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5 posts from August 2003

Oldies: Sunday, August 24 - Saturday, August 30, 2003...

Friday, 29 August 2003: I can't believe that I'm actually at work today. I know it may not sound weird to many of you out there that I'm working on a Friday. God forbid, right? Well, to me it's weird because I haven't worked a single Friday here at AU since June 13. That's a good two and a half months. I took off on June 20 and 27 because of the cruise. The next Friday after that was July 4 which is a federal holiday here in the States. And then I just decided to take off the next bunch of Fridays using vacation days that I have stored up so I can spend time with Katie. It's been nice. I haven't missed the place at all. But, now I'm back. And I don't like it. At least I still get a long weekend now because Monday is Labor Day. But it's just not the same because Katie has to work. Yuck. I want my Fridays back.

Thursday, 28 August 2003: It's been a helluva long time since I've boarded my soapbox, so "All Aboard!"

I'm going to take this moment to discuss some music lately that has really pissed me off to no end.

The first is Metallica. They recently released their first studio album since, I believe, 1996's "ReLoad". I was once a pretty big Metallica fan and I've got to say that I'm really not much of one anymore. They've completely wussed out. I have heard two songs from this new album (what's it called... something like "Self Loathing, Inc.") and I can say, with no reservations, that it sucks. If both of the made-for-radio tracks suck, that doesn't say a whole helluva lot for the rest of the album, now does it? These guys were once the kings of speed metal. They were hard, fast, and unrelenting. They took no prisoners. Now, they're just in it for the money. They're corporate puppets. They are now all about the bottom line. In Metallica's own words... sad, but true.

The next target of today's wrath is the Counting Crows. I really liked these guys for quite a while. No, I don't own any of their albums, but I always dug their sound and rarely ever turned the dial when a song of theirs would come on. Now, they've ruined it for me. They've covered a classic called "Parking Lot" which I believe was originally performed by Joni Mitchell and just mangled the hell out of it. The cover is officially credited to Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton, and I just don't understand why. The only part she has in the song is effectively contained within the line, "mmm, bop, bop, bop." Does that really warrant co-artist credit? No, I don't think so. And the radio stations, at least in the Chicago area, are killing us with overplay of this song. That and we now have to deal with these stupid Kids Rock commercials advertising a CD with today's popular songs sung by children and this is one of them. Why God? Why?

Popular music has just been so painful for the last decade. And the RIAA thinks that sales are down because of file sharing? No, blame the artists and producers. They put out shit and expect it to sell. Most of the time, it does. The rest of the time, people realize how bad it is and just don't buy it.

Soapbox dismounted... for now.

Wednesday, 27 August 2003: I think it's about time to start revisiting some of the links in the right column. I've noticed that many of those sites, I just don't care about anymore. So, since the new TV season is starting, I may begin adding links to the homepages of some of our favorite TV shows. That could be cool, right? If you don't agree, TS. That's all I've got to say.

Tuesday, 26 August 2003: Since my friend Wiggy, who set himself up as the commissioner of our fantasy football league this year, has been acting like a complete slackass lately (we haven't even conducted a draft yet), I went ahead and joined a second league for fantasy football. This one is just a public league through Yahoo with a bunch of people I've never met at all. Well, they definitely are not slackers in this league. Within 12 hours of joining, we held our draft. Here's my team, and I must say that I'm pretty impressed with it despite having very few bench positions that I can play with...

Starters (how they were ordered by Yahoo; not necessarily how I will start them):

  • QB:Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay)
  • WR: Eric Moulds (Buffalo), Derrick Mason (Tennessee), Troy Brown (New England)
  • RB: LaDanian Tomlinson (San Diego), Travis Henry (Buffalo)
  • TE: Todd Heap (Baltimore)
  • K: Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland)
  • DEF: Oakland

Bench:

  • QB: Steve McNair (Tennessee)
  • WR: Corey Bradford (Houston), Chris Chambers (Miami)
  • RB: Kevan Barlow (San Francisco)
  • TE: Matt Schobel (Cincinnati)
  • K: Paul Edinger (Chicago)

I'm pretty happy with several of my picks like Moulds, Mason, Tomlinson, Henry, and Heap. I really dig on Janikowski and Johnson as well. Hell, I'm ecstatic about my backup QB McNair and may wind up starting him over my designated starter.

However, I'm not too keen on the fact that the commish in this public league set us up for a three receiver starting lineup and only gave us six bench spaces. I'd like to ditch one of my backup receivers so I can nab an alternate running back. However, when you look at my bye weeks, I lose two of my starting receivers in week 9, so I need both of my bench receivers to fill in that week. I've already got a pending free agent pick up (should go through tonight) so I can nab the Titans defense as a backup in place of Schobel at TE. I really don't need a second TE as I would lose very few points during the week that Heap is off. TE's never really score much anyway unless you're Tony Gonzalez from Kansas City or Jeremy Shockey from the New York Giants (who was my TE last season). If I don't have a backup DEF, I could lose some pretty serious points during that off week.

Wow, can't believe I'm actually going to balance two teams. Aye aye aye.

Monday, 25 August 2003: I know I've told you all about how I watch "Spin City" in the morning, right? Well, right afterwards, I usually tune in to "Today" on NBC.

Lately, I've been noticing an alarming trend... it is very rare that you actually see both Katie Couric and Matt Lauer cohosting at the same time. I don't think I've seen it in several weeks to be honest with you. Either one of them is on location or on vacation or some such. Think about it, the last couple of weeks, Katie was hosting with Lester Holt while Matt was "away" and now Matt has either Anne Curry or some other woman whose name I don't know as his cohost while Katie is on a two-week vacation. And several times before that, one of them would be on location doing a report while the other is in the studio. I know that this is the prime time to take vacation, but with all the murmuring I've heard lately about what a diva Katie Couric can be, I'm wondering if the two just don't get along anymore. When they are together on screen, they seem relatively cool towards each other and I don't mean "cool" as in "hip, friendly, cool."

Sunday, 24 August 2003: If you've been following the "Recent Updates" box lately, you may have noticed a big difference from the norm. Instead of a ton of new movie reviews, as would normally be the case, there have been very few of those and a ton of book reviews. Never really thought about until today as I was typing up two new reviews and I remembered that I had typed up two more earlier this week while, in the same time span, I've only watched one movie and that was a DVD rental. Oh, and the fifth book review was written by my friend. So much for being the raging movie freak I always claimed to be, eh?


Oldies: Sunday, August 17 - Saturday, August 23, 2003...

Saturday, 23 August 2003: Last night was date night for Katie and I and both of us were feeling like it was about time. Not that we don't do stuff together and go out and whatnot. But we just haven't gone out to dinner with each other in a while for the express purpose of having a nice meal and sitting down and letting someone else wait on us while we just talk and enjoy the evening.

So, last night we did. We drove out to DeKalb to our favorite Mexican restaurant Eduardo's and scarfed some of the best TexMex we've found anywhere in the northern Illinois area thus far (I'm sure there may be better somewhere, but we have yet to find it). We also had some daiquiris and followed the whole deal up with a serving of fried ice cream. And it was no small serving, let me tell you. Good thing we just split the one.

Afterwards, we came home and camped out on the living room floor. Yes, you read that right, we camped out on the floor complete with blankets and pillows and a big pitcher of my homemade margaritas.

The margaritas were a key ingredient in drowning out our worries because, while driving home from DeKalb, we got word via cell phone from my mom that my grandma was in the hospital because of a botched routine checkup. Yes, everything turned out okay, but we were worrying for most of the night and the margaritas did make everything easier. No, we're not raging alcoholics (I'm sure that "drowning our worries in alcohol" may argue the case against us), I swear.

We're both just happy that she's okay.

Wednesday, 20 August 2003: Several months ago, I reinstituted a feature that a friend of mine had on his website called the Golden Suck Award for those films that are so bad just in the previews, that there is no way in hell you would ever possibly even consider seeing it. Well, I have a new winner of this award.

[drum roll]

Marci X with Lisa Kudrow and Damon Wayans about a high-society socialite (Kudrow) and a gangsta rapper (Wayans) whose paths meet when his agent tries to overhaul his image. I just can't believe that Wayans would sink to this kind of below-the-belt strike on his fans after working so hard to establish himself as a respectable comedian with his sitcom "My Wife & Kids". This is just too much. No way. Wouldn't touch this movie with a ten-meter cattle prod.

Tuesday, 19 August 2003: Last night, Katie and I had the TV playing in the background and some tourism commercial for the state of Indiana came up. They had all the requisite "fun" video footage and, at the end, I swore I heard the voiceover announcer say, "...Proving once again that there's more to Indiana than just porn." No, that is not a typo. I did seriously think it sounded like he said "porn". I asked Katie, but she missed the comment entirely.

Only after about a minute did I finally realize that he must've actually said "corn". But damn. He was speaking in a slight southern accent and if I heard it that way, I'm sure someone else might, too.

Talk about your advertising campaigns. That would certainly drum up tourism to Indiana, don't you think? Play up the porn angle. Have Hef and Larry Flynt be the on-screen personalities. Jenna Jameson as a tour guide. Ron Jeremy as the next governor. The possibilities are limitless.

Monday, 18 August 2003: Well, for now at least, I think I'm finally caught up on all my book reviews. I kinda fell behind because I didn't feel like going in and creating a new page for Kurt Vonnegut reviews. But I just took a deep breath and dove right in. May find myself posting a few more reviews if my friend Mojo still wants to write some more. Yes, he's the one that contributed the Ball Four review. We shall see. Mojo?

Sunday, 17 August 2003: I read a beautiful political cartoon today in a past issue of either Time or Newsweek. Can't remember which mag or which particular issue it was in, so don't ask. It showed somebody standing outside a theater with the big word "Gigli" on the marquee. He's turning toward someone else and he says, "Al Q'aeda is claiming responsibility." Cracked me up. Makes perfect sense, too, doesn't it? There had to be some explanation.


Oldies: Sunday, August 10 - Saturday, August 16, 2003...

Thursday, 14 August 2003: Even at the ripe old age of 28, I still find it amazing how much fun can be derived from acting completely infantile.

Today at work, my coworker Stevie (short for "Stefanie") was making a call and was placed on hold. Just before she was put on hold, my other coworker, Eric, and I heard her say, "Hello, I'd like to speak to Dick." I'm sure you can see where this is going. Yes, we all love to laugh and be completely raunchy with each other. So, of course, Eric and I chime in with a chorus of "Stevie wants Dick," "Stevie's looking for Dick," and "Stevie needs Dick" among others with kind of a Beavis & Butthead lilt in our voices. Luckily she was on hold because she was dying laughing and yelling at us to shut up.

Ah the pursuit of entirely juvenile pleasures. There's nothing quite like it.

Wednesday, 13 August 2003: How'd you like to be one of the few to sport a T-shirt reading "I Survived Gigli"? Yes, if you live in the Boston area and are willing to sit through this piece of dreck this coming Thursday evening for the final local showing of the film, WBCN-FM will award you a T-shirt bearing that very mantra.

I actually think that the T-shirt idea is cool and, I would probably see it if I were in that area just to be able to own the shirt. Too bad I don't. Actually, I don't know if a T-shirt is enough reason to give away those two hours of my life. Well, not that I really need to worry about it, since I'm nowhere near Boston.

Cost $55 million to make and has only brought in $6M. Sad. Truly sad.

Tuesday, 12 August 2003: Ah, can you all hear that? It's a bell ringing the death knell for the T.V. series E.R.

Noah Wyle (Dr. John Carter) has announced that he is leaving the show for the majority of this coming season. He will appear in the first two episodes of this season, but then will be leaving to spend more time with his wife. No word on whether this is permanent or not. Of course, his rep says it's just a hiatus, but why would she say otherwise and therefore close the door on his role with the show? Maybe he'll rejoin Doctors Without Borders which was what he was partaking in at the end of last season. If he decides not to come back to the show, they'll just have his character killed off by guerillas or he'll get amoebic dysentery or something. Who knows?

No matter what happens, though, this is not a good sign for the show. He was the only regular cast member who had been with the show from the start. He's the reason that most people still tune in. Take that along with CBS's Without A Trace offseason popularity surge (scheduled in the same time slot as E.R.) and it spells nothing but trouble for the show.

May not be long...


Oldies: Sunday, August 3 - Saturday, August 9, 2003...

Saturday, 9 August 2003: I am so ticked off right now. I was scheduled for a closing shift at the gym and, being a weekend with beautiful weather, I knew there would hardly be anyone there for the entirety of my five-hour shift. Oh, was I ever right. No more than a dozen people came in the whole night. So I planned in advance to work on one of my freelance projects by bringing in my laptop (I'm working on a website for a girl named Maria McNeil who is a jazz vocalist trying to make it in the music industry). I placed all the files on a ZIP disk and packed up my PowerBook and took it in to work.

What's the snag? I forgot all the fonts that I need to get the pages done. My coworker Eric was responsible for designing the layout on her CD and he did a really nice job and got me all the stuff I needed for the site. Fonts included. And I forgot them. There sitting on my Mac at my other job because, and don't ask me how, I forgot to copy them to the ZIP.

This would have been the perfect opportunity to get some real work done on this site, and what do I, the ultimate bonehead, do? I forget one of the most essential pieces for the site. This sucks. What a waste of good freelance opportunity. This just means that I'm gonna have to drive into the office tomorrow and nab the fonts so I don't waste all of tomorrow as well sitting idly by.

Thursday, 7 August 2003: In the "Duh" political announcement of the week, Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially announced that he is running for governor of California against Gray Davis in the recall vote to take place, I believe, next month. Not that this wasn't expected. Schwarzy has been harboring political ambitions for years and it was just a matter of time and convincing considering his wife is a Kennedy relation and, therefore, staunchly democratic while he's a republican.

C'mon folks, did you really think he wasn't going to run? He's been talking about it for months. If he didn't run now, it would've been like Ross Perot a couple of Presidential elections ago when he was running, then he wan't, then he was again. If Ahnuld didn't run for governor after all this hype, he would have lost all credibility in any future elections he decided to run in. It was now or never.

The one thing I'm kinda looking forward to is the campaign process. Not that I'll see all of it being as I live in Illinois and not California, but I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage in the news. The reason I'm curious as to how it's going to be run is because Gray Davis is known for his smear campaigns and The Terminator acknowledged this last night on The Tonight Show while announcing his candidacy. But, seriously, what don't we already know about him that Davis could possibly dig up? He's been in the spotlight for over two decades and has been the focal point of much scrutiny already especially after marrying into the Kennedy clan. What don't we know? I would think nothing.

Well, it should be interesting all the same.

Let's see... we've got Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota. Schwarzenegger is running for the governor's seat in California. Now we just need Bill Duke or Carl Weathers to run for some government position and we'll have The Predator Trifecta.

Wednesday, 6 August 2003: I'm finding it so hard to believe that the new T.V. season is nearly upon us. I was really starting to enjoy not having any shows to watch on a weekly basis. It truly makes for a much more enjoyable week. But now they have started. Well, in very small scale I suppose.

Last night, for example, FOX debuted their new drama The O.C. (which refers to Orange County -- the L.A./Beverly Hills area of southern California) starring Peter Gallagher as a public defender named Sandy Cohen who takes in one of his clients, Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), who is thrown out of his mother's house after he is busted with his brother for grand theft auto. Of course, it's your typical fish-out-of-water story... the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks trying to figure out how he fits into this new life in the glam and glitter world of Orange County. However, this kid McKenzie is pretty good so far. Katie and I taped the first episode and watched it later on in the evening and enjoyed it thoroughly. We especially enjoyed the interplay between the street smart Ryan and Sandy's geeky and highly unpopular son Seth (Adam Brody). The premiere episode is being rebroadcast on FOX tomorrow night at around 8 p.m. CDT so tune in. I hope it stays as good as the first episode.

In other news, yesterday a package arrived in the mail for me from a local radio station with a free copy of the DVD for Shanghai Knights starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. It would seem that I've won another contest through their website. I think that makes three, if not more, that I've won by being a member of their site. The first prize was a copy of Jackie Brown on DVD and the second one was about 10 tickets to a one-year anniversary celebration of the opening of a bar in Chicago called Hogs & Honeys. Wasn't able to attend the party and I couldn't give away the tickets (I had to be there to claim them) unfortunately. But I have been enjoying my copy of Jackie Brown. Much better the second time around than it was the first time I saw it.

Does anyone else out there own Shanghai Knights yet? I'm curious because mine seems to be a normal copy save for the fact that there is no insert card inside the case showing chapter titles or anything else. Only thing in the case was the DVD. Are all of them like this or is mine an unmarked promotional copy that just doesn't have all the bells and whistles? It looks like I've got all the same special features contained on the disc itself. Somebody let me knwo.

And you may have noticed that I've added some pictures to the Photo Album section. Yes, I have finally added the digital prints, but hey, it's a start, right? More will be coming as soon as I get off my lazy butt and scan some of the 35mm prints. So keep checking back. Also included in this batch of photo album updates are shot from this past weekend's trip to the Tall Ships 2003 exhibition near Navy Pier in Chicago. Check them out as well. This is all that I'm posting for this gallery since that's pretty much all I took.

Tuesday, 5 August 2003: I hope this isn't just a ploy to boost her popularity and really is just a means of raising what I would expect to be some major funds for charity.

You may or may not have heard of the song "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon. Well, for decades, there has been speculation about who the song is referring to. Some of the guesswork has been directed towards actor Warren Beatty as well as Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger and Simon's ex-husband James Taylor. Well, Simon has never publicly stated who it's about which has only added fuel to the speculative fire.

Now she's spilling the beans. But only to one lucky person who wins a bidding war. Of course, that person will be sworn to secrecy by signing away their life on what's bound to be a stack of legal documents that could choke a horse.

Well, the winner, with a bid of $50,000 is NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol.

I don't know that I'd want to win this or know the identity of the subject of the song. First, it would be hell to keep it a secret. Second, it would be hell to be hounded by the press who will likely stop at nothing to get you to spill the beans. Lastly, I just wouldn't want to know because I'm of the opinion that the answer to the riddle is not nearly as much fun as the speculation as to the secret Narcissus' identity.

Oh well, just my two Lincolns.

Monday, 4 August 2003: Ah, football season is almost upon us. No, for you non-U.S.ians, I am not referring to your idea of football -- I am not talking about soccer. I mean good old fashioned, hard hitting, NFL style FOOTBALL. Tonight, ABC will be showing the Hall of Fame preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Oh, I am so looking forward to this game. Tune me in, baby!

Okay, so the game was called in the third quarter due to storms in Canton, Ohio. The Chiefs wound up being declared the winner in what was definitely a kicker's game since the only scoring game from Chiefs kickers, 9-0. Wasn't all that exciting as both of the teams really didn't run their starters for all that long. But when do they ever run starters for an entire game in the preseason?


Oldies: Sunday, July 27 - Saturday, August 2, 2003...

Saturday, 2 August 2003: Today was a helluva day. I opened the gym this morning after closing it last night. Then after my shift ended at 12 noon, Katie and I were hightailing it to the Geneva train station to try to catch the 12:05 train to Chicago. We were there in time, just couldn't find a parking space. Suffice it to say, the train left without us. So, we decided to hightail it yet again to Aurora to see if we could possibly catch the 12:30 train. Missed that one by 5 minutes, tops.

The reason we were trying to catch any train was because we were going to meet my parents and my brother and his girlfriend (basically, the Canoe Crew) to see the Tall Ships 2003 exhibition at Navy Pier in Chicago. If you're wondering what that is, well, it's like it sounds... tall ships... as in big masts and sails like how they used to operate before the days of steam/coal/nuclear engine rooms. And we were really hauling it was because we would have to wait two hours for the next scheduled train. Really bright on Metra's part to run the trains in two-hour intervals on a weekend with several events occuring in Chicago (it was also Venetian Night).

Well, we finally did make it to Chicago. Two hours later than we had hoped to, but we made it. These ships were very cool indeed, but I really think they should try to display them in a city where the surrounding architecture is quite so massive. You would expect these boats to be absolutely majestic and I'm sure, given the proper context, they are. But when they are backed up by some of the tallest buildings in the nation, they don't seem quite so regal. The few ships that were actually out sailing and not tied to Navy Pier were incredible to behold. In fact I've got a picture of one such ship in the Photo Album (along with several other shots from the day).

After viewing the ships, we all decided to try and grab something to eat. Well, Navy Pier certainly was not the place to try and scarf some grub as you would be waiting in line for hours for a seat. So we went to the Magnificent Mile to see what we could find. The Cheesecake Factory said it would be a mere 2 1/2 hour wait. I don't think so.

So we found this place on the first floor of Watertower Place that allowed you to grab payment cards and go to any of about a half dozen different restaurants and order whatever you want. They swipe your card and then you pay when you're done. Katie got a 1/4 chicken with some sides while I nabbed me a fried shrimp po'boy sandwich from a little cajun place. Of course I had some red beans and this creamed corn salad, both of which were excellent.

Finally, we decided to leave and, based on the time, we had to haul it yet again because if we didn't make the next train, it would be, yep you guessed it, a two-hour wait. So, instead of walking it like Katie and I normally would, we split a cab with my parents who had to get to their station even more urgently since their train left 10 minutes before ours did. We were exhausted when all was said and done to say the very least.

Wednesday, 30 July 2003: I'm sorry, but this is getting really old really quick. The Foursome of Fear from the hit show The West Wing -- Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and John Spencer -- are, once again, demanding monster increases in their salaries.

History lesson: two years ago, these same four went to NBC and demanded that their salaries be doubled per episode from $40,000 to $80,000. In exchange, they agreed to a contract that would keep them on the show through the 2005-06 season. Luckily for the show's crew, NBC agreed or the four of them said they'd stage a walkout so the show couldn't tape. During negotiations, NBC threatened to sue the four of them for breach of contract. And it would've been well within their right to do so.

Now, they want to see their pay raise to $150,000 per episode. And, again, they're threatening to hold out from taping should the need arise. What are there, something like 24 episodes in a standard broadcast season? At the $80K rate they currently earn, that equals $1.92 million per season. Plus you wind up with several months off during which you can either go home or work in some films and earn even more money on top of that. Do you really need to make yourselves look like whiny little snobs by demanding an increase to $3.6 million a year when you're still under contract at the other amount? Do you not understand the concept of "contract"? Can't you just wait things out until the end of your contractual obligation and then renegotiate? You're not exactly helping your fanbase here by doing this.

In my opinion, pick two of the four and give them a raise and fire the other two. See how well the Foursome holds up when two get what they want and the others do not. Tell them that the other option is that all four get fired. Heck, if David E. Kelley can clean house at Boston Public and The Practice, why can't they do the same with this show? Egos are far too overinflated as are the pay scales.

And the first one I want to see go is Bradley Whitford. Not that I have anything against his acting ability. Just him in principle. He and his wife, Jane Kaczmarek of Malcolm in the Middle, are renowned for these underhanded renegotiation tactics. Two years ago, in the midst of the West Wing renegs, Kaczmarek staged a holdout on her set by claiming that she was sick. Until they renegotiated her contract and she was all better, that is. In my humble opinion, the two episodes that were taped without her in them were some of the best on the show. This opportunity really allowed Hal (Bryan Cranston) to shine. And, since I believe he and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) are the best characters on the show, I was more than happy to watch them. I'm just waiting to hear that she's threatening another walkout. I know it's coming. It's just a matter of time.

tick tock... tick tock...

Tuesday, 29 July 2003: For the last couple of years, my pre-work morning routine -- aside from a shower and breakfast -- consisted of tuning in to TBS to watch reruns of Saved by the Bell. I dunno why I would do it. It's a really stupid show, but it was such a part of my life early on that it's hard to shake. Kinda like how I still tune in to The Brady Bunch every so often.

Well, perhaps I'm finally growing up a bit... nahhh. Just kidding. Sorry. I guess I'm just sick of the fact that TBS seems to have a fixed rotation of which episodes they play and when. But I've decided to finally kick my SBTB habit in favor of WCIU's morning broadcast of Spin City. Now that's a great show. I dunno how long this channel has been airing SC in syndication, but I've finally found it and now I'm tuning in each morning. If you have the chance in the morning and you get "the U" (WCIU, that is), then tune in. It's really making my mornings just a little more bearable.

Oh yeah, I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night. Good book. Glad to see that J.K. Rowling fell back into the groove effectively.

Monday, 28 July 2003: I realize that the updates haven't exactly been free flowing as of late and I apologize. But there are several reasons for the seeming bout of Rowling Syndrome.

1. I've been busy as hell at work. I've been nailed with new projects these last couple of weeks and I've been trying to actually keep on top of it all. It's been working for the most part. I'm actually through a majority of them although some of them linger on still.

2. I've been busy outside of my normal job with a second job. Not too big of a deal, admittedly, but it has taken up some of my what would otherwise be stagnant nocturnal hours. You see, since Katie works two nights a week and, at the end of August, she will be starting a night class the other two nights, I figured I may as well pick up a second job to fill in some time. So I got a part-time gig at the Sunset Racquetball & Fitness Center where Katie and I work out all the time. I work behind the desk a couple of nights a week accepting ID cards and money as well as laundering towels. It's really only about ten hours a week, but it's grocery money and I get a free gym membership out of the deal so why the heck not? These first couple weeks have been busy because I'm in training and they're trying to get me in there as much as possible so I can be ready to work on my own very soon (like opening the gym this coming Saturday.

3. I've been trying my damndest to actually finish reading J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book in the last five years. And 870 pages ain't no walk in the park. I only have one chapter left and you guys will all have a new review to read, I promise. Maybe, soon after that, you may finally get those cruise photos I've been promising. One can hope, right?