So, I was bored the other night and scrolling through Netflix, and decided to watch Anna Karenina. I’ve done a lot of things recently that are period related (mostly Jane Austen related, actually) and thought why not.
I have not read Anna Karenina, and I have not watched any other movie adaptations. I basically knew nothing of the story. I’m not sure if knowing the story or having read the book would have changed how I looked at the movie. I mean, undoubtedly it would have made it different, but I believe my opinion overall wouldn’t have changed. I have no idea if the book is written in the same style as the movie, but I do plan on reading it to see.
I had recently watched Pride and Prejudice (for the umpteenth time), and so my expectations going into Anna Karenina were probably along those lines. Those expectations were promptly thrown out the window, as the set up and progression of the movie is not what I would consider typical.
The movie opens and as it moves through it looks as though you’re watching someone put on a play. The viewer is given glimpses of the behind-the-scenes setup. At first I thought maybe there’s a play in the story, and that the movie would then progress in a more typical fashion.
I was intrigued when it did not and began wondering just what was going on. The same setting was used for different pieces of the story that had no connection in the beginning of the movie. The viewer saw scene changes and costume changes. We were led up to the catwalks to another setting, and from the height looked down on the scene below. This elaborate play setting was interspersed with other settings, however almost all of them kept the feel of being a play. At times the background of a scene would look as if it were made of cardboard, and then would change to a live action setting.
It was a unique way (at least to me) to have the movie play out and one that I found myself enjoying after the initial confusion. That bit of what I would call whimsy or quirkiness kept me involved in the story. I was always interested to see how the next scene would play out.
The acting was well done, as one would expect from the names attached. I will confess it took me a bit to recognize Matthew MacFayden, even after having just watched Pride and Prejudice two nights before. I’ve been a fan of Keira Knightley from the start, and I think period pieces are where she shines.
I’m going to start a new feature here called “Cloud Nine”, which will showcase things that I think are awesome or that have made me happy. I’m looking at making this a weekly feature, but no promises to that regard.
The Lifehacker challenge for this month is “Haggle Your Bills”. I basically did this challenge in January as well by calling my cable company to get a better rate (and an upgrade to boot), and technically lowering my cell phone bill by a few dollars as well (not much wiggle room there).
The other items suggested for possible haggling don’t concern me that much. They suggest looking at credit cards, rent, gym membership, and car insurance. A couple of these don’t really apply, like the credit cards and the gym membership. The others are ones that I’m happy with the rates I have.
So, for February I’m going to challenge myself to keep up with tracking my spending. I technically started this in January, but usually it’s about a month in that it falls apart for me. I think just being aware of my spending will help me to cut back where I’m excessive, and help me understand if I’m living outside of my means.
I’ll check back in at the end of the month with an update.
I opted to participate in a financial challenge that I found through LifeHacker for the month of January. The challenge was to spend no money on restaurants, and instead put that money in a savings account.
I didn’t do great, but I don’t think I did all that horribly either. Although, I did not put the money in savings because I had some other things come through that had to be paid. Going into this I knew that there would be at least one exemption, my book club meets monthly at a restaurant. And I didn’t know about the challenge until the 2nd or 3rd, and had gone out to eat on the 1st. So there’s two strikes. I think I got two more before the month was out. My breakdown is as follows:
January 1st – Chik-fil-A with friends
January 12th – Amphora – Book Club
January 17th – Hard Rock Cafe with family
January 18th – Papa John’s – to feed family
January 27th – Cafe at work (I overcooked my lunch)
So I ended up spending about $130 eating out (with two of those being for more than just myself). My tracking has not been great, so I’m not sure what my typical amount for eating out is. I’m not sure if I saved much money or not, really. I would like to update my tracking and try this challenge again when I have a better baseline to compare it to.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did actually eat out quite a bit more than this. These, however, were the only times I had to pay and since this was a financial challenge I wasn’t worried about the eating out part, just about the my paying to eat out part.
So, I didn’t miss eating out, but that’s because I didn’t really stop eating out. I think I saved some money, but I didn’t stress much about not sticking more closely to the challenge either.
Bottom line: I could have done better at this challenge.