5 posts from January 2005

Oldies: Sunday, January 23 - Saturday, January 29, 2005...

Saturday, 29 January 2005: Please pass the physical... please pass the physical... please pass the physical... chant it with me all you Cubs fans out there... please pass the physical.

Yep, pending a good physical and some other logistics, Sammy Sosa will soon be a Baltimore Oriole and it's a beautiful thing. I know that the Cubs will have now lost two of their biggest homerun producers in Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa, but the effect on the clubhouse will be so dramatic that I think others will be stepping up. And I think the Cubs are in need of some work on their short game anyway.

Jerry Hairston, Jr., welcome to Friendly Confines. Now let's steal Mags. Heh heh.

See? My Cubs Believe bracelet actually works.

Tuesday, 25 January 2005: The award season has been in full swing for about a month now and, this morning, the Oscar nominees were announced. Here is the list of nominees in the major categories ("major" by my definition) and my preliminary pick follows each category. Yes, my choices are subject to change as I get around to watching more of these films. Oh, and yes, I stole these images from Oscar.com. No, I'm not that well respected that I receive complimentary film stills from the studios (that would be nice, though).

Best Picture

  • The Aviator
  • Finding Neverland
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Ray
  • Sideways

My Award Goes to: Sideways

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese - The Aviator
  • Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
  • Taylor Hackford - Ray
  • Alexander Payne - Sideways
  • Mike Leigh - Vera Drake

My Award Goes to: Clint Eastwood (there is the possibility that Scorsese will get the sympathy vote for all his past misses. But after getting snubbed last year while directing what I still think was the best film of 2003 (Mystic River), I hope that Eastwood scores this year)

Best Actor

  • Don Cheadle - Hotel Rwanda
  • Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland
  • Leonardo DiCaprio - The Aviator
  • Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
  • Jamie Foxx - Ray

My Award Goes to: Jamie Foxx (this should be a lock)

Best Actress

  • Annette Bening - Being Julia
  • Catalina Sandino Moreno - Maria Full of Grace
  • Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
  • Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby
  • Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

My Award Goes to: Hilary Swank (I've heard Moreno was great and I really want to see it, but I'm still thinking that it will go to Swank)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Alan Alda - The Aviator
  • Thomas Haden Church - Sideways
  • Jamie Foxx - Collateral
  • Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
  • Clive Owen - Closer

My Award Goes to: Thomas Haden Church (yes, folks, that's Lowell from Wings)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Cate Blanchett - The Aviator
  • Laura Linney -Kinsey
  • Virginia Madsen - Sideways
  • Sophie Okonedo - Hotel Rwanda
  • Natalie Portman - Closer

My Award Goes to: Cate Blanchett

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Aviator
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • The Incredibles
  • Vera Drake

My Award Goes to: Hotel Rwanda

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Before Sunset
  • Finding Neverland
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • The Motorcycle Diaries
  • Sideways

My Award Goes to: Finding Neverland (although I really would like to see it go to Before Sunset, but the likelihood of that is pretty much nil)

Best Animated Film

  • The Incredibles
  • Shark Tale
  • Shrek 2

My Award Goes to: Shrek 2 (very tough choice between that and The Incredibles)

While The Aviator may have 11 total nominations, I'm not sure if it will be the big winner overall. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Sunday, 23 January 2005: As you all know, today is a very sad day in the entertainment industry. Legendary comic and late-night talk show host Johnny Carson died of emphysema at the age of 79.

No, I am not too young to remember watching his show. In fact, I watched it quite often before he signed off and handed the Tonight Show over to Jay Leno. He was incredibly funny and had appeal to all age groups. Even someone so young as me at the time (I was 17 when he retired). And no matter how many times some of his clips are replayed, I still laugh out loud. They never get old.

You will be missed, Mr. Carson.

Oldies: Sunday, January 16 - Saturday, January 22, 2005...

Friday, 21 January 2005: Even though I want each and every one of you to read this entry first, I'm sure all eyes will be glued to the image posted below. Some may be cursing at me for posting it. Others might be morbidly curious about what I'm going to say. I'm hoping for the latter... minus the "morbidly" part, of course.

In light of the photos that have surfaced of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party complete with swastika armbands, I decided that I wanted to look into the swastika symbol a little more. Like most people, one of the first things I think of when I see a swastika is the Nazi party. Unfortunate? Yes. But true. I admit it.

But unlike many people, I also realize that the swastika is a symbol whose existence predates the Nazi party by several millennia. In fact, according to a friend of mine on the OT.com forum...

"The Swastika" is the oldest cross and emblem in the world. It forms a combination of four "L's" standing for Luck, Light, Love and Life. It has been found in ancient Rome, excavations in Grecian cities, on Buddhist idols, on Chinese coins dated 315 B.C., and our own Southwest Indians use it as an amulet.

It is claimed that the Mound Builders and Cliff Dwellers of Mexico, Central America consider "The Swastika" a charm to drive away evil and bring good luck, long life and prosperity to the possessor.

This postcard, copyright 1907 by E. Phillips, a U.S. card publisher, speaks for the universally high regard in which the swastika was held as a good luck token before use by the Nazis corrupted its meaning.

Here's the postcard he is referring to in the final paragraph above...

Okay, now if you are all done gasping in revulsion and griping about why I would post such an image on my homepage, please re-read the explanation above and take a second to look at the symbol a little more closely.

I'm not trying to explain away Prince Harry's unfortunate costume decision nor am I trying to justify the use of the swastika at all. It has become a symbol of hatred and bigotry and that's not going to change short of a mass, planet-wide brainwash. I just wanted to give you all the opportunity to say, "I learned something today! Thanks, Kevin!"

Plus I have a question of my own regarding this history. The swastika is supposed to be composed of 4 Ls, right? And each of the Ls has a specific meaning, apparently. Well, according to the history, this symbol has been around for thousands of years. Well predating the English language and, possibly, even the alphabet that we use. So, obviously the 4 L symbolism is not quite as old as the symbol itself, I would think.

The history states that it has been used in China, Rome, Greece, and by Buddhists, right? Well, none of those cultures or groups use the same alphabet that we do. So far as I can tell, from the little exposure I've had to the Greek alphabet, there is no letter in their alphabet that bears even a passing resemblance to the letter L (the closest I can come up with is the letter lambda which looks like a capital A without the crossbar). Correct me if I'm wrong. And the translation of the four fundamental ideals would be different as well. Assuming that the "Mound Builders and Cliff Dwellers of Mexico" use Spanish (although I'm sure they used Quechua [sp?] or some other ancient Central/South American Indian language), the four ideals of luck, love, life, and light become suerte, amor, vida, and luz, respectively.

So then what is the literal meaning of this symbol to these other cultures? It obviously cannot be the 4 L translation. Anyone have any insight other than what's posted above?

Oh, and you're welcome.

Thursday, 20 January 2005: Katie and I just watched the movie Little Black Book tonight and it was pretty pitiful. It was so pitiful that it got me wondering why Hollywood is so willing to invest so much money in some actors that obviously have little to no talent and even less ability to carry a movie on their own.

The subject of this rant is Brittany Murphy, star of such films as Little Black Book, Uptown Girls, and Just Married. Why does Hollywood keep thinking she can carry a movie? Has she ever really proven herself to be marquee material? Not that I recall. The only movies she has ever done that have done well at the box office have been ones in which she is not the primary name on the banner. In fact, usually there are several big names above hers. Don't Say A Word had Michael Douglas, Girl Interrupted had the Oscar-winning performance from Angelina Jolie, 8 Mile was toplined by Eminem and Kim Basinger (and Murphy's performance was middling at best).

So why? Why does Hollywood think that she can be the tentpole in a movie? Little Black Book was pretty terrible and so was Uptown Girls. Just Married was watchable but not because of her performance.

Please explain this to me.

Well, I guess if I got only one thing out of Little Black Book, it was the desire to post this rant. Sorry.

Tuesday, 18 January 2005: How many of you have found yourself watching FOX a lot less this year than last year? I know that Katie and I watch it far less than we used to. Maybe two hours tops per week. It seems as though this is the trend this year with the network. Viewership is way down overall and they attribute it to too great an emphasis on reality programming. Duh. You think?

Well, in a desperate attempt to cling to what non-reality based shows they do have, FOX has announced that they are bringing back That 70s Show next season. Why is this a big deal, you may ask? The show was going off the air after this season because Ashton Kutcher (Michael Kelso) and Topher Grace (Eric Forman) wanted to leave the show to focus on their movie careers. Does this mean that Kutcher and Grace are returning? Only in occasional cameos. They still plan to leave the show. This is a death sentence as far as I'm concerned. Those two are the biggest reasons why people actually tune in to the show. Grace is the only one on the show with any semblance of a career on the outside and Kutcher still has his "feminine appeal" as well as Punk'd and his so-so film career. Without the two of them, I think only Wilmer Valderrama has any level of viewer appeal. I could be wrong about this assessment, but that's how I see it. Not to take away from Laura Prepon (Donna Pinciotti) and Mila Kunis (Jackie Burkhart), but I just don't think they draw the viewers that the guys in the show do.

Monday, 17 January 2005: Are you a fan of classic video games on the Nintendo, Sega, and GameBoy? Have some spare time on your hands? Then check out everyvideogame.com. At this site, you can play Java-based versions of the games as they appeared on their original systems. The link I've included takes you directly to the Nintendo portion of the site. But the menu on the right side will move you to Sega, GameBoy, or some old arcade classics.

Good stuff. And a great way to pass the time.

Oldies: Sunday, January 9 - Saturday, January 15, 2005...

Saturday, 15 January 2005: Why is it that something ceases to operate just when you need it the most?

This happened to Katie and I this weekend. During the coldest days of the year, thus far, the furnace went on the blink. On Thursday night, the "auto" function on the thermostat/furnace went out. However, the "on" function was still operable. So we assumed that it was a thermostat problem and purchased a new one on Friday and installed it Friday night. However, after installing the new one, neither the "auto" nor the "on" functions worked. For two nights, we slept in a townhouse that was 52 degrees cold.

On Saturday, we had a repair guy come out and fix it. Apparently, the clothes dryer (which is in the same room) was sending small amounts of lint over to the furnace which was clogging up the burners and starter thus inhibiting them from working. Not a good thing, but at least it's fixed.

Heat = happiness.

Friday, 14 January 2005: Along the vein of the Muppet Jim Henson I shared with you all back in December, this one was just too good to not let you know about. In February, Playskool Toys (now a division of Hasbro) is releasing an all-new Mr. Potato Head. And he's getting one helluva makeover...

Playskool calls him Darth Tater. I, myself, prefer Tater Vader, but who am I? Nobody, that's who. Just an average joe with a great idea for a toy name.

I still like him, though.

Thursday, 13 January 2005: Anybody who really knows me understands my penchant for cartoon violence. Heck, I was weened on Beavis & Butthead and Ren & Stimpy. Can you get much more violent in an animated medium? Well, I answered that question today by following a random link on the OT.com forums.

What I found on the other end of this link was something known as Happy Tree Friends. I thought it would be something ridiculously stupid. It is. But it's funny as hell as well. A bunch of cute and cuddly woodlands creatures who find death in the most gruesome ways possible.

If you have the time and a good sense of humor, check them out... Happy Tree Friends.

Wednesday, 12 January 2005: No, Katie and I did not go to the gym last night as we had originally planned. Okay, fine, you can call us slackers, but we do have a good reason. We went out with a couple of friends last night. Just about an hour before my day at work was going to end, Katie called me and asked if I wanted to go to dinner at Chili's with her chem friend, Vanessa, and her boyfriend, Billy. We've gone out with them before and it was fun, so I said, "sure, why not."

While at Chili's, we all talked about how we needed to go to the gym (gotta love how talk of the gym coincides with eating out) and we all decided we would go to our respective gyms pretty soon after dinner. Then somebody threw out the idea of going to a movie. So much for the gym. That idea got tossed aside like a sweaty gym towel. Instead, we all went to see National Treasure.

You know what I've discovered? If you have rock-bottom expectations for a movie or just have no clue what it's about, it can be thoroughly enjoyable. As was the case with National Treasure which I had no desire up to this point to see. So I went in with few to no expectations, and it was a lot of fun. It was basically a modernized Indiana Jones sort of tale. Not the greatest acting, but this is a popcorn flick, you should expect it to just be fun and highly unbelievable, both of which apply here. I recommend it. The review is coming soon.

So to Vanessa and Billy, thank you for a fun night. Hope to have another one soon!

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: Unless you've been living under a rock (or listening solely to country music stations on your radio), then you have probably heard of a "mash up." For those unfamiliar, a mash up occurs when a particularly talented mix master or DJ takes two or more existing songs and mixes them together. I am not one such mix master. However, there are many people out there with quite a bit of talent in the field.

One such guy is Party Ben out of San Francisco. For the most part, he mashes songs together for his Sixx Mixx radio show on Live 105 (105.3 FM) in San Francisco. But he also has many of these mash ups available for download from his site. And some of them are really spectacular. If you have an MP3 player and a love of techno or hip hop (most of his mash ups have some form of a techno or hip hop backbeat to them), then check out PartyBen.com.

If you want particular track recommendations, then shoot for U2 vs. Way Out West "Vertigo (Breaks Mix)," Incubus vs. No Doubt "Hellamaniac," Madonna vs. New Order "Bizarre Light Triangle," Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs. Andrea Dorea "Bucci Maps," and Chic vs. Beastie Boys vs. Franz Ferdinand "Chic Franzie Boys." Some pretty good stuff here.

Another good site from which to download music of the amateur or semi professional variety is MacJams.com. This site hosts music that is made by the common man both with instruments or just electronic. But one of the rules of the site is (and this is not really a hard and fast rule, per se) that the music should be mixed using Mac's Garage Band software. I've found some great stuff on this site such as Chattabox, Stun Nutz (my friend Eric), and ronnielong. I don't have any songs on the site, but I do have a user profile (the wonderfully original Kevin Apgar). My homepage lists a bunch of the artists and tracks that I like so check them out. If you register on the site (no cost involved), you can rate songs and download them.

A final site I've recently discovered is HipHop-Battles.com. It's quite a bit like an online version of the rap battles that you may or may not have seen in Eminem's movie 8 Mile. Just without the live aspect and the potential for post-jam violence. This is a British site and you may need to register (again, free) so you can download the MP3 files and rate the jams. Good stuff though.

And if you have any recommendations for other sites that host good music, please e-mail me with the URLs.

Monday, 10 January 2005: After a hiatus that has felt like nearly forever and has also left me feeling relatively empty, 24 is back on the air! And in pretty grand style to boot. The two-hour premiere was last night and there was another two hours of the show tonight. That's one-sixth of the show already having aired in a matter of two nights. But it also allows Fox the chance to get in last minute ratings during May Sweeps as the last of the remaining 20 episodes would fall pretty close to the end of the month. That'll be a big one. Likely to be commercial free as well. We can hope, right?

Sunday, 9 January 2005: Jen and Brad broke up. Meh. Okay, whatever.

Moving on to more pressing matters in the world...

Oh, and I need to apologize to all of you who may have thought you should have been one of the "chosen few" (as per my December 1, 2004, post) who would receive a Christmas card from Katie and me with information about our new townhome. No, it's not that you're not special, more like we're slackers. We haven't sent them out yet. So don't feel unloved... just yet. We're doing a Happy New Years card (which, by virtue of the name, could really be given out anytime) along with our moving announcement. We need to take a new picture and then it will be ready to send.

So, ideally, if you haven't heard from us via USPS by the end of the month, then you can feel slighted. 'Til then, this is a gripe-free zone.

Oldies: Sunday, January 2 - Saturday, January 8, 2005...

Saturday, 8 January 2005: Well, it only took us until halfway through the decade to finally upgrade to a broadband connection at home. But we did it and we are now surfing at relatively supersonic speeds (relative to the 56K dialup connection we had before, I should clarify).

My lord, it's a whole new world for our computer. It's just a shame we didn't do this a few years back when updated software was still available for the operating system our home computer contains. Since Mac OS 9 was outdated by OS X some time ago, updates became relatively scarce. So we are running a pretty old browser at the moment. It would be nice to update it, but we need to update the OS first. Anybody got a spare copy of OS X.3? Can I borrow?

Friday, 7 January 2005: Scott, just in time for your birthday, we have purchased, in your name, a tie rod, fan belt, an alignment, and a tire rotation for one special Dodge Stratus that was in need of some help.

If you don't get the joke, Scott, we're not explaining it.

Happy 24th birthday, old man.

Wednesday, 5 January 2005: Ah yes, some new fodder for the "Darwinism Missed Me" file. You knew it had to happen sometime.

Something has to change with the legal system in the U.S. and soon. I just read an article about some idiot from Cleveland who is suing NBC for $2.5 million over the show Fear Factor. Apparently, an episode of the show in which contestants were made to eat rats (ground up and blended) made him sick to the point where he and one other in his household vomited. His blood pressure increased to the point where, when he tried to get up and walk away, he became queasy and bumped his head in a door frame.

Ohmydearsweetlord. When will it end? Are people truly that stupid? There are disclaimers on the show warning about the danger and disgust factors inherent in the show's challenges. You have a remote control, m'man. And, if you don't, get off your butt and change the channel manually. Most TVs still allow that, you know.

I guess, by this standard, I should be able to sue this guy because by reading his ridiculous claim I am getting so nauseous and am bordering on stomach illness and sheer disgust over the state of humanity that I am unable to work. And it could affect me in other ways heretofore unseen, right?

Oh, and you know it's for money only when the guy refuses to discuss the complaint "unless it is a paid-interview situation."

Some people don't deserve to live. Here's one. His name is Austin Aitken and he's a paralegal in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A. Go get him.

Tuesday, 4 January 2005: What hit song of 2004 are you?

Are you slightly confused by this question? Well, check out this little online survey and maybe it'll make a bit more sense. It's pretty fun.

Oh, and by the way, I'm...

"Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet
"So 1, 2, 3, take my hand and come with me 
Because you look so fine 
And I really wanna make you mine"

You impressed almost everyone in 2004 - and surprised yourself.

Well, I guess it's a good thing I like this song.

Monday, 3 January 2005: While, in most instances, I tend to dig "Best of..." and "Top 10 (25, 50, etc.)" lists that are usually published around the end of one year or the beginning of the next year, the one thing that bugs me is when someone makes a ridiculously suspect nomination for such a list.

One of my friends who runs her own blog posted this very question and, since we don't likely share the same group of readers, I thought I would repeat it here. And since she phrased it so eloquently, I'll just quote her here (sorry, Val)...

The other night 20/20 had the "Ten Most Fascinating People of the Year," and do you know who was on there? Paris Hilton! Are you kidding me? She is fascinating? To who????!!!!

I ask myself this very same question especially since I saw her on the Rolling Stone magazine Top XX People of 2004 as well. Barbara Walters is one thing. She has no taste. But to be named by Rolling Stone as one of the most fascinating people is something else entirely. Some people might actually pay attention.

Who cares about her in all honesty? She's a tramp. She's not at all pretty. She's done nothing worthwhile for the acting/singing/just-generally-being-a-human circles of life. So why? Because she'll inherit a ton of cash when her dad kicks off? Because she showed off the worst in humanity with her galpal Nicole Ritchie in two seasons of The Simple Life? And this is newsworthy for what reason?

I often find myself questioning whether some peoples' trains of thought ever touch the track.

But on a positive note, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson started tonight and it shows promise. I love Craig Ferguson. He was one of the only things that was good about The Drew Carey Show (Nigel Wick) and he was spectacular in Saving Grace. I just hope he's allowed to play up his characteristic Scottish wit on this show. I also wish it wasn't on so damn late. I'm 30! Remember? Staying up that late is rapidly becoming an impossibility.

Just kidding.

It's hard to stay up
It's been a long, long day and you got the sandman at the door
But hang on, leave the TV on and let's do it anyway
It's ok, you can sleep through work tomorrow, ok?
Hey Hey
Tomorrow's just a future yesterday.

Let's all support Craig. Pull a Clockwork Orange and mechanically pry your eyes open at 11:30 CST (that's midnight plus 30 for you east coasters). He's got some pretty good guests on this week. Tonight was David Duchovny, tomorrow is Jon Cryer, Julian McMahon on Wednesday, Jason Alexander on Thursday, and the week will close out with Jeremy Piven.

Sunday, 2 January 2005: The townhome has been straightened up quite nicely mostly because my parents are coming over today to check out the place. Everything has found a home. Well, save for the garage of remaining boxes, that is.

Yep, we still have a boatload of crap in the garage. It's not entirely terrible, I suppose. Just not all sorted through yet and that is a bone of contention in my mind. I want it gone. And soon. But we should be able to pull both cars in the garage very soon.

Oldies: Sunday, December 26 - Saturday, January 1, 2005...

Saturday, 1 January 200... gulp... 5: Where did the first half of this decade go? Was the Y2K craze really that long ago? Did Katie and I really start dating in late 1998? Have we both been out of NIU since 2000?

Ohmilord, that's right... I'm 30 and it's 2005.


Happy New Year all the same, though (how heartfelt was that?)

Friday, 31 December 2004: This is it... say goodbye... it's almost over... I can't believe it went by so quick...

2004... we hardly knew ya.

Wednesday, 29 December 2004: This amazes me to no end. Within the last few months, it was announced that the tolls on Illinois tollways will double for regular drivers come January 1. However, if you have an iPass, the tolls will remain the same. Despite this announcement, Katie and I still see people pulling up to toll booths and throwing change in. At this one on-ramp that we regularly use, 12 out of 14 cars that are ahead of us will slow down to plunk in their change. You can tell because iPass users will just drive right through.

Why aren't more people getting a clue and picking up an iPass? They cost nothing more than a $10 refundable deposit and then charging the thing with money that you would be using for tolls anyway. So, effectively, the iPass costs nothing. People, get a clue. Katie and I have had iPasses for a few years now and wouldn't want it any other way. They are wonderful little pieces of technological innovation and, from what I can tell, Illinois is not the only tollway-heavy state that has similar devices.

People, if you keep waiting until the last minute, you're gonna get screwed by a back order and get stuck paying. Get off your arses. Here, I'll even make it easy on you... Illinois State Highway Authority iPass page.

Tuesday, 28 December 2004: If any of you are either Muppets or toy collectors, this is something you will want to see. I recently came across a new action figure being released in very limited quantity by Palisades Toys as part of their Muppet line. It's a Jim Henson Muppet. This is just the epitomy of cool. He comes in a rather nice looking box worthy of display and his accessories include a director's chair, banjo, microphone and stand, a magazine with him on the cover, and a working tambourine. Here's a direct link to the ordering page for the figure at PalisadesToys.com. And here is a picture of the toy courtesy of Palisades Toys...

Sorry, just had to share.

Monday, 27 December 2004: Taking a completely new route to work this morning was a bit of a shock. I'm so accustomed to my old route that waking up this morning and remembering which way to go took me a couple minutes. Now I've just got to remember to drive home the right way.

In case you're wondering, no, we are not done unpacking everything. We've killed off a pretty significant number of boxes, but there are still plenty left to go. At least half of the garage is done so we could actually park one of our vehicles in there tonight if we're so inclined (and the weather is certainly begging for us to exercise this option). Katie has told me that she knocked off about six more boxes before we met for lunch and I'm sure that we'll finish off a bunch more tonight. Plus I've got one more load left to go back at the apartment. Pretty simple stuff. Just a few in-house items while the rest are our plant pots from the back deck. Those will just go in our back yard at the townhome.

My policy is that if I do not want to unload something (aside from seasonal decorations), then I plan to donate it. And donations take on a whole new meaning now that we're homeowners. Tax deductions, baby! I'm sure that some exceptions will be made to this plan as we filter through stuff, but it's a nice plan to have at the ready all the same.

Sunday, 26 December 2004: It really caught me off guard today when I heard that Reggie White had died. Apparently, the official cause is now a massive heart attack although early reports were unclear as to whether it was that or some kind of respiratory failure due to sleep apnea. He was only 43. That's just not cool.

RIP Reggie.

Saturday, 25 December 2004: Merry Christmas to all. And how have Katie and I been spending the holidays? Packing, moving, and unpacking while also fitting in visits to my parents and her parents on the 24th and today, respectively.

While we were at my parents' house, we went across the street to our neighbors' place and I was introduced to Halo 2. Nothing better on such a religious holiday than running around and shooting the hell out of aliens. It's a fun game, no question about it. I might have to find a way to play it some more.