Friday, July 29, 2011

SYTYCD Great Performances

The girls to beat!

SYTYCD Great Performances

Tadd is kinda the dark horse here, but he's amazing!

SYTYCD Great Performances

Marko is just amazing to watch.

SYTYCD Group opener

When a choreographer gets a great group of dancers, it's magical!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows

I'm so there!

30 Minutes or Less Trailer

From the people who brought you Zombieland

Glee 3D Trailer

Oh shut know you wanna see this.

Contagion trailer

Thanks for the nightmares.

Avengers trailer

Interesting Premise


The Amazing Spider Man

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chicago Last Full Day

Chicago Architectural Institute tour Chicago Old and New
We woke up to 70 some odd degree temps in Chicago and decided to take a walking tour of Chicago's Old and new buildings at 11am. Apparently, we shoulda heeded the weather warnings of 90 degree temps coming in. By midtour, I was soaked. The tour, itself, was wonderful, and the docent showed us as much of the exteriors as he could without us melting. The tour examined several of the intersections of the city where the architecture of the 1800s met the architecture of today. Brilliant tour.

Dripping in Sweat
80+ degrees and miserable..

Lunch at Halo

Graceland Cemetery
After lunch, we were really to late to do much of anything with our Go Cards, so we opted to take a long walk in the Graceland Cemetery. Many notable Chicago figures are held here for eternity.
Let me say, some of the tombs are works of art in and of itself.

Shower and Nap
Whew!!! The heat'll take it right out of you!

Dinner at Lou Malnati's
I'd been waiting for some great deep dish, Chicago-style pizza and I found this restaurant near the hotel. Dee-lish-ous pizza pie, with an awesome buttercrust and homemade sausage. Yummmmm!

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Chicago Day 5

Field Museum
Wow! The Field Museum of Natural History is gimormous! We budgeted about 3 hours inside, but that only really got us through the first wing! So much to see and so much to experience, from Sue, the first nearly complete T. Rex fossil to an exhibit on North American mammals, Whales, and the progression of African people and culture to the Americas. A-maz-ing!

Apologies to JayT and Rambleredhead for not getting to hang out with them while in Chicago, but we will be back!

Ricky and Lauren!
We finished at the museum and headed to the hotel for our evening with Ricky and LaLaLauren. We honestly didn't know if we were going to have an evening free, but Ricky made the invitation and we couldn't have been happier! We also got to meet James Leroy, who is supercute, and his equally lovely partner, Bill. I even got to be a part of "the little show!"

The Southern
Afterwards, we all trooped out to The Southern restaurant. A great little restaurant in Bucktown, it serves good ole fashioned Southern food kicked up a notch, like Shrimp on cheesy grits, Mac and cheese with Gouda and some such cheeses. For you Foursquare folks that think you rarely get anything for your check-ins, we got a beer flight (slightly larger than a shot sized glasses of the bar's draft beers as a sample)! Good times and we learned that Ricky can talk and cruise simultaneously, and Lauren's breasts can do tricks! Thanks, y'all!

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Chicago Day 4

The Art Institute of Chicago
We started our day at the Art Institute. This museum is one of the premiere art museums in America, housing works of art from Monet, Monet, Tiffany, O' Keefe, Munch, Cezanne, Whistler, Rubin and more. Paintings sculptures, furniture, modern, pop, was a full day's worth of wandering.

Millennium Park
We left the museum and took a short walk over to Millennium Park. There was a concert going on, joggers, skateboarders, camp groups and such. We ate next to The Cloudgate or "The Bean" and just enjoyed people-watching.

The Architecture Society of Chicago
We had our Go Cards and thought we would run over to the Architecture Society's location and book one of the walking tours of the city. About a block away from the museum, this building offers tours of the city's skyscrapers, giving the history of the buildings and its construction. The store is also a fun gift shop of things Chicago, plus items with fun design.
Tours were sold out, so we planned another day.

Dallas is getting one this summer, and once I lose a little more weight and get heroin thin, the pants will fit better. (Read: cut for men without butts.)
I still found some shirts, so it wasn't a loss.

Dinner : Halo Dreams
We stumbled upon this restaurant on our way to H&M. This Asian restaurant features Thai, Chinese, and Hawaiian foods and rated very well with Yelp! so try it if you get a chance.

Chicago Public Library
We passed the library several times w/o knowing what it was, we just noticed the beautiful ironwork at the top and decided to check it out. The library is the largest public library in the United States.

Barnes and Noble
Across the street, we shopped at onevof the college's Barnes & Noble locations for books and magazines. (Really, we stopped to pee, but apparently they don't like public restrooms in the city.)

Dunkin Donuts
Chicago loves Dunkin Donuts like the rest of the world loves Starbucks. One on just about every corner and e'rrybody comes in to special order a biilion. I was on a mission to either try the Captain America one or get my old standby, French Delight.

Zzzzz that time, we were pretty wiped, so sleep came easily. Like, REALLY easily.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Chicago Day 3: The Swarthy Edition

After a late wakeup, we decided to skip the Architectural Walking Tour and head straight to Adler Planetarium. The planetarium sits on the far end of Museum Park, but we decided since the weather was nice, we would walk it anyway. Well, the nice, cloud-covered, breezy morning we begin with quickly turned into a beautiful, bright, sunny day. Not hot by Dallas standards, but then again, we commit to the heat only long enough to go from building to car A/C and back again. These folks jog in it and stuff. Crazy.
By the time I dried off, we'd explored more than half of the planetarium.

When we finished, we decided we didn't want to short-shrift the Field Museum, so instead we headed to Navy Pier for our 2nd cruise of the coastline. We arrived a little early, boarded the upper deck, then waited...and waited...and waited, while broiling in the afternoon sun. (Mental note: pack handkerchiefs for dabbing one's brow in the summer.) The cruise took off and gave us a gentle breeze and 30 minutes of Chicago history. I cooled off enough to get a 2nd wind, so off we went to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Our passes helped us cruise by the line to the elevator and the limited wait was filled with videos and trivia about the building. I loved this aspect of the pseudo tour because you're never idly bored in line because you have plenty information and videos to draw your attention. We took lots of pictures at the top and even stepped out on the glass balconies of the Skydeck (mildly scary when you think about the drop). We hit the giftshop next, then made one last stop of the day at the Macy's on State St.. Beautifully laid out and decorated,

this store is truly a sight to behold (and they had a SALE!!!)

By now, it was 8pm and hunger had set in, so we walked along State St., until we found a diner, where the food was hot and the price was right. Worn out from the day, we found the hotel and after showers, kicked back so we could be fresh for Saturday travel!

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chicago Day 2

Started our day with the Chicago Food Tour, once we figured out which way we needed to go on the Red Line.
Nicole was our tour guide on our walk and she was perky for 11.
Stop 1: the Ashkenaz Deli for a delicious pastrami Reuben sammich!

Stop 2: Tea Gschwender for Cranberry Mango green tea. I'm not usually a tea drinker, but it was delicious and refreshing!

Stop 3: The Spice House for a delicious sampling of spices and rubs.

Stop 4: Old Town Oil
Delicious EVOO and balsamic vinegars!

Stop 5: The Fudge Pot
Chocolate Shan Gri La!
We got to sample their chocolate toffee. Smooth chocolate, crunchy toffee, amazing flavor!

Stop 6: Delightful Pastries
Here we had pirogees and kolaches. Yummy food from a bakery dedicated to the traditional foods of Poland.

Stop 7: Bacino's Italian for a Stuffed Spinach Pizza. It was good. I couldn't rave because I generally don't love or eat spinach, but the flavor of the sauce and crust made up for it.
After our food tour, we got directions to the Nature Museum near the Lincoln Park Zoo.

It's a beautiful, beautiful building, from an architectural standpoint, that houses a wonderful butterfly exhibit, a nature park, and exhibits on the wildlife native to the area. The Butterfly museum is a must-see.
From there, we took a walk along the beach along Lakeshore drive,

envying all the fit, gorgeous joggers who passed by us.

The day was long, so we worked our way back "home"ward and picked up some tea at the place on the tour and found a train back to the hotel. Dinner was in the hotel's Thai restaurant. Then back upstairs to read and let our legs recover from the day.

Tomorrow: More architecture and museums!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicago Day 1

We began our day by getting up, let me say, Jack getting up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5 o'dark in the morning. He then gave me the opportunity to sleep in until about seven o'clock in the morning. We went downstairs to have breakfast, and our rule is usually not to eat chain restaurant food on vacation, so we ate at the hotel diner.
After breakfast we walked to the Navy Pier from the hotel. We had to cross Grant Park

and about a mile and a half to 2 miles later we made it to the Architectural Shore Cruise. (Side note: we also had our first Chicago podcaster moment thanks to Rob Lindley and the phrase "doinger shorts." One of the little boys assisting on the cruise was freeballing in a pair as the ship sailed up to land. Later, we would notice his "runway walk" on the deck and figured we'd found a true seaman.) The Shore cruise is a fantastic way to see all of the wonderful building of Chicago, with an unobstructed view from the water. The cruise took us up the river and all the way to the Sears Tower and back to the Navy Pier. Once we were back at the pier, apparently all of the parents and children were awake and we had entered our own private hell of tour groups. Lots of lots of children's tour groups. Still the Navy pier is a fun and interesting place to walk around. We found ourselves in the museum of stained glass and it was beautiful.

After the stained-glass museum we worked our way up to the midway where we rode the Ferris wheel and the swings.

We took a ride on the water taxi from the Navy pier across to the museum park where we went to the Shedd aquarium. The Shedd aquarium is one of the best aquariums we've ever been to, full of wonderful experiences and it's probably one of the best places in Chicago to take children.

There are many picture taking opportunities within the Shedd aquarium, from the shark tank to the coral reefs to the many special exhibits within. Today, we went to the Jellies exhibit, a fascinating look at the lives of jellyfish.

About three hours later, we left the Shedd aquarium and made our way back to the hotel...worn out and really ready to go to bed. After a quick shower and nap, we left the hotel and made our way to the Tamarind restaurant. Some good Thai food later, and we came back to our room to crawl into bed and plan another day.

Tomorrow: The Chicago Food Tour!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Carmen Electra!
Travis Wall!
Let's go!

Guy group - Contemporary
Interesting, yet not dynamic.

Melanie and Marko - Jazz
Choreographed to "Americano," the dance was strong and entertaining, still it wasn't maybe as strong as the song.

And with the "he didn't inhale" comment, I love Cat Deeley a bit more.

Sasha and Alexander - Hip hop Not as sharp as it needed to be. It was kinda hip hop lite.

Jordan and Thadd - Waltz
They did a good job! Jack didn't love it or believe the connection, but I thought it was nice and believable.

Clarice and Jess - Contemporary
Jack "A lot of the dancers don't seem to dance between the steps."
I liked it and so far it's my favorite of the night. Needed to be tighter with the music, but otherwise it was great.

Ashley and Chris - Salsa
It was cute, the lifts were great, but there were moments of awkwardness.

Ryan and Ricky - Jazz
Jack "I started to fall asleep."
I thought it was oddly enjoyable.
The choreographers are lacking tonight.

Caitlynn and Mitchell - Contemporary
OMG!!!! The routine of the night! Dynamic! Powerful! Emotional! It was everything!!!!

Girls Routine
The girls killed it!

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