Thursday, January 20, 2011

30 Things I'm Looking Forward to in the States

With our departure being only 1 week away, I was thinking about things we're excited about that we can't really have or get here.  It's a totally vain list (sadly mostly food items are on it), but I hope it shows just some of the small differences between Russia and the US.  And don't worry-- next up will be 30 things I'm going to miss about Moscow.

So here it goes-- some things I can't wait to get back to in the US:

  1. Chick-Fil-A (this one is probably a no-brainer)
  2. Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  3. Free Refills
  4. Pedestrians having the right-of-way
  5. Free condiments at fast food joints
  6. Being able to hold random conversations with people in lines at grocery stores
  7. Cheez-its
  8. Being able to eavesdrop
  9. Mellow Mushroom
  10. Driving
  11. Reese's Pieces
  12. Coupons and bargain shopping
  13. Root Beer
  14. Ginger Ale
  15. Dr. Pepper (Although you can buy this here, it's just much much more expensive and rare)
  16. Peanut Butter (You can also buy this here, but it is also more expensive)
  17. Free plastic bags at grocery stores
  18. Cashiers not getting frustrated if you don't have the correct amount of change
  19. Zaxby's
  20. Being able to smile in public
  21. Thrift stores
  22. Air conditioning
  23. Triscuits
  24. Barbeque sauce (more specifically:  Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce)
  25. Hulu
  26. Netflix
  27. Ordering things online
  28. Traffic laws (or the relative obedience of them)
  29. Urinating in public is frowned upon
  30. A lengthy Autumn (at least as far as Georgia is concerned)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Favorite Movies of 2010

This is probably the least informed list of the year.  You'll be able to tell that by part of the selection I'm sure.  It's tougher to catch newer movies here in Moscow.

10.  Date Night

While the plot was problematic, I just love the chemistry and power that Steve Carell and Tina Fey possess together.

9.  Shutter Island

This film did an incredible job at bringing DiCaprio's confusion to life.

8.  How To Train Your Dragon

I was completely surprised at how good this movie was.  Totally didn't expect it.

7.  The Town

While I thought the big shootout at the end was slightly ridiculous, I really enjoyed the movie overall.  Great cast.  Affleck can really direct.

6.  127 Hours

James Franco and Danny Boyle both attracted me to this film and it didn't disappoint.

5.  Exit Through the Gift Shop

I was completely surprised by this movie.  The first quarter or half of this film I had no clue where it was going, but the second half riveted me.  Incredible movie.  What Grizzly Man should have been.

4.  Black Swan

I've noticed many critics complain that this movie was about as subtle as a sledgehammer.  They're mostly right, but that really didn't bother me.  A powerful movie-- where much like Shutter Island, by the end you're struggling with the line between what's real and what's in her head.

3.  The Social Network

You can call this the biggest surprise of the list.  When I heard that this movie was being made I was dumbfounded, to be honest (looking back I'm not sure why).  I didn't expect this movie to be as good as it was.  The modern creation of Facebook is a perfect backdrop for very pre-modern themes:  tragedy, greed, betrayal,-- and especially-- the desire and need to belong and be loved.

2.  Toy Story 3

An animated "kids" movie that deals with death and (again) belonging.  Near perfection.  It's Pixar.

1.  Inception

Orignal and entertaining.  I'm still blown away by almost every aspect of this film.  It's definitely imperfect, but its creativity and fantastic performances in so many areas make this my favorite film of 2010.

Friday, January 7, 2011