HEB Curbside

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/6400 sec, ISO32
“Curbside” Cedar Park, 2021

I’ve come to really love HEB’s curbside service. It has been free during the pandemic, and HEB decided to remove any service charge permanently. It’s so convenient just to shop online, then have the bags delivered to the trunk of the car. And I’ve been satisfied with the choices that the employees have made when it comes to picking out the fresh food, like veggies and meats.

I’ll still shop in-person most of the time, so I can use my own reusable shopping bags, browse for interesting new items, and look for any bargains, but curbside is a wonderful option. It’s an especially great option for buying cat litter and food for the pets!

Millennium Actress / 千年女優 – Movie Mini-Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Millennium Actress” Cedar Park, 2021

I was browsing Amazon Prime Movies and came across the Satoshi Kon movie Millennium Actress so I made some popcorn and settled in to watch it.

I enjoyed it a lot! The story was cool and imaginative, following the story of a veteran actress Chiyoko’s career, with flashbacks to different genres of movies in various historical settings. The scene where Chiyoko appears as a scientist/doctor in a kaiju movie was one of my favorites, even though it only lasted a few seconds. But the transition between the genres was so cool. There was also a nice amount of action and fighting during the ninja-assassin scenes which was very well-done.

I’ve never thought that the character style in Satoshi Kon’s movies were to my liking, but I might finally be coming around. Some of the expressions in Millennium Actress were fantastic. Definitely a recommended anime to watch!

Crying Out Love in the Center of the World / 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ (2004) – Movie Mini Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Aki” Cedar Park, 2021

******** SPOILER ALERT *********

Tonight I watched the 2004 Japanese movie Crying Out Love in the Center of the World / 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ, which was the breakout movie for my current actress crush Masami Nagasawa. I love melodramatic tear-jerkers these days and I knew going in that this was a sad story (you find out early on that Aki passes away), but I didn’t know that the story’s time period would also include a lot of nostalgic interest for me.

The story switches between 2004 (present day) and 1986, when the characters were in high school, which means the characters are the same age as me and Mariko. Adding to the nostalgia, Aki (Masami Nagasawa) and Saku (Mirai Moriyama) exchange messages to each other via cassette tape and it’s fun to see the old Walkman models and compact boom-boxes in action – it almost makes me want to find an old cassette player. 😁

The plot is more interesting and complex than you might expect, and there’s a bit of mystery as to who the character Ritsuko (Kou Shibasaki) really is, and how the cassette tapes connect the past to the present. But it’s the acting that really impressed me. Most of the scenes are quiet are drawn-out, so all attention is on the acting and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint. A+ from the entire cast.

I really liked that the story Crying Out Love in the Center of the World is so pure and innocent, yet can still be so moving. There’s no controversial, disturbing, or uncomfortable scenes – it’s just a story about love, loss, and trying to move on.

I rate it 9 out of 10 on the enjoyment meter!

New Ukulele Strings

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Martin Ukulele Strings” Cedar Park, 2021

I got some new strings for my concert ukulele and they sound fabulous! I don’t have a very discerning ear, but I can tell that these Martin M600 fluorocarbon strings are a bit brighter than the Aquila strings that came with the ukulele originally. For only about US$6, it doesn’t cost much to give new strings a try, so why not? And these are sort of clear which makes my ukulele collection a little more varied. Fun fun fun!

Dinner and Sichuan Chili Crisp

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/75 sec, ISO3200
“Delicious Dinner” Cedar Park, 2021

Tonight we tried the Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, and enjoyed it very much! It has a lot of flavor, but not a lot of heat, so it’s a nice sauce for those who don’t like things too fiery. The website sums it up nicely: ” Intensely flavorful yet not off-the-charts spicy, it’ll make your food taste bolder and the world around you seem a little bit brighter.”

We have lots of other sauces to try, and I have a feeling we’ll get to them pretty soon because we were gobbling up tonight’s Sichuan Chili Crisp with gusto. 😄