Way back when, while I was at NIU, the Huskie men's basketball team qualified for the NCAA tournament. That was years ago, and they haven't been back since (that I know of). Well, since the Huskies couldn't do it, I got to watch the Aurora University Spartans do it. This morning, I attended a pep rally/send off for the team as they ventured down to St. Louis to play Washington University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Congratulations to the Spartans on a great season and here's hoping for a good post season as well. Especially since we would like to have a great sports article about this tournament in the Aurora Borealis (the student newspaper that I do layout work for).
27 posts from February 2001
Katie's coming here this weekend!! Woo hoo!! Soon, you will all hear Phase II of the Great Apartment Hunt. Betcha can't wait, can ya?
A quick congratulations to my brother Brian who was recently named runner up as intern of the year at Northern Illinois University. Congratulations, bro. Remember... half that cash prize is mine.
A few more apartments today. Not really sure I would consider it The Great Apartment Hunt, Phase IV or not. Katie and I only really went to two places. Then we went home to watch the Oscars. Several non-surprises there. Julia got it, Russell got it, Benicio got it, Gladiator got it. However, I must say that I'm shocked about Marcia Gay Harden beating Kate Hudson for Best Supporting Actress. I also nearly had flipped when Steven Soderbergh beat out Ang Lee for Best Director. I'm not saying that Soderbergh didn't deserve it, but my thought was that the vote for him would be too split since he was nominated for two flicks and that Lee would edge right up in there just like at the Golden Globes. Oh, yeah, the "Prick of the Night" award goes to Ridley Scott who was looking pissed off at the entire world even when he was being thanked by others for being a part of his film. Runner up for "Prick of the Night" would be Scott's star Russell Crowe who wouldn't even crack a smile when Steve Martin poked fun at him. You're in the limelight, dingleberry, deal with it and smile and move on with life.
It's time to talk Oscars... I am here, now, to tell you my picks for the six major awards that are given out by the Academy. I will tell you who I think will win and who I think should win. Bear in mind that the will win category are who I will place bets on. Also, the should win category may include people or films who were not even nominated (yes, I am bitter about several of the nominations, or, should I say, lack thereof). First, the nominees...
- Best Picture -- Chocolat; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Erin Brockovich; Gladiator; Traffic
- Best Actor -- Javier Barden - Before Night Falls; Russell Crowe - Gladiator; Tom Hanks - Cast Away; Ed Harris - Pollock; and Geoffrey Rush - Quills
- Best Actress -- Joan Allen - The Contender; Juliette Binoche - Chocolat; Ellen Burstyn - Requiem for a Dream; Laura Linney - You Can Count on Me; and Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich
- Best Supporting Actor -- Jeff Bridges - The Contender; Willem Dafoe - Shadow of the Vampire; Benicio Del Toro - Traffic; Albert Finney - Erin Brockovich; and Joaquin Phoenix - Gladiator
- Best Supporting Actress -- Judi Dench - Chocolat; Marcia Gay Harden - Pollock; Kate Hudson -Almost Famous; Frances McDormand - Almost Famous; and Julie Walters - Billy Elliot
- Best Director -- Stephen Daldry - Billy Elliot; Ang Lee - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Ridley Scott - Gladiator; Steven Soderbergh - Erin Brockovich; and Steven Soderbergh - Traffic
Now, for who I think will win...
- Best Picture -- Gladiator
- Best Actor -- Russell Crowe - Gladiator
- Best Actress -- Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich
- Best Supporting Actor -- Benicio Del Toro - Traffic
- Best Supporting Actress -- Kate Hudson - Almost Famous (not an easy category to predict this year)
- Best Director -- Ang Lee - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Now, for who I think should win...
- Best Picture -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Best Actor -- George Clooney - O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Best Actress -- Juliette Binoche - Chocolat
- Best Supporting Actor -- Joaquin Phoenix - Gladiator (if I didn't like his performance so much, I would've chosen Tim Blake Nelson from O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
- Best Supporting Actress -- Judi Dench - Chocolat (she probably won't win because she got one a couple years ago for Shakespeare in Love and Kate Hudson, for some God-forsaken reason, is a big Hollywood darling now)
- Best Director -- Ang Lee - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Apparently, I agree in only one category this year (Best Director) because Stephen Daldry is the Academy's attempt to make it look like they actually give a damn about the little guy and Ridley Scott, while having done a good job, was only vindicated by good acting. The vote for Steven Soderbergh is too divided because he's nominated for two films. If he were nominated for only one, he'd probably win but people are unable to decide which of his films is better. As a result, the award will go to Ang Lee for his masterpiece of storytelling. Oh, and you can take these picks to the bank. I'm generally pretty good about my picks (>80% accuracy rate over the last five years).
Today was my friend Jay's bachelor party. Had a bunch of fun considering there were so few of us at the party. We started at Hooters and chowed on a bunch of hot wings ("911", of course). From there we headed to Chord On Blues which is a blues bar in St. Charles. I had never been there before. However, after the fun I had there and the live music that was jamming on stage (big kudos to Carl Weathersby and his band), it will not be the last time I go there. That much is for damn sure. Tons o' fun. You really should check this place out if you like the blues. Even if you don't like the blues, check it out anyway. Tell them I sent you and they'll look at you funny.
What's in the news today? Way too much crap.
Kentucky lost to USC in the NCAA Tournament. Damn. I was pulling for the 'Cats.
Mir crashed down without problem in the south Pacific. Well, no reported problems thus far, that is.
Shania Twain is pregnant. Yeah, kinda makes you wonder what's wrong if her husband of seven years, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, hasn't been able to knock her up before now. Guess his swimmers are wearing floaties, eh?
Joseph Hanna, of Hanna-Barbera fame, died last night at the age of 90. Can't say he didn't live a full life. H-B is responsible for creating Tom & Jerry, Flintstones, Jetsons, among a host of others. I would have to personally thank him, though, for creating Scooby Doo. Greatest damn cartoon ever. Well, so long as the 'toon didn't include Scrappy or Scooby Dum. Rest in Peace, Mr. Hanna.
You wanna talk about your bad luck story of a lifetime? Well, as covered earlier this week in this very column, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt was killed when his car struck another car and then the wall at the Daytona 500. As it turns out, forensic testing has proven that his lap belt broke and that may be the reason why he died. Authorities are not exactly sure when, why or how it broke, but it broke in such a way that his body would have flown forward and to the right upon impact. This forward motion would have allowed for his jaw to jam into the steering wheel which fractured his skull and, ultimately, killed him. Not a good thing at all. Also, to all the freaks out there who have been sending death threats to the driver of the car that hit Earnhardt... get a life. Check the video replays. Earnhardt lost control, veered to the outside of the track, and then, and only then, did he hit the other driver's car. The other driver (whatever his name is) was not gunning for Earnhardt nor did he intentionally or accidentally veer into him. Leave the poor guy and his family alone.
How's this for fun? I've spent just about the entire day today transferring the contents of the external hard drive on this Mac to the hard drive on the PC in my office. The fun part is that I've gotta do it all using ZIP disks. Takes roughly 25 minutes to load each full ZIP disk on the PC because I'm using an external SCSI drive for it. Not to diss the drive, ZIP is a wonderful thing in any form. I'm happy to be able to back up all 1.6 GB of MP3s that I have. However, it's been a touchy process because either my computer will or will not recognize the existence of this external hard drive making the transferring of files nearly impossible. Or, at the very least, a time-consuming process that requires eternal patience... something I'm not renowned for. Sorry this update came so late. Believe it or not, I received an error message from my computer telling me that the program I write this code in had run out of memory and wouldn't let me type anything else. I actually had to go in and split this month up in two. So you will discover that this page starts on March 16. Go down to archives and you'll find a listing for March 1-15. I guess this is my punishment for telling you guys so damned much about what's going on and actually trying to set a record by having something to say every single friggin' day. Maybe if I held out a little, I wouldn't have as many problems. Ah screw it... you guys are worth the time. I think.
Today was a first. As in "first time I've ever taken a sick day from work in my life." Well, not actually a full sick day. I did show up to work and I tried to put in as much time as I possibly could, but the stomach ache that I've been having off and on for a couple of days now decided to really rear its ugly head. My boss sent me home. It's funny because you grow up with this stereotypical image of what a boss is like (usually Mr. Dithers from the comic strip "Blondie"), but then you find out that they aren't like that at all. Well, not always, at least. My boss rocks. No, I'm not saying that because she reads this. Actually, I don't know if she even knows this site exists. But, it's cool when a boss cares enough to say "you look like death... go home." As much as I tried to fight it, I went home. And slept. Heh.
Here's a fright and a half... Britain's Sun tabloid has reported that Whitney Houston is in talks to star as the next Bond girl with Pierce Brosnan. Wanna talk about ruining a franchise? This would do the trick. Well, I guess if the producers are looking for someone who is only going to be there once a week (if that) and is constantly hooked on some kind of drug, then they've got their girl. And what better marriage therapy could there be than to cast Bobby Brown as the lead bad guy? Now we're on some kinda roll, eh?
With all due respect to Bill Murray... I feel like the floor of a taxicab... 'nuff said.
Oh, no... call the wahhhmbulance! Russell Crowe, in an interview with an Australian tabloid paper, announced that he and Meg Ryan broke up. He claimed that when given the choice between spending his offtime with either Meg or his cattle ranch, the cows won out. Ouch. That one's gotta hurt, don't it Meg? And to think that she left her husband Dennis Quaid for him. Once again, just couldn't see that one coming, could ya?
Seems like every time there is some big NASCAR race anymore, someone seems to die from injuries suffered in a crash. Today, the racing world lost Dale Earnhardt, one of the winningest drivers in NASCAR history. Also, just a downright good guy, all told. In what seemed like a very minor crash, his car lost control and veered into the outer lane only to be hit another driver while at the same time slamming into the wall. It really appeared to be a pretty cushy crash with only the hood over his engine flying off. But, apparently, it was more than enough to kill him. R.I.P. Dale Earnhardt, 1951-2001.
Happy Birthday, Katie!!! Not that she really wants to be reminded of it, but 24 years ago today, my fiancee Katie emerged into this world and made it a better place. I love you, hon, regardless of if you think you're an old lady or not.
I saw a pretty interesting show on FOX tonight called "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?" Yep, believe it or not, some people think that U.S. astronauts never actually landed on the moon back in 1969 or any of the other 5 times afterwards. It may seem like the show is full of it (much like a lot of what is shown on FOX - save for "Boston Public," of course), but they had some pretty valid points. I'll briefly detail a few of these points. The backgrounds in both still photos and video images are exactly the same from one landing to another even though they are supposed to be different locations. This makes conspiracy theorists (to be called CTs from here on in) think that the landing was shot on a soundstage built somewhere on Area 51. They even superimposed video footage from two different days of the Apollo 16 landing and the terrain matched up exactly, down to the smallest stone. The locations on these two days were supposed to be 2 1/2 miles apart. Another example is the lack of a blast crater underneath the lunar landing modules in photos taken after touchdown. Supposedly, the exceptional thrust given off by the LEM would have blown a small crater underneath it, but there is nothing to show for the thrust at all. There isn't even any dust that has settled on the feet of the LEM after being kicked up by the thrust. Another piece of evidence is the use of etched crosshairs on all cameras used in the lunar landings. To summarize, little crosshairs were scratched on the lenses of the cameras to keep the photos in perspective. Well, some of these crosshairs on the photos themselves, fall behind objects in the photo like the American flag and an astronaut's head which makes CTs think these photos are doctored. Lastly, CTs believe that many of the astronauts and NASA staff that died in "horrible accidents" (many of which were outspoken critics of the NASA program) were silenced by the government. They weren't victims of accidents, but they were killed because of their criticism. This includes Virgil "Gus" Grissom, one of the astronauts killed in a fire that broke out in Apollo 11 on the launchpad. Even his wife and children believe that he was killed intentionally and that NASA is responsible for it. Pretty freaky stuff if you ask me.
Happy Valentine's Day, Katie. I love you. Yes, it's that time of year again. However, I'm sure you all know that unless you've been living in a cave (living in a hole in the ground, walking with your head up your a$$, etc., etc. -- you take your pick which applies to you) and have somehow managed to miss all the red and pink decorations and products lining store shelves everywhere. So, don't forget to tell someone that you love them and care about them. 'Tay? Hell, I even got a Valentine at work today. Cool, eh?
The Academy Award nominations were announced today... very few surprises. Traffic. Gladiator. Erin Brockovich. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Same old, same old. However, as is usual, the Academy overlooked comedies. What else is new? I think that's why I like the Golden Globe awards. They have best actor/actress and supporting actor/actress in drama and comedy categories. They, at least, realize that there is such a difference in the acting styles that the actors should be recognized regardless. I'm mentioning this because both the best actor and actress in a comedy Golden Globe winners weren't even nominated for Oscars. I'm talking about George Clooney forO Brother, Where Art Thou? and Renee Zellweger for Nurse Betty. I guess I should be used to this. After all, didn't Jim Carrey win the best actor in a comedy Globe the last two years only to be snubbed by Oscar both times? I think Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune said it best in his article this morning when he stated that the Academy voters "prove year after year that they believe true acting rarely cracks a smile." God bless you, Mr. Caro.
Here's your warning... leave now! Too late... soapbox mounted. An appeals court in San Francisco has just announced that Napster can stay up and running but with severe restrictions against the transfer of copyrighted material using their servers. The court seems to have found a way around Napster's claim that they are never physically in possession of copyrighted material (which they are not since their users hold all material) by claiming that they are vicariously in violation of copyright law. What the hell is that load of crap? That's like saying that I am in violation of copyright law when I take a CD from a friend of mine and loan it to another person. I'm not using it. I don't hold on to it. It's never actually mine. But, because I'm the conduit by which the CD passes from one hand to another, I'm in violation of copyright law. Biggest load o' choad I've ever heard. Some might say that Napster is lucky that the courts didn't shut them down altogether. Well what good is it for them to stay up and running if the only stuff they can allow to transfer through their servers are songs that they have copyrighted permission to? The only group, so far, that will allow that is BMG. Considering all the other music companies out there, that's not saying too much for Napster's future selection. The only way they can use copyrighted material will probably be to start charging a monthly fee. This isn't too bad a deal so long as all the recording companies go along with this plan and this isn't too likely, in my opinion. I say we all start a collective chant of "Bulls&!t" in support of Napster. Soapbox dismounted.
Well, apparently, Hannibal ate up the competition at the box office this weekend. I apologize for the pun. Something like $58 million dollars was raked up by this gorefest. However, I don't know if you've noticed or not, the reviews (by both professional reviewers and the layman on the street) have not been so good. I get the feeling that it's not gonna get nearly as much in its second week as some of this year's and this past holiday season's other blockbusters have earned. I give it a month and it'll be out of the top ten. That's my bet. No money, of course, since I'm broke as a church mouse. But, I surely can post my opinion for free, can't I? Well, that's what I'm doing. If you object... get your own website.
You want some funny and utterly ironic stuff? Here you go, my friends. Katie and I swapped Valentine's Day gifts today. The unique gifts purchased include a book I bought her and a pair of Grinch boxers that she bought me. Well, she also bought me those Hallmark kissy face bears which I was going to buy for her but forgot at the last minute. No big deal, right? Wrong. This is just the intro. I bought her a silver picture frame, candle and You've Got Mail on DVD. She bought me a silver picture frame, candle and You've Got Mail on VHS. How's that one? Can't say we're not on the same wavelength, can you? That's what I thought.
I will bid you an early "adieu" on the week. Today is my last day of work for this week, yippee skippee. For the first time in my working life (be it part-time jobs when I was younger or this career-like job), I am taking a vacation day. Kinda cool to have the ability to say "I'm gonna take next Friday off and go be with my fiancee." I like that ability. I want more of it. Hmmm... better yet... I say the world just remain on a perpetual vacation and, once in a while, say "I'm gonna go to work today." Think about how much nicer that would be. Worker morale would be through the roof as would productivity (when the productive mode actually kicks in) because people would be at work on days and times that they want to be. Nobody's forcing them to go. They would do it because they want to. Ahhhh, Utopia... come to daddy.
I know this is somewhat old news, but Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman announced they are separating. Actually, they've been separated since December according to the divorce petition Cruise filed today citing divergent career paths as the reason for divorce. Gee, didn't see that one coming a mile away, did ya? I think People Magazine is the source behind all these Hollywood breakups. Well, I wouldn't say they are directly responsible, per se. Hear me out on this one. People talks about just that... people. Yet, it seems to me that when they feature some long-term Hollywood marriage and call it an example to all the short-lived marriages in the world, that is usually the end of it all. Their track record speaks volumes: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore - 10 years and it died hard; Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison - 10+ years, six days, seven nights, and kaput; Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan - roughly ten years and it gets gladiatored. Now, it's Tom and Nicole - 11 years before they discovered it was a mission: impossible. Sorry about all the movie title puns, they just seemed to work.
I remember a great line from Sam Elliot in The Big Lebowski that goes something like "A wiser man than myself once said, 'sometimes you eat the bar and... sometimes, the bar, well, it eats you." I always liked this line yet I was never quite able to explain it to people who couldn't understand my love of it. After today I can. There are those days when you just can't quite get yourself going and there are those where you can, but everything in the world seems set upon making your life suck that day. That's been my Tuesday so far. I felt fine when I woke up, fine on the drive to work, fine when I got here... however, I've been having computer problems today like no other. Repeated crashes, frozen applications, the works. I'd find something else to do if my entire existence here at AU wasn't based on computers. I'm a web developer for the love of God. When I'm not doing that, I'm working on desktop publishing. "Desktop" as in desktop computers. What are you supposed to do when this sort of crap happens. Bad thing today is that it wasn't just this old Mac, it was also my PC. Arrrgggggghhhhhhh. 'Nuff said.
Last week, Katie accused me of forgetting to post news that she got a new job working with school district 15 as an assistant speech pathologist with preschoolers. (Imagine a voice from those old coffee commercials) What Katie doesn't realize is that I've secretly been planning to post news of her new job the day before her first day so that she would be ambushed by e-mail congratulations from all two of you reading this website. Only then will I tell her that I switched her normal brand of coffee with... just kidding. So congratulations to Katie and I hope that all of you will e-mail her and wish her good luck. Good luck, hon, and I love you.
In a bit of sad news today, veteran KISS drummer Peter Criss will not be playing with the band during the Australia and Japan legs of the band's farewell tour. Apparently, KISS could not meet the contractual demands that Criss and his agents put forth. Go figure. All about the money, eh? However, this disagreement does not mean that Criss won't be playing with KISS for the final multi-night stand at Madison Square Garden in NYC. That's still open. So, while he's out of the band, he's not really out, per se. Who ever can understand how this stuff works?
I feel like such a near-weakling... a weenie in the midst of modern American television programming... scum on the floor of a taxicab. But not quite. I saw previews for last night's "Temptation Island" and they actually looked good. I almost caved in and watched my first episode of network reality TV. God, help me, I can't believe I nearly gave it up. I have been so proud of myself for having never watched "Survivor," "Survivor II," "Big Brother," or any of the other shows. I almost lost my pride for what is probably the worst of them all. "Worst" in terms of morality and ethics, of course. But, I held strong and watched "Drew Carey" and played a round of MLB Pennant Race for the PSX, instead. Phew! That was a close one.