Tranformers Rule !!!

Being someone who grew up with the Transformers I was a little worried when I first saw that they where making a movie about the Transformers. I was hoping they would not dumb it down and make a PG movie aimed at 8 year olds. Luckily I was surprised when I saw the movie and they did a damn good job with it. Besides a couple of corny parts it really was a good movie and for anyone that grew up with them a very satifying viewing. I knew even more it must have been a good movie since my wife liked it too, even to the point of now knowing the names of several of the transformers (how cool is that). Definitly go see it in the theater, since I think a lot would be lost on the small screen.


…is a very, very cute Pixar film worth seeing. Starring an adorable rat played by the hilarious Patton Oswalt, this movie is fun for kids to watch (you get to see things through the rat’s point of view, like him running through a crowd of screaming people), and the dialogue is probably the most adult-friendly of the newest Disney films (not vulgar, just more jokes that adults would understand better than kids).
The animation is great, and the food looks so realistic you can almost smell it! Overall it was a great summer movie. My only advice is to not see it when you’re hungry :).

(Note: I apologize in advance if this isn’t my best post. I have a bad head cold today and it feels like my head is full of those craft “google eyes”–can’t explain it any other way).

Inks and Needles

Yup, so we decided to be crazy and go under the knife–or needle, that is. Chris and I have been debating over what we wanted our next tattoos to be–Chris and I are huge Alphonse Mucha fans, and we both wanted to get images based on his famous advertisement “plates”. Chris chose a beautiful Ivy girl, and I chose a zodiac woman. After doing our homework for several months on a good tattoo artist, Chris and I decided upon a parlor in Ansonia, CT. There was a woman tattoo artist there who happened to be a huge Mucha fan and who had done several pieces based on his work. Her shop, Lucky Soul tattoo, got many good reviews. So we thought it would be fitting to head on down to “Lucky Soul” on the luckiest day of the year 7-7-07.. (It wasn’t too far from Chris’ parents in CT, too, so we could stay overnight and recover there).
Unfortunately after further talking with Tracey ( the tattoo artist at Lucky Soul) it was decided that the Mucha design that I wanted was far too much detail to do as a small arm piece. Chris’ design was simpler so she was able to go ahead with it. I wasn’t too upset because I had a “back up” design which was of a purple iris flower from one of Van Gogh’s paintings.
The shop was very clean and everyone there was friendly and relaxed. They really put you at ease. Tracey was extremely professional and wanted every detail to be perfect for Chris’ tattoo. She spent time beforehand scaling the artwork to size and she was extremely excited to do the design. She spent SIX hours on Chris’ arm and barely took a break because she was so focused. It was great watching her work. She did an absolutely amazing job and was very nice. Chris’ arm hurt and he was tired after sitting so long but he’s thrilled with the result!
Tracey unfortunately was running out of time to do a tattoo for me but another artist was nice enough to offer to do the iris design. Jim actually turned out to be the owner of the shop and a big Van Gogh fan. He did an excellent job and made me feel very comfortable. I was thrilled with the result and am actually glad I chose that instead of a big Mucha on my arm (though I hope to maybe do something like that elsewhere at a later date).
(The iris itself has a very special meaning to me because it was the flower that Van Gogh painted the most, and it is believed that Van Gogh suffered with a mental illness throughout his lifetime (hence the whole “cutting the ear off” thing…). The iris has become the national symbol of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Each time I see the flower it reminds me of my own painful past experiences and how something beautiful (like Van Gogh’s art) can come out of it. And also, how your life can blossom in ways you never thought possible–I certainly never thought I’d come this far in life. I know that probably sounds exceptionally cheesy but I really mean it to be poignant!)
I didn’t have to sit nearly as long as Chris did, and after the initial itchy/prickly feeling and annoying buzz sound, I’d have to say the tattoo experience was quite pleasant.
Chris was a trooper for sitting so long.
Pics to come soon!
We’d highly recommend Lucky Soul to anyone who wants a pleasant and thorough tattoo experience. Their prices were extremely reasonable for the amount of work involved, and they take their art seriously. They were even sweet enough to offer us a small discount because we came such a long distance, and they bought us pizza! They even offered to let us stay with one of them if we ever decide to come back and can’t find a place to stay for the night. Awwww, now that’s dedication.
Coming soon—the joys of “tattoo healing”–itchiness, swelling and aching…but it’s all worth it in the end.

Well take some photos after they are all healed but here is a glimpse
Iris Tattoo Mucha Ivy Tattoo

Fun in the Garden State

The weekend before the 4th of July, Chris and I decided to hope on the Amtrak train near our house and go to visit my sister and nephew in Somerset, NJ.
We had some momentary difficulties when our train arrived at Penn Station an hour and a half late and we missed our connection. Thankfully, NYC always has plenty of trains running so we were able to get on the next train an hour or so later. We arrived in Somerset at 10 pm, but hey, we didn’t have to drive! We brought some Coronas in a cooler with us for the train ride, so it was a nice relaxing trip.
We got to spend 3 whole days with my sister, her fiance, and our adorable nephew Jeremy, who is a year old now–can’t believe it! Pics will be coming soon. Chris taught Jeremy to grunt like a caveman and we introduced him to naughty foods like ice cream (that’s what aunties and uncles are for, aren’t they?). It was so great to be able to spend some time there. My sisters house in Somerset is nice and she has a beautiful english garden in her backyard. It has little stone pathways, a tiny goldfish pond, ivy trellises, lilac bushes and a pear tree (no partridge). Siggghh….
On Saturday we took the NJ transit train from New Brunswick into NYC to see a free concert in Central Park. Central Park is always a blast in the summertime and we lucked out with gorgeous weather.
The concert was packed! We saw 2 great bands. The first band, Babylon Circus, you have to see to believe. They were a French gypsy reggae/ska/punk band and they were just so much fun! The lead singer was wearing a pinstripe suit and acting out the songs, and the guitar singer was hopping around on stage like a shirtless banshee. They had tons of energy and made everybody jump around (have you ever seen people moshing to accordions?). They spoke mostly in french and their lyrics were crazy–one song was about a banana named Paul.Definitely a band to see live again!
The second band, Ozomatli, has been performing live for years and is one of the most fun bands I have ever seen live. I had the good fortune of seeing them earlier this year at Mass MocA (Chris was unfortunately in Maryland and couldn’t make it), and I couldn’t wait to see them again after that–so I was thrilled to find out they were performing for free in NYC!
When they came on stage (their intro was a snippet from “A-Team”-genius), there wasn’t a single person in the entire crowd who didn’t get up and move, and not stop until they ended their set (which was 2 hours!). Ozomatli combine funk/hip-hop/latin and ska and they just have such talent and a love of performing that they’re infectious. Everyone was dancing and having an awesome time. We had some great people watching opportunities, including a 70-plus year old white bearded man who was dancing and moshing around non-stop (we affectionately dubbed him “Santa”, and nobody could keep up with him!), and a man who was dressed up like Batman and salsa dancing. Gotta love New York!
On our way home we stopped by a great cafe called “Le Pain Quotidien” and had some excellent organic French food (we had sandwiches made with ricotta and figs and drizzled with honey, with mint lemonade, mmmm!). They had huge European styled communal tables and prices for NY were very decent–highly recommended yumminess!
All in all it was a great day and for a free concert it couldn’t be beat.

Sunday we went to New Hope, PA which is about a half hour from Somerset. New Hope is a fantastic little artsy watertown which reminds us a little bit of Salem and a little bit of Northampton. Chris was happy to find a Medieval Armor shop, and we had fun poking into all the little boutiques and cafes. We had lunch at a great Cuban restaurant, “Havana”, and we ate some yummy frozen custard from “Rita’s”. Chris and I want to move to New Hope because it was cool and we’d be closer to our nephew, but ideally it would suck to leave everyone else. Dilemmas…alas!

Monday we walked a little around my sister’s neighborhood and then got lost driving on our way to Ikea in Elizabeth. But we finally made it and converted my sister into a lover of that mecca of Swedish furniture and funkiness-even Jeremy liked it! We all made lasagna that night (Chris did most of the work), and sat in her kitchen with her sliding door open to the garden. Ahhh….

We both were sad to leave everyone but we had a restful, pleasant long weekend and, thanks to the convenience of the railroad station down the street from us, hope to do a repeat visit soon.

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

You Tube clips from our trip:

Babylon Circus:

Batman doing the salsa at Ozomatli:



2 Mikes and a Beer.

June 28th, Chris and I saw comedians Mike Showalter and Michael Ian Black at the Iron Horse in Northampton. They are 2 hilarious people from The State, Stella, and VH1’s I love the 80’s. It was our first time at the Iron Horse and we thought it was pretty cozy and cool. All of the tables had close proximity to the stage and they had good food and drinks. The negatives were no A.C. (and lots of sweaty college kids), only 2 stalls for the bathroom in the entire place when it gets crowded, and a leaky pipe downstairs. But all in all it was all good.
The show started a little bit late because apparently Mike Showalter forgot that the show was that night and thought it was the following night–so he rushed down in a rental car from Brooklyn NY. He was a bit out of it due to the mixup but still hilarious and adorable nonetheless. Some of his highlights included the definition of “jumpy leg syndrome”, working with Mel Gibson, and writing a letter to his loud downstairs neighbors about a “quiet” party-“I am going to have a quiet party tonight in which I will be sitting at home diligently painting ceramic figurines of 17th century French peasants”.
But Michael Ian Black stole the show. His jokes are absolutely cruel and yet so hilarious (cruelarious?). He managed to make us laugh about naughty personal ads from The Advocate, Nazis, questions about his sexual orientation, John Kerry bumper stickers and working from home scams. Best of all were his “blog poems” and we found clips of both from YouTube: Enjoy, enjoy. (See Below)
(We must add that a really funny female comedian opened up for both of them, but we can find no mention of her name on the bill or on any websites anywhere. We’ll update the blog if we find it out, but she was great too!)

Michael Ian Black “Emotions”

Michael Ian Black “If I had a Slave”

Fun in NJ

We are having a good time down in NJ visiting Kathy’s sister and her fiance and our nephew. The weather has been amazing, the day trips really good. We are sad that we are leaving tomorrow to go back to VT. Will post a bunch of photos and videos when we get back.