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34 posts from October 2005

We'll do the Mash; we'll do the Monster Mash...

My lunch du jour...

Fried Body Parts
Shrunken Head in Brain Sauce

Remember the good old days in grade school when they gave your food special names to reflect Halloween?  Oh, how I miss those days.  Yeah, at the time, it was cheesy.  But, looking back now, I realize they were just trying to make the dining hall experience as pleasant as possible.

This is what they did here where I work.  They renamed the menu for today and this is what I ate.

Unfortunately, it only really translates to hamburger, mac and cheese, and baked potato with chili (I opted out of the brain sau... er... chili part).  Not nearly as exotic as the thought of crunching into a batter-friend femur, but, I guess it'll do.

Now, if only I was around for dinner, I could be dining on Ground Hog Stew (beef stroganoff over egg noodles).  Again, the fantasy is much tastier than the reality.

MiscjackolanternSo, officially... Happy Halloween!!!!

I am soooooo looking forward to tonight.  We've purchased a couple of bags of candy in anticipation of kids coming around.  And I hope they do.  It'll be nice to actually have trick or treaters this year.  I know I've harped about this before, but we never got them in four Halloweens at our old apartment.  And that really puts a damper on my favorite holiday.

So now I expect the kids out in full force.  I'll probably be so excited that I'll actually count how many kids come by and take photos of some of the cooler costumes.  Here's hoping the parents don't womp my ass as though I'm some sort of pervert posting pictures of little kids on the Internet. 

I'll let you know what the total tally -- of both the trick or treaters and the teeth remaining in my mouth -- is tomorrow.

Would it be inappropriate to show up at the door in a blood-covered flannel shirt whilst gunning my reciprocating saw?

I just hope I don't run out of candy or I'll have to resort to bottles of beer and shots of tequila (still have plenty of that Sam's Club uberbottle left).


Some will win, some will lose...

I find it funny how closely current events and movie/music sales are tied together.

I was surfing around the top 100 song list on iTunes Music Store when I discovered that Eminem's song "Lose Yourself" which was released on CD on October 29, 2002, and has been out of regular radio rotation since about the summer of 2003, is now listed at #17.  The only thing I can come up with are the Lugz-boots "inspired" ads for the new iPod featuring Marshall Mathers singing the track in the now-infamous pseudo-silhouette style associated with almost all iPod and iTunes ads.

MiscwarrenzevonAnd, Halloween season is upon us or so it would seem based on the fact that Ray Parker, Jr's, "Ghostbusters" theme song (#28), Boris Pickett's "Monster Mash" (#32), Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (#43), John Carpenter's "Halloween" theme song (#44) are all in the top 100.  The Halloween package is lead by Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at #20 overall.  Or maybe it has to do with his announcement that he will make his permanent residence in Bahrain.  Six of one...

But the one I found the funniest was Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" now at #31 (it peaked at #25).  This is obviously because the song was the unofficial theme song for the Chicago White Sox in their 2005 championship season.  I can't fathom any other reason why this song would be so popular right now.  Yes, it's a good song and one I love listening to, but for it to be on the charts?  And to compound my confusion, this World Series is officially the lowest-rated televised Series in history.  So how does the song bounce up that high if so few cared about the games?  Weird.  According to the story I linked, it peaked at #3 on the iTMS rock charts.  This song came out back in 1980.

Am I missing any potential explanations for this phenomenon?  Will we all come crashing back down to reality sometime soon?


Wake me up before you go-go...

After a late night playing games with friends, the one thing I wasn't looking forward to this morning was getting up to open the gym.

But, on second thought, I kinda am.

Mostly because I want to see how many morons showed up to the gym at what they thought was 7:30 in the morning to work out or play racquetball (a surprisingly popular early Sunday morning activity; don't ask me why) and actually have been sitting there since 6:30 because they forgot to set their clocks back an hour.

Oh, please God, make this morning worth my while.  I need some idiots to scorn.

Please?


Everything's coming to a grinding halt... (Part II)

As you all know, the Lord Kapgar decreed yesterday a half day so that I may wait anxiously at home for the SBC DSL service technicians to arrive and fix my home connection.

But they never came.

Around 4 p.m., I finally called SBC and asked where the heck they were.  They were scheduled to arrive "between 1 and 5 p.m.  Apparently, shortly before they were to come out and check out what was wrong, they noticed an inordinate number of service requests all from the same area where I live.  They finally put two and two together (a mighty feat from the sound of things) and realized that it must be a remote terminal on the fritz. 

So they went out and fixed that.  Never called to tell me that they never needed to come to my place.  I never even needed to be at home.

They apologized for the lack of a call.  Yeah, right, whatever.  Cockknockers.

I cleaned.  Yeah, you read that right.  I cleaned our house so that we wouldn't look like complete and utter slobs when the technician came.  I even withdrew some cash from the ATM in hopes that this guy might know how to install phone jacks and would do so for a little "under the table" money so we could avoid a second service call (SBC maintains that phone jacks and DSL service are two different services that can only be accomplished by two different service technicians... I think that's hooey).

Didn't need the money.  But the pad sure looks nice.  Just gotta dust and vaccuum now. 

DSL is up and running.  A little sluggish, but it's running.  Okay, more like jogging.  Just so long as it doesn't pull another Jim Fixx.


Everything's coming to a grinding halt...

And Kevin spoke, saying unto the world, "let Friday be a half day."

So it was said, and so it was done.

For Kevin, anyway.

Yeah, today I left work at noon because of that ridiculously huge range of hours during which utility technicians may or may not actually arrive at my house to do some work.  Ever since we upgraded to the higher of the two speeds of DSL service through SBC, our connection has been wonky, to be nice about it.

Sometimes it works great, sometimes it works terribly, sometimes it doesn't work at all.

And the service is the only thing that could possibly have gone wrong as I have made no changes whatsoever to my computer.  No new software, no new files, no nothing.  I upgraded the OS approximately six months ago but it worked fine with the low-end DSL that we had for the first 10 months living in our townhome.  That DSL worked GREAT!  In fact, I was so happy with the service that I wholeheartedly recommended SBC DSL service to anyone and everyone I knew. 

Now, not so sure.  They ran a line check from the SBC service office and the first test came back negative (read: it all worked for them, so it looked negative for me).  The second test said that I was not receiving optimum connection speeds on my DSL.

Well, duh.

Hence why I called customer service in the first place.  Morons.  Do you really think I enjoy the realization that dial-up service worked faster than this "high-speed" DSL? 

No, I'm not completely trashing SBC yet.  For 10 months, I was completely satisfied with the service.  Now, if they tell me that they can do nothing or that the solution isn't compatible with Macintosh, just read as I trash talk them from here to eternity. 

I don't think it'll be a problem though.  They should be able to fix it.  And I'll soon be back up to snuff surfing and posting from home.  Hopefully.

If not, I'll be trick or treating the local SBC office.


Cause to me everyday is Halloween...

This is it, folks... The All Hallow's Meme.

And please be honest in your answers.  We're all friends; we won't report each other to their respective authorities.

I'll list all the questions first, and follow up with my own answers below the list.  That way, you can copy and paste the questions to your own blogs or in my comments without having to clear out my answers and, thus, waste a bunch of time.

  1. Do you prefer "trick" or "treat"?  Please explain.
  2. What year did you quit trick or treating?  How old were you then?
  3. What was your favorite costume?  Did you make or buy it?  How much did you spend on it (money or time)?
  4. What are/were your five most favorite things to receive when trick or treating?
  5. What are/were your five least favorite things to receive when trick or treating?
  6. Have you ever been chased by cops or unruly mobs of costumed children on Halloween?
  7. What's the worst thing you've ever done on Halloween?
  8. What is your biggest Halloween disappointment?

And, now, my answers...

  1. Definitely "treat."  As much fun as tricks may be, they never have the longevity of treats.  Just ask my brother who packratted Halloween candy for as long as a decade or even more (the only reason it was finally thrown away was because he left for college and my parents trashed it - probably danced a little jig afterwards).  Also, once I got in high school, tricking required no specially designated day.  Treating still did.
  2. 1996 (21).  I actually quit back in 1992 when I was 17.  But, one year in college, some friends and I decided to go around the campus and surrounding neighborhood for kicks before getting trashed at a frat party.
  3. Miscperseus_1I had two and my mom made both.  One was me as Perseus from Clash of the Titans; a costume that was remade for my college Halloween escapades as well.  Came complete with toga, cape, winged sandals (yes, he had Pegasus in the movie; but a papier maiche horse was a bit too much work), Greek warrior helmet, sword, shield, and Halloween candy bucket made up to look like Medusa's severed head.  Sorry, at six years old, I wasn't nearly as studly as Harry Hamlin back in his heyday.  The second was Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi.  My mom sewed up a big old, black, hooded cloak and then painted my face in grey with black lines to look like his Imperial mangledness.  You'd have to ask her how much was spent.  I really should ask her if she has pictures.
  4. Tootsie Rolls, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Atomic Fireballs, and caramel apples.
  5. Change (I always wound up with just pennies), Double Bubble, candy that was opened and split up (cheap bastards... and my mom always threw out the opened stuff), coupons, and anything non-candy.
  6. Unruly mobs of costumed fellow classmates, yes.  Egging and other food-based ambushes are not recommended for those with social aspirations.
  7. I've done so many bad things, I can't quite remember if they happened to fall on Halloween or not.  But I'm sure there were a few instances of egging, whip creaming, and TPing.
  8. Aside from being deemed by society to be too old to trick or treat, I hate the fact that Katie and I spent four years in our apartment and never had a single trick or treater come to our door.  We even bought candy.  Truly sad.  I hope that changes this year in our new place.

Hey, cut me some slack, it's the first meme I've ever written so I'm sure it's not terribly original.  Nor should it be terribly terrible, though.  I just hope you have some fun with it and laugh about the memories.

Do feel free to share.


We are the champions, my friends...

Well, more specifically, the Chicago White Sox are the champions... er... my friends.

Finishing out a season in which everyone was convinced they would eventually roll over and die like a fish caught on dry land, the White Sox have won the World Series.  Were there some controversial calls?  Yep.  Did the Sox catch a ton of breaks that they probably should not have?  Yep.  But do they still deserve it?  You betcha.

So my sincere congratulations (and my envy) go to Sox players and true Sox fans in the world.  It's been 88 years.  Have some fun with this.

Miscchisoxcapture

"Cubbies, come out to play-i-ay!" 

The heat is now on for my Cubbies

Before these last couple of seasons, they had fallback excuses.  Any time they failed to do well in the regular or post season, they could always just say "wait until next year" and point to their fellow perennial losers, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox.  And, for some reason, we fans would accept that.  Not anymore, guys.  They both have won World Series titles and swept their way to it, no less.

"Lovable Losers" just ain't gonna cut it anymore.  There are no excuses left.  In my mind, right now, you're just "losers," plain and simple.  Stop blaming the goat and Bartman and just play.  And you'd better do it soon.  I get the feeling that my fellow Chicagoans' patience is going to be running quite thin this next season and you might see some defection.  The "Friendly Confines" had damned well better become the place where opposing teams come to die.

At least it's nice to see one Chicago team playing baseball.  Dunno what the Cubs were playing this year, but it certainly wasn't Major League-caliber baseball.  I'd venture a bet that our local minor league team, the Kane County Cougars, could have a field day on the Cubs.

Oh, and I'm still working on my Halloween meme and it will come out later today.  Don't think I'm using this as my only post for the day.  Yep, it will be another multipost kind of day here at Kapgar.com.  Woo hoo!


Awooo... werewolves of London...

I think I'm going to tackle a couple of memes in the next post or two.  Nothing that I've been tagged with, but ones that I've either read on other blogs or am going to develop on my own.  I, also, don't plan to tag anyone with them. But, should you feel so inclined, feel free to steal them anyway.

The Halloween Movie Meme (courtesy of Johnny C.)
List your top-five Halloween or horror flicks:
Yes, I did post my list in his comments, but I figured I would copy them here with some expanded commentary (as I'm known and reviled for).

1.  The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen
Hopefully, by now, it's the version that nearly everyone has seen.  I can't imagine a movie ever coming out that scares me like this one still does.  Even if I know what's coming up, I still jump out of sheer anticipation.  And, damn, if that cut SpiderWalk scene doesn't terrify the bejeezus out of me.  See it, love it, fear it.

2.  Stigmata
I really didn't expect much of this movie as it is a modernized horror flick and it stars one of the Arquettes, but it was damn good.  And freaky.  It's all about a woman in New York City who spontaneously bursts out in physical manifestations of the scourging of Christ.  Just promise me one thing, you will rent the director's cut and watch the extended version.  The non-theatrical ending is much better than what people saw in the theaters.

Miscamericanwerewolf3.  An American Werewolf in London
This is the ultimate werewolf flick, hands down.  Two young men from the U.S. go backpacking across England when they are attacked by a werewolf.  One dies while the other starts showing symptoms of slowing turning into a wolf himself.  Yes, by today's standards, the special effects may seem like they are lacking.  But if you are a film buff and like to see how special effects have evolved over the decades, this is a must see as it is one of the finest examples of Rick Baker's make up work ever.

4.  Halloween
In my mind, no character from a slasher flick can even compare to Michael Myers.  Well, except for the sheer physical presence of Kane Hodder as Jason Vorhees (too bad his scripts weren't better).  And, as pointed out in the film Scream, Jamie Lee Curtis is the Queen of Scream.

5.  Evil Dead
Campy?  Check.  Bloody?  Double check.  Just plain cool?  In spades, baby!  The King of B-Movies, Bruce Campbell, stars as "Ash" Williams, just a guy out with some friends for a night of drunken debauchery in a cabin in the woods.  Of course, plans start to go astray when they uncover the Book of the Dead and open it for a little read.  There are two sequels for this film -- Evil Dead 2 and The Army of Darkness -- and I highly recommend the latter for laughs and thrills.

I will give honorable mention status to films like The Shining, The Others, The Sixth Sense, and Scream

What are your faves?

Oh, and SJ at Chronic Listaholic did a Top Halloween Songs meme.  I would replicate that one here, but my choices would be almost exactly the same as hers.  So just read her list.

Back tomorrow with a homegrown (read: I made it myself) Halloween meme.


I'd like to say, have a happy holiday...

Ooohhhhh... two posts in one day!  Hey, can't help that I've got lots of cool stuff to discuss.  Actually, it's a bunch of smallish items I wanted to mention.

Of course, this just means that I won't have jack to talk about tomorrow.

However, this first bit is somewhat time sensitive and must be mentioned today, lest it be too late.

International Something For You Day:
Tonya at Adventure Journalist has declared today a new holiday.  Specifically, International Something For You Day.  Your task, should you choose to accept it (and I see no reason why you wouldn't want to) is to spend $25 on yourself.  Be like Tonya and buy something off your Amazon Wish List, go get a manicure/pedicure, get a very inexpensive lap dance (Johnny?), or fuel up your truck like I am for a cruise around the area taking autumn photos.  Whatever you choose, make it something for you.  And make sure to mark your calendars for next year.  This one's definitely worthy of inclusion in the annual holiday rotation.  Heck, as far as I'm concerned, it trumps quite of a few of the standards.

MiscibelieveiBelieve:
If you own an iPod Shuffle, might I suggest spending half that amount on a new accessory?  iBelieve is a lanyard and replacement cap for your Shuffle that converts it into a rather large, white plastic crucifix to hang around your neck.  I find this thing to be absolutely hilarious.  And, yes, it's legit.  The order function really does work.  No, I did not order one as I do not own a Shuffle.  But, this accessory alone almost makes me want to buy one.

Google Moon:
First it was the entertainingly interactive yet completely worthwhile and utilitarian Google Maps.  Then, we all had fun watching the camera zoom into our homes and whip around the planet with Google Earth.  Now, you can view the lunar landing sites of the late 60s/early 70s with Google Moon.  Just promise me one thing, you will zoom in to the landing sites as far as the map will let you go.  The detail is amazing!

Ted Allen:
I dunno how many of you are fans of Queen Eye for the Straight Guy, but their resident food and wine expert, Ted Allen, was in Naperville, Illinois, last night signing copies of his new cookbook, Food You Want To Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes, at Anderson's Bookshop.  Being the cookbook junkie that Katie is, she really wanted to be there.  Alas, she was working until 9:00 p.m.  So I went in to the signing for her.  He and Kyan were always my two faves on the show, so it was cool being able to meet Ted and have him sign the book as well. He really is a damn funny guy.  I've got a couple photos of him at the event up in Flickr (Photo 1 | Photo 2).


I can't stop this feelin', deep inside of me...

Oooohhh, today is not going to be good.  I just know it.

When the first thing you do upon waking up is to flick off your alarm clock... well, it's just not a good sign for things to come.  It's an inanimate object, for God's sake.  The sacred middle finger should be reserved for stupid people or select inanimate objects that portray stupid people: TVs, radios, movie screens, caricatures/photographs of George Bush, etc.

I'm just not going to like being awake today.

And I blame one thing... our TiVo and the CBS Monday night sitcom lineup.  Katie and I weren't home until just before 10 p.m. and yet we still watched our way through King of Queens, How I Met Your Mother, and Two and a Half Men.  Bed by 11:45 p.m. and awake at 6:00 a.m.  Ouch.

Was it just me, or were HIMYM and 2.5M absolutely hilarious last night?

MiscnphHIMYM is not the greatest show I've ever seen, but it has gotten progressively better with each episode.  And, damn if it isn't good to see Neil Patrick Harris back on the small screen.  The actor formerly known as Doogie Howser, M.D., steals every scene he even remotely occupies in that show.  And he's not even the primary star.  He's definitely a frontrunner in the Best New Comedy Actor category of the Kapgar.com Primetime Awards (fourth annual awards due out in May, maybe April).

While 2.5M started out a bit slow and weird, the last ten minutes more than made up for it.  I couldn't stop laughing when the coven drugged Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and were carrying him into the altar room chanting "anoint him... anoint him..." and he broke into a chorus of Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling."  And then seeing their mother (Holland Taylor) dressed as the Wicked Witch of the West -- and playing out the role quite well I might add -- was just classic.

To the outside reader, it may indeed sound like we watch a lot of TV.  And, by comparison to a lot of other people, we probably do.  But, Katie and I have cut nearly six hours of shows out of our weekly TV viewing schedule, and we even officially cut one more last night by axing The Biggest Loser (sorry, but it just sucks this season).  So I don't really feel that bad about it.  Heck, depending on how they play out over the next few weeks, we may cut a few more out of the regular viewing lineup.  We shall see.

And to our alarm clock, I apologize.  You are just doing your job.  Please don't take my outbursts personally.


People are strange...

What is it about sports that makes people so crazy?

Driving and walking around Chicago and the suburbs and watching local TV programming the way Katie and I have and you cannot help but feel Sox fever.  Hey, Chicago has a team in the World Series, what'd you expect?

But with all the fan fever come the idiots as well. 

I was talking with my marketing management professor from last semester and he told me that he is really excited about the White Sox in the World Series and has been watching the postseason, as a whole, pretty intently.  However, he has two kids in his Tuesday night class that are diehard Cubs fans and they are not at all excited about what is happening.

I have a single-word question for this dynamic duo... how?  How can you not feel it?  I know it's not the Cubs in the Series.  I know you wish it were.  Heck, I wish it were.  But I'm not going to deny the White Sox this shot in the Fall Classic.  They played some tough-nosed baseball and deserve to be where they are (could you give the Cubbies a few tips?).

This is Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.  A town starved of World Series titles for 88 years.  If it were the Cubs in the Series instead of the Sox, I would like to think that Sox fans would be rooting for us, albeit with a bit of envy in that cheering much like we are now, but it's cheering all the same.

Heck, even Ryne Sandberg, Hall-of-Fame firstbaseman for the Cubs and an avowed Cub fanatic, is rooting for the South Siders.  If he can shrug off the South Side/North Side rivalry and root for the Sox because they are a CHICAGO TEAM, then so can you. 

Guess what?  The Sox are in the World Series (and are up two games to none) and the Cubs are not.  Wanna know why?  The Sox played like a team that wanted to be in the Series and the Cubs did not.  So stop bitching about the Cubs not being in it and root for the Chicago team that is and place the blame where it belongs... on the players and coaching staff that comprise the Chicago Cubs organization.

Another idiot I heard about comes courtesy of film critic and White Sox nut, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times.  When interviewed on the Eric & Kathy Morning Show on WTMX 101.9 FM, he said that he heard (I don't know if it was in person or not) gripe about how the city's skyline buildings were not lighting their windows up at night in "White Sox colors" to celebrate the fact that the Sox were in the World Series.  He claimed that, if it were the Cubs in the Series, the windows would be blue and red as far as the eye can see.  "Why can't Chicago support the Sox the way they do the Cubs?"

This would be about the time that Roeper pointed out the obvious... the White Sox colors, for those not in the know, are black and white.  By having the lights on at all, you therefore have the white, but to have black, you must turn off the lights entirely rendering the skyline a major hazard for incoming flights.

Yes, this was an audio podcast, but I could just feel Roeper shaking his head in disbelief for this poor schmuck as he explained this on the air. 

If you are interested in hearing this one for yourself, subscribe to the Mix's free podcast using this feed (http://www.wtmx.com/podcast.php) and select either the October 20 or 21 podcast.  I'm pretty sure Roeper was interviewed in one of those two.

How Darwinism misses some people is beyond me.

No_evil
Image courtesy of ffitz images & design

To all you morons out there, please crawl back in the woodwork, under your rock, or whereever else it is that you came from before I am forced to hide out there in utter shame.


Mr. Jones and me, tell each other fairytales...

Here is a quickie Sunday post.  Done while watching the Bears/Ravens game and while Katie is lying dead asleep on the chair next to me.  Here is my first attempt at a photo ID contest. 

Having been inspired by the queen of photo ID contests, Jen at Run Jen Run, and by the fact that nobody other than SJ has attempted this mystery photo ID on my Flickr site, I figured I would open it to a bigger audience.  This will never compare to her originality nor range of photos per contest.  But I had taken this picture for kicks while down in Florida and I thought it turned out cool enough to post, abstract enough to leave people guessing, but not too terribly difficult that you cannot get it.

I haven't decided how long I will give you all to attempt it.  I guess it all depends on how many people take a stab at it.  So post your guesses in the comments.

Whatever could it be?  Well, it's not that difficult, in all honesty.  Katie got it the first time she looked at it with no prompting whatsoever.

Random Act of Senseless Thought:
I'm sure many of you have heard about the exploits of a couple weeks back of the Minnesota Vikings regarding prostitutes, strippers, and boats on a lake in Minnesota, haven't you?  Well, don't ask me where this came from, but if Chicago Bears runningback Thomas Jones (affectionately known as T.J.) were in on the party, could these women be called "T.J.'s Hookers"?  Guess you'd have to be a child of the 80s to catch this reference.


So long, farewell, auf wedersehen, goodbye.

... to our money, that is.

Whoever said wholesale clubs are a good thing?

In concept, they are great.  Find a bunch of stuff that people use on a regular basis and offer it in bulk amounts at a slightly reduced overall price.  When examined on a per-unit basis, yeah, you definitely save money.

But that certainly doesn't lessen the blow when your total is rung up at the register.

MiscsamsclubI swear you always go to these clubs -- such as Sam's Club and Costco -- with an agenda.  Katie's and my agenda today was to get me some deodorant and also get some more laundry detergent.

Did we walk out with what we hoped for?  Not exactly.

We found some great stuff in there that we never intended to shop for in the first place.  That's what kills you in any store in which you might shop.  I call it "Shopper's Doubt."  You walk in thinking you only need a few specific items, but then you see something else and you start to question whether you need it or not. 

Hmmm... do I have enough dryer sheets, kitty litter, Tootsie Rolls, printer cartridges, Razr Scooters, nosehair clippers, etc., to get me through life until my next visit? 

Well, better safe than sorry.

And you load up.

And they love you for it.

As if bulk pricing weren't enough, those evil wholesaling bastards then hook you with samples.  Oh, the Saturday samples.  * drools *

Today, we picked up a few more items than we probably should have.  Yes, we did get our laundry detergent.  But, we also got dishwasher detergent, bottled water, bar soap, canned corn, salsa, and more.

Oh yeah, we did not get my deodorant.  We didn't exactly forget.  But they wrap their bulk packages in so much cellophane that I couldn't smell what they had in stock to see if I liked it or not.  Actually, it's more a case of Katie couldn't smell it to see if she liked it or not (she has a thing for my deodorant; me, I just pray it keeps me from sweating).

I'll talk at y'all later... I've got a 1.75-liter megabottle of Jose Cuervo leering at me and I swear I can hear it taunting "yo gringo... soy tu amigo Especial.  Ven a papi."


Through the tears that I have cried...

Dsc01386Be proud of me, for I did my iota of civic duty du jour and donated blood.

And there was much rejoicing... yay.

Actually, I've been a pretty regular blood donor since my freshman year in college, which was really the first time I ever had the opportunity.  Anywhere between two and four times a year depending on how often they would let me in the door or in the line at whatever blood drive was being held at school or work.

However, for the past couple years, I've been a bit lax on my donating regularity.  Dunno why, to be honest.  I just haven't done it.  Maybe it's the annoying, pestering phone calls I received on a semi-regular basis from my local blood bank.  They have my name and number on file and, damn, they're not afraid to use it. 

I want to feel like I'm doing this out of the goodness of my heart (there's an oxymoron if ever I typed one) and not have it feel like some obligation.  And trying to schedule a time to donate with a place that closes at the same time I get off work just doesn't... well... work.

I realize that in this time of national tragedy (read: our recent cluster of hurricanes), I should be worried less about how I feel about doing something and more concerned with any method by which I can help.  And I likely would have donated if I'd received another call.  But it's actually been a few months since a call came through and I just plain forgot.  C'est la vie, I suppose.

But, I was the one that posted the information about this blood drive on the Web site here at work, so there was no way for me to not know about it.

And I actually remembered.

So, be nice to me, I gave...

And I have photographic evidence of it as the media relations director in my office snapped this shot of me laying on the cot getting ready to be stuck with that needle.  Yes, I was reading.  Is that so wrong?

Dsc_0008_1

Oh, hell, this could just be me attempting to fall asleep during my lunch break for all you know.  So, you'll just have to take me at my word. 

As for the post title... not the most appropriate song lyrics, per se.  But I figured that any song by Blood, Sweat and Tears would be appropriate as I have now officially shed all three at work.  Heh.


Oh-oh, wait a minute, Mister Postman...

Have you ever wondered what would happen if just one little detail in your life had happened just a bit differently?  If you had stayed home instead of going out one night?  If you had made a left turn at the light instead of a right?

My friend and I were discussing this the other day.  We were talking more in terms of bigger decisions such as college choice (for him) or studying abroad (for me).

But what about the smaller, seemingly insignificant decisions that we make on a daily basis?

Take a moment to think of one such decision that would have irrevocably altered your life.

Miscemailalert_1For me, that would be as simple as an e-mail.  If I hadn't opened an e-mail that was sent to me back in December of 1998, my life would be so immensely different than it has turned out.

Back in December '98, I was a Hall Director at Northern Illinois University.  I wasn't your regularly detached Hall Director as I had just received my B.A. degree a mere year and a half earlier, so I wasn't too far removed in age from the students in my charge.  Heck, in some cases, they were older than me (I had a 21 and over floor in my building).  Being so close in age meant that, in a few instances, I was actually pretty good friends with my residents and R.A.s.

One person, in particular, I had become relatively close with.  We would talk about many things outside the scope of normal Hall Director-Resident conversations.  Family, friends, hobbies, TV shows, personal likes and dislikes, you name it.

Come December and Christmas Break, this person was going home for the month.  Just before leaving, they stopped by my office to leave me an e-mail address and get mine as well so we could continue "talking."

A week or so had gone by and I went into my e-mail account and read through my inbox.  Nothing worthwhile.  Then I jumped into my junkmail folder. 

Typically, I just delete them all without a second thought given.  But, every once in a while, I will actually look at the sender name and subject line to see what kind of funky new scam is happening in the Web world. 

This time, I saw one that said "Remember Me?" in the subject line from a sender I couldn't identify at all.  For whatever reason, I opened the e-mail.  Call it morbid cybercuriosity.

Turns out the e-mail was from this friend of mine whose own e-mail was inaccessible and was using her mother's e-mail account to try to get a hold of me.

Now that I knew from where to expect the messages, I was able to set my account to deliver these particular e-mails to my inbox. 

And we kept in contact.

And, two years and ten months later, we were married.

Moral to this story:
Yes, e-mail can be a wicked curse, ridden with spam, viruses, Trojan Horses, bad jokes, and the like.  And, while I'm not advocating opening every single e-mail in your junk folder (please God, don't do that!), take a second to look at the list of senders and subjects before you empty the folder out of principle.  Who knows what kind of good stuff might have been sent your way.


Life's no fun without a good scare...

Two quick questions to ponder when reading the rest of this post...

  1. Is this more appropriate for Halloween or April Fool's Day?
  2. Does anyone have a human mannequin (or at least the upper torso) lying around that they could loan me?

Scratching your heads wondering what my evil little mind is cooking up yet?

Excellent (meant to be read the way Montgomery Burns would say it, of course).

Like many great male ideas, I know where I was when I thought of this... the bathroom, where else?

More specifically, the bathroom at work.

As I've said a couple times in the past, my office at work is actually situated in a house across the street from the main campus.  Being in a house, we have your typical in-house bathroom complete with glass-doored shower/bathtub that sits right in front of the toilet.  While sitting on the toilet, I thought to myself, "what a waste of a shower; what could I do to liven it up a little bit?"

Miscmannequintorso* VOILA! *

My beautifully vile brain came up with the idea of coming in to work early and filling up the tub with a bubble bath and seating a mannequin in said bath with a few candles and maybe a magazine of some sort. 

But should I have him/her/it holding the magazine two handed or should I reserve one of the hands to wave to the first person who sits on the toilet and "discovers" my little creation?

So...

Re: question #1 above -- Halloween or April Fool's Day?  I'm leaning towards Halloween.  More of a thrill and chill factor in this prank as opposed to the goofiness typically inherent in pranks committed on April 1.

Re: question #2 above -- who has a mannequin or knows where I can find/rent one real cheap (preferably "free")? 

And I hope my boss is reading this.  Will I... or won't I?!?!  Muahahahahahahahaha!!!!

(Oh yeah, image is courtesy of nwmanikin.com which is way out of my price range.)


I’m no angel...

I'm a little pissed at iTunes Music Store right now.

I know, I know.  Head for the hills!  Protect the kids from the cats and dogs raining from the skies!!  Kevin's bitching about his beloved iTunes!!!

A little over a month ago, iTunes upgraded to version 5.  Some people had issues with the conversion... mostly aesthetic in scope (although there were rumblings of random songs disappearing).  I never had any problems with it.  It still worked.

Then, a mere three weeks later, Apple launched iTunes 6 to coincide with the new iPod launch and the fact that the store would be selling videos and have a beta version of "Just For You," a section with recommendations based on what you're purchased. 

Now, the functionality issues are arising.

MiscdepechemodeangelWell, I preordered the new Depeche Mode album Playing the Angel about a month ago, quite a while before iTunes 6 was launched.  This album, since I preordered it, came complete with a bonus track and video.  Cool.  I've preordered albums before with videos attached to them from iTMS and never had a problem (The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan and Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business).  They play fine and I enjoyed watching them once or twice.  Cool little feature to make me want to buy the album from iTMS instead of from a bricks-and-mortar store.

I got my e-mail notification this morning that Playing the Angel was available to download, so I clicked on the link to download and got an error message.  Three years of constant iTunes use and I've never received an error message.  Guess I was due.  So I was fine thinking it was just an overload error.

Then I read the message...

Apparently, to view any of the videos available now in iTMS requires not only iTunes v.6 but also Mac OS X 3.9 or later (preferably X 4.0).  The computer I use for purchasing and ripping music is my work computer simply because my PowerBook at home only has a 6 GB harddrive and I have far more music in my collection than that, but it does have OS X 3.9.  So I use my work computer complete with 160 GB harddrive, but only OS X 2.8.  And there's no way that I can upgrade the OS at work unless I want to shell out for it with my own cash.

I ordered this album before this new system requirement was announced, so I should be allowed to download anyway.  I couldn't even download the songs sans the video.  I would've been willing to forego the video if it meant just getting my music.  But the only way to resolve the situation was to cancel the preordered "with video" album and buy the standard album version.  Not only does this mean that I forego the video, but I also lose the bonus track.

Kevin's not a happy camper.


Another one bites the dust...

"Congrats man! Have a good time at the show and game.
Da Bears!
They should rip the Vikings the new one. They're weak this year!"

With these well wishes left in the comments about my anniversary post, Johnny C delivered the luck necessary for the Bears to win 28-3 over the sad sack Viqueens.  To Johnny, I say thanks!

The game was great once the scoring started to kick in full gear, which didn't really happen until the second half.  The first half was pretty boring otherwise.  It ended at 7-3 and could've used a bit more juice.  Obviously something was said in the Bears locker room during halftime to fire them up.  Or maybe the cruise ship prostitutes made a visit to the Vikings' locker room during halftime and further removed them from a "gameday mentality," if you know what I mean.

Clearly, yesterday was a good day for Chicago sports fans.  The Bears win and so did the White Sox in an ALCS win over the Team Formerly Known as the California and Anaheim Angels.  Yep, for the first time in 46 years, Chicago has a team in the World Series.

As much as I wish it were the Cubs, I'm just glad that a Chicago team is in it.  And I hope they win it.

And this is where my rant begins...

The wife of one of my friends is a diehard White Sox fan.  Has been her whole life.  The other day, we were all together watching the fourth game of the ALCS and Katie and I said we were rooting for the Sox to win because we want them to go all the way.  As big a Cubs fans as we are, we were still wishing the Sox well and pulling for them.  We made clear that we are not Sox fans, per se, just supporting them for the sake of our city, which desperately needs a World Series title (we haven't had one since 1917 when the Sox won it; the Cubs last won the Series in 1908).

She was offended by our support for her Sox.  She made allusions to us being bandwagoneers.  Rooting only when the getting is good.

Okay, I had made it clear that we are not fans, so the bandwagon claim is bullshit.  We were rooting for them because they might be able to do what the Cubs are clearly incapable of doing... bringing a title home for the city.  We are not suddenly wearing Sox paraphernalia and jumping the Cubbie Ship.  No no (even though I still own a White Sox shirt that I've had in my possession for nearly a decade; back when they still sucked).

She said that if we wanted to be true to our team, we should be rooting against the White Sox.

MiscwhitesoxMe: "Why?  How is rooting for the Angels being true to the Cubs?"

Her: "Because you would be rooting against your team's rivals."

Me: "What?!?!  The White Sox are not the Cubs' rivals."

Her: "Yes they are."

Me: "Like hell they are.  The Cardinals are our rivals."

Her: "No, the White Sox are because they're both in the same city."

Me: "But we're in different leagues.  We play each other in interleague play, but that's it."

Her: "But we're rivals."

Me: "Ummm, okay, whatever."

Not the best concluding comment in a debate, I admit.  And, in retrospect, I should've mentioned that her "logic" would dictate that the Mets are the number one rival for the Yankees.  Although, we all know that the Red Sox are the Yankees biggest rival.

Maybe I'm missing something here.  Is it wrong to support a team (but not suddenly become "a fan") that is not your favorite within your city if it is more for the sake of the city than anything else?  I know tons of people who are Cubs fans that are rooting for the Sox right now for the same reason that Katie and I are.  Since when is it "jumping on the bandwagon" for a city to show solidarity?  Would I bitch if the Cubs were in this situation and she pulled for the Cubs?  No.  Cheer away.

I've also checked with several diehard sports fan friends of mine who agree with my assessment of the situation.  Their conclusion was that Sox fans are afraid to claim a good team like the Minnesota Twins as their rival.  These friends are all Cubs fans as well but are rooting for the Sox to win for the same reason, to bring a championship to Chicago. 

And, they also want to see it happen to put more pressure on the Cubs next year.  For decades, as our "loveable losers" fell short each year, they had the ineffectiveness of the White Sox and the Red Sox to fall back on.  The Red Sox, who, before 2004, hadn't won a World Series title since 1918, obviously do not work as a crutch for the Cubbies anymore.  If the White Sox win it this year, the Cubs have no one with who they can compare their losing ways.  And the pressure will be on. 

Hmmm... another reason to root for the Sox.

 

Goodbye my friend...

I received this e-mail from TiVo a couple days ago (there is a bit more to it, but this is the bulk of it)...

Misctivoemail

This was a really cute e-mail.  And definitely effective as well.  I love the whole "Take a Moment of Silence" declaration right beside the wide smiling TiVo logo.  Deliciously sarcastic.  Although, I suspect it was unintentional as TiVo is not likely to create a derivation of their logo just for this. 

But it is kinda scary to think that the VCR which has dominated our lives for so long is soon to be going the way of the Dodo.  My family has owned a VCR since, I think, 1985.  We bought one when we moved to Connecticut.  And we used that bad boy like there was no tomorrow.  We taped anything and everything we could off HBO.  I remember all our old videotapes with multiple movies listed on each one with timestamps next to them so we knew how far we needed to fastforward to see it.

My personal fave, and easily the most overplayed, was my tape with Ghostbusters followed by Real Genius.  I watched that tape nonstop.  And, I'd be willing to bet it might still be packed in a box somewhere at my parents' house.

VCR... you were a good friend.  Thank you for years and years of entertainment.


Let's do the Time Warp...

Yesterday, my friend, Jason, left a message on my cellphone asking me what I was doing during the Notre Dame/USC game today.  Later tonight, Katie and I are getting together with Jason and his wife as well as a couple other friends and going out to dinner.

I figured Jason wanted to get together and watch the game.  However, since Katie was going to be at work for a few hours today, I figured I would spend the time finishing up some of the upper-level sections of the stairwell walls that still needed to be painted (when I told you a while back that I was "done" painting, that was only in reference to the ceiling). 

When I finally got around to calling Jason back, I was well into my painting project and I had turned on the game as background noise.  I pretty much just turned on the TV and scanned the Comcast channel guide until it said "College Football: Notre Dame at USC."  I didn't pay much attention to the rest of the details.

While on the phone with Jay, I explained that I was painting but that I had also turned the game on in the background.  He was a bit confused.

MiscnotredamehelmetJason: "You can't be watching the game."

Me: "What do you mean?  It's on right now."

Jason: "Um, the game doesn't start until 2:30." (Ed. note: it was 1:05 p.m. at the time we were talking)

Me: "Then what the hell am I watching?"

Jason: "Is it an old game?"

Me: "Hold on."

[I walked over to the TV and hit the Info button on the remote]

Me: "Oh shit... it's ESPN Classic.  This game is from 1986."

Jason: "Yeah, that's what I thought."

In retrospect, it really does make sense.  I only clicked it on and was faintly listening while painting.  I guess it certainly goes a long way to explain why I occasionally heard reference to names like Steve Beuerlein, Rodney Peete, Tim Brown, and John Carney.  I just figured they were talking about an old game when those names came up.  When I finally did look at the screen, it should've struck me as odd that Charlie Weis suddenly looked an awful lot like Lou Holtz.

Okay, I'm a moron.

Well, the Irish won the matchup 38-37 in one of the greatest games in the history of the Notre Dame-USC rivalry. 

Maybe the luck of the Irish will still be on their side 19 years in the future... at 2:30 in the afternoon.


You and I... defying gravity.

Miscwickedposter

Wicked

I have never written a review of a theatrical performance, live concert, or performance art before.  However, I was so moved by Wicked last night that I felt the need to talk about here in a bit more detail than just by saying, "I loved it!"

We arrived at The Oriental Theatre at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in Chicago and, early on, I was blown away by the beauty of the place.  I love old theaters and this is definitely one of the prettiest I have seen.  I love going to the old theaters (be they old by age or by design) and just stare at the craftsmanship in the place.  From the curtains and the ornate ceilings to the statues and grotesques that adorn nearly every free nook.  I love it.  This place was no different. 

Enough about the theater.  You want to hear about the play.  You should be okay reading this entire recap.  I'm not including anything that is really a spoiler of any sort.  Heck, I knew most of this going in.

Basically, Wicked tells the story of Glinda and Elphaba, two young women living in two completely different worlds yet sharing one common land... Oz.  You know each, respectively, as the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Glinda is a prissy blonde debutante who is accustomed to having her whole life go her own way, regardless of the consequences on others.  Elphaba was born the green-skinned, bastard daughter of the Governor of Munchkinland.  She has quite a few issues with the highest on her list being her inability to figure out where she fits in with the world.  Since her father does not love her (some big daddy issues here), he dotes on Elphaba's younger sister, Nessarose, who was left paraplegic during birth. 

When Nessarose is sent off to finishing school at Shiz University in Oz, Elphaba goes with her to be her caretaker and, if time permits, she may attend classes as well.  However, on their first day at school, a housing misassignment leaves Elphaba rooming with Glinda.  Elphaba and her subsequent outburst, in which her sister's wheelchair goes for a self-propelled spin, catch the eye of the headmistress who decides to see to her education and the refinement of her inborn magic skills personally.

As would be expected, the pairing of Elphaba and Glinda is disastrous.  The two are complete opposites and don't get along at all.  Glinda aspires to be nothing more than a social queen bee while Elphaba is working at making the world a better place. 

Enter Fiyero, a bit of a rabblerouser of the male variety who instantly catches Glinda's eye. 

Despite her detestation of Glinda and, consequently, Fiyero, Elphaba finds herself drawn to him in a way neither can explain and neither want to pursue because, during a moment of social faux pas, Glinda actually helps Elphaba and the two have since started to become fast friends.  A friendship that lasts until the very end.

But, dark times are ahead for the people of Oz.  Animals and people, who have been living harmoniously together for generations, are being torn apart.  Animals are being denied the right to speak their mind, or speak entirely.  And Elphaba, long the animal activist, takes it on herself to see that this is changed before it's too late.  And the only way to do that is to earn an audience with the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

That's enough of the story, I would hope.  I didn't really ruin anything that you couldn't read elsewhere.  Much of the surprise was not even touched upon.  Trust me on that one.

But what really surprised me was just how incredible the performers in this show truly are. 

The supporting cast was a true joy.  From Fiyero and Bocq and Nessarose to the headmistress and the Wizard all the way down to the flying monkeys.  I enjoyed them all.

For our show, the role of Glinda was being performed by her understudy, Sarah Jane Everman.  If Sarah was the understudy, I would hate to see the primary actress... she was awesome.  She had the mannerisms and voice of the prissy Glinda down pat.  And she had a great voice to boot.  If you'd like a bit of a visual aid, think Jennifer Finnigan from the short-lived NBC sitcom Committed meets Reese Witherspoon's Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

MiscanagasteyerBut the highlight of the performance was SNL's Ana Gasteyer as Elphaba. 

I have only seen her in a handful of roles -- Mean Girls, What Women Want, and Woman on Top -- as I never was a watcher of SNL during her term.  So I truly had no idea what kind of an actress she really was. 

This performance was everything George Bush promised in the War on Terrorism but never delivered... shock and awe.  Ana was INCREDIBLE! 

She owned this role.  From her dry wit and biting sarcasm as the put-upon daughter and student to her unending caring and compassion for her incapacitated sister to her confusion and frustration over her meteoric rise as the misunderstood scourge of Oz. 

This show was all about Ana and she shined.  After each act, Katie and I would just stare at each other in complete awe.  There is no other word to really describe it.  We were amazed.

Do I recommend this show?  With no reservation whatsoever. 

See it.  See it twice.  I know I want to see it again.  Even Katie, who wasn't sure if she really wanted to see this (yes, believe it or not, I am the musical theater person in this pairing), is willing to go back for a second shot of Wicked.


The First Four Years.

First things first... happy fourth anniversary, Kate!

Yep, four years ago, today, Katie and I were married.  I know I say this each year, but how she continually puts up with my antics year after year is beyond me.  I'm certain that living with me is an exercise in patience, grace, and love.

Since Katie and I are going to see Wicked tonight, we decided to not spend a lot on gifts for each other.  Her gift to me, aside from the tickets to the show, is my ticket to go see the Chicago Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday with my friends.  No, she's not paying for each of them as well.  Just me. 

I do feel bad about going since this is our anniversary weekend.  But she said to go.  The other reason I feel bad is because this is the weekend of the Adams Family Octoberfest (Katie's family).  I love Octoberfest and was banking on it being on the 22nd, which is when it was originally planned.  Then my friend, Brian, invited me to the game and Katie said to go.  It was only after I agreed to go, and Brian banked on me buying my ticket, that we discovered that Octoberfest had been moved up a weekend.  In the immortal words of Rex (Wallace Shawn) from Toy Story, "Great!  Now I have guilt!"

Note to readers: I am a big fan of Wallace Shawn and find him to be one of the most easily quotable actors ever.  Therefore, whenever the opportunity arises, I do (quote him, that is).

I gave my gift to Katie last night because I wanted to be able to gauge her reaction at a time when she wasn't rushed getting ready for work.  My gift to her was a sterling silver, heart-shaped locket.  I even managed to put photos in it.  I love the locket and Katie says she does, too.  Now that I know she likes it, I'm going to take it back to the store and have it engraved.  Nothing like having it engraved and then find out she doesn't like it.  That would be just my luck. 

I also want to take the photos in to a fotomat to have them printed.  I used a color laserjet printer and some glossy Kodak printer paper.  But it's still just that... paper.  When you try to get it inside the grooves of the locket, the edges fray a bit and it looks somewhat cheap.  I figure if I can get the pictures printed on good photo stock, the edges should hold up better when I put it in the locket.  Thankfully, the maker of the locket included a handy dandy little template that allows you to cut out your photos to the proper size.  No guesswork needed.  Yay!

Here are the photos I chose...

Misclocketphotos

My other gift to Katie was to have roses delivered to her at work yesterday.  I chose yesterday because we are leaving straight from work to go see Wicked and I didn't want her to have to stop at home to drop them off.  Good thinking, right?  Well, guess what?  She never received them.  I had completely forgotten about it until we were laying in bed last night and I asked her if anything happened at work today.  She said, "no."  So, this morning, while she was on her way to work, I called her boss and confirmed that nothing was delivered.  Her boss even called the front counter to see if any had come in yesterday.  Nada.

I called up the customer service department at FTD.com and complained.  They said they'd look into it and call me back.  A couple hours later, Katie calls and tells me that they found the flowers in the cooler at work.  They were delivered nearly two hours earlier and not to the pharmacy as I had requested when I ordered them.  Nobody left a note that flowers were delivered and nobody remembered anything at all about the actual delivery.  So she got them... finally.  A day later than I had planned, but still in time for our anniversary, which is a good thing.

Guess I owe FTD a follow-up call, eh?


Turn the clock to zero... we're starting up a brand new day.

MiscipodvidPrepare for another episode of "Geek on a Soapbox" brought to you exclusively by iPod with video.

Yep, you read correctly.  Apple's "Special Event" has happened and the new line of iPods is what we have.  And they are video enabled.  In fact, the entire line of iPods up to this point no longer exists.  As per the Apple Store, we have the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, and the new iPod.  They're not even differentiating it by calling it the "iPod Video;" it is simply "iPod."  And that is that.

One of the strange things about this new model is that they appear to have taken a liking to the purely flat-faced design of the iPod Nano and carried that over here.  Check it out at right.

It's quite a stunning design, all told.  I was afraid that the incorporation of video would require a much larger screen thereby throwing the aesthetics of the iPod's proportions into a state of flux.  Alas, they did not.

The screen does stretch out a little bit, but not too terribly much.  And it looks as though the click wheel is much smaller, relatively speaking. 

The site says that the new Pod is 4.2" H x 2.4" W x 0.43" D for the 30GB model and the same height and width for the 60GB but with a depth of 0.55".  The iPod I currently own is 4" H x 2.4" W x 0.5" D.  Not much of a difference in size.

But what I find truly amazing is that this new player, they claim, is capable of holding over 150 hours of video.  What resolution the video must be in to fit within the 150 hour time frame is beyond me at the moment.  But you must think of it in relative terms... you will have a much smaller video than that which you would be watching on your TV. 

But it also looks as though the iTunes Music Store will now be carrying video that you can download to your iPod.  Anything from video podcasts and short features to full episodes of TV shows like Lost.

Okay, I am drooling a little bit.  It is cool and is, once again, going to revolutionize the portable audio/video market much as Apple has been doing all along.  It is not the first portable video player, but it may as well be the last.  For whatever reason, no one seems capable of competing with Apple in this market.  They try and try; yet they fail and fail. 

The iPod is the one Apple product that appeals to anyone and everyone regardless of preferred computer operating system and computing ability.  It knows no boundaries.  And it's just getting more popular every day (oh yeah, sales figures for iPods are pretty encouraging as well).

For your drooling pleasure...

Miscipodvideocollage


C'mon people now, smile on your brother...

After work last night, I headed over to Lowe's to pick up another gallon of paint for our stairwell (time for coat #2) when I encountered what I thought was one of the most generous displays of employee relations I've seen in quite some time.

At the paint counter, I was number two in line.  When the paint counter employees came over, both of them helped the person in front of me.  I wasn't too upset about it as I figured that one of them was a trainee shadowing the senior guy. 

Miscsidekick2I was right.  As the trainee, Robert (who had the whole Ethan Hawke circa Before Sunrise look down to a "T"), waited for a gallon of paint to be shaken, his trainer, Luis, came over to me and apologized saying that Robert usually works in the receiving dock but he likes to learn new things, so he came over to the paint counter in his downtime.

When Luis started to mix my paint, we both looked over at Robert who was text messaging on a T-Mobile Sidekick II.  I thought it was a bit odd that someone would be messaging in plain view of the Customer Service desk as I feared he might be reported for improper use of work time.

That's when Luis explained to me that Robert was 100% hearing and speech impaired and he used the Sidekick to communicate with departments and individuals in the store (obviously, because he cannot hear the PA or use the phones). 

But what really blew my mind was that Lowe's actually purchased this Sidekick for him. 

I know that being a multimillion dollar hardware empire, the $300 that this Sidekick cost is not a big deal at all.  In fact, it's a pittance with respect to the bigger picture.  But I just thought it was such a grand gesture on the part of Lowe's to have done this for him. 

And I also know that this is likely to be more of an attempt at ADA compliance than anything else, but what are the odds that the ADA dictates you must buy a $300 high-tech communication device for your employees?  Not very good, I would think.  I'm of the opinion that a $25 pager would suffice to appease the ADA.

I was impressed.  I still am.  Being the cynic that I am, I tend to believe that goodwill gestures such as this are very few and far between.

Miscloweslogo


When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way...

When I read this bit of news this morning, I wanted to cry.

In a weekend in which Aardman Studios took the #1 spot at the box office with their claymation hit Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, they also took a big hit when a fire scorched a warehouse where most of their sets, memorabilia, and awards were being housed.

So much film and animation history destroyed, never to be recovered.  That is terrible.

But, you've gotta admire W&G creator Nick Park who decided he had no choice other than to take it all in stride especially when he thought about this event in light of the earthquake in Pakistan and India.  Despite the loss, he still feels lucky.  Most people would whine about their loss (or, in my case, whine about someone else's loss... go fig), but here is Park putting it all in perspective.

And now for something completely different...

Random Act of Senseless Thought:
I don't know why, but it seemed to me that I needed a section in which I can just post random thoughts that I might have about anything and just post it to see what anyone has to say about it all.  I know that most of the stuff I post is kinda like this, but these will just be brief snippets.  Nothing that really merits an entire post.  They will likely just be tacked on the end of a larger post.  And I have no idea how often they will pop in my head.  So here's my first...

If the Winnipeg Jets play the San Jose Sharks (NHL), would the organist play nothing but West Side Story tunes?

Yeah, that was bad.  I admit it.


And I hate everything about you.

Hello.  My name is Kevin.  I have a problem...

I hate ladders.

It all stems back to my desperate fear of falling and killing myself.  Funny thing is that I don't hate roller coasters or ferris wheels.  I do get a bit uneasy up in big skyscrapers like the Sears Tower.  If I'm standing back a bit from the windows and just looking, I'm usually okay.  But if I pull a Ferris Bueller and stand with my head against the glass, my stomach does topspins.

I've gotten better with A-frame style ladders.  Probably because they are relatively short and have four legs of support.  I've been using them pretty regularly lately doing work around the house.  I can handle those.

But extension ladders... oh, extension ladders.  The bain of my existence.  My Achilles' heal... how I loathe thee.

We bought our first extension ladder this past Thursday because we have fairly high ceilings (17 footers) and we needed to paint the ceiling in our stairwell while Katie worked on the walls.  So we went to Lowe's and purchased a 20' extension.

Let me tell you, that first wobbly step...

I have seen my father-in-law pull gymnast-like feats of balance and grace on extension ladders.  Stuff that should never be done on a ladder, he has done.  It's like watching the little Chinese guy go to work in Ocean's Eleven.  Freaky stuff. 

And you'll never see me do it.  In fact, I'm going to try to avoid using that ladder with every ounce of my being.  Well, when the ceiling is done at least.  I was working on it on Thursday night, last night, and even this morning.  So the stairwell ceiling is finally done,  pending any touch-up work. 

But I think I'm going to have do the living room ceiling now.  And that's not going to be fun in any way, shape, or form.  The problem lies in that the stairwell ceiling rolls into the living room ceiling because both are vaulted to the same height and now we have this horribly uneven cutoff line between the two.  Our paint is very pure white while it seems like the original paint is anything but.  It's as though the previous owners intentionally used off white or even a light cream, the difference is that noticeable. 

Damn myself for starting this bitch of a project.  Damn, damn, double damn.

And, to think, my life's ambition was to be a firefighter.  That would've gone over well.


I reminisce about the days of old...

For as long as I can remember, I've always heard people rail on about how remakes of anything -- be it movies, music, whatever -- are inferior to the originals.  And, for the most part, I agree.  There are dozens of examples I can give in which this is the case, but I'll let you come up with your own.  I don't think you need any prompting from me.

But does this mean that this always has to be the case?

The other day, I was listening to some songs when I realized that they were remakes of older songs.  And, to be honest with you, I think I like many of these remakes better than the originals.

At the time, I was listening to a song called "Mad World."  The particular version I was listening to haunts me to the very core of my being.  It's by Gary Jules on his album Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets

Just to be fair, before I made a final decision, I found the original version on my iPod and listened to it. 

I'm sorry, but it sucks by comparison.  Sorry, I said I would be fair.  It is a good song, in it's own right.  But compared to the soul-shattering rendition by Gary Jules, it... well... okay, it sucks.  I tried.

So, I started thinking about other songs that I felt this way about.  I can go back to my high school days with the two-hit wonders, Ugly Kid Joe, and their remake of Harry Chapin's "Cats in the Cradle."  I loved UKJ's cover.  I have heard Chapin's and it is good, as well.  I just don't like it quite as much.

It's been years since I've heard either version, though.  So who knows if my evaluation would still hold up.  My musical range is far more diverse now than it was when UKJ released that song.  I may just like Chapin's original better.  Where's iTMS when I need it?

Another example is the song "Demolition Man" by The Police that was later remade by their lead singer for inclusion on the soundtrack of the movie of the same name.  I love The Police.  I count them among my favorite bands of all time.  And I'm not much of a fan of Sting's solo work at all.  I can't explain why, I'm just not.

But, damn if I don't really like Sting's remake of his own song.  It really rocks hard.  The original is really good, but not quite as good as the remake, IMHO.

Then there are those songs where I feel that remakes really do a good job of holding their own when compared to the originals.  No, this does not necessarily mean I like the remake better.  But both versions are on a pretty even keel.

One such example is the classic "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.  Great song.  Period.  I love it and can listen to it repeatedly.  However, there have been a pair of covers of this song over the years that are really damn good in their own right. 

First was the Smashing Pumpkins on their album Pisces Iscariot.  I don't care what anybody says, Billy Corgan made that song his, if for only a moment in time.  I still listen to the Pumpkins' version, but it will never replace Stevie Nicks.

The other great cover of Landslide was by Joseph McCarthy's fave The Dixie Chicks on their Home album.  Again, regardless of others' opinions, Natalie Maines' pipes brought that song back to life, yet again.

I love Fleetwood Mac and I love Stevie Nicks, but in their own individual ways, both The Smashing Pumpkins and The Dixie Chicks pulled off renditions of "Landslide" that were just spectacular.

Should I feel like I am commiting musical blasphemy by preferring covers to originals or by liking some covers on an even level with their predecessors?

Does anyone else feel the same way about certain songs?


A perfect... lie.

Does anyone out there watch Nip/Tuck

I'm an addict of the show and, while I admit that this third season is not nearly as good as the first two, so far, there are still reasons to tune in.

SPOILERS... YOU ARE WARNED.

For example, I'm digging on the addition of Quentin Costa (Bruno Campos) as a new partner in McNamara/Troy.  This past week's episode, in which we discover Quentin's bisexuality as he grabs Christian's (Julian McMahon) ass during a four-person orgy with Kimber (Kelly Carlson) and Kit (Rhona Mitra), is just classic.  Listening to Christian and Sean (Dylan Walsh) cracking jokes about their "uncomfortable" experiences with Quentin toward the end of the episode and seeing Quentin walk in and effectively blackmail them into silence without actually blackmailing them should prove to be interesting twist in future episodes.

And you wonder why this is only on extended cable (FX).

But the real reason I keep watching is because I am totally enthralled by the Carver subplot. 

MisccarverFor those who aren't watching and do want to know what I'm talking about, the Carver is a serial slicer.  This is a person whose identity is unknown but runs around in a chinadoll mask and black outfit and literally carves Joker-like smiles across the faces of people.  For the most part, the victims have been females who the Carver considers to be excessively beautiful.  There was one male victim, too, if I recall correctly.  Very few have actually been killed as the Carver wants them to live with their scars of ugliness.

In response to these attacks, Sean made the goodwill gesture of fixing those attacked by the Carver, gratis.  Even when warned off by the Carver, Sean continued his crusade.  Then the Carver attacked him.  Quentin and Christian fixed Sean's face and Sean continues to do his work. 

However, at the end of last season, when Sean was preparing himself for another visit from the Carver, our knife ace showed up at Christian's place and, as per his M.O., paralyzed him with an injection, sliced his neck, "violated" him in a very uncomfortable place, and left him for dead.  This violation left our lothario unwilling and unable to perform with his favorite female counterpart, Kimber, or with any other female for that matter. 

Enter the detective investigating the case, Kit, who not only is trying her best to find the Carver, but has amazingly returned our Romeo to his woman-loving ways by seducing Kimber and performing a series of rehabilitative menage a trois (how do you pluralize that one?  I don't speak French.).

My theory can be found by clicking on the post continuation...

Continue reading "A perfect... lie." »


Ain’t no rest for the weary.

Why is it that vacations are such a mixed blessing?  You're thankful for the time off, but it comes back to bite you in the kiester when you return. 

I've been back from my trip to Florida for a week and a half now and the workload has been nonstop.  I cannot even fathom what it will feel like to have dug my way out from under this pile. 

One habit I usually try to maintain is to make sure that all the messages in my e-mail inbox can be read without scrolling down by the end of each day.  Typically, I'm pretty good about accomplishing this.  To keep me from having to scroll, I need to have eight or fewer messages in my inbox.

As of the time I left work, I was at 22 messages in my inbox.  So much for that goal.

For the most part, these messages are mostly requests for Web updates.  So my graphic design work is not even included in this tawdry to-do list.

I feel like I'm going to burst.  In fact, I feel like this poor bastard (more info from Snopes)...

Miscgatorsnake

But, I guess I'm at least getting exercise wheeling myself back and forth from my Mac to my PC.  Heh.

And Katie and I are going to start painting the walls in the stairwell and the upstairs hallway tonight.  Maybe the paint fumes will give me some much needed "sleep."


Down on my knees; baby, please don't tease.

Here goes round two of the "Will They or Won't They" Chronicles.

A little over a month ago, I reported about a "special event" that Apple was hosting at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  The theory at the time was that the event was going to be used to announce the launch of a new line of iPods capable of video playback.

The invitation that many media outlets received featured an image that had a denim background on it.  At the time, nobody realized that this image could have served as an indicator of what was being featured... an iPod that fits in the pocket of your jeans. 

Well, as I have said, I was disappointed by the results of the event, which highlighted the now-released iPod Nano. 

I will admit that I'm not as opposed to the Nano as I was before since I have now been afforded the opportunity to play with it at Best Buy and that little color screen is really nice.  Still not nearly enough storage for me, but the design is growing on me a bit.

MisconemorethingHowever, iLounge reports that Apple has announced another event scheduled for next Wednesday (October 12).  This time around, the image on the invitation features a background draped with deep red theater curtains.

Could it finally be that Apple is announcing the iPod Video ("VidiPod"?) and that the iPod Photo prices will now go down a bit?  Maybe quite a bit?  I dunno, but it's one heckuva nice thought.

Considering the symbiotic relationship I have with doPi, I'm not sure I could replace him.  But it's still a droolworthy prospect.

In other iPod news, this one really hurt to read.  Thankfully it all worked out for the best.  Have any of you ever sent something computer-based or otherwise through the washing machine?  I did it with a SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB thumbdrive a while back.  While it did dry out and resume working, it eventually did crap out.  Not sure if it was laundry related, but the likelihood is pretty good. 

Also, The Unofficial Apple Weblog wants you!  If you are a Mac OS user, they want you to post a screen capture of your desktop to share with everyone else.  They also announced that there is a user group on Flickr just for this project.  CommandShift3 is the place to go to find this group, and it has been growing by leaps and bounds since TUAW posted their request.  In just a half hour, the contributions jumped from 312 to 353.  I still have yet to add mine.  Trying to find that one perfect photo since I rotate through a series of different ones.

I've always gotten a kick out of how people set up the desktop on their computers, be they Mac or Windows based.  How it's organized and decorated really can say a lot about a person.  For most of my coworkers, their desktops scream that they are either really busy or slobs.  I'm far too anal retentive to let my desktop become too cluttered.  Hence the minimal amount of icons you will see when I eventually take the screen cap.

Okay, got one...


There goes my hero...

MiscjoshrushingMaybe this was announced a while ago, but this morning was the first I'd heard about former U.S. Marine Captain Josh Rushing taking a job with the English language branch of Al Jazeera television.  I found out while watching Today and they were postulating about whether or not it was a good idea.

Two words... HELL and YES!

C'mon, people.  Much of the Arab world hates the U.S.  They have hated us for years for any number of reasons.  So, if they are willing to take on a red-blooded U.S. Marine to work as a correspondent, on-air personality, writer, producer, consultant, whatever (his official job capacity has not yet been determined), how can it be a bad thing? 

If there is a better example of a person who believes in the "American Ideal," I am hard pressed to think of who it might be.

But it's not as though his viewpoints are 100% pro-American.  Rushing was the U.S. Public Relations Officer that played a large part in the documentary Control Room all about the behind-the-scenes operations at Al Jazeera.  His character, from what I've read (I have yet to see the movie, but my brother in law says it was amazing), evolves greatly through the course of the film in his growing understanding of both Muslim and American viewpoints.  Hence why he was chosen by Al Jazeera.

Conservatives, according to Today, are afraid that he will not be able to properly represent the viewpoints he plans to bring to the table with Al Jazeera.  I don't think anybody can legitimately expect them to accept our views.  It just won't happen, but at least they are willing to try.  And Rushing is willing to be the first to jump in the fire.

Will he wind up a scapegoat?  Yep.

Will he take a lot of flack not just because he is an American but because he was also part of the U.S. military?  You bet.

Does he know it?  Absolutely.  And he is more than willing to take it, he says.

But he also is being given the opportunity to bring at least a little balance to what many people claim is very biased reporting.  Hiring someone to work the "other side of the fence" is just plain smart on the part of Al Jazeera.  Whether or not they will make the most of this opportunity remains to be seen.  Lots of things remain to be seen.

Good luck, Josh.  I'm hoping this works out for the best.  God knows our country needs any positive PR it can get in the world arena.  And I think we all know why we are in this PR quagmire, don't we...

Miscbushleftbehind_1

My brother in law forwarded this photo to me from Yahoo News/AFP with the following message...

I thought this picture was funny.  Bush is talking about the "No Child Left Behind" issue and it distinctly says "Left Behind" in the background of the picture.  Having that behind him was perfect just because I don't know anybody who doesn't think he should have been left behind as a child... we won't even get into his presidency.  But how funny is it that he preaches about this topic when we all know he had to have been one of the dumbest kids in his school as a child?  About the picture, though, either that is just coincidence or the photographer had been waiting all day for him to stand right there.  "Come on, Georgie!  One step to the right.  Perfect!!"

It is a beautiful picture, Scott.  Thanks for the laugh.  Thus, proving that a picture really is worth a thousand words... or, more appropriately, a thousand mispronounced words.


C'mon ride the train... ride it.

As of this posting, I am 30 years old.  Well, actually, I have been 30 for almost 10 months now.  I'm just trying to set the scene.  Bear with me.

My brother is 26.

However, yesterday, we may as well have been 11 and 7, respectively, or thereabouts.

Katie and I met up with my brother and his girlfriend, Jen, yesterday to go to the Kane County Flea Market.  Katie and I were looking for a wrought iron wall hanging for our newly painted entryway.  Brian and Jen were just... well... looking.  Hey, agenda-less shopping at a flea market can be fun.  Sometimes.

Being October, I'm in a Halloween mood in a bad way.  Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and October has always been my favorite month (never hurts that our anniversary is a just a little over a week away).  And, now that we own a place, I am really looking forward to actually having trick or treaters come by.  We lived in our apartment for four Halloweens and never had a single trick or treater.  Sad.

So, to help me get in the mood for the season, I found a booth at the flea market where a guy was selling burned copies of classic B-rated horror flicks and I picked up a copy of the original The Blob with Steve McQueen as well as an 80s classic called Alligator with Robert Forster.  I've never seen The Blob, but I did see Alligator when I was a kid and it had me scared of both toilets and sewer covers for a while. 

After finally finding the wrought iron piece that Katie wanted, we all came back to our place, which Jen has never seen and Brian hasn't seen in quite a while.  Before many of our renovations, at least.

While sitting around talking, Brian heard a train go by in our backyard and came up with what, in retrospect, may not have been the best idea, but it sounded great at the time.  We would hike through the weeds over the berm in our backyard and tape quarters to the train track to get ourselves some good ol' flattened coins. 

MiscpoisonivyHe and I put on shoes and trekked through the weeds praying there was no poison ivy.  Being as far removed from my Boy Scout years as I am, I don't even remember what poison ivy looks like.  To be honest, I never knew what it looked like... even when I was a Scout.  I just constantly hoped I never walked through any while on a troop hike.  Hence why I was never first in line to go out in the woods.  I figured I'd let those who were good at flora spotting head us up while I played it safe a few kids back. 

Looking now at the picture featured on Wikipedia and others I found on Google Image Search, I still wouldn't be able to tell it from Adam.  It just looks like any other three-leaved plant.  And it's not as though poison ivy is the only three leafer out there.  Truly, there is nothing particularly distinguishing about it.  Even Science U admits it can be difficult as it changes it's look based on season.  Just try and tell me that the plant in this photo doesn't look like any of thousands of plants you encounter throughout your life.

Well, a day later and I'm not itching.  So I obviously got lucky.

While back there, we taped down our quarters, hoping against hope that it would hold up.  Sheeyah, right.  Apparently, as we digressed back to our childhood years, so did our common sense.  Tape holding up against a line of over a hundred train cars?  Gimme a break.

We did it and then we started climbing around on a train that was stopped on an adjacent track.  That was a kick.  I'd never really crawled around on a freight train car.  We also hid down in one of the gaps between the freight container and the flatbed as the target train passed by.  Wished to hell I had my camera.  Also hoped to hell that the train we were hiding on itself didn't start moving.

It was quite exciting to be doing this again.  Being a mere three feet from a speeding locomotive is a heckuva rush.  Then walking the tracks looking for the quarters wondering if another train would soon be coming by was cool, too.  We also collected several railroad spikes that I'm keeping out in the garage for the time being.  And, of course, we were constantly kidding around bitching about how we'd never find that damn Ray Brower kid.

We lost one of the flattened quarters entirely.  We actually almost lost both until i just happened to look back over a spot I'd already been by and caught a glimpse of it shimmering up at me in the sunlight.  It was a Texas quarter and the state detail was practically flattened out of existence.  However, much of the image of George Washington was preserved, albeit a bit elongated, by the fact that this was the side covered in tape.

Next time... duct tape.

And, yes, there will be a "next time."


8-6-7-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-3-0-ni-yee-yine.

Johnny tagged me with this meme just before I left for Florida and I never got around to finishing it... until now.  Having read this one so many other blogs, I think it is called something like "10-5-365-1" or some such name, but this one seems a bit different because it has a series of "fivers" after the rest of the regular meme.  So, here goes...

10 years ago: I was in the beginning of my junior year of college at Northern Illinois University, working at the front desk in Grant Towers North, and I was the Hall Council President.  I had just moved off floor 3C for 6C and it was a big change not being on a non-alcohol floor anymore.  In about two months, I would be turning 21 and we all know what that means... my habits would soon be legal!!!!

5 years ago: I started my job at Aurora University.  Hard to believe it's been so long.  I was also in the midst of planning my wedding to Katie.  Actually, before she kills me, she was planning the wedding, I took care of the honeymoon.  She did pretty much all the grunt work.  You all know me, credit where credit's due.

1 year ago: We were seriously contemplating moving out of our apartment in Geneva, Ill., and finding a house, townhome, or condo.  Of course, we had been "talking" about it, per se, since we moved in to the apartment.  But, around this time, Katie got really gung ho about the real estate listings in the newspaper.  Did I think anything would actually happen?  In all honesty, no.  But, two months later, we had an offer accepted and were just waiting a few more weeks to close on the place.

Yesterday: Katie and I were still sleeping at this exact moment.  In a bit, we would be waking up, watching a few of our TiVo'd shows, and then going to Borders and Panera to do some homework and have some lunch.  Okay, she was doing homework, I was playing Sudoku and reading a new book about the conflict in Rwanda (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch).  Damn fine book that I bought for my trip to Florida but only got through a couple chapters.

5 songs I know all the words to: I'm going to try to cover several genres and time periods here as I know the words to far more than just five songs.

  • Tears for Fears - "Mad World" (but, I prefer the Gary Jules version)
  • Public Enemy (w/ or w/o Anthrax) - "Bring Tha Noize"
  • Poison - "Fallen Angel"
  • Kenny Rogers - "The Gambler"
  • The Replacements - "Can't Hardly Wait"

5 snacks: Oh so many to choose from...

  • Cheese - slices, string, cubes, chunks, curd, cottage... I truly don't care
  • Pretzels - twists, sticks, braids, checkerboards, rings... see above declaration
  • SunChips - original only, thank you
  • Fruit - blueberries are always preferred
  • Yogurt - blueberry is preferred, again

5 things I'd do w/ $100 million dollars:

  • Pay off any and all debt I have (within reason, of course - some debt always looks good to creditors)
  • Go on one helluva European tour with Katie
  • Buy a Subway Sandwich Shop
  • New cars for Katie and me
  • Never work again or use the money to buy my way in to being a professional movie reviewer (would Ebert fire Roeper for the right amount of money?)

5 places I would run away to:

  • Montana (dunno why, just always wanted to; never even been there to justify this desire)
  • San Francisco
  • Kauai
  • Australia
  • Ireland

Miscbeanie5 things I would never wear:

  • Fur - just not my look
  • Three-piece suits to work - unless I was being paid an obscene amount of money
  • Propeller beanies
  • Leather chaps
  • An Emmitt Smith jersey - neither Cowboys nor Cardinals

5 favorite TV shows: I didn't know if this should be current or all-time favorites, so I'm doing both...

  • Current - Scrubs, Lost, Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy - all kinds of good watercooler sorts of shows
  • All-Time - Quantum Leap, Battlestar Galactica (the original), Seinfeld, Cheers, Family Guy (pre-return to TV; while I do like some of the new stuff, the old episodes are still the best)

5 greatest joys:

  • Katie
  • Movies
  • Showers - baths just aren't me
  • Walking into our house and realizing it's ours (until we default on several payments and the bank repossesses it, thus proving that it's never really ours until it's paid off)
  • Blogging - sad, isn't it?  But I just love doing this

5 favorite toys/games:

  • My iPod - natch!
  • Our PowerBook
  • Our DVD Player
  • My workbench area in the garage
  • Our Sony digicam
  • Honorable mentions - the TiVo (soon to break the top five), GameCube, my old Superman action figure, Rubik's Cube, GeoMags, Sudoku puzzles (another quick riser on the list)

5 favorite movies:

  • Shawshank Redemption - first movie I've ever purchased multiple editions of on DVD
  • The Empire Strikes Back - finest piece of sci-fi ever made
  • Tombstone - get the Vista Series DVD set, if you can find it; well worth the money
  • Office Space - I am really looking forward to the special edition later this year that will supposedly have a deluxe box available at Best Buy with all kinds of goodies including the red Swingline stapler
  • Real Genius - still waiting for a better version on DVD

Most of the people I interact with regularly have already been tagged with this meme, so I'm not going to worry about naming anyone to tackle it.  However, if you'd like to steal it for your blog, by all means, do so.  Or, if you only did the first part (pre 5's) and would like to try the final several categories, steal those by themselves.


Look at me... I got a case of body language.

... and, in some cases, their bodies speak volumes.

Tonight, Katie and I were watching an early 90s movie called Milk Money.  You may or may not remember it.  The film was about three preteen boys who venture from the safety of the suburbs to the big, bad city in the hopes of finding a prostitute that would be willing to show them her naked body.  They find said prostitute in Melanie Griffith and she does what they pay her to do.  However, she also winds up coming out to the 'burbs and unofficially living with one of the boys and his widower father played by Ed Harris.  Rumors abound throughout their city... yada, yada, yada (I am so Elaine Bennis)... fast forward to awkwardly happy ending. 

Cute flick despite the terrible acting.  Even the normally great Ed Harris couldn't save it.  But I digress.

This film was released in 1994 meaning that it was likely actually filmed in 1993 or thereabouts.  And, while she wasn't gorgeous by any means (I've never been a big Mel Griffith fan), she was actually pretty cute. 

Leap forward 11-12 years and I am left wondering what the hell happened to her?  You've all seen pictures of Mel Griffith these days, haven't you?  The transformation is terrifying.  I'll admit that it is normal for people to age anywhere from "a little bit" to "a heckuva lot" in that time.  But Mel's mutation is anything but natural and is quite obviously the result of plastic surgery gone awry.

I believe that, in interviews, she has either claimed to have never had plastic surgery or has had very minimal work done.  I can't remember which one she actually claimed.  But, damn if she isn't the female equivalent of Jacko.  Yikes.

I would like to enter a before and after into evidence...

Miscmelbefore  Miscmelafter

Okay, so the "before" pic isn't quite her Milk Money days, but it is one of her earlier, better looks.  Finding a good shot from that movie that isn't a movie poster and isn't tiny and hard to see is not an easy feat to accomplish.  That wasn't even the worst "after" picture I found, but I was afraid of being accused of pressing the issue to make my point.

Why?  Why?  Why?  This is clearly not natural aging.  What was she thinking when she elected to do this.  Lip enhancement, nose enhancement, redone eyes, etc.  I'm not even sure what else.

Okay, enough about that.

On the subject of body modding... I would like to report that, these days, I don't quite resemble Hellboy anymore in terms of my sunburn.  Good thing, right?  Wrong.  I'm starting to feel a bit more like his fellow netherworld denizen, Freddy Krueger.