August 31, 2014

Belle, 2014 {movie review}

My phone rang last Saturday to the tune of BBC's Sherlock (I'm one of those people), and I answered to hear the excited ramblings of my mother. "I found it!" she declared. She'd seen Belle on the big screen upon its release, and has been eagerly awaiting it's arrival in DVD form. When my dad sprained his ankle last week (he's fine, don't worry), the hunt for a non-Blu-Ray copy reached its bless├ęd culmination. I don't even know what Blu-Ray is, people. We still use VHS up in here.

Director: Amma Asante
DVD Release: August 26, 2014
Run Time: 1 h 45 min
Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson
Rating: PG

True stories are the best kind, in my opinion, and such is the case with Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804).

August 28, 2014

netflix favorites

We don't have cable - banished it from our household when I was a child because of its superfluity of garbage. But over the years, I've grown fond of a certain few television shows nonetheless, on Netflix especially, that blessed thing.

1. Dr. Who. Always and forever. Yes, Cesca, I am one of those people. I've only seen a few moments of the "old" series, and the wondrousness of the new one caught be by surprise during a fit of sleeplessness. It was somewhere around 2 a.m. during the time I lived in Ann Arbor (I did have cable then for a few months) - I flipped dazedly through the channels until David Tennant's beautiful visage flickered across the screen on BBC. Who doesn't love a time-traveling madman in a flying police box? "After all, you never know what could happen." I found it online and watched dedicatedly from the beginning of the new series. Hooked, I am.

August 26, 2014

mellow mushroom {restaurant review}

There is a haven for the wearied traveler to duck in away from the rain and oily pavement, guarded stoically by the Terminator himself. Yes.

August 23, 2014

When the Game Stands Tall {movie review}

Well, my friends, I had this review completed on my Windows Surface last month, aaaaand then I lost the charger, rendering that draft unattainable, because I am such a mentally graceful human being. Anyway, here's what I was able to re-create from memory. Once I find said charger, I shall update this post.

I laughed. I cried. I forcefully covered my mouth to prevent the cheering at the screen. I love me some good high school football.

August 20, 2014

featured blogger: kendra tierney @ catholic all year

Welcome to Featured Blogger at Country Girl's Daybook, a fun way to acquaint ourselves with favorite bloggers, and build our wee community. Last month, Devra Torres, a mom of 8, so graciously payed a visit to this blog, and this time around, I'd like you to meet Kendra. Please, pour a cup of tea and join us.
Q: How did you first get involved with blogging, and what inspired you start your own?

Well, the short version is that a Church Lady yelled at me for having a noisy baby in an adoration chapel, and I figured the world should know about it.

The long version includes my love of the blog CakeWrecks, my unsuccessful attempt to become a picture book author, and the fact that I’m the sort of person who would say to herself, “You know what there should be? A Catholic blog. Written by a mom!” And then just start one. It turns out a couple other folks had the same idea.

August 18, 2014

Carolina Bound

I am en route to Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, the U.S. Army installation in the northwesterly part of the city, where I'll be attending the graduation for the newest class of 18-Delta combat medics. I'll be there until Thursday evening.

August 16, 2014

oh captain, my captain.

Even though I'm proud and excited to share my first published Ave Maria Radio project with you dear, dear people, I'm saddened that it has to be about this topic.
Robin Williams was a wonderful actor, and took a starring role in one of my favorite films, Dead Poet's Society, and as I'm sure you have heard by now, committed suicide on the 11th of August. As someone who has had friends do the same, this hit pretty close to home.

How should Christians (people in general) respond to depression and suicide?

August 12, 2014

wear the paint

Friday morning at the Catholic Writer's Conference LIVE 2014 came and went in a flurry of bag-packing and farewells, and by noon, we were jolting along I-290 E in the sleek black rented van (a little too jolty, and I was almost carsick - which never happens, I might add. And by "never" I mean never).

I love Chicago... have since the first moment I stepped foot on those oily streets, and breathed in the 100% humidity, and battled my hair for control.

My little troupe arrived at Union Station about six hours earlier than my departure (they left on an earlier train, but we all drove to the station together), so I had a blessed few hours to reunite with an old friend. Cesca and I met at an all-girls' summer camp something around 9 years ago, and have been corresponding since, mostly through letters and postcards, and we still kept that up quite a bit once we obtained the Facebook and email and cell phones and texting. The only time after that we were able to see each other face to face was for five minutes at the March for Life two years ago. We kept deciding to meet up year after year, but our plans kept falling through year after year. 

But finally... finally, Friday, August 1, 2014 happened.

August 10, 2014

Oy Vey. Also, books.

Oy vey, my dear friends and readers. I gave you the "busy girl" sob story before my wonderful trip to Chicago for the Catholic Writer's Conference, lamenting over my dead computer, and work in both petsitting and my internship. I'm happy to say that I've survived the chaotic hump that is my June and July, and have begun settling in to August. My computer is back safe and sound, it was free, radio work is going beautifully (hopefully sometime soon, I'll be able to post some finished products here for you to see), and all is right with the world.

I have picked up a few good books over the past few weeks, though. So... that's new.

At the Conference, I was given signed copies of Bleeder and Viper, the first two books in a murder mystery series written by a new friend, John Desjarlais (Deh-zha-lay, if I remember correctly).

August 6, 2014

renaissance schaumburg, illinois ~ hotel review

As I've mentioned before here, I've been to Chicago before, and each experience has been wonderful and different. Since the conference was held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, it only made sense for the attendees to take up residence in the same building, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel.
When I stayed:
July 29 - August 1, 2014
Price range:
$219 / night
Address & Phone:
1551 Thoreau Dr. N. Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 303 - 4100

August 3, 2014

Fr. Frank Pavone's homily at the Catholic Writer's Conference LIVE 2014

Hello there, friends and readers. Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, a hero and a friend of mine, celebrated Holy Mass on the Thursday evening of this year's Catholic Writer's Conference, and I took the opportunity to record and transcribe his homily, which, as always, seemed to stir the hearts of his listeners. I'm so happy I did, because it's a terrific one.

Christ shapes us as He wills. The first reading today, Jeremiah 18: 1-6, is really a reflection of the first few words of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in God.” To acknowledge the potter is to acknowledge the clay, and to believe in God is to declare that we are, in fact, not God. I grew deeper in my vocation through my love of mathematics. Math was my favorite subject in school, and it was through the study of math that I came to a deeper worship of God, because, you know, the more advanced you go in math, the more abstract it becomes, and when you talk, for example, about the concept of infinity, that’s not so far from the concept of eternity. And when you study laws of the universe like two parallel lines that never intersect, you start wondering, “Well, who set up that law, and why can’t we change it?” And you come to realize that there is an intelligence inscribed in the universe that goes beyond any authority or intelligence that we have. 

August 1, 2014

catholic writer's conference LIVE 2014 re-cap

Well, I'm rumbling along at seventy-some miles per hour, I thought I would share a bit about this past week. It certainly was a week to remember.

6:45 on a humid, cool July morning, and I found myself swaying along with the gentle rumbling rock of the Amtrack, shooting smoothly down the rails toward the Windy City, veering north, and then south west, and then north again. I was excited. This was my third time in Chicago, and my first time on a legitimate train (the Cedar Point pseudo-roller coaster doesn't count). I was on my way to the Catholic Writer's Conference Live, having been invited to participate by one of you, dear readers. Luckily, there weren't many travelers in my car, so I had the choice of a window seat, which I snatched unashamedly, and not too far into the ride, my conference companions called and invited me to sit with them. They had boarded at a different station than I.