Me & Mine 2005-09

I want to ride it where I like...

As I type this, Katie's asleep on the couch. We're supposed to go run some errands and get some stuff done, but we just got back about an hour ago from a 20-mile bike ride up and down the Fox River Trail

We had beautiful weather and it was a gorgeous ride, save for the point where you ride past the sewage treatment plant in Batavia. If you weren't feeling hunger pangs before...

But Katie's now completely wiped. I know she's getting tired on our rides when she starts to lean forward with her forearms on the handlebars instead of her hands. Never a good sign. Thankfully that didn't happen until about mile 18. 

She did take a few pictures. Sadly my PowerShot is in the shop with a busted zoom dial. But Katie took some (one of those times when Facebook readers should click through to view the photos)

Do I wake her up? I know we've got a lot to do, but I'm not suicidal.

I'm so stoked about this little gem I ordered. It's an official Invaded! coffee mug for Avitable's 2009 Halloween party

This thing is truly a work containing both fine craftsmanship from the folks at and the artwork of Dave from Blogography. 

Invaded!   Invaded!

Unlike most coffee mugs, the design is not raised at all. It is so protected by ceramic glaze that there is no way to accidentally damage the logo without destroying the mug. And it's a heavy-duty mug at that. This is my favorite coffee mug second only to the kick-ass Jack Skellington mug that Katie bought me down at Disneyworld last year.

Kudos to Adam, Dave, and Zazzle on a fine product.

And no, I'm not receiving any sort of compensation from Adam, Dave, or Zazzle for this shameless plug other than warm, fuzzy feelings. I can't even go to the party. I'm just going to have to celebrate with my mug.


It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up...

All animals have their quirks, right? Oh God, I hope they do or we apparently have psycho-dog on our hands. Okay, even if they don't have quirks, just tell me they do so I don't have to live in fear for my life the rest of the time that Lilly's with us, okay?

Anyway, now that you've all reassured my nerves (you did, right?), I'd like to share one of the many quirks that Lilly has. I'm sharing it because we finally captured it on video. You see Lilly likes to spaz out on occasion. I got a photo of it one time, but it's hard to really make out what happens based on a single still frame.


And yet it's hard to know when she'll go into a full-blown episode to be able to capture it on video. The only time we can guarantee it will happen is after she's taken a bath. So here's Lilly in all her post-bath glory. We hope you enjoy.

Lilly's Freak Out from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

And please forgive us the titling on the video. It's the first time either Katie or I have played with iMovie. I couldn't get it to work for the life of me (I could create titles, but iMovie refused to add them to my video on the iMac), but Katie got it to work on her new MacBook with a newer version of iMovie. I think she did a great job and I'm sure she'll only get better. It's just sad that I, with the media studies degree, can't figure the damn thing out. So she just may be my editor from here on out. We'll see.

Oh, and even though I've proclaimed my disgust with Green Day (oh god, how I love re-reading those comments on occasion; warms my cockles), even I've gotta admit that "Basketcase" is the perfect song to title this post.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I've been trying for nearly a year now to convince Katie to play. And she's staunchly refused. "No," she'll say. "I just don't want to. It just doesn't look fun."

How can Guitar Hero III on the Wii not be fun?

Well, something tipped the scales in my favor and finally drove her to want to play. It came in the form of a challenge from Kristy of Our News... All the Time who received Guitar Hero II for her Playstation II for Christmas. She and her husband, Graham, play a lot. Graham says he just can't quite grasp it but Kristy's glomming on like nobody's business. She'll play on medium and handily defeat Graham who's playing on easy.

I get the feeling this is going to turn into a tag team duel. I'll have to play the medium level (of which I've only played a little bit, but I rock all but one of the easy songs at a 93%+ rating) against Kristy while Katie tackles Graham at the easy setting.

I think we're going to have to spend the next several weeks with a hardcore diet of Guitar Hero III and deprive her of all other things. Oh, we may just have to. There is no way the kapgars are going down. No, no. Not to some Mommy Blogger and her hubby. ;-)

Oh it's on... it's on like Donkey Kong!

Slip slidin' away...

It's one of those mornings where I'm both upset and grateful. No, not because of the holiday season, but because of what did and could have happened this morning on my way to work.

If you read any local Chicago news this morning, officials are calling it one of the worst road icing events they've ever seen. Hundreds of accidents reported by 8 a.m. It's that bad.

On my route to work, I was trying to turn off one road to get to the highway in to work. I'd already hit a couple small ice patches by this time but recovered without a problem. I've owned my truck long enough to know how to get out of just about anything. We've got a bit of a symbiotic relationship going... we can feel each other (no, not in that way). However, when I hit this turn lane, I could tell the plows and salt trucks had done nothing at all. I lost complete control of my truck for the first time. The pedals did nothing. The steering wheel may as well not have even existed. I just slid. And I had only been driving about 10-15 MPH into that lane.

I kept sliding. Right up to the car in front of me. At the last second, something shifted and made me drift into a giant snowbank on the side of the road.

While I was ticked that I lost control. I was entirely thankful that I not only didn't hit the car in front of me, nor the other car stuck in an extension of the snowbank, but also that the cars behind me were far enough away that they could avoid my lane and allowed me room to back out of the snow and onto the road.

No damage to the Beast whatsoever, though. Phew!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Katie got me a camera bag for my new Sony! And it's pretty awesome. It's a Tamrac shoulder sling bag. Perfect fit for the camera with my 35-70mm lens on it. Plus some compartments for cables and chargers and a pocket for extra memory cards and whatnot. Also, it's built for add-on components like a smaller pouch just for my telephoto lens, etc. I love it.

And I got another gift that is going to assist my photo and music loving immensely... a 500GB Apple Time Capsule. Sure, I could've requested just any external hard drive for our computers. But, considering we're probably buying Katie a MacBook very soon, having this Time Capsule available for her to use with Time Machine on it will be very nice. I also have an additional $100 in Apple Cash, which I'm debating using to upgrade the Time Capsule to the full 1TB jobber. I think I'd have to pay another $100 on top of all this. Good idea to plan for the future?

When you're all alone...

First off, I want to thank everyone here for all their birthday wishes. I was truly overwhelmed. To be honest, I wasn't sure if anyone would catch on to my image reference. Yep, that is Sweetness himself, Walter Payton, donning #34, the age I turned on Friday.

However, anyone who has friended me on Facebook needn't have bothered with the reference as they were reminded on their own and I received nearly 30 well wishes. After a couple years on Facebook, during which I've received only a couple birthday wishes, seeing approximately 30 this year just blew my mind. I guess I actually should start paying attention to the birthday list and returning these sentiments. So, anyone not on Facebook, please get on there. It's going to be my primary method of keeping track of your birthdays. Lord knows I won't remember on my own. Seriously... I won't. I'm bad like that. So I guess it's nice to have Facebook.

Oh, and for your viewing pleasure, I took some pictures of the Christmas decorations around our house. I would've taken more of the Christmas tree, but we have a bunch of unwrapped presents underneath and I don't want to reveal them. I'll get a new photo of that later on. Enjoy what I have otherwise in this pictobrowser (or over on Flickr)...

Did I forget to make note of the camera used to take these pictures? Yeah, it's my brand new Sony Alpha A350. Got it earlier today. I bought just the body of it, though, at the Sony outlet store. It's a refurbished camera and with nothing additional but the battery, covers, cords, manuals, etc., and with an additional 20% discount this weekend only, it came to $471. I did tack on a memory card and a four-year protection plan so it came out to a bit more total. But still. I love it. It's wonderful.

My rig

Thank you Katie!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I woke up this morning and took my shower then came into the bedroom to wake Katie up. She was buried under the covers. Up over her head, in fact. So I peeled back the covers from her head and said, in a sing-song manner, "Katieeeeeee."

She looked at me with the good ol' Katie stinkeye and said, "There is no Katie, only Zuul.

"Are you the Gate Keeper?"

My wife, the movie geek.

You've been thunderstruck...

Well, it's been three weeks since I returned my iPod to the store, they lost it, they found it, and, finally, they lemon'd it out. I now have my new iPod Classic, as it's been dubbed. But there's an interesting little twist to the story...

I got to the store and they went through my massive collection of receipts and service orders on my old iPod to determine how much was paid for the last one so I knew what trade-in value I would have. Turns out I spent just about $300 on the old one. The new Classics are $250 for the 80GB and $350 for the 160GB. I asked if I could get the 80GB and use the residual value toward the cost of a service plan or some accessories. They said no, if I opted for the 80, they would price up the value of it to match the $300 I previously spent. However, if I wanted the 160, I would have to pay the difference. Basically, either way, they would gain money off me.

Well, it didn't strike me as fair to lose money, so, with Katie's blessing via text message (she was in class), I opted for the 160 figuring I'd rather pay out a little more than lose out entirely. As I'm waiting in line and prepping another text to Katie, I look up and there she is! Her class was canceled because her teacher is stuck in Colorado due to weather.

We continue our wait in line and are prepping ourselves to spend about $110 ($50 difference in cost plus the $59.99 for a new service plan). The guy rings it all up and announces our total of $60.04 and asks how we'd like to pay. Katie, very nonchalantly, replies that we'll pay by card and we do and we leave.

Outside, Katie and I look at each other and I ask, "how did that just happen?"

Katie's reply? "I have a v-neck shirt and big boobs."

Hey, sex sells. What can you say?

Note 1: Upon looking at the receipt, we discovered that instead of trying to calculate the difference, the register jockey decided to apply a discount to the cost of the new one. All we paid for was the service plan.

Note 2: I filled this thing up with all the music on my computer plus three full-length movies and I've still only got a whopping 25GB taken up. Time to work on that, eh? Might have to pull some stuff off my archive DVDs.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): On the way home from the store, I looked in the direction of our house and saw some of the wickedest storm clouds I'd ever seen in my life. And, thankfully, I had my camera handy. Here's a gallery...

You will need to click through from your feed reader (at least from Google Reader, anyway) to check this thing out. Sorry, I cannot control the fact that readers don't work with this and I love this applet too much to not use it. Or you can just go straight over to Flickr.

Lovin', touchin', squeezin'...

So I was back at Goodwill yesterday scanning the book racks (yes, again) and I saw one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

On one shelf, I found a copy of Pregnancy for Dummies. Not only did I have no idea that such a Dummies book existed, but I found it odd that someone suddenly felt they had no use for the book anymore. I'm afraid to ask for a clarification of the circumstances surrounding the decision to donate it. But something tells me that if you either felt the need to buy it at one time or someone felt the urge to buy it for you, you should probably never get rid of it.

But wait! It gets better.

It was sitting on the bookshelf labeled "TEEN."

Heh heh. Someone must've really hated Juno.

On a semi-related note and to be filed under "This World Would Be So Much Better If Rick Hilton Had Just Wrapped His Wang" comes this little gem from everyone's favorite socialite... Paris is putting out (heh heh) a line of girls dolls.

Blissfully, mercifully, thankfully (I feel like I'm writing the next Journey hit), they are not sculpted in her image, just designed by her.

So who wants to be the first person to come up with a new doll name to be added to the line?

On a related aside, I love how Wikipedia's filmography for Paris lists 1 Night in Paris (her porn) as one of her "films." Funny stuff.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): No wait, I guess, considering I was talking about Paris Hilton, this could still be considered "related." Meh, semantics. Oh, and NSFW.

Thank you,

It's a nice day for a white wedding...

Hold on a sec! I think I may be on to something here...

The other day, I was talking to an old friend on the phone and she mentioned something strange that happened to her.

"So The Man (her husband) and I received a wedding invitation today and I'll be damned if either of us know who these people are. We've been sitting here for an hour running through lists of friends, family, colleagues, and their kids and we can't figure it out. We even tried Googling them in hopes of finding a picture and we've got nothing."

After I was done laughing, an idea popped up in my head. How brilliant a scam would it be, if you're about to get married, to just drive around the ritzier neighborhoods in your city and surrounding towns and find the addresses of those people who look very well-to-do. Then you Google their addresses or use some other method to get their name. Next step is to send them a wedding invitation, but you must personalize it as well. For example, handwrite a note at the bottom of the invite saying something like, "I really can't wait to see you again, it's been far too long!"

Odds are they won't show up, but maybe they'll send a gift out of some twisted sense of obligation. And even if they do show up, it's no burden on the bride and groom who don't even know half the people at their wedding anyway because their parents invite a bunch of old friends and lost family members. Regardless of who it is, and I know this from experience, you smile, hug, shake hands, and pretend like you know who they are anyway. It's part of the wedding routine. That's just how it goes.

But don't you think this is a great idea? I know it's too late for me or Alissa or Kilax to try, but how about Suze or Kazaa? You're both soon to be married, right? I think you should give this a try.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie received a catalog in the mail the other day from Urban Outfitters. I think it's the result of having purchased some T-shirts from them a couple years ago for her brothers. I'll be honest, the catalog actually has some pretty cool stuff in it like a replica of Linus' blanket and Chuck's sad little Christmas tree from Peanuts. But I'm afraid to order from it simply because I fear that, packaged within the shipping container will be a packet of suicide-inducing sorrow.

Holy crap, have you ever seen a more morose bunch of models in your life? You can even see some examples on their Web site if you click above. I think I saw one picture in the entire catalog in which one of the models even slightly upturns the corners of her lips.

I know people claim to possess "cans of whoop ass" they are willing to open on a moment's notice, but do you believe in the existence of "sachets of self despair" or "lockets of loathing"? If so, I'm sure Urban Outfitters carries it.

Smile, people!

Continue reading "It's a nice day for a white wedding..." »

The thunder rolls...

There's nothing quite as dynamic as a thunderstorm in the winter.

They're typically so rare. I'm not sure what the scientific reasoning is, I just know I've heard that lightning isn't supposed to happen during the winter. Well, so long as the temperature stays below freezing, that is.

This year, though, we've had a couple such storms. And both of them just within the last week or so. I woke up this morning to flashing clocks and, when I got out of the shower, I heard a sound like someone dragging heavy furniture over slate tile. A few minutes later, I saw a blinding white flash. Remember how I said the snow amplifies the little natural light you have in the morning? Well, imagine that a few thousandfold with lightning. Just absolute cornea-popping brilliance.

It did do a number to our computer and wifi network. Had to fiddle around a bit to get it all back up and running. The iMac was not a happy computer.

You know what? On second thought, I might just take back that first statement. There is something quite as dynamic... we had the HD cable hooked up yesterday.

WOAH! I never wanted to buy into how much nicer HD is, but dang! Once I discovered what the new numbers were for HD channels, I started watching. The first show was the Matthew McConaughey starrer Sahara. No, not a great flick, but fun. And it looks STUNNING in HD. And, hey, did anyone realize that Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson from The Office) was in that film? I don't remember seeing him the first time we watched it and he's got a decent sized role in it.

Later last night, after working out at the gym, Katie and I watched CSI: NY in HD and I was marvelling over the detail. Katie's still a little weirded out by how clean it is. The only problem is that you can now pick apart everything and even, to some degree, tell how fake the staged crime scenes are.

Do you all remember the Super Bowl commercial where the cheerleaders were fixing their pompoms, the guy was painting fine detail into the team logo on the field, the mascot was brushing his fur, etc? The motivation behind the commercial was that they were all preparing to be presented in HD. There's quite a bit of truth to that commercial. We could see the pores on the faces of the characters on CSI: NY. As cute as I think Lindsay "Montana" Monroe (Anna Belknap) is, her makeup artist needs to be fired. That's how much detail I could make out.

It really does change everything, doesn't it?

You've been hit by, you've been struck by...

One of the cool things about my job is that I've got a key card. This may not be a big deal to many of you, but it is to me. Read that again... I've. got. a. key. card. wOOt! (sorry, Karl)

I'm all kinds of big and important. It gets me in doors, clocks me in, identifies me as an employee instead of just some random schmuck off the street... just generally makes me feel cool.

If it worked.

I tried to use the employee fitness center after work last night before going to class. Entry to the center requires a key card. I scanned it and zippo.

Here I was all dressed up with no place to run.

So I hit the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville for a run/walk. I plugged my trusty iPod Shuffle in to my head and headed out.

Seeing as how we're no longer in daylight savings time, it was already really dark when I hit the trail. And, even though it's pretty well lit, the spaces between the streetlamps seemed immensely vast. The bushes and trees along the path appeared to be reaching out in a vain attempt to wrap themselves around my limbs and suck me into the dense foliage where not even the most astute police officer would ever find my rotting body.

My trepidation was not helped at all by the music that came up on my Shuffle...

It longs to kill you, are you willing to die?
-Chris Cornell, "You Know My Name"

What does? No!

We're gonna fight you brother, we're gonna fight until you lose
-Social Distortion, "Death or Glory"

What did I do to you?

You've been hit by, you've been struck by, a smooth criminal
-Alien Ant Farm, "Smooth Criminal"

Can you at least tell me which tree he's going to jump out from behind?

Crawl on me, sink into me, die for me
-Rob Zombie, "Living Dead Girl"

Do I at least have a say in this decision?

I suggest you grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye
-Cobra Starship, "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)"

No, really, I'm not that flexible.

This is the last song that I will dedicate to you
-Foo Fighters, "The Last Song"

Fine. Eat me.

And, with that, I unplugged my iPod from my head and got ready for class.

I've got one morbid friggin' workout playlist, don't I? Geez.

Rain, rain, go away...

I hate waking up in the morning to the pounding of rain against the siding, roofing, and windows of our house. That's never a good sign. What's especially disconcerting is that I can tell, simply by the pitch, that it is a particularly cold and nasty rain. Ever noticed that before? There's just something different to the audible quality of it. This morning, for example, it had a bit more "slosh" to it. Okay, maybe it's just me, but it sounded bad.

It was a strange weekend for many reasons. For one, the Bears lost badly to a team they should not have lost to. And I'm pretty sure all three of my fantasy football teams lost this weekend, too, simply because I forgot to play. I started to look at them early in the week with the intention of fine tuning my lineups on Friday. But I never got around to it. Considering all the players I had on a bye week, I would've needed to make some major add/drops for it all to work out. Alas, I did not. And I'm sure I'll be paying for it. Oh well.

What else happened? I think I'll take a bullet approach to it all.

  • Borat took over the box office and I'm still not entirely convinced it's a movie I want to see. We did go out with my brother and FSiL on Saturday and we saw Employee of the Month. Not as bad as I was expecting, but it was far from great. And not the best way to return to a theater after nearly two months in absentia. But, then again, there really isn't too much out there right now.
  • Checking through my TiVo's to-do list for the next couple weeks, I was reassured to see two more episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip scheduled to record. It's not dead yet! Yay!
  • The O.C. is moving back to its original Wednesday night slot due to poor ratings during its season premiere last week. It was on? More shockingly, it's actually still on the Fox schedule?
  • Neil Patrick Harris came out of the closet. I never really saw this one coming. I'm happy as hell for him, but was in complete shock when Katie told me.
  • And in more serious news, Saddam Hussein was found guilty (no shocker there) and has been sentenced to hang. Let's just say they better carry out this execution by the end of the year or it will never happen. Actually, I think it might need to happen before the end of the week. Call it "Kevin's Dire Prediction" if you will. But this is just how I see it.

How to save a life...

I really dig on Thursdays. It is truly the one night on TV I look forward to 100%. It's been a while, but, yes, the old "Must See TV" concept has returned. Unfortunately for NBC, the concept they conceived applies more to ABC now on that night.

And this has been made better by the fact that we are now having a regular TV night with my brother and his fiancee. Tonight marks our third consecutive week of tagteam Grey's Anatomy viewing. It started with us getting Jen addicted to the season one DVDs a few months ago. Then she started TiVosoding the season two episodes in rerun before she went out and bought the whole season on DVD. Now we're all into it including my brother.

I think we may even draw Ugly Betty into the fold kicking and screaming. Katie and I watched the premiere last week and enjoyed it. So maybe we will make it a full two-hour viewing experience.

Heck, it's not as though we won't have enough food and alcohol to complement the experience. Katie made roasted chicken lasagna rolls for the occasion!

Oh, and for those to whom I alluded that I may succumb to temptation and watch the season three debut of Lost after swearing it off... fate interceded. The Yahoo online program schedule was down for ABC last night and I couldn't do a remote set of my TiVo for the show. And, to be honest, I'm not entirely heartbroken about it. I ain't screwin' with fate. She tells me no, I'm'a listenin'.

Hot shoe burnin' down the avenue...

I'm really behind on some of the photographic retrospectives I've been meaning to post about. They've all been loaded to my computer, but I tend to slack about uploading to Flickr. Oh well. They're uploaded now, so I can post them. I hope you all don't mind a couple photo posts this week.

The first one is from the Swedish Days festival in Geneva that happened on the weekend of June 23-25. We went down there with Brian and Jen on Friday and had us a good ol' time. What with two local wineries having a lot of tastings going on and all of us being of age... how can you not have fun?

Katie and I
Even though this photo of Katie and I is dark, I still like it. Some of you may recognize the shirt.

Hot dogs
Thankfully, not a Chicago-style dog.

Continue reading "Hot shoe burnin' down the avenue..." »

I am, I am, I am Superman...

I know I may have promised a few of you a post on a certain topic. However, something came up that trumped that particular post in terms of sensitivity to timeliness. So the promised post will go up tomorrow... promise. I really mean it this time.

Anywho, Katie had to pick me up from work yesterday because I had driven her car to the shop to take care of a recall notice that she received in the mail. No, nothing bad, and nothing we had to pay for, unlike last time. So I was actually happy to take it in.

She stopped at home on her way from work to pick up a change of clothes for both her and me because we were planning on hanging out with the future SiL, Jen. She also picked up the mail and immediately called me.

Katie: "You got a couple packages in the mail that you're going to love."

Kevin: "Really? What are they?"

Katie: "Well, one's from Italy."

Kevin: "Kim?"

Katie: "Yep. That girl really digs you. And I'm not touching this stuff."

Kevin: "Black licorice?!?!"

Katie: "Yep."

EXCELLENT!! I know Kim has sent me some black licorice'd goodies before, but that package was expected. This one, I had no idea was coming. So it was an incredible surprise. And a yummy one, at that.

To Kim... thank you so much! You are awesome!

Supermantags The other package was an order I placed last week with the WB Store. In anticipation of the release of the new movie, I ordered myself a pair of the Superman dogtags that support the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

I had been wanting to order a pair of these for well over a year now, but always forgot. Now, it's a bit hard to not remember Superman as his image is all over the place. So I finally ordered a deuce.

And they arrived just in time as we went to see Superman Returns with Jen last night!

So how was it? Oh they're great! Really high-quality metal, nice imprinting on both sides of the tags, and your $10 buys you two of them... one on a classic dogtag metal bead necklace and the other on a keyring.

Oh wait, you wanted to hear about the movie, didn't you?

Continue reading "I am, I am, I am Superman..." »

I need a remedy for what is ailing me...

Ladies and Gentlemen...

We here at Kapgar Industries, Inc., have a storied history of bringing you products that have been created with the sanity of our customers in mind. It is with that very orientation that we present you with the next in our long line of products...

The SeatShocker 2K6 (TM)!!

[audience applauds wildly]

We know that as years have passed into the twilight, so has basic human courtesy. On the street, in restaurants, in theaters, and in other public venues, the lack of concern and compassion manifest in a person's level of respect for their fellow human has been on the decline.

People fight in public, they are loud, they are whiny, they do improper things in inappropriate places such as using cellphones in theaters and bringing children that are far too young (like, say, still in diapers and baby carriers) into movies in which they don't belong like The Omen.

That is why we have developed this new product with you in mind.

The SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) is a relatively unobtrusive device that many may not even realize is attached to their seats. However, an individual specially trained to identify problematic situations can deliver a shock that, depending on the setting, can either just... er... "shock" a person into realization of their misbehavior or even completely incapacitate a person up to 350 lbs with a single push of a button.

Before you express concern at the humanity of the device, allow me to point out a few things.

  1. Only individuals trained to use this device can do so. They can be employees of your own establishment who have undergone a rigorous training program or you can hire one of our own ShockDocs (TM) to join your staff specifically to operate this device.
  2. No other people can use the SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) as it is biometrically protected from use by anyone other than the person assigned to it.
  3. The shock level meted out by the SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) can never be lethal. Much like Automated External Defibrillators (AED), it has a sensor that can detect the maximum shock level a target can endure. This sensor, should it need to, can actually override the setting that either your employee or our ShockDoc (TM) has chosen for the task at hand. It can also pick up on defects in a target's heart or other major organs and can still be used in people with ventricular assist devices and PaceMakers without disrupting their functioning.

For those of you in need of devices to shock awareness into people that are not seated, please know that we here at Kapgar Industries, Inc., are working on a new line of Shockers for these very purposes. Inappropriate displays of affection in elevators? We'll have you covered with our RailShocker 2K6 (TM) to be released in the third quarter of this year. Disgusted by people publicly scolding their children for problems they never even committed? Try our WalkShocker 2K6 (TM), which will be available just in time for the busy holiday shopping season.

Yes, Brian and I actually did experience a sub-one-year-old baby in the theater with his ignorant parents during the screening of The Omen. And, as would be expected, he cried just when you don't want him to. And, again as would be expected, the parents never got up and took him out of the theater as the rest of us wanted them to. Hell, they never should have had the kid in there in the first place.

I. Hate. Stupid. People.

The movie?

Not bad, not great. It had its few jump-out-of-your-seat moments, but they were very few and far between, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Too many thrills can desensitize the hell out of you. So these jumps were pretty well chosen and timed.

The visual effects were spectacular. All the kills were quite unique and very well done. Emphasis on "very." Some of the best looking killshots I've seen in a movie, in fact. The only fake looking scene is the one (shouldn't be a spoiler here as the scene was in most of the trailers and TV previews) in which Julia Stiles is falling. The fall is fake, but the landing is awesome. 10.

However, it was a very laborious film in terms of its pacing. It never got up to a speed that kept you wanting to pay attention as opposed to looking down at your watch.

The acting was a mixed bag. I really liked Stiles as Kate Thorn and she had some interesting emotional range to her character. Pete Postlethwaite was pretty damn good as the wide-eyed and fearful Father Brennan as well.

Liev Schreiber and David Thewlis as Robert Thorn and Keith Jennings, respectively, were okay, I suppose. Well, Thewlis was a bit better than okay, but almost every scene he was in was shared with Schreiber who was pretty emotionally shallow and this fact dragged down my perception of Thewlis' performance a bit, unfortunately.

As for Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick)... just keep that kid the hell away from me. A bit freaky to say the very least.


Overall Rating: 2stars

Every single one of us, the devil inside...

I told myself I wasn't going to post anything about 6/6/06 on the day it actually happened. While you would think this is the sort of day I would really get into, I was truly getting sick of seeing all the build up to it. It was everywhere. The Naperville (IL) Sun community newspaper even gave it a full front-page spread. Apparently it was a slow news day in the western suburbs. People were making such a big to-do about it that I just couldn't stand it anymore.

So I'm posting about 6/6/6 on 6/7/6, or, if you prefer international dating methods as I do, 6/6/7 or 7/6/6... your choice.

However, there were a few things I just had to mention.

The iPod Chronicles
Many of you have read about how I believe iPods and their users develop a bit of symbiotic relationship, right? Well, it's happening with Black iP as well. Last night, as I got in my truck to come home from work, I put BiP on my dock and pressed play. Since it's on random, I never know which of the more than 5,000 songs will play first.

This time? INXS' "The Devil Inside." No joke. I swear to God. Appropriate, eh?

I was half expecting Beck's "Devil's Haircut" next. However, the Devil's Day theme ended with our fave Aussies.

International ____ Day
I'm a bit behind on listing the coming week's holidays. Sorry about that. It just didn't seem to fit in to my posts on either Monday or Tuesday. So here it is a day late; hopefully not a dollar short.

Satan Incarnate
Okay, that's a bit strong to describe this person. How about "dumb as a nail, self-involved bitch"?

Did anyone watch the Today show yesterday morning? I don't watch it all that much since the announcement that Meredith Vieira would take over co-hosting duties with Matt Lauer. However, this week has been heaven. Katie Couric is gone and Vieira's not quite there yet. So Ann Curry, who should be the co-anchor, is sitting in with Matt.

Anncoulter_1 Anyway, yesterday, Matt was interviewing Ann Coulter. She's a political analyst and writer whom I've heard of but had never really seen, listened to, or read before. She was booked to help promote her new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Well, as you would expect if you've ever watched any interview show, it wasn't just about the book. Lauer started grilling her on her opinion regarding the war in Iraq, immigration reform, and Bush's attempts to push through a gay marriage ban (you all already know my opinion on that one). He was giving her some good, but fair questions. Nothing too tough. They were questions that anybody with a passing knowledge of current events should be able to answer, and they should have been easy for an analyst such as Coulter.

She was fumbling through them worse than a teenager about to lose their virginity. She was an awkward, mumbling deer in headlights. She was pulling every no-no that you ever learn in speech and broadcast journalism courses in school. And there wasn't a single question that she answered to the satisfaction of either the viewing audience (I'm assuming based on my own reaction) or Matt Lauer. You could tell he was getting frustrated.

However, when he said, "let's discuss a quote from your new book," she said, "Great! Finally what I came here to talk about!" (I paraphrase, for the record).

As soon as she said that, I turned it off. At first, I was fascinated by how bad she was. Clearly she is the sort of political analyst that can work only in a situation in which she either has a substantial amount of time to think things through adequately or an editor to catch her guffaws. If televised, I think she must require a script and teleprompter. She obviously cannot think under pressure.

And her enthusiasm for talking about her book and nothing else just disgusted me. I couldn't watch any more.

They say that first impressions last the longest; or, is it, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, either way, the first impression she left on me was far from a positive one. She's a moron.

The Omen
So how am I celebrating the day after Devil's Day? I'm going to see The Omen tonight with my brother and his fiancee. Katie has no desire to see it, and just doesn't do horror movies in general. She was more than happy to be working tonight and sending us off to see this. I've heard good things about it and I dig Julia Stiles. I'll let you know.

I found a video of Coulter's appearance on the Today show on YouTube. The video is not the best quality, but the audio speaks volumes. Check it out...


Four days of the week, she thinks I'm the enemy...

Just a deuce of quick notes here for all of you...

Overthehedge_1 DaveCago 2006
Yes, the day nears! Dave will be in Chi-Town this weekend and, on Saturday, a bunch of us bloggers will be getting together at a place called Piece in Wicker Park/Bucktown for pizza, beer, and general nothingness.

So far, it will be Dave, Jenny, RW, Chanakin (I think), Mocha (I think), Gary (perhaps), and myself. In terms of non-bloggers, Katie is going to be there as well as my brother and sister-in-law for added fun.

I think there might be someone that I'm missing on that list. In fact, I'm pretty convinced I'm missing someone. If you are that someone, I apologize. Just let me know.

I love agenda-less get togethers.

And this is going to be one cool group of blogger peeps.

It's still open to anyone who wants to come on by. Just let us know so we can plan on an extra seat or two.

International _____ Day
I've become a contributor at a site known as International _____ Day. This is a fun little site that seeks to make a holiday out of every day of the year.

They took the month of May off for whatever reason. But now the site is returning and the number of contributing writers has bumped up from six to 10.

My contributions will be up on June 2, 11, and 22 and I'm quite proud of them. I hope you enjoy them as well.

I will probably devote a little time each week to highlight the coming week's holidays. So here's what we've got so far for the coming week...

  • Thursday, June 1 - International Be Ferris Bueller Day
  • Friday, June 2 - International Banana in the Tailpipe Day
  • Saturday, June 3 - International Styrofoam Day
  • Sunday, June 4 - International Disconnect Day
  • Monday, June 5 - International Chuck Norris Day

I'd provide links to them, but, obviously, these posts won't go live until their given day. So add the site to your aggregator and check for new posts each day.

Oh, and I'm taking suggestions for July. I'm trying to stick to a funny movie/food theme and I will need scenes that have some good dialogue as that plays into each of my posts.

Santa Claus is coming to town...

Okay, maybe not Santa. But this has the potential to be so much better!


Anybody going to be in town on June 3 who would be interested in joining us?

Katie and I will be there. Jenny's coming. And there are a couple others that we're awaiting word on. No detailed plans on what will be happening. It may be a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants sort of thing unless the attendance gets out of hand.

But impromptu tends to be that much more fun in a city like Chicago!

You're a mean one, Mister Grinch...

Can somebody please explain to me what I did to piss off Hollywood so badly?

I don't know what it is, but it seems like every time I tune in to some TV show or movie, there is a bastard of a character and his name is Kevin.

Why? What did I do to you, Screenwriter's Guild of America, to deserve having my name dragged through the mud like this?

Kevin was always a good name. It was gentle. It was kind. It was very Irish and everyone loves Ireland, right?

Miscelijahkevin Several months ago, I watched Sin City for the first time, and that was the first time I began to notice this downward trend where "Kevin" was akin to "evil."

This particular Kevin was played by Elijah Wood. He was a frightfest to say the very least. Creeping around with his Coke-bottle glasses, impervious to any physical pain whatsoever. Yet more than willing to dish it out when Marv hasn't already splayed him against a tree.

I was happy to see that namesaker die.

Despite it being bad teenage melodrama, Katie and I still can't stop watching The O.C. I admit it, it's a guilty pleasure. Wha'cha gonna do about it (aside from Chase who will revoke my Man Card)? We watch it and we'll keep watching it. Everyone needs a little camp in their life, right?

Well, lately, Marissa (Mischa Barton) has been dating yet another bad boy. Go fig, right? This one's name is Volchok (Cam Gigandet) and he's just a badass surfer dude. Everything that no self-respecting Orange County girl should like, but typically does. I was fine with his character. If he was responsible for Marissa's untimely demise on the show... great.

However, as of a few weeks ago, I no longer wanted him to be quite so "bad." Care to guess why? I discovered his first name is Kevin. Gee, go friggin' figure!

Now I just want him to turn over a new leaf and be a good guy. Maybe bring Marissa back from the brink. The brink of what, I'm not quite sure. The writers have alluded to many potential scenarios. But I want none of them to involve Mr. Kevin Volchok.

Even Jason Bateman played a badguy named Kevin in the 2004 remake of Starsky & Hutch. C'mon, man! That's just not right.

With these three under my belt, I decided to perform an IMDb search for characters named Kevin. Yes, there are a ton; but I sifted through them nonetheless. I had a bone to pick and Hollywood was my target.

I take issue with the following Evil Kevins:

  • Kevin O'Donnell in Patriot Games - Patrick Bergin portrayed Kevin O'Donnell, the leader of a rogue branch of the IRA, opposite Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan. Not only does he give Kevins everywhere a bad name, but he's even single-handedly ruined the good Irish Kevin image I alluded to earlier. Bastard!
  • Kevin Carroll on 24 - in the first season of this masterpiece, a character named Kevin Carroll (played by Richard Burgi whom you all may know as Susan's ex-husband, Karl, on Desperate Housewives) did his level best to try to off our hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).
  • Kevin O'Donnell in Coyote Ugly - dear God, another one?!?! This Kevin O'Donnell, played by Adam Garcia, was bad simply because of how he misled poor Jersey bumpkin, Violet (Piper Perabo), into believing he was a record producer. The prick!
  • Kevin Buckman in Parenthood - this was one of Steve Martin's kids in the movie. He wasn't a bad guy... just not all there. Terrible in sports, horrible in social situations, prone to emotional breakdowns, you name it. Actually, this is probably the closest portrayal to my own real self and that's why I hate him.
  • Kevin on Veronica's Closet - I don't know if he's "evil," per se; but he's played by Scott Baio. That's bad enough.

I want to see a return to the days where Jeff Bridges played Kevin Flynn in Tron. Better yet, how about when Fred Savage was Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years? Or, the only really positive portrayal of a Kevin in recent years... Michael J. Fox as Dr. Kevin Casey on Scrubs a few seasons back. Can it get any better than that?

This was when "Kevin" was synonymous with "hero" and "good guy."

Kevin was a guy you brought home to mom. A man you looked up to in the E.R. A guy whose shoulder you could cry on when your current relationship hit the skids. The person you could reliably turn to in a lightcycle race against Sark.

Kevin was good, Kevin was dependable, Kevin was fair... even if it was in a Master Control Program far, far away.

Where's my organ donor?

When I started reading the comments attached to my glowing announcement of the upcoming visit of Christopher Moore to a local bookstore, I found an interesting note from Dave2.

He said:

"Oh, and before I forget... the best reading/signing I have ever been to was Douglas Adams when he was signing his masterpiece "Last Chance to See" and reading from the final "Hitchhiker's" book.

So glad I got to meet him before he died (and have him sign my "Better Beezer Credit Application" from my "Bureaucracy" Infocom game that he wrote."

I found it hilarious that he had Douglas Adams sign a video game credit application and I'm sure Adams was amused by it as well.

And it reminded me of a strange autograph session for which I was in attendance.

I'm pretty sure it was about 1999, and I was in the midst of my second year of grad school at NIU. During my first year, I was enrolled in a documentary filmmaking course and we, as a class, actually produced an hour-long documentary. It was called Barbed Wire Pioneers (Holy shit! We have a web page for the movie! When'd this happen?) and was all about the competition in the late 1800s to create a commercially accepted type of barbed wire.

Why? Well, our university was in DeKalb, IL, where most of the drama behind this story occurred. So we did it. And we must've done it pretty well as the film won second place in the Silver State Documentary Festival, biography division in Las Vegas.

Our little film got a bit of buzz in the documentary arena of filmmaking. Not a lot, but it turned out to be quite a bit more than any of us in the class ever expected.

Miscmichaelmoore Some of this buzz got circulated to another documentary filmmaker that was pretty big at the time (both literally and figuratively). You might have heard of him, his name is Michael Moore.

Bear in mind that this was well before he became the uber-controversial freak that he has become. Even I'm not much of a fan of him anymore (I found Fahrenheit 9/11 to be boring as hell and not a particularly inspired piece of filmmaking... despite the fact I have similar anti-Bushy leanings).

At the time, though, he was only mildly controversial in that "oh, he's making a documentary film" sense and was still well respected amongst the documentary crowd for his haranguing of GM chief Roger Smith in the film Roger & Me.

Well, we received word that Moore was going to be in Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology to tape a couple episodes of The Awful Truth, his two-season-long venture into TV exposes, and we were invited to attend the tapings as well as a meet and greet afterwards.

We were stunned and more than willing to attend. So all us grads and a few undergrad communication students piled into a bus and trekked out to IIT.

To be honest with you, I don't remember much about the taping. It's all a bit of a blur in my head.

However, afterwards, when we went to the meet and greet, I remember frantically looking around for something for Moore to sign. I had bupkis. I, the autograph hound, had nothing. So I just waited in line while my buddy, George, also searched for something to have Moore sign.

We were in line waiting and our time was up. Here we were face-to-face with Michael Moore and George, as calm and collected as can be (he was cool like that), reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Then he removed his driver's license, flipped it over, placed it in front of Michael Moore, and said, "would you be my organ donor witness?"

Moore was cracking up. As were quite a few other people in the immediate vicinity. And they deserved to be laughing. What George had done was hilarious, and, yet, endearingly original. Moore was, excuse the pun, more than willing to sign the card.

I was in shock. George had done something completely ludicrous and was a hero for it. And I still had nothing to show for the affair.

Well, until one of his assistants gave me a signed The Awful Truth ballcap.

I still have the hat.

But it's not an autographed driver's license.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack (tm)...

Although the official date is still a week and a half away, I think it's safe to say spring is upon us.

The birds are chirping.

Rain is falling.

Grass is regaining its green coloration.

Northern Illinois spent most of the night laboring under the threat of a tornado watch/warning.

And spring training is in full swing for baseball.

I am a professed baseball nut. I love it. I love the crack of the bats, the smell of pine tar and leather fielding gloves, I love going to the stadiums to watch, I love the cheap beer and hot dogs.

Miscwrigleyscoreboard So why am I not looking forward to the start of the 2006 season whatsoever?

I don't want the sounds, smells, and tastes.

I don't want to spend the money on tickets to the games.

I don't want to fight for parking around the stadiums.

I don't want to watch it on TV, nor read about it in newspapers or on the Web.

Hell, I don't even want to play fantasy baseball.

I want nothing to do with any of it.

I can't explain it for the life of me.

The closest I can come to explaining why I feel this way is because of all the negativity already enshrouding the game this season... and it hasn't even started.

The renewed steroid controversy regarding Barry Bonds with the pending release of Game of Shadows, Sammy Sosa holding out for the contract he feels he deserves even though the rest of the sporting world knows he doesn't, Frank Thomas signing with the Athletics for a pittance compared to what he was once paid and then starting a war of words his former team.

Combine this negativity with my reading of Jose Canseco's Juiced toward the end of last season, my desire to read Game of Shadows, and my first viewing of Eight Men Out in nearly 15 years and you've got one cynical Kevin.

Is there any way to save this season for me? Or am I doomed?

And, with my luck, this will be the season that the Cubs will win it all and I won't want to watch a minute of it.

And I want to thank you...

My name is Kevin and I am a geek.

Okay, please stop shrugging your shoulders and rolling your eyes thinking, "so this is news how?"

Well, like any good 12 stepper, I now know on whom I should focus the blame for my "affliction."  The mea culpa is on the part of my parents.

Yep, you read that right.  It's all my parents' fault that I am the geek I am today.

It started back in 1977 with a little movie called Star Wars that I'm told did decently well in theaters.

Being the conscientious parents that they are, my mom and dad screened the movie themselves before taking me to see it.  It looked like the sort of film that a child could possibly enjoy, but the concept of a summer blockbuster film was still a fairly novel idea in 1977.  Could such a film be family friendly?

They ventured out and saw it and, from all accounts, enjoyed it.  So they later took me to see it.  Whether this was during the initial theatrical release in 1977 or one of the subsequent releases in 1978 or 1979 is something of which I am unsure.

I remember nothing of the affair whatsoever.  Did I enjoy it?  Apparently enough so that my parents started the mad chain of investment in Kenner's rapidly expanding line of Star Wars action figures, vehicles, and playsets.

I quickly amassed the toys and other non-toy-yet-still-Star-Wars-related paraphernalia like pajamas, bedsheets, Underoos, a watch, storybooks, books on record, and whatever else.  An early photo that my parents still display shows me on the stairs of our house in Rochester, NY, in my Star Wars pajamas holding on to an X-Wing Fighter and leering at the cameraperson with a "why am I here" look etched on my four-year-old face. 

Even then I was destined for a life behind the camera.

Enter 1980 and the release of The Empire Strikes Back.  Another great movie although I never truly appreciated it until I was much older and was able to lift it to the pantheonic top spot on my favorite movies of all time list (that spot is now occupied by The Shawshank Redemption with ESB in second place; sorry Han).

I know we saw this one in theaters as well, likely in Lexington, KY, but I don't remember actually seeing it.  I was now five years old.  I remember playing with Battlestar Galactica toys and watching Sanford & Son on TV right around this same time period, so I should remember seeing ESB quite well, but I do not. 

However, I do remember the toys that my parents continued to buy for me and that I also received as holiday gifts from everyone in my known universe.  My addiction was firmly entrenched.  And I do remember playing with the toys.  In fact, a friend of mine who owned the Dagobah Playset, would bring it over to my house and we would place it under the weeping willow tree in my backyard and flood the area around it with water.  Then we would crash an X-Wing Fighter through the branches and into the muck to recreate Luke Skywalker's first meeting with Yoda.

I told you I was a geek.

MiscrotjIn 1983, I went to see the third film in the series, Return of the Jedi.  And this one I remember quite well.  It was Wednesday, May 25, 1983, in Lexington, KY, and I should have been in school day.  Instead, my mom, along with the mom of two of my good friends, kept the trio of us home from school so we could see the first showing of the new film.

At eight years old, I was in heaven.  Or, at least, my closest mental approximation of it.

Afterwards, we dined at Long John Silver's.  Or maybe it was Captain D's.  Well, it was seafood.  That much I know.

The next day, I returned to school under the inquisitive stare of my second-grade teacher.  At some point in the day, the teacher looked at me and asked, "so how was Star Wars?"

I feigned ignorance.  "I don't know what you're talking about."

Of course, the confrontation piqued the interest of all my classmates who stopped what they were doing to watch the two of us.

"I know you went to see the new Star Wars movie yesterday, didn't you?"

"No.  I was home sick."

"I don't believe you, Kevin.  You're a huge Star Wars fan and the new movie came out yesterday.  I've got a pretty good idea that you were there with Charlie and Michelle Belden."

"Nope.  Sorry."

"Are you sure?  You can tell me the truth."

"I didn't see Star Wars yesterday," I stated authoritatively in hopes of ending the conversation and I buried my face in a book.

It wasn't over.

"I don't know, Kevin.  I still think you saw it."

I slammed my book down on my desk and said, "FINE!  I saw it!  Are you happy?  I saw Return of the Jedi yesterday!"

And the assault by my classmates went into full swing.  They crowded my desk.  They got up in my face.  They asked all the important questions.  "How was it?"  "Will I like it?"  "Would you see it again?" and, of course, "What happened?"

To that last question, I made my face appear appropriately somber, looked them in the eyes, and said, "Skywalker dies."

A hushed silence fell upon my classmates.  Their eyes grew larger than saucers and their jaws hung open limply.  I think I may have seen a tear or two.

I was an evil little shit.

But I was honest.  As I am being now when I claim that my geekdom is all my parents' fault. 

The fact that I saw two of the prequel movies with my brother on opening day despite being an "adult"...

The fact that I eagerly attended a midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith with my brother in law and another friend leaving my wife at home to sleep...

The fact that my heart still skips a beat each time I'm in Borders and I see one of those Master Replica FX Lightsabers near the register and I smile as I see a new generation of kids pick up the open-box model and ignite the blade...

The fact that I own three copies of the "Original Trilogy" set on VHS, including one very rare widescreen copy, and a copy of all six movies on DVD (although I categorically refuse to own a copy of the blasphemous "official" original trilogy DVD set released by Lucasfilm; mine are bootlegs of the original laserdiscs)...

The fact that I still like taking a run down the toy aisles in Target, Meijer's, and WalMart to see what's new while my wife races ahead so as not to be associated with me...

...they are all to be blamed squarely on my parents.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.  I love you.

(that's genuine, not sarcastic - just so it's not misinterpreted)

Pittsburgh's goin' to the Super Bowl...

In my heart of hearts, I am a fan of the Chicago Bears.  There is no questioning that loyalty.  No matter who the Bears play, no matter how pitifully bad the Bears are, I will cheer for them.

Miscsteelers_1But, that doesn't mean I don't like other teams as well.  And one of those teams I like, and will be rooting for this weekend in Super Bowl XL (sounds like a shirt size moreso than a sporting event), is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

No, I'm not just some fair-weather fan pulling for the team that is having obvious success.  I actually have pretty strong Steeler roots in the fact that just about my entire family was born, raised, and lived in and around Pittsburgh for a majority of their lives. 

My mom and dad were born there.  If not born there, then my grandparents spent nearly their entire lives there.  Almost all my mom's aunts, uncles, and cousins still live there. Both of my parents were fans of the Steelers and the Pirates.  Both lived there when the 1960 Pirates won the World Series off Bill Mazeroski's game-winning homerun.  Katie and I have old Pirates memorabilia on display in our office along with our Cubs, Bears, and Bulls stuff.  The very first two baseball cards my dad ever bought for me when I decided I wanted to start collecting were of Pirates legends Dave Parker and Willie Stargell.

So, it's second nature to root for Pittsburgh.  And I've got another friend, Jason, who is a lifelong Cubs/Bears fan who is also a secondary Pirates/Steelers fan for the same reason.  So I'm in good company this weekend.

I've been talking to Nicole of Not Content to Crawl on e-mail lately and she told me that she and her husband were taking a trip to Pittsburgh pretty soon and she was wondering if I knew of any places that they should visit.

Well, despite my steeping in all things Pittsburgh, it hit me how few times I've been there.  To be honest, I don't think I've visited since the very early 80s, soon after my grandparents, who were my last nuclear ties to the city, moved to Florida to retire.  In other words, I was very little help to her.

This also means that I have very few memories of the city whatsoever, which is sad.  I think most of my memories are second hand from my parents telling me stories about the times we visited.  The predominant one being about me being very young and getting sick in the booth of some restaurant.

In fact, I can only really remember three things about Pittsburgh:

  1. Pulling up to my grandparents' house, which I remember in pretty good detail, including a vase that used to be on display in a front window of their house.  Even Nano was shocked I remembered that one.  She still has that vase in her house in Florida.
  2. Being in the garage of one of my great uncles who had a giant tub of pennies and having him tell my brother and I that we could keep whatever we could hold in our two hands.
  3. A food stand owned by one of my relatives that sold Pac-Man Pizza.  Pure marketing brilliance.  A personal pizza that is less one slice (to account for Pac-Man's mouth) and only has a single piece of pepperoni for an eye and, yet, you can upcharge for it as it was very culturally relevant.  Genius!

I'm realizing that Katie and I really need to visit that city to create some new memories.  Heck, there are a lot of places Katie and I "need" to visit.  Guess we should add this one to the list.

God that list is long.

There's a man who leads a life of danger...

Everybody had their fantasy life as a child.  What you always wanted to be when you "grew up," right?  Some wanted to be doctors.  Others wanted to be explorers.  Then there are the requisite actors, singers, astronauts, and firefighters.

In my vision of the ideal "real world," I wanted to be an astronaut or a firefighter.  I either wanted to soar into the unknown cosmos or save my fellow human from a massive architectural wonder on the verge of collapsing in flaming ruins.

Both dreams seemed realistic enough and, until just a few years ago, I was actually still chasing down one of them.

Then there is the fantasy "real world."  The place you retreated into and dreamt about knowing there was no conceivable way you could ever be "that person."  Maybe it was a superhero.  Perhaps a person from the past long since dead.

Watching CBS' Courting Alex last night, I was reminded of who I once wanted to be in my dreams.

No, not Jenna Elfman.

The one who played her dad.  You all know him... a man by the name of Dabney Coleman.  And, once upon a time, he played a dual role in a little film called Cloak & Dagger.

MisccloakanddaggerCloak & Dagger centers on Davey Osborne (Henry Thomas of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Legends of the Fall fame), a boy from San Antonio with an imagination even bigger than the great state of Texas.  He loved playing an imaginary game of spy vs. spy based on his favorite video game, the Atari game Cloak & Dagger. 

His fantasy world, which, more often than not, overlapped his reality, stars the hero of the video game, Jack Flack, played by Dabney Coleman who also doubled in the movie as his workaholic, widowed, Air Force father.  I'm sure you can deduce why Coleman played both roles.

Flack was a secret agent working for the U.S. who did his duty for his country in dark pants, a leather pilot's jacket, and his trademark beret (which, for whatever reason, did not make the poster art... blasphemy!). 

And he was badass, baby. 

He could fight off the enemies, reason his way out of any problematic situation, and he never needed weapons because he was Jack Flack.  Well, that and he was imaginary and his bullets likely don't transcend the fantasy-to-reality boundaries.

One day, Davey comes across a corrupted version of his favorite game, a cartridge with a chip built into containing blueprints for a stealth plane that can only be accessed by someone on the verge of solving the game.  And the badguys discover that Davey has this game.  With only his best friend, Kim (Christina Nigra), and Jack to help him, he tries to uncover the secret of the game and foil the enemies attempts to obtain it.

Cheesy?  To some degree, sure.  But it's still a fun movie that, unlike many others I loved as a child, I'm still able to enjoy.  And the ending was always pretty cool. 

And, despite him obviously not being real, I always wanted to be Jack Flack and I played out the role as often as I could.  Whenever I was playing spies with my friends, I was Jack Flack.  I could do it all and nobody could stop me, just like Dabney's character. 

Nope, Jack was not my imaginary friend.  I was Jack!  And my brother was typically relegated to the Davey role.  That's what he gets for being born after me.

Oh, how cool life would have been as a secret agent man.

Why can't I be Jack Flack?

I had to let you know that I got a crush on you...

MisckieferThere has been an unexpected side effect of all this 24 viewing that Katie and I have been doing.

She seems to have developed a crush on star Kiefer Sutherland.

I found this out when, during an episode in season 3, we saw Kiefer's alter ego, Jack Bauer, race away in a Ford Expedition (or was it an Excursion?). 

Katie turned to me and asked, "are you sure you want a Ford Escape?"

Me: "Um, yeah.  Why?"

Katie: "No reason."

Me: "Ooo-kay... wait.  You want me driving what Jack is driving, don't you?  You want me to be like Jack!"

Katie: (mischievous grin)

Me: "You have a crush on Kiefer Sutherland, don't you?"

Katie: (even more mischievous grin) "Maybe."

And thus begins my quest to win my wife back from Jack.  Damn you, Donald Sutherland.

Episodes Elapsed: 56 (season 2 done)
Episodes Remaining: 40
Season 5 Premiere: Jan. 15 (today)
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