5 posts from August 2002

Oldies: Sunday, August 25 - Saturday, August 31, 2002...

Tuesday, 27 August 2002: Do you all remember the episode of "Friends" where Joey became an ordained minister via the Internet? Well, I found a website called the Universal Life Church that will actually allow you to become an ordained minister in as quickly as five minutes. Sadly enough, this is 100% legal and you can actually officiate weddings with this online ordination. I'm thinking about doing it just for shits and giggles. Plus, if I do this, I can acquire a second ordination through the Beer Church. Yes, you read that right... the Beer Church. I wanna do it just to say that I am an official Minister of Perpetual Consumption (yes, that is the actual title). Hell, this church even advertises. Steal this banner if you want it for your own site. I just got a kick out of it.

[banner is gone to the ether]

Monday, 26 August 2002: Ahhhhh... Fantasy Football has officially started. Yes, I know that I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago already. However, it wasn't until this morning that the draft occurred. I wound up with a pretty damned good team, too. Here's my lineup...

  • QB - Aaron Brooks, Saints (starter), Kordell Stewart, Steelers (reserve)
  • RB - Ahman Green, Packers, and Eddie George, Titans (starters) and Antowain Smith, Patriots (reserve)
  • WR - Eric Moulds, Bills, and Troy Brown, Patriots (starters) and Keyshawn Johnson, Buccaneers (reserve)
  • TE - Jeremy Shockey, Giants (starter) and Zeron Flemister, Redskins (reserve)
  • K - David Akers, Eagles (starter) and Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders (reserve)
  • Def. Team - Bears (starter) and Buccaneers (reserve)

However, I'm currently in negotiations with rival team The Bear Haters (bastards). He wants Kordell Stewart in exchange for Michael Vick, QB with the Falcons. Both are good, but Kordell is a bit more proven and I just love the guy cause he helped me out quite a bit last year. So, to make it more worth my while and since I need some help in the tight end department, I countered by asking him to also send me Todd Heap, the TE for the Ravens in exchange for Zeron Flemister. Overall Kordell is better than Vick, but only because Vick was standing in Chris Chandler's shadow for most of last season. When he did finally start, Vick tore the field up. Now, with Chandler on the Bears, Vick is starting, but he may get those first-time starter jitters whereas Kordell is just gonna rock. However, I've already got one great QB so I might as well take this opportunity to bone up in my lesser areas and TE is definitely it. Heap is only in his second year, but he's gonna be starting now and is likely to see quite a few passes come his way. We shall see.

Oldies: Sunday, August 18 - Saturday, August 24, 2002...

Friday, 23 August 2002: Well, the last couple of days have sucked to say the least. Yesterday, I was sitting at work just plugging away on my computer when Katie called me. She asked if I could come home right away. Apparently, she was pulling out of her parking space at our apartment to go to work when her rear passenger tire fell off her car. Luckily her car landed on the tire so no damage was done to her shocks, struts, or the body of her car. But, it made it impossible to jack the car up to change the tire seeing as how the jackpoint on the car was sitting in the middle of the tire. I know it may sound like something out of blooper reel and the initial reaction would be to laugh at this. I understand that. But, think about it if you were sitting in the car when the wheel fell off. It's completely different from that perspective. You heart would jump up into your throat and you'd be driving on sheer paranoia for quite a while afterwards examining every little sound that your car makes. Then you start in with the "what if's." What if the car hadn't landed on the fallen wheel? What if it had been the other rear tire and the car landed on the gas tank? Kinda unnerving, isn't it? Katie was strong throughout, though, and I'm proud of her. Yeah, she's shaken up but not nearly to the degree that I thought she would be. We had to buy her a new rim and tire this morning since the other one was smashed in a bit. There's always something that you've gotta buy for your car, isn't there? You pray it's just gonna be your monthly payment, insurance, gas, and regular maintenance stuff but it never is.

Wednesday, 21 August 2002: Nooooooooooo. Say it ain't so.

It's a sad day for us fans of slasher flicks. I guess we should've seen the beginning of the end when Hollywood execs announced they were developing a movie pitting two of Hollywood's baddest slashers against each other in the same flick. This would, of course, be Freddy vs. Jason and capitalizes on the highly successful A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series of films. To me, this film just sounded like a theatrical nightmare. How can you pit these two indestructibles against each other. No matter how you look at it, some camp is gonna walk away from this pissed off as all hell saying, "there is no way (fill in a name here) would lose to (fill in the other name here) in a grudge match." Well, what makes this even sadder is that these execs have decided to give the axe to longtime man-behind-Jason-Vorhees'-hockey-mask Kane Hodder. Their explanation was that he was too physically large to face up against Robert Englund's diminutive Freddy Krueger. They also would like to find someone who has more "poetic" eyes... ones that convey a sort of internal conflict... something more along the lines of The Phantom of the Opera. What the hell kind of crap is that? That's not what Jason Vorhees is all about. Half the scare factor behind this guy was the fact that his sheer size and power would make you crap your drawers before your head is even ripped off. I say we all join in a collective chant of "Hell No! Kane Can't Go!"

In other news, I am about to become a college student again. Well, not like a fulltimer or anything. I'm signing up for an Emergency Medical Technician course through Waubonsee Community College to begin next week. It meets two nights a week for a little over three hours per session. Should be interesting, eh? I'll let you all know how it goes.

Sunday, 18 August 2002: Well, the good news is that I've actually got all of our wedding ceremony and reception photos scanned. Bad news is that they're still a day or two away from being ready to post on the site. It took me five hours just to scan them and cut the scans down to individual images (I scanned four photos at a time and then had to cut them down). So, now I've got to crop all the images down to the same overall size, make any Photoshop editing that I may need to do (scans, after all, tend to look a lot rougher that digital photography), and get the pages prepped. Since there are so damned many pix that I scanned, I may have to break it down to more than just the two pages of thumbnails that I originally planned on. I'm doing this for those of you running the 'net on modems (like Katie and I at home). Ideally, having fewer images will make the pages load that much faster... ideally. I'll keep you all updated.

Oldies: Sunday, August 11 - Saturday, August 17, 2002...

Friday, 16 August 2002: Katie and I took the day off today and headed downtown for the Cubs v. Diamondbacks game at Wrigley. Man, it's been years since I've been on the north side for a baseball game. It was fun and we had great seats. Granted the Cubbies did lose (what would you honestly expect?), we did get to see D-Backs ace Curt Schilling pitch his 20th victory of the season and former Cubbie Mark Grace come in at first base in the eighth inning. The ninth inning almost got a little hairy for the D-Backs as Curt blew his scoreless game by dishing a homerun to Sammy Sosa after whiffing him twice and making him ground out to shortstop once before. Soon after, Byung Hyun Kim (sp?) came in on relief for Schilling and let two batters get on base. I started to remember how Kim blew a game or two to the Yankees last year in the World Series. I would have liked to have seen the Cubs win, but why bother? What good will it do for this season for them to win one more game? So, let's just ensure that Schilling gets his 20, okay Kim? He did. And Katie and I had fun. That's what's important, right?

Thursday, 15 August 2002: Sorry I haven't been real diligent about updating you guys with needless information this week. However, it is for good reason. I have been working on a new section of this site. If you look at the link bar on the left, you will see a new addition dubbed "The Photo Album." Yes, it is just as it sounds... a ton of photos from different events. This is also where you will find all the honeymoon photos that were once located on the Wedding Pages. Now, I've finally finished posting all the honeymoon photos as well as pix from trips to Florida, the Adams' Family Easter, Christmas in our apartment, and the weddings of our friends Jason & Kara and Mike & Casey. So, enjoy. Oh yeah, since the pictures from our wedding/reception were not done digitally, they are not on the page yet since I have not gotten around to scanning them. Don't fret, though, they are coming soon. Hopefully.

Monday, 12 August 2002: Today was a bit hairy to say the least. Katie is no longer working at the school that she did last year. Since she was only a speech aide, she was deemed expendable when it came to budget cuts. So they never bothered to ask her back. However, since she opted for a 12 month pay schedule, her insurance was extended through the end of this month anyway. That was definitely a good thing. It gave her time to get in hours at her new job so she could get up to the equivalent of full time so they would offer her insurance. However, her hours haven't picked up as much as she hoped. She works as a part-time floating pharmacy tech at a new Walgreens and, since it's a new store, they are still working on developing a customer base. It has picked up, but not as quickly as many had hoped. She works a lot of hours, but since they are all fill-in hours at a couple of different stores, she's not actually officially on schedule as much as is needed to be insured. As a result, I've had to go in to my H.R. department and have Katie added to my insurance. Well, it finally hit home just how much adding her would reduce my paycheck. Metlife Dental was reasonable... double the number of people insured and you double the cost. Makes sense, right? Well, HMO Illinois (my insurance provider) doesn't make nearly as much sense. I double the people insured on my plan and they multiply my deductions fourfold. Ouch! Why the hell do they have to deduct so damned much? The other thing that killed me was that I didn't realize that here at AU, we pay in advance for our insurance. In other words, the money being deducted from my August paychecks goes to paying my September insurance premiums. If I want Katie insured for the month of September (which is what we want), I've got to deduct an entire months worth of premium payments from my next two paychecks in addition to what has to be taken out normally to cover costs. That's a big dip in my take home pay.

However, in the midst of my attempts at hari kiri (with apologies to Real Genius), Katie got a call from the head pharmacy tech at her Walgreens asking her if she wanted full-time hours. The other full-time tech needs to go to part-time status and Katie was the next in line because of her reliability and dedication to the store. This means not only that Katie is getting a helluva lot more pay (and regular pay, at that), but within a month, her hours should be at the level they need to be for her to be insured by Walgreens. Yes!!! I am very proud of you hon. See, you scratch Walgreen's back and they'll scratch your's. I love you hon. Somebody's watching over us.

Sunday, 11 August 2002: Katie picked up a copy of Us Magazine and the banner article listed at the top of the front cover had a blurb about how Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had their first run in since breaking up. I just couldn't help but read the article. Apparently, they wound up at the same bar except Britney came with friends while Justin came with his new girlfriend, some dancer whose name escapes me (not that I care enough to actually remember it). Well, supposedly he went to the bar and Britney followed him. They had a heated argument, he left, and started dancing with his new girlfriend. Britney followed them on the floor and started matching him move for move in what Us called "a dance off." Jeezus. How old are these two? This is so West Side Story or Grease. Is this stuff for real or is it some cheap P.R. ploy? Are their careers that sad right now that they've got to resort to this piddly crap to stay in the spotlight? Or are the two of them trying to strut their stuff in an attempt to actually be cast in an off-Broadway version of West Side Story? Maybe N*Sync still has the desire to star Grease 3 and this is their way of showing it. Sick and twisted. Perhaps Britney is truly this obsessive in real life and this is her way of telling all the rest of the guys in the world who lust after her to back the hell off... she's a one-man kinda woman even if he doesn't want anything to do with her. Heh.

Oldies: Sunday, August 4 - Saturday, August 10, 2002...

Saturday, 10 August 2002: Saying that the Bears lost today is a bit of an understatement. They were slaughtered. The Broncos handed their asses to them on a platter, 27-3. Yes, I will admit that it is just the preseason. But it is disheartening to see this happen all the same. The defense was great. Urlacher and Holdeman were incredible and it looks as if McMillon may be giving Azumah a run for his money. We just gotta work on that offensive line because they were truly... well... offensive for lack of a better way to word it. I'm not too worried though, the Bears will work it all out by September 8.

Friday, 9 August 2002: I'm even more stoked than I was yesterday. My friend Brian called me up and asked me if I wanted to go down to Champaign tomorrow for the Bears preseason game against the Denver Broncos. Yeah baby. Time to have some fun watching the Bears do a little spanking. Bear in mind (no pun intended, I swear) that this will mark only the second professional football I've ever gone to in my life. I want to thank my wife Katie who is helping me out by taking care of the house and dog that I am supposed to be housesitting tomorrow night. I didn't think I would be able to go. But she, being the beautiful, sweet, caring, wonderful, loving woman that she is, said that I should go and that she would take care of my stuff for me. Rock on. I love you hon. Thanks.

Thursday, 8 August 2002: I am so completely stoked now. Yesterday, I received an e-mail invitation from my friend Jason to join his Fantasy Football League. Yes, it's finally that time of year again. I've been looking forward to this starting back up since January when it all ended (seemingly so abruptly). Last season, we had 12 people in our league (3 four-team divisions). I think we'd kinda like to expand the league this season and get some people that share our love of this wonderful pasttime. So, I asked Jason if I could invite some people and he said that I can shoot for 3 people... tops. I've got invites out to two people right now but I haven't heard back from them yet. Anybody out there interested in joining the league? Our only rules are that you like football, you're willing to make a committment to maintaining your team, and that you're good at trash talking. The reason for the "trash talking" caveat is because our league has a "news" feature where you can post stories about your league, upcoming or past games, and news about other teams and owners. We fully took advantage of this feature to talk shit about each other. It was so much fun. So, if you're serious, e-mail me and I'll consider hooking you up in our league.

Tuesday, 6 August 2002: You people are sick. I don't know for sure that it is the bunch of you who read this page. But this country has some pretty twisted puppies in it. I say this because the premiere episode of "The Anna Nicole Smith Show" is now the highest rated show in E! Entertainment Television history and is the highest rated debut episode for a reality series ever. Its ratings have even beaten the first couple episodes of "The Osbournes." Granted it took a few episodes of "The Osbournes" before it finally took off, but still... I don't understand what is so interesting about her. Simply put, she's an opportunistic, gold-digging tramp. She just has a need to be in the spotlight or (ideally) she'll shrivel up and die. Please, people, go watch something at least a little more worthwhile (and I can't believe I'm about to say this) like "Big Brother 3." Or let the excitement build for "Survivor 5" or "Temptation Island 2" or that new one with the married couples in trouble who go to an island to save their marriages. Let Smith's ego shrink a couple square miles. Please.

Monday, 5 August 2002: I've got three bits of news today, so, be prepared to do some reading...

First off, I gotta spread a little love for Robert Rodriguez. He is the director of such films as El Mariachi, Desperado, and the original From Dusk Till Dawn. A couple of years ago, he made a massive departure by writing and directing Spy Kids. I still haven't seen this movie, but I'm about to run out and rent it just so I can see the sequel (Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams) that is coming out. No, I don't wanna see it for the sake of the movie itself, per se. I wanna see it because of an article I read about how Rodriguez made the movie. Anybody who has read anything about Rodriguez (you can start with his autobiography, "Rebel Without A Crew") knows that he likes to be very involved in his movies. In fact, his first flick, El Mariachi (which was the prequel to Desperado), found Rodriguez as pretty much the only crew member. He wrote, directed, filmed, edited, mixed, etc. and he did it all for a mere $7000. After the success of Spy Kids, Miramax execs wanted to up his budget for the sequel to $60 million from the original $36 mil. He said no. He said he would make the sequel for the same amount of money and make it better. For this film, he returned to his El Mariachi roots and upped his involvement from just the writer-director hyphenate to writer, director, director of photography, production designer, editor, visual effects supervisor, sound designer, rerecording mixer, and composer (can you imagine what his resume must look like?). He also saved money by pulling off all these duties from the garage in his home in Austin, Texas. How cool is that? You gotta give some props to Robert Rodriguez. He is obviously the last in a dying breed.

You also gotta love My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The flick has been out for 16 weeks now (longer than Star Wars Episode II and Spider-Man, both of which are dropping off the charts) and it is now having a resurgence. After dropping to number 13 a few weeks ago in the top 20, it jumped up to number 10 last week and up to number 8 this week. For an indie flick, this movie is just raking it in. And it deserves it. If you haven't seen it yet, get your butts out there and check it out. It's worth every penny.

Lastly, and this one is pretty disgusting. I hope only a select few (if any) of my work colleagues read this. This morning, when we all got in to work, my coworker Juliette went in to the bathroom and noticed that a Victoria's Secret catalog that is usually sitting on her desk was on the floor beside the toilet. After she told this to me and Stevie (another coworker), Stevie said that while she didn't think much about it before, she noticed that the lotion bottle on her desk was moved when she came in this morning. Ewwwwwwwww. We wanted to report this to security, however, since security is one of only two groups that has access to this building after hours, the odds are pretty good that it's one of them. We reported it anyway and got the brushoff that we expected to get. Other weird shit like that has been noticed around our building in the past. I'm sure this latest discovery will only heighten our awareness of what's going on. Ick.

Sunday, 4 August 2002: I finally saw A Beautiful Mind. Katie and I had rented it last Tuesday and finally got around to popping the disc in the DVD player tonight. Which, of course, means she fell asleep. You think I would've learned by now that if Katie actually wants to finish a movie, I can't let her watch it while laying down. She'll just fall asleep. I think the only way to get her through an entire movie is to fix up some sort of A Clockwork Orange setup where she's strapped down in an uncomfortable chair with little mechanical arms holding her eyelids open. Rather harsh, but it's been a long time since she's watched a flick all the way through while at home.

Anyway, the movie was incredible. Ron Howard definitely deserved the Oscar for this one and I honestly believe Russell Crowe did a more Oscar-worthy performance in this flick than his role in Gladiator. However, he was just up against a stellar performance from Denzel Washington for Training Day. I would just like to say one thing for the record... that John Nash that Crowe was portraying is one severely messed-up puppy. Yowza.

Katie and I also spent some time today with a couple of my old college buddies, Colleen and Mike (that "and" is not meant to imply that they are a couple; in fact, they are just two friends of mine and we all hung together because the three of us were all friends). I haven't seen them in years. It's been so long that Katie has never even met them before today. She's only heard the horror stories of when we all lived on the same floor. Ah, good old Grant North. You gotta love the old days.

Oldies: Sunday, July 28 - Saturday, August 3, 2002...

Thursday, 1 August 2002: In sad news today, Josh Randall, who costars on NBC's "Ed" as Dr. Mike Burton (you know, the funny one), was busted after being observed smoking crack with a homeless man. Both were arrested and who knows how this one will end. You always hope that vices such as drug addiction won't happen to the truly talented people in the world. I just hope we don't wind up with another Robert Downey, Jr. on our hands.

In happy news, the former CFO of WorldCom Scott Sullivan and the former Controller David Myers were arrested this morning. The best part of this whole story is that, while being led in handcuffs into, I believe, the FBI office in NYC, several bystanders started clapping and cheering. You gotta love that. The only bad thing is that, because the WorldCom case broke before Bush signed all this "sweeping new legislation" regarding coporate fraud, the max these guys can get is five years in prison and some kind of fine. If these laws were only signed a week or so earlier, they could both wind up as somebody's pivot man for the next 20 years.

Oh, and by the way, the Gap sign is now up at the plaza I was telling you about.

Tuesday, 30 July 2002: Last night after the midnight sale, Katie and I decided to drive around in this new shopping plaza that is currently being built near our apartment complex. According to people Katie has talked to about it, this plaza is meant to be pretty much all highend shopping. This has us both quaking in our boots. High-end shopping can only mean one thing... higher property values (possibly translating to increased rent at our complex). When you can't properly pronounce the name of the store, there's bound to be trouble. Of course, it's not all bad, they do have a Barnes & Noble and a Galyans Sporting Goods. This gives me a couple of new places to hang out on those days when I have nothing to do while Katie's at work. I love to just sit in bookstores and read whilst sipping bottomless cups of coffee. And Galyans has a climbing wall. Yeah baby. That'll be fun.

I think the thing that I've been having the most fun with regarding this shopping center is, when I drive by it on my way to and from work, I like to check out if any new store signs have gone up so I can see what stores will be there. The first name up was Galyans, second was Anne Taylor, third was Barnes & Noble, fourth was Banana Republic, and fifth was Adrienne Vitadinni. That's all that is up so far. When Katie and I drove back there, we saw spray painted boards marking some of the other stores (for the benefit of the workers, I suppose?). Included names like Gap, Coconuts (I thought they were in financial trouble?), and a couple of others I can't remember at the moment. Katie also heard this plaza was getting the Gap Kids and a Pottery Barn. Now, it's time to start placing bets on which store will be going out of business first. My money's on Coconuts thus far. I may go ahead and keep you informed as new nameplates go up on the stores. Then we can all keep a proper pool going. Any bets?

Monday, 29 July 2002: God Bless vacation days and that's what today was for me. I took the day off and Katie wasn't scheduled at work. First and foremost on vacation days... sleeping in. Of course, once you've started working a regular 9 to 5 schedule (or 8 to 5 in my case), you find that it becomes nearly impossible to sleep in as late as you would truly like. When you're a kid, you wanna wake up early because that's when all the good cartoons are on (I've noticed that's not the case anymore). However, as you grow up, say late elementary school through college, all you wanna do is sleep. And, let me tell you, I was a pro. I miss it... the good ole days when you can just sleep until noon without giving it a second thought. Oh well.

The rest of the day, Katie and I just did our thing. A little shopping, some cleaning (not typical "vacation day" fare, but it was needed), watched some TV, worked on a puzzle, celebrated my Dad's birthday (go ahead and hassle him if you'd like), and then Katie and I went to a midnight record sale at a place in Batavia called Kiss the Sky. Great independent record store. One of the last of a dying breed. We weren't really there to buy anything in particular, the midnight sale also served as a sendoff party for one of their longtime employees named Reuben whom I have known for a few years now. He's moving to California. Adios Reuben, your mom and I will miss you (inside joke).