Vacations & Holidays 2009

Why dance around to the same damn song...

I told you I'd post it today, and I posted it today. Whether my RSS feed updates is outside my control. So for that I'm sorry.

But I welcome you to the 2009 Primetime TV Kappy Awards!

A few notes... these awards relate to shows as they aired in the 2009 calendar year (with one exception detailed below), not the traditional network television season, not the non-traditional cable television season, not nothing like that. Just what's going on. Coolness? 

First, the list of shows we've watched over the last year from which these awards are derived:

  • Mad Men
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Castle
  • Life
  • Life on Mars
  • The Closer
  • The Cleaner
  • The Office
  • Criminal Minds
  • Burn Notice
  • Psych
  • The Good Wife
  • NCIS: Los Angeles
  • 24
  • True Blood
  • Flashpoint
  • Chuck
  • My Boys
  • Royal Pains
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Private Practice
  • White Collar
  • Men of a Certain Age
  • 30 Rock
  • Cougar Town
  • Modern Family
  • Gary Unmarried
  • Dexter
  • Damages
  • The Amazing Race (Fall 2009)
  • I think that's about it. God, I hope that's about it.

    Let's proceed...

    Acting Awards:
    • Best Dramatic Acting - Jon Hamm, "Don Draper," Mad Men
    • Best Comedic Acting - Jim Parsons, "Sheldon Cooper," The Big Bang Theory
    • Best Dramatic 1-2 Punch - Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, "Richard Castle and Kate Beckett," Castle - sure, this is borderline between drama and comedy, but you'll just have to accept that I'm using it as drama
    • Psychusa Best Comedic 1-2 Punch - James Roday and Dule Hill, "Shawn Spencer and Burton 'Gus' Guster," Psych (at right) - this one is more comedy than drama despite being a cop show like Castle
    • Best Dramatic Ensemble - Burn Notice - and, if you're smart, you're tuned in to the Burn Notice marathon on USA as I type this
    • Best Comedic Ensemble - The Big Bang Theory
    • Best Male Comeback - (tie) Nathan Fillion, "Richard Castle," Castle and Ed O'Neill, "Jay Pritchett," Modern Family
    • Best Female Comeback - Courtney Cox, "Jules Cobb," Cougar Town
    • Best One-Off Guest Role - Wil Wheaton, "Wil Wheaton," The Big Bang Theory
    • Dark Alley Award - Jimmy Smits, "Miguel Prado," Dexter - yeah, his run on the show aired in late 2008, but not being a Showtime subscriber, I didn't have it available to me until 2009; and he was just too bad ass to not have earned this designation
    Show Awards:
    • Best Drama - Castle
    • Best Comedy - The Big Bang Theory
    • Canceled Too Soon - (tie) Life on Mars and Life
    • Most Overstayed Welcome - The Cleaner - it was amazing how quickly this show went from really exciting and a great vehicle for Benjamin Bratt to a lot of the same old, same old... and then cancellation 
    • Lost in Left Field - Grey's Anatomy - this show needs to find its way and we keep hoping it will but it just adds too many new characters all the damn time in a pathetic attempt at self resuscitation and it consequently loses us
    • Where the Hell'd You Go - Flashpoint - this is simply because we love this show and we want it back
    • Most Surprising Show (in a Good Way) - Cougar Town - we started watching this not expecting much at all and darn if it doesn't make us laugh harder than many shows
    • Second Chancer - Modern Family - we watched the first two episodes and didn't really care too much for it; then, due to prompting from one of Katie's students, we started again about a month or so later and now we love it
    Network Awards:
    • Best Network - USA - c'mon! It has Burn Notice, Psych, Royal Pains and White Collar!
    • Worst Network - NBC - according to Katie, we have one night of television (Thursday) that we watch and they killed an entire primetime hour every night of the week for a Jay Leno variety show that couldn't possibly be any worse than it is, or could it?

    Would you counternominate any actors or shows in these categories? Please share!


    I always intend to do one of those year-end wrap-ups that so many other bloggers do so well, but I get so locked up in these awards I do that I forget.

    How about we talk about the actual day instead? So how'd you spend it?

    Katie and I did the same thing we like to do each year... wine, Chinese food, pajamas, and movies!

    Can it be any better?

    He's makin' a list...

    I know, I know. Christmas is done... STOP USING CHRISTMAS CAROLS AS POST TITLES!!! I will make a concerted effort. I promise.

    Not all of you are Twitter users, I would presume, right? For those of you who are, you know that the most recent gauge of cyber-inclusiveness has nothing to do with your ability to avoid being dealt the Facebook deathcard known as unfriending (I'm still in shock as to how this got "Word of the Year" accolades... whatever). It's all about being added to someone's Twitter List these days.

    Since I'm still working on my Top TV Shows and Top Movies lists for this year, I thought I'd spend a day discussing another Top measure that happens to come in the form of Lists: all the Twitter Lists I belong to.

    Sure, this is completely me tooting my own horn, I admit. But it sounds like fun.

    Currently, I've been "Listed" 19 times by various folks. And I want to point out a few of them real quick.

    While I'd like to be able to say that this is as dirty as it could be perceived by gutter-minded individuals such as myself, it sadly is not. She actually runs a Web-based cupcake company in the Chicago suburbs. Bummer.

    I have always thought of myself as delightfully perverted. I'm proud knowing that my efforts were noticed by you, @hismuse! Thanks.
    I'd really hate to see his wish-dead list. I'm afraid to look and see if there actually is one.

    Well, we'll just have to work on that one, won't we?

    @neilochka, I would definitely sit there and hold your hand through this ordeal... from the other side of the bars. Feel free to call me. Just don't expect bail money.

    While I love being on his cool-mfers list, I think he and I should both create a list called cool-bald-mfers and be the charter members!

    This is the ultimate sign of cyber acceptance, IMHO. @avitable is looking pretty damn hot these days and with his increased fitness level, I would assume comes an increased capability level in the sack, right big guy?

    Can you tell I'm really reaching for blog fodder right now? I'd make a New Year's Resolution that I will come up with higher quality posts and maybe post more often, but I can't guarantee that the Angel of Inspiration will bind herself to that resolution.

    So how was your Christmas this year? Big haul? Small haul?

    I'm happy with how it turned out. Several books, some giftcards and cash to buy some new appliances in the kitchen, a copy of Rock Band: Beatles for the Wii (no drumkit, sorry), and, from Katie, a Blackhawks jersey (to be worn at the Blackhawks game for which the two BiLs and the FSiL got us tickets) and a copy of the Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-disc box set, among other things. That's pretty sweet! I can't wait to start watching it. I got Katie a few things including a really pretty garnet necklace. She seemed happy. I guess that's all that counts.

    And, in case you're interested, here are some photos from the various Christmas celebrations we attended this year (Facebookers, click through).

    But one of my favorite photos of the evening was just a little experimental picture I snapped. Not that it's a true mystery photo like the ones I used to post. Heck it should be easily identifiable. But it's just a different point of view on it. Let me know if you figure out what it is.

    Apgar Christmas

    Gave proof through the night...

    Katie and I hope you all had a great Fourth of July (whether you observe the U.S. Independence Day or not). We had fun with Katie's brother and his girlfriend at the fireworks in St. Charles, IL. We were going to head up to the Wisconsin Dells, but the weather kinda battered down that plan. So we stuck around here and just did our normal thing. And we loved every second of it.

    If you weren't able to see any fireworks of your own, here are a couple videos I captured on my Blackberry for you to enjoy. Surprisingly good quality for a phone-based video camera. I was impressed.

    Pyrotechnic Uber Fun from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

    Pyrotechnic Uber Fun, Finale from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

    Oh say can you see...

    I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that not only is tomorrow the U.S. Independence Day, but that we're already halfway through 2009. Just another half to go before we're making contact with the alien races according to bad Roy Scheider sci-fi films.

    But the problem is that since the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, a lot of employers are not sure just how to deal with giving days off to employees. I am off work today, the day before the holiday, since I'm an 8-5, Monday thru Friday office rat. Katie, who for now only works Monday thru Friday, but for an employer who is open seven days a week, won't see a day off. Her day off would be tomorrow, but since she doesn't work Saturdays, she gets nada. That sucks. So I'm here at home typing to all of you while she toils away at work.

    What to do... what to do...

    Wake-up? Check.

    Check e-mail? Check.

    Catch up on Google Reader? Three-quarters of a check.

    Shower? (sniff) Nowhere near a check. Yet. I promise I'll get to work on this one, not just for your sake but my own as well.

    I think I might also check out my neighbor's garage sale that started up this morning. I saw him out placing signs last night and, as much as I used to love garage saling (can that actually be a verb?) with my mom as a kid, I haven't been to one in years. And I'm told, with the economy in the shithole state it's in, garage sales are totally en vogue. Maybe I should join the hipness and go a salin'.

    Do you all garage sale at all? Any cool finds? My curiosity is piqued.

    But first, I will shower, and I will download my free Star Spangled Banner from Amazon's MP3 store. Yep, you read right. In honor of the holiday, the Amazon MP3 store is giving away one free copy of any version of "The Star Spangled Banner" that they have in stock. Just click on the link above and follow the instructions. There are a ton to choose from. Once I hit number 400 in my browsing, I gave up looking. I had no idea that song had been recorded so many times.

    Burnsbaseball And, shockingly, as much as I thought I'd go for, say, Jimi Hendrix's classic rendition or one from KISS's Alive performances (Ace was on fi-yah playing that one), I instead nabbed one by Branford Marsalis and Bruce Hornsby that was recorded for Ken Burns' Baseball documentary series. This recording really takes me back to my documentary filmmaking days (well, not that I made one on my own, but I was part of a team that made one in grad school). Not to say I'm a huge Ken Burns fan, but the use of music in Baseball was so fantastic and so memorable that it's pretty akin to how Quentin Tarantino chooses music in his movies. Anytime you hear the song afterward, all you can think of is the scene from the movie where it was featured. Just try to tell me you can listen to "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel and resist the urge to lean over and nibble on your neighbor's ear.

    Yeah, okay, anyway. So head over there and nab your favorite version now. Offer ends July 6.

    Nuh uh. No way. Not a chance in Heaven or Hell.

    Well, maybe I would. But I would have to do some severe steeling up of my gut first. Holy Christ a mighty! Welcome to the new Sky Deck on the outside of Chicago's Sears Tower (fuck Willis Group Holdings).

    Stupid SkyDeckChicago Flickr group didn't enable the Flickr photo sharing option, so I did it myself! But I still followed all their linkback rules. So ha!

    Update: I did find some cool swag at the garage sale! Checky check!

    Every silver lining's got...

    And you may be noticing that "touch of grey" here. Yeah, I redesigned the blog... again. It's been a little while and I was getting kinda sick of the M&Ms as much as I love the picture. But, in the spirit of spring cleaning, why not?

    I've tried to simplify everything in the world that I possibly could.

    • External links are standardized using something I forced Illustrator to make to my specifications (Illustrator and I are not good friends, but we worked through it this time). So now I can add and delete links easily.
    • Typepad introduced navigation bars... finally. So I have one with links specific to the blog or me.
    • I eliminated much of the kitschy crap in the sidebar that I've been clinging on to for so long. Save for my Hear Me list, which will always be there.
    • I created a graphic for the TUAs so I can stop typing the damn thing in all the time.
    • And I now have a Google search box. The free one because I'm cheap. So you all will have to deal with ads on the results page. Sorry.

    But most importantly, I've created a relatively neutral looking site using black and white images in the banner that can easily be swapped as I see fit. Changing color photos was a pain because it requires changing the rest of the color scheme of the blog to fit with the photo. This is going to be so much easier and more fun.

    Oh and before you all go running off to Kim screaming, "Ohmigod! Kapgar thiefed your ideas and design elements!" I already showed her. I will admit to you all that I love Kim's design on her blog and a lot of my ideas and thought process was derived from the simplicity and beauty of her site. So, yeah, I was inspired by her design. But it wasn't until I finished my design that I realized just how inspired I must have been. I was feeling like said thief so I e-mailed her with a link to the design to either garner her blessing or face her wrath.

    She gave her blessing and said she really liked it. Honestly, she did. I'm not making this up. And I thank her for it because I really got worried that I was either going to have to change it after all that work or stick with it and alienate her as a friend. And I really like this design so you see where this is going. ;-)

    I hope you all like it, too. And for any new readers who were just getting accustomed to the M&M header, sorry.

    This past weekend, the BiL, Scott, and his lady faire, Becca, hung out with Katie and I. We had dinner and then went to Best Buy to find either a movie or video game to play. We found both but stuck with the latter in the form of Trivial Pursuit on the Wii.

    This game is serious fun! I haven't had this much fun playing Trivial Pursuit, well, ever. Some nice animation to the movement of the gamepieces around the board, the controls are smooth, it has a cool little stat tracker that runs along the bottom of the screen like a CNN newscast, and you can now have visual questions unlike the standard board game.

    My only complaints are that it doesn't use your Miis as characters and it seems to have a fixation on modern Chinese cinema. Severe fixation.

    But, otherwise, it is a great game and was totally worth the $40 we spent on it.

    Oh yeah, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I will be hanging out tonight at Claddagh in Geneva. So if you're in the vicinity, stop in for a pint and say hello!


    It's hip to be square...

    Happy Square Root Day, everyone!

    No, I'm not making veiled references to my own social awkwardness using vintage 50s expressions. It's actually an unofficial math geek holiday and, while I don't consider myself a math geek by any stretch of the imagination, I gotta admit that hearing today was Square Root Day and then reading the explanation did make me smile a little bit.

    I only hope it brings a little of your own geekiness to the forefront and makes you grin a bit as well.

    And, in 11 days, let your inner geek out again with Pi Day! And then we party again on July 22 for Pi Approximation Day. Oh let the geeky flow.

    Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): AHHHHH!!! Huey Lewis and the News are coming to Naperville for Ribfest this summer! Last summer it was my boys Big Head Todd and the Monsters. This year, it's a chance to relive the second concert I ever attended in my life (first was Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle, but my parents picked that one and took me; Huey was one I wanted to go to).

    My mom and I saw Huey and the guys rock it at the now-defunct Poplar Creek Music Theater back in like 1987 or '88 and they were one of my favorite bands for the longest time. And now, a chance to see them again?

    Yeah, I'm busting out my orange puffy vest and acid-wash jeans, baby!

    Okay, not so much the acid-wash, but I'm totally gonna rock the life preserver.

    Heh, I think this is the first time my title has tied into both my main post and my TUA. Odd how that worked out.

    I'm sorry boys, but you're just too darn loud.

    And I will try to fix you...

    Birthday-cupcake A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Katie! Woo hoo! I love you, hon.

    And now the revelation that she's at home sick for it. In fact, she's been sick all weekend. I swear it's a bit of a curse for us lately, those blasted holidays. I was sick last Easter, she and I traded off over Christmas, and now she's sick for Valentine's Day and her birthday. I think I'm next in the queue and it appears as though Easter is the next viable holiday that can be illness ridden. Oh yay! Can't wait.

    So, um, yeah, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Katie was too tired and sore to go anywhere so we stayed in. But she slept a lot of the weekend so I watched some TV and movies, cleaned within reason (nothing noisy that would wake her up), and I fixed a few things online.

    For one, I weeded through my Twitter following list and eliminated about 20 people I was following. There were several groups and whatnot that I had followed that I feel just weren't worth following because I never really paid much attention to their Tweets. So what's the purpose, right?

    I also ditched my MyBlogLog profile and services box as I discovered that FriendFeed offers many more services in their repertoire to which I can link including three that I had to list outside the MBL box because, despite my suggestions, they never added them as services (Plurk, Vimeo and Goodreads). And I can eliminate the profile information to make it just a box of service links. So I've got that going.

    Lastly, I finally fixed up my blogroll. It's a static page on my blog now instead of being the pop-out box with the Blogrolling list. It's been nearly half a year since Blogrolling went down and I'm sick of waiting. I found a half dozen broken links and another half dozen links to dead blogs. Plus there were several I wanted to add that are newer finds. So I played and now I think it's all good. If you happen to notice any screwed-up links in there, let me know. Typepad did some funky things to my HTML so some may still not be good or some may have gone kablooie. The two caveats I have are that if you have announced you are leaving the blogosphere (or you already have) or you have not posted in calendar year 2009 yet, I did not post a link.

    Love letters in the sand...

    I know today is Self-Love Day, but before I detail why I love myself, I want to make quick mention of the other holiday that shares this date...

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    To all of you, to your friends, to your families, to all my friends and family members. But, most importantly, to Katie. I love you, hon.

    And I guess the reason why I started this way was because it does work itself in nicely with Self-Love Day. For me, a lot of the things I love about myself revolve around Katie. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.

    Selflove2009altI love my life. It's not perfect in any way, shape or form, but I love it because Katie is in it with me and she loves me as much as I love her. I'm not an easy person to live with. Hell, there are times I've wanted to break up with myself. But Katie has shown an infinite amount of patience with me, which has, in turn, helped me improve my own ability to be patient with others.

    Before you laugh or cry foul in my comments because, like you, I have also read some of my ranting posts expressing hatred with others and their stupidity, do take note of one thing... just because I feel I have patience doesn't mean that everyone out there deserves to be a recipient of said patience. I will select those I feel deserve my being patient with them.

    I also love my willingness to try new things. There are very few things that I am completely unwilling to try at least once. Life is too short to be closed minded about new experiences. I want to live life as much as I can and so much as our bank account will allow us to (okay, so there is one restricting factor).

    And, finally, I love that I'm a sap. I love being romantic when I can. I love public displays of affection, within reason. I love that I watch romantic comedies and enjoy them and that two of my favorite movies of all time are Sleepless in Seattle and Notting Hill. Does this make me less of a man? I'd argue no.

    I'd better stop now or I'm going to have nothing left for the Fourth Annual Self-Love Day.

    Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As you know, this day now also has a bit of a somber side to it for me being a graduate of Northern Illinois University and this being the first anniversary of the campus shootings that took the lives of five innocent students.

    The university is holding some memorial services today as well as an art exhibit and wreath presentations. Katie and I were going to attend, but she's pretty sick right now and we're going to stay in.

    So I'd just like to take a moment to remember those five students who lost their lives one year ago today... Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Julianna Gehant, 32, of Mendota; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream; and Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester.

    [Taken by me one year ago. Hey, Chicagoist picked up on this photo today.]

    What's your name (what's your name)...

    In the last month, I've had four different cell phones and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can never rely on SIM cards to hold all the information you want to transfer from one phone to the next. They help, but they're far from perfect. Or maybe it's that the phones don't make use of the SIM cards to their fullest extent. Whatever the case may be...

    As of this past Tuesday, I'm on a BlackBerry Bold and I'm trying to get all my contact information up to date. However, I didn't realize until after I blanked out my old BlackBerry that I lost several of the secondary phone numbers I had attributed to names in my directory (I haven't found BB software that works on my Mac yet so I didn't get around to backing it all up to my computer; not that I've really looked as I'm still new to this whole thing and am still just trying to make the phone work, period) so I lost some phone numbers for people.

    The problem arises when you receive what seem like random calls and texts and you no longer have names attributed to them.

    Yesterday, I received a text message from a number that looked familiar but I couldn't quite pin down. It simply said "Happy New Year!" Katie and I sat there trying to figure out who it was. We couldn't. So I called the number and went straight to voicemail. Unfortunately, as many people are wont to do anymore, the outgoing message simply said, "I'm not here, leave a message." Oh yeah, that really helps.

    Katie: So was the voice male or female?

    Me: Female.

    Katie: Reeeeeallllly? So some strange woman is leaving my husband random text messages on his phone?

    Me: It would seem that way.

    Katie: Now I really want to know who it is.

    So, um, while I know Katie was ultimately joking and all, if you happened to text me yesterday from a west suburban Chicago area code with a prefix of 415, please let me know and tell me how innocent your message was intended to be.


    Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I went to my parents for dinner last night and we somehow got on the topic of dogs and microchip tracking systems. As you know, Katie and I are dogsitting Lilly again. My mom decided we should have a little fun and so we texted the following message to my brother...

    "Out of curiosity, does Lilly have a microchip in her at all?"