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27 posts from December 2006

Got a license to kill...

I always enjoy taking some time to look back on the year as it is wrapping up and pick what I feel to be some of the best movies of the year. 

Last year, I did a top five movies. I was considering expanding that list to a top 10 for this year.

It was about this time that I realized I don't even think there are ten movies that I have seen this year that could qualify for a top movie list. So I checked out IMDb to see what movies have been released in 2006.

Sho' 'nuff. I couldn't find ten movies to populate the list.

And now for the top movies of 2006 that I've actually seen...

1. Casino Royale
I said I was going to like this movie and I did. As far as I'm concerned, this is the first good Bond film since 1989. And Daniel Craig was fantastic. I'm not going to rehash everything about this film since I already reviewed it here.

2. Stranger Than Fiction
This movie stands out not only as one of the best films of the year, but also as one of the best Will Ferrell films ever. Thank God he came out with this and Talladega Nights this year to make up for the crapfest selection of films he put out last year. Here's the review.

3. Over the Hedge
For an animation crew other than Pixar to have a movie listed here is a pretty big deal. Pixar typically represents the best of the best for me. However, this year was different. No, Cars was not bad. Just not as good as Hedge. Check the review.

4. Superman Returns
How often has this ever happened to me in the past? Two movies I have spent far too long idealizing in my head. Thinking to myself, "Wow! I really can't wait for it to come out in theaters!" And neither of them let me down. The first was Casino Royale, the second was Superman Returns. People worried about the fact that Bryan Singer was coming over from The X-Men series to take the helm of another superhero franchise that, like Batman, had seemingly overstayed its welcome. But it rocked. Simply put, it was a great time at the theater. What more could you ask for? Read about it here.

5. Thank You for Smoking
Ever have one of those movies that you see a single preview for and know, based solely on those 30 seconds, that you're gonna love it? Well, Thank You for Smoking was that movie for me. I'd never heard of it during the development process at all. I'd never heard word one about it until it was a mere month from release. And it looked spectacularly hilarious. Let me tell you something, it is. Aaron Eckard is a PR guy for a major smoking corporation. His job is to make smoking look good in a world that perceives tobacco as nothing more than "cancer sticks." And spin is something he excels at. You know the story of the guy who can sell an freezer to an eskimo? That's him. Eskimos would likely be his number one buyer by the time he's done. But the best parts of this movie are not just him putting a spin on his profession. The movie truly shines when Eckerd shares scenes either with his son or having meals with the MOD Squad (the Merchants Of Death). If you want to laugh, see this film.

I also have to give an honorable mention to V For Vendetta, which was far more fantastic than I ever could have imagined. Thank You For Smoking only narrowly edged it out on the list.

Of course, there are many movies I have yet to see that could make this list. So, before I get into my top movies, I'm going to list several "could have beens" as in "could have been on this list if I'd managed to get out to the theater to see them." In no particular order... Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, Blood Diamond, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rocky Balboa, and The Queen. All of these movies were rated highly either by critics, my family, or by all of you out in the blogosphere and I've got a pretty good idea I'd enjoy them based just on what I've heard. Thankfully, four or five of them are still in theaters and I can see them. Let's just hope I get off my butt and do so.


Time is running out for us...

Okay, I know I said I was starting the wrap up with the Best Movies of 2006, right? Well, we rented a couple movies that we're going to watch over the course of today and tomorrow that I feel stand a legitimate chance of making the list. So I'm pushing that post back to tomorrow and gifting you all with the Best Albums of 2006 instead. Is the trade okay? Please say yes. Please?

Unlike last year, I've got a boatload of 2006 releases that I'd like to include. For this reason, I'm expanding it from a Top 5 list to a Top 10 list. I can't believe the sheer volume of music I picked up this year. And paring it down to ten was tough as well. I've still got an additional ten albums that I'm simply going to list as honorable mentions. Suffice it to say, it was a good year for music.

Oh yeah, and I don't tend to include live albums on my top lists of the year. Dunno why, I just don't. Besides, there's more than enough new studio releases to fill the list.

Well, here you go, regardless of if you preferred reading the movie list or not...

Thomyorketheeraser 1. Thom Yorke - The Eraser

You know, you hear that the lead singer of a hugely popular band is putting together a solo effort and you begin to sweat. "Ohmigod! What's wrong with the band? Are they breaking up? Why couldn't he just do this new music with the band???" Well, the reason why is because this album is pretty far removed from what you've come to expect of Radiohead. Simply out of a desire to have more of a focus on his voice and be a bit more experimental with electronics, Yorke graces us with this album that shot to the top of many charts around the world and a couple songs were featured in soundtracks for films such as The Prestige and A Scanner Darkly. It's a fantastic and mesmerizing album that I can listen to over and over again without becoming bored. That says a lot. Check out "Black Swan" and "Harrowdown Hill."

2. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
I think in any other year, this would have been the tops of my list. And, for a majority of this year, it was my favorite album. But, sorry PJers of the World, it got bumped to #2 and by no fault of their own. Thom Yorke was just that damn good an album. This, however, is easily the finest release by Pearl Jam since, I'd argue, Vitalogy, which was one of the best albums of the 90s, in my humble opinion. For this album, the Boys du Jam pull out all the stops and give us one helluva rocker. I only wish I had been able to see them on tour supporting it. Alas, tickets for concerts just cost way too damn much these days. From the get go, my personal fave was "World Wide Suicide," but I also recommend "Severed Hand" and "Gone."

3. Amos Lee - Supply and Demand
Katie and I have been freaks for Amos Lee since we saw him open for Norah Jones at the Chicago Theater a couple years ago. He was a fantastic entertainer both musically and personally. He got the crowd into his act more than I have ever seen an opener do in the past. And we have purchased every album of his since that time. And not a single one has let us down. It's hard to nail down genres with many musicians and Lee is one of them. All I can say is that it's really great acoustic guitar music that does a great job of helping you kick back and take a load off. Check out "Shout Out Loud" and "Supply & Demand."

4. Landon Pigg - LP
It's amazing how many up-and-coming artists can thank the iTunes Store for their breakthrough success. The folks at iTunes like to pick up on a new artist each week and feature them as a free single. Landon Pigg was one such artist in 2006 with "Sailed On." Hey, it was how I discovered him. Just some good Brit pop/rock spanning both the mellow and harder-edged arenas with catchy riffs and memorable lyrics. Well, I liked it. You might know "Can't Let Go" from the radio and it is good. But so are "Great Companion" and "Tinman."

5. KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
When I first saw her perform on, I believe, Late Night with David Letterman or The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (damn if I can remember which it was), I was enthralled. She was a one-woman act who looped her effects as she played them to build what amounted to a multi-piece band sound. It was fantastic. And, yes, while I know that pop radio picked up on her songs "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See" pretty heavily (practically to death), I still enjoy them immensely. But if you are tired of those two, check out "Other Side of the World" and "Miniature Disaster" instead.

6. G Love - Lemonade
It's kinda funny, but I've known of G Love for years. I had friends who listened to him as part of G Love and Special Sauce back in college. He was everywhere. But I never heard his music. Not one... that I'm aware of. This year, he's back in more ways than one. Collaborating with everyone from Jack Johnson to Tristan Prettyman, he's put together one heckuvan album here that I love and I am now very happy to call myself a fan. Download "Ride" and "Holla!"

7. The Killers - Sam's Town
This is probably one of the most critically anticipated albums of the year. Its release was heralded with all kinds of praise and yadda yadda yadda. I guess that's what happens when you're a nothing band from Las Vegas whose debut album Hot Fuss winds up going stratospheric on the power of three huge hit singles. So how does a band possibly reach that bar that they personally launched so high up that no one can seemingly grasp it? Well, it's tough to say the least. And I'm still not sure that this album will quite hit that mark, but it's still a good album. Just not quite as out-of-the-box great as the first. I'd recommend giving it a couple listens before passing final judgment, please. "While You Were Young" will be the song that is always played on the radio despite any other singles that come off the album much like "Mr. Brightside" was on Hot Fuss. Also check out "Bling (Confession of a King)" and "For Reasons Unknown."

8. The Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way
This was actually one of the top albums on my "most anticipated" list for the year. And it was worth the wait. The Chicks, in their first album since their in-concert anti-Bushie rant a few years back have smartly decided that they might need to broaden their appeal a bit since many of their old fanbase was turned off by their "un-American" attack. Bah! I say. Everyone has an opinion and we, as a country, support the right to have and share such opinions (even if the rant occurred in England). Anyway. Yes, this is still a country album, but with more of a crossover appeal than before. I highly recommend it. "Not Ready to Make Nice," "Voice Inside My Head," and "Taking the Long Way" are good starting points.

9. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning
I'm a junkie for Mark Knopfler, I'll admit it. I've been a fan of Dire Straits since I was a kid. I became fascinated just watching Knopfler finger pluck his electric guitar to perfection. And I've followed his solo career quite avidly. I own all his solo work and love every last bit of it. It has always had a bit of a crossover feel spanning both a lighter rock and harder country genres, so seeing him put out a full album's worth of collaboration with a well-known country artist such as Emmylou Harris was an inevitability. And I love it. The two voices blend together beautifully and the musicianship is spectacular as we Knopfler fans would expect. Try "This is Us" and "Red Staggerwing" on for size.

10. Eric Lindell - Change in the Weather
Once in a while, you make a mistake that turns out for the better. This was one such mistake. I was trying to download the free single of the week from iTunes from Lindell and accidentally clicked the "Buy Album" button instead. I was not happy. Instead of spending nothing, I waxed $10. Grrr... Thankfully, I've made the most of my money. Quite a bit, in all honesty. With a mix of blues and rock bringing life to this album, it's a thoroughly enjoyable album. Check out "Two-Bit Town," "Feel Like I Do," and "Sunny Daze."

Following is a list of honorable mentions. They're all still damn good, but just not quite good enough to edge their way on a Top 10. You should seriously give these a listen as well, though. In no particular order this time:

  • The Wreckers - Stand Still, Look Pretty
  • Matisyahu - Youth
  • Daughtry - Daughtry
  • Nas - Hip Hop is Dead
  • Guster - Ganging Up on the Sun
  • Jack Johnson - Sing-a-longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George
  • John Legend - Once Again
  • Dashboard Confessional - Dusk & Summer
  • Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
  • Christina Aguilera - Back to Basics

I hope you were able to find at least one album that could pique your curiosity. There's quite a variety of genres represented here. But that's just what I'm like when it comes to music, I listen to a little bit of everything.

I really need to consider signing up for that iTunes affiliate program. I could make some serious dough off all this potential linkage.


Talkin' 'bout my girl...

Ahhhhh!!!! They kissed! They kissed! They kissed!

Who you might ask? Well, you'll have to watch the show to find out, but it does involve P.J. and one other main character from the new TBS series My Boys. And now they're going to make us wait until next season to find out what results from it.

Ahhhh!!!

Okay, so I've become hooked on it. Wha'cha gonna do about it? Katie became intrigued by the idea of this show back in November and started watching it when the first two episodes aired on November 28. Since the debut, TBS has aired two episodes every Tuesday night making it the only show that has given us new content every week throughout the notoriously dead programming month of December. This week, however, we had two episodes on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, and the finale last night.

Basically, My Boys is about P.J. (Jordana Spiro), a Chicago sports columnist whose beat is the Cubs, and the dynamic she shares with her five male friends, Bobby (Kyle Howard), Brendan (Reid Scott), Kenny (Michael Bunin), Mike (Jamie Kaler), and Andy (Jim Gaffigan) who is also her brother. She does have one female counterpart in Stephanie (Kellee Stewart) who helps by giving her a more girly girl shoulder to lean on from time to time. But, otherwise, she spends her time playing poker, tracking down interviews with sports stars, and voicing over about how similar life is to sports.

And the show has proven to be a lot of fun. Katie and I both enjoy watching it and how can that possibly be a bad thing?

Here are some reasons why the show is good...

Great cast dynamic
The characters are really funny and they work off each other quite well. My particular faves include Kenny who I liken to a 30-something Paul Finch from American Pie (hell, they even sound similar) and the "new guy" Bobby who started out as one of P.J.'s love interests but has since become one of the clan.

Not a big name in the bunch
While many networks would love to have a big name actor anchor a new show to guarantee some carryover viewership, this show has just the opposite... a bunch of no names. The only two you might recognize are Gaffigan (who had a bit part in 13 Going on 30 as the older version of Jennifer Garner's first love Chris Grandy and also costars with Michael Ian Black in the Sierra Mist commercials) and Stewart (playing Ashton Kutcher's love interest in Guess Who with Bernie Mac). It's actually a bit refreshing to have almost all new faces.

It's Chicago, baby!
While E.R. is set in Chicago, very little is done to establish this fact on a weekly basis. Honestly, the show could be set anywhere and no one would notice. Not that every single scene of My Boys is taped in Chicago locales, but they constantly make reference to Chicago either through the occasional visual reference or by talking about local teams like the Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears, and Bulls (the creator is clearly not a White Sox fan, I don't think I've heard a single mention of the Sox). The finale had a killer birthday scene set in Wrigley Field that Katie and I both loved and drooled over. Of course, it's all about "the city" and the suburbs are portrayed as evil incarnate much like any show about New York City tends to do with regard to Manhattan being better than all the other burroughs as well as upstate. But I can live with that.

Pretty cool guest stars
There is a recurring character in Trouty (Johnny Galecki) who is the friend of Kenny that nobody likes. He's loud, crude, scares away the women with his "playa" attitude, and... well... we all know someone like him. He's that terrible friend that winds up coming to some group event that you can never escape. But he's hopelessly dedicated to the betterment of the crew. Then there is P.J. and Andy's Aunt Phyllis (Laurie Metcalf) whose Bohemian way of life makes her P.J.'s personal hero. If you're starting to see a bit of a crossover with Roseanne, it's because My Boys writer Eric Gilliland also served as a writer and executive producer on Roseanne. And, finally, one of my favorite actors, Neil Flynn (the Janitor from Scrubs), made a guest turn as washed-up Cubs beanbrawler Danny Finn.

So, yes, while this show may seem to be marketed as a "chick show" along the lines of a Sex and the City, it's really not. The male dynamic is pretty strong, neither gender is marginalized at all, and, basically, it can be enjoyed by anyone willing to give it a chance.

If you need to play catch up, all 13 episodes from this season can be viewed in their entirety on tbs.com. Sadly, I just discovered their video player only works on Windows... BOOOOOOO on you, TBS!! Okay, time to download them from XTorrent. You brought this on yourself, TBS.

Oh yeah, for anyone still not sold, did I mention that Jordana Spiro is cute?

Jordanaspiro

I have no idea when season 2 will be starting. But whenever it happens, Katie and I will be watching.

By the way, I've got to throw a thank you out to Chase who sent me a belated birthday present (what she's calling more of a Christmas and New Year's present to cover her butt) in David Sedaris' Barrel Fever and Naked. Thanks Chasey McChaser! You rock!

Tomorrow marks the first of my year-end multimedia wrap-up posts, so tune in for The Best Movies of 2006 (as seen by Kevin and Katie)


Do you see what I see...

At work yesterday, the graphic designer (GD) and I were checking out a photo collage. We were trying to figure out who from a particular group was missing and if we had any photos in our archives we could use to fill in the blanks.

We found one photo for a guy that piqued our curiosity.

Robert Murray

GD: Gah! Kevin, you have to come check this out.

Me: What?

GD: It looks like there is another person in this photo with him.

Me: Oh cool! Yeah, there's his eye and his nose.

GD: That's just creepy.

Me: I'm going to darken it and increase the contrast in Photoshop to see if that makes it any clearer.

Murraycloseup By the time I finish, another coworker has joined our examination of the photo. I'll call him B&B.

B&B: That's pretty sweet. I wonder if he's being haunted? Maybe we should send the photo to CSI.

Me: I think Cold Case might be a better fit.

GD: Look at that spot on the ghost's head. Bullet wound?

Me: Totally.

B&B: Suicide.

Me: Nah, not fun enough.

GD: And there's even a mottled spot on the main guy's collar that you can see if you look closely.

Me: I think that's a blood stain from when he murdered this other guy by shooting him in the head and then tried to wash it out.

B&B: Oooh a duel!

Me: Yeah, like Hamilton and Burr. He's a rival or something. So he snuffed him out.

B&B: We need a third person in this story line.

Me: His wife. The ghost guy was sleeping with the main guy's wife so he murdered him in a vengeful fury. Assassination all the way!

GD: And now he's haunted by his spirit forever. I wonder if any other photos of him have this ghost behind him.

Me: Damn I wish we had more photos to look at. This is so cool.

B&B: You two have way too overactive an imagination. You're actually enjoying this.

Me: Yeah, this coming from you. You're having just as much fun as we are. So can you blame us?

B&B: No, not really.

To the family of the guy in the photo... this is just us having fun. No, we do not really think your ancestor murdered someone or that his wife was screwing around on him or that he was haunted by a spirit.

Unless you have evidence to the contrary, of course.


Whoo, black diamond...

Okay, several of you asked, either in comments or e-mails, what it was that I got for Katie for Christmas, so I figured I'd do a bit of a gift round-up.

Diamondpendant For her from me:

  • A collector's copy of Marley & Me by John Grogan
  • A ladybug necklace from Red Envelope
  • A floppy-eared dog stuffed animal
  • And the piece-de-resistance, a diamond loop necklace

I would've taken a picture of the actual necklace itself either on Katie or off, but she's asleep and I don't want to wake her up right now. So you'll have to settle with a representative image of it from Jared.com.

For me from her:

  • A Chicago Bears Tradition "B" hat
  • A Chicago Bears NFC North champion long-sleeve T-shirt
  • A Chicago Bears Devin "Windy City Flyer" Hester jersey
  • A copy of the Chicago Bears edition of Monopoly (don't see a theme yet, do you?)
  • A Hallmark chihuahua Christmas tree ornament (not that I'm a big fan of chi-hoo-a-hoo-a's, but it's part of the series of Puppy Love ornaments that I had been buying for her over the years; she just beat me to the punch on this one; so it has sentimental value to us as a couple)
  • And, of course, the Palm TX that I detailed a bit yesterday

I love everything she gave me and, thankfully, she liked all that I gave her, which made for a great season of gift giving.

Phew!

So how the hell do I top it next year?


Latest Fun With Dead Trees reviews - It's been a while, but we're back with a few new reviews. I stop by with a review of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys while Claire chimes in with both Richard Avedon's Evidence 1944-1994 and Augusten Burroughs' Running With Scissors. I will, hopefully, return soon with a review of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, which I read yesterday.


Pilot through time...

This is likely to be a short post as I'm trying something completely new. I'm  posting using my new Palm TX PDA.

This was my big Christmas gift from Katie and I love it. I've been using Palm Pilots for several years now but this is the first one I've owned that wasn't a hand-me-down.

Yep, brand spankin' new and it comes with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity (I'm on our home Wi-Fi network right now posting this and it's pretty damn cool).

But I'm going to cut this short as I do need to troubleshoot why I can't seem to override the preferences settings from my old Palm, which seem to be wrecking havoc with this new one something fierce.

Oh, and for anyone wondering, Katie did love her gift. Pics and description coming soon.

Note: this was reposted because, for some reason, Typepad didn't want to display the paragraph breaks I typed in despite the fact that the HTML version of this post showed them. Weird.


We wish you a Merry Christmas...

I am absolutely dying to give Katie her Christmas gift. I mean it. I’m dying. I’ve had the thing in my grubby mitts for a couple weeks now and it’s killing me.

However, the fear of her not liking it is balancing out the equation a bit.

Do I want to give it to her, or do I not want to take the risk?

Do I?

Don’t I?

Dammitalltohell!

The thing I’ve got going for me is that everyone I’ve either shown or described the gift to has absolutely loved it. That’s a plus. But Katie is certainly not “everyone” and that’s why I’m still worried.

Can I just give her the damn thing (well, “things” would be a bit more accurate although it’s only one of the gifts that I’m truly worried about) already?

Grrr…

Well, anyway, just in case I don’t get a chance to post again (we’re going to be traveling all over the place and I can only hope I will find a chance to sneak on the Web a bit, but I make no guarantees), I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and whatever other holidays are happening around this time that I may be overlooking right now.

Tune in soon for my end-of-year wrapup.


Pieces, pieces, pieces of me...

Not quite my traditional mystery photo ID game, but still something interesting all the same.

The following photo shows (pick one)…

A. A visual representation of James Frey’s profits and future earnings potential after Oprah had her way with him and his book A Million Little Pieces.

B. A new strain of melanoma contracted by metallic surfaces.

C. The drain in our kitchen sink after two nights of making Christmas cookies.

Drainage

If you answered “A,” you would be correct.

Nah, it’s actually “C.” Yeah, we’ve spent the last two nights rolling out and baking four different types of Christmas cookies. Of course, Katie did a vast majority of the work. But I tried to help. Dunno how much help I really was, but I tried. And that’s all that truly matters, right?

Right?


I can cheat you blind...

Dispenser A little more than two months ago, new hand sanitizer dispensers were installed in each and every office at work.

The dispensers resemble spheres that are approximately seven inches in diameter (I think). The bottom half is opaque plastic while the top half is transparent plastic. Inside the sphere is a transparent plastic pouch in which the sanitizer is held. Basically, you just put your hands under the dispenser and it automatically outputs a predetermined amount of sanitizer.

At first, people were pretty weirded out by them.

For one, they tend to drip a little on the floor underneath where they're installed. The fear was that this could either result in slick spots on smooth floors or discolored carpeting.

Then, of course, there was the fact that the pouches in the sphere look like a saline breast implant. Yeah, I've watched Nip/Tuck, I know what they look like. However, people were even able to get over that.

Now, people have adapted to them. Some have even gone so far as to give them some personality by customizing them. They do this by popping off the upper dome and taping images inside them as though it were some twisted little picture frame.

At first, I thought it was pretty stupid. People were doing some odd, and incredibly unfunny, things to them.

Then I heard from someone in one department that they had put in a picture of the northern hemisphere of Earth. When I heard this, I became inspired. I had to compete and come up with something cooler.

But, being me, it had to have a little touch of, well, "me." This, of course, translates to "creepy" or otherwise "odd." Hence why I came up with...

Look into my eye...

I can't wait to hear my coworkers' responses.


Stop the world, I wanna get off...

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

*cough cough*


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Sorry about that. Had to get it out.

It's been a while since I ranted about bumper stickers, like a really long while. And many of you know that nothing frustrates me more than hypocrisy, so you'll forgive me for delving into this again.

I was behind a vehicle last night on my commute home when I was assaulted with stickers bearing messages such as "Live simply that others may simply live," "Kill your TV," "The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth," and "Think Green." There were others, but he would neither stop long enough nor turn in the same direction as I was, so this was all I could get written down in my trusty Moleskine.

Clearly this guy is an environmentalist and would like to see life simplified. Noble pursuits, in all honesty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to simplify things, perhaps go back to a time akin to Little House on the Prairie. We'll all wear bonnets and ride around in horse-drawn wagons and actually sit down together at the dinner table before blowing out the flames in our hurricane lamps and going to bed.

But are you going to be willing to part with your gas-guzzling SUV to do so, you imbecile?????

That's right, our fair lover of all things natural was driving a 10-mile-per-gallon SUV!

You friggin' moron.

I-I-I-I...

ugh.

For the record, I am not opposed to SUVs so don't think I'm crusading against you. I am merely opposed to stupid people who say one thing, yet do another entirely.

And all this a day after I post about a guy telling me I'm not snide. Well the fairy tale had to end some time, right?


I'm on my way, I'm makin' it...

And what to make of something that happened to me yesterday at work.

I was just about to leave with my coworker for my final meeting of the day. I heard her saying hi to someone in the lobby of our office so I knew I had a few extra seconds to finish getting stuff together.

When I stepped out of my office into the lobby, the visitor looks at me and says, "and you're Kevin Apgar."

Me: Umm... yeah.

John Doe (J.D.): I'm John Doe. I'm a reporter for XYZ Newspaper.

Me: Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.

[I'm still wondering how he knew who I was. It wasn't as though my job made some grand media announcement of my arrival.]

J.D.: And I read your blog.

My Co-Worker (MyCW): You have a blog?

Me: It was in my resumé.

MyCW: Like I read every site that was in your resumé.

Me: Okay, I'll grant you that.

J.D.: He's a really good writer. Very funny and never snide. If I had a bigger budget, I'd hire him as a full-time blogger for the paper.

[cha-ching goes the mental cash register]

Me: No complaints.

[a few more back-and-forth comments for another minute or so that I can't quite recall]

J.D.: Well, hey, it was nice to meet you.

Me: Nice to meet you, too. [to MyCW as we're walking away] That was different.

MyCW: He's a really nice guy.

J.D.: [calling after us] By the way, say hi to Katie!

Me: Will do!

MyCW: [to me] Woah.

Me: Yep. He's a reader.

That's something that I, even in my wildest dreams, never imagined would happen. My first random fan off the streets! Woo hoo!

[Disclaimer: this isn't a word-for-word transcription of the conversation. I just stated the key parts as well as I could remember them. It's been half a day and it's really early right now... cut me some slack.]


Wii are the champions, my friends...

They told me I was foolish.

They laughed at me.

They mocked me.

I was #25 in a line of 24. Thirty people had come between #24 and myself but had been scared off. They were told stories of the futility of their efforts. They were convinced that their's was not the noblest of causes.

But I was not the only one to refuse to listen. Another thirty people came after me and stood in defiance of the inevitable.

When sympathetic friends and family members arrived with deliveries of food and hot beverages, they taunted me by saying that it was only for those who stood in the "real" line. I was the headmaster of the loser queue.

Even the Man in the Yellow Jacket (make all the Curious George references that you want right now) told me it was pointless. That the man in front of me was the last one with any hope whatsoever.

Then came the announcement...

"All of you must clean up all your garbage and break down all tents, chairs, and other apparatus you have with you. It cannot remain on the sidewalk. It must be in your cars and you will have to stand in line for the next hour. Anyone who leaves the line will not be allowed back in regardless of the reason why. You have 10 minutes to pack it in!"

We raced to our vehicles to put away our equipment and then continued to stand shivering in the cold for what turned out to be an additional hour and a half.

The Man in the Yellow Jacket gave us no hope of ever achieving our goal. We were still just second-rate citizens.

Then it happened...

Four people jumped out of line ahead of me. Suddenly there was a glint of hope. Were they actually in line waiting or were they just friends of people officially waiting in line? Nobody knew for sure. They weren't telling. The Man in the Yellow Jacket wasn't changing his tune either.

The doors opened and we began to slowly file in to our own personal Mecca in pairs. Only two at a time like animals herded in Noah's ark. It was an attempt to control the forecasted madness. It was an arduous process. We all still stood shivering in line wishing we could just get a taste of the heat. But we stood strong nonetheless.

As the man ahead of me approached the entryway, the Man in the Yellow Jacket flashed the final ticket. It read a machine-stamped "24." He made sure I could see it and then gave me a pathetic head shake. Then he handed the ticket to the guy ahead of me.

I looked the Man in the Yellow Jacket in the eyes. Defiantly I proclaimed, "but you have another in your pocket."

"Do I?"

"You do."

He stared at me through squinted eyes as though judging just how much I believed my own ridiculous statement. Then he pulled his hand out of his pocket with another ticket. Like Charlie, I beamed knowing I held what amounted to a modern-day admission pass to Willie Wonka's vaunted chocolate factory. The Man in the Yellow Jacket gave me a proud smirk knowing the hassling I had endured for the previous three-and-a-half hours. He was impressed by my tenacity, my unwillingness to budge.

And I wasn't even the last. The man behind me, also suffering from the snipes of those ahead of us, wound up a winner. He was the real #24. I was #23. I was Jordan. Sandberg. Hester.

My prize?

Wii are the champions

Sooooo worth the wait. Got Excite Truck in addition to the Wii Sports that came bundled with the system and ordered an extra controller that should be in sometime today or tomorrow. I think our next purchase will likely be Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz as Katie said it sounds like fun. If it's a game she can get behind, then we'll get it.

A big "thank you" to Katie for putting up with my childish geekiness the last several weeks and also waiting in line with me the last hour. And another big "thank you" to my parents who decided to buy this for me as my birthday present. When they couldn't find it themselves, they just gave me the cash, instead, to buy it on my own.


Oh my crush, I've got a crush...

Is it too late to back out of this?

Yes?

Damn.

Bcdaysm Oh well. I guess I'm committed to and must announce my blog crush considering this is, after all, Reveal Your Blog Crush Day.

Grrrrr...

You would think I would have learned my lesson some months ago when I was revealing a list of some of my favorite bloggers only to discover I had left a few people off the finished list.

I felt guilty as hell about it despite protestations that I didn't need to worry. Call it "Catholic Guilt," if you will. And I'm agnostic. Go fig.

Anyway, at that time, I swore to myself I would never participate in such exclusionary blog practices ever again.

I am, if nothing else, a man of my word.

Yeah right.

I know that Sandra and Sizzle decided that we, as participants in this most valunted day of days, can pick as many blog crushes as we want. And, as much as I may have been leaning this way initially, I will instead just pick one recipient of my blogaffection.

Why? Because I don't want to wind up in a situation similar to the one I described above in which I forget one or two names in a list of many. Perhaps it's just me, but I would be more hurt to have been forgotten from a list of many than to lose out to a single winner. Think in terms of being an actor nominated for an Academy Award. How bad would you feel if, suddenly, all your fellow nominees were awarded a statuette, save for you? Color me crazy, but I'd want to crawl in a hole and die.

That is why, in the words of the Highlander, "There can be only one!"

So who is this lucky person? Who is that one special individual to whom I have devoted myself? The recipient of my bloggy-style lovin'?

It is tough. Really. I read so many damn fine bloggers out there. I literally have dozens upon dozens of people whose new words I await with breathless anticipation. So many of you out there I just know I could meet in real life (if I haven't already) and we'd get along just famously.

(do note my carefully crafted, yet horribly transparent, attempt to stall)

But I have limited this decision to one. And I am a man of my word. This time. Really. I swear.

Okay, enough procrastinating.

[drum roll please]

Continue reading "Oh my crush, I've got a crush..." »


You want a piece of Chewbacca...

Would you like a bit of insight into the off-kilter goings on of my mind?

Firefly I was staring at the cover of the Firefly: The Complete Series DVD set that Dustin bought for my birthday.  For whatever reason, I started creating a mental parallel between those characters aboard the Serenity throughout the series and those on board the Millennium Falcon in the original Star Wars film.

It is truly uncanny how well it works. And if this has been done before, I apologize. I’ve never seen it written up, so it’s new to me and quite possibly new to some of you as well.

Clearly, Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is the Han Solo (Harrison Ford) of the bunch. He’s a rogue, a scoundrel, a risk taker, a former government soldier/officer, and just too cool for words.

Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres) is, arguably, Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Both are strong willed, fiercely independent, and started as agents for the government before splintering off due to divergent beliefs. Most importantly, both are capable of kicking ass or being sensitive and caring (although the instances of this happening may be rare).

Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) is R2-D2. He is capable of fixing anything (in a medical sense, of course), is highly intelligent, and is always looking out for his sister, River (Summer Glau) much like Artoo does for C-3PO. Also, much like Threepio, River is a highly misunderstood soul who has a history of being tinkered with or experimented on. And both are prone to the occasional breakdown.

If anyone needs justification or questions why I would compare Shepherd Book (Ron Glass) to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness), then please stop reading now.

The tough one is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). I think, upon careful consideration, I’d have to compare him to Inara Senna (Morena Baccarin) despite the gender difference. Arguable? Sure. But hear me out. Neither really belong on the ship on which they are most readily seen as both are quite capable pilots in their own right. Both have a personal belief system that doesn't necessarily "mesh" with the rest of their ship's travellers and they are also quite adept at viewing the inner strengths of those around them. The difference lies in that while Inara “services” clients for the right price, Luke could stand to be one of her clients. Desperately.

This is about the time that my screwed-up mind made the realization that Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) kicks some serious intergalactic ass. He’s the only member of the Falcon’s crew from that movie whereas I still have three crew left on the Serenity to account for in this comparison. And, effectively, Chewbacca plays the role of every single one of them all rolled up in one giant, growling, bowcaster-toting furball. He’s the primary pilot of his ship like Wash (Alan Tudyk); he’s the chief mechanic like Kaylee (Jewel Staite), although not nearly as good looking; and he’s the brawn like Jayne (Adam Baldwin). How bad ass does this make Chewie? Let’s just say I think he should be the one to carry the “Bad Ass Mofo” wallet that Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) holds so dear in Pulp Fiction.

What? You were expecting some major philosophical breakthrough? You do realize whose blog you’re reading, right? I leave the philosophizing to the true geeks who constantly push for political recognition of “The Force” as an official religion.

This is just how my mind rolls. It’s Thursday. Gimme a break.


Thy leaves are so unchanging...

Well, let's just say if these "leaves" do change, there's something very wrong happening in my townhouse because this is a fake tree.

As stated over on Flickr, it's taken us two weeks, but the damn thing is finally done! YAY!!!! Now we can stuff all the storage containers back in the attic... only to have to take them back down in a couple more weeks.

*uncontrollable sobbing ensues*

Well, enjoy it anyway...

Christmas Tree

In case you're interested, about halfway up the picture, to the left of the white bear in the red vest and just above the small green knitted wreath is our Bananas For You ornament. Right smack dab in the center of the tree where it belongs!

Oh, and a big ol' "thank you" to Dustin who bought me Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD for my birthday. I am sooooo looking forward to watching the rest of this series. And, yes, I do know and love the theme song very much. Damn fine one. Been a part-time earworm for some months now.


I always feel like somebody's watchin' me...

I know a few of you are convinced my townhouse is haunted because of some of the strange noises I've reported over our couple years living here. Well, I'm not so easily swayed to this seemingly menacing perception.

However, this morning I heard some more inexplicable noises that left me wondering.

When my alarm went off, I smacked the snooze bar. I haven't slept well the last couple nights and I thought that ten extra minutes couldn't hurt me.

Then I heard the "footsteps."

These ones were not inside on the stairwell like ones I've heard in the past. They were on the roof... on the outside. And they sounded like they were crunching through snow.

Then I heard the "scraping."

It actually sounded like a snow shovel on concrete clearing the detritus away after yet another snowfall. And this is what I was convinced it was.

You see, it's been a week and a half since that first big snowstorm of ours and the snow is still here. However, the temperature has risen above freezing and the rain has started just in time to give us a nice, muddy brown Christmas (yay). So I was under the impression from those two noises that the temperature had instead dropped and we got a ton of snow overnight.

I freaked out and jumped out of bed to look out the window to determine if I did, in fact, need to shovel.

Nothing. It was still raining.

And I missed out on prime snooze minutes. Damn noises. I think I could almost feel my house laughing hysterically at my misery.

I took my shower and grabbed a laundry basket of clean clothes and pulled them into the closet so I could sort through and find clothes to wear without waking Katie.

Then I heard the "creaking."

Of course, from my vantage point, looking up at all my newly installed shelving, the only thing I could think was that my closet was going to collapse in on me burying me in piles of clothes a la Michael Keaton in his mom's closet in Johnny Dangerously.

Nothing happened, thankfully. But how long until something does? I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

On a completely unrelated aside, the rules for Reveal Your Blog Crush Day have been posted. Plan accordingly.


It's a mad world...

Here's a multimedialistic snippet post for you all today involving a bunch of stuff that Katie and I have watched recently.

The Amazing Race
Was anybody else completely let down by the finale? Not by the winners, but just by how horribly anticlimactic the whole thing was? It just seemed to happen and that was it. No excitement. No build up. And it just seemed far too simple... find a sculpture in the East Village, get in a cab, and ride out to upstate New York... oooooohhhh. At least last year's flag raising was exciting to watch.

However, I must say we are both wholeheartedly excited about February's premiere of The Amazing Race: All Stars. Sweet! I hope Uchenna and Joyce are back.

In Theaters
Katie and I saw two movies in theaters this past weekend. The first was The Holiday with Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law. Neither of us particularly wanted to see this movie. We went because the FSiL said everyone owed her a girly rom-com. Considering my hatred of Cameron Diaz and Jack Black, I was none too happy about it. But I went because I do like Kate Winslet and have never had anything against Jude Law as an actor (as a person, I want to beat the living snot out of him... who cheats on Sienna Miller with his kids' nanny? Fool).

Honestly, it wasn't terrible. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but I didn't want to scratch out my eyeballs, either. Diaz became tolerable after about half a movie spent whining. Black wasn't terrible, either. Winslet was decent. But Law was actually my fave of the film. Plus there was a VERY brief cameo by John Krasinski of The Office fame (yeah, Jim Halpert was in it, folks), which was pretty cool.

To make up for it, Katie and I went to see Casino Royale on Sunday. Considering how much I've been raving about the prospect for greatness of this film, you'd think I would've seen it about three times by now. Alas, I had not seen it. Even both sets of my parents have seen it before I did. Sad.

The film was friggin' spectacular! Yeah, it requires more than a routine level of suspension of disbelief, but don't all action-adventure films? Despite the disbelief, Daniel Craig was fantastic as James Bond. He makes Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan look like pussies (I still like Timothy Dalton too much to say Craig was better, and I have yet to see George Lazenby in action... although I do have his one Bond film here at home checked out from Netflix). Seriously. They are just pansy-assed, pathetic excuses for secret agents. Craig got down and dirty, got the crap beaten out of him more harshly than even I expected, and still came back for more. Plus Mads Mikkelson and Eva Green deserve to go down in the annals of Bond fame as some of the better Bond villains and Bond Girls, respectively. And I hope Jeffrey Wright comes back for more in the future.

The reliance on gadgetry as a plot device that has marked previous Bond films was gone. Thank God the film's producers finally got a good Bond, some pretty good writers, and realized that gadgets can only carry a film so far. Okay the script may have been my only complaint... it was a bit long in parts. At two-and-a-half hours, it really could've used some editing.

I can't wait for more, though.

On DVD
We also finally caught up on a couple DVDs we've had out from Netflix for quite some time now. And, to be honest, we could've done without wasting those hours of our lives. Sadly, too, considering I was really looking forward to one of them.

The first, and the one I wanted to see, was Monster House. It was the animated film about three kids investigating a house in the neighborhood that transcends "haunted." To say it was a letdown is understating things a bit. The plot was terribly forced and the characters were way too cliche. And I just don't see this as a movie for young kids despite the marketing. It is a PG film, parents, not G like most animated fare. It is actually a bit more horrific than you might think.

The other film was Accepted with Justin Long as a eight-time college rejection letter recipient. How does he go about regaining his parents' respect? By creating his own fake university. His plan goes awry, though, when others think it's real and show up for orientation. When you watch the first 45 minutes of a movie billed as a comedy and don't even giggle, that's a bad sign. And that's all I've got to say about that.


Little ditty 'bout Dave and Diane...

Dealing with traffic on I-88 east: absolute hell.

Putting up with the Hillside Strangler on 290 east: even more hell.

Coping with no traffic flow whatsoever on 90 west: the worst kind of hell.

Being able to meet up with Dave and Diane at Chicago's Pizza and Pasta and then having drinks at two bars afterward: friggin' priceless!

Me, Diane, and Dave

I've raved about meeting Dave before (opportunity #1 and #2) and having a chance to meet up with him again was great. But Diane is a new blogger buddy of mine and far too cool for words. If you have a chance to meet either, do so. By all means.

Oh, and the redeye could be a combination of the flash and the drinking. Who's to say for sure?

I also need to give a big thanks to another blogger buddy of mine, Hilly, who sent me a belated birthday gift. My gift to her was late as well so she need not feel guilty. Plus she fed my craving for all things David Sedaris by gifting me with Holidays on Ice and Live at Carnegie Hall. Sweet!


What is love...

I got this e-mail from Sandra the other day...

Hey Kevin,

Me and Sizzle were just chatting and decided to declare December 15 "reveal your blog crush day". We thought you might like to help spread the word, and perhaps reveal your own (who, of course, will NEVER compare to Katie!).

Whatcha think?

Oh wow. I... I... I'm not sure. The pressure inherent in making such a revelation.

What kind of criteria do I use to make this decision?

Can I have more than one or do I have to be monoblogamous?

If I'm straight in real life do I have to be straight here or can I return the love that Neil gave me some months ago?

Should it be a long-term crush or can I show love to someone that I only recently discovered?

Then, of course, there's the possibility that I may be showing unrequited blog love. Oh how that might crush me inside. Or what if the person I'm crushing on doesn't want my love at all? Perhaps they are cold-hearted bastards and blog love threatens their only known way of life?

There are so many things to take into consideration when taking part in such a grand event.

Oh I'm in!

Anybody else?


Check it out now...

Dear NBC,

Over the years, we've had quite the love/hate relationship. On occasion, I've loved you. You've put out some great shows in the past such as Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, etc. More often than not, though, you've put out complete and utter crap.

Save for a couple standouts, "complete and utter crap" pretty much describes your entire schedule right about now.

I will give you credit where credit's due. You are responsible for sticking by your guns on The Office, which, by most modern network standards, should have been canceled a long time ago. But you waited, and you took into account the fact that it was moving like mad on iTunes. Bravo.

You've also stood by Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip when many other nets would've already killed it. I don't know that I see you guys holding out beyond this season, but at least you're letting them wrap this season up the way it should unlike that poor little kid on Kidnapped. Will he ever be found? I somehow doubt it.

Networks thrive on ratings, that is no secret. If a show doesn't have high ratings, which come from us, the viewers, then you won't get the advertising revenue you so desperately need to survive.

Therein lies the purpose of this letter.

Last night, Katie and I inadvertently allowed ourselves to become pawns in the push for higher ratings. We feel dirty, we feel used. And, yet, it was our fault... somewhat.

We tuned in to the second episode of the new season of Scrubs, which, in all honesty was well below par (both episodes this season have been highly underwhelming). But, it's Scrubs and we're going to give it a chance as it has always made us laugh in the past. We watched it and, because we were so bored by it, we fell asleep in the final few minutes.

Our slumber continued past the half hour dedicated to Scrubs and into the one held by your new crapfest known as 30 Rock. Sadly, it was not 3rd Rock from the Sun. Bummer.

Don't get me wrong, I've traditionally liked both Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan, but this show does nothing for me. I've tried and it just ain't clickin' with me. Is it Jane Krakowski that's turning me off? Perhaps Alec Baldwin? The answer to this question, I do not know. I just know I don't like it.

Due to this fact, I would like to humbly request that you remove one rating tick mark from your tally for last night's episode of 30 Rock. It was an unearned rating boost and one that you really should not want as it represents ill-gained viewership.

Do the right thing, NBC. Give me back my rating.

And what the hell does "30 Rock" mean anyway?


You think she's an open book...

The flames of my passion are being fanned anew.

My library passion, that is.

I just found out today that, as an employee at my new workplace, I am eligible to be part of a reciprocal library loan program at the Naperville Public Library. NPL -- or Nichol's Library -- is not part of the Geneva Public Library's interlibrary loan network, which is quite unfortunate because NPL has a fantastic selection of books, CDs, and DVDs and was just rated either the top or one of the top libraries in the nation.

So I went over there during my lunch break and signed up. Hey, it's me and a library... what'd you expect?

I picked up four CDs after paring my stack down from eight and this was just from going through A-C. God only knows what'll happen as I really start to search. Then I used their self-checkout system, which is pretty swanky, and headed back to my office. Oh, in case you're wondering, I picked up Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Jerry Cantrell, Alex Chilton, and Coheed & Cambria.

But, I found out some pretty cool details about Nichol's from one of their staff members today. For one, they're going to start using RSS feeds on their Web site. I can only imagine this is to notify people of new additions to their collections. Their site also has digital music downloads and eBooks available. And, next year, they're going to start offering up video downloads.

How mind blowing is that? This is a library! I love it.

However, I fear that "my women" (as Katie calls them) at GPL are going to give me a guilt trip or a cold shoulder and accuse me of abandoning them or cheating on them. They know I'm now using Nichol's because the latter had to call the former to make sure I was a user in good standing. The woman who picked up didn't even need to look me up on the computer. She remembered me by name. How sad is that?

I'm a library adulterer. *sniffle*


I'm just a sentimental fool...

Clearly, SJ thinks I hold some mystical control over the heavens. Not only did my birthday fall on the same day as the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but it also "just happens" to be the annual Day of the Ninja... and we all know my long-held belief that ninja kick pirate booty.

Do I have some secret ability to make the stars align in my favor? Do I control destiny to make everything work out my way?

I'll let you in on a little secret... yup.

Okay, enough self-aggrandizing.

My haul this year included money and gift cards, with which you can never go wrong. Good stuff. However, I also received copies of Fables, vol. 1: Legends in Exile, and Ghost World from Karl (you rock, Karl), which were very cool surprises. And Katie picked me up Scrubs, season 3, and season 4, as well as 24, season 5, on DVD and an iTunes giftcard.

Bananasforyou But despite all this complete and utter coolness, you wanna know what was my favorite gift? It was the Hallmark "Bananas for You" Keepsake ornament that Katie got me. I absolutely love it.

Admittedly, I have a thing for cool Christmas tree ornaments. Especially when Katie buys them for me because I always know she's going to have put some personal thought into it and it will have some special meaning to the both of us.

Plus it hearkens back to when we first started dating. We started seeing each other one week to the day before Christmas in 1998. Being such a new relationship, I wanted to get her something as a gift, but without it being too over the top. I didn't want to scare her too much early on by giving her some huge gift. Could've been bad, right? So I got her a Keepsake ornament of a black lab puppy that was wrapped in Christmas lights. I think it's still one of her favorite ornaments.

And this one is just as special to me. In fact, as soon as I got home, I grabbed a hook and put it on the tree.

Of course, it remains the only ornament on our tree so far.

Yeah, we really need to get around to finishing that.

Whoops.


Been around the world...

I have no single good thing to talk about today, so I figured I'd shoot for some snippets. Been a while anyway.

Holiday decorating
While we did get some more holiday decorating done last night as we watched TV, you could tell there was little to no joy in its execution. I fear we may have overdone it with holiday spirit last year and now we're completely drained. For the most part, we just set up stuff around the house like Katie's beloved Willow Tree nativity scene the pieces of which she's been collecting for a few years now. I started to separate some tree ornaments and break apart the cluster of hooks, but we never hung any of them. We still plan to, we just don't know when.

Wii hunt
Apparently, both Katie and my parents were trying to find me a Nintendo Wii for my birthday. And, as would be expected, neither party had much luck. However, yesterday, I was given Katie's blessing to run out to one of the early sales, this one at Toys 'r' Us, to see if I could score a system.

Yeah... no. I got there about 8 a.m. because the TrU salesperson told her on Friday that they would have them on Sunday and I need only show up an hour before opening. However, people were lining up as early as 6 a.m. and a sympathetic salesperson handed out claim slips to the systems they had in stock at about 7:15 a.m. so they could avoid the cold and wait in their cars. So I missed out.

But I will try again. I may start pulling some of my strings to see what I can do so I don't have to wait in a line again.

Shredded
There are household items that people "kill" on a regular basis. And most people seem to be cursed by consistently killing several of the same thing. For some, it's a cellphone (my FSiL). For others, it could be anything from blenders to power tools to lawnmowers (my dad) to snowblowers (again, my dad) to God only knows what else.

For Katie and me, it seems to be shredders... yeah, the big ol' thing that you use to obliterate important documents. We use it to kill not only old billing statements, but all those damned annoying "you've been approved" credit card applications. And the sheer volume of what we've given our shredders has burned out two of them. The motor burned out on the first, which is wholly understandable. The weird thing is the second one, on which we seemed to have practically liquefied the teeth. Yeah, you read that right, half the metal teeth on this thing are worn down to nubs. But the other half are completely fine. So now, until we get a new one, we have to make sure the sensitive information on the sheet goes down the shredding side of the shredder so it gets chewed up. Annoying.

What do you seem to have bad luck with?

The Amazing Race
They're gone! They're gone! If you watch the Race, you know who I'm referring to. If you don't watch it, no need to worry. And, if you haven't had the opportunity to watch it yet, I haven't ruined anything. But... they're gone! They're gone!


Bought a one-way ticket to hell...

Katie and I spent the early part of yesterday helping a friend prepare her house to host a surprise 30th birthday party for another friend. My job was to keep their four-year-old son, P, busy. So I took him out to get him a haircut, go buy some snackies for the party, and pick up the cake.

At some point in the drive, I was asking him what he had been doing that morning...

Me: So did you watch cartoons this morning?

P: No. I watched The Polar Express.

Me: Did you like it?

P: Yeah, it had a guy on a train and, when he took his hat off, he had no hair on top and a lot on the sides like you.

Me: ...

Four years old or not, I'm throwing down the gauntlet, kiddo. Bring it on!


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

While, technically, our first snow of the season came well over a month ago, we got our first real "snowstorm" the night before last. And it made my commute to work yesterday absolute hell.

I find it funny because I woke up yesterday morning and looked outside at 5:15 a.m. expecting several inches. What I saw only really amounted to about an inch. And nothing else was coming down. As per typical, our weathercasters misjudged it. So I showered, got dressed, and went downstairs to plant my lazy butt in front of the iMac to blog and check e-mail. I even told Kim we only got an inch.

At about 7:50, I got my stuff together to go to work. When I opened the garage, I saw about five inches with more rapidly pouring down.

And, of course, our association had yet to plow.

So I broke out a shovel and began to dig my way out of our driveway.

45 minutes later, I was on the road.

By 9:00 a.m., I finally made it to work, the roads were that bad. My 45-minute commute took an hour and a half. At a few instances during the drive, I questioned whether or not I'd even make it to work. Hell, I even called a coworker to warn him I may not be in.

Here's how bad it was, photographically. This first shot was taken on Thursday afternoon from a building near where I work.

Before the snow

This second one was taken from nearly the same vantage point the next day.

After the snow

Some random shots from my commute and a walk I took during my lunch hour are in the extended post.

Continue reading "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..." »


They call me the whore...

There's a girl I met recently. I don't really know her other than as a relative acquaintance. I see her from time to time and we say "hi." Not much more.

That should do well to establish our "relationship."

So when you really don't know someone any better than this, is there a "good" way to tell her that her excessive use of facial makeup results in her looking like a dime-store hooker?

I'm not saying she's quite up to Tammy Faye standards just yet, but she's getting dangerously close.

I tread dangerous ground.

Hey! Got a meme in the extended post...

Continue reading "They call me the whore..." »