Category Archives: Jean AAR

AAR at the Movies: Catching Fire

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAzGXqJSDJ8[/youtube]

Friday night, my friend and I went to see the second instalment of Suzanne Collins’s massive smash hit trilogy, adapted for the screens. I wasn’t going to see it, honestly. I’d seen the first one, and there was something about seeing the physical and psychosocial trauma that hit me viscerally in a way that the books couldn’t translate. Yes, I knew it was fiction, and yes, I knew what happened anyway. But I found the experience quite frightening, to be honest.

But then the reviews for Catching Fire came out (mainly glowing, in a nutshell), and my curiosity got the better of me. I also had a free movie voucher, and I thought, well, I could save it for The Devastation of Smaug’s Cumberbatched Voice (aka The Hobbit part 2), or I could suck it up, be my age, and see Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone and Stanley Tucci do their thing. And you know what? I’m glad I did. Continue reading

AAR at the Movies: Iron Man 3

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke1Y3P9D0Bc[/youtube]

Lord above, at least it was better than “Iron Man 2″. Tony Stark goes out with a bang (at least from the movies, but not from the Avengers), Pepper Potts kicks some serious butt, a kid gets called a pussy, and Jean wonders why Brits and Aussies are better at American accents than Americans are at British ones. Not a total waste of time, but it left me with some ethical dilemmas. Continue reading

AAR at the Movies: Les Miserables

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuEFm84s4oI[/youtube]

I have been waiting, and waiting to see this, ever since I heard they were doing a movie of the musical. Les Mis is one of my favourite musicals of all time – I practically know it by heart. Then, of course, after I saw the killer trailer (above), I nearly wept with relief that they (probably) hadn’t screwed it up. What’s my verdict? Read on.

Continue reading

Cycling in the city

bike-fashionConfession: I’m completely lazy.  If I do something, it’s because I enjoy it, not because I feel I should or it’s good for me.  So when it comes to physical activity, I have to find something I like and enjoy, or else I won’t do it.

Considering how expensive public transit is getting in T.O., and considering I refuse to drive downtown, the most sensible decision that combines transport and fitness is cycling.  And I figure if it’s 2 hours round trip, that’s a pretty excellent fitness regime. In the month or so since I’ve gotten back into it, here are some random cycling notes:

  • It’s scary.  It’s soooooooooooo scary.  Toronto is not the most cycling friendly city in the world, and when you have to cross a 16-lane highway into the bargain, it just complicates things on a whole other level.
  • Scariest part of all?  The pedestrians.  And the other cyclers.   Continue reading

Man, I cried, and died, laughing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4[/youtube]

I know I’m one year late, but I just discovered this video this summer.  Yes, I know it’s highly probable the original eHarmony video is a hoax, but it’s frickin’ hilarious anyway.  After watching this several times (my colleagues this summer were really into it), some things came to mind:

  1. The actual cat footage is super adorable, and genius.
  2. I don’t think I’ll listen to another radio hit without wondering if it has been Songified.  That app is scary good.
  3. Someone has too much time on their hands.  And for that, thanks for some laughs.

– Jean AAR

Watching the Olympics. A lot.

london-2012-olympic-cauldron-thomas-heatherwick_10Okay, so I was wrong.  When I first thought about the Olympics, I imagined I’d catch some gymnastics, some tennis, and some diving.  And that’s it.  Well, that was before I discovered that not only is CTV streaming events live over the internet – they have about 20 live feeds going.  Simultaneously.  Which has kind of played havoc with my life, but just after the midway point, what a fantastic Games so far.  Here are some bits and bobs from the first 9 days:

  • Opening Ceremony: Rowan Atkinson popping up in “Chariots of Fire” was bloody fantastic.  But the design of the Olympic cauldron (and choosing young athletes to light it instead of some old codger), with individual petals representing each country, to be lit in a spiral fire that eventually  rose to one glorious flame, was mind-blowing.  Hands down, the most creative, innovative, and beautiful cauldron I’ve seen yet. Continue reading

London 2012

london-2012

We recently put the axe to our cable subscription, thereby saving $500 a year, and one of the questions the cable agent nagged about was didn’t I want to watch the Olympics, at least, and delay the cancellation by a month.  Well, no.  Not really.  But if, as we’ve experienced, there’s a delay in the service actually stopping, then I might actually tune in.  For the tennis, and Clara Hughes.

The Summer Games are supposed to be the big ones, the official ones, where we crown fastest man on the planet, and the traditional Greek Olympian field athletics legacies.  Shot put!  Javelin!  High jump!  Don’t you remember the days in the sand pit?  But me, I was always into spectator sports, and not into athletics. I didn’t care about soccer, really, or baseball, and while I liked gymnastics, it got a bit routine for me.  Ice skating, now, was fun.  It was drama.  And hockey was just the best.  So the winter Olympics became a priority in my mind, while the summer games slipped by. Continue reading

Phew. Glad that’s over – for now.

a.aaa-too-hot-outsideFor the first time in weeks, I’m going to wear pants today.  Last night the cold front moved in, I opened the windows, and relished the feeling of being naturally coooooool.

The past two weeks’ heat wave has set records in Toronto, and probably elsewhere in North America.  I know I’m lucky to have a) air conditioning, and even if I didn’t I have b) a brick house, which is much better at staying cool.  But still, it was pretty disgusting whenever I stepped outside.

I stayed cool the way most people did.  Staying in air conditioned areas.  Drinking lots of water.  Not eating heavy meals (I more or less subsisted on lettuce, and was fine).  Wearing a hat and sunblock.  But beyond the mundane details, a part of me has started to worry.  Is it only going to get worse from here? Continue reading

AAR at the Movies: Brave

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4EZULqhP2E&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

My love for Pixar movies has built very gradually – I was a relatively late bloomer, since the early ones didn’t impress my socks off.  But “The Incredibles” was a revelation, and ever since the new Pixar movie in June has become a must-see.  (I made an exception for “Cars 2″ – I’m not paying any kind of money for that.)  So when “Brave” came out this weekend, I made a beeline for Cineplex.  All in all, I’m not disappointed, but I’d definitely consider this one of the “lesser” Pixars.  I’m still waiting for Brad Bird to come back. Continue reading

AAR at the Movies: The Intouchables

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olhg1suvE60[/youtube]

This weekend, I saw “The Intouchables”, a movie that has, perhaps inexplicably, become France’s #2 grossing film of all time, and that finally landed in North American theatres this week.  I loved it, and I also think it’s a good film.  But I can also see why American critics have been alternately scoffing, miffed, grudging, and downright appalled. Continue reading