The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley

flaviaThe Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley are fun, short novels starring Flavia de Luce, a precocious chemistry loving girl that solves local murder mysteries.

The whole series is great, and I highly recommend if you enjoy murder mystery stories. These books are one of the few exceptions to the no-child-narrator rule. Funny, dry, and intelligent, they are unique and have an pretty good story arch connecting the books in the series.

7/10 mangoes

 

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Baker St. Pub & Grill, Fort Worth

My little sis is somewhat, well, obsessed with all things Sherlock. So when she and my mom were out for the weekend, we decided to finally try the Baker Street Pub & Grill on Camp Bowie. First important thing to note: it’s all smoking, so keep that in mind. We sat on the patio since it was nice out but the smoking was still quite heavy if you are sensitive to that.

The food was mostly along the lines of a Chili’s (sandwiches, grill food, etc.) but there were a few “English” dishes thrown in for the brave. We tried the regular fish and chips, the potato crusted fish and zucchini fries, and the burger and fries. All in all pretty decent, standard dinner fare. Prices were a teeny bit higher than expected, but quantities were large and shareable.

This isn’t my favorite sort of food choice, but not bad for greasy fried stuff!

Although no one dared to forge the breach, this was the most interesting thing on the menu:

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K’s rating of Baker St. Pub & Grill: 5/10 mangoes

C’s rating of Baker St. Pub & Grill: 6.5/10 mangoes (his stomach has a little bit higher concentration of iron than mine)

Little sis’ rating of Baker St. Pub & Grill: 7/10 mangoes for the fish, 9 for the fries (she still has that young stomach of steel that we all outgrow eventually…)

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Movie one liners

A surprisingly moving docu-drama based on the final days of Jim Jones’ and his followers. It really bothers me that I never knew that it was as much murder as mass suicide. Very, very sad, but informative.  Jonestown: Paradise Lost – 7 mangoes

I read this book in college during a crime and punishment class but had never seen the movie. Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon are phenomenal. A fair and compassionate look at the death penalty.  Dead Man Walking – 7 mangoes

A bit of a formulaic and choppy spy/action/thriller, but an easy enough to watch movie. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – 5 mangoes

A kind of funny and silly romantic comedy with some awkward cheating that kind of ruined bits for me, but with a happy ending. I’m always supportive of an elopement!  The Big Wedding – 6 mangoes

If you love Lifetime Movies (who doesn’t) and true crime (yes, please), this movie was a creepy drama based on the Lizzie Borden story. Christina Ricci was cold and heartless, but otherwise it was a little blah.  Lizzie Borden Took an Ax – 5 mangoes

I didn’t expect to like this movie, I haven’t read the book, but it was actually a little bit worse than I expected. I found the narrative to be disjointed, the characters hard to understand and empathize with, and it felt like an adult movie that had been cast with kids as a gimmick.  Visuals weren’t bad, though.  Ender’s Game – 4 mangoes

 

 

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Casa Navarro, Dallas TX

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This little place takes me back to my young teenage years when I first was branching out into the culinary world and discovered Casa Navarro’s “bean soup” (or, basically, charro beans). Pinto beans slow cooked in broth with pork meat and fat, jalapenos, onions, and spices.

I loved Casa Navarro and was excited to come across it again the last time we were in Dallas. Luckily, they’ve held strong over the past 15 years, and the bean soup was just as delicious!

C had carne asada tacos, I had tilapia tacos, and the food was fresh, tasty, and just the right amount of spicy. Yummy (although, not warm) salsa, and the famous bean soup rounded out our meal.

Casa Navarro is locally owned and probably more Tex-Mex than Mexican food style. But don’t judge Tex-Mex by the ubiquitous El Fenix and El Chico. These are some good eats!

C and K’s rating of Casa Navarro: 8/10 mangoes

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I Read This On The Internet – One of a Kind

This is a really lovely story focusing specifically on the struggles a young family has in getting a diagnosis for their son with an incredibly rare genetic disorder, and more broadly on the way that social media and informed families are changing the face of medicine and research. Lovely read (click the image below to be taken to The New Yorker).

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Minali Enterprises, Dallas TX

C and I were in the market for a (very) used car, on a tight budget, but wanting something that would last a while and would be a good commuter car.

We scoured craigslist ads to be met with people that didn’t return phone calls, had cars much dirtier and stinkier and more damaged than we were prepared to deal with, and were all around getting discouraged.

We stumbled across a dealer ad on craigslist (I didn’t know it was a dealer until I called the poor guy at 10pm at home!) and decided, in our desperation, to drive across town to Dallas and see why their car was listed at such a great price.

Best decision we ever made.

Andy (owner) and Jovan (salesperson) at Minali Enterprises, a little dealer on Denton Dr. and Walnut Hill, were WONDERFUL. If you have been to a car dealership you know all about the long waits, the bait and switch when it comes to their online inventory, the upselling, etc. We experienced none of that at Minali. Jovan was very honest about the condition of the car, and Andy was polite, friendly, helpful, and went out of his way to make sure we were happy with our purchase.

20140726_155853I never felt pressured.

I never noticed Andy or Jovan talking to C exclusively, or treating me like the “little lady.”

The car they listed online was the car we saw, drove, and bought, without any hassle.

The prices were very fair with what we were seeing online, and lower than big dealerships.

We took the car to our mechanic to have it looked over, and he confirmed everything Jovan had already told us. No surprises.

We already told them to keep an eye out for a Prius, and we will definitely buy from them on our next car.

10 mangoes.

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Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013

Inside Llewyn Davis was a darkly funny movie, dark enough that you aren’t entirely sure you’re supposed to be laughing, but you think you are because Justin Timberlake is being kind of over-the-top. My mood during watching is summed up pretty well by this screen shot:

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I’m not sure if I’m Llewyn or the cat, probably both. Or maybe that girl in the back, I don’t know. Strong points for characters and funny bits and great music. Points off for a certain scene with the cat and overall weirdness and not really understanding why no one likes this guy’s music.

(Since this review contains very little useful information, here’s a very brief synopsis: Llewyn is a struggling musician that seems pretty amazing, honestly, but he’s a total jerk and is depressed pretty much all the time, and sabotages all his relationships, and here’s a few days in his life. Enjoy.)

K’s rating of Inside Llewyn Davis: 5/10 mangoes

C’s rating of Inside Llewyn Davis: 7/10 mangoes

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