A Look Back - August 2017

August might have been one of my worst months of posts on the blog. If you don't count my posts for Peru I've had one book review and one Chef Joel & Jenn and that's it. Pretty poor showing. I'm hoping to rectify that next month, but until September rolls around let's recap an incredible August. 


RECAP OF THE MONTH

Part of doing these monthly recaps is to remember the smaller moments that happen in a month. However, it would be near impossible to talk about August 2017 without talking about Jenn’s birthday trip to Peru. Obviously, I recapped in great detail every day of our trip on the blog. But here are a couple of a couple of highlights that stood out. The most obvious being going to Machu Picchu which completely surpassed all of my wildest expectations. From the first-class train ride to the majesty of the sights, it was one of those days I will never forget.  The second was our dinner at Map Café a beautiful restaurant nestled in the courtyard of an art museum, a dinner I won’t soon forget. And finally, the one thing I didn’t want to do in Cusco, white water rafting, which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable adventures we’ve ever taken. During our trip to Peru, Jenn turned 30 and I turned 31. 

When we got back from Peru it went back to business as usual. We were smart enough to take a Friday flight which gave us the entire first weekend of August to recover. We did go see Fun Home the day after we arrived back (more on that musical below) and spent the majority of our weekend just trying to recover. From there we were back to work and back to our normal routines. Sadly, that didn’t last long because shortly after arriving home I got a cold/flu that put me out of commission for a little over a week. I finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics while Jenn nursed me back to health. I spent a week working from home, watching terrible TV (I’m looking at your Iron Fist) and wanting to be back on vacation. 

On August 19th I finally was started to feel better and that was perfect timing because we had the Pacific Wine & Food Festival which was happening in Newport Dunes at the Back Bay. This is our third festival of the year, the most expensive, and far and away the best one we went to. After checking in a little after 1PM we spent the next four hours tasting various wines, liquors, and food. The festival was not only packed with people but different options to try. We had probably 6 different tacos, a bunch of fish and meats, and a plethora of other varieties. One of the stand outs at the end of the day was a place called BLK Coffee which had a Vietnamese Iced Coffee that was to die for. I’ve actually gone to their coffee shop twice since trying it at the festival. It was an incredible day, we both got a “little tipsy” and spent the rest of the night watching Ozark and recovering. 

The next weekend we were actually back at the Back Bay, this time to celebrate Amy’s birthday. Amy and her boyfriend Ryan were able to secure a family friends Duffy boat and we cruised around the Back Bay and Balboa. It’s sort of ironic that in all the years we’ve lived in Newport Beach we’ve never gone to this area of the Back Bay and now we’ve gone there two weeks in a row.

We spent the remaining time in August working hard and getting ready for our trip to New York. Jenn began staffing up her empire at work, and I got offered a developmental opportunity for a Sr. Project Manager job which I start in a week. We continue to push hard, but also try to plan adventures to keep us sane. Speaking of we booked a trip to Switzerland which we finalized this month, and also are almost completely planned out for our big Asian adventure in November. We have a lot of great times awaiting us, speaking of which I better stop here because we’ve got a flight to catch to the big apple. 
 


TV WE WATCHED

After we got back from Peru we had a couple of pretty busy weeks of work and weekends filled with different activities. So unlike some of the winter months, we didn't watch a ton this month. Every Sunday after our walk we would come back, turn off all the lights, and get cozy to watch the incredible sixth season of Game of Thrones. Boy did that finale make me excited to see whatever the final six episodes come out to be. 

We also watched Ozark one of my favorite new shows of the year. Starring Jason Batemen its a very accelerated unique take on Breaking Bad. We also finished the third season of Casual which still remains a very enjoyable 30-minute comedy on Hulu. 


BOOKS I READ (OR LISTENED TO)

I really should have read more books in August. I blame it on this month's GamersRead pick, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov for throwing me off my groove. I disliked that book so much that I needed to take a break from reading to wash it away. Luckily I followed it up with a much better book, American War by Omar El Akkad. 


MOVIES WE WATCHED

August is usually a month where the movie lineup starts to slow down after a few months of back-to-back blockbusters. I only saw two movies this month. Life, which I saw on the flight back from Peru and hated. And Atomic Blonde which I saw in theaters and thought it was one of hte better action movies I've seen in a while. Charlize Theron really gives Jason Borne and James Bond a run for their money. 


GAMES I'VE BEEN PLAYING

I've got two new games to add to the list this month. Outside of playing Hearthstone on my phone and Mario Kart 8 on the plane and in the airports of Peru, there are two games that have taken the most time of my playlist. The first is the new Madden game, Madden NFL 18 which I reviewed and wasn't overly impressed with. The second is Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a game I also review and almost loved outside of two chapters that really didn't do it for me. August is the start of a pretty exciting holiday season for video games. 


SHOWS WE SAW

This is the first month of a new section I'm adding to the monthly updates. Because Jenn and I have season passes to both South Coast Repertory and Segerstrom Center for the Arts we are at the theater quite often. I don't do a great job of capture what plays we see and when we see them so here's my answer for that.

The summer is usually an off time for the theater but we had a play from an Off-Broadway group of tickets we bought nearly two months ago to see Fun Home, one of the best musicals we've seen in 2017. It's based off a graphic novel and is about a father who's gay and his daughter who is a lesbian. It's not explicit about what time period the play takes place but given the decor, I assume it's in the 1970's. The majority of the musical takes place in a Funeral Home (thus the name Fun Home) and is this tragic dicotomy between the two main characters handling of their own sexuality. It was funny, whitty, and tragic. We both absolutely loved Fun Home. 


ANYTHING ELSE

I hate to use this section of my monthly post for anything negative but I’d be dishonest to myself if I didn’t talk about how atrocious of a month it’s been for our current president. It’s something that Jenn and I talk about almost daily, and the road to 2020 (or impeachment) can’t come soon enough. I have such disappointment and sadness anytime I actually stop and think about us electing Donald Trump. And if I need any more evidence of either of those scenarios there were three things that happened this month that should prove my point. 

#1: Charlottesville

Can we get any worse than this? This despicable showing probably negates the need from #2 & #3. When I talk about Charlottesville I’m obviously referring to a protest of neo-nazi's that our President sides with and says “good people.” That alone seems absolutely nuts. Could you imagine any other president saying that? How did we elect him? The fact that his entire party didn’t disown him after that comment should tell you something about the Republican party, a party I’m proud to have left over a year ago. 

#2: “Fire and Fury”

After a couple of missile tests by North Korea our orange President thought it would be a good idea to threaten the North Koreans with his “fire and fury.” First off why does he sound like a North Korean dictator instead of a US President? And second and more importantly why would you even want to provoke them? 

#3: Who Cares About Crowd Sizes?

After the horrific devastation that happened as a result of hurricane Harvey, Donald Trump went down to comfort the people of Houston and the surrounding cities and of course had to mention how great the crowd sizes were. It’s not that he can’t talk about crowd sizes (although the point is still lost on me) but how tacky is it he talks about them while trying to comfort a struggling city during a hurricane that caused the most rain Houston has ever gotten.