Laughter & Maryment

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Location: Tampa, Florida, United States

A girl living in Tampa Bay for the last 11 years. I mostly fill my time with friends, creative hobbies like community theater and arts and crafts, movies and tv, and other random fun things to try.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eric's first birthday and random news

So little Eric's been out of the country since the day after his birthday party. I'd been dawdling about putting up the party photos, so here they are:

The little guy doesn't like getting his hands dirty, so the smash cake took some time for him to get into it. Great party, though, and a great way to spend Easter.

In other news, I'll be appearing in the play Shakespeare in Hollywood over in Plant City. Shows are on May 1, 2, 8, and 9 at 8pm. You can find more information on Plant City Entertainment's website.

Putting the show together in a full run last night was really fun. There have been people missing here and there throughout the week, but it'll be really good when we're all doing it together during hell week next week. As always, there are some kinks that need to be ironed out, but I'm sure we'll get there.

With Sherry and Eric in India and Mr. & Mrs. Fernandes in Maryland, Sid's hosting a party for the regular AppDevers this Saturday. It's planned as a fish fry, as he went fishing today. The whole group hasn't gotten together in a long while, so it's bound to be food and wii and probably poker. Savio'll be in town, too, so it'll be just like old times.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Driving the Monorail with Eliott & Marilyn

Ok, so I know I'm stealing all of Anne's photos, but she's a much more avid photographer than I am. She'll forgive me, I hope.

When Marilyn & Eliott came down to Florida in March, Aunt Cathy & I tag-teamed on the Disney thing. She took them the first day and I took them on the second day. After a quick round at Animal Kingdom, we met up with Anne. Took the monorail to EPCOT. We actually got there right at the precise time and were able to ride up front. The guy helped us take photos as if we were actually driving, etc. It was lots of fun. Anne & I had never done that before, either, and it was great to share the moment with two non-regulars. Here are her photos. Enjoy!

Now playing: AC/DC - Have a Drink on Me
via FoxyTunes

More Coral Castle Photos -- Stolen from Anne Jones

Now playing: Column MacOireachtaigh And The Irish Ceili Band - The Nightingale
via FoxyTunes

So from that trip two weeks ago -- here's more Coral Castle photos. These are from Anne's camera.

Friday, April 10, 2009

India Photos

Now playing: Beth Patterson - Ye Jacobites By Name
via FoxyTunes Here's a few photos from the India trip this past December/January. These are some from Savio's collection. I hadn't seen most of these before I started to go through some discs Savio gave me a while back. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book Review: Object of Virtue by Nicolas B. A. Nicholson

The mystery of a Faberge masterpiece set in New York, Moscow, Paris, and St. Petersburg. What could be more intriguing? It's easy for my friends and family to see why I picked up this book.

The book is Nicholas Nicholson's first, but he writes what he knows. He is an expert in Russian history and art and has worked for famous New York auction houses, much like his noble main character, Prince Alexander "Sasha" Ozerovsky. The novel begins in the fast-paced world of a New York auction house, where a fabulous, but previously unknown, Faberge figurine will be offered for sale. We find out that the piece once belonged to Ozerovsky's family, and so our hero goes in search of where the piece has been all these years. The journey takes us through multiple destinations and across many decades.

The author does not keep us always in the present time, but tells the story mainly in Sasha's point of view. The additions of scenes from the distant and not-so-distant past from the points of view of other characters added flavor and context to the mystery. The author is obviously in love with all of his destinations as he dwells on scenes about the towns. He also takes care to illustrate the contrast from the lives of the Russian nobility in exile in America with those of the New Russians of Moscow and the common people in St. Petersburg. His descriptions of the Faberge pieces often made me wish the book was illustrated.

Though the pace and plot are very full at the beginning, the author loses his way in the details in the third act. While hunting down the truth about Snegerochka -- the figurine in question -- Sasha and his creator get bogged down in descriptions of the Moscow scene rather than moving the story along. There are odd loose ends that never really go anywhere, but aren't filled out enough to be real red herrings. The ending is hurried and rather disappointing, leading the reader to wonder how we ever got so far.

Oh, and don't go into this book thinking you're going to get the typical mystery's quiet sideline romance either. All of the ladies in this book are either married or one of Sasha's cousins.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the book for the historical perspective, the social aspects of being an exiled person of nobility who is both Russian and American, and the long descriptions of Russian locales that I have visited myself. The plot itself was kind of weak and the ending was a major disappointment. Not something I would reread, but I might pick up something else by this author, if he wrote another. Decent for a fluffy book you don't plan to think about much.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

A weekend in South Florida

This past weekend Anne and I drove down to Miami to visit Sabrina and Savio. Savio's staying with her for the next few weeks, since he landed a contract position at Bacardi down in Miami. Sabrina had made a big secret of our planned activities for Saturday. First we went down to Homestead and saw the Coral Castle. It was all built by one man in the 1940's without any heavy machinery. He even made his own sun dial, though I was having trouble figuring out how to tell time by it. All of the stone was quarried either from the site or from some other property he had about about 10 miles away. Oh, and buy the way, this guy who did it was only 5 ft tall and weighed about 100 lbs.

Second stop was Schnebly's Winery down the road. They make wine only from local fruits (so no grapes). The tastings were cheap and the tour was pretty interesting. We had brought a picnic lunch, so we sat under a big tiki pavilion alongside some coral formations with fountains. It was a very pretty venue. Bought some wine, too. Our favorite, by far, was the Category 3 Hurricane -- really more of a sangria, as it was a mixture of their Lychee, Guava, and Carambola wines.

Third stop was the Richard Is Here fruit stand. All kinds of fruit. Picked up some chikus for the Fernandes'. I got some tender cocount water (they opened it with a drill instead of a machete), palmedo honey, and tamarind. We skipped on the milkshakes -- the line was wrapped around the stand. And they had live music! It was pretty cool.

Thanks again to Sabrina for planning all of that! It was a great visit.