Movie Round Up: What's Good

I have another movie review round up for you.  The only one available on Netflix streaming is really bad.  Sorry about that, but I included a really good Netflix documentary to make up for it.

The Age of Adeline
I love everything about Blake Lively in the role of Adeline.  Her hair.  Her wardrobe, especially that gorgeous black evening gown with the open back.  The way she spoke.  I even feel in love with the name.  Adeline.  So old fashioned, but so beautiful.  It actually makes me wish I had something to name just so I could use the name and call her Addy for short.  I might have to get a new doll.  Anyway, the move was incredible.  The cinematography was beautiful.  San Francisco is an extra character in the movie and was portrayed beautifully as well.  See this movie if you haven't. 5 STARS

The Martian
This one is not on DVD yet.  MJ is extremely picky when it comes to move and he gave it an A- so you know it has to be good. Matt Damon spent most of the film acting solo, and he did it with such humor and candor that I didn't even notice that most of his scenes were monologues.  Space is the stuff of nightmares for me.  Fascinating, yes-but I can't believe that people willingly go to a place millions of miles away that has no oxygen.  No oxygen.  It's just as scary as being 50 feet in the ocean and I want no part of either.  Without spoiling it let's just say I liked the ending of this movie better than Gravity. 5 STARS

John Wick
I really didn't know Keanu Reaves had this kind of role in him.  He was pretty bad ass in The Matrix, but in this movie he was a straight up, hard core hit-man killer.  Movies with a lot of killing tend to have really complicated plots, but this one was simple.  Russian mob guy's snot nosed son messes with the wrong guy and he will not rest until he seeks retribution. I don't think Keanu Reeves is a bad actor, but in every film there is something very wooden about his speech and mannerisms.  This was no exception.  There was a lot of killing, but at the same time a really quiet and calm feel to the entire movie. The body count piled up and all the characters remained calm, cool and collected.  Good movie. 3 STARS

So. Bad.  I felt like I had been duped after watching it and would have been really angry if I had seen it in a movie.  The entire thing played out from behind a computer screen and was entirely based around the internet.  Definitely a sign of the times, but not a good one.  1  STAR

San Andreas
This movie had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  It had action.  It had romance.  It had heart.  It had everything.  I'm a big fan of The Rock.  4  STARS

Dark Places
I'm kind of mad 'cause MJ wouldn't watch this one with me and he would have really like it.  I'm a big Charlize Theron fan and an added bonus was Chloe Grace Moretz.  Charlize portrays Libby Day, the sole survivor of the murder of her entire family for which her brother was accused of and serving jail time for 28 years.  It had an excellent plot twist and kept me guessing the entire time.  4 STARS

Little Accidents
I don't know how I stumbled upon this one, but it turned out to be a really good Indie flick.  The story follows the only survivor of a coal mining accident and the unrest that follows.  Then, a coal mining executive's son goes missing and things get even more complicated.  Elizabeth Banks is excellent as usual.  4  STARS 

127 Hours
I can't believe we finally watched this.  It has has been sitting in our queue for five years.  There wasn't really much else I wanted to see so I finally pushed it to the top.  I admit I only watched it out of pure fascination about how a guy could cut off his own arm, and there really isn't much to the movie but it was good. 3 STARS

6 Years (Taissa Farmiga-Netflix streaming)
This was a collection of scenes chronicling an extremely dysfunctional relationship mish mashed together to loosely resemble a story line and a plot.  I only watched it because of Farmiga.  There was no flow.  No cohesion.  No depth. The girlfriend was a total train wreck and the boyfriend was no prince, but it was obvious that the girl drove him to it.  Don't watch this movie. 1 STAR

Twinsters (Netflix streaming)
I have always had a fascination with twins.  I used to be mad at my mom for not making me a twin, which is ridiculous, but I was 10.  Identical twins separated at birth and adopted out to different countries find each other by chance and a beautiful love story between sisters begins.  It was so cute to watch these girls take such delight in not only having a blood sibling but one that looks exactly like them.  I don't see how anyone could not like this documentary.  5  STARS

More movie watching ideas here and here.


Why I Don't Want the iPhone 6

My iPhone 5 kept blocking me from taking pictures and giving me that annoying message that my storage was full.  I'd delete a bunch of stuff.  MJ would delete a bunch of stuff.  It would be fine for a while and then it would happen all over again.  I was really frustrated, but probably would not have done anything about it and then one day I came home from work and MJ had an iPhone 5s at home waiting for me.  He already knew I didn't want the 6.  I have my reasons.
  • Now that my storage issues are fixed the iPhone 5s is working just fine.  I get the updates.  It does everything I need it to do.  I talk, I text, I social media, I emoji and I take really good pictures during the day.  Night time shots are still iffy.  Maybe they fixed that on the 6s, but it's a cell phone.  It's not a camera and at the end of the day I'm okay with that because I have a DSLR and a point and shoot.  The funny thing about it is that nobody comments when I pull out the cell phone or the DSLR, but when I show up with the point and shoot it's like oooooh what is that?  An actual camera?  How does that thing work?  People are so used to using cell phones as camera's that they forget that people used to actually carry around an actual camera.  For taking pictures.
  • The 6s is just too darn big.  Even the "small" one.  I like to pretend that my phone is still a phone and with a "phone" of that size it is much harder to do that.  The big one looks like my iPad.  It looks ridiculous when people talk on it, and the smaller one is still too big to put in your pocket.  It's just too big.  I know the tech trend is tiny, tiny, tiny but this is just pushing it and I don't appreciate that Apple has taken away my choice to have a cell phone that is a reasonable size.
  • I like my cell phone case.  I know that may be a silly reason, but I really like my cute personalized case.  I've had it for over two years and I don't want another one.
  • My iPhone 5s fits really nicely into my SPIbelt and I don't think even the little 6 will.  I know, I know, another silly reason, but a reason nonetheless.  I'd have to wear a full on fanny pack if I upgrade to the 6s. Oh, never mind.  I wouldn't have to resort to that.  They have already made the SPIbelt for iPhone 6 and other large phones. Well, of course they have, but I'd have to buy it.  I would add my cell phone arm band here as another reason except I lost it.  I usually am pretty good at keeping up with my stuff so I still keep hoping it will turn up one day and when (if) it does I'll officially add it to the list. 
  • I really hate how they force you into new chargers.  I inherited a car phone charger when MJ got his fancy Audi with one built in.  This is probably standard on all new cars now, but I wouldn't know because my car is a 2007 that runs just fine so I'm not getting a new one thank you very much.  Of course it has an adapter because the outlet changed when iPhone went 4 to 5s.  I like that I have the same charger for my iPad and phone right.  It's super convenient for traveling.  
  • The iPhone 6 is really freakin' expensive.  The cost of cell phones is getting outrageous.  I admit, that I haven't really known exactly how much my phones cost because MJ usually facilitates the process.  I'm so old school and stubborn that I want to hang onto whatever old thing I'm working with as long as possible.  The 6s starts at $649.  I think that's how much my iPad was!  I'm pretty sure my iPhone's were at least half that price.  It is just getting really really pricey for a cell phone that you carry everywhere and need so much.  The risk of loss is so great.  What if you lose it or drop it in the toilet?  It happened to my little sister.  I know you can walk into the store and walk out without paying a dime, but just because I didn't pay up front doesn't mean I'm not paying for it.  My cell phone bill will increase for the next two years, and forever if I'm roped into buying the next one. 
Think of all those iPhone docking stations in hotel rooms that had to be replaced and all the useless car chargers over the years because Apple moved onto bigger and better? Well, I don't plan on moving onto bigger and better until I have to.  I got my first smart phone from MJ for Christmas in 2010.  That was the 4.  It was time and I was so ready.  I smashed that old razor flip phone to bits.  Really.  I smashed it.  I was so excited to be on my phone using apps, surfing the net before bed and using it as my alarm clock in the morning like MJ.  I held onto that one until the 5 came out and we were able to sell our old phones for the same price as the new one on Gazelle.  It was basically a free phone.  What happens when they stop selling the iPhone 5s? Your only option is a $650 phone if you want Apple? Just wow.  I got the 5s in a 32 GB when storage became a problem and I plan on riding that phone into the sunset the same way I plan to with my 2007 Honda Civic.

It is tempting.  The pics that actually move.  Those commercials with the pretty pastel pink i Phones floating through the air.  I said, whatever.  They can't have changed that much, and then the commercial said, "The only thing that's changed is everything."  How can you not be at least a teeny tiny bit tempted by that?  Everything.  They are so good.  Well, I'm holding out.  Some people need a new iPhone every time a new one comes out.  The genius Verizon iPhone forever plan capitalizes on that need, that desire.  Some people like to wait in line for days camped out in the cold to be the first to get it.  One girl even sent a robot.  Did you see that news story?  I am not one of those people.  I didn't get a DVD player until they stopped stocking the VHS tapes at Blockbuster.  I wasn't the last, but I certainly was far from the first to get a smart phone.  I used My Space way beyond when it was still considered cool, and it took me years and years to finally buy a romper.  I'm slow to the punch.

I was the first person in my entire family to get a cell phone.  That however, does not make me a trailblazer.  It just makes me old.

What do you think about the newest iPhone?         


Road To Rio: Wacky Worlds

[Photo Source]
The 2016 World Championships in Glasgow were held from October 23-November 1st and served as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

It was a wacky worlds.  That is the best way to describe it.  It started when Kyla Ross did not make the team.  After a disappointing showing at USA Nationals she bowed out of the process and decided not to attend the World Team Selection camp.  She has been part of every World Championship team and won medals there since the Olympics so it was a big deal that she wasn't going to be part of it.  She's been spending a lot of weekends at UCLA.  No one is certain what her next move will be but I hope she hasn't given up on Rio.

Making The Team
People were also shocked that a key gymnast was left off the team and one who didn't seem to have a chance in hell was added.  Bailey Key is that key gymnast.  She was a consistently top performing All-Around junior for years, and had a solid 4th place at her first Senior Nationals.  I could not believe that Marta decided not to take her and just as shocked that she took Brenna Dowell.  I was sad for Bailey.  It had to feel like a slap in the face after doing so much for the team for so many years, but I was really happy for Brenna.  This is an athlete who had her heart broken at the 2013 Worlds when she made the team, got all the way to  China and then at the last minute was not used on a single event in favor of Mckayla Maroney competing the all-around.  She was an alternate for the 2014 Worlds and then left elite Gymnastics to compete at Oklahoma University.  She decided to come back for one last shot at competing in Worlds and getting a signature skill named after her.  The girl just wouldn't give up and her tenacity was rewarded.  After a disastrous 2015 Nationals I didn't event hink she would get invited to World Team Selection camp.  Then, shockingly she was named to the team.   

USA Gymnastics: Oct. 20 - Women's Podium Training &emdash;
Maggie Nichols, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Brenna Dowell, Simone Biles, Mykayla Skinner

The Final Roster
Once the team was finally named, the big question was who would be the alternate.  It has to be Brenna right?  She is great on bars but the routine is risky and she doesn't consistently hit her routines.  Maybe it should be Gabby Douglas.  She might be reigning Olympic Champion but she's not top on any event and placed 5th at Nationals behind Bailey Key who didn't even make the team.  I knew there was no way she would be an alternate.  The odd woman out was Mykayla Skinner.  She is consistent, but maybe her high risky difficulty and loose form did her in.
USA Gymnastics: Oct. 24 - U.S. Women's Qualifications &emdash; Brenna Dowell
The next big question was who would compete all around on day 1 and have the chance to qualify for the coveted AA finals.  Maggie Nichols who placed 2nd at Nationals was bumped from that opportunity in favor of Gabby Douglas.  Marta put Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby on all four events but only two could advance to All-Around finals.

There was a malfunction with Brenna's floor music and she did her entire routine without floor music.  I have never seen that happen, ever in all the years I have been watching gymnastics.  The crowd clapped a beat to cover the odd silence.  She handled it, with only a stumble throughout only to go to bars and fall twice.  It was really sad to watch.  I was hoping that after finally making the World team she would hit everything and prove to everyone that they should have taken her all along, but it didn't go as planned.  Her consolation prize is that because she completed her signature skill, a piked double front on floor, it will be named after her.  She accomplished that goal at least.  She was near tears in her interviews after worlds in 2013 after not competing and her eyes were filled with tears once again in 2015.  I don't think she will ever get this chance again.  I think she should go back to Oklahoma University and enjoy the rest of her gymnastics career without the pressure of elite gymnastics.  

Aly didn't do so great either.  She put two feet out of bounds on floor and then fell on bars.  She never falls.  Gabby fell on beam, but you know who didn't fall on any events and scored high enough to have qualified for all-around had she been given the opportunity to compete?  Maggie Nichols.  She was rewarded by being the only person put on all four events in team finals.  Not even Simone Biles did all four events.  They let her rest bars since she still had many individual finals ahead of her.   

Perhaps the biggest shocker of the entire qualification round is that Romania had a serious meltdown and did not qualify to the Olympics.  Top Eight qualify and Romania placed 13th.  When you think of gymnastics you think of Romania.  I cannot imagine any team final without Romania let alone an Olympics.  I heard that Nadia Comaneci said, "I am sick to my stomach."  Brazil also did not qualify for their own Olympics placing 9th.  There will be another opportunity to qualify at the Olympic Test event in Rio next year so they better get it together or else they will be out.

I can't remember a competition ever, where girls from the US competed for another country.  Alaina Kwan and Kylie Dickson did not qualify to Nationals and therefore were not in the mix to make the World Team so they decided to compete with a different country.  They staged a temporary defection to Belarus for the opportunity to compete internationally.  They finished 73rd and 74th after qualifications and did not advance to the AA finals.

Team Finals
Another shocker was Russia not making the podium for top three and that Great Britain did.  Russia was 4th and Great Britain placed 3rd to win their first World Championship ever.  Team USA won as expected by a whopping five points.  They have won every World team title since 2011, plus the 2012 Olympics.  There was no World Championships during the Olympic year so this makes five years of Team USA World domination and maybe gymnasts from other countries are getting sick of it.  During 2013 Worlds Italy's Carlotta Ferlito was called out for racist comments about Simone Biles. This time Russia's star Viktoria Komova accused the USA of steroid use and claimed that Great Britain and China just got lucky on a Russian message board.  Russia's last team gold victory was 2010 Worlds and Komova was not part of that team.  They placed 2nd at the 2012 Olympics.  Russians only like gold, so I can see why she was a little bitter but it was a three up three scores count format and every single Russian girl fell off balance beam.  They probably hoped they could still hang onto bronze.  I've seen them reduced to tears over a bronze and remove the offending medal from their necks before they make it off the podium.  In contrast, Great Britain cried tears of joy.  The Netherlands qualified 8th making this the first time they have qualified a team since 1976.   Full results here.

USA Gymnastics: Oct. 29 - Women's All-Around Final &emdash; Gabrielle Douglas, Simone Biles and Larisa Iordache (ROU)

All Around Finals 
Those wily Russians and Romanians will not be denied medals at Worlds.  Larissa Iordache salvaged something of this World Championships for Romania by winning the Bronze medal in the All Around with a solid performance.  Gabby Douglas proved her comeback is real snagging the silver.  She had clean execution all around.  She is not my favorite, but her gymnastics is nice to look at.  Were it not for falls from two competitors she would not have medaled, but that is the thing about gymnastics.  You have to hit when it counts and Elsabeth Black (Canada) and Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland) did not do that.  Simone Biles put her hands on the beam saving a fall after her punch front and landed with two feet out of bounds on floor after a leap.  I wasn't worried because, it has been said that she could fall about 3 times and still win.  This time she won by just a little over a point, which is still a very big gap in gymnastics.  Her difficulty is insane.  The girl truly is unstoppable.  The rest of the World is just clamoring to catch up and they have less than a year to do it.  Full Results here.   

Event Finals 
Simone Biles qualified for three events, Gabby Douglas qualified for Bars and Maggie Nichols qualified for Floor.

There are so few who even qualify for vault because in order to do so you have to compete two vaults from two different families.  Simone Biles was the only US Gymnast to do this.  She placed third, while Russia got redemption with a Gold for Maria Paseka.  The silver went to Un Jong Hong from PRK.

USA Gymnastics: Oct. 31 - Event Finals Day 1 &emdash; The four uneven bars gold medalists

Bars was another wacky worlds event because there was a tie for gold.  Not a two way, not a three way, but a four way tie!  Fan Yilin (China), Viktoria Komova (Russia), Daria Spiridonova (Russia) and Madison Kocian (USA) all earned 15.366 in that order.  Gabby Douglas ended up with no medal in fifth with the second best score.  All four fit up top the podium.  There were four flag bearers, one for each medal, and three national anthems played one after the other in alphabetical order.  The FIG allows ties the USOC does not and I think that's a good thing because I hate tie breakers. It doesn't seem fair to withhold medals from athletes who technically earned it.

This event was shaky.  Half the qualifiers fell off, but Simone Biles came through again for the win and another Gold.  I was glad to see athletes from two countries who don't medal often win.  The silver went to a beautiful routine for Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands.  Her twin Lieke Wevers qualified to floor finals.  The bronze medal went Pauline Schaefer of Germany.

USA Gymnastics: Nov. 1 - Event Finals Day 2 &emdash; Maggie Nichols

This is getting redundant now, but in a really good way. Simone Biles won yet another gold and she is dominating gymnastic right now like no other.  She just hits and hits and hits.  That is what she does.  Russian Ksenia Afanaseva scooped up another gold for Russia.  I was most excited for Maggie Nichols who won Bronze.  She nailed every single event she competed on for Team USA and I am glad that she got to hit for herself and get an individual medal.  It was a great way for her to go out of her very first World Championships.  She needs to be on that team in Rio and I think that she has earned it more than anyone else.  Except Simone Biles.  Because Simone Biles.  You can't ever feel too bad about her beating you because she's just that hard to beat.After three World Championships she has amassed a total of fourteen World medals.  Ten out of fourteen are Gold.  All event final results here.

So that was Worlds.  I was fully immersed in gymnastics coverage for a week and I loved it.  Team Finals and All Around finals aired on NBC over the weekend, but I was so happy to be able to get see everything online.  USA Gymnastics posted playlists of all team USA events and entire meet coverage on You Tube so I got to watch everything!  The SSE Hydro Arena looks like a space ship.  All the gymnasts were introduced like rock stars to blaring music, strobe lights and fog with their image displayed on a huge screen while they stood on stage.  I could feel the energy just watching it online.

This competition set the state for Rio and I can't wait to see what happens next.  You are only as good as your last competition.  These athletes have less than a year of continuing to prove that they belong on the team.

Fierce Five Update 


Playing Dress Up

If today is any indication, Fall has finally arrived in San Diego.  Hold up, we hit 69, but didn't come close to that number on Halloween.  During the day it was in the 80's and 90's and after the sun dipped it was still in the 70's.  The heat has been testing even my limit, but I was glad so I wouldn't have to freeze my butt off that night.  I don't know how the sexy cops and the sexy nurses of the world survive in states that are actually cold.
Here we are on our throne
MJ booked us a room at the Hilton for the night.  Smart thinking.  We walked to a restaurant for a bite to eat before changing for the party.  The party was basically a pit stop where we were invited to drink for free before the club.  The streets of the Gaslamp were packed with people ready to party.  Adults are just as into Halloween as kids, if not more.  A lot of people dressed up at work.  Some people are so creative and half the fun is checking out all the costumes.  One of our friends was the Tinder app.  She made it herself.  It's not sold in stores so if that's what you want to be you have to get creative.  I am not one of those people.  I don't have a creative bone in my body so when we decided to play dress up for Halloween this year we went straight to the costume store.  We ended up at Buffalo Breath.

I always told myself that if I ever dress up for Halloween again that I would be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, but I think that ship has sailed.  I found one DCC costume online.  Two if you count the more modest grandmotherly version that came with a longish skirt.  I think it was from the 1950's.  Not an option.  It was booty shorts or bust, but it was such poor quality that I didn't even want to spend my money on it.  I suspect that even if I had found one I liked, I would probably have been too self-conscious to wear it anyway.  I saw one Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader that night and she looked really cute.  He chose his outfit first.  They had a female version, so I played copy cat, as he will gladly tell you even if you don't ask. 

The entire night was a delightful blur.  We ate tacos on the patio overlooking Petco Park.  I don't know what time we got to the party or what time we left.  I don't know how long we were at Blush or what time we left.  All I know is that I danced, laughed a lot and enjoyed playing dress up with my hot date.  I've never seen him in a dress before and I think he really pulled it off.  When we were getting ready to walk out the door, it dawned on him that he had no pockets.  Welcome to my world.  According to MJ we were out until 1:30am.  I believe it.  We stopped for breakfast on the way home on Sunday and I was useless for the rest of the day.  Not a dish or single item of laundry was washed for the entire weekend.  I think that's a first. 

We've been together for seven years and this is the first time either one of us have dressed up for Halloween.  I can't even really remember the last time I did it.  Maybe I was in college? Maybe I was a Devil?  But not a sexy one. 


Men and Their Caves

I've only seen one man request a zen room, but plenty who want a game room, a gym, or a movie room.  Those I get.  A room with a purpose.  But what is the deal with men and their man caves?  Every other House Hunters features a man who wants a space of his own where he can relax and escape. What exactly is it that these men need escaping from? From the nagging wife with her honey do list that keeps the household running?  Do I talk too much?  Probably.  The way I see it if anyone needs an escape it's probably us and double that if kids are in the mix, so I am perplexed that the whole Woman Cave thing hasn't taken off.  Oh, I know why.  It's not really an option.

"That poor woman,"  I'd think to myself.  Her husband is so desperate to get away that he needed a whole room, preferably the basement or any room furthest away from the rest of the household dedicated to getting away from every other member in the household.  I'm glad my husband doesn't need a man cave.

Around Christmas time last year I was fishing around for gifts for the husband when out of the blue he sent me a link to his Amazon wish list.  Perfect.  This will certainly make things easier.  Then I saw the list.  Buffalo Bills clock, Buffalo Bills blanket, Buffalo Bills Fathead.  A Fat Head?  Aren't those giant decals that you stick on the wall.  A gigantic red bean bag.  What in the world is going on?   I was so confused.  What was does he want with this stuff and where does he think he is putting it all?  He didn't say anything so I brought it up.

"Uh, I got your Amazon wish list.  I don't get it."
"It's for my man cave," he responded matter of factly as if I was supposed to know.
"What man cave?  You don't have a man cave."
"I'm getting one." 

Oh really.  I thought.  We hadn't discussed this.  And why the heck does my husband need his own room?  He says he wants his own space to play his video games, decorate the way he wants and keep messy without me being able to say anything about it.  Okay.  I get it.  There was some hypothetical discussion about how we could get rid of my desk and futon; both of which I have sentimental attachments to.  We negotiated.  Hypothetically speaking, the desk could go in the other room but the futon would have to stay.  And just like that I had consented to a man cave and there was no stopping it from there so I went ahead and got him the Buffalo Bills clock for Christmas.

How can I say no when we have two extra rooms that rarely get used?  I mean, it's not like I pay the mortgage by myself or anything.  We pay for all the square footage together so if he wants to start utilizing it more than we already are and it makes him happy to have his own space I'm not going to stand in his way. 

We don't have basements in California so men here have to be content with an extra room.  He happily took down my blue clock with the brushed nickel rim that I got from Ikea in favor of his sports themed clock.   My pretty clock found a home next door along with the desk.  He was none too happy when he realized that in exchange for the desk he would now have to take on the Ikea cubes but hey, this is how marriage and man caves work.  Compromise.

The man cave was taking shape and it was all good, until the sign showed up.  Man Cave Rules. Really, I have no problem with the sign.  His room his rules and all that, but I didn't expect him to put it OUTSIDE the door.  I protested but lost that battle.  "It's already up," he said curtly and I decided to let it go.  For now anyway.

I had reservations at first, but now it seems like a win-win for everyone.  The loft area has turned into our home gym area and is always available for use.  He gets to plop down in a jumbo sized bean bag and game for however long he wants without me watching him do it.

That room had became the dumping ground for his stuff has an actual use now.  He rarely went in there, yet somehow it was always messy and now that it's his man cave it's still messy but at least we are making use of our square footage.  When it was a guest room the mess annoyed me but now that it's the man cave I couldn't care less.  It is one less room I have to concern myself with.  I'll still clean the blinds but I won't be vacuuming because there is usually too much junk on the floor and that's exactly how he wants it.  Turns out, I kind of like the mess.  A mess anywhere else drives me insane, but in the man cave there is something very soothing about sitting in the midst of chaos.  Deep down inside I want to be that messy person because I have this theory that life would be so much easier if I didn't care.  It's not my mess or my space AND I'm not responsible for it so I'm at peace with the mess which is a state of being I can't achieve anywhere else in my house.  That gigantic bean bag is actually pretty awesome.  I kind of want to get another one.  I sneak in there every now and then and flop down on it just for fun.

Almost a year later the room is still very much a work in progress.  He says he can't decide what he wants do, but he can take as long as he wants.  He's not getting a honey do list from me.


We Love a Good Haunted House

I didn't get a chance to google this place before MJ bought the tickets.  He surprised me with this outing, and it's a good thing because I might not have agreed to go.  I claim I want to be scared, because I really really do, but when it comes down to it I don't want to be that scared.  I don't want to get dirty, I don't want to be pushed around, I cannot tolerate bugs or slimy disgusting things.  I don't want to be crying and curled up in a fetal position scared.  Just regular Halloween fun and maybe just a little, extra scared.

The 17th Door, Tustin fit the bill pretty well, with the exception of one room that I was dreading when I finally did get around to reading the reviews in the car on the way up there.  Once you buy tickets you are slotted into a specific hour in which you are supposed to arrive and groups of up to ten are sent in.  Most of the rooms are fairly small, so you really can't have more than that.  After signing our waiver we were ushered in pretty quickly.  We started out in a creepy classroom unlike any I remember from college.  A really mean teacher barked at us to sit down and I realized I haven't sat in one of those all in one chairs with the desk attached in a long time.  We were instructed to turn in our assignments; which in this case was our signed waivers.  A rouge student barged in gun blazing.  Shots were fired, and then we were sent into our next room.

Photo Source
Oh how I wish there was a Haunted House to visit with crooked shutters, creaky stairs, and dark hallways, and no spider webs that looks just like the one in this spooky picture.

Most of the rooms in 17th Door have a small, dark, cramped hallway/foyer area.  There, we waited until the red light above the door turned green to signal that we should enter.  The group we were with didn't want to go first, so MJ and I ended up at the front for most of the tour.  Each room has a different theme.  I was always scared to open the door, because you never know what's waiting for you inside.  The first thing I did every time was look all around me because there are monsters jumping and grabbing at you the entire time.  I wanted to see them first if I could.  One room was set up like a large walk in refrigerator/butcher shop with carcasses hanging from the ceiling by chains.  I was able to dodge every single one without them touching me.  When the lights came on MJ had a pig head in his hands.  He says he doesn't know where it came from.

The journey follows hopeful and excited college freshman Paula.  Violent and/or disturbing scenes are portrayed by live actors to tell the story of her downward spiral into depression, drugs and eating disorders.  Sometimes it is hot, sometimes it is cold, but each room is definitely creepier than the next. It is always dark and sometimes it is pitch black.  Total darkness.  I hung onto MJ's arm a lot and tried to disappear into his chest, but it never worked.  And twice, I had to go alone into complete darkness.  A dark closet with no handle and no lock and a long dark hallway.  My go to was to shut my eyes tight, and scream at the top of my lungs.  I couldn't see.  I couldn't hear.  Somehow that helped.  It's very clear that I would be dead in two seconds on The Walking Dead.   

I didn't find out about the roaches until it was too late and when I saw the door with a giant lit up roach over it my heart dropped.  Here it comes.  Yes, they are real roaches.  Dried and dead.  The room was full of them.  There was a demented doctor with a lab coat holding a tray of them and I was so terrified that I ran to the back of the group (and away from MJ) to get away from him and then really freaked out when the lights went out and I had no one to hang onto to.  It was pitch black.  I didn't know where the guy with the roach tray was and then we were being pelted with mysterious objects that felt like roaches.  I kept asking MJ to check my shirt, because it felt like I was crawling with them.  That was the absolute worst part.  The safe word is Mercy.  If you yell that at any time they have to let you out.  Had the roaches been alive I would have yelled "Mercy" in half a second and that would have been the end of it.

In all, there are 17 doors and it takes about 30 minutes to get through all of them.  It didn't go by quick at all.  It was a warm night, but I think the roach room did me in.  I was hot and sweaty when we left.  I just really wanted to shower and to get out of those haunted clothes.

The actors were good and the sets were very detailed and well done.  Pig people are creepy, but I think they overused that theme just a little bit.  Towards the end it was starting to get predictable that a Pig headed person was going to jump out at you, but it didn't stop me from screaming every time.  It was scary, but it's almost more disturbing than anything else.  The waiver explicitly states that it can be "triggering" so you can't say you didn't know.  Part of me wishes it were a little bit scarier.  There was a moment where I thought-was that it?  But really, it was just enough.  There are more hard core haunted houses in LA that we could try, but those probably take it further than I'm willing to go.  I love horror movies and in my head I think I'm this bad ass who wants to be really scared and can handle anything, but I'm really not.

Overall, it was really fun.  I could have done without the roaches, but other than that it was doable and we had a really good time.  We have The Haunted Hotel in San Diego.  We've also done the Haunted Trail in Balboa Park and we'll probably go back, but it was fun to try something new.  We went to dinner before, made it a fun date night and it was worth the drive.

 We don't do pumpkins, and I haven't dressed up in years, but we love a good haunted house.