10.27.2015

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.

10.21.2015

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.





10.13.2015

Movie Reviews and Quotes


This post is made up of a bunch of movies I watched over a six week period.  I no longer remember which six period because it has been sitting in my drafts for so long.  These movies may be old news by now, but I will not let this post go wasted any longer.  I have a thing for movies and words. Each movie had a quote that really spoke to me.  I watch a lot of movies and like doing reviews so I made a handy dandy graphic with my grading scale and have another movie review post not far behind, that has also been sitting in my drafts for a little too long.

Imitation Game
Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.
That quote left me breathless.  This movie was AMAZING.  It was so, so good.  The story was a different side of World War II that I had never seen before.  I love Kiera Knightly-and she was amazing as always.  The story line was captivating, triumphant, inspirational and sad all at once.  A must see. *5 STARS

About Time
We're all traveling through time together everyday of our lives. All we can do is our best to relish this remarkable ride.
All I have to say is that it was about time I saw this movie.  It was so good and totally different than what I expected.  For some reason I thought it was going to be about star crossed lovers who couldn't be together because one of them was a time traveler.  I probably had this move mixed up with something else because it was not about that at all.  Instead it was the story of a man who is a time traveler, and wants more than anything to find his one true love.  I love this guys family and if I'm being honest, I kind of love this guy.  I love the relationship he had with his family, the relationship he had with his wife and the kind of father that he became.  I kept waiting for something terrible to happen to create a plot twist, but it just wasn't that kind of movie.  It was genuine and funny.  It really was about time...and love. *5 STARS

Laggies
A lot of the math they're teaching you that they swear you'll use in your life, you won't.  You're never gonna need parabolas and you really, really don't need to know shapes that have more than eight fuckin' sides.  You can't keep putting aside what you want for some imaginary future.  You've got to suck it up and go with your gut.
This was the story of a girl in her late twenties who refuses to grow up and randomly befriends a teenager outside of a liquor store one night.  I really like both lead actors, Kiera Knightly and Chloe Grace Moritz so I was drawn to this movie for that reason alone and they did not disappoint me.  I loved watching the relationship between unlikely friends grow.  All the characters were so chill.  I liked them all.  Definitely a good one to watch. *5 STARS

Skeleton Twins 
The rest of us are just walking around trying not to be disappointed with the way that our lives turned out.
I love Kristen Wiig as an actress and I usually love the characters that she plays because they are so flawed, endearing and real.  This movie was kind of morbid because it addresses suicide which may turn some people off but not me. I'm a ravenous movie watcher and not one to avoid a movie based on subject matter.  If it looks good, I'm going to watch it and even if I find out it sucks there is a good chance I'll finish watching it anyway.  This movie was mainly about the complicated relationship between two siblings and how it grew and changed over time. *4 STARS

Wild
My mother used to say something that drove me nuts. There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.
This was based on the true story of a woman in the midst of sabotaging her life after losing her mother.  She decides to set off alone to hike the Pacific Crest Trail which runs from the Mexico Border all the way up to Canada and typically takes about 3 months.  Crazy!  I'm way too chicken and hate being dirty way too much to do this, but it was interesting to watch the story of someone else with the guts to do it.  Alone no less.  Reese Witherspoon went au natural for the filming.  No make up, no deodorant and no razors.  She still looked good and I really liked her in this movie.  *4 STARS

Adult World
Not everybody can grow up to be Beyonce or the President.  Not everybody's talented okay? And fame doesn't meat shit.
A recent college graduate who wants to be a writer, tried to figure out what to do with her life.  I liked it.  I like Emma Roberts and I have liked John Cusack since The Sure Thing so that was the draw for me.  Not the most captivating, but good.  I don't regret spending the time watching it.
*3 STARS

Cake (Netflix Streaming)
Tell me a story where everything works out in the end for the evil witch.
A woman dealing with chronic pain investigates the suicide of a member of her support group.  I have never seen Jennifer Anniston look so rough.  She usually plays an it girl glossy character so it was interesting to see her in this role and nice to see that she has range as an actor and can do more than Rom Com's or comedy.  The movie takes its time answering a lot of the questions that you inevitably have as you watch which, keeps it interesting. *4 STARS

Endless Love
My first love was everything all at once  The kind that you never fall back from never try to never want to. A love so big so strong it never dies, never fades,  never loses it's electricity.  The kind of love you fight for.  The kind of boy you fight for.
First of all the Gabriella Wild who plays the lead character Jade Butterfield is gorgeous, and a really good actress.  I've not seen her in anything else and can only wonder why she isn't getting more work.  Her IMBD only has eight credits, none of which are anything I've really heard of.  I am a sucker for true love and romance so I loved this movie.  I loved how new intense young love was shown in contrast to her parent's lackluster and fading marriage. *4 STARS

The Duff
Yeah, I'm somebody's Duff, but guess what so are you, so is everybody.  There's always going to be somebody prettier, or more  talented or richer than you.   That shouldn't affect how you see yourself...I wouldn't want to be anybody else and I realize now that none of this matters to me, but it does to you.  It's your dream, and I totally support that but just don't tear me down for not giving a shit about your labels because in the end they're meaningless.
Do you know what DUFF stands for?  It's not nice.  I was not aware of that acronym until I heard about this movie.  It's a formula that has been repeated a million times over but people like it and it's entertaining, so here it is again.  Nerdy girl seeks out make over to get the guy and all the cliche characters in between including the mean popular girl and the hot football hunk.  It was slightly different in that the girl was not a total loser outcast and the make over bit was not overly dramatized.  I love coming of age stories and I always root for the underdog so I was very happy with the ending.  *3 STARS

Magic in The Moonlight
This movie was good but kind of boring if that makes any sense whatsoever.  I was attracted to it because of Emma Stone and I liked the story but I can't really rave about it that much.  It was just okay.  There was a lot of dialogue which is fine for me, but the movie just felt a little flat for me.  I would say skip it. *1 STAR


10.05.2015

Oh Snap!! What I Think About Snapchat

About three months ago I went to a work conference out of town.  I was holed up in my hotel room and bored so I decided to download snapchat.  I posted my snapcode on Instagram and wrote that I was bored and alone in my hotel room trying to figure out #snapchat.  Don't ever search that hashtag on Instagram.  You can, but you should know that what will come up is a whole lot of porn.  I had never seen that side of Instagram before and I was horrified by all the X rated photos and videos that popped up.  I reported a few as inappropriate, before realizing how futile it was.  Instagram probably can't remove and/or shut down accounts as fast as these photos are posted.  New material popped up every second and then it became clear to me why I gained three new followers, plus a snap of a bare chested man laying down within minutes of my Instagram post.  Little did I know that "bored and alone in a hotel room" is an open invitation for snapchat shenanigans that I want no part in.  Lesson learned.

Snapchat may have started out as a sexual media app, but it's grown into much more than that over the last few years.  Even the old folks are getting involved now.  That would be me. 

What I Like
There is an anonymity and lack of permanence that encourages real life and not the curated life that a lot of people present on Instagram. 
  • Everything disappears after 24 hours.  When it first started it was only 10 seconds.  The ghost image for snapchat is totally appropriate and it is no wonder snapchat started out the way it did.  Friends can screenshot anything posted and save it to their phone, but there is still a disconnect between you and your picture that makes it different than any other social media app.  I am still only going to post things that I am comfortable offering up for public consumption, but the non permanent nature of posts means I put less thought into what I choose to share and don't have to consider if it is "worthy" of posting.  I'll post that goofy selfie that I might not post on Instagram.  There is no trail of posts over time so it won't live on my account forever and ever and all eternity.
  • Everything is real time.  There are a few filters, but you can't upload stock images or pre-prepped photo shopped pics through the app.  There are outside apps that allow you to upload photos from your phone albums, but I tested one out and it sucked.  Plus, it's really too much trouble.  It seems most people just upload as is.
  • It exists as an app only and does not live on the world wide web.  I wonder if that will change, but the internet is forever and it's nice to have a social media app with content that isn't.  I'm sure those snaps don't totally disappear.  They have to be somewhere.  Perhaps the cloud?  But it can't be googled and that's good enough for me.
There are no profiles on Snapchat for selling yourself or trying to appear cool.  There is no bio or place for a web link that provides any indication as to who you are or where you came from. A photo can be added that will sit inside your ghost and be visible when someone adds you as a friend.  If it's not someone you know outside of snapchat the only thing you know about anyone beyond their username or dancing head pic is what is provided in snaps. 
There is no gigantic long feed to scroll through.  There is a list of snaps to view and I can pick and choose what I want to view when I want to view it.

More video and less pictures.  I know that you can post video on Instagram, but a lot of people mainly stick to photos including myself.  I'm finding mostly video clips on Snapchat.  It's interesting to see a different aspect of people and their life in 3D.  I have been following Faith's blog for about 6 years.  After that long, you kind of feel like you know people even though you have never met them.  I hope it's not weird to say this, but it was really cool to hear her voice in a snap.  So that's what she sounds like! It is another way of getting to know people I only know online.

It is 100% consumption.  It's social, but it doesn't encourage being social if that makes any sense.  You view a snap and that's it.  There is nothing further to do.  No liking, no commenting, no favoriting, no sharing.  There is no obligation to interact which means less time spent and I don't have to like or worry about being liked.  

Viewing my own snaps is kind of fun.  We had a good time laying in bed at night looking back on our day together while we were vacationing in Sedona.  If I want to download that "story" and save it to my phone to look back on later or show my mom I can.    

There are no follower counts, stats, comments or likes trying to tell me what I am worth.  In this numbers driven online world it's actually kind of nice.  Each user has a score and it's not even clear what that actually means but it seems to be more about participation than popularity.  According to Snapchat Your Snapchat score is a special equation combining the number of Snaps you've sent and received, Stories you've posted, and other factors.  I can tell how many people view each snap, but beyond that I don't know exactly how many friends I have, unless I count them out on my friend list.  The snapchat score is not on display and only shows up on friends I follow if I tap the username.  I still haven't figured out why some snapchat scores show up and others won't.

I finally know what I look like throwing up a rainbow.  I've always wanted to know. Just kidding, but the new updates are pretty fun.

Snapchat Live and Discover are interesting.  I found the Paris Fashion week Live snaps really fascinating. 

My Snapcode // Username:  MahoganyDrive

What I don't like
It's not very intuitive.  When I first went into the app I was convinced you had to be born in the 90's to figure it out. There were things I couldn't figure out just by playing around with it. Why is there a camera when I open the app?  What am I supposed to do?  How do I find friends?  How do I get those fun filters?  It's so weird.  I experienced similar confusion when I first started using Facebook, but Snapchat is much worse and the support page isn't even that helpful.  I did outside googling to get started and I was still confused.  It is very cryptic, so do not feel stupid if you can't figure it out right away.  The home screen is a camera and is built around what snapchat is all about, and once I followed a few people and figured out that I was doing all there is to be doing it made more sense.  Then, the next step was getting a few followers so I wasn't just snapping myself into the universe for no reason.

You have to hold the button down for the duration of every video snap.  This can make recording awkward at times.

Finding people to friend is difficult.  If I want to add someone I have to know their username.  There is no search feature.  If I am one digit off I might be following someone else entirely.  Friends can also be added by taking a screen shot of a snapcode or scanning a snapcode using the snapchat camera, but I don't see them posted anywhere very often.  It hasn't reached Instagram or Facebook levels.  Not everyone is using it.  Maybe nobody wants to admit to using it.  

Unless you are a celebrity, well known personality or big-time blogger this also makes it difficult to get people to follow you.  Snapchat is an app only and does not live on the world wide web so I can't hyperlink it on my blog.  No one is going to stumble upon my profile.  People have to make the effort to seek out my username.  I do not have a lot of followers.

It uses a crap ton of data.  I found this out the hard way.  Two months in a row we burned through data at an alarming rate and had to pay an overage charge.  MJ had just looked into how much data we were using before he changed our plan and we weren't even coming close to our limit so we couldn't figure out what was going on.  I had a hunch, so I went to google and discovered that Snapchat is a serious data drain.  I did two setting fixes that should help.  In the Snapchat App itself I turned on travel mode, which apparently is a new feature.  This stops stories from loading and using data until I tap on it.  On my phone settings for snapchat I turned off background app refresh to prevent snaps from loading and cellular data.  This means that I cannot login, view or upload new snaps unless I am connected to WiFi.  This means less snapchat for me, because it's not worth going over on data.  Hopefully this fixes our usage problem.

It is also a battery power killer.  I think it drains the battery more than any other app on my phone. 

It's just another social media time suck that I really don't need.  This is a big one.  I am reluctant to become any more involved in social media than I already am so this is the only new social media thing I've tried since Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  I held out for a while, but I kept hearing about it and curiosity got the best of me.  The concept is no different then any other social media app.  A lot of looking at other people and a lot of look at me!  And for what?  I try to be aware of how much I'm spending on social media and refuse to let it get ridiculous.  I don't want to be that person who can't get their head out of their phone, because there are far too many things in life that are far more important than social media. Which really isn't that important at all.  

My husband thinks I'm weird for using snapchat, and sometimes I am slightly embarrassed that I am even interested.  What am I doing with my life?  Why do I participate in any of this social media madness?  Why do I care and what does that say about me as a person?  I haven't snapped much lately as I ponder these questions.  I'm nosy by nature and have always had an interest in peeking into other peoples lives.  It's why I originally became interested in reality TV, before it got all crazy, and just one reason why I was interested in blogs.  In my opinion Snapchat is better for that than Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. 

This post went on way longer than I intended and despite this wall of text I'm still not sure how I feel about it!  I think the word is ambivalent.  How do you feel about Snapchat.  Yeah or Nay?

What I think About Facebook

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