Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Huntington Gardens - tea and grounds

Last year, a friend took me to the Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library as a birthday gift. We ended up going in late February, on what turned turned out to be a bit of a rainy day, but we had a good time anyway. We wanted to go back on another day when it wasn't raining but we never got a chance to do that. They also offer a Tea and Tour combination package which sounds interesting, so I may do that sometime.

The following is a photo tour of our visit.

The scones that were brought to our table after we were seated.

The beautiful decor of the room we were in. There are two dining rooms.

More of the decor and the tea setup. The sandwiches and such are set up as a self-service buffet.

The condiments for our scones.

The lovely view from our table.

A sampling of what's offered at tea.

This is just a random picture that I took by accident, but I like it, so I'm posting it.


The room has filled up since we arrived.

There was a choice of several teas offered, and our server was very good about keeping our teapot full, which we very much appreciated. It was a lovely tea all around.

After tea, we decided to walk around the gardens, even though it was raining, harder sometimes than others. There was very much to see, so we chose a few places that we were specifically interested in.

Japanese Garden - I've always loved Japanese gardens, so this was our first destination. I was not disappointed.

Chinese Garden - My friend mentioned that the Chinese Garden section was relatively new, so we headed over to take a look there. We walked around for a bit, enjoying the beautiful sights, and then we spent a little time in the covered area, just looking out at the rain and chatting. A very nice way to spend an afternoon. The last picture is the view we had while chatting out of the rain.

There is much more to the Huntington Gardens than just the two areas. I'm hoping to go back at some point to see more of the grounds.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

82nd Academy Awards winners and show

Let's do the time warp ... again......

OK, not really. This isn't about "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". But I was doing some cleaning up and realized that there are a number of blog posts that I drafted and was very close to finishing but never did so never posted them. And they're kinda old but still worth posting, I think. Like this one, which is about the Oscars from last year. (Hey, I didn't have enough in my draft regarding the Super Bowl game/ads from last year, so I just deleted that. You're welcome.)


First, the awards.

Best Picture
The Hurt Locker

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Mo'Nique, Precious

Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal

Best Adapted Screenplay
Precious, screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

Best Animated Feature Film

Best Score
Michael Giacchino, Up

Best Original Song
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)", Crazy Heart, Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone

Best Film Editing
The Hurt Locker

Best Art Direction

Best Cinematography

Best Costume Design
The Young Victoria

Best Makeup
Star Trek

Best Visual Effects

Best Sound Editing
The Hurt Locker

Best Sound Mixing
The Hurt Locker

"The Hurt Locker" ended up with a total of 6 awards, and "Avatar" received 4 awards. "Crazy Heart", "Precious" and "Up" all received 2 awards.

I am decidedly not happy about the increase of nominees from 5 to 10 in the Best Picture category. Sure, it means additional films get nominated, but for me, it dilutes the category. 1943 was the last time there were 10 nominees in the Best Picture category. I want to know which films were in the top 5, the ones who would have still received the nomination had they not expanded the nominee list.

Random comments about the show:

Kathy Ireland - She had really weird hair.

Maggie Gyllenhall - Very pretty blue dress.

Sandra Bullock - Her dress was pretty but her hair and makeup were kinda weird.

Helen Mirren - She had a beautiful dress and looked great.

Sarah Jessica Parker - Weird dress

Cameron Diaz - Pretty dress

Miley Cyrus - The bodice of her dressed looked like an undergarment, and she was standing hunched over.

Kate Winslet - Beautiful, classic look.

John Hughes tribute - Liked it and that it included Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick and the kids.

Zoe Saldana - She had a weird train on her dress.

Queen Latifah - She had a pretty dress - sparkles!

Charlize Theron - What was with the bodice of her dress?

Michelle Pfeiffer - Beautiful dress

tributes to Best Actor and Best Actress nominees by co-stars - Better than last year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 movie year

Here's the annual tally of movies I saw the previous year.

new films - 43

"It's Complicated"
"Avatar" (3D)
"The Book of Eli"
"Extraordinary Measures"
"An Education"
"The Young Victoria"
"Crazy Heart"
"A Single Man"
"Alice in Wonderland" (Tim Burton/Johnny Depp) (3D)
"Hot Tub Time Machine"
"Waking Sleeping Beauty"
"How to Train Your Dragon" (2D)
"Clash of the Titans" (3D)
"The Secret of Kells"
"Iron Man 2"
"Letters to Juliet"
"Prince of Persia"
"The A-Team"
"The Karate Kid" (2010 version)
"Toy Story 3"
"Despicable Me"
"The Kids Are All Right"
"The Expendables"
"Never Let Me Go"
"Easy A"
"Due Date"
"Morning Glory"
"TRON: Legacy"
"Black Swan"
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (3D)
"True Grit" (2010 version)

reissued films - 6 - I'd not seen "American Graffiti" before, so this was my first time seeing the film.

"Fantasia 2000"
"American Graffiti"
"Toy Story"
"Toy Story 2"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Back to the Future"

43 new movies last year is significantly up from the 34 I saw in 2009.

Random notes:

I loved, loved, LOVED "Alice in Wonderland", pretty much everything about it.

I loved "How to Train Your Dragon", even though it was a Dreamworks release and I normally don't like their animation style, but this one was different. It's a very strong contender for Best Animated Feature this year.

Yes, you've heard it in many other places, but seriously, "Inception" was mind-blowing good.

"The Expendables" was just a boatload of fun.

It was a good year for arthouse movies - "Chloe", "The Kids Are Allright", "Never Let Me Go" and "Black Swan". Lots of lesbianism sex and nudity as well, I'm also realizing.

There were two duds in the bunch - "Due Date" (even though RDJ was in it) and "Skyline".

"Burlesque" has apparently gotten lots of bad reviews, but I loved it - the singing, the dancing, even the acting. And hey, Stanley Tucci was in it, and that's always a good thing.

Here's my movie wrapup post from 2008 and here's the wrapup of 2009 movies.