bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for April, 2010

Feature Presentation

When Mark was a toddler, he would watch videos and when the previews were over the words, “Feature Presentation” would appear and Mark would excitedly shout, “FEATURE PRESENTATION!  FEATURE PRESENTATION!”  It was so cute!  Those big words coming out of that little mouth.

Today’s web site is all about movies.  I’m shocked at how many people don’t know about the Internet Movie Database, otherwise known as imdb.

This is the go-to site for movie info.  I use it to find out the name of an actor that I just can’t remember, and find out where I might have seen him before, since it lists all the movies and TV shows he’s been in.  (And, yes, it includes actresses too, that whole him/her thing just gets old when you are reading/writing.  See?  You are already tired of it, aren’t you?)

After every movie we watch on DVD, I look it up and read the trivia section for the film.  That is my very favorite part.  I love behind-the-scenes kind of stuff.  You often find out who else was considered for the roles, which scenes were ad-libbed, and all sorts of other great trivia.  Frequently, the trivia also includes how many days it took to film and what the original budget was. 

As a side note, the site includes both old and new movies.  Even ones that haven’t yet been released!  The information on those is sparse, but it is still there if you are interested.

Just last night, though, I found another aspect of the site that will prove very helpful.  There is a section for Parent Reviews.  This area is written by everyday people like you or me, not professional reviewers.  It lists scenes of the movie that feature Sex & Nudity, Violence & Gore (no, not Al), Profanity, Alcohol/Drugs & Smoking, and Frightening & Intense Scenes, all which contribute to the MPAA rating.  This section really helps when Tom and I are trying to decide whether or not the movie is appropriate for our kids.  Anything involving Sex & Nudity is OUT.  😉

There are several other categories of information that you might find helpful, but these are my personal favorites.  The site also includes TV shows, but I have found those aren’t nearly as in-depth as I like them to be.  But, it is helpful when you are looking for that actor’s name and where you’ve seen him before.  (For example, in the show Parenthood, Amber is played by the same actress that portrayed Ann in Arrested Development, which drove me crazy until I looked it up.  She changed her hair color, which threw me off, but I knew I’d seen her before.)

Oh, and if you are a registered user, which, of course, I am, you can post items on there as well.  I’ve posted both a goof and a bit of trivia.  Impressed?  You should be.  I’m officially published.  ha

I have this site bookmarked at the top of my screen since I visit it so often.  If you haven’t visited it, you have no idea what you are missing!  Grab a bowl of popcorn and start searching!

On the Dot

Today was the Spring Women’s Retreat at my church.  I had a rough night sleep-wise last night, and last week was just rough emotional-wise.  I had every reason not to go to the retreat this morning.  I thought of a million reasons not to go.  But, I went anyway.  I had a few responsibilities and had promised someone I’d be there. 

The theme was On the Dot, and I had an amazing time.  (Which is kind of funny, since On The Dot means “exactly on time.”)  Lots of great moments:  Sharing, devotion, and lots of laughing.  What a great way to spend the morning!  It was all a part of God’s timing.  We read about several women in the Old Testament who could show us a time when God was with them.  Very cool.

So, thank you to all the women who took the time to plan such a wonderful morning.  You have no idea how many lives you touched.

Where am I?

This week’s web site is Google Maps.  If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably used, or at least heard of, this site.  I find it both useful and fascinating.

Need driving directions, but can’t afford a GPS car navigation system?  Google Maps can help.  This application is the one I use the most.  Anyone that knows me, knows I don’t know how to get anywhere inside 270.  I am slowly making my way inward.  (Okay, yes, I do know how to get to the Arch.  And the zoo.  And the old Busch Stadium.  I could probably find my way to the new one.)  And, other than being so specific that it helps me get out of my subdivision, (that I can navigate without help, thank you) I rely on Google Maps to get me where I need to go.  Anywhere.  Not just within the STL area.

This weekend, I used a different part of the site.  Tom was going to pick up Mark at a friend’s house.  He didn’t think he’d been there before, but it was probably a mile and a half from our house, so I could easily tell him how to get there, but pinpointing which house it was, that was a different story.  He was looking it up in the school buzz book, when I got on Google Maps and went to the “street view” and was able to show him what the house looked like.  He immediately recognized it, admitted he had been there before and took off.  Nice.  (One of the downsides is viewing your own home.  One of our garage doors was open.  The landscaping could have used some touching up.  The only thing missing was a bicycle dumped in the front yard. 

You can look up famous landmarks as well!  Want to see the Pentagon?  It’s on there.  Want to see the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France?  It’s there.  Want to see the Gateway Arch?  Get your lazy body in the car, and drive East on Hwy 70.  Or 40/64.  Or 44.  (My apologies to my readers not in the STL area.  You can view the Gateway Arch on the site.)

I’ve looked up my childhood home, relatives’ homes, and, yes, people i don’t know so well, but am interested to see where they live.  Kind of creepy in a way, I guess, but still a lot of fun.  One of my friends is looking to buy a house.  She’s been able to narrow down her choices considerably using the Google Maps street view, by seeing the houses before she takes the time to go there.

There are lots more uses for the site, but I’ve gotta be honest.  I started getting lost and confused.  Kind of like really driving, now that I think about it.

More Laughs, but This Time on Canvas

Oh, what would we do without the internet to make us laugh?  Read books?  I don’t usually LOL with books.  Sometimes, web sites are so wonderful, they become books.  See Cake Wrecks, for example. Still my #1 LOL site.

Here’s a web site that has become not one, but TWO coffee table books.  Museum of Bad Art (or MOBA) made me gasp with the first portrait of hideousness.  Apparently, Lucy in the Field with Flowers is “The Mona Lisa of MOBA.”  This portrait was found in the trash in Boston.  And, we are even treated to a behind-the-portrait narrative worthy of a PBS special. 

I knew I had to share this site when I saw the second portrait, Sunday on the Pot with George.  Yep, it is exactly what you think it is.  Good golly. 

I’ll admit that I don’t always know bad art from good art.  I just know what I like.  And, I like this site.  (BTW, you can purchase a print of some of the “finest” in the museum shop.  See?  Your Christmas shopping could be completed already!)

Hungry, but Broke?

Today I’m going to feature a couple of web sites that will help you save some money if you are wanting to eat out, but the wallet is a little light.

First, one of my favorites is www.restaurant.com.  This site is of benefit all across the country!  You just type in your zip code and voila! you’ve got a list of restaurants that offer some sweet deals.  At first, you get a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice for $10.  Register on the site, and you will get emails so that if you wait a little longer, and you get the same $25 for only $3.  Wait even longer, $2!  Some come with stipulations such as “with $40 purchase” or “Monday-Thursday.”  But, do the math, and you are still getting a $40 meal for $17!  There are expiration dates, but they give you at least a month, so you can buy them well in advance.  Or, do like I do, and buy them just a few minutes before you decide to go!  You just print the certificate on your printer!

A few things to keep in mind, though.  Certain restaurants sell out quickly, and may be gone before you get the $2 deal.  Be sure to read the fine print to see what restrictions are in place.  Also, an 18% tip is usually included, but then your $25 coupon often is used for deducting part of the tip.  Some restaurants make it easier to see than others.

The next web site is for St. Louisans only.  It’s St. Louis Meal Deals.  Here you’ll find a week’s worth of deals around town.  From free food (thanks to the Cardinals’ Home Opener, there are several today) to special dinner deals or tastings.  It updates weekly, and sometimes there are daily updates as well.  I have this one on my RSS feed, and sometimes it gets a little much.  But, really, that’s more because we aren’t going out to eat as much as we used to, and it covers the entire St. Louis area, so often the deals aren’t necessarily convenient.

So, if you are watching your budget, but still want a night out, check these sites out.  Tonight we’re having spaghetti.  At home.  Now that’s a deal!  (Especially since Tom is making it!)

What the (*&%?!??!?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been sick in bed for several days.  Keyword:  SEVERAL  And, I’ve had the benefit of having Instant Netflix to keep me company.  I finished watching the entire first season of Lie to Me, but the second season is not available to watch instantly.  Bummer.

So, I went searching for another show to watch.

I discovered that Rescue Me had almost, if not all, its seasons on the instant list.  Sweet.  For those of you not familiar with this show, it stars Denis Leary and is about New York City firefighters.  I think it’s on FX. 

Since it is on cable, it doesn’t have to adhere to many FCC regulations.  Including, most obviously, language.  Wow.  At first, I was shocked.  Then, I decided to keep watching because the storylines were really good.  Keep in mind, though, that I was basically immersed in this show for hours.  Hours.

I finished all 13 episodes of Season 1 and was starting on Season 2 when I finally quit.  Since I was feeling so much better, I decided to converse with the family.  Namely – Tom.  He was browning hamburger and was getting ready to drain it straight into the sink when I uttered a sentence that I am fairly sure has never left these lips.  I won’t write it here, but it wasn’t the worst cuss word I’ve ever heard, and not even the 2nd or 3rd worst, but it was the tone of my comment that took me by surprise.  That, and how quickly it just rolled off my tongue.  Tom looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t think that was necessary.”  I quickly said, “Oh my gosh, Tom!  I am SO sorry!  You are right, that was so not the right thing to say!”  Karen came in and suggested a synonym for the word I used, to which I quickly responded, “Seriously, Karen.  That whole phrase was wrong to say.  I don’t know what came over me.” 

Then, it hit me.  Denis Leary.

After about 10 minutes, I went back into the kitchen, apologized to Tom again, and said, “It’s Denis Leary’s fault.  I’ve been watching Rescue Me while I was sick.”  He laughed out loud.  “Okay.”  (I did inform him that if he poured hamburger grease down the sink, he was paying for a plumber.  We’ve got enough issues with those pipes.)

I’ve always admired Tom for his clean mouth.  And, now I have an even better idea of how hard it must be to keep a clean mouth when surrounded day after day by foul language.  Granted, I doubt if there are any “Denis Learys” in his office, but I’ve heard enough at office functions to get an idea of what is said during the day.  Especially since I’m guessing the language I hear is cleaned up a bit.

So, again, Tom, I apologize.  And, you are an amazing example of a Christian man.  Denis Leary?  Not so much.

Easter Monday

I don’t know when this name became popular, but I guess it doesn’t matter.  The kids have the day off, which for a public school is unheard of, but makes a lot of sense.  I remember being in college and having to hurry home on Sunday after church on Easter, and it just didn’t seem right. 

So, after all the sugar from yesterday has digested and run its course, what is left of Easter?  (I’m not speaking religiously.  Easter is just the beginning for Christians, really.) 

How about them Peeps?  Ah, yes.  The marshmallow creatures of every color of the rainbow covered in sugar.  Some love them, some hate them.  I remember a friend of mine from MOPS won the prize for eating the most Peeps during Easter.  She was diabetic.  Hmmmm…Ironic?

I don’t love them.  But, I do like them better stale.  Sounds odd to some of  you, but I know I’m not alone.

One thing I do look forward to when it comes to Easter and Peeps is the annual Peeps Show contest run by The Washington Post.  So take a look at this year’s contest winners.  I am amazed at the creativity of people.  And, the dedication!  Think how long it must have taken to make these!  Incredible!

(I do wonder how many Peeps were harmed during the making of these dioramas…)

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