4 posts from January 2003

Oldies: Sunday, January 19 - Saturday, January 25, 2003...

Saturday, 25 January 2003: After being disappointed by recent romantic-comedies like A Guy Thing andTwo Weeks Notice, and having absolutely no desire to see Just Married, I was starting to worry about the state of affairs with Hollywood romcoms. Well, that worry was laid to rest today when Katie and I nabbed a sneak peek of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. Believe it or not, it was actually funny... and romantic. God forbid that writers should actually excel at both ends of the hyphenate. I was dying. And I was not the only guy in there laughing. Yes, I will admit that it did have its requisite cliches and cheese, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. If you get the chance come February 7th, go check it out.

Plus, I just want to add that you Joe Millionaire fans are a rabid bunch, aren't you? I'm sure you've seen my note above about how so many people are hitting my site while searching for "Evan Wallace Marriott," right? Well, the numbers have changed dramatically for my site. In the course of the last month, I had only had hits in the single digits on all but two days. Until last week, that is. On Tuesday (the day after the third episode of Joe Millionaire aired), I had 24 hits, 11 on Wednesday, 15 on Thursday, and a record-breaking 45 yesterday. And all the searches that came up with my site were for either "Evan Wallace Marriott" or "Alex McLeod." Nutty.

Thursday, 23 January 2003: Yesterday, I read a beautifully written article by John LeCarre (the author ofThe Russia House along with several other spy novels) about his view of the United States' desire to go to war with Iraq. It is an incredible article and he does a great job of expressing everything that I feel about this impending war. It's a worthwhile read if you have some time as it's rather long.

In case you're curious, I do not support the potentional war in Iraq in any way, shape, or form. Nor do just about any of the people I've spoken with about it... my wife and some of my coworkers. The U.S. is making a pre-emptive strike against a country that has done nothing (yet). What right do we have to tell another independent, self-governing country that they cannot have weapons of mass destruction? Who made us God? What makes our government better than their's and, therefore, able to dictate what's right and what's wrong? Why does Bush have this severe blood lust?

I fear what will happen when (notice I didn't say "if") we go to war against Iraq. Bush claims that Iraq is a threat to free nations everywhere not only because of their supposed stash of nuclear weapons (which we have yet to prove exist - all we found last week were unarmed chemical warheads that have been sitting around for God-only-knows how long), but also because they harbor terrorists. By that rationale, we should be attacking ourselves as well as every other "free" nation in the world. We all harbor terrorists. We don't necessarily know we do this, but we do. As I recall, the 9/11 terrorists took flight training in Florida. Remember Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols? What about the Unabomber? Hell, Britain harbors IRA terrorists and they know it, they just can't do anything about it until they can link these terrorists to specific acts of violence.

Mr. President, please don't lose the respect and support of the international community by striking against Iraq without U.N. support. Our regular allies like Turkey, France, and Germany have already spoken out against your intentions. What happens when, down the line, we need their help again? It will happen and they will not be there waiting to help us in our time of need. I realize we have the ability and the resources to go it alone, but why would we want to do this? We had a huge ally base in our war with Al Qaida because there was reason to go to war. They made the first strike (well, at least in most nations' eyes, the World Trade Center was the first strike while others would claim that the U.S. has made plenty of "first strikes" against the Middle East before that time). We were justified. Now we are going to lose their support. This is definitely not a case of intelligent politics at work. Please, Mr. Bush, give the U.N. inspectors more time. There is no just cause. Don't do it.

Wednesday, 22 January 2003: Time for yet another "Darwinism Missed Me" award. This one goes out to Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Craig MacTavish who, after being pushed by the Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound, decided to strike back. He ripped the mascot's tongue out.

I realize that being a coach on a sports team is pretty rough from time to time. Players are never happy enough and take it out on you. Owners and General Managers are never satisfied unless you win and the coaches catch the brunt of that as well. Throw into the mix the mudslinging media and fans that hate you more than the plague and you could easily get downright ornery. I'm sure MacTavish has received more than his fair share of heckling and I'm sure it didn't help to be shoved by an eight-foot-tall overstuffed dog. But, what good does it do to attack a giant dog in front of all the fans? Are you trying to reaffirm your manhood? Do you really think you'll regain the respect of team brass or your players by exerting your fury against an extremely stupid-looking dog? Did you ever bother to think how bad you're going to look to legions of young fans who are going to be traumatized by the image of a grown man attacking a man in a dog costume? Have you ever seen Mallrats? Those poor kids probably still haven't recovered from the sight of two stoners attacking the Easter Bunny even if it was just a scene in a movie. Don't you think it would've been better to just be the bigger mammal and ignore the stupid mutt and move on?

My final question for MacTavish is, did you ever actually stop and just take a look at how pathetic Harvey the Hound is? The graphic above really does it no justice. Actually, I should say that it does it too much justice. In fact, the image really makes the mongrel look appealing. The actual costume is just sad. It's a mascot that you can't help but feel sorry for or just bust out laughing when you see it. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, check out the Harvey the Hound photo gallery on the Calgary Flames website.

So, here's to you, Coach. Hope you feel like a real man now.

Tuesday, 21 January 2003: Katie and I saw a deuce of movies over this long Holiday weekend and, as far as we were concerned, they were both a bust. The first was A Guy Thing with Jason Lee and Julia Stiles. Not that I was expecting a great movie by any means, just something enjoyable with some wry wit provided the incredibly funny Lee. Nope... incredibly formulaic and predictable and definitely not worth the $5.50 that we paid for each ticket. The only redeeming thing about this flick was Julia Stiles in her flowered bikini top.

The second flick was About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson (really no point in listing anyone else in the cast since their characters are pretty minimal by comparison). While Nicholson was definitely at the top of his game and deserving of the Golden Globe he won on Sunday, the film was so exasperatingly long and boring and tedious and... you get the point. It just kept going and going until suddenly the screen went black and then the credits rolled. The ending was so abrupt that I swore the film print had been cut off. I don't think anybody in the theatre truly believed it was (finally) over. Other than Nicholson, I don't understand why this film wound up on so many reviewers' top ten lists for 2002. Yikes. And they get paid to do this.

Monday, 20 January 2003: I am so disappointed with the American moviegoing public. Back on the 13th, I mention how I hope that people will not be fooled into believing that Kangaroo Jack will be a good film. Hell, I was hoping people would think the same thing for National Security. Y'all proved me wrong. Wrong in the sense that you all have absolutely no taste whatsoever. Kangaroo Jack and National Security were #1 and 2 at the weekend box office, respectively. Not only was I expecting these two movies to do badly, but I figured that The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers would reclaim the #1 spot in the money making schema after losing it last week to Just Married. Instead, LOTR got bumped to #4 this weekend. This is really, truly sad. What the hell is wrong with you people?

Oldies: Sunday, January 12 - Saturday, January 18, 2003...

Wednesday, 15 January 2003: All I can say is, "it's about damn time."

Scholastic Books has finally officially announced the release date for the next installment in the Harry Potter book series. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be in bookstores (and just about every place else that would like to see a guaranteed profit) on June 21, a mere three years after the last book was released. So much for the book-a-year format J.K. Rowling was sticking to before.

Well, the new book should definitely keep readers busy enough until her sixth book is released. This momma clocks in at 768 pages. Granted that's only 34 pages longer than The Goblet of Fire, the word count is 255,000 in Phoenix as opposed to 191,000 in Goblet. I'm still trying to figure out how that one works. I'm thinking either we're going to be using a microscope to read this book or the news article was incorrect in the page count. I guess we'll find out on June 21. Either way, you might want to start visiting the gym now to prepare yourself for carrying this book around.

Tuesday, 14 January 2003: To follow up on my Sunday entry, the Aurora Beacon News (or, as we like to call it, the "the Aurora Be Confused"), printed a story today entitled "Local officials lash out at Ryan." In it, Republican Senator Ed Petka (from Plainfield) is quoted as saying "Two weeks ago (now former Illinois Governor George Ryan) said he was weighing his options and he was opposed to a blanket commutation... We now know why he earned the nickname 'Lyin' Ryan'."

While trying to explain Ryan's possible rationale for his actions, Petka said, "What happened in the (past two weeks)?... A professor at the University of Illinois said he would nominate (Ryan) for the Nobel Peace Prize."

Yep, you read right, there are rumors that Ryan may be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Petka further explained his belief (and the belief of most other people, myself included) that Ryan's motives were in self interest and "tainted by the possibility of personal gain." That kinda goes without saying, don't you think?

In addition, Lin Brehmer, a D.J. on WXRT (93.1 FM Chicago), asked this morning if there has ever been a Nobel Peace Prize awarded to a person who was currently serving a prison sentence. That made me laugh.

Monday, 13 January 2003: A few years ago, while I was still in grad school and I was a Hall Director, one of my R.A.'s named Dom also ran a movie review website. Unfortunately, his site has fallen several years behind. I can't remember the last time he updated it. I say "unfortunately" because Dom was one of the wittiest guys I knew and his reviews could be utterly scathing. One of the best parts of his site was his page dedicated to what he called "The Golden Suck Award." This award was given to those movies that Dom had absolutely no desire to see whatsoever because he just knew it was going to suck. This conclusion was developed solely upon viewing theatrical trailers and TV spots. His example was the movie Deep Impact. He had no desire to see it and knew it would be one of the worst movies ever made. I've seen bits and pieces of it and would have to agree with him.

I think I would like to try to revive the Golden Suck Award here at kapgar.com. Sadly, this new year has already seen its fair share of Golden Suck Award winners and we're only a couple of weeks in. Hell, two of them open this coming weekend. The first is National Security starring Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn. I have nothing against either star, just their roles in this movie. It looks completely inane and I doubt I would be laughing at all during this movie.

The second, and most deserving, of this award is the surefire stinker Kangaroo Jack. C'mon, now, a film about two guys and a girl chasing a talking kangaroo through the Australian outback because said dobie is wearing a jacket containing $50,000?!?! Please. Gimme a break. I can't believe the studio responsible for this piece of celluloid crap is putting as much money into promoting this film as it is. I can't watch a single TV show without being subjected to a preview. Enough is enough. The filmgoing public is not stupid enough to believe that this film will be any good (or so I'm hoping). I also can't believe that Jerry O'Connell has sunk to such a level that he is starring in this film. I'd rather be unemployed than be remembered for Kangaroo Jack.

Sunday, 12 January 2003: The headline on today's Chicago Tribune reads "Clemency for all" and it makes my stomach turn. For those not in the know, quite a while ago, Illinois Governor George Ryan placed a moritorium on the death penalty in the state of Illinois claiming that there were major flaws in the capital punishment system. His intent was to re-examine, on a case-by-case basis, each and every prisoner who was sitting on Death Row. I wasn't entirely opposed to this. Yes, I agree there are problems with the justice system and it's not a bad idea to take another look at Death Row cases. But, at the same time, I had a very bad feeling about what would happen.

The reason for my trepidation was because all this "re-examination" began at the height of Ryan's Licenses for Bribes scandal. As another clarification, before he was Governor, Ryan was the Secretary of State and his administration was responsible for giving out licenses to truckers in exchange for bribe money. If you have heard of any major trucking accidents on highways near you and the truck driver did not have a legitimate license, you probably have our Governor to thank. I was worried that Ryan was trying to placate anti-capital punishment activists just to offset some of the negative light being cast on his administration.

Well, the scandal charges just kept piling up on Ryan for the last few years and the pressure was building. There was even talk of trying to impeach Ryan before his term in office ended. And, instead of going out of office on such a low note, yesterday, Ryan announced that he was commuting the sentences of every single Death Row inmate in the state of Illinois... 164 prisoners total. Now, they all will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This pisses me off to no end. I support the death penalty. I believe in an eye for an eye. I feel that if you are going to be heartless enough to end another person's life, then why should our legal system show you any heart. Death penalty opponents claim that when we take the life of a prisoner, we are denying their "inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." However, there is a catch in the form of the word "inalienable." According to Webster's New World Dictionary (second college edition), this word is defined as something "that may not be taken away or transferred." So, if a citizen of the United States denies another citizen their "inalienable" rights, then they, by definition, have given up their own rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and deserve to receive that which they dealt out. They deserve to die. What Ryan has done is deny the families and friends of these victims their right to see justice served for their loss. Why the hell should we, as citizens of this great state, see our valuable tax dollars wasted on maintaining the lives of these heartless bastards in our prison system?

George Ryan... kiss my ass. I can't believe that you can legally get away with this sort of horrendous bullshit. Thank God you will be out of office this week. I can't wait for Rod Blagojevich to be our Governor. May you rot in hell, Ryan.

Oldies: Sunday, January 5 - Saturday, January 11, 2003...

Saturday, 11 January 2003: I think I've found another new show that I can enjoy in Primetime. Last night, I watched the premiere episode of NBC's "Mister Sterling" starring Josh Brolin as a prison teacher who is tapped by the Governor of the State of California to fill in a Senate seat after the death of the previous Senator. The acting is very good as is the writing and directing. I was afraid this show was going to be some feel-good, Capra-esque sort of political drama, but it is not. The writers seem to want to take this show pretty seriously. No, I'm not a freak for political dramas. In fact, "The West Wing" bores me to tears. But there is just something about this show that I like. I just hope that the quality of the writing and acting is kept up throughout the remainder of the season. I can't believe I've actually found a Friday night show that I like.

Friday, 10 January 2003: I came home yesterday like I have been for the last several days... dreading the moment when I open the mailbox. I, like Katie a few weeks ago, was scared that I would find a letter stating that I did not pass my EMT-B certification exam. Katie was afraid she wasn't going to pass her pharmacy tech certification exam, but we all know how that turned out (she passed, for those of you who didn't read last month). My letter came yesterday. And I, like Katie, passed. Woo Hoo! Now we're both certifiable! Yeah baby! Bet you wouldn't want me trying to save your life. Heh.

Wednesday, 8 January 2003: Well, I guess I should start by wishing my brother-in-law Scott a happy 22nd birthday. I know it was actually yesterday. But with all the crap that I typed yesterday, I was afraid this information would get lost in the mix. So, happy belated birthday, Scottie.

Sad news for fans of "Sex and the City." Next year will mark the sixth and final season for the show. HBO announced that they will produce 20 more episodes before wrapping things up permanently. Now, if we could just get them to tell us when seasons 4 and 5 will be out on DVD, we might not be as upset as we are likely to be.

Finally, for those of you Lord of the Rings and Star Wars fans, you've got to read this article. It's hi-larious.

Tuesday, 7 January 2003: After a little over two years of railing against the mind-numbing force that is "reality TV", I find myself in a bit of a moral quandary... I am actually starting to like one of them. Last night marked the debut of the new Fox series "Joe Millionaire" about a regular joe named Evan who makes roughly $19K/year as a construction worker. 20 eligible young women are brought to a castle in France to meet Evan so he can pick out who he wants to spend the rest of his life with. They all believe he has just inherited $50 million which, of course, is a blatant lie.

At first, I thought this was going to be just another stupid reality show like so many others. But, then, as I thought about it, I realized that this one might not be so bad because its ultimate goal is to determine who can actually love Evan for who he is. You see, once Evan picks "the girl", she will be told that it is all a ruse and she will be given the choice of whether or not she really wants to marry him. Is it love or money?

I was a bit taken by the first episode. Evan really is just a regular guy (who sounds an awful lot like Puddy from "Seinfeld"). In his asides with the camera, you can tell he really has deep rooted moral issues with lying to these women. It's eating him up. Why he went through with it anyway? Who knows. But, as he said at the end of the episode, he's already in way too deep to back out now.

The two things that I'm really intrigued about regarding this show are, 1) will he slip at all? He already flubbed his way through telling his middle name. His real name is Evan Wallace Marriott. But, for the sake of the show, his name is Evan Wallace. Then, one of the girls asked him what his middle name was and he was caught very offguard. He had to think a bit and say his mom's maiden name and then explain that it took him so long because he doesn't really like his middle name. Dunno that the girl bought it. And 2) I want to see how he explains that it was all a lie. Of course, I, like everyone else who is watching, wants to see how the girl reacts. After all, that is the point of the show. But, her reaction is very reliant on how he presents the truth. He can be a complete dick about it and just come out and say that it was all a ruse, blah, blah, blah. Or he can do what I think he is going to do which is start out by apologizing and how this whole ordeal has been very tough on him and how he didn't really want to do it, but now, with the end result, he is glad that he did, so on and so on.

I've just got one last thing to say about this show and it has to do with the host. Alex is back, Baby! Yep, the host of the show is the former "Trading Spaces" host Alex McLeod. I used to love her on that show and I've missed her. Now she's back. Of course, she gets little to no screen time whatsoever, but it's the thought that counts. I wonder what's up for her after this show ends.

Monday, 6 January 2003: I can't say that I'm looking too forward to today. For the last two weeks, our boss has been on vacation. Not that we've been partying here in the office or anything, but, since most people took vacation days over the course of the last two weeks, our workload has been very light to say the very least. Last Thursday or Friday, our boss called and told us to be ready to "hit the ground running" today. Aye carumba. I really do not want to know what that means. The very concept of it scares me to my core. Calgon, take me away.

Oldies: Wednesday, January 1 - Saturday, January 4, 2003...

Saturday, 4 January 2003: Once in a while, when Katie and I head out to the movies, we don't always make it on time. Tonight, we were hauling it to the local mall to go see About Schmidt. We both headed to the ticket booth to see if tix were available. The sign that would otherwise read "Sold Out" did not indicate that there were no tickets left. So I jumped in line while Katie ran to the concession stand to buy snacks (when we run late, we find it easier to split up movie prep duties in order to not miss too many of the previews). However, when I got up to the counter, I was informed that About Schmidt had just sold out. The sign still wasn't changed, either. So I ran to the concession stand to tell Katie not to buy anything. Too late. She already had. And there was literally nothing else we wanted to see. Do you know how stupid we felt walking out of the theater with a full contingent of movie-going snacks? Pretty damned stupid. I think we have vowed to never split up like that again. I guess the positive thing is that we got dinner out of the exchange.

Wednesday, 1 January 2003: How weird it is to now type "2003." I'm not sure I like it. This century is already speeding by far too rapidly.

Well, Katie and I did, in fact, just stay home and watch a "Sex and the City" marathon on HBO for New Year's and we had a champagne toast. Not a whole heckuva lot to talk about with it. Neither of us are really partiers, so staying home suited us just fine.

I did go out and see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers yesterday while Katie was at work. It was incredible. No question about it. I was just disappointed by the ending. Don't worry, I will reveal neither the book nor the movie ending in this entry suffice it to say that I preferred the book ending because it was just that much more of a cliffhanger. I do feel that the ending of the second film will still draw people in to see the third and final film, but I feel the book's ending would have done an even better job of that. Oh well, I guess that's why I'm only a lowly Web developer and not a Hollywood bigwig, eh?

Oh yeah, and I gotta say that I love this time of year because stores are so intent on ridding themselves of their inventory, that clearance pricing makes shopping fun. I've been wanting this particular Lego set for a while now. It's a World War I British Sopwith Camel biplane (actual Camel | the Lego set). Lego released it as one of their big Model Team sets and it looks absolutely incredible with a wingspan of 18" and fuselage of 16". The only problem was the pricetag... $50. That's not exactly cheap, but I was nearly ready to pay it. Tonight, Katie and I found the set at Target clearance priced at $25. Couldn't say no this time. I was up until 1 a.m. building it. I felt like a little kid afterwards flying it around the apartment. Good thing Katie was asleep or she would have been shaking her head in despair moaning "why me, God?" Next up, if I can get it for the right price, is the Red Baron's Fokker Dr 1 triplane.