4 posts from December 2002

Oldies: Sunday, December 22 - Tuesday, December 31, 2002...

Monday, 30 December 2002: How was everybody's Christmas? Our's was great. Our big gift to each other was a membership to our park district's fitness center. We've already gone a couple of times. I'll be going again tonight after work. Got some other little things like CDs, gift certificates, DVDs, books, a PS2 game, and a couple of those little Zip Zap R/C car knockoffs (the brand that is sold at Walgreen's is half the price of the actual namebrand cars available at Radio Shack). I've got one of the cars at work and the other at home. They both are accidentally set to the same frequency, so one controller can operate both. It was getting a little tough for Katie and I to race each other if we could control each other's car. Heh. Pretty weird to watch. Kinda like synchronized swimming for cars.

I also have pictures from this Christmas posted. So feel free to peruse them.

And I discovered that my free ticket to see Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers that came with my DVD set expires tomorrow and I'm not supposed to be going to see it for another couple of weeks with Katie, Nate, and Cathy. So, I'm using the ticket tomorrow and going to see it by myself. I wouldn't want to make Katie sit through a 3+ hour movie twice. She's already not really looking forward to seeing it just the one time. Ah well. I can handle it twice. Never bothered me.

Oh, and since this is likely to be my last post for 2002... Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 25 December 2002:
As I promised you all, I have a scan of our Christmas card posted now. So, click here for your special kapgar.com Christmas greeting.

Tuesday, 24 December 2002: Katie got one heckuva Christmas gift today. She passed her Pharmacy Tech certification exam. Her certificate came in the mail today and she was jumping around the pharmacy when I took it to her at work (I couldn't wait for her to get home to give it to her. I was just as excited). My Katie is now certifiable... er... certified. Congratulations Kate.

Well, it only took me a little over three months, but I finally finished reading The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Why did it take me so long? I had a little thing going on the last few months called my EMT-B course and free reading kinda went on the backburner in the meantime. Anyway, enough about that. I can now go see the movie. And, let me tell you, I've been dying to see it. Hopefully it will happen this weekend

Monday, 23 December 2002: Is anybody else out there other than me starting to draw parallels between Michael Jordan and the cast of "Friends"? Both have a large amount of talent (excluding, in my opinion Courtney Cox Arquette and David Schwimmer), an incredibly huge international fanbase, get paid way too much, and draw in all kinds of advertiser/sponsor money.

Jordan left the game in what was supposed to be his retirement and tried his hand at baseball. The Friends started branching out from their hit series into movies. Not that the Friends were retired from the show when they did this, but they were supposed to be calling it quits after the 2001-02 season. When they discovered that only one or two of them stood a chance with big-screen glory, they pooled together and won contracts worth $1 million per episode for one last season. For this return from "retirement," both Jordan and the Friends had even bigger success than before. Three more NBA titles for his Airness and Emmy's for the show and for Jennifer Aniston.

Then comes the inevitable second retirement. Jordan leaves and discovers that he can't stand being away. He returns yet again, but with hit-or-miss success. He has his "on" days, which are followed up by pretty poor "off" days.

Well, the Friends are at it again as well. This past Friday, NBC, in its quest to not lose all viewers and sponsors next season after the folding of the show, have convinced the cast and crew of "Friends" to return for one more season. The six principal stars will be getting just a little more than the $1M/episode that they received last season. Better than that is the fact that their season will be cut down from 24 episodes to a mere 18. That gives NBC the chance to rake in their sponsor bucks during the key sweeps months and it gives the stars a chance to really work harder on their movie careers.

In my opinion, no amount of time will help Schwimmer and Cox forge a solid movie career. Although Cox has reaped the highest gross in terms of movie-making money of all the Friends, her roles have all been as part of an ensemble cast (Scream 1-3, etc.). Neither her nor Schwimmer has any star power whatsoever.

Lisa Kudrow can't really hold her own either, but it doesn't seem as though that's of any concern to her. She's very focused on her family which is not such a bad thing. For her, it's gotta be a pretty darned good thing when you look at films like Hanging Up. Honestly, though, it's not as though any of them really need to act ever again with the money they've earned.

As much as I like Matt LeBlanc in the show, he has had a very dismal film career with his highest grossing film coming in the form of a five-minute stint on Charlie's Angels as Lucy Liu's boyfriend.

Matthew Perry has some staying power, but he's going to need to diversify himself somewhat. He was pretty good in The Whole Nine Yards and the sequel (The Whole Ten Yards) will be out sometime late next year, I think. Otherwise, though, he's had big bombs with films like Serving Sara, Almost Heroes, and Three to Tango. Bottom line: he has the potential, but he needs to develop it.

As has been stated in almost every magazine and newspaper article the world over, the best chance at stardom comes from Aniston. Not only does she have the princess lifestyle being married to Brad Pitt, but she also has seen what it's like to be successful in films. The Good Girl, Rock Star, Office Space, The Object of My Affection, and Picture Perfect, while not exactly high-grossing, have cemented her place in Hollywood star circles. Hell, she even received high critic's marks for her role in The Good Girl and there's talk of an Oscar nomination. I don't personally think that will happen, but the buzz never hurt a career.

I just want to wrap this up by saying that I'm not very pleased that they're coming back for another season. The writers are going to get tired of having to re-start their story arcs by finding a way to un-finish what they have already been planning for a year to end. How many times can they keep doing this before their creativity is completely shot? Who's getting married next? Who's turn is it to get pregnant now? It's time for NBC to face up to the fact that they will not always have the Friends around and they need to start taking some of this money that they keep throwing into their salaries and use it towards developing some new, quality shows. We're sick and tired of the same old same old. Come up with something original. You've got the cash and the clout, now use it. It's not easy, I'll admit, but this world is full of creative writers with original ideas. Go see what's out there. And, for God's sake, stop pulling the plugs on shows so soon when you've hardly given them a chance to take off ("Leap of Faith" and "Inside Schwartz" anyone?). Shows like "Seinfeld" and "Cheers" had to learn to crawl before they sprinted, right? Not every great show is a hit right from the starting gate.

Oldies: Sunday, December 15 - Saturday, December 21, 2002...

Friday, 20 December 2002: It's been a helluva long time, but it was so worth the wait... the triumphant return of The Darwinism Missed Me files.

Today's entrants are two men from Vienna, Austria who stole a pricey digital camera from a local camera shop. In their haste to get the hell away from the scene of the crime, they forgot to take the pack of photos that they were having developed by said camera shop. Needless to say that it was quite easy for the shop owner to identify the culprits by looking at their pictures.

Nothing like a stupid criminal story to brighten up my day.

Thursday, 19 December 2002: I did pass my EMT-B final exam last night and I did pretty well on it. Somewhere in the early 80s percentage wise. Good enough to get me the above-80% that I needed to challenge the state certification exam tonight. Which I also hope to God I did well on. I won't know the results of this for a few weeks. But, hey, at least the class is done and I can finally relax. Thank Heaven for small miracles.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002: I have spent the last two days at a University/College conference in Chicago. And, let me tell you, it bored me to tears. Almost literally. I learned absolutely nothing of substance that I didn't already know and it was a complete waste of time. I think the only real positive was that I got to spend some time in Chicago and relive my old Metrarail commuter days. God I love taking the train in the morning and walking around that city to get to and from work. Great exercise, great views, just a damn good time. I really miss it.

Also of note is that I have my EMT-B final exam tonight. Wish me luck. Happily enough, though, with the average that I have so far on my tests, I only need a 26% on this final to pass the class and qualify to take my state certification exam. I hope I'll be able to pull that one off.

Lastly, our Christmas cards are in the process of being made. We snuck into the Santa display at Charlestowne Mall and took our picture sitting in the Claus' throne. The couple of janitors that saw us in there were probably too confused as to why two freaks were taking pics of themselves in the chair to bother trying to stop us. Well, we took one set of photos and went to take them into Walgreen's for developing before I realized that I forgot to put film in the camera. So we returned to the mall for a repeat performance (this time with film in the camera). We should have our cards ready to go sometime tomorrow and in the mail by Friday. Here's hoping. I'll post one on this page for you all to see as well.

Monday, 16 December 2002: From time to time, I like to catch the occasional rerun of the late 80s/early 90s sitcom "Saved by the Bell." Okay, so it's more often than not. TBS plays it every weekday morning at 6:30 (central time) so I tend to tune in while eating my breakfast. Every so often, TBS tends to throw in an episode of "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" which is the precursor to "Bell." I guess the easy way to remember it is as "Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years." TBS just lumps them all together as "SBTB."

The reason I mention this is because one thing that has always bugged me about this show (aside from the mind-numbing scripting that I just can pull myself away from) is the fact that the junior high episodes feature Zach (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Screech (Dustin Diamond), Lisa (Lark Voorhies), and Principal Belding (Dennis Haskins). All four of these characters were retained when the move was made to high school. But, they are not the only things to "move," per se. The entire friggin' school moved. If you recall, Kennedy Junior High School, where the kids go, is located in Indiana. They proudly proclaim this several times throughout the series ("Miss Bliss is the best teacher in the state of Indiana!" being just one instance). Funny how, when they became high schoolers, they all became residents of southern California. I never understood how, if at all, they explained this little bit of happenstance. Does anyone else know how it was explained? Let me know.

Oldies: Sunday, December 8 - Saturday, December 14, 2002...

Saturday, 14 December 2002: While heading out to our local AMC30 in the hopes of seeing a sneak preview of the Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock romcom Two Weeks Notice, Katie and I learned something... never doubt the drawing power of Grant and Bullock. The flick sold out. Of course it was only showing once that weekend. So, instead, we went to see the indie flick Far From Heaven. Wow. That's all I can say. No, it wasn't the lighthearted flick that we expect Two Weeks to be. But, my God was this an incredible film. It's all about a woman named Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) who is living the perfect life in 1957 Connecticut when she discovers that her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid) is having a homosexual affair. This is back in a time when homosexuality was looked at as an illness that could be cured by psychological treatment or, at worst, shock therapy. Not only must she contend with that, but she also has to deal with all the whispering going on behind her back as she develops a very close "friendship" with her gardener Raymond (Dennis Haysbert). In case you didn't already know or figure it out, Raymond is black.

I guess what floored me the most about this movie, aside from the stellar acting, was the thought that this was how America used to be. Then, it hit me. We really haven't evolved too much since this time. While many of us have become accustomed to the idea of homosexuality or interracial relationships, quite a large number of us still don't accept it. Gay and mixed couples are routinely the targets of hate crimes and extreme bigotry. Sad, but true. I wonder how many other people who have seen this movie have come to this realization? Dish out the seven bucks and see this movie.

Friday, 13 December 2002: I gotta be honest with you... my rant yesterday felt really good. It's truly been a while since I've let out a good rant on this page. It does a good job of clearing my system (perhaps not as good as Fibercon, but still and all the same). So, what does that mean to you, dear reader? A second rant in as many days, that's what! Bwwaaahaaahaaahaaahaaa!

I read an article on the Chicago Tribune's online news service about immigrants who work illegally at O'Hare Airport here in Chicago. There has been a crackdown as part of a national investigation to try and clear out those working illegally in airports. Obviously, this is a result of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent heightening of security at airports internationally. It is a much-needed measure that should be taken, in my humble opinion.

However, Joshua Hoyt, the executive director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, is slamming this investigation claiming that it's violating immigrants' rights. He says, "nobody is saying we shouldn't put people in jail who pose a serious threat to national security. However, we shouldn't use a sledgehammer on the kittens who are working at McDonald's at the airports." Well, why the hell not? Does the fact that somebody is working at McDonald's in an airport make them less of a threat than someone who works in the baggage claim or down on the tarmac? Well, admittedly, yes. But, if you work at McDonald's or any other non-airline related job within O'Hare Airport, then you are working behind the security gates in the terminals. You should be required, as a result, to have a clean police record and be employed legally. I'm not saying that these immigrants are necessarily terrorists and I would hate to be accused of lumping all immigrants into one category. But I would also hate to be wrong and find out that they are, in fact, terrorists with designs on blowing up another plane.

Everyone, regardless of race and national origin, who works at the airport should have to undergo these extensive background searches and, I'm led to believe, they do. So why should we treat illegally employed immigrants any differently? We shouldn't. Yes, immigrants have the right to live and work in the United States. But I, as well as all of you, have the right to live in as safe an environment as the government can hope to provide us. I'm not buying into the belief that the U.S. is actually safe, but, to some degree, I will support measures taken on our homeland to try to further ensure our safety. Just don't get me started on Iraq.

Out of curiosity, why does Hoyt refer to immigrants as "kittens"?

Soapbox dismounted...

Thursday, 12 December 2002: One thing that always bugged me about sports was how teams were divided up into divisions within their leagues. The reason why this bugs me is when it comes time to take part in post-season playoffs. What's the big deal? I'll show you.

Let's take my fantasy football league, for example. Our league has 12 teams separated into three divisions - the East, the West, and the Central. The two best teams in the league are both in the East Division and they are the Durham Bulls and the Geneva Snappers (my team). Respectively, these two teams have an .857 (12-2 record) and a .786 (11-3) win percentage. The two next best teams are the Biatchslappers (I didn't name them, I swear) and the Normal Stones both in the Central Division tied at .643 (9-5). The Bulls made the playoffs with their record and so did I... but as the wildcard team. I had the second best record in the league, but because I'm in the same division as the best team, I have to settle for the wildcard spot. Another reason I'm complaining is for the sake of my brother in law Scott whose team, the Normal Stones, is tied for third place overall in the league but won't make the playoffs because the top team from each division must play in the postseason. I've already taken the wildcard spot with my second-best-in-the-league record. However, the West Division representative has a .500 (7-7) percentage. Hell, he doesn't even have the most points scored in his division but he makes it because he has the best divisional record.

How is that fair? I think within a league, all teams should be lumped together to fight it out. Then the top four teams in each of two leagues based on overall record can go on to the playoffs. I do like having pro sports divided up into leagues which might seem kinda hypocritical considering my rant. But if you don't have at least a little dividing of teams, then you have one big friggin' league.

I like having an NFC and AFC champ in the NFL. I like having AL and NL champs in the MLB. I just think division champs are pointless. It's just not fair to the team that did really well but still gets dicked because of the need to have all divisions represented (even by an inferior team) in the playoffs.

Okay... soapbox dismounted.

Tuesday, 10 December 2002: At one point in time, it was considered a curse to be a member of the rock band Def Leppard. One member dies of a drug OD. Another (the drummer, no less) loses his arm in a car accident. You get the picture. Now I'm starting to think that honor goes to The Who. First, drum God Keith Moon dies of a prescription drug overdose quite a few years ago. Earlier this year, bassist John Entwistle dies of a heart attack brought on by cocaine use. Now, it's been announced that guitarist and founding member Pete Townshend is almost completely deaf. Next thing you know, vocalist Roger Daltrey will become mute. Wouldn't that just top it all off nicely? Good lord.

Monday, 9 December 2002: I would have to say that it's a pretty bad thing when the highlight of watching the Bears' miserable loss to the Dolphins is seeing third-string quarterback Henry Burris run for three straight first downs. Of course, this didn't happen until the last few minutes of the game. But it was impressive nonetheless. I give the guy a hardtime pretty regularly because he's not that good. But just to see a quarterback in a Bears uniform actually run and get yards was a sight that I have been sorely missing for a while now. Run, Burris, run

Oldies: Sunday, December 1 - Saturday, December 7, 2002...

Saturday, 7 December 2002: Today started out great by all accounts. Heck, about 95% of today was a lot of fun. Katie and I woke up and went to some area stores and then to downtown Geneva to just hang around and really do a whole heckuvalot of nothing. That's the best way to spend your day... with absolutely no agenda whatsoever. Then, we went out to DeKalb in the early afternoon and hit up our old University Bookstores to buy some NIU swag with the new dog logo on it. Lemme tell you, NIU's got itself a great logo, but they've really got to work on the merchandising of said logo. We were both really disappointed with what both bookstores had to offer. I wanted to come out of there with a nice hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap. All I wound up with was a long-sleeved T-shirt and a window sticker for my truck. After that, we went to my old favorite record store and sold them my old CD player and some CDs and VHS tapes. Got some good cash out of the deal. We next headed to the world's greatest Mexican restaurant - Eduardo's - and ate some of our old favorite dishes. In case you're not getting the point, today was a nice little blast from the past. Hell, we even went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter just for kicks. I hate Wally World with a passion, but when we were students, it was the place to go because it was pretty much the only place in DeKalb that was open 24 hours. Finally, we met up with our friends Nate and Cathy to see The Santa Clause 2 and followed that up with dessert at their place as well as a TV screening of Jim Carrey's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Not bad even if I did miss some of it during our conversations. We left their place a little after 11 p.m.

So, why do I say it was 95% fun? Because, on the way back to Geneva, Katie's same tire that has been causing her hell for a little over a year went flat yet again. Katie must have a really good ear because she could hear that the tire was flat and I just kept swearing that she was insane. We pulled over about 15 miles west of where we live and, lo and behold, the stupid thing was flat. That particular tire must be jinxed. The day before our wedding, the front passenger tire blew out on us. We had the tire completely replaced because it was a sidewall puncture. Then, back in August, after having the tire rotated to the rear passenger axle, the hubcap and lugnuts were stolen. The damage resulted in the purchase of a whole new tire and rim. Then, last weekend we went for a tire rotation and found out that the new rim wouldn't fit on the front so we had to take it in to be replaced (free of charge, of course). When they finished replacing the rim, the store rotated the tire up to the front passenger axle and this is the one that blew out on us tonight. Aye aye aye. Not the same tire (or even rim), but seemingly jinxed none the less. Hence the "95% fun."

Thursday, 5 December 2002: Of course I'm not going to forget to wish myself a happy birthday. Another year older and not a second wiser!

Katie made me blueberry pancakes for my birthday breakfast which were damned good. And we're going to try a new place near us called Nick & Tony's for dinner. Dunno what to expect, but hey, we've been wanting to go since it opened a couple months ago. So why not go tonight, right?

Well, I opened up my e-mail inbox this morning and had a ton of e-mails from all the radio stations that I had registered with for contests wishing me a happy birthday. Let's run down the list... WXRT, WCKG, WLIT (they have good contests; I'm not a fan of the music, though). XRT's card included a ton of coupons for free or discounted stuff which was pretty cool. Katie and I plan to try out some of the restaurants that are included. But, I dug on CKG's card. Just a simple station logo with the text...

Hey Kevin,

Wouldn't it suck if we were the only ones who remembered your birthday?

Have a great one.

I got a kick out of that e-mail. It's fun to start your day off with a laugh.

Wednesday, 4 December 2002: So, the next time you're feeling even remotely ill, don't bother visiting your local Walgreen's. Who needs to when you've got the mobile pharmacy known as Winona Ryder?

The D.A. who prosecuted Ryder's shoplifting trial revealed the list of all the medications that Ryder had in her purse when she was stopped. Bear in mind she had prescriptions for all but one of the following...

  • liquid Demerol
  • liquid Diazepam
  • Vicoprofen
  • Percodan
  • Valium
  • Morphine Sulfate
  • Endocet (containing Oxycodone)

When I read this, I had to call Katie seeing as how she works around all these drugs on a daily basis (she's a pharmacy technician). Her response was, "how does she function?!?" My question is, how does any doctor write prescriptions for all these drugs to one person? And why the hell does Ryder have them all at once? Is she stocking up for the end of the world? As I told Katie (and, yes, I would expect the grunts and groans from all of you for this one)... so much for Ryder's Age of Innocence. Get it? Bad joke, eh?

Monday, 2 December 2002: I'm back and here's a recap of this past weekend... Thanksgiving went over very well. As usual, Katie's cooking kicked some serious butt. Some people are just born with special abilities. One of Katie's gifts is the ability to cook up some mean grub. I dunno how she does it, but she does.

Of course, the day after Thanksgiving, we woke up at the butt crack of dawn to go check out some of the "day after" sales. Welcome to the official start of the Christmas season. The line at our Best Buy was wrapped nearly all the way down the plaza. However, when all was said and done, we got out of the store after only 40 minutes and went down to Galyan's... where there was no line and pretty much no customers whatsoever. Talk about a jolt to the system... a beeline from shopper's purgatory to what can't be described as anything other than Eden.

On Saturday, Katie and I got together with her brother Scott to go see Bowling For Columbine. Much like any of Michael Moore's stuff, it was great. Some of it is pretty shocking stuff, but very well edited together and it all flows very nicely. Check it out in theaters while you still can.

Other than that, not much to report. I'm gonna be out of the loop tomorrow as we are having our apartment recarpeted and I need to be there to move stuff out of their way. Apparently, the carpeters do not help move stuff at all, so it's all up to me. Katie will be there to help as will, I'm hoping, our friend Nate. We shall see. I can't wait to get this new carpet in. Our old stuff is garbage.