A Little Gem of a Movie…..

A recent tweet I saw reminded me of a small, but intriguing movie, “Mindwalk”, done in 1990 or 1991. It isn’t likely to show up on cable, but can be found on Amazon, only in VHS. I’m not familiar enough with Hulu and Netflix to know if you can find it through them.

The tweet showed a great photo of Mont Saint Michele, a spectacular place to visit in France. For those who haven’t been there, it was a “tidal island” that could only be accessed by land for a certain number of hours when the tide was low enough. The first buildings went in around the 9th or 10th century and then others followed over time, to include a huge abbey. The village grew to a degree and ultimately became a tourist destination. During the peak of tourist season, it’s rather bustling, but in off-season, it’s very easy to be out at night and have a sense of what it must have been like long ago before there were crowds. Almost a dozen years ago, the French government set into motion a major project to build a bridge and relocate the car park so it is truly an island again.

Anyway, the movie is superbly cast with only three primary characters: Liv Ullman, Sam Waterston, and John Hurt. Ullman, a physicist, has withdrawn to live on the island (although I think her daughter is there, too). Waterston, an American politician, has lost a election and his ex-pat friend, Hurt, invites him to come to France for a bit and they travel to Mont Saint Michel. The trio meets and through the day and into the evening, they engage in conversations that become increasingly philosophical amid the backdrop of this extraordinary place. It is a quiet, wonderful little movie that is definitely one of those where, “Everyone talks a lot”, as our son used to say when he was about six. While intense emotions do come into play, they are not the rancorous sort that leaves you feeling drained. Although it is not a light movie, for us, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Naked Magicians and Other…..

It’s true, although Hubby and I don’t plan to attend. I admit, when I first heard this I was waiting for the proverbial punchline. However, these two Australian guys have put together an act which is apparently quite popular. Based on the description, they disrobe on stage and then cleverly manage to perform magic tricks with very obviously “nothing up their sleeves”. It’s another of those comedy-infused shows which is the opposite side of the dramatic type. It’s also very much an adult show and not intended to be otherwise. I’m not sure if the word “bawdy” is used much these days, but my impression is that’s the appropriate term. They will be at the Seminole Theatre October 14th and several friends have tickets already. (http://seminoletheatre.org) I have no problem with the show and think it’s an entertaining idea – we just aren’t much into magic and comedy.

In fact, this is the fourth season for the theatre which means the director (who is superb) has had the chance to analyze attendance and actively seeks feedback. The 2018-2019 season is bigger than ever and has quite a mix – literally something for everyone. The way performances and events work is the theatre books the Showcase Series and then other performances come in through a variety of means. Local/regional groups book, attendees can refer ideas, etc. With another nice grant last year they were finally able to have film capability, so that medium has been added. There was an element considering the original Seminole Theatre was for silent movies and when the renovation was done to transform it into a performing arts center, film capability was initially held back. That was an economic decision since the retrofit could be managed without too much difficulty.

The season opened with Lee Ann Womack and a packed house. Not only was she as good as anticipated, the opening act of Andrew Duhon (a Louisiana guy) was excellent. We picked up his latest CD and Hubby is thoroughly enjoying it.

Now That’s a Lot of Beer……

Exit One Taproom in Florida City

Opening any type of customer-service small business comes with risk and being on the entertainment side is particularly so. After all, people do have choices and it only takes one bad experience for someone to decide not to return, and even worse is if they share that opinion. I’m not trying to sound negative for the newest offering in our community – I am merely pointing out is takes courage and a lot of work to make the leap from dreaming to throwing open the doors to the public. The best way to describe Exit One Taproom is fun and funky. It is a family operation – mother and daughter and dad. He is still a full-time police officer, so he’s doing double-duty most days.

The entire family loves beer and they have only craft brews – 43 of them in fact. About thirteen are draft and they cover a range of ales, lagers, pilsners, stouts, etc., They researched dozens of breweries and are able to stock some items you don’t generally find in this area. They are delightfully enthusiastic and very happy to discuss the choices.

What they’ve gone with as a set-up is not large, but they have picnic tables in front and can roll up the doors to have an indoor-outdoor effect when the crowds are big. Inside they have about 12-14 spots at the bar, some more picnic tables, a few high-top tables and two seating areas with love seats and chairs. For food, they opted to enter a partnership with no kidding – Tacos and Tattoos. The food truck is there and that, too, is a family business, whose owners are friends. They describe their food as Southwestern with a Caribbean flair. You can wait at the truck after you order or they will give you a number to carry to a able and will bring the food to you.

You can never predict how a new place will do, but we are hoping the best for them.  They are located at 10 NE 3rd ST #30, Florida City is open Tues-Sun at 4:00 p.m. with varied closing times. (It’s actually at Krome Ave and 3rd next to Shivers Glass for those in this area). You can go to http://exitonetaproom.com or call (305) 812-4764. You can also check out http://tacosandtattoos.com

 

Home Again…..

Despite the travel with a lot of driving and what in the military we referred to as the “duffel bag drag”, of being in most of the locations for only one night, I did get to catch up with a lot of people. In two cases, I hadn’t seen the friend/friends for years so it was really nice. I have a fair amount to catch up on now that I am back. The next several days are jammed with meetings and tasks, but that was a known when I headed out on the trip.

For my last night one of my other high school friends and I had our traditional dinner at 2Johns Steak and Seafood in Bossier City. It’s a lovely restaurant in a somewhat unlikely location  which everyone has come to understand. Anyway, she recently celebrated her 65th birthday and the birth of her first grandchild on the same day which is quite convenient when you can manage that.

I took one of the early flights out of Shreveport and do greatly appreciate the people who open the snack bar at 4:30 a.m. I appreciate even more the fact whoever they have on duty always seems to be friendly and either a “morning person” or an accomplished actor. The free Wifi worked properly this time to allow me to clear out the numerous emails that I immediately or soon delete. We did have a hold on departure due to weather in Dallas and I was concerned about making the connecting flight. I had to walk quite rapidly and was grateful to be only three tram stops from my new gate. It was a smooth flight though and we landed a few minutes early. Hubby used the cell phone lot for the first time and it worked well.

Sept Trip, Day 6…..

I closed out the visit with friends with a pleasant brunch on the lake. In fact, another couple from their church joined us and I of course gave out book marks. The short drive to my aunt’s house was easy as always, paying close attention to the speed limit sign in going through a couple small towns on the way.

One of my cousins came in not long after I arrived, and her older sister came later. We had plenty to catch up on and my sister and her husband had been for a visit the latter part of July. This was the first time they’d been by for several years. Anyway, the house my aunt is in has been in the family for decades. My maternal grandparents bought in the 1930s. There have been updates over the years and the 80+ year-old tree by the driveway finally did enough damage to the concrete that it was recently taken down. The roots had been causing problems for quite some time and there was always the chance the tree would eventually fall during a storm. As large as it was, even if it fell “away” from the house, it could have been dangerous. It does look odd without the tree, but it was time.

In actuality, there are two houses in the sense the house next door has been occupied by some family member for as long as I can recall. My aunt and uncle were among the occupants before my grandparents passed away and they moved into their house. My cousin, the oldest daughter, and her husband live in it now. Of my five cousins in that group, there are three boys and two girls. The other daughter lives in town about ten minutes away. The oldest boy is maybe 20 minutes away on several acres near where my aunt grew up. They prefer the country life although both still work at their professional jobs. Anyway, it was a good visit and we are close as cousins.

Sept Trip, Day 5…..

The longest segment of driving for this trip managed to coincide with the threatened rain. Initially, it was merely annoying with the wipers on and off every little bit, although there were stretches with no precipitation. And when the intensity significantly increased, at least traffic wasn’t too bad, unlike one lengthy slowdown prior to that. In all fairness, as I hit the last hour of the drive and looked to the west at the even worse thunderheads with very visible lightning, I realized I would probably be okay if I could make the turn more south within about fifteen minutes. I was glad to see that mess in my rear view window as I drove away and finally did get sunshine after about 30 miles.

The friends I’m staying with have season tickets to our shared university and it was a home game. We’d already agreed I’d just come on to the house and my girlfriend checked in with me at half-time. I was safely ensconced at that point, glass of wine poured and full from having stopped for dinner at one of the local Mexican restaurants. It did make for a later night than usual for me, but the home team did also win which couldn’t be said for the prior week. We all caught up with the basics and we’ll be going to brunch at one of the lakeside restaurants when they return from Mass. It is overcast and possibly more rain today although the front is supposed to be clearing. The next leg of driving to see relatives on my mother’s side of the family is very short, so even if it is bothersome, it won’t take long.

Sept Trip, Day 4…..

The Missouri segment of the trip comes to a close as I leave in a while to head back down to Louisiana. The threatened rain never did really happen yesterday, although it was quite cloudy to include heavily overcast at times and it had rained in the early hours. We had some sprinkles, but nothing drastic. We did “girl stuff” as in going to a delightful little spot with all boutique and souvenir shops in a lovely setting. A Mel’s Hard Times Diner and the Sugar Leaf Café and Bakery were the two dining choices and my friend had already said we were going to Sugar Leaf. As it turns out though, there was also a dedicated retail tea shop, the Tea Maze. They don’t serve food, but you can have a cup of tea and it is a wonderful place if you are a tea lover. The young lady at the register was very knowledgeable and obviously passionate about teas. My friend, who is not a coffee-drinker, had a lengthy conversation and she will soon return.

The café/bakery was equally delightful and going at an off-time was the right idea. It isn’t very large either and was decorated in the way women tend to admire and guys are tolerant of. Not utterly “froo-froo”, but definitely leaning to “soft” décor. The sandwiches were excellent and we opted to get take-out desserts after we visited the final two shops we were interested in. The key lime pie was not something that struck me since I can have that on a daily basis at home. I did try a bite after dinner and it was good. There was also the coconut cake and the chocolate, caramel, and pecan “Turtle” cookie. Let’s just say watching my carb intake on this trip has not been high on the priority list.

 

Sept Trip, Day 3….

I have not yet been able to capture a photo of the numerous humming birds that come around the feeders on the balcony. Those little critters are very quick. Apparently, they will begin their migration within another week or so, but for now, they can be seen all over the complex. We went into Branson yesterday passing the many different attractions they have along Hwy 76. It is quite “touristy” and utterly fun for anyone who enjoys that sort of thing. We went to the Titanic museum which is quite well done. (www.titanicbranson.com) There is also one at Pigeon Forge in TN. The entry way to the building has the façade of the front half of Titanic complete with two funnels. The large model of Titanic is splendid and the artifacts are a mix of genuine Titanic items and White Star items planned for Titanic, but not recovered from the ship itself. The photographs and stories are also a mix of those who survived and those who perished. Staff members are in period costume and stationed at certain spots to emphasize selected points/stories.

To get to the second floor, you have the option of walking up a replica of the grand staircase or taking the elevator of course. In the one section upstairs where they have a section of a life boat and have dropped the AC considerably, you can dip your finger/hand into a container of water at 28 degrees and see how long you can hold it in there. I declined. In my case, having been to Belfast Titanic with Paul Louden-Brown, the official historian for the White Star Line, I had slightly different insights on certain aspects. However, as I said, it was well done. I would not have wanted to be in with a large crowd, but planning a trip when it isn’t peak times shouldn’t be that difficult.

We had lunch at a nearby 50s-type diner for an delicious burger although I did pass on the milkshake other than to have a couple of sips to agree it was quite tasty. The weather may be dicey today and a movie marathon on the 65-inch TV might be in order. We’ll see how that goes.

Sept Trip, Day 2….

The drive from Shreveport to Kimberling City on Table Rock Lake is about seven hours. Most of it is fairly easy driving until the last 80 or so miles when the road reduces to two lanes with lots of curves as you wind up into the Ozarks on the way toward Branson. Our friends have a lovely view of the lake from both floors and if it was daylight, I would probably be posting this from the balcony. Their guest bedroom arrangement is perfect for me because it is on the lower level while their master is above. There also happens to be a wet bar with a coffee maker down here which means I can rise at my usual 5-5:30, have coffee, and work my email/do posts without risking disturbing anyone else. And speaking of connectivity, the husband half of the couple gave me a hug and handed me the info for the wireless network. It is the world we live in these days.

So, my girlfriend and I went for a late lunch to a place that was a bit of a drive, but quite scenic. Table Rock Lake is huge and there are communities and marinas dotted all over it. There are over 43,000 acres to the lake and 500 miles of shoreline when you add them all up. Anyway, the restaurant specializes in catfish and broasted chicken. The obvious solution was to eat catfish there and bring home chicken. While not the best catfish I’ve ever had, it was definitely delicious and certainly worth the drive. As it turns out, they have opened another restaurant slightly closer at a marina and park (either State or part of the NPS) and we drove in to check it out. It will be open only part of the year, but won’t close for another couple of weeks. They have a machine with fish food you can buy, so the ducks, fish and even turtles are accustomed to having food thrown to them. The ducks and fish we expected – the turtles were a surprise.

We returned to do some more catching up, then enjoyed the sunset  view from their balcony. With quite a few clouds, it wasn’t as spectacular as they often get, but still some lovely colors as the clouds were tinged with pink and gold and the colors also reflect somewhat into the lake. We’ll see what the weather does today before we make a decision as to the excursion we plan.

 

Sept Trip, Day 1

Okay, it’s been a long day. Traffic was terrible getting to MIA, but the Super Shuttle driver did manage to make it with enough time for me to get one coffee before boarding. Flight was pretty smooth. Second leg of trip encountered some delays, although that did give me time to have a real lunch at a Fridays. That also meant a later start out of Shreveport with the rental car though, so I didn’t make it as far as I wanted today. In fact, I’ve stopped in the town of Malvern where there are no full service restaurants. There is a pizza place very close to the motel and they did something interesting. They have a surprising array of pizzas, plus subs and salads. They do a buffet and the girl at the register kept assuring me it was a better deal than just ordering. She was correct of course, but I also didn’t need the all you can eat option. Anyway, it was one big room with maybe thirty tables and about half full. The pizzas were on the buffet line (to include dessert ones), but what the waitresses did was when a new pizza came out of the kitchen, they walked around with it, calling out the type. They served anyone who wanted a slice right off the pizza pan, then placed the leftover slices onto the buffet line. Everyone was quite friendly and I was probably the only stranger in the place based on the conversations I was hearing.

I’ve been told the weather may turn a bit tomorrow so we’ll see how the rest of the drive goes. I think about 3-4 more hours and I’ll lose the Interstate at some point.