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November 2007
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14 posts from December 2007

We sure are cute for two ugly people...

Before we begin, we'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year's Eve and, in case we don't get back to you tomorrow, a Happy New Year as well!

Yes, I say "we" because this post is brought to you by both Katie and Kevin!

Katie's not that into the music scene. Yes, she listens. But not with quite the ravenous love that I do. So she steers clear of that stuff and leaves it to me.

Now that we're talking movies, she's totally into it. So we're both working together to bring you Kapgar's Top Movies of 2007. We may even throw in some comments for you.

At first, we considered the possibility of doing this in Ebert and Roeper format with each of us presenting our own Top 10s, one at a time. But we then discovered a few problems... our top five movies were exactly the same, and my 7-8 were the same as her 6-7 with me adding one movie she hadn't seen to bump them down a bit, and, finally, she couldn't think of anything beyond #7 to fill out a full 10. This made things a bit weird. Not weird that we have almost exactly the same taste in movies, but just weird in that you'd be pretty much reading the same thing twice.

So we are bringing you one list where I have a few thrown in that are slightly different than what she would've done had she compiled her own list. We hope you enjoy it all the same.

And I'd like to note, for the record, that we saw a flippin' load of movies this year. I started putting together the list and it's just ridonkulous how many are on there. I don't even remember seeing this many. But I know we did see them.

Oh yeah, there's also a laundry list of movies we have yet to see as well including:

  • Atonement
  • The Bucket List
  • Charlie Wilson's War
  • Fred Claus
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • The Great Debaters
  • Into the Wild
  • The Kite Runner
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country For Old Men
  • Once
  • P.S. I Love You
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
  • The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

Now on to what we actually did see:

Continue reading "We sure are cute for two ugly people..." »

And the winner is...

A quick note to begin... if you have not yet seen the movie Juno, go. Now. Don't pass go. Don't collect $200. Just buy your ticket at full price (it's worth it) and sit back and enjoy. It is one of the most perfect movies of the year (with only Waitress up there with it). Thoroughly enjoyable on all counts - acting, directing, writing. Go. Stop reading and go.

And now for Kapgar's Top Singles of 2007!

Bear in mind, these are songs I like and are not necessarily reflective of which songs on an album did best on the charts or radio. Oh, and I'm actually breaking this into a two-disc set... The Best of the Best and then the Second Best. I found that many.

So, once again, sit back, plug in, and enjoy!

Continue reading "And the winner is..." »

Just as they play your favourite song...

Before I dive into my top albums of 2007, I wanted to share this article I found yesterday. It's one of those "where are they now" sorts of follow ups with this one all about former figure skater Tonya Harding. I know, I know... who really cares, right? Well I was one who didn't. But I read it anyway, and Kansas City Star reporter Sam Mellinger does a very nice job with it. You almost begin to feel some sympathy for Harding by the end. That's the mark of a good writer... humanizing the demonic.

On to the meat and potatoes... Kapgar's Top 10 Albums of 2007!

As much work as these lists can be, they're still a lot of fun because they give you a moment to sit back and reflect. Maybe you can already tie one of these albums into some event in your life or maybe you just think about the first time you listened to it. Whatever the case may be, I love how music just carries you back.

Continue reading "Just as they play your favourite song..." »

It's time to get up...

Hope everyone out there had a Merry Christmas!

Katie and I had all these grand plans for a Christmas post. Yep, that's right, she was going to co-write with me. But they all fell through when we discovered that my truck wouldn't start at all yesterday and diagnosing it became our overwhelming concern. We're giving it a new battery today now that stores are open again. So we hope you'll forgive us for having not written anything.

I'm also spending a lot of time right now compiling my "Best Of" lists for the year. I had forgotten how much work they were. I also listened to a ton more new music this year than in years past. It's incredible how much more. Yeah, I've spent an hour just putting together the list of albums I've listened to. I haven't even begun to write up commentary. So I stopped this morning and went to wake Katie up.

I decided it might be more fun to lay down and spoon her instead of letting an alarm wake her up. The second I wrap an arm around her, she jolts awake and exclaims, "What did I do!?!?"

Um, nothing that I'm aware of. Care to enlighten me?

Should I be laughing about this or worried about it?

I remember now...

It amazes me how the brain works sometimes.

Last night, during our apparent Rob Reiner night o' entertainment, I was able to remember every single line from The Princess Bride despite having not seen it in nearly a decade. Literally. I was able to recite every single line either out loud or in my head. I tried not to annoy Katie. Really, I did. But she just got revenge on me later by reciting every line of Sleepless in Seattle. So we're even.

And, yet, this morning, I could even remember which direction was hot and which was cold with the knob in the shower. Didn't make for a good morning.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I finally got around to offloading some photos from my digicam so my Flickr account is jumping right now. The selection includes pictures from the birthday/anniversary surprise celebration for Katie's parents back in October, some addition to Wall Destruction 2007, and some new winter shots.

Here are a couple faves...

Tree carving and bubbling.

I /heart/ you
Yeah, you all already knew I was a sap.

I think I'd rather go outside and play...


Okay, everybody together now!




While we don't hate you, Katie, we are very displeased with the fact that, starting tomorrow, you are on vacation from work until January 2. We find this to be exceptionally distressing and thoroughly unfair, especially since we do not get the same number of days off.

And we are disgustingly jealous.



Especially me.

Since I want to be home with you.

Totally not fair.






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Bottle it up...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,

FieldcateKyleortonAt left, I present a photo of my client, Field Cate, the young actor who plays the preteen embodiment of Lee Pace's character "Ned" in the ABC television series Pushing Daisies.

While, admittedly, he does bear -- no pun intended -- a passing resemblance to current Chicago Bears starting quarterback Kyle Orton, at right, there really is no reason to hold that against my client.

He does not, nor has he ever, played for the Chicago Bears.

He is not the Bears' desperate attempt to salvage a losing season.

And, honestly, do you, the Bears fans across America, really think that cracking jokes about how my client  touched the Bears and brought them to life for one play in last night's loss to the Minnesota Vikings only to find them drop over dead, forever, 60 seconds later is going to make you feel better about what has become a thoroughly pitiful season?

Give it up, Bears Nation. This season is a wash. Just give the Packers and Saints a tickmark in the win column, go home, and pine for what "could've been" last season... if you only had a reliable quarterback.

I rest my case.

Yes, I am sad about my Bears. This season sucks.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): But at least this makes me happy. I get to start compiling my "Best Of" lists for the year! No, that's not sarcasm. I'm actually looking forward to it. Really. I admit it will be hard work, but fun all the same. I think I will do a Best Movie and Best Album list like I always do. However, I may also do a Best Song list. That will be the tough one.

And I finally got off my butt and set it up so that if you click on music and TV links in future posts, you will be taken straight to the page on iTunes. No longer will I have to just talk about music without being able to give you a direct link. This will make it easier, if you are interested in something I talk about, like the killer Sara Bareilles Live Session EP that I just bought off iTunes this morning, you can actually click through and listen to the 30 second samples that iTunes offers. No, I'm not asking you to buy it even if I do get a cut. I simply like the fact that you can now actually listen to what I rave about and decide for yourself if these are simply the ravings of a lunatic mind (you can be honest, it won't bother me). Doesn't this make life that much easier?

Sure, if you don't have iTunes, this won't do you much good. But who doesn't have iTunes? And if you answer "me," might I suggest making the use of iTunes a New Year's Resolution? Real is dead, people. So is Napster.

Oh, and I will have to reconfigure the "Hear Me" box at left as that thing is still linked up to Amazon.

Down at the Sunset Grill...

While on a very spontaneous date night with Katie on Friday to our local Japanese steak house, I discovered what could easily be the greatest job in the history of mankind... Japanese grill chef.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about or have never experienced what this is all about, I suggest you find some way to watch the "Benihana Christmas" episode of The Office from last season. There's no BS in that episode at all about what they're capable of. In fact, if I discovered anything, they downplayed their abilities in that episode.

Our chef at Ju Rin in Geneva was a really nice guy named "Homero." He came out with our food and just started right into his routine. He was flipping bowls and plates, knives and spatulas. He created grilltop art out of rice making a Mickey Mouse for the kids at our table as well as a flaming (and pulsing) heart. Of course, he also created the requisite onion volcano, but he made his flame instead of just steam. He had the moves and the charisma to make it an enjoyable evening for all of us.

So let's review why this might just be the greatest job ever...

  • Playing with knives... check.
  • Playing with fire... check.
  • Playing with your (or, better yet, other's) food... check.
  • Impressing the women with your cooking ability... check.
  • Entertaining everyone sitting around your table... check.
  • Getting paid to do all this and more... yeah baby!

Where do I sign up?

And guys, just as a note, there are few better ways to impress your significant other than with a completely spontaneous date night. Katie and I were simply out shopping for some Christmas gifts when we decided we needed to eat. The way things were sounding, we were just going to pick something up and take it home to eat in front of the TV. However, the night before, NBC replayed the "Benihana Christmas" episode and that got me hankering for steak and sushi. I recommended that we go to Ju Rin (the local equivalent of a Benihana or Domo 77) instead of taking food home and Katie was just beaming about it.

Afterwards, we went to a local candy store called Graham's Chocolates (yes, the same one featured in a recent episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show) and picked up a few items to take home.

It was, simply put, the perfect evening.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Katie gave me my Christmas gift over the weekend. It was Guitar Hero III for the Nintendo Wii. Totally sweet, totally cool, totally perfect. Now I just can't wait to play it. Very soon. Oh yes, very soon.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA) #2: I need to apologize to all of you. It may seem as though I haven't been around much lately reading all your blogs. The truth is I haven't. I've been so strapped for time that it's been tough just blogging for myself let alone read everyone else's. But I have begun a catch-up campaign in which I plan to get up to date with the more than 1000 posts that have accumulated in my Google Reader. It isn't pretty. Especially when a daily poster like Dave has 10 feeds I need to catch up on. Yeah, that's how long it has been. I'm really sorry. I will get there. I promise.

Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight...

It's here!

That most loved and loathed of days for us bloggers!

Blogcrushday That's right... it's Reveal Your Blog Crush Day!

(run away! run away!)

Still here? Well, you should've listened and just run. But, since you are here, I guess I should explain what's going on. Last year, Sizzle and Sandra decided that it was time for all of us to call out those that we crush on in the Blogiverse. Basically, that was it for rules. How many people you crush on is totally up to you, but any more than one or two, in my opinion, requires way more love and affection than I have in my shriveled up and deadened heart. Heh.

Actually, last year, I was more afraid of leaving someone out than anything else. So, in an attempt to make this as painless as possible and not make anyone freak out because I left them out, I opted to only pick a single blogger to crush on despite the fact that I probably crush on a ton of you. I picked Queen Hilly. Oddly enough, using the same rationale, she picked me. That was both thoroughly heartwarming and totally creepy. We both wrote our posts at about the same time and posted independently not knowing that we were crushing on each other nor that we both quoted Highlander in our posts. Yikes.

This year, though, I'm going to be a bit braver. No I'm not going nuts and listing all my crushes, because I'm still certain that I would forget one or two of you, which could lead to diminished perceptions of self worth and, God forbid, eSuicide. I'm not sure what that is, but I don't want to find out.

The way I'm proving my Blog Crush Bravado is by picking not just one girl, but also one guy to crush on. No, I'm not going eBi. I just feel totally secure in my eHetero-ness that I can point out a guy who I think is pretty darn swank as well. And that's just how it's gonna be.

So read on in the extended post to find out on whom I crush.

Continue reading "Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight..." »

Let's hear it for the man...

Today's post is dedicated to my buddy Karl. And I'm sure Hilly will join in my celebratory mood, too!

Merriam-Webster has added the new Word of the Year to its dictionary. The word? w00t!

Some of you may be wondering "what the hell," so here you go...

Basically, "w00t" is a combination of letters and numbers that are known as l33t ("leet," short for "elite") speak. In this case, they form an onomatopoeia of sorts for the tendency of some people to cheer by going "woot woot woot!" This was used most popularly by Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman as well as by former talk show host Arsenio Hall.

Maybe you're still wondering "what the hell." I wouldn't blame you.

So here it is straight from the horse's, er, M-W's mouth...

"It shows a really interesting thing that's going on in language. It's a term that's arrived only because we're now communicating electronically with each other," said Merriam-Webster President John Morse. Apparently, they also liked it because it represented a blending of whimsy and technology. Okay, whatever.

Yeah, occasionally I've been known to w00t it up in the blogiverse. But to add it to the dictionary? I'm not so sure about that.

Yet, it still won out amongst a class of 20 nominees.

Those other words must've sucked something fierce.

But I do think visiting Karl's site and leaving him a comment of congratulations on this verbalistic accomplishment (of which I'm sure he's very proud) is very much in order.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): The walls are coming along in case any of you were wondering what has been happening with that project. They have all been stripped and plastered and are mostly primed right now. We hope to start painting the ceiling and maybe even the walls this weekend. Please pray for us as this project has proven to be a severe bitch. But it's certainly looking good. It feels like we've got a whole new living room.

Watch out, you might get what you're after...

There was a time -- actually just a few short years ago -- when I was very much on top of the Hollywood film making machine. Not literally "on top," just in the proverbial sense of it in that I actually knew what was going on.

I would read regularly about books that were being optioned and turned into scripts or TV shows making the jump. I knew about stars and what their next several upcoming films were. I knew how directors were planning their schedules for certain projects for the next few years. Yeah, I had my finger on the pulse of Hollywood. And it was fun. A lot of it had to do with my addiction to playing Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX).

This is not the case anymore, however.

These days, I find that I don't know what the heck is going on. Some movies come to theaters and disappear before I've even heard of them now. That's how far removed I am.

But I've noticed an oddly disturbing trend these days... I finish reading a book, and within a couple months it is released as a movie. Check this out...

This past summer, I read Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Literally a week or two after reading it, I find out from some magazine that Sean Penn directed the film version that was coming out in the fall or winter. I had no idea.

The next book I read was Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, a fantastic book, by the way. A month or so after I finish reading it, I'm sitting in the theater waiting for a movie to start and up comes a trailer for, you guessed it, The Kite Runner. I didn't even know it was optioned for a movie. Makes sense that it would be, I just didn't know.

A few weeks ago, I finished Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. Basically, it's the true story of math whizzes from M.I.T. who formed a blackjack club that learned how best to beat the odds and win a vast majority of the time while playing the game. Yet another good read. Yesterday, while Katie and I were waiting to buy tickets to see August Rush, I found a movie poster on the wall for a film called 21 and it had a big ace of hearts in the corner and the description was something about students beating Vegas at blackjack. I looked a bit closer at the credits and saw "based on the book by Ben Mezrich."

Dang. This is really starting to scare me. Either I need to start reading about the goings on in Hollywood again or I need to be very careful with what I read. God only knows what Hollywood will churn out next since my reading tendencies apparently are very closely tied into their script approval process.

And many more...

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday, dear Kappy!
Happy birthday to me!

Okay, so I already kinda sorta wished myself a happy birthday a day in advance. At the time, I didn't think I'd actually post today. But here I am.

Actually, I just wanted to point out that I can finally listen to my iPod(s) in style! Katie bought me a pair of Bose in-ear headphones. While they take a little getting used to, once you do, they sound fantastic! Wow. You never realize just how bad cheap earbuds are until you hear good stuff. And these definitely constitute "good stuff." Thanks, hon!

Does the use of the die to convey the 33 kinda imply that I'm gambling with my life? Hmmm... maybe that wasn't the best choice, eh?

Oh, and on the dice theme... while I was searching for good dice images, I came across a real beauty. Since I've already solved the Rubik's Cube (now several dozen times - I've memorized it), I think I might try to follow the step by step and make the Magnetic Dice Rubik's Cube I found over at Instructables. It's pretty sweet!

Hey, got a meme for you in the extended post. Hope you're up for some holiday spirit!

Continue reading "And many more..." »

When the lights go down in the city...

How about some snippets for my first second day in a row of blogging in quite some time?

NBC has now officially removed all their TV shows from iTunes. Well, you know what I have to say about that? Screw ya, NBC. I'll watch your shows on TV and if I miss them, I miss them. I will no longer make an effort to watch any of your shows if you're not going to allow me TO PAY YOU so I can put it on my iPod! You're saying no to my money... the one thing, aside from ratings (which should result in money anyway) that you like most. I was about to purchase an episode of Law & Order from last season to watch on my iPod, but since you don't want my money, I won't give it to you. Eat my shorts, NBC.

I have to thank Yet Another Girl for this one. The township of Manalapan, NJ, is demanding that Google hand over the identity, e-mail address, associated e-mails, blog drafts, and and other information they have regarding a blogger who uses the name "daTruthSquad." Apparently this person has written some critical comments about a township lawsuit and the town thinks it was actually written by the defendant in the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is stepping in to defend the First Amendment rights of the blogger and of Google in their protection of this information.

I know I'm a Chicago Bears fan and our natural adversary is anybody donning the green and yellow of the Green Bay Packers. However, Packer rifleman Brett Favre was just named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year and I am having trouble thinking of a more deserving guy. After a couple seasons of subpar play from him and his team, the man has come back in a big way this season at 38 years old, an age when most NFLers have hung up their spikes. Plus he has consistently been the top scorer on one of my fantasy teams and I drafted him as my backup. He was bumped to starter very early on. Maybe I'm supposed to hate the guy, yet I cannot help but respect him. He's amazing. Damn him for being a Packer.

I was given an early birthday present from a friend in the form of a six pack of special winter brew by my buddies over at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO. It is the Fat Tire 2° Below winter ale and I am so jacked about trying it. From what I'm told, it can be a very hard beer to find as it sells out rather quickly upon arrival in stores.

Nice segue, eh? Yep, tomorrow I turn a pair o' threes... 33 years old. I admit I'm old. But I'm still younger than you, Hilly! Hah! Yeah, that was mean. But she's constantly teasing me or expressing her disbelief that I'm not older than her. So she deserves the poke... um... yeah. I only wish ThinkGeek had a gift registry. Oh the fun I could have! Or maybe they do and I'm just too lazy to look. Oh well.

The area I live in here in the Midwest is expecting one heckuva winter storm today and tonight. If you live in the area, please be safe. Stay home, put on pajamas, find emergency candles, and hunker down with someone you love. Best advice I can think to impart unto you.

Sometimes you wanna go...

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I tried to come up with something worthwhile late last week and my mind just failed miserably. And, since part of the point of this pseudo-hiatus is to not post crap, I didn't.

This past Friday night, I got together with a couple long-time friends for the first time in a long time. Just three guys out at a bar drinking, chatting, and maybe eating a little to help soak up all the Guinness. It was fun and it had been far too long.

But I have to admit that I did feel a little weird during this whole event.

We went to a pub and tavern that is actually right up the street from where I live. If I needed to, I could walk there (thankfully, I didn't need to). Yet, despite living so close, I felt the role of outsider to the x degree.

When I arrived, MadIrishMan (as some of you may know him from comments a while back) was already in full swing. He may have been on Guinness one or two, I didn't bother asking. Not much point. But he was also already chatting up the bartenders who all knew him by name.

Then B- (also how he refers to himself here on my blog) showed up. Immediately he started chatting up everybody. Not just the bartenders, but the wait staff, greeters, and management.

This was not just the normal, run-of-the-mill smalltalk either. In some cases, what they were talking about was clearly a continuation of conversations started well in the past. Like old friends picking up where they last left off.

For B-, this is completely understandable. He used to work at the place. And much of the crew on staff that night worked there at the same time he did. MadIrishMan, on the other hand, never worked there. He was just someone they knew from the many... many... times he'd been a patron there.

I actually found myself a bit jealous. I liked the idea of having "that place" that you can go to where people do know you; as they sing in the Cheers theme, "sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name." I wanted to have that exhilaration of being in this place and having people welcome you by name, have the employees being nice to you not just because you are a potential tip but because they know you and legitimately give a damn. I don't want to go so far as having everyone shout "Kevin!" when I enter, although that might still feel kinda cool every so often.

How can I achieve this kind of recognition and localized fame on a reduced budget?

Waitress Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Yesterday, Katie and I watched the first movie in a long time that we both enjoyed in all regards. The film was Waitress starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion.

Basically, it's the story of a small-town waitress and pie maven named Jenna (Russell) who is in an abusive relationship and longs to escape. Her plans to just leave her husband are thwarted when she finds out she is pregnant. However, as a result, she meets and falls in love with her doctor (Fillion) with whom she begins an affair.

Yes, it's about adultery, but it's an incredibly endearing movie that has outstanding acting by everyone involved. Plus the writing and directing by co-star Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered near the end of production of the film, was fantastic.

And if you need another reason to see this film, how about Andy Griffith turning in one of the funniest performances of his long and storied career? I don't think I've ever laughed as hard watching him.

Yeah, this one is high up on my "best of" list for 2007.