 3M Command strips!

On the way out to the car, we stopped by to see the new coaster's art.  Wow!  That's great!

I must say, I look forward to Preview Day every year.  This year didn't disappoint.  I'm waiting for the shows to open for the season.

And of course I'm counting the days until Food and Wine!!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (There may be a spoiler or two)

We just got back from an advanced (Well, by three hours or so) showing of Beauty and the Beast.

I'd say that there will be spoilers, but except for some more flushed out details, the plot is exactly the same as the animated movie.
from comingsoon.net

But here are my thoughts:

from etonline

Belle has always resonated with so many women because of her intelligence.  In a world of tradition and old rural values, here is this woman that has a mind of her own.  She seeks knowledge and uses her critical thinking skills.  Emma Watson embodies those traits.  She's not going to win a Tony for her singing, but she makes up for it.

from movieweb.net
I always thought the animated Gaston was a bit too much to be believable.  He had everything turned up to 11.  Luke Evens gives the character depth, while in some ways turning up the evil.  They added a verse to the Mob Song that proves how devious he is (not to mention leaving Maurice for dead!):

Call it war, call it threat
You can bet they all will follow
For in times like this, they'll do just as I say

There's a beast running wild, there's no question
But I fear the wrong monster's released

from comingsoon.net

Lefou.  In the animated feature this character was a bumbling idiot.  By making him gay and in love with Gaston it gives a reasoning for what he does.  And he manages to redeem himself at the end.

And the guy gives some serious shade at times!

from today.com

The Beast.  Does this guy even have a name?  The CGI was a bit much at times.  He looked like an animated character.  (Though in closeups it was better).  By filling in some of those plot holes and filling out his backstory it helps give weight to his character.  And who knew that Matthew Crawley could sing??

As for the talking furnishings.  I loved them.  Seriously, Be Our Guest was worth the price of admission.  (Watch it.  Does Belle even get to eat?)  I almost jumped up to applaud!

This movie isn't a new take on the animated classic.  It more of fleshing it out and making it a better movie.  I adored this movie when I was younger.  I still enjoyed the original.  I love this version.  I like this MUCH better than the Cinderella remake!

I enjoyed every moment!  Go see it now!!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Please Be Our Guest!

Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991, when I was in High School.  Being all of 16 I saw it... multiple times...

My graduation gift was a CD player, and my first CD was the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.

I ended my High School career with my choir singing a medley of the songs from the movie.

I know most of the words of every song.  Be Our Guest especially!

I'm a fan.

I was a bit hesitant when I heard they were doing the live action.   But the songs were released!

We already had seen this:

But then we got the whole thing!

Off to a good start...

and then we got this one:

And here's the full version:

The thing that struck me the most is Gaston's voice.  The animated version was a baritone, but Luke Evans is a tenor.  But it still works for me.

And Josh gad was meant to play LaFou!

But it all comes down to this one.  Give it a listen:

(Did you sing along?  I did!)

I'm actually looking forward to this.  (And we all know that I've had precious little to look forward to lately!)

But it's Friday and I'm on my own for the weekend.  In honor of that I'm throwing myself a Luau and making this.  I'll probably start it on Saturday night and eat on Sunday! 

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

These last few weeks have been years long

It all happened rather quickly.  She passed.  Her office was packed up (nominally to separate her personal belongings with items that needed to stay at work.  The majority of that later category is here currently in my office so the painters can paint her office.

And after that it won't be her office anymore.

I'm still finding tasks that are incomplete, and things that she needed to attend to.  Campus has been very supportive, letting me know if things are overdue and expressing their condolences.

And what am I doing in the face of this added work?
I don't know what it is?  I see this to-do list that's a mile long (and it just gets longer as the day goes on) and I freeze.  I just want to hide under the bed.

Today, for instance, I had a super short to-do list.  And I couldn't even get TO the list until 2pm.  I spent that long trying to figure out baffling emails.
But it's almost 5.  I've made of list of things that need to get done tomorrow.  I'm already dreading the emails that will come in between now and then.  And that just make me want cupcakes.
The sad thing is: I'd feel 1000% better in this position if I knew what was going on.  If the outgoing person could train me.  But that simply isn't possible.  And other departments can only help do much.

But now I'm going home.  I'll cry.  I'll nap.  I'll avoid the world.  I'll run.  And I'll come back tomorrow, ready to try to figure this shit out again.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sadly, life still has to go on.

I walked into work on Friday and came face to face with her closed door.  She'll never be in there to share a laugh with me again.

Every time her name pops up on work related materials, my heart hurts a little.

We packed up her office.  Well, I should say that an AMAZING student packed up most of it.  I needed to separate the work paperwork from her personal paperwork.  It was an unfortunate necessity.  With the contents of her office in boxes, it makes things a little easier to handle.  We're going to move the desk around.  That should help me not want to cry every time I look into the room.

Various campus offices have been working behind the scenes to transfer her point of contact information to me.  Every time that happens, I have to hold back tears.

We've planned a memorial.  Obituaries are being written.  I found my black dress.

But do you know the biggest thing that I did?  I signed up for a pile of races.  Many of these are the races that she and I did!

Run the D.O.G.
Christmas Town Dash 8K

(She's the one on the right)

Anyone want to run with me?  (Or walk with me?)