4 posts from July 2003

Oldies: Sunday, July 20 - Saturday, July 26, 2003...

Saturday, 26 July 2003: Yeah, Katie and I are the winners in this weekend's Strongman Competition. We went canoeing with my parents and my brother and his girlfriend today and we rocked. This is the second time we've gone canoeing with my family since we've been together. The first was way back probably in the summer of 1999.

Why am I seemingly so proud of this trip? Because it was the first time Katie and I could show off how hard we've been working at the gym. We were cruising in that canoe. Yeah, we hit a couple of rough spots. But, for the most part, we were near the front of the pack the whole time. This "pack" does not just include my parents and my brother, but over a dozen other canoes that were out there from the same rental company.

When all was said and done, Katie and I were ready to go at it again. Our muscles weren't even tired. Our backs were a bit sore from being hunched over in the canoe from time to time. But our arms and shoulders were ready and raring to go again.

Oh, and one suggestion to those of you considering going on a canoe trip... take a cooler that has cup holders in the outside of the lid. You won't regret it when you can just reach out and grab your bottle from the holder instead of from the bottom of the canoe. Also, if you want to take beer, pick up the plastic Miller Lite bottles that have the screw on caps. You'll never have to worry about spilling and/or getting river water splashed into the bottle. Katie and I had several people comment to us about what a great idea those bottles were and how they wished they had thought to do the same thing. Feels good being a trend setter every once in a while.

Wednesday, 23 July 2003: Over the weekend, I tuned, for the first time in a long time, into one of my old favorite cartoons from my childhood that just happened to be rebroadcast on Cartoon Network -- G.I. Joe. For those who are interested, it was the Christmas episode in which the Cobras attack a town using G.I. Joe equipment and the Joes must fight them using Cobra armament. Also the one where Shipwreck's parrot Polly gets zapped by an growth ray and becomes this hundred-foot wingspanned squawker from hell.

I digress.

During a commercial break, I saw a great promo for a new cartoon coming soon called Teen Titans. It looks hilarious. All about five teenaged superheroes who are, in the words of the announcer, "fighting for truth, justice, and the last slice of pizza." Seriously, the promo looked really funny and I think I'm gonna tune in to it on Saturdays at 8 p.m.

So, here's hoping the cartoon lives up to my expectations. And, yes, I am quickly building up high expectations for this show. Pretty sad when there's so little on TV that I'm mentally hyping a new cartoon. I don't think I've ever done that.

Well, just go ahead and check out the Teen Titans website even if you have no desire to watch the show. It's a lot of fun. You can check out the trailer that I was speaking about above and you can play a really cool Mortal Kombat styled game starring the Titans and the varied villains that will make appearances on the show.

Tuesday, 22 July 2003: It's time for another McFarlane Toys (henceforth to be referred to as "McToys") update. This one pertains strictly to their sports action figures.

First, McToys will be releasing large 12" NFL figures starting "this fall". I use the quotes, because the website didn't list an exact release date. The players who are included in the first line are Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Ricky Williams, and Michael Vick. Me, personally, I would want Williams or Vick. The McToys website actually has pictures posted for both Smith and Vick and they look pretty sweet. Incredible detail. The whole shebang. So, you can check them out here.

Also, McToys is going to be releasing the more traditionally sized sports figures, but now in 2 packs to represent some of the great rivalries in modern sports -- well, the NFL and NHL anyway. Included in series 1 are Brendan Shanahan (Red Wings) vs. Rob Blake (Avalanche) to be released in late August, Jeremy Roenick (Flyers) vs. Marty Turco (Stars) to be released in late September, Ed McCaffrey (Broncos) vs. Zach Thomas (Dolphins) to be released in late October, and Rich Gannon (Raiders) vs. Derrick Brooks (Buccaneers) to be released in early November. But the best of the bunch, and therefore worthy of being listed off by itself is the first two pack of the bunch to be released later this month -- Brett Favre (Packers) vs. Brian Urlacher (Bears). It can't get much cooler than this matchup. The picture I saw shows Urlacher in a low run coming right at Favre from behind to take him down at the waist while Favre is winding back for a pass. Of course we all know how this one winds up -- Urlacher wins, baby! You gotta check this beast out.

Monday, 21 July 2003: For the last week, I have had a headache that just won't go away. It's not a particularly bad one, just annoying in that it's this dull thudding in the parietal lobes of my head. I've tried ibuprofen, Advil, aspirin, Tylenol, even some prescription Zomeg of Katie's. About the only time it went away was with the Zomeg, but I don't want to use up her prescription when that's what she needs for her migraine headaches.

I really don't get headaches all that often. In fact, I can usually make a normal sized bottle of Advil or Tylenol last for well over a year. But this one just won't go the hell away, at least not permanently. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why it's bugging me like this. I don't think it's allergies. Not stress. Not anything that I can put my finger on. It's just there. Taunting me. It won't go away.


Oldies: Sunday, July 13 - Saturday, July 19, 2003...

Friday, 18 July 2003: Today, I finally go around to seeing a movie I've been wanting to see for months now... Gangs of New York. Wow. It was incredible. Easily one of the best from Martin Scorsese. And, watching it, I realized just how difficult this past year's Best Actor Oscar category truly was.

I have now seen four of the films with nominated actors and this category, despite having already been determined, is tougher to call the more films I watch. Daniel Day-Lewis was absolutely fantastic as Bill the Butcher. Throw that in with the mesmerizing split personality performance of Nicolas Cage inAdaptation; Jack Nicholson's tear jerker in the otherwise blah About Schmidt; and, from what I've seen of it (the first half), Adrien Brody's winning performance in The Pianist, and I can see why this race was really close. I have yet to see Michael Caine in The Quiet American, but I have a feeling that it's going to be good. It's one of those that I wanted to see, but very few theaters in the area actually showed it.

I'm not trying to take anything away from Brody. Like I said, from what I've seen, he was very good. But I would hate to have had money on this category. I can guarantee a lot of chronic gamblers lost some big bucks on that Oscar.

Tuesday, 15 July 2003: I am truly torn right now. I just read a news story about ABC TV and some of the changes the network is making for this coming TV season.

As you may know, ABC has been a cellar dweller for a while now. They can almost always be assured of coming in last place each night in the ratings. Some of this has changed with the success of shows such as My Wife & Kids and 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter. But, for the most part, they're picking the scraps left for them by NBC, CBS, and, *gulp*, FOX. Sad, but true.

Well, one of the moves that ABC is making is to add Patrick Warburton to the cast of the show Less Than Perfect. This show stars Sara Rue as an assistant to a major TV personality played by Eric Roberts. The title is derived from the idea that Rue's character is quirky, slightly overweight, overly cheerful, and just not what you'd expect from someone working with this straight-laced and uptight kind of guy. Or something like that, I think.

The show, in my opinion, is very true to its title. It is very less than perfect. Honestly speaking, I really can't stand it save for an episode or two from last season that guest starred Richard Ruccolo (Two Guys and a Girl) as Rue's brother. Those were actually pretty decent episodes. Otherwise, I could give a damn about the show.

Hence my quandary. I'm a huge Warburton fan. You may know him from The Tick in which he played the titular superhero. He was also the voice of Grog in The Emperor's New Groove and he had roles in Joe Somebody andBig Trouble. However, most people remember him from his star-making guest turn inSeinfeld as Elaine's boyfriend Puddy.

Do I go against my principles and initial impressions and give Less Than Perfect a second chance solely because it now has Warburton or do I stand strong and just say no?

Dilemmas. It's too damned early in the week for them.

Sunday, 13 July 2003: This is not going to be fun. For years, I was a big toy collector and I would buy whatever I saw that interested me. This desire has waned greatly in recent years. No, not to the point where I'm not at all interested in toys, but just to the point where I buy something only rarely at best. Maybe once every couple of months or so and it's usually only a single action figure. Just to make my office a little more lively, I guess.

Well, as a result, I've got a lot of toys sitting in boxes at my parents' house because I really have no place to store anything in mine and Katie's apartment. Damnable thing about apartments -- minimal storage capabilities. And, actually, I've been looking to sell some of my stuff. I have actually found buyers recently who are seriously interested in some of what I have to offer.

You might be asking how a former toy geek like myself can part with all these treasures. First, you must understand that I'm not parting with the exceptionally valuable stuff. None of my original Star Wars toys, for example, are going anywhere. Just newer stuff. The new stuff was just purchased to decorate my dorm room or because I was making some half-hearted attempt at collecting again. In other words, it's got very little true sentimental value to me. Plus, it's been in storage so long that I've forgotten what is in there.

The problem now is that when I boxed up the stuff at my parents' house, I put it all in the crawl space that was attached to my bedroom closet. My brother moved into my room when I moved out and he filled up the rest of the crawl space with his crap. And there is a ton of said crap. I've actually looked inside that crawlspace since I moved out and, each time, I've been afraid either that the boxes and containers would collapse on me or that I would find a dead body back there if I ventured any further back than the first layer. This time, though, I have to venture forth. I must find these toys as I hope to make some money off of them. I must brave the unknown, the unseen, the forgotten...

If I'm not back in a week, forward my mail.

Oldies: Sunday, July 6 - Saturday, July 12, 2003...

Wednesday, 9 July 2003: Within the last couple of years, I've become a fan of a great sport known as boxing (yes, I can feel my mom cringing right now wondering where she went wrong). No, I don't participate in it, but I do enjoy watching it.

While we were on the cruise, the heavyweight title fight occurred between reigning champ Lennox Lewis and the #1 seeded challenger Vitali Klitschko. It just so happened that for the first time ever, I had the proper channel to watch this match (HBO). In the past, either I didn't have HBO or they were all on Pay-Per-View. This time I had the channel and the desire to watch it but I was going to be on the cruise. So I taped it. Tonight, I finally got around to watching it.

Okay, so we all knew the results already. Klitschko was ahead for the entire fight, but Lewis won by TKO after the sixth round because of some supposedly wicked gash he opened up just above Klitschko's left eye. The ring doctor felt it was his duty to have the judge call the fight. There was booing all around by the fans and Klitschko was in shock as he was ready to keep going.

I still had to watch it, though. And I'm glad I did. This fight was wicked. Lewis was slow and lumbering only really starting to warm up to the fight in the third round. Of the six rounds, Klitschko had won four on the judge's score cards. I feel that if the fight had been allowed to continue, Klitschko would have been the new heavyweight champion. And I would have loved it. I really dig on both of the Klitschkos -- Vitali and his younger brother Vladimir. They are massive Ukrainians who were raised and trained in Germany. Both have Ph.D.s in sports science and they can fight. Before his loss to Lewis, Vitali was 32-1 with 31 of those wins coming by KO. How can you argue with that record?

Before the fight, Lewis had been trashtalking Klitschko saying he had no heart and no fighting skill. Even though this fight proved otherwise, very decisively, Lewis was still trashing him after the fight. He was saying that he was just getting his second wind, that there was no way Klitschko could have gone the distance if the fight had been allowed to continue, and that Lewis was really winning despite that the judges seemed to say otherwise. Man, Lewis was so full of it. Klitschko outboxed him every step of the way. He even won over the crowd. It was kind of like watching Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV when he started to win over the Russian crowd. In the beginning, Lewis was the crowd favorite. By the end, they were all booing the result and cheering as Klitschko ran around the ring raising his glove in a show of triumph. It was great.

But still, you should see this match if for no other reason than to see the gash that was opened over his eye. Nasty.

Sunday, 6 July 2003: It's like summer in a cup...

That was the quote Katie used to describe a Root Beer Float that we got at McDonald's on the way back home after Ribfest yesterday and it's a beautifully simple quote, too. The best of two worlds -- vanilla ice cream and root beer -- merged together in one incredibly thirst quenching summer treat. Okay, sorry to get so remniscent on you.

Yeah, so we had a pretty busy weekend. Well, we caught up on the last two weeks of Sex and the City on Friday while eating dinner so we can be all up to speed for the third episode of this season which aired today. Then we went in to Naperville for the Ribfest/Fourth of July fireworks which, despite the constant mosquito attacks, were incredible.

On Saturday, we biked from our apartment to the Charlestowne Mall to see The Hulk which wasn't an altogether bad movie despite the horrible reviews it's been getting. At least it made up for Legally Blonde 2 on Thursday. Then we biked home and showered up to go to Ribfest in Naperville. The reason we went back was because Blondie (yes, the band with Debbie Harry on vocals) was playing. We grabbed our ribs and drinks and scouted out a place on the lawn to kick back and listen. Talk about disappointment. The sound system sucked and Debbie wasn't miked up enough for us to hear her over the instruments. That in addition to the terrible sound quality led to us leaving early because I couldn't even discern her staple songs like "The Tide is High" when they were playing them.

On Sunday, while Katie was at work, I finally caught a screening of The Matrix: Reloaded which I've been wanting to see for a while and it may be gone pretty soon. Not too great, but not horrible. It's what I had been expecting it to be. Afterwards, I went to Woodfield Mall to have the battery swapped out on my Fossil watch. They have to be changed out at Fossil stores or the warranty is voided which sucks. However, this gave me an excuse to lose a few pounds in drool at the Apple Store gawking at the computers and peripherals that I could so easily spend a year's worth of salary on. Oh if only. Where's a winning lottery ticket when I need it?

Oldies: Sunday, June 29 - Saturday, July 5, 2003...

Friday, 4 July 2003: Let this be said for the world to read... I must truly love my wife. With all the big summer movies that I have yet to see -- including The Hulk, Terminator 3, Matrix: Reloaded, and (well not exactly a "big" summer film, per se) 28 Days Later -- what do I buy tickets to yesterday for us to see? Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde. Okay, so I wasn't exactly against seeing this movie. I did enjoy the first one because it was cute and funny in a whole Clueless sort of way.

Well, let me tell you all something, the Sequel Curse is alive and well. This movie was horrible. Katie was groaning at how bad most of it was. Heck, she was apologizing to me after it was over. You know there's a dark cloud lingering over the theater when this happens. It's usually me apologizing to Katie for boring her with an indie flick that I wanted to see. We even heard teenaged girls in the theater grumbling about how bad this movie was. Not a good sign for America's new princess (Reese Witherspoon). Put simply, I would not recommend it. Spend your money on something worthwhile like killer virus laden zombies (28 Days Later), the not-so-Jolly Green Giant (The Hulk), or an overtly sensual homicidal cyborg (Terminator 3). Just don't spend your money on this drivel.

Oh, and have you ever had that feeling like you just don't belong somewhere? I had that feeling last night in the theater. The "clientele" was comprised of 95% females under the age of 19. I'm talking Frat Boy Smorgasbord here. Below are my signs that I just didn't fit in...

  • I was right around a decade too old -- 28 is not that old, is it?
  • I had way too many clothes on -- you know it's bad when a T-shirt, jean shorts, and sandals constitute "overdressing."
  • I had a penis -- don't get the wrong idea by the use of the past tense, I do still have one.

Nope, I definitely did not fit in last night.

The MPAA really needs to work on their film rating system. LB2 should be rated NMA-20 as in "No Males or Adults over the age of 20."

Oh, and Happy Birthday, U.S.A.

Thursday, 3 July 2003: I guess if you were to read my Cruise Chronicles, you might start to think that I didn't enjoy the cruise and would not recommend cruises to other people. This is simply not the case. I realize that I may have said a few harsh things about the experience or I may have led you to believe that I had more to complain about than to praise. Don't get me wrong, Katie and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. But, in all honesty, what vacation that you take doesn't have one or two things that you would like to change if you were to do it again?

So, to summarize the whole experience... yes, we would do it again, but here is what we will change for the next time we go...

  • We will take an adult cruise. There were far too many kids running around and we even heard babies crying. Why, oh why, would parents pay to take infants on a cruise that they're not old enough to enjoy or even appreciate? Wait a few more years, people.
  • We will go someplace a little more tourist friendly. Hindsight being 20/20, we would not have minded if we stayed in port in Grand Cayman the whole time or just sailed to the various islands that make up the Cayman Islands. We would like to try Bermuda next time or, should money and time allow, Australia.
  • We will wait until we're a bit more financially stable so we don't have to sit there and question whether or not we should do something based on our current financial situation. Dunno if this will ever be the case, but we can hope.
  • We will definitely get a better room. For the sake of saving money, we got an inner stateroom with no window. Big mistake. It's like sleeping in Dracula's tomb. But we didn't know that at the time. If you're going, dish out the extra couple hundred dollars and get a stateroom with a window and, if you're really looking to splurge, get one with a balcony. Oh baby. Yes, most cruise ships do have a few rooms with balconies.

I did not mean to scare anybody that was considering going on a cruise. If I did, I apologize. If you have the money and time to do so, go on a cruise. They are worthwhile and you will enjoy yourself. Just take some of my ideas above into consideration when planning your vacation.

Wednesday, 2 July 2003: I was going to write about something else entirely today until I came across this little gem. I just decided for kicks to type my name into the Yahoo search engine and see what came up and here's an interesting little snippet from The Dover (Delaware) Post dated 31 October 2001:

Fugitive arrested in Wyoming on drug charges

At about 10:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, Wyoming police stopped a car on Southern Boulevard for a traffic violation.

The driver of the car, who initially gave a false name to the officer, was found in possession of a small amount of heroin and a hypodermic syringe.

The man, Kevin Apgar, 23, of the 100 block of S. Fairfield Drive in Dover, was arrested on charges of criminal impersonation, unlawful possession of a hypodermic syringe, driving while license revoked and a registration violation. He was also wanted by Kent County Superior Court on a probation violation.

Apgar was committed to the Delaware Corrections Center in Smyrna in lieu of $1,600 secured bond.

Do I know how to party or what? Try plugging your name into random search engines like Google or Yahoo and see what comes up. It could be fun.

If you want to see it for yourself, here's a link to the original article. Mine is listed about number five on the page.

Tuesday, 1 July 2003: I would like to welcome a new guest reviewer to the pages. His name is Ron Henry and, out of the blue, he contacted me about putting up a couple of movie reviews that I didn't already have up. One of them I had not yet seen (Donnie Darko). However, I have seen and did very much enjoy the second film he reviewed (Rounders) and I am still in shock that I forgot to post the review myself. I'm slipping in my old age.

Yes, people, your reviews can be posted here as well. If there is a movie or book that you have seen or read that is not already reviewed here, please type it up and send it to me. Please clearly mark in the subject line of the e-mail that this is a guest review so I don't just delete it thinking it's spam. Include the full title of the movie, your review (100-150 words for movies and 100-250 for books), your rating on a five-star scale (half stars are included), and your name as you would like it to appear on the site and send it all over to me at kapgar5@hotmail.com.

Monday, 30 June 2003: Now it's really over, isn't it? We flew back home today. However, our plane was stuck in Tampa for an extra hour because of all the little thunderstorms that were plaguing the southeast thanks to Tropical Storm Bill. We were afraid we would miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. When we finally got there, we ran and made our plan which was right next door. The woman next to me on the plane told me they were delayed an hour because of us. That would be one benefit of traveling in such a large group, the airline realized that rescheduling us all would be too much of a hassle, so they delayed the plane instead. Nice how that works.

When Katie and I got home, we just dropped our stuff on the floor, changed out of our clothes, and jumped in bed to watch TV and eat some dinner. We were dead tired so we didn't bother with any laundry. Why worry about it? We've got all week, right?

Thus ends the Cruise Chronicles...

Sunday, 29 June 2003: We pulled into dock today and leaving the ship was not something we really wanted to do. It's never fun to realize that your vacation is coming to an end. I'd much rather it not. But, then again, who wouldn't want their vacation to go on forever?

We went back to the same hotel that we spent the night at last weekend and sat out at the pool for several hours sunning, swimming, and reading. Katie's really hammering it out in the new Harry Potterbook. She's kinda competing with another guy on our cruise crew named Jonathan. They've been pretty much neck and neck the whole time. But now she's ahead because he was macking on a girl from Seattle he met poolside.

That night, we went into Ybor City in downtown Tampa which is a Cuban district that seems to be striving to be like New Orleans' French Quarter but seemingly can't escape the trend trappings that so typify many downtowns across the U.S. and the rest of the modernized world. It has many of the same style balconied buildings of New Orleans as well as the bars and tattoo/piercing parlors but it's just way too clean and has too many Gap style stores and a giant, incredibly high-tech theater in the middle of it all. Kinda ruins the aesthetic.

We went for dinner at a place called the Green Iguana which was pretty good. However, considering that the real nightlife hadn't even begun to creep in yet, the place was really loud with music, but there were no bodies in the place to show for it. So we ate our food with a side of premature deafness to boot.