26 May 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I absolutely loved this book! Audrey wrote in such beautiful language, and she potrayed the story in a well-done and very creative manner. She developed the chemistry between older Henry and young Clare in a quite acceptable manner, and she really demonstrated the emotions the two experienced during those earlier (for Clare, anyway) meetings. It took me a few chapters to realize that the story was being told in accordance with Clare's timeline, and I had to adjust to the unconventional timeline of Henry, in general, but it was very easy to get used to. I enjoyed how the tale was told through Clare and Henry's perspectives in accordance with their age and level of maturity. This was a book I never wanted to put down. I continually craved to know what happened to Clare and Henry. The story really pulled you in as a reader; like the characters, you, too, were wrenched emotionally. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but it was consistent with the story, and I can’t dream up any other ending, so, eh. I will say that when I closed the book upon finishing the last page, I smiled and thought, “what a wonderful story.”

Wikipedia Article
IMDB Article
Audrey's Website


25 May 2009

A Few Pictures

sporting the super cute jewelry that Toni gave me

a night downtown - I shortened my bangs!

I am so proud of my parents. They are standing the test of time. Mom and Dad have been married for 25 years as of the 19th of May. To celebrate the occasion they took a big trip out to the Grand Canyon. They've been having an amazing time out there!

the Grand Canyon, photograph taken by my Daddy

my favorite shot of my Momma at the Grand Canyon


16 May 2009

Priscilla Ahn

I picked up a few CDs at the library this week and stumbled upon a gem: Priscilla Ahn's "A Good Day." I'm obsessed with the "A Good Day (The Morning Song)" tune. A lovely voice, almost whimsical background music effects, sweet lyrics. Her music reminds me of a cross between Frou Frou and a really laid back Michelle Branch with a Hawaiian touch.

I'm heading to Borders to make use of a fabulous 25% off coupon I received! I'm going to buy "Last Light" by Terri Blackstock as recommended by Tiffany. = )


14 May 2009


After a few weeks of uber hot weather (warmer than usual for this time of year), the wet season has begun. I was bummed when my sand volleyball game and practice were canceled this week. Hopefully they don't get rained out again next week!

Mom sent me the photo below. Don't my parents look fantastic?!

Mom, Dad and I after the Indianapolis Mini 500 Half-Marathon

Mom also sent me the photo below of my brother taking care of prom business. Isn't he a stud?!

Sam trying out his prom suit

25 May is the next OCC meeting. I'm excited because Bill Fortney is the guest speaker. I checked out his website and found that he has some amazing work! He also has some good quotes posted throughout his website. Here's one that stuck out to me:

good advice from photographer Bill Fortney's website

I'm in love with The Time Traveler's Wife!!! I can feel that it's going to wind up as one of my very favorite books!

Training at worked concluded today. Turns out that I got a pretty darned good SE education at Purdue during my freshmen and sophomore years. Yay! Who knew I'd wind up using my IS knowledge when I went with the NET side of the house?

After work I went to the gym for a 3 mile run and 25 minutes of cycling. After that I picked up tickets for Tiffany and I to see Angels & Demons tomorrow night. I'm a little nervous about seeing the film because of my recent revelation in my Faith... as far as books and movies go, though, it's probably going to be very good. The book, regardless of my beliefs, was done extremely well and remains a favorite (at least until I reread it, if ever with my huge list of books I want to read for the first time). Anyway, I'm excited to hang out with Tiffany tomorrow.

Saturday I'm running at Baldwin Park with Brandie. I'm hoping to put in 7.5 miles. We'll see. No set plans for Saturday night yet.


13 May 2009

1984 by George Orwell

Meet George Orwell:

George is the founder of the term/concept of "Big Brother," that someone (the government) is always watching you. In addition to 1984, George wrote Animal Farm, a satirical novel.

I read this after having read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. As it turns out, I favor Brave New World over 1984, though both were excellent. 1984 was much more depressing overall. And both authors have been all too prophetic in their messages/warnings, which is scary.

The most irking aspect of 1984 for me, the part that hit home the hardest, was (is) how society was working so hard to develop machines to be as human as possible and how humans were becoming automatons. We can already see this happening in our daily lives.

1984 was interesting in its use of the language recession. The brainwashing implemented by the Party and Big Brother is quite terrible. I don't quite know what to make of the ending. It was just depressing, really... But, a great book that everyone should read.

Both were sobering novels, both were great reads, and both are coming true. Well. We've been warned.


Indiana Visit

It was so wonderful to see my family! I missed them SO much! Dad picked me up from the airport, so we caught up on the ride home. He was happy to hear that I'd been getting involved with the OCC. That night I survived the barrage of questions fired by my folks (mostly Mom, hehe) about how life was going for me down in Orlando. I assured them that all was well, and we called it a night. Cali is still her rambunctious self, and Creasy has a new hair-do which, as everyone agrees, suits him better.

Friday I slept in, which was unintentional but awesome. I got my hair cut for 50% of the price (yippie!), picked up movie tickets for the group for X-Men, and stopped by the mall and picked up a cool grey and cream striped scarf. It reminded me of Australia.

After being rowdy with Chucky and leaving Dad a hilarious voicemail, haha, Mom, Dad, Chucky & I went to dinner at Fazoli's to load up on carbs for the big race the next morning. I actually drank half a cup of Cherry Coke. I dunno why. After dinner we went to the movies.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was an action-packed movie! Of the comic book films, X-Men is my favorite, so, naturally, I really enjoyed the flick. Hugh Jackman is a favorite actor of mine, which promoted me to enjoy the film that much more. The story line was pretty decent, and I liked learning about the story behind Wolverine. I didn't care too much for Ryan Reynold's character, but whatever. The film was still quite entertaining.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Saturday was the Indianapolis Mini 500 half-marathon; see the post devoted to that event. That evening I headed up to Purdue after soaking in the hot tub and napping a bit - I miss the hot tub!

I had a great visit at Purdue. The most overwhelming feeling was the nostalgia of the last 4.5 years of my life. It was really really strange at times. Part of it is due to the fact that the most recent and best year of my stay at Purdue involved Adam, and we're not the same anymore, so when I was at Purdue it was as if part of it was missing. But upon digging back into the years, back to the days of Earhart and parties at Roy's and Jason/Jared/Josh's, and movie nights at Steve's and the Triathlon Club and NROTC and - I enjoyed remembering my whole Purdue experience. But it was still so bizarre being back as a graduate, haha.

Anyway, I met up for dinner at NIBS with Feras, Alex, Devin, the Sees, Pratt, Roy and Jordan. We had a great time catching up and having a few drinks, then we headed to Brother's for a few more rounds. Being at Brother's reminded me of some good times at Breakfast Club. Afterwards a few of us hit The Hookah, which was definitely not the same, but enjoyed nonetheless. The next day I had lunch with Toni; it was great to catch up with her! We talked about this that and the other, and she gave me a parting gift of a beautiful hand-made necklace! After lunch I met up with Jordan to catch up with him one-on-one before we headed out of Purdue Country. Man, how I'd missed him! I hope he visits me soon here in Orlando!

Jordan and I outside of Grey House

After meeting up with Jordan, I had to make a stop at Von's Bookstore. It's one of my favorite bookstores. I ended up picking up a book recommended to me by a dear friend, Inga. I've heard great things about the book and am currently being blown away while only 1 chapter into the novel.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar

When I got back to Anderson it was time for the cookout at Grandma & Grandpa's for Mom's birthday celebration. The food was spot on, the company couldn't be beat, and Sam even kicked off the Birthday Song - a priceless memory! = P Mom liked her gift, a cute jewelry rack, and we all enjoyed had a nice evening. Here are some photos:

Mom and I reaching for a hug

Grandma, Grandpa & I

my two baby brothers and I just before I hopped in the hot tub that night


OCC Architecture Tour

Saturday I went downtown with the Orlando Camera Club for some photography "phun!" The main goal was to gain some experience in some architecture photography, but we were free to steer away into nature, etc. - whatever tickled our fancy. I met some nice folks in the club who were also out. I think I may be investing in a tripod soon... Anyway, here are some photos from the day. Nothing super impressive, but these are my favorites. Feel free to provide any comments on the photos!

There was a really gorgeous rust-colored wall with an old floor area beside it that had a lot of character. It's a really simple shot, but I like the contrast of the rich wall and the broken-up ground.

This is the area below a window of a little Italian pizza shop. I wish I had a tripod so it would have been perfectly even, but oh, well. another simple shot. I just like the colors in the panes.

A really pretty statue against the blue sky. It reminds me of the snow sculpture i made a few years back, haha!

I like the rounds on these buildings.

I have this thing for trees. I loved the bark on this one and the washed out/blurriness of the leaves above. the bit of trees at the bottom need cropped, though.

A band of buildings downtown, shot from across Lake Eola. The sunrise wasn't spectacular, but the light it added was nice.

Another shot from across Lake Eola, including the fountain and more of the skyline. I like the reflection of the buildings off the lake.

I really like this photo, even with the leaves on the bricks. I like the curvature of the bricks. I might enter this photo in next month's OCC "curves" themed photo contest.

I love the daffodils in this photo, but I wish I'd centered the image with the monument at the end of the flower stretch. I meant for the flowers to be more in the macro and the monument to be a little better positioned and blurred out maybe a little more. Oh, well.

And for the exciting news that I mentioned a couple posts back... I have some upcoming modeling opportunities! There was an OCC announcement of a field trip/workshop of photographing live models, and that made me wonder who I should talk to if I was interested in being a model. Turns out the OCC is always looking for new models! Ta da! The cool thing is that I'm not too experienced, so I don't know how to "work the camera," so to speak, which is the most helpful level of experience for these photographers who are trying to develop their portraiture skills. So it's a win-win; not to mention that there's some money and, possibly, some time-for-prints (to develop a modeling portfolio) involved! I'm excited!


12 May 2009

Tiffany & Co.

Saturday night I went out with Tiffany & Co. and had a great time! Since I was already downtown, I beat them to Ember and ordered myself a delicious Cosmopolitan. I grabbed a table, and enjoyed the DJ's music selection of 90s and rock (he's my favorite of the downtown DJs). After while Tiffany & Co. arrived! I met Ben and Josh, and we all kicked things off with. A few rounds later we went to Wall Street; this was my first time to actually enjoy Wall Street (weather-based result as Wall Street is partially outdoors). We went to Sling-a-Pores (spelling?) and hit the dance floor. I hadn't been dancing since Halloween, and if you know me, that's WAY overdue! Ben and I paired up for most of the night, and it was great to get my dancing fix. Around 2 we called it a night. I was sober, so I drove Ben, Tiffany and Matt back home (conveniently enough, we all live in the same complex). On the way home we jammed to my dance mix; everyone was very keen on Call on Me by Eric Prydz, haha! What a fun night!

Here are a couple photos, thanks to Tiffany (I can't believe I didn't take a single photo of my own!). Not sure what I'm doing with my shoulder here. It's looking pretty contorted, but my guess is that I was trying to be more level with the girls as they were all seated. My legs look great, anyway!

the girls: myself, Jordana, Tiffany, Kara

Ben and I on the dance floor

Got this from Adam over in England: team ghosting competition. It's quite entertaining, funny, and creative!

I'm going to try something new here. If you read this and have any favorite meals for one, please email them to me at ambennett86@gmail.com. It took 5 months of cooking for one in the "Real World" to break me down and make me dread grocery shopping (don't worry, I stocked up last night - I was out of cereal, ha). Anyway, I'd like to hear what folks do when they cook for one. It can be anything: recipes, favorite quick meals, something off the wall - I dunno. Whatever. I'll compile it all and put up a post on cooking for one. Wow, this sounds so lame-o, but I think people might find it useful or motivating in small someway. I'm going to call the post "Save a freezer meal. Ride a recipe!"


Random Blurb

Exciting news: Tamara is planning a visit in July! I can't wait to see her beautiful, Australian face! Mom just booked her flight for a visit in July while Dad and the boys are at Sam's wrestling tournament in Fargo! I can't wait to see my Momma again! And! Sam is due for a visit in August! I'm so excited to hang out with my kid brother!

Raven is heading back to the shop tomorrow. Hopefully they'll patch her up properly so she looks like the 5-month-old car she is.

Mom and Dad head out to the Grand Canyon this Friday! I am so happy for them and their big 25th Anniversary celebration! They deserve such an amazing trip like this! I'm also very excited to give them a gift from myself and my brothers. Mom and Dad are going to LOVE it!

I finished 1984 and am now reading The Time Traveler's Wife. I'll post separately on them later.

Sounds like I'll be seeing Angels & Demons with Tiffany & Co. (hehe, I love that) this weekend. It's one of my favorite books, and Tom Hanks can do no wrong. And, speaking of movies, Star Trek was great. The Twitter #annoyatrekkie was hilarious, too, haha. And The Onion's video about how it was actually entertaining was quite funny.

My weekend was fabulous! Friday night Jared and I had dinner at Amigo's - delicious and a step above Maria Bonita's. It was his treat because I was dropping him off and picking him up from the airport on Saturday and Sunday while he was flying home for a surprise Mother's Day visit (he's such a sweet son, isn't he?). After dinner we saw Star Trek, then called it a night. Saturday I took Jared to the airport, had an okay run with the OWR (went out too hard during the first 3 miles then sucked wind the last 3... still finished 2nd, though). Made friends with Brandie, the chick who finished the 6-miler in front of me, hehe, and we're planning a weekend run at Baldwin Park together. She's into some distance running, so I'm really happy we chatted; I'd been wanting a distance running buddy. After the run I met up with Tiffany & Matt at the pool for some basking. After showering up I headed downtown for a photography field trip with the OCC. We did a lot of shots of the city's architecture. The sunset on the skyline wasn't the greatest, but I still got a few nice shots. I'll post about that trip later. After photography fun I met up with Tiffany & Co. at Ember. We had a fabulous night! I'll post about that later, too. Sunday involved a nice sermon at Discovery Church (man, I love that church!), lunch at Crispers, some journaling, a movie (Closer; thoroughly unimpressive in my opinion - downright wretched behavior of the characters, actually), then I picked Jared up from the airport and went to bed. Overall, another excellent weekend!

The OCC meeting Monday was really cool. It was contest night, and while I didn't submit a photo, I did come away with some great news, but I can't share on here until I tell my Daddy about it. Regardless, the contest night was really cool: the judges provided feedback on the submitted entries for the open themed contest as the club president, Anna, went through the photos in a slide show. There were some really beautiful shots. Next month's theme is curves, and I'm definitely submitting. I have a few cool shots in mind...

I'm taking a training course at work this week (today through Thrusday). It's been a good brush-up on some classes I took during my freshmen and sophomore years at Purdue (the information systems side of the C&IT house). I really like the guy who's teaching, and it's a nice change in pace for a few days. It makes for a long day, but a good one, nonetheless.

By the way, it's been freaking HOT down here. Mid-90s since last week. Thankfully the rain arrived as of yesterday! Showers are expected throughout the week. I hope it is blue skies and heat on Saturday, though, because I'd love to be found soaking up rays at the pool!

Picked up some CDs from the library. Time to make an awesome running playlist and hit the gym for a bit.


10 May 2009

Mom's Spring Break Visit

A few weeks ago my mom visited me! It was wonderful to see a member of the family! I'd missed her so much! We had a great week and a half together. We ate at Urban Flats (tradition), had make-overs at Merle Norman (also tradition), canoed with an alligator down a river in Wekiva, furnished my apartment, started a potted garden, ran a 5K, played at the beach and in the ocean and met up with Aunt Joan. I can't wait until she visits again this summer! Here are some photos of her stay:

the finished looks from the Merle Norman make-overs

about to begin our "adventure" canoe trip

the gator we canoed by while less than a meter away (seriously)

pre-race photo with the OWR at the Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K

Mom looking hot in the cool ocean (5 more minutes, please!)

Great Aunt Joan Golden, Mom & I


07 May 2009

Technology Articles

(Click the images to view the articles/websites.)

Tagging can be the super-organizers dream tool. Apple application developer, Gravity Applications, recently launched a tagging software, Tags, that allows Mac users to tag all their files, including emails, bookmarks, pictures and files. The tags allow users to assign keywords for files, grouping many different files that have something in common. The tagging feature also allows you to apply many different types of tags to a single file or apply the same tag to multiple files, giving the user a little more flexibility than just the file/folder system. The software costs $29 but you can set up a 30-day free trial to see if the application works for you.

There is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that Internet security and privacy have become so maddeningly elusive that the only way to fix the problem is to start over.

For the first time since the dot-com bust, there is a jump in the number of undergraduate computer-science majors. New enrollment in North American computer science and engineering programs rose 8% during the 2007-08 school year from the year before.

Unused PCs — computers that are powered on but not in use — are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of CO2 this year, roughly equivalent to the impact of 4 million cars, according to report by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy.

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma was my first Jane Austen read. I had seen Pride & Prejudice, Becoming Jane & The Jane Austen Book Club - all of which I really enjoyed; however, reading the first 40/55 chapters Emma was a chore for me. I understand that extensive description was considered entertainment back in Jane's time, but even with that in mind I found it dull. The first 40 chapters were more background for the last 15, in my opinion. I really did enjoy those final chapters, when the book became juicy, so to speak, with drama. There were some good twists, too. In retrospect, I'm glad I read a Jane novel and it really is a great classic. But I will say that it will be like pulling one's own teeth to talk myself into reading a second Jane book.

The best part of reading Emma, for me, was reading it "virtually" with my Mom. I bought us each a copy of Emma as a "moving away" gift; something we could do together while away from each other. We read at fairly different paces, but we enjoyed sharing thoughts on the story as we read.

Wikipedia Article

After reading Emma I watched Clueless. Had I not read Emma I would have thought Clueless to be a dumb, 90s teen flick. However, I found the parallels in the book and film to be very interesting. I enjoyed the teeny-bobber movie, actually. And I liked Paul Rudd's character (I recently saw I Love You, Man where he co-stars).

IMDB Clueless Article

Bottom line: Jane isn't my style, Clueless was enjoyable since I'd previously read Emma, and Paul Rudd is adorable.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Despite being one of the saddest movies I've ever seen, it is still among my favorites. Jim shows his serious side, and Kate does well as the quirky, impulsive woman. I really enjoyed the way time played out in the film - backwards yet forwards and then full circle.

I hope humans never develop the ability to erase memories - at least not commercially... who knows if the ability exists within the government and military. I think consideration of erasing one's memory is cowardly. We are meant to have a healthy reaction, to change, learn and grow from our negative experiences; we are not meant to simply remove them. It's a form of cheating life.

Even though I'm not a fan of the concept of memory erasure, I found the movie fascinating. It's a great love story, really. My favorite part of it all is that the two lovers were meant to be and ended up that way despite their efforts of removing the other from their mind. It's almost a fairy tale in that it ends up with a happy ending (which is actually the beginning in a few senses).

I recommend this movie for when you're in an philosophical, dazy, relaxed mood. The film's look and feel makes one feel as if they are the one experiencing the erasure of memories. It's hard to explain. Those who've seen it probably know what I mean here. The vision of the movie is perfect for its content. Does that make more sense? Anyway, check it out.

IMDB Article
Wikipedia Article
Official Website
YouTube Trailer


04 May 2009

The Big Race

The race was a blast! Mom, Dad and I performed very well!

The morning started out in a very Bennett-like fashion (i.e., running behind time), but we ended up making it to the starting line in plenty of time. With 40,000 runners and walkers starting takes a while to trickle back in the line. I meant to mention this in my "eve" post: Mom, Dad and I started in Corral G, and the corrals go clear through Z, so we were pretty well off in our seating. Despite the bumpy start, we wished one another luck, and off we were!

I ended up dropping 10 minutes off of my first half-marathon time, so I'm really pleased with that, but: I was so well hydrated that I had to stop to pee not once, not twice, but three times! I bet I could have finished in 2 hours flat if it hadn't been for those stops! Next time I'm going to be under 2 hours!

Below are my race statistics. Click the image to see a larger view.

I thought it was pretty great that out of 40,000 participants, I came in 4180th out of all the women! Not too shabby!

After being beat by my mother in my first half-marathon race, I was set and determined to correct that at this race, hehe. But Mom and Dad were spectacular and so adorable because they finished at 2:15 (no lie - only 5 minutes behind me!) and crossed the finish line together! I'm so proud of them!

My body recovered after this half-marathon much better than after my first half-marathon. Granted, I trained for 5 solid months for this race whereas for the one last year I was still in school and didn't train consistently (well, hardly at all). My knees were really stiff Saturday after the race, but by Sunday evening they were fine. I'm already planning my races for the rest of the year! I'm thinking about the Rock 'N Roll Chicago Half-Marathon on 2 August 2009...

I think this race is going to become a tradition for the Bennett's. It was such a wonderful event! I love downtown Indianapolis, it's a great time of the year, making for excellent running weather, and it was a ton of fun! I even saw a friend playing along side of the race with his band, The Highway! (Here are links to their MySpace and Official websites. Check 'em out!)


01 May 2009

Indy Mini 500 Half-Marathon Eve

Tonight is the eve of my first Indy Mini 500 Half-Marathon race!

I've just finished my playlist, packed with my favorite running songs. Mom and Dad are running the race with me. We're all really excited! My first (and most recent) half-marathon race wasn't bad: 10:38 minutes/mile pace for a finishing time of 2 hours and 19 minutes. At tomorrow's race I hope to drop 10-20 minutes, putting me closer to a 2 hour finishing time.

It's WAY past my bedtime with tomorrow's early rise to be at the starting line and ready to run at 7:30 AM! Wish me well!