Photography 2008

'Til one by one they were gone...

I find it funny how Katie and I go out to dinner last night to enjoy each other's company and what do we spend the time doing?

Talking? No.

Sharing details about our day? No.

Staring longingly in each other's eyes? Well, that's half right.

The entire meal, we were fixated by a balloon that had floated over to our table. Enough helium had leaked out that it wasn't drifting toward the ceiling, but enough was left that it was still aloft in the air to some degree. It glided from one couple, who had spent some time transfixed by it as well, along the bench to us. Then it just moved around in circles by Katie. Sometimes it looked as though it was going to leave, only to decide we were worth more of its time and it would stick around. There were a few moments it almost seemed to respond to verbal coaxing from Katie. She offered it a French fry. It didn't accept. But she did name him "Ol' Blue."

Of course I snapped a few pictures with Katie's iPhone. Here area a couple of them...

Balloony friend

Balloony friend 2

Yeah, we brought it home. And it subsequently lost all floating power. It has now settled on the floor of our living room.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

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.


And this is my Thanksgiving...

While I won't be able to say it anywhere near as eloquently as John at Buddha on the Road did (thanks for cluing me in to that song so I had a title for this post, BTW), I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S.ian friends. And, although a little late, to my Canadian friends as well.

And, if you're either spending time with or hosting family like Katie and I are, I pray you prepared yourself adequately. We did...

Temporary bar


When I'm gone...

It's pretty old news by now, but famed author Michael Crichton has died. He succumbed to an extended, and very private, battle with cancer.

Reading through a few articles about him, it amazed me how much he's done in his 66 years. The man was what you could legitimately call "accomplished." Let's see, according to The Wik, he has been published 25 times with #26 on the way, he's a doctor, he was a visiting lecturer in anthropology, he co-created one of the longest running medical dramas in the history of television (ER), he co-wrote some screenplays, he developed a few video games, he saw several of his novels turned into movies, he even directed one of them. There's more.

I was aware of most of these facts in some form over the years. But, as a lot of knowledge tends to do, things slip out of your mind when you have little to no need for it. So reading it all again was a bit overwhelming and made me feel like I had accomplished very little in life. Many people make me feel that way, in fact.

That's when I started trying to think about how I'd want to be remembered if I were to die right now. If my life ended, what do I want everyone to remember?

That is definitely not an easy question to answer.

Perhaps as a loyal and loving husband with a penchant for entertaining on the Web? Can my drivel even be considered "entertaining"? Damn, maybe I should just stick to "loyal and loving husband."

What about you?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Because sometimes I get cravings. And I'm not even pregnant.

The motley crew

No, not necessarily all at the same time. That would just be weird.


I believe in a thing called love...

It's been a few years since they were posted on the Web, but I'm finally starting to get some earlier photos that were on my static site up to Flickr.

And the first to be posted are the pictures from our wedding!

Why? Because today is our seventh anniversary! Happy anniversary, hon. I love you.

[Check out the album on Flickr if you can't see the Pictobrowser in your reader]

Sorry they are so low resolution. They are scans of print photos and I had so many to do at the time (six years ago), that I scanned them quick and dirty. But they still work.


The old man is snoring...

From what I've read, "remnants" of Hurricane Ike hit us here in Geneva yesterday. I'm having trouble believing it was from Ike. Seems far too soon since the 'cane only made landfall early Saturday morning (like 1 a.m., wasn't it?). But, if they say it, I guess it's true. Anyway, got some photos and video of all that happened in our neighborhood. We actually had to cancel plans because all the routes out of our neighborhood were flooded beyond driveability. But it certainly made for good camera stuffs.

Here are some photos...

And here are a few different videos for your viewing enjoyment...


Ike in Geneva, part 1 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.


Ike in Geneva, part 2 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.


Ike in Geneva, part 3 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Congratulations to Kristy Brown for correctly guessing the order slip challenge from yesterday. The pizzas we ordered were a medium stuffed with cheese and spinach and a medium thin crust with sausage and pepperoni.

The sausage and pepperoni was pretty obvious. But the other... "POPY"... was not poppy seeds or poopie or anything like it. According to the guy at Giordano's, they were going to use SP for spinach but they already used that abbreviation for their special pizza. So they came up with "POPY" meaning Popeye who eats spinach. And it has stuck. Cool.


Open up your mouth and feed it...

Just had to share our little culinary experiment with all of you...

White Pizza

It's a white pizza (yes, MochaMomma, we're starting kitchen race wars again), meaning nothing but crust, garlic olive oil, and cheese. Our definition is, of course, open to interpretation. The cheese we used is a four-cheese blend of asiago, parmesan, fontina, and mild provolone. One half also has goat cheese (that would be my half).

Oh, tres yummy!


I'm torn...

After a long, hard week at work, you hope that the weekend will allow you nothing but mindless relaxation and enjoyment.

And, yet, this is hardly ever the case.

Instead, Katie and I decided to tear apart the garden in the backyard that we designed a couple years ago. Because we had bricked off a garden and, thus, cut off a waterflow area, we would get pooling of stormwater against the garden that would saturate the lawn, cause the grass to die from over watering, and result in moss growth.

So we finally decided to do something about it. We got rid of one pooling area by putting in plants that can soak up the moisture, rebuilt the other garden, transplanted some stuff, and now we're just waiting for the moss patches to die (yay systemic plant killer!) so we can put in some peat moss, sand, soil, and new grass seed. As you can tell, this is still a project in progress so the pictures below are hardly a complete photo album.

Oh, and in case you don't do yard work of your own, this sort of thing is so body/brain killing and soul crushing that we wound up spending the rest of the evening watching Comedy Central's Roast of Bob Saget. How sad is that? At least Cloris Leachman was freakin' hilarious. The rest? Not so much.


The waiting is the hardest part...

Some of you may have read the stories about Lilly on this site or seen a photo or two of her on my Flickr site. Well, if you have, and even if you haven't, I'm hoping you can throw a little good juju her way.

A little over a week ago, the vet found a growth on her gums near her teeth. At first they thought it was simply an abscess, but they decided to have it tested anyway. Yesterday, my brother and SiL got the news that it was a tumor. This coming Thursday, it will be removed and tested to see if it's cancerous or benign (I think I got the terminology right). And then we wait.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a huge deal. Some of you may think I'm being completely stupid and immature right now. Some of you may be rolling your eyes as you read this. After all, we deal with our human loved ones who have cancer all the time. Some fight valiantly and survive. Others do not. My uncle is battling it, Katie lost an uncle to it but had an aunt survive it, Lisa's fighting it. So how does an animal measure up when we have human beings dealing with it, too?

LickWell, in our minds, she measures up pretty strongly. And I do not say that to discredit the value of human life in any way, shape, or form. I simply mean that in the short time that Lilly has been with us, she has become an inextricable part of our lives. She just came leaping in, literally, with boundless energy and love and it's just hard to imagine her not being around. And we don't want that. We don't even want to consider it.

Lilly's had a tough life so far. She's about 7-years-old and spent a majority of that time bounced from shelter to shelter and I believe she even lived some time as a stray. Shortly before she wound up with my brother and SiL, she was in a kill shelter. Society had given up on her entirely. At the 11th hour, someone saved her and put her in a rescue shelter. A coworker of my brother's adopted her. However, Lilly had trouble dealing with the other dog they owned even though she was an angel to their newborn baby. So this coworker gave her to my brother. Bear in mind my chronology of events might be a bit off.

To be honest, I never saw my brother owning a dog. He's even more anal retentive than I am, with a dash of obsessive-compulsiveness thrown into the mix for good measure. But my bro has taken to her like gangbusters. And Lilly to him, and to Jen (the SiL), and to Katie and I, and to our parents, and to practically everybody she meets so long as they don't have a dog of their own. She just has this incredibly infectious personality.

And we don't want to lose her.

So all I'm asking for are some good thoughts to be sent her way.

E.T. lives


I got a devil's haircut...

Katie and I are up watching the Olympics last night, it's about 10:30 p.m. and I'm dying. Simply nodding in and out of sleep for the next 15 minutes until we decide to go upstairs. We turn on the Olympics up there and I decide I'm going to sleep regardless. I nod off and then Katie turns out the light. I wake up long enough to kiss her goodnight and see her fall dead to the world.

And, of course, I wind up awake until sometime after 1 a.m. How the hell is this fair?

So, um, yeah, my creativity is kinda shot and I had this really cool idea for a post I was going to write that would serve as a review of this razor that was sent to me as a freebie. You probably saw it over on Karl's site. Apparently we were both hit up at the same time. Combine my tiredness factor with the fact that Karl already did the cutesy review and I'm sorry, but you're not going to wind up with a bunch of photos of people with curious shavings in their heads and facial hair with parts of my own face Photoshopped over them. Just ain't happenin', folks. Shame because I was really looking forward to my face with Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn's zigzag hair from Major League.

[I realize not all of you appreciate product placement, but if you stay tuned, I've got a couple video snippets from the TDFN: Pizza episode in the extended post. No, really!]

Instead, you're going to get a straightforward review of the new Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer (to be referred to henceforth as the "SQTT").

In the simplest terms, the SQTT is an all-in-one razor and trimmer. One end is your standard razor with four blades, a moisturizing strip, and a single edging blade on the reverse face of the blade. I always like having an edging blade. Pretty handy when you've got cutoff sideburns and a goatee like me. However, on the opposite end of this device is a battery-powered trimmer with a three-setting protective head cover. While I haven't looked for it in stores, I was told by the guy that contacted me that this thing goes for about $14 retail. Not bad considering I spend about $7-8 for a razor and $15 for a trimmer.

The razor works just as well as you'd expect. Nice, clean shave. Didn't nick myself at all and the moisturizing strip makes the blades just glide over my face. One strange thing is getting used to how big this thing is. Most of my razor handles are about half the width of this thing, if not less. Plus the battery and motor used for the trimmer adds quite a bit of heft to the thing. It may sound odd, but once you've been shaving with a certain type of razor, this additional weight can take some getting used to in order to make sure you don't overapply pressure and cut yourself. Thankfully, it really took me no time to get used to it.

The trimmer is a nice little toy to have on this thing. It's a small trimmer head, but it's perfect if you travel a lot and don't want to carry a large trimmer in your luggage. However, the size means it is best used on small areas (no jokes, people!) like sideburns. I used it on my goatee and it took a little longer than I'm used to in order to finish trimming. But the results were quite nice. If you plan on trimming a full beard, you'd better have the patience of a saint, though.

The entire unit is waterproof, which is great. I almost always shave in the shower and knowing that I can use this thing without worrying about frying it or myself is a plus.

My only true concern now is with how much replacement blades cost. The housing used to connect the blade to the base unit is unlike any I've seen before (maybe this is the standard Schick Quattro and I just haven't used one yet), and the high cost of replacement blades is something that has irked me for years.

I would've also liked to see it come with a little bottle of oil that could be used to lube up the trimmer, though, and possibly a cleaning brush. Most trimmers I've owned come with both these things.

Would you like to see the final result? Here you go...

Tom and Katie
Ain't I sexy? Okay, so my creativity was only mostly shot. This was a quick grab and slap, though.
But, c'mon! Tom Selleck in Mickey ears is quality comedy gold!

Overall, I'd give it a B+ bordering on an A-. If you hurry over to TrimFlixx.com and make yourself a free gag movie (akin to those viral dancing elves videos around Christmas time), you can score yourself a free razor. Or at least I think you still can. It might end this week, though, so HURRY!

Continue reading "I got a devil's haircut..." »


Get down tonight...

Sadly, another Davecago has come and gone. I say "sadly" simply because it feels like it will be another eternity spent waiting for Davecago the Fourth to happen next year. I really do enjoy meeting up with fellow bloggers even if I am a bit of a social outcast.

Jeez, there were a ton of cool people there. When Katie and I were heading downtown, I didn't really know who to expect to see since it seemed like a lot of people were unable to make it this year like Kim and diane. I did figure on Tori being there if she could find parking (ha!) as well as Jenny, RW, Mrs. RW, and Gary. But, other than them, I really didn't know.

Mocha made the trip, which always makes me happy because I totally PPH her! And I met a bunch of other people I'd never met in real life before like *lynne*, Leah, and Robin. Plus somebody who was introduced to me as Suzanne, one of Dave's blog stalkers. That's pretty cool in a very creepy, cloak-and-daggerish way.

I have some pictures here for you from the event, and from walking around Chicago beforehand with Katie and Dave. They're in a pictobrowser, so you may need to click through from your reader or you can just surf on over to Flickr to see them.

But one of my favorite things about the whole event was commiserating with my fellow bloggers on things that bug us about the medium. From people squatting on blog names (ever wonder why RW's site is misspelled without a "y"?) to not having the amount of time you'd like to read each and every site to the give and take of commenting to coming up with ideas to keep things fresh.

Do you have any idea how good it feels to know that I'm not the only one who feels bad that I sometimes have nothing more to say in a comment than "I totally agree with you"? That's one of the many things I struggle with in blogging... finding something meaningful to say to show support for all of you that I read. I don't want to be that guy who simply says "I agree" but I also know that for some of you, myself included, that's all you want to hear. That's why we write what we write, to get it out and get feedback to either confirm what we are saying or to let us know that we are nutso beyond compare. And sometimes that seemingly meaningless "throwaway" comment is the easiest way to show that support.

But because there are so many blogs we read and so many posts we agree with and so little time to complete it all, we just don't. It's completely understandable.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, just because I don't comment or because someone else you think is a reader of your site doesn't comment all the time does not mean we are not reading or we do not agree or we do not value what you are pouring out of your heart of hearts. We are and we do. Just know that. 'Tay?

Oh, and I got a killer brownie recipe from Tori that will definitely be a future Damn Fool Network episode. Stay tuned. ;-)


I want some hot stuff...

Well, let's see... we have Avitable complaining about everyone on the Web being "either crabby, bitchy, stubborn, depressed, pathetic, upset, crying, or some combination thereof," SJ hoping to "avoid the drama shitstorm polluting the blogiverse lately," and me with absolutely no clue what the hell is going on... yet again. Or maybe I do and I just don't recall. Am I not reading the right blogs?

Sometimes I really feel out of it with what is happening out here. It makes me sad because I cannot relate to what everyone else is involved with. And, yet, part of me feels happy to not know because then I'm not forced to take sides. So I suppose there's an upside.

In an effort to forget about all this drama I know nothing about, I decided to go get lost in a recently opened Whole Foods. A couple of my coworkers swear by the place so I had to see it for myself.

45 minutes of aimless wandering later and my head is swimming no less than it was before. Just with thoughts of food. My God, that place is scary inside! I haven't felt this overwhelmed by a grocery store since I set foot in Woodman's. And that place is scary!

But I did walk out with some good stuff...

Hot hot hot

The question now is, what am I planning to do with all this spicy goodness? And, no, "giving himself salmonella poisoning" is not a viable answer... or, at least, I hope it's not.

The answer, should technology work in my favor for once, will be coming soon!


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.


Buy me some peanuts...

While I love the fact that Snippet Wednesdays allow me to cover a lot of little items that I wouldn't normally cover in a full-blown post, I gotta admit that they leave me pretty creatively drained. This would be my attempt at coming up with an excuse for the drivel you're about to subject yourself to.

It's a photographic retrospective of me opening the first box of Cracker Jack I've had in years. Like since I was 12. There may have been some here or there, but I certainly don't remember it. So, for the sake of argument, let's just agree that this is my first time with the Jack in 21 years. Yikes.

Cracker Jack 1
Ah Cracker Jack! How I've missed thee!

The rest of this photographic retrospective, due to sheer length of the overall post, is in the extended post. Y'all with feed readers should see it all just fine.

Continue reading "Buy me some peanuts..." »


No bone movies...

Welcome to the Kapgar Cineplex 6 where we try to actually make your moviegoing experience fun again! Tickets are relatively inexpensive as are the food and drinks. And if you follow these simple rules, I guarantee you will enjoy the experience. I do not, however, guarantee the movie will be good, but I will provide direct phone numbers to PR departments of the major studios so you can call and bitch if you so desire...

1. Get here early. The doors to each theater close one minute before the trailers begin and you will not be granted entrance after this time. This is not to inconvenience you, but so you do not bother the patrons that were here on time by stumbling around in the dark, stepping on feet, trying to find a few open seats.

2. Seats are assigned. The earlier you purchase your tickets, the better seats you will have. Plus, our online ticket purchasing system will allow you to select your seats ahead of time just like when you buy tickets for a jet. Gone are the days of Southwest Airlines "cattle call boarding" in the movie theater. We want to reward you for purchasing online or being here enough in advance to get good seats. Plus, it also helps us to know if there will be enough empty seats in clusters for couples and other groups coming in closer to the start time.

3. Don't just shut off the ringer on your phone, turn the whole thing off. It's great that some theaters are cracking down on people making or accepting calls during a show, but that's not enough. Just as bad is when people open their phones for texting and the screen lights up and temporarily stuns the eyes of people sitting behind them. Annoying! Violators will have their phones confiscated and then be "stoned" publicly with our collection of phones.

4. We have audio/video security systems built into seats. So be careful what you say or do. We reserve the right to post stupid things on YouTube. That includes you, Mr. I Moan Every Time Angelina Jolie Does Something Sexy During Wanted (that seriously happened to me last night).

5. Ratings are not just unenforced suggestions. We actually go above and beyond what the MPAA suggests with their ratings system. There is no caveat that allows for parental supervision. "G" means that everyone can enter, "PG" allows for anyone over the age of 7 to view the film, "PG-13" means you must be 13 to enter, "R" means you must be 16, and "NC-17" means nobody under 17. IDs must be presented. If there is any question, we will err on the side of caution and deny entrance. Sure, this might seem Stalinist, but considering I saw an infant in a screening of The Omen, I feel extreme measures must be taken.

What other suggestions would you have to make your moviegoing experience more pleasurable and worthwhile at Kapgar Cineplex 6?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I think I mentioned, at some point in the past, that Katie and I were planning on using a photo I took several years ago of the Golden Gate Bridge as a massive wall hanging in our vaulted-ceiling living room. Well, we did do it and I just completely forgot to post pictures of it. My bad. Here you go...

Framed!
Here is the finished product. No, we did not cut away negative space to account for the "missing area" in between the frames to make it look more like a window view. We just sliced the picture into pieces and framed it. The reason is because, until we started hanging them, we had no idea how far apart we'd space the frames. This is why the line of headlights looks staggered. Oh well. We like it.

Framed! From afar!
This is so you can gain a little perspective. That's a 42-inch plasma on the credenza below the hanging.


Well I walk into the room passin' out hundred dollar bills...

I have a new favorite photo of Katie and me from a wedding we were at yesterday. I only wish the camera that was used to take this was set at higher resolution. The original image is not much larger than this. Sadly.

Save a horse

Oh, and the deejay was playing Big & Rich's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." Hence Katie's reaction.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): For anybody questioning whether or not they're going to see WALL*E in theaters. Go now. Fan-friggin'-tastic. Pixar has made one of the best romantic-action-scifi-comedies I've seen in a while. Human actors can't seem to pull off the romantic chemistry that these writers and animators did with cartoon robots with limited dialogue. How?

How does Pixar keep improving on itself?


Fly to the angels...

Before I start, I need to send some love to the family of comedian George Carlin who died last night at the age of 71. I'm not going to say too much about this other than I was a fan of his stand-up routines as well as his many movie appearances. In a world rife with stale comedy, he was a God. And now he's up there cracking up his God as well. There is a really cool tribute to the man over at Shiny's Takeout.

[Just as a warning, I have a meme coming up next. If you're not a fan, skip through to the end as I have photos and a contest down there.]

This is a new meme that was started by Avitable (with bait taken by Brandon) based on an article he read in EW listing the top 100 movies of the last 25 years. Apparently it isn't enough that AFI puts out a Top 100 list and revised it just recently, now EW has to get in on the action. C'est la vie, eh?

According to the rules set by Adam, you must bold the titles of the movies you've seen and asterisk the ones you liked. For me, because a movie isn't asterisked doesn't necessarily mean I didn't like it. It could just mean that my forgetful ass doesn't even remember what it was all about other than to say I do remember seeing it. Such is life at the advanced age of 33.

  1. Pulp Fiction (1994) **
  2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) **
  3. Titanic (1997) **
  4. Blue Velvet (1986)
  5. Toy Story (1995) **
  6. Saving Private Ryan (1998) **
  7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) **
  9. Die Hard (1988) **
  10. Moulin Rouge (2001) **
  11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) **
  12. The Matrix (1999) **
  13. GoodFellas (1990) **
  14. Crumb (1995)
  15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) **
  16. Boogie Nights (1997)
  17. Jerry Maguire (1996) **
  18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  19. Casino Royale (2006) **
  20. The Lion King (1994) **
  21. Schindler's List (1993) **
  22. Rushmore (1998) **
  23. Memento (2001) **
  24. A Room With a View (1986)
  25. Shrek (2001) **
  26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  27. Aliens (1986) **
  28. Wings of Desire (1988)
  29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) **
  30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989) **
  31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) **
  32. Fight Club (1999) **
  33. The Breakfast Club (1985) **
  34. Fargo (1996)
  35. The Incredibles (2004) **
  36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) **
  37. Pretty Woman (1990) **
  38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) **
  39. The Sixth Sense (1999) **
  40. Speed (1994) **
  41. Dazed and Confused (1993) **
  42. Clueless (1995) **
  43. Gladiator (2000) **
  44. The Player (1992)
  45. Rain Man (1988) **
  46. Children of Men (2006) **
  47. Men in Black (1997) **
  48. Scarface (1983)
  49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) **
  50. The Piano (1993)
  51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) **
  53. The Truman Show (1998) **
  54. Fatal Attraction (1987) **
  55. Risky Business (1983) **
  56. The Lives of Others (2006)
  57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
  58. Ghostbusters (1984) **
  59. L.A. Confidential (1997) **
  60. Scream (1996) **
  61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
  63. Big (1988) **
  64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
  65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
  66. Natural Born Killers (1994) **
  67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
  68. Witness (1985) **
  69. All About My Mother (1999)
  70. Broadcast News (1987)
  71. Unforgiven (1992)
  72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
  73. Office Space (1999) **
  74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
  75. Out of Africa (1985)
  76. The Departed (2006) **
  77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
  78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
  80. Michael Clayton (2007)
  81. Moonstruck (1987)
  82. Lost in Translation (2003) **
  83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) **
  84. Sideways (2004) **
  85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) **
  86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
  87. Swingers (1996) **
  88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) **
  89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
  90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) **
  91. Back to the Future (1985) **
  92. Menace II Society (1993)
  93. Ed Wood (1994) **
  94. Full Metal Jacket (1987) **
  95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
  96. Far From Heaven (2002) **
  97. Glory (1989) **
  98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) **
  99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

83? Not too shabby. I did think I was going to do better as I had only missed out on four films up through #50. But then I hit that mark and it seemed to all be downhill from there. Oh well.

Oh hey, got some photos that I took from Swedish Days in Geneva this past weekend. You will have to click through to see the presentation applet. Sorry about that. I have no idea why it won't show in most readers (well, maybe it works in some readers, but certainly not in Google Reader).

Wii Fit socksThey had a pretty sweet 20-odd kiosk set up of Wii Fit that we were all able to try out. My mom and I are hooked. Plus they were handing out some nifty Wii Fit ankle socks with the rubber nubbies on them. We managed to snag about nine pairs and are going to give away three pairs of them to the people (one pair to each person) who can come up with what we deem to be the most creative description of why they need them in 25 words or less. Katie and I will both be judging. This contest is open until my post goes live on Monday, June 30 and the winner will be announced during Snippet Wednesday on July 2. All replies should be left in the comments. No e-mails, please.

Have fun. Lie through your teeth if you feel the need. But, make it good, okay?


He ain't heavy, he's my brother...

Johnny Dangerously: I don't need no lawyer to handle my kid brutha.
Reporter: Wait a minute!?!? You... and he...
Johnny: That's right, we's bruthas.
Tommy Kelly: We were brothers.
Reporters: BROTHERS!?!?

That was the sort of reaction I had recently from one of my softball teammates. I had been e-mailing him about some team related stuff and explaining where Katie and I had gone on vacation a few weeks ago and that my brother and his wife had been there and he comes back with, "wow, you two are really good friends, aren't you? You go on vacation together and your wives get along. That's pretty cool."

Nano!Admittedly, I was scratching my head a bit. I thought everyone knew we were brothers. Sure, we don't exactly look alike. But enough people have told us they see similarities and can easily tell that we are, so I've given up any hope of denying his existence (I keed, I keed).

(Note: the photo is from our Vegas trip last year; you can click through to see the full-size copy on Flickr)

I typed back, "No. I hate the little bastard. He's my brother."

I can imagine he scratched his head to the point of bloodletting after this considering his shocked response.

"You're brothers?!?! Like same-parents brothers? Who's older???" I couldn't help but laugh.

So the next week, we're at our sponsor's bar after the game and I ask a few others on the team if they knew. Thankfully, they all did. But what they said next surprised me...

"Yeah, and he's [pointing at my brother] got you by a few years."

What???

"Um, how old do you think we are?"

[pointing at me] "About 30 and," [pointing at Brian] "about 32 or 33, right?"

"Nope," I said. "He's 29 and I'm 33, but I thank you wholeheartedly!"

That shit seriously blew my mind.

Jocko Dundee: I'm standin' here with my dork in my hand!

Sorry, that has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I just love that line. Oh hell, I love that entire damn movie.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I was checking out one of the cities where I used to live (Lexington, KY) via Google Map's Street View feature and found my old home. It seriously looks nothing like I remember it or like how I've seen it in photos my parents have. Amazing what 23 years can do to a place, eh? Oh, and that's not my actual address. Right street, wrong number.

Boyhood home

Man, if I had the time, I could play with Google Maps for hours on end.


Picture pages, picture pages...

I'm really too busy dealing with trying to dress nice for work today to be mentally creative. Besides, yesterday's inaugural Wednesday Snippets was pretty damn long... epically long. So I'm going to let Adena, Brandon, and Karl be creative for me. Thanks y'all!

The concept:

  1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
  3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food? right now?
  3. What high school did you go to?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. What is your favorite drink?
  7. What is your dream vacation?
  8. What is your favorite dessert?
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. What is one word that describes you?
  12. What is your flickr name?

Here we have my results...

Mosaic2111807

1. Classic KG: Kevin Garnett, 2. Creamy Three Cheese Macaroni, 3. Warrior (ironically, it's me!), 4. When I'm sleeping, I slow down my breathing...Living in dreams, dreams that come true...thinking of the color blue... ZZZzzzzzz..., 5. Joss Stone, 6. Anyone for Guinness?, 7. Kisumu - Lake Victoria, 8. 14th August 2007 / Day 226, 9. Retired homeless fisherman, 10. Katie in the sky with diamonds, 11. {wayward}, 12. October anniversary

Remember, tomorrow is my smallish celebratory contest. If you want to be able to play, you need to have left a comment sometime in my three years of blogging. So have at it!


You come from out of nowhere...

I'm feeling snippety today...

Iowa
You read stories like this and you just want to huddle in a corner and will time to rewind so that you can stop it from ever happening. Britt, I have no idea what to say other than I'm so, so sorry. Please know that we're there for you.

Sorry to hit you all so hard right in the beginning. But Britt is a friend and we here in the Blogosphere try to care about our friends as best we can. Even if just in a virtual sense.

I will try to be a bit more lighthearted from here on out. 'Tay?

Glasses
Anybody who says glasses aren't hot haven't seen this picture yet. Total hotness!

A closer look

Florida
Here are the pictures from Florida that I promised. Apparently I took a lot more than I remember. I thought it was maybe 50 photos and it turned out to be 148 not including what I'm not uploading to Flickr (maybe another 10). So enjoy. And, yeah, you have to click through from your reader to see the photo applet or you can just view the album directly on Flickr.

Baby
Suze and Nat, aren't you proud of your countrymen?

Derailed
And this might be one of the reasons I'm glad I don't take public transit. Can you imagine if that y-split in the rail wasn't there to catch them?


Somebody put me together...

I thought I'd leave you with one quickie pre-written post of snippets to say good bye before Katie and I head out to sunny F-L-A (it is sunny right now, isn't it?).

1000
First, I just realized, much to my dismay, that my 1,000th post is coming up very soon! Would you like to know how soon? Next week. When I'm gone. When I have a guest blogger posting in my absence. And the lucky stiff? Ajooja. Yep, my 1,000th post hits on Wednesday. No pressure, ajooja. None at all. Actually, I think you'd probably do better than I would. No, this was not a set up. I didn't find out until I started writing up this post. Sorry.

Twitter
I'd also like to let you know that I'm going to have some connectivity thanks in part to Brandon twittering ("twotting" as Hilly would call it) me a reminder to actually update my Twitter page. Yeah, as shitty as my cell phone is, I can still Twitter from it! So I'm going to post some Twitterfied updates from Florida. I won't know how to read replies as, the last time I checked, you cannot receive text alerts just for messages that are replies (it's either all or nothing, I believe, and I subscribe to enough Twitter users that I'd hate to have thousands of texts coming through on my phone).

So, if you wanna see what's going on during our trip, click the Twitter link in the sidebar and you'll find out. Oooh... maybe I'll tack in one of those Twitter applets in the sidebar too. That could work. Check that, not a maybe, it's already added. That was easy.

Bumper
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you that I've now found my new car. Check it out!

Crap car

Ain't she a beaut? There are some details about what I discovered on the car built into notes on the actual photo in Flickr so click on it to read them. Kinda funny. The owner has a pretty decent sense of humor.


Pictures of you, pictures of me...

Hey all. Not much to say as Katie and I are on the run to a baby shower in a few minutes. But I thought I'd share a few old photos of me that my mom recently found. Just got off my butt and scanned them yesterday. Should be fun for you all to pick me apart a bit...

Scouts
My brother the Cub Scout and me the Life Scout on his way to Eagle.

Figment
Me, the Professor, and Figment at Epcot Studios.

Warrior
In preparation for my senior year of riding the bench in high school football. Not sure what the red streaks are in the background. Wear and tear on the photos perhaps?

Talk to y'all soon.


This is a call to all my past resignations...

Oh hell, this can't be good...

Uh oh

Yep, that's from the United States District Court in Chicago and it had lots of questions about my eligibility and availability for... *GASP*... jury duty.

As Dr. Sam Beckett would say, "oh boy."

I'll tell ya right now, (S)HE'S GUILTY! FRY HIM/HER! (yes, your honor, I can be impartial and objective)

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): A simple math equation for you.

clean sheets
+ clean pajamas
       + clean mattress pad
            + open bedroom window
         + white noise from fan
two fantastic nights of sleep from which waking up is not particularly easy.

Ah, restful bliss!


And I'm hungry like the wolf...

Update: Please note that there are photos on this post that do not play nicely with feed readers.

Last night, Katie and I went to our first Chicago Wolves hockey game. They are a semipro team renowned for doing much better than our local pro team, the Chicago Blackhawks. And for a fraction of the pay. Considering their level of success, how much fun it is, how much cheaper it is, and my old love of hockey, you'd have thought we'd go to these regularly. We really should.

Oh, and I got to play with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel that night. That was fun, too.

So the Wolves lost to the Peoria Rivermen. It was still fun. And the best part was the Kiss Cam when it showed a guy who refused to kiss the girl next to him. Then she turned and kissed the girl next to her. That's hot. Didn't get a picture of that, though.


She's a lady...

122 photos, titles, and captions later and I'm finally done. It's the titling and captioning that kills me, by the way. Takes way too much time.

Anyway, enjoy! If you can't get the PictoBrowser below to work properly, just head on over to Flickr to view the album. Oh, and I gotta thank Alyssa for the tip on PictoBrowser. Cool little app.


Won't you be my neighbor...

Some snippets for you...

Photos
I promise, the pictures from Florida will be up and ready to go tomorrow. They're mostly loaded... only mostly loaded. I'll have an album up tomorrow.

Robo
I've been wondering when I would start reading gripes about that incessant political robocalling that happens around election time. That's when you receive a call from a political candidate only it's not really the candidate but a recorded message either from them or some random lackey. They just keep getting worse and they're driving me nuts. And I totally agree with this newspaper blogger who theorizes that some people probably vote against candidates that use it excessively simply because they're pissed. Probably not the best way to elect someone to office, but I totally understand it.

Sweaters
FredrogersHey, they have Towel Day for Douglas Adams, so why not this?
In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, March 20 is now being declared "Sweater Day" in honor of Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

I grew up loving Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It was a fantastic show. Well, at least insofar as I remember it. Along with Electric Company, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and reruns of The Brady Bunch, this show was the pinnacle of entertainment for me.

I think my favorite bit about the whole thing was the trolley and how it was the means by which we were transported between two different worlds... our reality and then the world of Make-Believe. I don't know why that simple transition did it for me, but it did.

So, yes, I will be wearing my sweater on March 20. Will you?

Bonus points if it's a zip-up cardigan and you actually sing the theme song to a coworker.

Hour
Hey, come join me in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 (8 p.m. CDT). It's a movement that started last year in Sydney, Australia, where people shut off all electronic equipment, cars, and other mechanized stuff and just, well, do what they would do if none of that stuff existed. Use your imagination. Not you, though, Avitable. Your imagination scares me.


Don't let the sun go down on me...

I'm really getting sick of this crap.

Just as things were starting to thaw out around here and I could start to see grass poking through our frozen wasteland, we get nailed... yet again. This is about the fifth or sixth serious snowstorm we've had this year. This does not include all the little snowfalls we've had as well. The land around here has been nothing but white for 10-12 weeks now.

Here are a couple pics to show how bad it was last night...

Enlightened     Cars

I had to go driving around 9 last night and just looked out at the farmland and areas that are being prepped for development and I swear, when you combine the snow, murky white clouds, and odd late-night natural and artificial lighting, I'd have sworn I was scouting locations for a remake of Doctor Zhivago.

And, as much as I normally like snow, I'm done. I can't take anymore.

Looks like Guth agrees.

I'm thankful Katie and I are going to Florida this weekend considering we're supposed to get more snow. I only hope we make it out in time. God knows how willing O'Hare Airport is to nix flights from its schedule.

I'm also going to do my part to try to usher out the snowy season... that's right, I'm ditching the snow theme from the blog. It's time to go! Nah nah hey hey goodbye and all that jazz. Let's hope the new theme (that Katie helped design) engenders some goodwill with Mother Nature.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): When I posted the testosterone and finger measurement info, I was taken aback at the fact that nearly everyone who replied said their pointer finger was shorter. There had to be somebody, I thought.

Then I realized I f'd up the graphic. I had the lines in the right place, but the words in the bubble were off. It was supposed to read "ring finger" and not "middle finger." So, if your ring finger is longer than your index finger, you have higher levels of testosterone than if they were the other way around.

Does this affect anybody differently who replied before?


C is for cookie...

How about some snippets?

Sweets
Oh hell. They arrived. The both dreaded and beloved Girl Scout cookies have been delivered to me. I, personally, haven't ordered Girl Scout cookies in years. Katie does from her coworkers usually. But I bought them this year from one of my coworkers. I bought two boxes of Thin Mints, one Trefoils, one Samoas, and one Lemon Chalet Cremes.

God help me and my gut.

Photo
One of my recent NIU photos was used in an article over at Chicagoist. I was pretty stoked about that considering there must be hundreds of photos tagged "Chicagoist" on a daily basis and yet they chose mine. I'm kinda pumped about that. Even if I don't get paid for it. I'm sure it was more for what was said than the photo itself as it's not the world's greatest picture. Color balance was a bit off due to the intensity of the sunlight. Oh well.

Feed
Hey Avitable! They did listen! Well, to some degree anyway.

Typepad now allows you to subscribe to comments. It's as simple as clicking on the little RSS feed icon above the comments to each post. Therein lies the catch... it's not a feed to my comments as a whole, but to the comments for each individual post. It's good if you have a particular post you want to track comments on or just to wait for my response (not that it matters since I reply by e-mail). The downside is that you could wind up with a bunch of different comment feeds in your reader for a single Typepad account that you dig on. I doubt anyone will actually use it, but the option is there.

Memory
One of my coworkers came in to my office today to ask for help. She was having trouble getting the memory card for our little point-and-shoot digital camera to fit in the card reader. She handed them to me. I looked at the card quickly and started to laugh. She had handed me the battery.

In her defense, the battery to this little camera was roughly the same size as a Compact Flash memory card, which we use in the bigger D-SLR. But it was still pretty hilarious.

Duke
A different coworker got a call today from a friend and they started talking politics. The person on the other end decided to try pulling her leg a little and told her that John McCain's middle name was Wayne. How cool would that be? John Wayne McCain. Awesome! It's not enough that McCain has that tough-as-nails persona defined by his ability to survive POW camp in Vietnam and also has a name very close to John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard), but to throw the Wayne in there to summon visions of the Duke as well is just cool.

The reality of the situation, as I soon found out is that his name is John Sidney McCain III.

Once again, reality puts the kibosh on fantasy.


Falling apart at the seams...

I like to think I live my life by the Golden Rule. That is the one that reads "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," right? I hope so.

There are those people that deserve to be treated nicely who you want to treat you nicely in return. There are also people whose day you try to improve by being nice to them even if they've treated you poorly because you see some glimmer of promise about them. Something that says, "this piss-foul attitude of mine would be deep six'd if only someone gave a damn." Once in a while, it's nice to be the damn-giving sort.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not like this with everyone. That's asking a bit much, don't you think? Some people just deserve to be treated like dungheaps. So I bite.

But what I don't get is when someone who is doing something nice for someone else has the world rain shit upon him/her.

I got into a conversation with a guy yesterday who was walking around on crutches. Naturally, I asked what happened. He said around Christmas he and his son were loading a washing machine into a truck to take to Goodwill or some other donation service. Good thing, right? It's not as though he was dumping a bad machine on others. It was a working machine that they just decided to upgrade.

While loading the machine, he was on the ground pushing while his son was in the bed of the truck attempting to pull the machine upward. This guy hit a patch of ice and fell to the ground. He bashed his head on the concrete and the machine fell on him breaking his lower leg in six places. As a result, he has been forced to cancel his non-refundable annual ski trip with his sons.

How is that a form of positive karmic payback for doing something nice for a fellow human being? How did this guy deserve to get dumped on like this?

I guess when it all comes down, the Universe prefers "No good deed goes unpunished" to the Golden Rule, eh? What a load.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): All I can say about this picture is "holy crap."

Montrosewatermainbreak

It looks like a movie set. But, in fact, it is the result of a water main break on Montrose at Honore in Chicago that happened really early this morning.

I wonder what good deed residents in this area were trying to do.

Photo from Flickr user TheeErin.


I feel pretty...

MacbookairCan pure, unadulterated sexual lust come in an aluminum case?

Before yesterday, I would've thought not.

Now, though, behold! The MacBook Air.

I'm sure many of you have already read yourselves to death about this new laptop from the geniuses at Apple. Sorry, but if you stick around here, you'll have to read some more. But I've got a meme at the end of the post if it will justify your sticking around a bit.

Of course, like any new technology, it's upsides (the sheer lack of bulk, form factor, Mac OS and not Windows, etc.) do require you giving up a bit (Dave and TUAW do a pretty good job of detailing the downsides). But, dayamn! This is one fine looking computer and one that I want desperately. However, with the price tag it currently bears (starting at $1,800), it will be some time before that happens.

I just don't get how designers and developers at Apple can so consistently get it right and so few Windows PC developers and designers cannot.

If this doesn't make Dustin and Hilly convert, nothing will.

Now, as promised for you non-computer lovers, a meme!

Continue reading "I feel pretty..." »


Damn it feels good to be a gangsta...

Do you remember that scene in the beginning of Office Space when Michael Bolton is sitting in traffic with his car stereo pumping out some gangsta rap and he's just jamming to it with no abandon? Until, that is, a black guy asking for donations comes walking by. At this point, Michael composes himself and turns down the stereo so as not to bring any attention to himself and his antics.

He's not the only one who acts this way. I don't necessarily mean this as a class delineation by any means. I just mean we worry about how people in other cars see us when we're driving or stopped beside them. The scene from Office Space was just a good example of someone reacting to his surroundings and altering his behavior.

I'm guilty of this as well. I'll be rocking out to music from my iPod in the car, singing out loud and bopping my head or thrusting my fist in the air in some constrained form of musical revelry. Until I'm next to someone else, that is. Then it all stops. I don't even know why I do it. It just happens. Totally unconscious physical reaction.

Why are we so self conscious around our fellow drivers? Why is that we give such a damn about people that we're likely to not personally know and not likely to ever see again?

I don't get it.

And it's not just how we react to our music. I've observed as others carefully and stealthily consume their meals, and do other things, while driving. Heck, even I do it (eating, not the "other"). But, when you're eating something that looks like this, you might do the same...

Banana Burrito

Katie and I call it the "banana burrito." It is simply a piece of bread with peanut butter spread on it wrapped around a banana. Totally phallic looking, yet delicious. Even worse than the appearance that results from eating just a banana.

So I'll forgive myself for hiding this little gem as I eat it.


Guess I grew up too fast and I forgot my name...

I've heard from certain sources over the years that the best way to look forward to the future is to take a look at the past.

I'm not sure who said this or if there is any empirical evidence to support it, but I had nothing better to do at lunch yesterday. So I headed to an antique shop near where I work to check out what cool swag they had and to age myself a bit more. Yeah, there was plenty of crap down there that I remember from my childhood that is still WAY too recent to be considered "antique."

But the reminiscing was kinda fun. As was the photography. Check some of this stuff out (the entire album is available on Flickr)...

Music
More guitars, an old stereo, and a mouse.

Hardy
I owned and read practically every Hardy Boys book in existence as a kid including these really old hardcover editions.

Continue reading "Guess I grew up too fast and I forgot my name..." »


Should old acquaintance be forgot...

Happy New Year everyone! Even those of you who might celebrate at another time!

So how did Katie and I ring in the New Year? Three words... naked. snow. angels.

Just kidding.

Well, the "naked" part anyway.

Yep, despite Katie having a sinus infection, we decided on pure impulse to run outside in nothing but pajamas and T-shirts and socks and make snow angels in the six inches of white stuff that fell last night. I triple-dog-dared Katie to do it thinking there was no chance in Hell that she would. Next thing I know, she's running outside and taking a dive into the snow. I followed shortly thereafter.

If it wasn't so cold and the event so short-lived, I would've taken a picture of Katie actually doing it. Instead, you'll have to accept a photo of the aftermath...

Snow angels... questionably

And here is the pile of wet clothing we dropped after we were all done as well as the snow we tracked inside. It was fun. Quite exhilarating. But don't ask us to do it again.

Wet clothes

Well, Happy New Year all the same! Go Illini (although you're losing pretty badly as it is)!