Oldies: Sunday, May 29 - Tuesday, May 31, 2005...

Tuesday, 31 May 2005: The World Wide Web has a lot of crap out there. Anybody who has even an inkling of Web know-how can post opinions on websites or even, God forbid, create their own webpages like this P.O.S.

However, despite all the crap that is out there, sometimes the best reads on the web are the blogs tended to nearly daily by so many netizens the world over. For those scratching their craniums right now, a "blog" is short for "Web log" which serves as an alternate description for an online journal, diary, etc. Some are absolute garbage, while some are hidden gems. I've read a ton and have only truly come across a few real "gems." And I think I'm going to start listing those here for the rest of you who might want to have something fun to read. However, if my readership goes down as a result of referring you all to these other sites, I will hunt you down and... well... it won't feel good, let's just put it that way. Now, you can find a "Blog Me" section on the right of the homepage in the recommendations area. Check them out and keep reading them if you're so inclined. If you have a blog of your own, send me the URL and I'll check it out. If I like it, maybe I'll list it. Or if you are a regular reader of another blog (BLASPHEMER!!!), let me know what it is.

Now, bear in mind that some people out there would not consider this a "real" blog simply because I do not use blog developer software. Yes, some people are that shallow (this is not you, Carol; this refers to other, quite less polite people. Please don't take offense because it sounds like my reply to your question about on-site comments). To them I say, "I've been blogging longer than you could ever dream. My site predates blog software and I have the added benefit of being able to tweak all my entries to my taste because I can code. Put that in your pipe and smoke it." To me, a blog is any website where people post their opinions on a semi-daily basis. It can use blogware or just be in plain HTML. But, by definition, it's a blog all the same.

I'm starting out small. Just three listings in this section. More to come.

Oh, and thanks to Dave at Blogography.com for posting this little link. A few years ago, I played with the first version of this software. It is a South Park Character Generator. Yep, create your own custom South Park characters. Create yourself, create a loved one, create a fantasy person (if your fantasy person looks like a character from South Park, may I also recommend a psychiatrist?), you get the point. Now the software is in version 2 and it is far improved. A lot more options to choose from. So, once again, I created Katie and myself in South Park-ese.

First, here are Katie and I using version 1 of the software:

Now, here we are all plugged in and beautified in version 2 (talk about an improvement): 

We can even choose backgrounds now. Since I prefer to be home instead of work, I'm in front of a couch and I'm doublefisting it with my yellow Wisconsin Search and Rescue hat on backwards. Katie's in a classroom where, aside from her pharmacy, I think she spends the better part of her life. I feel bad for her, but I tried to make her feel better by giving her a tropical drink. How's that for compromise? Now if only you could really get away with alcohol in a classroom.

Honestly, Mr. Professor-person, this is chemistry. It's, like, mixing alcohols and liquors and stuff...

Monday, 30 May 2005: With Katie at work today, how did I decide to spend the day? With a little cleaning, but not too terribly much; a viewing of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, marking the first time I've seen this movie since opening night back in 1999 and, while not great, it was much better than I remember it being; two nine-hold rounds of disc golf at Eagle Ridge Park in Montgomery with my dad and brother while my mom watched; and then cooking dinner for Katie while watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on HBO (or was it Encore or Starz? Meh, whatever).

Combine my viewing of Wonka with the fact that the theater where we saw Madagascar the other night was loaded with promos for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory coming out this year and I started wondering (what else is new?) what your take is on this remake.

As a rule, remakes are a no-no. 9.75 times out of 10, they blow, and that's pretty much scientific fact. However, this is Johnny Depp and I can't think of too many movies that he's made that have outright sucked. Very few, indeed. And this film is supposed to be much closer in nature to Roald Dahl's original book which is less cutesy and much darker than the original movie. Hence the dank coloration in the previews and the seeming lack of song and dance (although I will always hold a fond place in my heart for Gene Wilder singing "A World of Pure Imagination").

But, on the negative end of the scale, we have Tim Burton. I am a Burton fan, don't get me wrong, but remakes, as Planet of the Apes proved, are not his forte. That was just one terrible film. Charlie does seem more akin to his Edward Scissorhands-Beetlejuice-Ed Wood style of filmmaking than Apes was, but it is still a remake, plain and simple.

So, what do you all think?

Sunday, 29 May 2005: It's not summer yet so any cleaning done now would still constitute "spring cleaning," right? Well, that's how Katie and I spent today. It may not sound like much nor come across as all that exciting a way to spend the long Memorial Day weekend, but for us it was. Katie had to work yesterday and she will be working tomorrow as well, so it's not much of a holiday for her anyway.

So what did we do? Katie broke out the new steam cleaner that she bought and cleaned about half the carpet in the living room and entryway and it looks pretty damn nice. I installed new door knobs and also had to drill out holes to install deadbolts (a family with kids lived here before us and they never installed deadbolts?!?! What were they thinking?). I am now an expert with installation of door knobs and deadbolts. It's really not that tough. The first one was a learning experience, no doubt. The second one was pretty easy. If you ever need help, and you can afford us, maybe you can hire... the KA-Team! Dah-du-du-dah, du-du-dah! (just in case you didn't get the ref)

Sorry, got a bit carried away there.

We also started to clear through some stuff in the garage, yet again. I can't even recall anymore how many times we've sorted through our collection of crap that never seems to stop building in the garage. Well, it looks pretty good right now and I'd like to see it stay that way although that's not likely to happen. Aye aye aye.

Oldies: Sunday, May 22 - Saturday, May 28, 2005...

Saturday, 28 May 2005: For a guy who loves TV as much as I do — hell, I even give out awards — it may sound weird to hear me say this, but... PRAISE GOD AND HALLELUJIA, THE TV SEASON IS OVER!!!

I am so sick of setting our VCRs for the weekly regimen of shows since Katie and I are almost never home on weeknights while the shows are airing (we'd be a horrible Nielsen Household). And I'm also sick of having to catch up on all these shows right away since the Web is so willing and able to discuss all the little plot points in almost any article, even those completely unrelated to the show as a topic, that you are likely to hit a spoiler without even trying.

So, now the season is over and I don't have to tape anything (at least until Nip/Tuck starts next month) and I don't have to be wedded to my TV each night and Katie and I can finally catch up on books we've been meaning to read for some time now and... I don't know what else... I just know I'm happy. And so is Katie.

Friday, 27 May 2005: Don't you just hate when you pay the money to rent a movie and it's so horrible that you just can't keep watching it? This was the case with Katie and I yesterday attempting to watch the Vin Diesel crapfest known as xXx (pronounced "Triple X"). I never had much interest in seeing it before. However, when I saw that a sequel was being released with Ice Cube in the lead role, I was intrigued but figured I needed to know the rest of the story. So I got it from Netflix. God was that a mistake. And, to boot, by the time we finally got around to watching it, the sequel was all but gone from theaters. Not a good sign. Not at all.

The special effects were terrible, the stunts were worse than hoaky, the plot was a joke, and the dialogue... oh the dialogue. I can't think of words negative enough to describe it.

Yeah, my review will be up soon. I just have to find the words... and the stomach... ugh.

Thursday, 26 May 2005: This morning, Katie and I went with my dad to the driving range. We wanted to play nine holes, but we waited too long to book a tee time, so we just went to the range. Let me tell you, I suck from those rubber tees that they put on the faux grass. I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn on those things. However, when I put the ball right on the fake grass, I was hitting them all and doing so pretty consistently. Didn't matter what type of club I was using, iron or wood, they were all flying. Not Tiger Woods caliber hits, of course, but much better than I was expecting of myself. Kinda weird not using a tee with a wood, but it seemed to be working.

Afterwards, we picked up my mom and the four of us went to Hooters for wings and beer (yes, it was after noon by this time). I swear to you, Hooters has the best hot wings around. I don't care what anybody says. Even Buffalo Wild Wings can't compare. I will always go to Hooters for wings.

Katie and I wrapped up the day out by going to downtown Naperville and hitting her old knitting haunt for some yarn and supplies. She hasn't been there in a while. Not since before this last section of organic chemistry that she was in. Now she wants to knit some more. And, guess what? I finally convinced her to watch all the Star Wars movies with me. Why is this important in this paragraph? Because part of the agreement dictates that she is able to knit while watching. May seem like it defeats the purpose, but she knits during every movie. She actually pays better attention if she's knitting because she's not up and walking around. She's a very fidgety person and can't sit still during movies that we try to watch at home. This is a definite step in the right direction. Welcome to the Dark Side, hon!

Oh, and David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, will be at Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville on Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m., to sign copies of his books. I feel bad because the book I really want to have signed is not one that came from Anderson's. They didn't have a hardcover copy of Me Talk so I had to buy it at Barnes & Noble down the street. I feel like such a scab. I'm a fervent lover of family-owned or independent bookstores and I prefer to buy from them whenever possible. Heck, I nearly cried when the Junction Bookstore in DeKalb, IL, went out of business a few years ago. I loved that place and it was one of my favorite places to go when I was in college. But, this was one instance when I could not buy my book independently. I wanted a hardcover copy of this particular book signed. But I will make up for it by purchasing a copy of his latest book while at Anderson's. I'll at least be semi honest about it.

Wednesday, 25 May 2005: The Henchmen are now 8-4. We split with one other team that, prior to this evening, we were tied with for first place in our division. Actually, there was a three-way tie for first place. The third team is one that we played a couple of weeks ago. Our split ensures that we're still tied for at least second place. Hopefully the third team split their double header or, better yet, lost both of them. That would be nice.

Simply put, we just blew the second game. Nobody was hitting jack. They were nabbing our long hits and our short hits. Their fielding was dead on. It was just ugly.

On the night, I was 2-5. I played the entire first game at catcher and played the second half of the second game at DH. I had one nice single and one that was barely anything as it just bounced in front of the base and I had to hoof it out to first. I made it, though, and actually scored a couple hits later. My first run of the season.

But I knew I was cursed when I showed up and our pitcher said that he expected nothing less than what I did last week repeated this week. You can't put that kind of pressure on a guy who has no idea what he's doing in the first place. Yikes. Hell it was only last week that I was shown a new swing and batting stance. I'm still working on remembering that one.

Monday, 23 May 2005: If you haven't watched the finale of 24, stop reading now. Spoilers abound.

You've been warned...

I just watched the season finale of 24 and I have to say, I loved it. Yes, it was pretty predictable (did you really think Tony died in the Jaguar explosion?). But I still enjoyed it. I was skeptical at the beginning of the season knowing that Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was the only regular cast member from last season to be returning. However, as the season progressed and some of last season's regulars started to return, the season really kicked into high gear. And it ended nicely; as nicely as it could, all things considered.

But I have one question, am I the only person who was humming the theme song from The Incredible Hulk as Jack walked off into the sunrise along the train tracks? I half expected to see Bill Bixby walking alongside him. That would've made for a helluva lasting image, don't you think?

I can't wait until next January for the next season to start. Damn, the wait is going to kill me.

Sunday, 22 May 2005: I now feel like the king of gardening. Since today was such a beautiful day, Katie and I decided to do some work at home. Thankfully, instead of being inside painting, we went outside and planted, pruned, and generally beautified the place. We finally got that stupid picket gate torn down from around our air conditioner, pulled up a bunch of weeds, trimmed back the bushes lining the walk to our front porch, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

But we had fun and were out in the fresh air for nearly the entire day. We're finally making the yard our own. In case you're wondering what that means, Katie and I like to think that as we change something in the house (be it through paint, remodeling, or planting), that certain something finally is "ours." So, here is the count...

Ours: powder room, guest bathroom, master bathroom (almost entirely), second bedroom, backyard

Not entirely ours (yet): kitchen, living room, master bathroom, garage

We're working on everything else. But, of course, most of what's left can run the expensive side of reality. We actually started the garage by patching all the holes. Now we just need to powerwash the floors, paint the walls and floors, and reorganize it to our taste. We want to get that done pretty soon. Probably within the next month. There's a garage down the street that I absolutely love and want to model ours after. It's really cool. He painted it very nicely and has it organized impeccably. Yes, I realize I am talking about a garage. But I love it all the same.

Oldies: Sunday, May 15 - Saturday, May 21, 2005...

Saturday, 21 May 2005: First off, I want to wish a happy birthday to my mom. Only one more year. Oh, and, for the record, you and dad are the same age now. Had to give my dad that little piece of moral support.

Let me tell you, working for the park district definitely has its perks. Yes, I do work for Aurora University still. However, Katie and I, as employees at our local gym, are also park district employees. And they are given one heckuva discount on park district activities. For my mom's birthday, my mom, dad, Katie, and I went to a GPD minigolf course. Normally, the price would be $5 per adult per 18 holes. With our discount, it was only $1 per person. May not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but we'll take the savings wherever we can get them. Any money in our pocket is a good thing.

Friday, 20 May 2005: I know that the United States is not very well loved by people in other countries. We are quite reviled actually, even by our allies. That's just the way it is when your reasons for going to war are so clouded over in half truths and misconceptions. It is also the result of U.S.ians being so self involved that we tend to not even think outside our own borders. It's the truth whether you are willing to admit it or not. We are victims of the "my way or the highway" mentality.

I've come to accept that my country is disliked. I wish it were different and I try to be as worldly a person as I can be. I've got friends in foreign countries that are amazed by my willingness to understand and accept their histories, cultures, viewpoints, etc. But how can one man sway a nation of millions? I can't. Plain and simple. I guess I could run for president... nah.

But today, I read an article that took the anti-U.S. sentiment to the extreme. It was just so utterly ridiculous that I had to post it here for all of you...

Lake disappears, baffling villagers
A Russian village was left baffled Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

"It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

What?!?! Is she serious or is this some piss-poor attempt at humor? Yes, we hate you so much that we are going to take your lake! I may not entirely agree with the decision-making ability of our president, but even he wouldn't be that stupid. A lake. Seriously, people. What the hell are we going to do with your lake? Somebody slap some sense into that old woman.

Oh, and this is a Reuters article. It was neither published by The Onion nor was it dated April 1 of any year.

Thursday, 19 May 2005: Did you finally wade through all my ramblings from yesterday? Are you ready for more?

The Henchmen won one and lost one last night. We played like hell overall in the first game. It took us until the fifth inning to really start putting any runs up on the board. I played decently, I suppose. I hit 3 for 4 although I was told that two of my "hits" were actually errors, so technically I was only 1 for 2. But I didn't see the errors happen as I was focusing on running to first. What I don't see don't happen. And we don't record errors in our books anyway. So I was 3 for 4. Oh, and I played catcher the whole game as well.

In the second game, I didn't start playing until about the fourth inning. Then I went in at catcher again. I was 1 for 2 hitting with a pretty nice single into short left-center that scored one or two runners. That's a couple of RBIs for me.

Now we are 7-3. Oh, and I got my jersey finally. #51.

Afterwards, I headed home and met up with my brother-in-law, Scott, who was waiting at our place to go see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. So I cleaned up, grabbed our tickets, snagged the digicam, called my friend Nate who was going with us, and we headed out.

I gotta say I was disappointed by the people there. For as many people as were lined up, there were no really great outfits. A few lightsabers here and there. Some cloaked "Jedi" wannabees. One pretty decent Leia, circa 1977. That's about it. I took the camera back out to the truck. I didn't take a single photo. Apparently, the TriCities are not Freak Central. What a shame.

About 11 p.m., we were seated. Seats weren't a worry as I thought they'd be because the theater showed the movie on at least 8 of its 18 screens. It may have even been more. I have no way of really finding out now.

Did I like it? You betcha. It was better than I ever thought it could be and, considering I knew what was supposed to happen, I still was thrown a couple of curveballs. Better than the last two? Yup. Better than the originals like some people are saying? Well... better than Jedi, but not better than Empire or A New Hope. Luca$, you redeemed yourself for The Phantom Menace. Thank you. However, you've still got some work to do to make up for the fact that you haven't released the original Original Trilogy on DVD yet.

Update: Finally, FOX has announced their fall lineup. And leave it to Rupert Murdoch to one up the other nets by announcing both a fall and spring schedule. Here you go...

Fall Schedule 2005:

  • Monday: Arrested Development; Kitchen Confidential; Prison Break
  • Tuesday: Bones; House
  • Wednesday: That '70s Show; Stacked; Head Cases
  • Thursday: The O.C.; Reunion
  • Friday: The Bernie Mac Show; Malcolm in the Middle; The Gate
  • Saturday: Cops; Cops; America's Most Wanted; MADtv
  • Sunday: King of the Hill; The Simpsons; The War at Home; Family Guy; American Dad

Spring Schedule 2006 (beginning in January 2006):

  • Monday: House; 24
  • Tuesday: American Idol; Bones
  • Wednesday: That '70s Show; Stacked; American Idol; The Loop
  • Thursday: The O.C.; Reunion
  • Friday: The Bernie Mac Show; Malcolm in the Middle; The Gate
  • Saturday: Cops; Cops; America's Most Wanted; MADtv
  • Sunday: King of the Hill; The Simpsons; The War at Home; Family Guy; American Dad

Why the different schedules, you may ask? Well, it looks like FOX is intentionally planning on keeping some shows to a half-season rotation. It looks like 24 will have another "non-stop" season like this year. Arrested Development will either a non-stop season or an abbreviated one. And it also looks like the schedule takes into account reality TV shows that are only going to be aired once a year. Not bad. At least we know what to expect.

You might also wonder why it looks like FOX's primetime schedule only has two hours of shows per weeknight compared to three for ABC, CBS, and NBC. You've gotta remember that FOX airs its nightly news an hour before those other nets. So their primetime schedule is abbreviated by comparison. C'est la vie.

Now that I've read what is available about the new shows for this coming fall, I've gotta say that none of them sounds particularly engaging. I guess the Rookie Show Kappy Award categories will be rather slim unless something new really starts looking better in teasers than the nets' PR departments are currently making them sound on paper. This doesn't bode well for the fall.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005: Here are a few little tidbits for you...

Tidbit 1: Yes, I am going to the midnight showing of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith tonight. Will I be dragging ass tomorrow? You betcha. Will it be worth it? That remains to be seen.

I'm trying to keep my expectations at ground level right now as The Phantom Menace disappointed me because my expectations were sky high but Attack of the Clones was quite enjoyable because I wasn't expecting much after seeing the first one. But it's so hard with all the hype and all the beaming reviews. I'm trying. It's tough but I'm trying.

I'm also taking my digital camera with me tonight so I can snap some shots of the people waiting. There should be some pretty big lines and, I hope, some people in costume. No, I won't be one of them. In costume, that is. And I will be posting them on this site eventually. You gotta admit that I've gotten better about time needed to post photos. So long as there aren't too many photos and I can readily write up a caption, then I'm set.

Tidbit 2: I was interviewed by the Aurora Beacon News yesterday because the media relations director where I work sent my name out as a Star Wars expert. So they called and asked me for my take on the upcoming movie and the ones that came out previously. They even sent over a photographer to take a pic of me with some of the memorabilia I have in my office to accompany the article. Actually, the photo wasn't taken "in my office," per se, since my supervisor refused to allow it (personal vs. business), so we took the picture out by my truck. My license plate is Star Wars related, so it worked.

I was told the article will be in the paper tomorrow. If you're in the area, snag a copy. If not, I'll try to post a link to the article on their web site. I may even duplicate the article on this site just in case they pull it from their's.

Tidbit 3: First, thanks to my friend Carol of Shopping for Sanity for this little gem. No, she didn't write it, but she posted a link to it so she gets props anyway. It's a list of 50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod (give or take a couple). A lot of them I knew already, but I thought I'd post commentary on some of my favorite items in the list.

#3 Dress it up - Katie and I have iSkins for our Pods and we love them. But this is just too damn funny to not mention. It's an iPod Hoodie. Yes, as in a "hooded sweatshirt." You just gotta see it to believe it. Not that I would ever actually consider buying one, but it still had to be mentioned. 

#8 Share your music with complete strangers - My friend and I send data CDs of our music back and forth to each other. With how terrible the music industry is, I am not a big believer in blindly purchasing CDs. So being able to preview before I buy is nice. But this takes it to another level. As the linked Wired article says, some people will walk up to each other and just plug their headphones into each other's Pods. A guy who maintains the blog that inspired this article says he has been introduced to so much new music through this process. It's pretty cool. I wish people did that here. There are a ton of people in the gym that use iPods. Just walk up and swap jacks. Hmmm...

#16 Live off the Grid and charge your iPod Shuffle by hand - yes, some guy actually developed a hand-cranked contraption that allows him to charge his iPod Shuffle without use of a wall or computer plug. Hope people don't try plugging their iPods into pencil sharpeners as a result.

#29 DJ at a club - I already read something about this in the Chicago Tribune. Some nightclubs have iPod night where people come in with a short playlist (usually only a couple of songs) and the DJ will take your iPod and plug it into their computer or sound system and play your set. This sounds like a ton of fun and, from what I read, some of the sets get pretty interesting.

#38 Put on your makeup - the author relates how the mirrored surface on the back of the iPod makes for a great makeup compact mirror. I guess if I didn't have my iPod encased in rubber, I could do this. But with looks like mine, who needs makeup? Heh.

There are many more listed, obviously, but these were, IMHO, the best. Check the site out to read the rest of them.

Tidbit 4 (late addition): CBS has now announced their fall lineup as well.

  • Monday: The King of Queens; How I Met Your Mother; Two and a Half Men; Out of Practice; CSI: Miami
  • Tuesday: NCIS; The Amazing Race; Close to Home
  • Wednesday: Still Standing; Yes, Dear; Criminal Minds; CSI: New York
  • Thursday: Survivor: Guatemala; CSI; Without a Trace
  • Friday: Ghost Whisperer; Threshold; Numb3rs
  • Saturday: Crimetime Saturday; 48 Hours Mystery
  • Sunday: 60 Minutes; Cold Case; CBS Sunday Movie

Katie and I will be all over Two and a Half Men, The Amazing Race (now that we're hooked), Without a Trace, Numb3rs, and the CSI Franchise. I told you that CBS was dangerous.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005: ABC now has their fall lineup available to us netizens. Here you all go...

  • Monday: Wife Swap and Monday Night Football (through January); The Bachelor; Emily's Reasons Why Not; Jake in Progress; What About Brian (after January)
  • Tuesday: According to Jim; Rodney; Commander-in-Chief; Boston Legal
  • Wednesday: George Lopez; Freddie; Lost; Invasion
  • Thursday: Alias; The Night Stalker; Primetime Live
  • Friday: Supernanny; Hope & Faith; Hot Properties; 20/20
  • Saturday: ABC Movie of the Week
  • Sunday: America's Funniest Home Videos; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; Desperate Housewives; Grey's Anatomy

I will still tune in for Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy, but, much like NBC, ABC has now become a target of my ire due to their cancellation of Eyes. Combine that with my disgust over their cancellation of Karen Sisco last season and you're talking about a pretty potent hate mix.

I guess if there is any one benefit of the fall schedule so far, it's that I get to "clean house," per se, in terms of how much TV I watch. Three hours of ABC per week, a whopping half hour of NBC (maybe up to one hour if they actually do bring back Scrubs), and I have yet to see FOX's and CBS' schedules. CBS is what kills me usually. Too much stuff on there and it's hard to give up on some of them. FOX has a couple of decent shows. WB and UPN... yeah right. The only thing we need to know is when 7th Heaven is on for Katie.

Monday, 16 May 2005: I didn't think it could be possible, but I'm suddenly starting to think that I'll be watching even less on NBC next season. The Peacock net has announced their fall primetime lineup and I'm none too happy to say the very least. Here you go...

  • Monday: Fathom; Las Vegas; Medium
  • Tuesday: The Biggest Loser; My Name Is Earl; The Office; Law & Order: SVU
  • Wednesday: The Apprentice: Martha Stewart; E-Ring; Law & Order
  • Thursday: Joey; Will & Grace; The Apprentice; ER
  • Friday: Three Wishes; Dateline NBC; Inconceivable
  • Saturday: NBC Saturday Night Movie
  • Sunday: Dateline NBC; The West Wing; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Crossing Jordan

My biggest question amidst all this is where the heck is Scrubs!?!?! According to execs, the show may come back later in the season. The same goes for Fear Factor.

Later in the season!?!?! Scrubs is the best thing NBC has going for them!

There are several new shows listed here as well. However, I'm still too ticked about Scrubs to bother relaying the information about them. I'll just link to a news story and let all of you read on your own. I'm not even going to grant NBC a piece of my cyberspace to hype those new shows. In the immortal words of Colonel William Ludlow, "Shcrew 'em!"

There is a ton of news for the other major networks right now, however NBC is the only one to have officially announced its lineup. Some of the more disappointing news revolving around fall lineups involves the cancellation of Eyes and 8 Simple Rules, among others, along with the news that just about every network is going to be airing a new show that is either somewhat similar to or a direct ripoff of Desperate Housewives or Lost. Ahhh, originality... the lost art.

But, on the positive side, it looks like NUMB3RS and 24 will be reupped.

I'll let you know as other actual lineups are announced.

Oldies: Sunday, May 8 - Saturday, May 14, 2005...

Thursday, 12 May 2005: I took the day off today to work on the master bathroom some more with Katie's dad, Paul. We rerouted the plumbing for the sink, made some minor modifications to the back of the vanity to accommodate the pipes, built and installed the linen closet, installed the sink, and closed the seam between each piece. We also had to reroute the wiring for the lighting as the existing location ran it about three inches from the linen closet and, well, that just doesn't leave us too many lighting options.

We have a few items left to do now:

  • We need to get a filler board to fill the space between the left edge of the linen closet and the wall
  • We need to get a runner board to hide the seam between both pieces down under the kickspace.
  • Since we had to reroute the electrical for the lighting fixture, we also need to patch and paint over the hole where the wire did come out of the wall before
  • Then, we need to install our fixture
  • Lastly, we need to reroute the outlets that were against the wall that is being covered by the linen closet
  • We may also have a second outlet installed on the wall opposite the vanity and sink. There is already an outlet on the other side of that very spot that goes out into the bedroom so installing a second one just on the opposite side shouldn't be a problem, according to Paul

The rest of this stuff really shouldn't take all that long. We hope to have it done in another week or so depending on Paul's schedule to come back down and reroute the electrical.

Oh, and new pictures have been posted. You can't say I don't give you stuff to read and look at, eh?

Wednesday, 11 May 2005: Early on in this installment of The Amazing Race, Katie and I both wanted to see Rob and Amber win it all. They were two of our faves on Survivor: All Stars and they were the only ones that we knew starting out in Race.

However, as time went on, we both developed alternate favorites. No, we did not completely defect from Rob and Amber. We still loved watching them and were rooting for them. Just not quite as much as we were pulling for Uchenna and Joyce. Last night, the big, bad, bald couple (it's an old picture at right, sorry) won the whole enchilada and it was so cool to watch. They came back from nearly being eliminated and even managed to out-con the king of cons, Rob. But, Uchenna and Joyce still won with grace and dignity. Before racing for the finish line in Fort Lauderdale, Uchenna went begging on the streets to scrounge up enough money to pay his cabbie (they had their money taken away as part of the non-elimination round regulations). He could have just as easily run off to win it first, but he did the right thing. That's the real difference between Uchenna and Joyce and Rob and Amber, the former will do the right thing like helping other teams (stopping when the brothers' car flipped in Africa or helping to push boats for Meredith and Gretchen) whereas the latter were just in it for themselves regardless of what happens to others.

So a big, deserving congrats to Uchenna and Joyce who won in style.

And, Joyce, you should keep the bald head. It looks pretty damned cool on you.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005: The Henchmen are now 6-2. We had a pretty rough outing last night. In the bottom of the sixth inning, we were one run away from another slaughter ruling in our favor. Yeah, I know, that doesn't sound quite that "tough," eh? Well, in the top of the seventh with two outs against them, our opponents came back and scored 12 runs on some terrible fielding on our part. Not to mention the three home runs they blasted. Correction... one of those was a grand slam. Very painful. We scored one more run in the bottom of the inning, but never fully recovered and lost.

I can blame myself in lack of offensive production. I was 0-3 batting. Terrible night for me. But I was DHing, so I had nothing to do with the defensive play in that inning. In fact, my three at bats were the only times I saw the field last night and I was pissed about it. I didn't even get off the bench during the second game other than to help our backup pitcher warmup. Even he didn't wind up making it in the game even though he was supposed to.

The second game we won, but not by slaughter rule. In fact, I don't even know what the final score was we were all so dejected by having lost the first game. We are still 6-2 which is far better than this team was last season (they finished under .500 from what I'm told). And we are now tied for second place in our division of 10 teams. The team we played tonight is the other team with the 6-2 record. We have yet to play the first-place team with a 7-1 record.

Monday, 9 May 2005: Katie and I got some pretty good work done on the master bathroom this weekend. We finished priming the walls and ceiling a few days back so we took the opportunity to finish painting one of the colors in the bathroom (two coats) and finished one coat of the second color. It looks pretty nice in there. On Wednesday, I'm going to go home after work and a dentist appointment and finish the painting and touch up work and then build the linen cabinet for the bathroom. I'm taking the day off on Thursday to work on installation with Katie's dad. Should be fun. I've never done plumbing before. Learning experiences abound in our house. And, yes, I do have new photos posted.

Oldies: Sunday, May 1 - Saturday, May 7, 2005...

Saturday, 7 May 2005: With Covey yesterday all day and closing at the gym last night, I didn't wind up making up for my lack of sleep yesterday by getting more in today. I had class this morning. Thankfully, it was my last class for a while. But it was no less painful to get up and go this morning. In fact, I even stopped at Starbucks by our house to pick up a redeye. For those not in the know, a redeye is simply a coffee with a shot of espresso for a little added kick. It worked wonders. God bless you, Starbucks. You came through when I needed you most.

Friday, 6 May 2005: Today, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, came to the suburbs in a presentation hosted by my workplace. What does this mean for me? It means I got no sleep because I had to wake up well before the buttcrack of dawn to get to Woodridge to set up for the program. I had volunteered to work this event because it would mean that I could hear him speak for free when I wasn't working. Considering tickets cost $199, getting in for free is a nice perk.

However, when I finally got there and got my job done (I was a parking attendant), I was just too damned exhausted to listen to him speak from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. I would just wind up showing AU's worst face by likely falling asleep in there. So I opted to stay out of it. Staying out was boring, but at least I could fall asleep without causing too much of a uproar. And sleep I did. I haven't been that tired in so long.

Thursday, 5 May 2005: Tonight was our second double header of the week in softball. We won both games and I was able to play shortstop for three innings during the first game. However, I didn't get in the second game until the sixth inning when I played catcher. Just as I was heading up for my one and only at bat in the game, the ump called the game on runs. Slaughter rule is fun to invoke, but sucks when it cuts you off just before you're about to bat.

Oh well, at least we're 5-1 now.

And, for future reference, our team name is The Henchmen.

Wednesday, 4 May 2005: I am a Mac user. I am quite proud of this fact. I haven't owned a Windows-based computer since 1999 when I sold my NEC and I don't intend to ever own one again (unless my place of employment buys one for me). That much is not a secret.

I've argued the whole Windows/Mac thing with people to death. Windows users can never see things my way. I can see their points because I was once a Windows user. So I know both sides of the coin. I realize that Windows-based PCs are great for some things and Macs are great for others. For what I do, Macs are the best. But so many Windows users cannot, or just will not, agree to disagree. For them, it's Windows or nothing. Many of them that I debate with have little to no Mac experience whatsoever. So, they are arguing from ignorance. Hey, if it walks like a duck...

A guy I know from the OT.com forums, who just converted to Mac recently, presented me with this quote that he found from the New York Times in 1991. It is quite beautiful, really, and I wanted to share it. Nay, I had to share it.

DOS Computers, manufactured by millions of companies, are by far the most popular, with about 70 million machines in use wordwide. Macintosh fans, on the other hand, may note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans, and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form.

That was just too good.

For those of you Windows freaks out there that take offense to that quote... T.S. I make no apologies.

Tuesday, 3 May 2005: Our softball team, the Henchmen, won both games in pretty grand fashion last night. The first one was a complete blowout of the Sofa Kings. I lost track of the score. The only thing I know for sure is that the game was called in the fifth inning due to the league's slaughter rule which required a win by 15 as I recall. The second game we weren't doing so well in. We were getting shelled pretty well through the first four innings. I even batted into a 5-4-3 double play at one point. By the fifth inning, we were down 6-4 when Jason opened it up with a two-run homer. They caught up and passed us at the end of the inning and made the score 8-6. But in the seventh, we just started piling it on and finished the game with a score of 16-9.

I was a part-time DH in both games. I nabbed a single and was able to advance to third on base hits until the inning ended. This was the first game. The second game was my double play and those were my only two at bats. But at least I got to play. Considering we had 15 guys there last night, I'm lucky I got to play at all. I'll take it where I can get it.

Note #2: As you all know, I am a big proponent of the Mozilla Firefox browser. Hell, I've got a link to it on my homepage. The browser itself just passed 50 million downloads the other day and, as a result, the Firefox development team celebrated by having 50 special celebratory coins minted.

These coins are being given to people who used unique methods to spread the word about Firefox. To this end, I created business cards to promote this browser.

As a result of my efforts, I've been awarded coin #38 of 50.

Okay, so this may not be so big a deal to many of you, but I like it. I'm stoked. I will soon own a piece of Web history. 50 limited edition pieces and I own #38. I can handle that. Thanks, Blake.

Oh, and my boss liked the fact that Aurora University gets billing with my entry on the Spread Firefox 50 Million page along with a link to our homepage. Any promotion is a good thing, right. If you click on that link, you can see my entry in the right-hand column listed under "2005-05-01 9:11 PM PST" (currently the third listed in the column, but that may change).

Monday, 2 May 2005: Tonight officially starts my softball season. We practiced a couple of Sundays ago as a team and the team played their first two games last Wednesday (lost the first, 7-8, and won the second, 3-2). I wasn't able to play because I was working at the gym. But I have since reworked my schedule and am able to play the remainder of the games for the rest of this first half of the season. I'll keep you all posted on our "progress."

I also bought my first pair of baseball/softball cleats since I was ten years old. That felt pretty weird. But I didn't want to be the only person in tennis shoes. Everybody else had a pair and I was slip sliding all over the damn place. Peer pressure lives even at 30 years old.

For a little fun today, you gotta check this out. A few months back, I reported on Darth Tater, the Mr. Potato Head equivalent of Darth Vader. I have yet to find my own Darth Tater, but Millionaire Playboy has been having some fun of their own creating custom Potato Heads in response to the high level of popularity of Darth Tater. You gotta check some of these out. They're great. And I would seriously consider buying some if they were to really go on the market.

Millionaire Playboy's Potato Head line up.

Sunday, 1 May 2005: Today was a good day. For the first time in God-only-knows-how-long, Katie and I just spent the day together. We did nothing that was "constructive," per se, other than work on us. And it was good. We went out for breakfast and lunch, spent some time shopping, watched a couple of movies, talked, and all that jazz.

It was a very nice day.

Oldies: Sunday, April 24 - Saturday, April 30, 2005...

Saturday, 30 April 2005: Sorry about the lack of updates. Not that a lot hasn't been going on. Just that my CruzerMicro thumbdrive, on which I store all the files for this website, crashed yet again. Not to worry, I have since disposed of that (two crashes in four months time is more than enough convincing) and picked up a new one. Must've been a glitch in the drive itself. The new one seems to be working well. So now it's time to play catch up.

Wednesday, 27 April 2005: It's been a while since I've updated you all on the status of the master bathroom. Well, most of the patchwork is done on holes and just about all the glue and caulk has been cut off the wall. Katie has sanded down most of the drywall mud and I'm going to put one last coat on the big hole tonight as well as power sand off some more of the glaze from the final wall. The last thing I'm doing tonight is to clean all the crap off the floor and wash down the walls a bit so I'm not priming over dust. That would be a bad thing.

Sorry, no pictures. What we've been doing is actually quite boring and not that interesting to look at. I'll probably take some as I'm priming later on in the week.

Tuesday, 26 April 2005: You want to hear something weird? Katie opened up a piece of mail yesterday and in it were our Home Depot credit cards. Now I truly feel like a homeowner. Kinda funny when a Depot card trumps a house key in that regard.

I guess we're official.

Or maybe just officially nuts for tackling home repair jobs ourselves.

Apparently, we are not the only ones who felt this way. I showed it to a guy from the gym who I know works part time at the Depot and he laughed and said he completely understood what I was feeling.

Monday, 25 April 2005: Oh yeah, Scott (my brother in law), Nate (my friend from the gym), and I are on for midnight on Wednesday, May 18.

For what, you may ask?

The midnight premiere of Star Wars - Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, that's what.

Yes, we're geeking out and daring falling asleep the next day at work to see the movie when it opens.

And we have Katie to thank for it as she picked up the tickets for us today. Thanks, hon. I love you.

Sunday, 24 April 2005: I realize that for the sake of children and overly sensitive adults, many broadcast television networks and even some extended cable outlets must edit movies and TV shows for content. I have come to, begrudgingly, accept this as something I cannot control.

However, today, it went just a little too far...

Katie and I were watching Mel Gibson's The Patriot on TBS tonight when I saw what could possibly be the worst piece of editing ever. This is aside from all the blatant slicing out of film, mind you. Yes, a lot of the blood and gore was edited out because it did tend to border on the gory side of reality from time to time. However, there are some scenes that could not really be edited out entirely because they are so crucial to the continuity of the movie.

For example, the scene in which Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) and two of his younger sons run into the woods to intercept a company of British redcoats who have his eldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), in tow set for execution as a traitor. This scene is 100% critical to the film and is necessary to understand what happens throughout the rest of the film. However, it is also quite bloody as Gibson shoots several soldiers and hacks the rest with a tomahawk. When he emerges from a creekbed after slaughtering the final soldier, he walks up towards the camera covered in mud. Funny thing is, I distinctly remember him emerging from said creekbed covered in blood.

Yes, the two rhyme... blood... mud. But they are two completely different things.

I could not believe that TBS actually digitally colored Gibson to make it look like mud instead of blood. I was in complete shock. It was terrible. I wanted to cry. It was so sad. I wish I could find photos that show the actual scene and the edited version. Alas, I cannot.

Oldies: Sunday, April 17 - Saturday, April 23, 2005...

Saturday, 23 April 2005: On June 6, the wunderkind band known as Coldplay is releasing their new album entitled X&Y. People rave about this band, and, to some degree, I can understand the raving. They are a good band, no question. But I tend to go cold (no pun intended) on Coldplay just because their songs are so overplayed on the radio. They are one of the few bands to receive pretty equal airplay on alternative, rock, light rock, adult rock, and prog rock radio stations and it really tends to kill the allure for me.

I was listening to the radio this morning on the way to class when I heard their new single, "Speed of Sound," and the announcement about the new album coming out. And I was questioning the name of the album.

For the most part, bands just pick album titles that have absolutely no meaning whatsoever or they are named after the track on that album that the band or its producers feel will perform the best on the charts. Not exactly original, eh?

Okay, even though all three of Coldplay's studio albums thus far — Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and X&Y — have been named after songs that appear on those respective albums, I tend to wonder if there is still a bit more creativity behind it than just that. After all, the songs "Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head" were never radio staples. Heck, I don't even think they were released as singles. Maybe they were and I'm forgetting.

But, for some reason, this morning in my truck, I was thinking about that album title and wondering if it held any extra significance. Sure, X&Y could refer to the two types of chromosomes in which case it could be a dedication to lead singer Chris Martin's wife Gwyneth Paltrow. I think this is Coldplay's first album since the two got together. I know their marriage is newer that A Rush of Blood to the Head, but I'm not sure about the dating part of the relationship. I hope that's not the significance. Pretty cheesy if you ask me.

Personally, I like this interpretation... X&Y refers to the x axis and the y axis that are used for plotting charts and graphs. To me, without the third axis, z, graphs with only x and y show a mere two dimensions. The z axis is what adds that third dimension. And I was tossing around the idea that this was a little poke by Coldplay at the current state of the music industry... very two dimensional and lacking in any sort of depth or creativity whatsoever.

So I admit this is not likely. But I dig it.

Any other interpretations?

Friday, 22 April 2005: We're havin' a heatwave... a tropical heatwave...

Yeah, right.

God, it was beautiful last week and for the earlier half of this week. So what the hell happened?!?! It's friggin' freezing out there now. People have on winter coats. They've even broken out the stocking hats and gloves again. I was on the verge of kicking the furnace back on, but iinstead just wrapped up in comforters.

Mother Nature! Why do you hate us so?!?!

Thursday, 21 April 2005: I'm wondering if all other Cubs fans out there are already starting to say, "wait until next year."

Today, the Cubbies announced that shortstop Nomar Garciaparra is on the DL for anywhere from two to three months with a torn muscle in the groin area. I feel for him, believe me. That is not fun. But this is not a good sign for the Cubbies. Wood and Prior out in preseason (although both are now back), Borowski out for a while, Walker out, and now Nomar.

For the Cubs, injuries are the death knell. Why that is the case is beyond me. Because, just recently, the Bulls experienced what should've been the ultimate in morale crushers. Their star, Eddy Curry, was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and is out the rest of the season, including the playoffs. What did the Bulls do? Okay, so they did have a rough couple of games, but they made the most out of it and won some big games in grand fashion. It was almost as if Curry was never gone. I know that these are two different sports, but injuries tend to affect teams the same regardless of sport. And I would tend to think that basketball would be affected even more because of the extreme reliance factor that a five-man rotation builds amongst themselves. They know how each other works and they build a trust that could be destroyed by the injury of one of those men and the replacement of him with someone else.

So why can't the Cubs overcome like this? Maybe they will. It's early in the season. There's time.

But they're the Cubs.

Update: Okay, Nomar's injury is even worse than I had initially thought. It's not just a torn left groin muscle in that there is a slight tear in the muscle in and of itself, it is torn off the bone. Literally. It's not connected to bone anymore. Ouch!

According to Ted Carlson, Senior Editor for Fanball.com, "The shortstop's groin muscle tore…sorry, this is tough to write. (deep breath) The shortstop's g-g-groin muscle t-t-t-tore away from…ouch, this is just too painful to even think about. Let's try it a different way. His muscle is no longer attached to the bone. There! We said it. Take your time in dealing with the visual."

Yeah, that about says it in all its gory detail. Wanna read the rest of it, go here.

Monday, 18 April 2005: Nothing like taking a golf cart out for a spin on a gorgeous day with your iPod blasting in your ears. Yes, that was how I spent my morning and afternoon... picking up and dropping off a golf cart for use by our freelance photographer around campus. Hey, anything to get out from behind a computer all day.

Sunday, 17 April 2005: Today was interesting. Our plan of attack for the master bathroom had always really just been to repaint and put up a new lighting fixture. It has changed... a bit.

Today, we tore out the old vanity, sink, and faucet and purchased some new hardware from Home Depot including a seven-foot-tall linen closet, a matching vanity, new sink, and new faucet. So, yes, plans have changed.

I have also changed how I'm doing the Photo Album for this event. I'm starting an ongoing chronicle of our bathroom exploits to show how things are progressing. Every so often, I'll add in new photos and text to show you all how we do.

The only thing that upsets me is that I finally got to use my reciprocating saw to cut out the old vanity from around the pipes... and I didn't get a picture of it. Damn. Might have to break it out and stage a photo.

So, check out the first installment of photos and let me know what you think.

Oldies: Sunday, April 10 - Saturday, April 16, 2005...

Thursday, 14 April 2005: Some of you might remember back in February when I was talking about wanting one of the special edition Don Mattingly figures from McFarlane Toys that were being released today but only at Toys 'R' Us in Manhattan. Well, my friend Allison, who works only a few blocks from there, went and picked up a couple of them for me. Oh, I'm stoked. And exceptionally grateful.

In addition, she also saw that the TRU had the second series Mark Prior six-inch figure and the old Boston Red Sox uniformed version of Nomar Garciaparra (gee, I wonder why he's so easy to find in NYC). She may have even found me an NYC exclusive Cooperstown Collection Babe Ruth as well. But I'm waiting to hear back about the Babe. Very cool.

Our sports room is gonna be loaded. Add these to my Brian Urlacher figure and it's gonna be pretty sweet looking in there. Yesssss.

Thanks, Allison (see? I really do give credit where it's due).

And now for something completely different...

I'm adding a new award to the Kappys and giving it out a bit late. The reason why the award is late is because I had not watched an episode of this particular show yet. It just started a couple weeks ago and, at the time I posted the awards list, I had one episode on tape to be watched with another one airing that night. Well, I've watched both of those episodes and last night's episode as well and both Katie and I love it.

It's the new ABC show Eyes starring Tim Daly of Wings fame. Very hip and hysterically funny show about a security agency that does private investigation work as well. It also stars Rick Worthy (Enterprise), Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon (NYPD Blue), A.J. Langer (My So-Called Life), Laura Leighton (Melrose Place), Eric Mabius (The Crow: Salvation), and Natalie Zea (Passions - a TV soap opera). The cast is very good, the scripting is excellent, and the show has a feel very similar to watching a serialized Ocean's 11. Check it out if you haven't already. Very worth your time.

And the award is Most Welcome Return to Primetime under the Acting category for Tim Daly.

Wednesday, 13 April 2005: Ah yes, the beginning of yet another season of sheer disappointment has just been announced. That's right, the Chicago Bears 2005 schedule is now official. And, yes, I will be watching as much as possible despite not having particularly high expectations for the turnout of this season.

I live in Chicago. I'm accustomed to disappointment.


2005 Schedule
Sep 11
1:00 p.m.
Sep 18
1:00 p.m.
Sep 25
1:00 p.m.
Bye Week
Oct 9
1:00 p.m.
Oct 16
1:00 p.m.
Oct 23
4:15 p.m.
Oct 30
1:00 p.m.
Nov 6
@New Orleans
1:00 p.m.
Nov 13
San Francisco
1:00 p.m.
Nov 20
1:00 p.m.
Nov 27
@Tampa Bay
1:00 p.m.
Dec 4
Green Bay
1:00 p.m.
Dec 11
1:00 p.m.
Dec 18
8:30 p.m.
Dec 25
@Green Bay
5:00 p.m.
Jan 1
1:00 p.m.

All I can say is, I know what I want for Christmas.

For those of you wondering why I always hype the Bears schedule and never post other teams' schedules despite claiming to be a fan of other Chicago sports, I have this to say...

Chicago Bulls - 82 games per season; that takes quite a bit of time to type or copy/paste into a table. Fugeddaboudit

Chicago Cubs - 162 games per season; that takes even more time. Not likely.

Chicago Blackhawks - hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! Okay, their schedule would be simple enough. Here it is... done.

Chicago White Sox - who?

Tuesday, 12 April 2005: Well, my one fear at work came true today.

We have an office that is actually a converted house and there is a single shared bathroom for all eight of us (eleven including student workers). One toilet and the bathroom has a lock on the door. On occasion, when you need to go to the bathroom, someone may already be using it. So you wait. What I hate is when people close the door to the bathroom after they are done. I'm not a fan of knocking on a bathroom door to see if it's in use. I just like to see that the door is open and go in. So, when the door is closed, I may quietly try turning the knob to see if it's locked. If it doesn't turn, I wait. If it turns, I open and enter.

Today, I did my knob turn technique and it was unlocked, so I opened... slowly. As I pushed the door open, I heard one of our student workers say, "excuse me!" Luckily, I hadn't opened the door enough to actually see inside, but the damage was done nonetheless.


It's a simple enough request, isn't it?

*Soapbox dismounted*

Monday, 11 April 2005: Just when you think the Farrelly Brothers have grown and matured as filmmakers, they do something to let you down.

Before I begin this rant, I have to first say that I'm not a big fan of the Farrellys. The brothers, Peter and Bobby, are responsible for the following films (only in terms of directing): Dumb and Dumber; Kingpin; There's Something About Mary; Me, Myself & Irene; Osmosis Jones; Shallow Hal; Stuck on You; and Fever Pitch. You can tell, as you progress through their film catalog, that their style has improved. Better shot composition, better acting, better writing, the whole shebang. I have actually seen all of their films save for Kingpin and Osmosis Jones and I have noticed this progression in ability.

So, Katie and I went to see Fever Pitch this past weekend. Overall, a very good movie. Girl meets boy who has an obsessive love of the Boston Red Sox. That's it in a nutshell. However, it has a very strong romantic comedy appeal to it. And it is, so far, the only Farrelly Brothers movie that I have actually found myself becoming attached to the two lead characters portrayed by Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. There is a lot of heartfelt emotion, humor, obsession, etc. It all works very well together to boot.

Except for one scene that just bugs me to no end and it involves Fallon, Willie Garson (Sex and the City), a shower, and a razor. It makes no sense, is completely unnecessary (and I'm not a prude; just the opposite, in fact), and completely screws up what is otherwise a great film. Why, after spending an hour and a half building up a great film do they have to inject the Farrelly Factor into the movie. This is the first movie that they've put out that really has a cross-generational appeal as I saw many parents bringing their kids to the theater no doubt expecting a fun baseball movie. And then this.

Just when you think they've taken a step forward...

Oldies: Sunday, April 3 - Saturday, April 9, 2005...

Wednesday, 6 April 2005: It's that time again, folks. And I'll be damned if I'm gonna run a month late two years in a row!

Yes, it's time for the Primetime Kapgar.com Awards.

As most of you know, and others of you will be finding out for the first time, the Kappys (heh heh) are my answer to the Primetime Emmys. Except that the only opinion that truly matters here is mine. So deal with it. This is the fourth year that I have given these awards. And, again, this is really just recognition since statuettes, or any other sort of physical manifestation of the award other than a printout of this page, is well beyond my budgetary allowance.

A few notes:

  • When I say "rookie," I refer only to the fact that a person is new to a show this season regardless of if they've acted on other shows or in films. This can also refer to a brand new show on the air.
  • When I say "veteran," I mean that a particular actor/actress was with the show prior to this season.
  • I reserve the right to declare a tie if the need should arise.

I have the feeling that it may be a bit more obvious, than in past years, what my favorite shows truly are.

Here goes...

Acting/Hosting Awards

  • Best Veteran Actor (Comedy)
    John C. McGinley - Dr. Perry Cox, Scrubs
  • Best Veteran Actress (Comedy)
    Sarah Chalke - Dr. Eliot Reed, Scrubs
  • Best Veteran Actor (Drama)
    Dennis Franz - Det./Sgt. Andy Sipowicz, NYPD Blue
  • Best Veteran Actress (Drama)
    Poppy Montgomery - Special Agent Samantha Spade, Without a Trace
  • Best Rookie Actor (Comedy)
    James Denton - Mike Delfino, Desperate Housewives
  • Best Rookie Actress (Comedy) (tie)
    Teri Hatcher - Susan Mayer, Desperate Housewives, and
    Marcia Cross - Bree Van De Kamp, Desperate Housewives - she scares the bejeezus out of me; not many people can do that
  • Best Rookie Actor (Drama)
    Terry O'Quinn - John Locke, Lost - easily the best character on TV this season
  • Best Rookie Actress (Drama) (tie)
    Evangeline Lilly - Kate Ryan - Lost - you just love her despite her questionable past, and
    Maggie Grace - Shannon Rutherford - Lost - you just love to hate her
  • Best Veteran Kiddie/Teen (Comedy or Drama)
    Angus T. Jones - Jake Harper, Two and a Half Men
  • Best Rookie Kiddie/Teen (Comedy or Drama)
    Shawn Pyfrom - Andrew Van De Kamp, Desperate Housewives - he's a bastard, but he's good at it
  • Best One-Two Punch (Comedy)
    Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer - Charlie and Alan Harper, Two and a Half Men
  • Best One-Two Punch (Drama)
    Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon - Drs. Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, Nip/Tuck
  • Best Cameo Appearance
    Jimmy Smits - Det. Bobby Simone, NYPD Blue - hell, I almost cried during his cameo
  • Best Recurring Guest Star (tie)
    Carlos Bernard - Tony Almeida, 24, and
    Heather Graham - Dr. Molly Clock, Scrubs
  • Best Game Show/Reality Show/Talk Show Host
    Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
  • Most Welcome Return to Prime Time - new category
    Tim Daly - Harlan Judd, Eyes (we missed ya, Joe Hackett - and, damn if you didn't come back in a very cool way)

Show Awards

  • Best Veteran Sitcom
  • Best Rookie Sitcom
    Desperate Housewives - hey, if ABC can have it nominated in the comedy category, then why can't I?
  • Best Veteran Drama (tie)
    24 and Nip/Tuck
  • Best Rookie Drama
  • Best Game Show/Reality Show/Talk Show - new category
    The Amazing Race
  • Best Damn Show on the Tube
  • Coolest Revelation
    What the heck is inside the sphere on Lost - this is being given in anticipation; here's hoping I'm not disappointed by the results
  • Most Overhyped New Show
    Joey - not that it's bad, really; just not as noteworthy as the network and critics made it out to be
  • Best Show I Wish I Watched Last Year
    Nip/Tuck - luckily I caught it on DVD
  • Most Welcome Return to Prime Time - new category
    Family Guy - okay, so it doesn't officially happen until May 1, but I'm loving it!

Other Awards

  • Best Overall Network
    In a shocking turn of events from last season, ABC has jumped up to the head of the pack.
  • Best Sports Show
    Best Damn Sports Show Period
  • Most Gratifying Sports Moment - new category
    Watching the Boston Red Sox come back from three games down to win the ALCS before going on to win the World Series for the first time since 1916
  • Most Painful Sports Moment
    Watching Luther Head miss three three-pointers in a row in Illinois' NCAA title game loss to North Carolina - I don't blame ya, man, but it's painful all the same

You may have noticed that a bunch of categories from last year are not in here this year. That's probably because I couldn't think of anything for them. C'est la vie. There's always next year.

If you have any comments or questions or just want to tell me that I'm full of crap, contact me.

Tuesday, 5 April 2005: Don't mind me if I seem a bit sullen. I'm mourning the Illini loss last night. They had a great year and made it further than any team before them. But it doesn't make it hurt any less.

Monday, 4 April 2005: Three days ago, I posted a link to what I felt was one of the better online April Fool's gags that I'd seen in some time (I'm not linking to it; you can scroll, you lazy mofos). Well, I was just informed that the site is still active, albeit with a new aspect to the gag. Courtesy of Carol ("Miss ShopforSanity"), I found out that there is now a video posted on the site. If you click on my link below, the page will start to load as normal and then a "Transmission Shut Down" screen comes up in its place. If you wait a minute or so, a video of what happened when Sideshow started promoting this gag will load. It's funny as all... well... it's just damn funny. More companies need to have fun like this. I need a job with them.

Sunday, 3 April 2005: I found this headline on the Cubs homepage. I'm going to let it speak for itself.

"Solid Wood leads Cubs past Rox"

Oh my dear, sweet Lord.

The only way that could be any worse is if it said "Solid Wood gets his Rox off."

Oldies: Sunday, March 27 - Saturday, April 2, 2005...

Saturday, 2 April 2005: I'm not sure why I had this mental image, but I always thought that Green Bay would be a really large city. I'm not talking Chicago-sized, but something along the lines of Madison or Milwaukee. Imagine my surprise when we finally saw it in daylight today (we got in while it was dark last night and couldn't really see anything) and discovered that there ain't much to it. I don't think there's a building taller than six stories. Naperville has a population almost double that of Green Bay which I found shocking. Every map I've ever looked at made Green Bay appear to be some relatively huge mecca.

For the wedding weekend, we have been staying in a Hilton a couple blocks away from Lambeau Field. Before the wedding, a bunch of us went on a tour of Lambeau this morning and it really was impressive. The tour guide knew his stuff and was very enthusiastic. Heck, I almost bought into his pro-Packers mantra. No... not really.

My little cousin-in-law, Evan, ran into Packer head coach Mike Sherman who signed an autograph for him and posed for a photo. The real kicker of this situation is that Evan was clad in a Bears sweatsuit (with a Cubs hat to top it off). I find that so funny.

The wedding was held at a church a few miles away from our hotel while the reception was at... gads... Brett Favre's Steakhouse located on Brett Favre Pass (yes, that's actually a street name) a block removed from Lombardi Boulevard.

I know that sports fans can become very, shall we say, "enthusiastic." But this was bordering on obsessive-compulsive. Yikes. It was almost scary. Aren't you supposed to wait until a person dies to name a street after them or dedicate a building in their honor? If I were Brett Favre, I don't know if I'd feel honored or scared that someone is gunning to snuff me out.

On a positive note, the wedding was nice and they had plenty of TVs at the reception (it is a bar, after all... what else is there to do in Green Bay but drink?) so we could all indulge in watching the Illini clean up against Louisville. That was a helluva game.

Friday, 1 April 2005: Certain to go down in the annals as one of the greatest toy-related April Fool's pranks ever, Sideshow Toys, renowned for their 1/6 scale action figures (that's roughly 12 inches to those of you not so great with fractions), put up this announcement on their website regarding a new figure they will be releasing and are currently accepting preorders on (I don't know how long they will keep this ad up on the site; it may be only one day or they may keep it up as a record of their April Fool's pranks)...

Here is the accompanying text from the ad...

This replica features Obi-wan's Jedi robe, recreated in 1/4 scale to the finest detail by Greg Mowry. The robe is artfully displayed in the 'death heap' as it appeared at the end of the fateful scene of Vader's triumph over Obi-wan. The robe also features the dusty foot prints of Vader, that were made as he kicked the garment to verify that his kill was final. The replica comes mounted on a base featuring Death Star flooring texture as well as Obi-wan's discarded light saber. Our production team has crafted the base to interlock with our Darth Vader exclusive Premium Format figure base so that Vader can gloat in his triumph.

This Exclusive Obi-wan with the Force Premium Format replica comes with an electronic audio chip of blaster sounds and Luke's cry of despair! [Click here to Listen]

Damn if this isn't funny as hell. I just hope that Sideshow puts up a count of how many people actually try to preorder this figure. I would love to know how many people are gullible enough to believe it.

Thursday, 31 March 2005: This was just too creepy to not mention here. For some time now, I've been trying to find out what has happened to some of my old college friends that I lost touch with. I've tried Googling, I've used the NIU Alumni Association site, etc., with varied results. One of my friends, Laura Westlund, just seemed to have dropped off the face of the Earth. I had been looking into information for her as recently as a couple of months ago.

However, today, I was in Panera Bread and bought a Jones Soda root beer. I picked it up because we had been discussing the company and its marketing strategy in my MBA marketing class. Very unique company in that they allow their customers to dictate the flavors and bottle art. So I picked up my first Jones and started checking out the label. Pretty cool photo of some wooden chairs in someone's yard with trees in the background. The back of the bottle describes how Jones decided to let Panera employees take the photos that would adorn the bottles sold in their restaurants. I started wondering if they put photo credits on the bottle. Sure enough, it was right along the side of the photo. And, in the spirit of this post, the photo was taken by "Laura Westlund of Plainfield, Ill."

Can you get much weirder than that?

Wednesday, 30 March 2005: I took Katie's car in this morning for an oil change and tire rotation in anticipation of our trip into the Third Ring of Hell this weekend (read: Green Bay, Wisconsin). While in the waiting room, I found a February 2005 Redbook magazine sitting on their windowsill that featured Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards on the cover looking happy as all get out and talking about the keys to their "successful marriage."

I'm thinking someone at Redbook missed the memo.

I know that with publication and printing deadlines, it's hard to change something as big as a cover story to coincide with the fact that Denise filed for divorce from Charlie. Actually, I'm betting this issue came out just before the actual filing of the divorce papers. But, still and all the same, I would certainly hate to be the editor in chief (or anybody there right now) sitting in his/her office with their tail between their legs looking at the cover of this magazine. Ouch. That's painful.

Tuesday, 29 March 2005: Today, a new DVD is being released that I kinda want to buy. It's the Pierce Brosnan-Woody Harrelson-Salma Hayek caper flick After the Sunset. It really was an enjoyable flick. Very popcorn, yes, but a lot of fun.

However, my brother in law, Scott, thinks I have ulterior motives in my desire to own the movie. Motives that manifest themselves in the form of Salma Hayek. Apparently, in his mind, the only reason I want to own this movie is because Hayek is "hot" in it. Well, okay, admittedly she looks hotter than I've seen her since Desperado or From Dusk Till Dawn (save for the fangs and vampiric contact lenses). And this certainly makes up for her unibrowed "uglying down" in Frida.

But, no, this is not my primary reason for wanting this movie. It really is fun. My wife got a kick out of his theory and is now subscribing to it as well despite the fact that she liked it even more than I did and wanted to see it a second time while it was still in theaters. Yet, still, I want to own it for Salma.

Man, I can't win for losing. Damn you, Scott.

Monday, 28 March 2005: I'm thinking it doesn't pay to live in the general vicinity of Indonesia these days. A tsunami-inducing earthquake in December. Another earthquake just now. A death toll in the area exceeding the tens of thousands. What does God have against that area? Why not hit Korea with a natural disaster? Or wherever Osama Bin Laden is holed up? They must have really ticked you off, eh?

Sunday, 27 March 2005: Hey Michigan State! I know I was singing your praises back on Friday, but let's not get too carried away, okay? I just wanted you to bump off Duke... not Kentucky, too! I love my Cats. Well, I'm not too terribly upset, I suppose. Illinois is still going strong. That is one definite plus in an otherwise upsetting day. 

Oldies: Sunday, March 20 - Saturday, March 26, 2005...

Saturday, 26 March 2005: Does basketball get any better than tonight's game between Illinois and Arizona? Holy hell, that was a spectacular game and I can't say that I've ever seen a better one be it high school, college, or pro level. Basketball at its finest. Down 15 with 4 minutes to go and the Illini come back to tie it and take it into overtime to win by one point.

One word... WOW.

And I've got a friend who had floor seats for that game. Greg, you bastard.

Friday, 25 March 2005: Michigan State Spartans... you're my heroes.

The Big Green Machine won my eternal gratitude by defeating the loathed Duke Blue Schmucks today and taking away their chances of dominating their way through to the NCAA Championship.

Thank you... thank you... thank you... thank you.


Thursday, 24 March 2005: Let the cross marketing blitz begin!

About a month or so ago, the marketing machine that is Star Wars began to churn its wheels with the first round of Episode III preview figures. I picked up two out of the four. Not bad, but not great.

However, I just spoke with Katie on the phone and her store, Walgreen's, just received one of its first shipments of cross marketed products. They received a shipment of the oversize PEZ dispensers — Yoda, Darth Vader, and C3PO. These are the huge ones that PEZ has been releasing lately that give out entire packs of PEZ candy at a time instead of just the individual pieces of candy. They're running $25 each. The PEZ website calls them PEZ Crystals because part of the unit is transparent so you can see the dispensing mechanism. Not a bad idea. Pretty cool, in fact. But to use that as an impetus to bump the price from $15 for the regular oversize PEZ dispenser to $25 for the PEZ Crystals is not cool at all. More like extortion, but people will likely pay it. It may even be me, or Katie buying me a gift. Who knows? I do love my PEZ dispensers, though.

They also received Light Side/Dark Side packages of M&Ms. According to StarWars.com, "lighter colors around milk chocolate represent the light side-following Jedi, and darker colors with dark chocolate centers represent the dark side-loving Sith." Nice touch.

Wonder what else we'll see. I can't wait. I'm geeking out already.

Wednesday, 23 March 2005: From one of my favorite movies, Office Space...

Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.

Um... "space out"?

Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

I've been so overloaded at work lately that I would kill for any one given workday to be like this. Please, God.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005: I have to give my "Hero of the Day" Award to one very special man, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore. This is the man responsible for saying no to having Terry Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted. Despite pressure from the fact that most of Congress and the President were pushing to save her life, he stood firm and said no.

I'm not being sarcastic. I'm really proud of the guy. 15 years of this woman in a persistent vegetative state and her parents really think she's going to be able to wake up and be happy? If she wakes up at all, she's going to be living with such pervasive brain damage and be in physical and emotional therapy for the rest of her life. What kind of life is that? And you want to subject the daughter you love to this kind of existence? Apparently, only her husband and all kinds of judges that have heard the case and its subsequent appeals really have any sort of true concern for her well being.

Let her die. It's the best thing for her right now. The government should not be getting involved in such legislation anyway. Shouldn't they be more worried about all the troops being killed overseas? Get your priorities straight, ladies and gentlemen. 1,500 U.S. troops dead and the rest over there without an exit plan in place and you're worried about a woman who's been a vegetable for a decade and a half?

Sunday, 20 March 2005: I still didn't get to sleep in today either. Instead, we woke up early to go up to Crystal Lake for breakfast. Gah! When will I get to sleep. Probably not until next weekend. This is terrible.

Well, our other reason for heading up there was because this was the weekend for the Adams Family Easter Celebration. No, I did not take any photos this year. I felt like I'd been carrying around the camera long enough as it was.

Even though I was a bit grumpy from lack of sleep, we still had fun. I even took part in the Easter Egg Hunt with Katie. Some of the normal participants were sick with the flu so we had a ton of eggs to find and not nearly as many people as usual to find them. So, despite us being the ones who hid them all, Katie and I collected as well.

Oldies: Sunday, March 13 - Saturday, March 19, 2005...

Saturday, 19 March 2005: Despite wanting sleep more than anything, I had to wake up for class this morning. I don't like this whole Saturday class doohickey. It's really cutting into my beauty sleep. And, if you know me, you know I need as much beauty sleep as possible. Heh.

Friday, 18 March 2005: The part I always dread about a vacation... going home. I don't like it. I wanna stay. Or catch a different flight to some other place instead. Anywhere but home. I love our townhome, but returning to it means we must further endure the cold weather and going back to work. Hell, I'd rather be in Boise than at work.

We had a stopover in Pittsburgh which was not nearly as impressive an airport as Charlotte, but they did have a Lids hat store, so Katie and I purchased a Pirates hat (me) and a Red Sox hat (her). The salesman was really cool and was impressed by the fact I was already wearing a Red Sox hat and that Katie was buying one. Guess it helped that he was wearing one as well, eh? Well, he's a big Pittsburgh and Boston fan so we were able to talk sports with the guy for nearly a half hour while trying on hats. And, no, it was not just a two-way conversation between him and me as Katie can talk sports with the best of them.

When we got back to Illinois, Katie's dad picked us up and we ran out to Woodfield Mall to pick up a gift for her brother Steven's birthday. Then we made our way back to Geneva and had dinner at our fave pub Old Towne. It was our first time partaking in their fish and chips and they were well worth the wait. When we finally got back to our home, we just crashed. And hard. Sleep, beautiful sleep.

Thursday, 17 March 2005: It was raining yet again today (I must've jinxed us by talking about how perfect it was on the first day), so we went on a tour with Nano. She showed us this new town called The Villages which is a retirement community that is actually its own city. It started as two trailer homes in 1981 and is now well over 150,000 people and still growing. The city is just like Naperville, IL, in that it seems to swallow up more and more surrounding land and won't be sated until it runs out of places to grow. And I think both will still find a way to grow despite this minor speedbump.

It's kind of a weird place. Nearly a dozen golf courses and little "town squares" littered throughout that serve as shopping centers. They try to make them all look like port towns with faux piers and lighthouses and the like scattered around the squares and the shops are very high end. All we could really afford to do was catch a movie, so we saw The Aviator. Damn fine flick and one of Martin Scorsese's best in my opinion. And, if this were released in any other year than the same one that Ray came out, Leonardo DiCaprio would have run away with the Best Actor Oscar, no question.

That night was dedicated to a our last vacation dinner with Nano and more card playing and talking. Good times.

Wednesday, 16 March 2005: Katie and I woke up today fully intending to go to Clearwater and hang out on the beach. So we woke up early and snuck into the living room to turn on the TV and check out the Weather Channel. There wasn't a single spot on their map of Florida that was immune to the little thunderstorm icon. Even the Gulf was becoming a bit oversaturated. Yeah, so much for the beach.

So we started to do some homework. Yes, despite being on vacation, we both had homework to do. Heck, Katie had to work on a take-home test that is due this coming Tuesday. Sick and wrong, I know. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

When Nano finally woke up, we went out to do some shopping and pick up the photos of our townhome that we took to show her the new place (and, yes, these photos are now posted). We came home and went for a walk around the Country Club where she lives and she took us out to this lake at the end of her street which is very popular with fishermen including Pop Pop. Apparently, on an island across this thin strip of a canal, there is a fourteen-foot alligator. Few people have actually seen it because it prefers to hide. I found it. I could only really see the trunk of its body at first, but, as I moved around, I could see its legs and its tail slithering up and over some tree roots.

On our way home, it began to sprinkle again. As soon as we set foot on Nano's front porch, it downpoured. And it really never let up the rest of the night. So much for the "ideal" weather, eh?

That night we just talked and played cards and dominos for hours. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 15 March 2005: Today was Katie's and my day to visit Universal Studios. Katie has been there before, but it's been a while. And I've only been to Universal Hollywood. Well, we bought the Express Pass that they now offer and, let me tell you, it was worth the extra $20 per ticket. We skipped past all the lines on all the major rides (except Shrek 4D which doesn't allow use of the Express Pass presumably because it's brand new) and saved so much time. We had all the major rides and exhibits done by 1:30 and we got there at 10:30. We did the E.T. ride, Back to the Future, T2 in 3D (blech), The Mummy, Twister, Men In Black: Alien Attack, Jaws, Earthquake, and even had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe all in three hours' time. Pretty nice.

While we were there, we called our friends Chris ("Mojo") and Gabriela who live in Orlando and they agreed to meet us out on the Universal City Walk at 7:30 for drinks and dinner. So we took in some more of the sights, went shopping, and rode The Mummy one more time (it was that good). When all that was said and done, it was still only 4:30. so we went to see Robots. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. Cute, I suppose. But it just goes to show that any animation studio out there pales in comparison to Pixar in terms of having quality animation and scripting. Pixar can do no wrong.

When we came out of the theater, it was pouring rain. And I mean pouring. We bought a golf umbrella at Margaritaville (works out nice since I need a new umbrella for my golf bag) and waited for Chris and Gabriela. When they arrived, I was relieved to see that Chris' hairline has receded a little bit as well. Sweet vindication is mine! Seriously, though, we went to Pat O'Briens for dinner and had to contend with the overpoweringly loud piano playing of two wannabes who kept belting out popular piano tunes and making us long for sweet silence. Afterwards, we went to City Jazz and watched Herb Williams and his band play. They were much better.

We didn't get back to Nano's place until nearly midnight and she was still awake. Night owls.

Monday, 14 March 2005: Today, we had no idea what to do. So Nano (my grandmother as I've always referred to her) suggested we go to the flea market with her. This is something my family does almost everytime we go down to Florida. Sometimes you find some good stuff, sometimes you find nothing but crap. Perhaps I've become a bit more discerning in my (relatively) old age, but it all seemed like crap. Nano warned us. But we still had fun.

And a tip for any law enforcement officers out there... if you want to make a big bust, go to these flea markets. You'd be amazed how many copyright violations I saw on sale there. Copies of Diary of a Mad Black Woman and The Pacifier available on DVD already? I don't think so. They've only been in theaters a couple weeks each. There were many others as well.

Oh, and it started raining on the way there. Let up while we were there. And then picked up again towards the end of our visit.

After the flea market, we went to the Florida National Cemetery where Pop Pop (my grandfather as I've always referred to him) is buried. Like any National Cemetery, it's absolutely stunning in terms of how it looks, how it's laid out, and how it's maintained. I find it difficult to get weepy in National Cemeteries. I dunno if it has something to do with the feeling of national pride you get from seeing all these veterans in one place or maybe it's just because I become overwhelmed by the aesthetic beauty of the place. I've always loved the symmetry of how the headstones are laid out. All in perfect rows no matter which direction you look in. Of course I took some pictures. Go fig. Me on a vacation without a camera? Yeah, right.

Thankfully it didn't rain while we were at the Cemetery.

Sunday, 13 March 2005: If it weren't for the fact that we were leaving for Florida today, I'd be bitching and moaning about the fact that I'm not being given the opportunity to sleep in on my one and only day that I have available just for that purpose. Early flights, bah!

Our flight for Florida departed at 10 a.m. today out of O'Hare Airport and we had a stopover in Charlotte, N.C. One heckuva stopover, too. Nearly three hours. Thankfully, Charlotte International Airport is gorgeous inside. Yeah, I said "gorgeous" and "Airport" in the same breath, and meant it. When did airports become shopping malls? I can find more stuff here than at Charlestown Mall. It's great! I love it!

When we finally got to Orlando, we got our rental car (a fully loaded Ford Taurus... hey! Don't laugh. It's a pretty nice car) and drove our way up to Wildwood. It's a drive we should be familiar with by now, but it still seems so foreign. It's amazing how much an area can change in such a short time. But we did get there and with little to no problems.

Man, did we pick the right time of year to come down here. This is my kind of weather. Sunny, slight breeze, low humidity, mid 70s temperatures. This is the life. And we get to visit Nano. We've missed her.

Oldies: Sunday, March 6 - Saturday, March 12, 2005...

Saturday, 12 March 2005: Sad to say, but you won't see any updates on here for a little over a week. Katie and I are leaving for sunnier climes tomorrow. Yep, Florida, here we come. Don't worry, once we get back, I will update each day in between with what happened on that day so, eventually, it will look like I never missed an update. 'Til then, though...

Friday, 11 March 2005: I seem to recall a time when, if the big three gas stations (Shell, Mobil, and BP Amoco) were really overpriced, we car owners could hit up a certain lower-priced gas station known as Speedway.

My question is, what the hell happened to Speedway? For the last two years, they have been just as expensive, if not moreso, than the big chains. When and why did this happen? I don't even consider the local Speedway as a viable fueling source anymore because it is consistently more expensive than the other stations. I refuel regularly at BP Amoco these days.

The other thing that I've noticed is that Speedway is very quick to jump the gun on fuel price increases. They usually bump their prices up over the smallest thing that their corporate headquarters feel will result in a crude oil increase from OPEC nations. A U.S. contractor is kidnapped in Iraq, gas prices go up. A U.S. soldier is shot in Iraq, gas prices go up. Bush says something stupid about the Middle East, gas prices go up. And not just some piddly little increase either. I remember one time they increased the price 25 cents per gallon in one hour's time. Then, by the end of the day, it settled back down to a level where it was only 10 cents higher per gallon. However, the other three stations didn't budge their prices at all. It's pretty ridiculous.

Go BP.

Thursday, 10 March 2005: Ah, more good news for us TV buffs. And this one I regard even higher than my previous coo-worthy announcement for American Choppers.

It is ABC's Lost. And I love this show with a passion.

It's been years since a TV show attracted as wide a cult following and elicited more fan speculation as to what is truly going on as this show. In fact, I think the last show to do so was probably The X-Files. However, I don't think X ever had as wide ranging a viewership as Lost. This show truly has it all and keeps you wanting more.

And the complete first season will be released on DVD on September 6. I'm all over it.

For those of you into some of ABC's new shows this season, Desperate Housewives, season 1, is coming out two weeks later on September 20. That'll be a rent and rip for me. Lost is a purchase.

Tuesday, 8 March 2005: It's the time of the year (well, one of two) in which my allergies start to flare up a bit. My prescription of Flonase has come pretty close to running out, so I asked Katie to refill it for me. Great having a pharmacy technician for a wife, but that's another story.

When I got home tonight from the gym, I asked if she had refilled it. She said she did, but forgot to pick it up. No big deal. I just wanted to check because I had gotten e-mail confirmation from Walgreen's that the refill had been completed.

Then Katie tells me that "$43 later, your allergies will be better" or something to that degree.

Forty-three dollars!?!? My Flonase has never cost more than $25 in the past! Then Katie reveals that Blue Cross/Blue Shield is on some three-tiered prescription plan now and that this one is part of the upper tier. Flonase, without insurance, costs about $80 per bottle. How long until insurance coverage brings the cost up to the same as the friggin' cost without coverage?

Geez. I know we're still saving money, but it has gotten so much worse in recent years and exponentially so. This is painful. I need an aspirin. How much will that cost via insurance?

Monday, 7 March 2005: After a few months of looking at some horribly generic cover art accompanying the advertising for the new Harry Potter book (to be entitled "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") scheduled for release in July, the actual cover art has finally been revealed. And it's pretty cool.

It continues the downward spiral trend of cover art into darker territory. And it's very stunningly simple.

So this is book six of seven. It's hard to believe that the series is almost over. J.K. Rowling is really going to have to end it with a bang, that's for sure. Maybe literally.

Oldies: Sunday, February 27 - Saturday, March 5, 2005...

Saturday, 5 March 2005: Well, it's over. Finally. Thankfully. [Insert any other emphatic adverb here]. Yes, that's right, I took my final exam in Managerial Accounting today.

How did I do, you might ask? Let's just say it's over and leave it at that.

Friday, 4 March 2005: I just realized that it has been one helluva long time since I've done an overhaul of the Recommendations box on the right of this screen. Well, today's that day. In addition to the new "Play Me" section that I added yesterday, I'm adding a new movie, new CD, and, well, not-so-new book. It's actually a book I read about six years ago. But I'm still in the midst of reading a book right now and it's taking me an awfully long time simply because I'm not in a reading zone right now. It's a good book, don't get me wrong. But finding the time to actually read has not proven to be an easy task.

So after nearly three months of the same old/same old recommendations in the "Read Me" and the "Watch Me" boxes, you are finally getting something new. Sorry it took so long.

Thursday, 3 March 2005: I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but FOX just saved my a$$. I forgot to tape the episode of The O.C. last week for Katie and I to watch. Just completely forgot to set the VCR. C'est la vie, eh?

Well, in a moment of grace and charity, FOX decided to rebroadcast that episode tonight. Yay!

So, I taped it while Katie and I went to the gym and we came home with what has become our new Thursday night tradition — salads from Applebee's — and watched our show. And all was good.

Before we went to the gym, though, Katie was napping and I decided to finally break out the new GameCube and play it. I am so hooked on Mario Kart: Double Dash. It's going to be a very dangerous thing. Too much fun for it to be entirely healthy.

Hmm... that gives me an idea. I'm gonna add a box for video games over in the Recommendations list.

Tuesday, 1 March 2005: And, since I seem to be on a bit of a tool kick right now, this is the perfect opportunity to announce the perfect gift for the man in your family. On May 10, the Discovery Channel and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be releasing seasons 1 and 2 of their hit show American Chopper on DVD.

This may not seem like such a big deal to all of you considering the fact that, if you watch the show, you are offered the opportunity to purchase the complete seasons on DVD. And this option has been available for some months now. Well get this. The sets offered up at the end of the show run $75 to $100 for the first and second seasons, respectively. That's pretty damn steep in my opinion. These new sets, which will be available wherever you buy DVDs, will each be priced at $29.96.

How can you say no? I can't. Me want. I love this show and would likely watch it regularly considering I still tune in even to the repeat episodes.

For more information about the DVD release, check out TVShowsOnDVD.com.

Or, if you want to just go ahead and order it — and for only $20.97 each set, to boot — check out Amazon.com: Season 1 | Season 2. If you order $25 or more from Amazon (that would be covered by both of these sets), shipping is free. I'm all over this.

Monday, 28 February 2005: Katie and I welcomed a new toy to the family yesterday.

A few weeks ago, Katie decided that she wanted to start a "Tool of the Month" thing for me where I get a new tool, duh, each month. The purpose is so that we can start a good workbench and I can really learn how to use all this crap and get some work done around the house. Yesterday, we made our first purchase. It was a Ryobi starter set that includes a drill, reciprocal saw, circular saw, hand vacuum, flashlight, two rechargeable 18-volt batteries, and a charger. All this comes packaged in one big carry-along kit (why someone would want to actually "carry" it is beyond me as it weighs more than you really want to carry for any extended period of time.

We've already started having fun with this set as we had to rehang the shelves in our office. We decided to shift them all down about five inches because we're using a different unit as a TV stand and it made the old placement of the shelves quite awkward.

I really can't wait to get some more toys and use them to create something really nice. However, since this was a multi-tool kit, I think we may abstain for the next couple months from buying any new ones. But this set more than makes up for it.

Now we just need to tear down the shelving unit in our bedroom and...

Sunday, 27 February 2005: Random thoughts on tonight's Oscar ceremony...

Chris Rock... awesome. I have not laughed that hard ever during the Oscars. I'm glad the Academy stuck to their guns with regard to him hosting. Yes, he was quite vitriolic. No question about it. But would it be Chris Rock otherwise? Katie and I both hope he comes back.

Beyonce... I think there was only one song she didn't sing. But she was great. Even in French.

Sean Penn... I love ya as an actor, man; but lighten up.

Million Dollar Baby... way to go, Clint! And, no, Katie and I still haven't seen it. Aye aye aye.

Best Documentary Feature... no Super Size Me!?!? That was my biggest upset of the night.

Different awarding style for the not-so-prominent awards... definitely necessary. Yes, it may seem like these winners are having the wind sucked out of their sails, but, are the majority of TV viewers watching for them or for the people they know? That's what I thought. This is a TV program and should be treated as such. If you feel like you're being slighted, just talk to the Sci-Tech winners who get nothing more than a three-minute nod to their entire Oscar ceremony. Here's your McFlurry, now keep the line moving.

Laura Linney... what the hell was up with your hair? You looked like Pink on a bad-hair day. Yikes.

Commercials... oddly enough, they were better than Super Bowl ads.

Show length... three hours and ten minutes... not too bad. Isn't it usually about four hours? I like it better this way. I could handle it being even shorter to be honest with you.

My choices... no I didn't really think Thomas Haden Church would win, but if there was to be an upset in any acting category, it would have been that one. The other three acting categories were locks. However, I was right about Director, Actor, Actress, and Supporting Actress. I did terribly in the screenplay category. 0 for 2. I usually do pretty well with these.

Oldies: Sunday, February 20 - Saturday, February 26, 2005...

Friday, 25 February 2005: I think this will be Katie's and my time to catch up on some Oscar-nominated films. I finished watching Maria Full of Grace today and it was good. We also own Ray (we bought it when it first came out), but have yet to watch it. That should change in the next day or two. Last night, we were planning on seeing Million Dollar Baby. Unfortunately, those plans fell through. But we still want to see it and will likely do so in the next day or two. Maybe even on Sunday just before the Oscars start. It wouldn't be the first time we've seen a nominated film on the day of the Oscars. We did it some years ago with.

Thursday, 24 February 2005: Hey Scott, I know you're likely to read this before I have a chance to talk to you. Well, head out to Best Buy and ask for some money back. You just bought your 40GB iPod Photo last week for $450 or whatever it was. I just saw it at Best Buy today marked down to $379 because the 40 Gig is being discontinued in favor of the new 30GB iPod Photo. Run, man, before it's too late.

Girl at Best Buy told me you have two weeks from your date of purchase to try to get money back.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005: In light of what happened to me yesterday, you'd think I would be a bit tentative about trying anything risky with regards to computers, right? Nope. I jumped right in today and completely overhauled the operating system of my baby... my G3 PowerBook Lombard. Not some little OS upgrade either. I jumped from OS 9.2 up to X.3 Panther. I must be suicidal.

I've been wanting to upgrade the OS in this laptop for some time now but have been completely and utterly afraid of whether or not it would work well considering my laptop is only a G3 and a 400MHz processor. I've had many people reassure me that it would be okay and that it might even run faster. Apparently, that's the effect that versions of OSX has on PowerPC Macs regardless of age (okay, maybe not all of them, but mine was supposed to be great with it).

So I took the plunge and finally did it.

It's working great. I'm loving it because now all the Macs I work on are on a pretty level playing field in terms of OS and software. I like it. A lot.

Monday, 21 February 2005: If you are not in the mood for reading a rant, a long, blood-curdling, hate-spewing, seas-of-fire rant from hell, please click here.

For those of you still here, don't say I didn't warn you.

So I get to work today and break out my Cruzer Mini drive (the thumbdrive that contains all the files for this website as well as all my personal and academic files) and pop it in the USB drive of my computer to update this site. Lo and behold, I get a data I/O error, something I've never seen before on my Mac. I try to load it again, same thing. So I try to open files another way and discover that somehow or another, my thumbdrive was corrupted. Nearly half the files on my drive would not read no matter what I tried to do to save them.


There are few things that fill me with more anger than having something computer-based crap out on me and not be able to do a damn thing about it.

I immediately began downloading all the files from the web server that hosts my site back down to my thumbdrive. I figure, at least they're backed up on the server.

But this isn't going to help me at all with my personal and academic files. So I start sifting through and trashing anything that I don't absolutely need. My next step was to attempt to open each and every one of the remaining "necessary" files and see what will and what won't open. Photos were pretty much shot as were any graphics projects I had saved on there. Video files still seemed to work, but they were relatively unnecessary, so I pitched them anyway. Then I broke into all my class files for the MBA program. To my horror, about 75% of them were corrupted and would not open.

I called IT thinking it was just some virus problem and had them install SOPHOS virus protection. To no avail. The files were truly corrupted and I have no choice, really, but to pitch them. Some of the files can be replaced with copies my professors have, but that only covers two out of the six classes I've taken.

I'm still holding on to the corrupted MBA files just in case someone knows a way to fix them. But I also finished cleaning up everything else and burning it to a CD while I reformatted my thumbdrive and then reloaded the files back on there. I finally finished just before 2 o'clock this afternoon.

I am crying and screaming inside simultaneously.

I need a Fukitol. Maximum strength.

Sunday, 20 February 2005: Did anyone else watch tonight's episode of The Simpsons? In order to reestablish Springfield as a tourist friendly town, the townspeople decide to declare themselves a place where gay people can get married legally. When Reverend Lovejoy refuses to perform the ceremonies, Homer becomes ordained via the internet.

It was really a funny and creative episode and it reminded me of my own internet ordaining of several years past. Yep, I am an ordained minister. Of course, it's in the Church of Beer. How a propos, eh? Well, it worked for me. Wonder if any ceremonies I perform would be legally binding? I can think of several people that would likely want to be married in the Church of Beer. Ah, the reception...

Oldies: Sunday, February 13 - Saturday, February 19, 2005...

Saturday, 19 February 2005: I am so proud of my brother-in-law, Scott. He has taken the first step towards completely jumping ship from the Evil Empire of PCs to the Wonderful World of Mac.

Yes, he bought a 40GB iPod today. A beautiful way to start the transformation, indeed. Not only does he have an iPod with 25 more Gigs than mine, but he's got a color screen. It's awe inspiring, let me tell you.

Now, we just need him to go all out and buy a new Mac to replace his Gate's-of-Hell-Way desktop computer.

Thursday, 17 February 2005: Despite this rightfully being Katie's week for gifts (okay, I suppose I'm entitled on Valentine's Day), she bought a gift for me online and it came in the mail yesterday. It's something I've been wanting for a while and, even though Katie has repeatedly told me to buy one, I keep forgetting to go ahead and actually order. So, last night, she presents me with my gift... a T-shirt from CBGB (& OMFUG).

CBGB is a rock n' roll club in New York City (despite the fact that the name stands for Country, BlueGrass and Blues). I have always wanted a shirt from CBGB and have always wanted to see a show in their hallowed hall. That place is one of the most renowned names in rock n' roll. Almost any rock, punk, or underground act that is located on or near the east coast tries to play there. And many from even further away.

I really want to go there desperately. A T-shirt is a very good start. Thanks, hon.

Oh, and she got one for herself as well. While mine is charcoal grey, her's is red. Very cool.

Unfortunately, we have to exchange them both. They are cut pretty small and our normal sizes don't fit either of us. I dropped them in the mail today and hope to have the new ones back in a week or two. I can't wait to start wearing it.

Now, let's hop a flight to NYC.

If anyone out there would like a little more information about CBGB, check out this pretty exhaustive history of the club written by founder and owner Hilly Kristal. The website calls it "brief"; it is anything but.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005: Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday, dear Katie... Happy birthday to you!

This morning, I woke her up with strawberry pancakes and her gift, a sapphire and diamond necklace. Really pretty and it looks good on her. I wanted to get her a necklace with a stone in it that matches some of the stones in her wrap. Of course, she followed up the thank you with, "now I just need the earrings!" This was followed by her goofy, big smile. The kind that says, "I don't really mean it, but if you were to happen to buy me some in the future, I wouldn't be opposed." Guys know how this goes.

Drop Katie a Happy Birthday wish.

Update: I met up with Katie for lunch today at Applebee's and, being the moron that I am, I show up at Chili's. Go fig, eh? Well, when I finally made my way to the proper restaurant, I arranged for the whole sundae and balloon treatment for Katie. When the balloons showed up, she got her typical shade of red, looked at me, and said, "I hate you" in the way that people being embarrassed would say it. Everybody within earshot was laughing. It was great. You could tell she loved it. She may have been cursing and swearing my very existence, but she loved it.

Monday, 14 February 2005: Happy Valentine's Day, hon.

I'm kinda sorry we already exchanged gifts as it doesn't really leave much for today. But, then again, Katie is working tonight so we wouldn't really have had that much time to do anything.

In fact, how did I spend Valentine's Day? After work, I was at the gym for a little over an hour. Then I ran a couple of errands. Next came some more home renovation as I hung a couple shelves in our office as well as the blinds and a valance over the windows. And all this handyman stuff happened during the commercials between segments of 24. Good episode, by the way.

Romantic, eh? Hey, nothin' says lovin' like working around the house, eh?

I'll make breakfast in bed for Katie tomorrow (didn't do it today because this is one of her only chances to sleep in; so I like to let her).

Sunday, 13 February 2005: It has been a while since Katie and I have been to the theater on a regular basis like the good ol' days. This weekend, we took a step towards remedying that situation. On Friday, we saw Hitch and on Sunday, we saw In Good Company. Both were pretty good films and worth the money we spent to get the tickets.

The only real downside was that we saw Hitch in a theater that we generally think of as rather ghetto in comparison to where we normally go. We had no choice because we wanted to see it that night and it was the only local theater with a showtime that worked with our schedule. So we went. And we will never go there again. Horrible sound and picture and it was full of teenaged girls shrieking into our ears from the row behind us. My god, what dirty whores. Heh heh. Couldn't resist.

If you're not catching my reference, read the 11 February entry below.

Oldies: Sunday, February 6 - Saturday, February 12, 2005...

Saturday, 12 February 2005: Yes, I realize that today is not Valentine's Day, but Katie and I decided to exchange gifts anyway. Well, this is the anniversary of our engagement and we were going to order Chinese food (which has become a bit of a tradition around this time of year anyway) and she's going to be working late on Valentine's Day, so why not today? So we did.

I got her a PajamaGram. Really cute blue PJs with moons and stars all over them along with the matching slippers. She loved them. And she says they're extremely comfortable. She got me a Nintendo GameCube. I've been wanting one for a while, but my interest waned until recently. So she got me one. You know it's good when your wife contributes to a video game habit. Not that I have one... not yet anyway. Well, you can blame her when I'm admitted to a twelve-step video game addiction program.

Thanks, hon. I really do love the gift. I just hope you love your gift as much as you say you do.

Friday, 11 February 2005: One of the things I find to be a lot of fun with regard to working in a small, private college is taking the time to walk around the campus and listen to students as they walk by. It's like a pseudo, quasi, adult version of Bill Cosby's "Kids Say the Darnedest Things."

For example, three guys came out of a building near me and were walking by when I heard one of them say (italics refer to the emphasis he placed on his comments), "and then she said to him... and then she said to him... and then she said to him... and it was like." And all his friends started laughing hysterically. No, I did not miss any of his comments. That was exactly what he said. And there were no visual cues given by him that were intended to serve as nonverbal hints as to what message he was attempting to convey. That's all he said. And they laughed. And I thought to myself, "you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons!... you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons!... you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons! What the hell are you laughing at?" All the while laughing hysterically to myself.

I think this is an example of Alpha Male dominance over what I can only assume are referred to as Beta Males. Obviously the Beta Males exist for no other reason than to reaffirm the existence and dominance of the Alpha Males through laughter, grunts of approval, and slaps on the ass reminiscent of watching an episode of Beavis & Butthead. These actions serve to inflate the Alpha Male's bloated ego while concurrently giving the Beta Males a sense of cameraderie and belonging. I really wish it was legal for me to carry a concealed weapon.

On my return sweep through the University quad, I came across a group of four girls leaving a dorm. Two of them walked ahead while two others started talking about where they were going. The one said she was going to the mall. In response, the other said, "I hate you, you bitch! You suck!" Then one of the girls who had leapt to the front of the pack came running back yelling, "you dirty whore! I'm gonna kick you in your babymaker!" To which all four of them started laughing uncontrollably. Good to know we have a campus full of dirty whores. That's definitely something to remember should my brother ever need a date. Maybe I should have gotten some phone numbers for him.

Unfortunately, it's time to return to my bedroom and work on the website again.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005: I just found out today that Burger King is giving away mini Activision handheld video games in their Kids' Meals. They have four of them available each being released in two different console colors. These are complete throwbacks to the old Atari 2600 era Activision games and I think they're fun as hell. But what's even more fun is the website that Burger King has put together to promo the tie in. You gotta check this out. The site is a real gas. Burger King/Activision.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005: Maybe I have a different definition of the word "nondescript." Gimme a second while I check...

Nope. I was right.

According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, the word "nondescript" means one of two things:

1 : belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described

2 : lacking distinctive or interesting qualities

So why, when I ordered Katie's Valentine's Day gift last week, and I expressed concern over it being delivered to our home, did the salesperson assure me that it would arrive in a "nondescript" box? When I went home for lunch with Katie today, the gift was sitting outside our door (Katie was upstairs sick in bed) in anything other than a "nondescript" box. It was a powder blue box covered in white flowers with the name of the company emblazoned on the front and two sides of it. The name of the company, alone, gives away the contents of the package. Luckily, Katie was too sick to answer or go check later on (or so she assured me). But it ticks me off to think that my gift would have been ruined by misinformation. Grrrr...

Monday, 7 February 2005: Ah, a sign that the end of the world is near... or, at the very least, that some severe legal system reform must happen very soon.

A judge in a small-claims court in Colorado has ordered two teenage girls to pay an elderly woman $900 for baking cookies for her. Yes, that's right. They baked her cookies and must now pay her $900 in addition to those culinary delights. Last July, these two girls decided, as a random act of kindness, to bake cookies for several neighbors. They opted to do this instead of going to a dance where they feared they would be drinking and taking part in other acts of malfeasance. So they made little gift packages and adorned them with paper hearts that read "Have a Great Night" and left them on the doorsteps of their neighbors and rang the doorbells and left. Yes, terrible, isn't it?

Well, by the time they got to this woman's house, it was 10:30 at night. The neighbor was so shocked by the bell ringing that she had an anxiety attack. The next day, she took herself to the hospital. The $900 constitutes medical fees and court costs. No punitive damages were awarded.

I'm sorry, but this is the epitome of ridiculousness. These girls were doing something nice for neighbors. How often do teenagers do something nice like this? Roughly never? Does this mean I should be able to sue trick or treaters? No, wait, they don't leave anything for me. They take. Okay, can I sue Santa Claus for invading my house upon a midnight clear on Christmas Eve? It's late. I know I had constant anxiety attacks as a child on Christmas (granted they were more anticipatory in nature). Hmm... should I sue the big guy?

When will the craziness end?

If you really want to read this article, knock yourself out. You gotta read it to believe it.

Sunday, 6 February 2005: The Super Bowl is now over, as is the NFL season (save for next weekend's Pro Bowl game). Sadness is setting in. What the hell am I going to do for my sports fix for the next couple months? I guess I'd better start watching NCAA and NBA basketball. Illinois is doing very well.

Now for a rant on the Super Bowl...

The game was good. It was a close game in which the Philadelphia Eagles looked like they might actually come back and win it all at the very end. They only lost by a field goal. The Patriots just played harder and wanted it more.

I'm really glad that the game was good because everything else about the night sucked. The commercials, which were pretty good last year, were effectively terrible this year. There were a couple of highlights like the parachutists with the Bud Light six pack and one or two others were decent. But those few constitute a mere 2% of the overall commercial broadcast. The rest were horrible. And, it seemed like repeat commercials were constantly being played. I saw that Ford Mustang convertible-in-snow commercial three times and the same with the P Diddy Diet Pepsi commercial. Why so many repeats? Were no companies willing to shill out the money for the commercials? Maybe it's time to reevaluate the cost structure for Super Bowl commercials. Something's gotta be done.

The other bad part was the highly anticipated Simpsons post-game episode. It was terrible. No ending to it whatsoever and the humor was just sorely lacking. The same could be said for the "preview" episode of American Dad. I love Family Guy and this new cartoon was done by the same guy, Seth McFarland, so I was really let down. It will be another few months before new episodes begin airing, so maybe they will take some time to execute some better scripts. I hope.

Oldies: Sunday, January 30 - Saturday, February 5, 2005...

Saturday, 5 February 2005: Being a former toy collector (currently in remission... sorta), there are several things about the state of the current toy industry that tend to tick me off to no end. Things like short shipping — in which a company intentionally limits the numbers of a certain figure, vehicle, etc., that they include in a specific shipment of a series of toys —- really annoy me.

But there is nothing more annoying to me than region or event-exclusive figures... when a special figure is made for a specific event or is only made available in one area of the country (or world) as opposed to another. You see this happening with toy conventions and the like.

Well, McFarlane Toys, which for years has been one of the world's premier toy companies, is releasing a region-specific action figure for their Major League Baseball line that I want like no other. For a majority of my life, I was a diehard New York Yankees fan. We all know that I am no longer a fan because I'm tired of their recruitment tactics and bottomless budget, but I was one. And for one big reason... a certain first baseman named Don Mattiingly. He was a god to me. I collected nearly all his cards, obtained autographed photos, purchased an unofficial comic book biography of the guy, I still wear my warmup jersey emblazoned with his number 23, and even have one of his customized Louisville Slugger bats. Now McFarlane is putting out an exclusive three-inch figurine of him sold only through the Manhattan Toys 'R' Us store. The figure will be made available on Thursday, April 14 and Todd McFarlane, himself, will be on hand to sign the case for the figure from 4-7 p.m.

Okay, I could give a rat's patootie about getting a signed copy from Todd. In fact, if I were to come face to face with the guy, I would tell him off for making this (and others) an exclusive figure. I just want the Donnie. That's all. Just the figure. Is that so much to ask?

I know Don Mattingly was a lifelong Yankee. So it would make sense to sell the figure there. But his fanbase is nationwide. He was a class athlete and, heck, he was from the Midwest (he hails from and still lives in Evansville, Indiana). Expand the availability, Todd. Please. This is just not fair to the rest of the world. And the prices that this exclusive will be demanding on eBay will just be ridiculous.

Anyone want to nab one for me if they happen to be in Manhattan on that date? I'd love you forever and pay you back for the purchase, shipping, etc. Or we could make some sort of in-kind trade? Let me know. Please.

Friday, 4 February 2005: It's Friday, we've all made it through another week. I'm proud of us all. But for those of you still harboring a grudge towards your work week, I've got a little something for you. Print it out and stick it on your bulletin board at work to make you laugh anytime you're a little P.O.'d.

How do I invest in this pharmaceutical company? It's sure to be a hit.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005: I know it's been a while since I've written a music review. Actually, I've only written one — Van Halen's "Best of Both Worlds" set. But it was, in my humble opinion, a pretty good one. Very detailed and, I hope, very informative. Well, I'm gonna tackle a second one pretty soon. I picked up Motley Crue's "Red, White and Crue" two-disc hits collection yesterday and I feel compelled to review it. Why not? It's a damn fine set so far and I could have some fun reviewing it. So keep an eye peeled.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005: I find it so funny what results turn up from Web search engines that only seek out keywords. Back in my January 3 post, I'm ranting about Paris Hilton and I make an offhand comment about Nicole Ritchie. Suddenly, I'm the number two site listed on MSN's search engine for people trying to find information on Nicole Richie. I've gotten several dozen hits because of it.

I could have developed an online reputation for having a quality blog or be known for my movie or book reviews. Instead, I've become a haven for those trying to get a Nicole Richie fix. Gee, just what I aimed for in my creation and maintenance of this little cyberspatial refuge.

I should just shut this entire site down now. Kill it. Dead.

Sunday, 30 January 2005: Katie and I decided that we'd spend this weekend starting some of our home renovation projects. Yep, we can actually do work on our place now and it's a nice thing... I think.

Our first couple of projects entail two of our bathrooms and the office. We're painting the walls in the office (three will be a dark beige and the fourth will be a red accent wall). We are also painting the walls in our upstairs guest bathroom (what we have dubbed the "outdoors bathroom") and we are putting new lighting fixtures in the outdoors bathroom and the downstairs half bath.

It's proving to be interesting. I've never painted or done wiring before, but I'm learning on the fly and learning pretty quickly at that. It's actually kinda fun. And, tearing apart what the people before us have done has taught me what not to do when decorating a house. My God, these people were pretty damned clueless. I learned many lessons and I'd like to share them with you now...

1. Screws work better in drywall with anchors:
These people would drive screws into drywall with no anchors whatsoever; and, when they did use anchors, they were the wrong size so you could just pull the screw right out.

2. Paint is not an anchor:
Yes, they also would use paint to seal things to the wall. Literally. Paint was a mounting bracket to them. Yikes. When they repainted the place, they would paint around stuff that was mounted on the wall in lieu of actually removing it and painting the wall behind it. This translates to us having to chip shelves off the walls and then sand down the edges created by layers of paint. It's really sad.

3. Gravity is not an anchor, either:
Yet another problem, they never fastened any shelves down to their braces. The braces would be on the walls and the shelves would just be sitting on the braces. That's it. Gravity was serving as an anchor. This was the case in the garage, the laundry room, the front entrance, and even in their children's room (our office). I'm shocked there were no accidents regarding falling shelves. And what made it even worse was that the shelf braces were not even securely attached. Either a case of one screw per brace so that you could physically swivel it on an axis or a case of wall mounting of a brace without anchors.

These people had some really nice decorating ideas, but some severely piss-poor execution.

Okay, I'm over it.

No, not really.

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.

Oldies: Sunday, December 19 - Saturday, December 25, 2004...

Wednesday, 22 December 2004: Last night was the first night we spent in the new house. Why didn't we spend Monday night as well, you might ask? Well, the movers coming in yesterday and moving all our furniture (bed included) did play a slightly big part in it.

It was very weird. Even with all the furniture, it still sounds hollow in here. Our master bedroom and living room are even bigger than we thought they were. When we first looked at the place, the rooms didn't seem quite as big as we would have thought. Now all the furniture is in place and we can view it in more relative terms. And it is a lot bigger. We've got space in our bedroom we never thought we would have. That or our bed shrank during the move. Six of one...

I can't wait to get some stuff up on the walls. They desperately need a little love. And maybe this will help eliminate the sound reverberation. We shall see.

Monday, 20 December 2004: There is nothing quite so nerve-wracking as closing on a new home. Well, nothing quite so nerve wracking in my limited experience. I haven't slept more than a couple of hours in the last two days just mentally pacing back and forth wondering what to expect. My head is on overload. My stomach isn't very fond of me right now as both it and my heart are doing synchronized somersaults.

In retrospect, I guess it could have been worse. It only took an hour and I was told some closings have gone on as long as six or eight hours. I think I would have curled up in a pretzel on the floor if I had been in there that long.

Well, congratulate us. Katie and I are now property-tax paying citizens of this great nation.

...And there was much rejoicing... yay.

Oldies: Sunday, December 12 - Saturday, December 18, 2004...

Thursday, 16 December 2004: Some interesting business news today (or yesterday if you so choose to look at it that way)...

The deal to bring the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C., next year and rename them the Washington Nationals may have just gone south. The deal was for the Nationals to play at RFK Stadium until a new stadium is completed in time for the 2008 season. This stadium, according to reports, was supposed to be funded publicly by D.C. Now D.C. lawmakers are telling the owners of the Expos/Nationals (the "owner", in this case, is Major League Baseball) that the deal must include private funding. I'm not sure what percentage they are claiming must be privately funded, but it has raised the ire of the MLB who are now threatening to not move to D.C. The question now is where would they move? I don't think they can go back to Montreal and it's not exactly an easy task to just up and move a baseball team and have enough support in place in time for the start of next season in April. Heck, season tickets will be going on sale soon if they haven't already. This will be interesting.

My other newsbit is that Blockbuster Video has announced they are eliminating late fees so they can compete with online DVD rental services like Netflix and Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart) that already don't charge late fees. However, before you go rushing out to your local Ballbuster, please realize that there are some caveats to this new policy. Schlockbuster will still set due dates. However, there will be a one-week grace period from that date until they come after your butt. After that grace period ends, they will charge the full amount of the DVD onto the credit card that they have on file. The price charged will be determined by the lowest price that they charge in store for a new copy of the movie. And we all know that Blockheads are notorious for overcharging for new movies. However, you will still be allowed to return the DVD after you have been assessed this charge. The cost will be refunded to your credit card less a $1.25 restocking fee. So, when all is said and done, your credit card will show a big DVD charge, a refund of that amount, and then a $1.25 charge to Block-o's. If you are a chronically late movie returner, your credit card company is just gonna love you.

All I know is that I'm still quite happy with Netflix. I'll stay there, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 15 December 2004: I guess I really shouldn't expect much less from the state of Florida, given their inability to vote and whatnot. But, apparently there are reports of hospitals down there having minor bouts of confusion with the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong Foundation yellow cancer bracelets. In hospitals, a yellow bracelet on a patient signifies "Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)" or, for the layman, if you're teetering on the verge of death, doctors are not supposed to bring you back to life. Some doctors are confusing the LiveStrong bracelets for the DNR bracelets. Dunno for sure if they have allowed people to die or not as a result, but they have hired people in some hospitals whose only role is to distinguish if a patient is wearing a LiveStrong bracelet and cover it with tape so as not to confuse the doctors.

In the words of Cleveland from The Family Guy, "Now you're just bein' silly."

Tuesday, 14 December 2004: The one thing that sucks about moving next week is that it comes right on the heels of our final exams. Katie's exam is tonight for her organic chemistry class (good luck, hon; I know you'll do great). But my final exam is this Saturday and I do want to get some studying done. This, of course, limits me in terms of time to pack up the apartment. We got a lot of it done a couple weekends ago and we've each been packing up a little bit here and there throughout the week as we find time. I finished up several boxes last night and I plan to get a little more done each night until there is no more (will it ever end?). Katie will be packing during the week as well.

Of course, this Saturday is also her family's Christmas party and we'll be heading up to McHenry pretty soon after I wrap up my test. Then Katie is working on Sunday so that she can have off on Monday for the closing. So I'll be packing up the rest of what I can as well as going to the final walk through of the new townhouse. It's going to be a pretty hectic weekend. Thankfully we got a bunch of the packing done already. Now we just need to wrap up what's left and pray we don't forget anything.

So let's recap:

  • Tuesday: Katie works during the day and has her final exam at night; Kevin works during the day and will pack at night
  • Wednesday: Katie will pack during the day and works the closing shift at Walgreen's; Kevin works during the day and the closing shift at the gym
  • Thursday: Katie and Kevin both work during the day and will pack at night
  • Friday: Katie and Kevin both work during the day and both have the closing shift at the gym that night
  • Saturday: My final exam in the morning while Katie packs and then we're both off to McHenry for the Christmas party
  • Sunday: Katie works all day and Kevin will pack except during the final walk through at noon; both will pack at night
  • Monday: the big day.

Moving sucks.

Monday, 13 December 2004: Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death. Surprise? Hardly. Will it stick? Who the hell knows in this day and age. The only thing I know for certain is that the state of California is destined for a decade plus of appeals as well as jailing costs for this bastard before they finally do kill him. If that even happens.

Just fry him. And I don't mean the Amber variety, either.

Sorry, bad joke.

Sunday, 12 December 2004: After two months of flopping back and forth between no facial hair, a beard, or something in the middle, I have actually gone back and shaved down to my old goateed look. But, for all I know, this isn't likely to stick around long either. Now that I know what I look like without my goatee and that I can actually tolerate my baby-faced cuteness (hack!), I will be more likely to shave it off again. We shall see. Hey, I've got little to no hair on the top of my head; so I may as well have fun playing around with the look of the hair that actually will grow.

Oldies: Sunday, December 5 - Saturday, December 11, 2004...

Saturday, 11 December 2004: I feel like Katie and I hardly have a chance to go out and see any movies anymore. It seems like the opportunity for the two of us to escape our reality and enter the surreal existence of Hollywood characters has been a bit stymied. Could be the fact that we each have a job and a half as well as being part-time students. Or maybe it's just the fact that so many movies being released these days look like pieces of celluloid tripe. Ah, six of one...

However, when we do get our chance to get to theater in recent months, we have done so in style. Usually a couple movies at a tiime. This weekend it was Ocean's Twelve and Spanglish. Both of which we've been wanting to see for a while. Unfortunately, we left Ocean's Twelve a bit deflated considering our expectations going in. Spanglish more than made up for it, though. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend seeing it.

Friday, 10 December 2004: I just had to share this, Katie has an uncanny ability to figure out endings to TV shows and movies well before they happen. When we went to see The Sixth Sense the first time, she announced "he (Bruce Willis) is dead" about 10 minutes in and we both spent the rest of the movie piecing it all together to see if her hypothesis was supported.

It was.

Last night, we were watching The O.C. (which, by the way, has gotten better since my recap a couple of weeks ago. Not as good as last season, but better than the earlier episodes from this season), and Katie pieced together the surprise twist at the end of the episode after about 15 minutes. Not that it shouldn't have been obvious as daylight, but I just try to sit there with very little discernible brain functioning while I watch the show. I find it makes the show that much better (I assume that people who enjoy daytime soap operas must act in a very similar manner but stepped up another notch or two or three). So, figuring out what's going to happen is not much of an option.

Lo and behold, she was right again.

And, admittedly, it was a nice twist.

Thursday, 9 December 2004: I won't lie and say that I was a huge Pantera or Damageplan fan. But I was floored all the same this morning when I heard that the lead guitarist for those bands, Dimebag Darrell (Darrell Abbott), was shot dead on stage at the beginning of a Damageplan concert last night in Columbus, Ohio.

My friend Wiggy and I saw Dimebag, then known as "Diamond Darrell," perform with Pantera on the Vulgar Display of Power tour in 1993 at the Aragon Ballroom. It was a great show and Darrell showed why he was so highly regarded in guitar circles. The man could shred like few others I've heard.

I think the person I feel most sorry for in this whole situation is Darrell's brother Vinnie Paul (Vincent Abbott) who was the drummer for Pantera and Damageplan and was on stage performing as well when he was shot. To be sitting there and see your brother shot dead right in front of your eyes. I doubt there was anything Vinnie could reasonably do to stop it, but you know that he's going to beat himself up mentally wondering how he could have saved his brother's life. That's gonna be tough. It's something I hope I never have to endure. But it's unwarranted guilt and self blame. There was nothing you could do, Vinnie.

RIP Darrell. You will be missed.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004: Katie wanted me to add on the site that, on my birthday, she made me breakfast in bed. She decided to try to make one of my favorite meals as a surprise. So she comes walking in with a plate of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese along with birthday candles stuck in between a hot dog and its bun.

Okay, so it's not your typical birthday meal and it's a far from typical breakfast. But I loved it all the same. I just wish I had taken a picture of the hot dog with the candles. Quite amusing. And yummy.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004: Good news on the Cubbie front... shortstop Nomar Garciaparra has been resigned to a one year/$8 million (plus incentives) contract while second baseman Todd Walker has been resigned to a one year/$2.5 million contract with an option for 2006. Very nice. And arbitration has been offered to outfielder Todd Hollandsworth and starting pitcher Matt Clement. I would like to see both return and I'm happy to see that the Cubs are willing to work out the contract differences. Here's hoping.

Welcome back Todd and Nomar. We're happy to have you both back on board.

Monday, 6 December 2004: Some good news came in yesterday via our realtor. Well, it's good news so long as everything works out. But anyway, the realtor selling the townhome to us let us know that the sellers are willing to move up the closing date to Monday, December 20. That would give us three more days to get stuff moved in before Christmas hits and also makes it easier to schedule movers to take care of our God-awful amount of furniture. Pending our loan being secured in time, the move in on the 20th should work out just fine. We are willing, they are willing, why not go for it, right?

Sunday, 5 December 2004: So how did I celebrate my birthday? Doing exactly what I wanted to do... nothing.

I know, I know. I've heard it several times at work... "how can you not want to celebrate a milestone like your 30th birthday?" Well, let me tell you, I just don't care about my birthday. It's just another day and I don't care much for making a big deal about it. Katie and I went out to dinner with my parents last weekend (joint celebration for my brother and me) and we went out with her parents this weekend. I don't mind just having a few people around and going out to dinner so long as the focus is not on my birthday. I don't want big parties. I don't want a lot of people around. That's just not me.

Maybe it stems back to my 25th birthday when I got so blitzed that I don't remember much of it other than the subsequent guilt over the fact that Katie had to nurse me back to health while suffering through her own pre-existing 102-degree fever. I dunno.

But Katie did get me some nice stuff as a gift. She got me a new connector so I can hardwire our iPods to our home stereo, Volume 2 of The Family Guy on DVD, and a beautiful new Fossil watch. I love them all, Katie. Thanks. 

Oldies: Sunday, November 28 - Saturday, December 4, 2004...

Wednesday, 1 December 2004: Okay, now that enough of the family members know, it's time to make the news available to the rest of the world... Katie and I are moving.

No, we're not moving all that far from where we live now. In fact, believe it or not considering the cost of living, we actually managed to be able to stay in Geneva. I think our new place is all of a mile and a half or two miles, tops, from where we live now. It's a cool 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath townhome just south of Delnor Hospital.

We will be closing on the townhome on December 23 and hope to be moved in right afterwards. And it all works out so beautifully considering our lease runs out on December 28. I don't know how we could have possibly timed that one out any better than we did. Yes, it means we have to move around Christmas, but we're cool with that. We weren't planning on going anywhere anyway. So we're just inviting our families to our place on Christmas Eve for a move-in party.

Here are some of the photos of our townhome from the realtor's website (okay, so I stole the photos!)...

Ah, "the Apgars of Caldwell Lane" has a nice ring to it, don't you think? The funny thing is that one of the things that we are most stoked about regarding this townhouse is the fact that we have a two-car garage. Ah the simple things in life.

The stairwell to the second floor. The living room is off to the left and the kitchen is on the other side of the wall with the mirror on it. Once you get up the stairs, you can look down onto the living room.

What this picture fails to capture is just how high the ceiling in this room really is. It goes well beyond the window you see there (and only half of that top window is actually showing, if that).

Nice, big kitchen. Just the way Katie and I like it. The door on the right of the picture is a closet that the current owners are using as a utility closet and pantry. It wraps all the way back under the stairs.

Yeah, kind of a boring picture, I know. The doorway to the right leads into the hallway and the second bedroom. The door on the left is our bathroom. There is another door even further to the left which is the walk-in closet. Behind the photographer is the built-in shelving unit and window seat.

A rather misleading photo to be honest as it was shot looking down all the yards in the unit. There are four townhouses in this particular unit. We are #2 as you face the building.

Yes, our townhome is featured prominently in our forthcoming Christmas cards as will be our new contact information. If we love you enough, you will get one in the mail sometime before the next holiday season (ha ha).

Tuesday, 30 November 2004: I'm just not understanding the logic in this decision.

Yesterday, the Chicago Bears signed veteran quarterback Jeff George as a backup to Chad Hutchinson. It's not the decision to get a backup that confuses me. Lord knows we need backups at QB considering we have two down for the season now. But why would we sign a guy who retired from the league in 2002 and hasn't played in a pro game since 2001? Are we just begging for that final nail in the coffin?

Whose bright idea was this one?

Monday, 29 November 2004: The fact that my brother turned 26 today can only mean one thing... six more days until I'm 30.

Oh Christ, we are both getting so old.

Well, happy birthday anyway, bro. Old man.

Oldies: Sunday, November 21 - Saturday, November 27, 2004...

Thursday, 25 November 2004: This post will be a little early so you all can read it before you chow down on turkey and stuffing.

Have a happy tryptophan-laced holiday. Just keep a pillow near your seat so you can crash after you eat.

Wednesday, 24 November 2004: Well, the shameless self promotion continues for Oprah Winfrey. She just gave away something like $15,000 worth of goods to each audience member as part of her "Oprah's Favorite Things" segment. This time, the gifts included TVs, washers, dryers, laptop computers, and so much more given to a group of teachers. Not that teachers don't deserve it. I'm glad she chose teachers to reward. I love the education field and respect teachers entirely. But this is just another example of Oprah trying to salvage her ratings by spending freely on the audience and not doing what a daytime talkshow host should do, which is talk about issues and interview guests.

In my honest opinion, buying your ratings is absolutely abhorrent.

Tuesday, 23 November 2004: Maybe it's just me, but I find it kinda funny to look in the "Recent Updates" box and see two movies listed with the titles After the Sunset and Before Sunset. And even weirder to think that the two films are not related in any way whatsoever.

Okay, just my weird sense of humor, apparently.

Monday, 22 November 2004: We are now a few months in to the new TV season (with some minor exceptions) and I feel now is a pretty good time to give a review of the shows Katie and I have been watching thus far.

Simpsons: I don't know how, but this show is still funny going in to its 16th season.

Malcolm in the Middle: It has improved markedly since last season. It seems to be returning to its old dysfunctional ways.

Arrested Development: While, admittedly, only three episodes have aired so far this season, it hasn't been nearly as impressive as it was last season. I can't quite explain it, but the vibe just isn't there.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: Has improved a lot since last year. The notoriety is there with the show so many more people are willing to help out the crew as needed and it makes for even more impressive transformations than last season. Plus, so far, they haven't strayed too far from the original cast. Trading Spaces is dead.

Desperate Housewives: In all honesty, I wasn't really too sure I wanted to watch this based solely on the previews and teasers that ABC aired leading up to the debut episode. But I'm glad I tuned in. This is such a horribly guilty pleasure. I can't turn it off, nor do I want to.

Crossing Jordan: Yep, this one is dead. Katie and I have pretty much given up on it.

7th Heaven: Katie still watches it despite admitting that it has been very subpar for the last three or four seasons.

Two and a Half Men: It still cracks us both up to no end. The cast is still good and the kid who plays Jake is becoming more natural in his acting.

CSI: Miami: Still my favorite of the CSI bunch even with the killing off of "Speed." And is it just me or did the creators find the twin of the guy who plays Greg in the Vegas version to take Speed's place? Very similar looking actors.

The Biggest Loser: Yes, Katie and I have been tuning in to this latest in an unending string of reality shows. Can't explain why. We just do. Car wreck TV at its best.

Scrubs: It's still great. I love it. 'Nuff said.

NYPD Blue: Some new casting changes have been interesting. Not sure what I think yet of the two new regulars. But I was surprised with how good the Bobby Simone dream sequence was a couple weeks back.

Lost: This rookie drama is in a close tie with Housewives to be my favorite new show. I was leaning more towards Housewives for a little bit, but then the focus moved from the "monster" and more to just sheer survival and it's much better as a result. It's not too late to tune in.

CSI: NY: This show is very painfully slow. The pace is a far cry from the other two CSI installments. But I will continue to give it the benefit of the doubt if only because it has Gary Sinise in it.

Survivor: I think the show peaked with the All Stars edition last season. Now, I just cannot relate to anyone nor do I have any desire to do so. Katie and I stopped watching a little over a month ago.

Joey: Not nearly as good as the critics were hyping it to be in the preseason. But it has its moments. Fewer and further between than Friends, but we're still giving it the benefit of the doubt. Just so long as they keep Joey's manager (Jennifer Coolidge) out of the storylines, I'm happy. So we'll see.

Will and Grace: Honestly, I could care less about this show anymore. Too much of the same old/same old.

The O.C.: Although it's only a few episodes in, the writers need to give it a shot in the arm. This past episode with Seth (Adam Brody) working at a music club was painfully labored and not particularly interesting. But it's still early.

CSI: Still watchable by all standards. But it feels like this show gets the hand-me-down scripts from Miami. And why aren't they pushing forward with this whole Catherine/Warrick bit? They allude to something between them in the storm drain episode, but nothing since that time.

Without a Trace: A show that has very much come into its own. Very well cast, well scripted, and well acted. Probably Katie's favorite drama on the tube right now.

ER: Another one I'm ready to give up on. I think as soon as Noah Wyle exits, Katie and I will follow suit.

8 Simple Rules: I really dig on James Garner on this show and he has done a great job of filling in the necessary testosterone quota on the show. While not as good as when John Ritter was on, it has done a very remarkable job of carrying on without him.

Complete Savages: Well, we figured we may as well tape this as well since it runs back-to-back on Fridays with Rules. Not particularly good by any stretch of the imagination. But it has its moments. I miss Married to the Kellys.

Well, that's what we're watching. Cannot guarantee what will survive the rest of the season. We will see. But I am looking forward to 24 starting up in January. Jack's back!

Sunday, 21 November 2004: Happy anniversary to my parents.

Short, sweet, to the point.

Oldies: Sunday, November 14 - Saturday, November 20, 2004...

Friday, 19 November 2004: Holy crap! The world must be coming to an end! I finally finished a new book and can replace the recommended book in the Read Me box on the right. It's about damn time, too. I'm sick to death of the old Clubland cover graphic.

Okay, the book I read wasn't exceptionally spectacular, but it's good enough that I can finally pull the old book from the box. Yay. Happy day.

Wednesday, 17 November 2004: My sleep pattern is still completely out of whack. I haven't been able to sleep past 5 or 5:30 at all since I was opening the gym last week. This sucks. I just want to crash, and crash hard. Help.

Monday, 15 November 2004: There's one question I've just gotta ask, if Bush is such a great President and is doing so much good work for this country, then why have six out of 13 of his cabinet members resigned since his re-election? Just a point to ponder.

Sunday, 14 November 2004: I am driving Katie absolutely insane right now. I woke up this morning with Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" on my mind for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It's been months since I've heard the song. Alas, this morning I woke up singing "Too high to get over (yea yea); too low to get under (yea yea); you're stuck in the middle (yea yea); and the pain is thunder."

Of course, now Katie has that song stuck in her head as well. And she's cursing my existence for setting that particular earworm loose.

Could be worse, I suppose.

Oldies: Sunday, November 7 - Saturday, November 13, 2004...

Saturday, 13 November 2004: I am so flippin' exhausted right now. I actually opened the gym the last couple of days. That means up at 4:30 in the morning so I can have the doors open there at 5:30. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts right now. I don't know how I'm going to recover from this one. My entire sleep pattern is shot to hell.

Where's my bottle of NyQuil?

Thursday, 11 November 2004: I'm in a weird mood today. And weird moods beget odd posts on this site as you all well know. So I'd like to ask you all a question that has been bugging me today. Just don't e-mail me asking why I'm pondering this question. Just accept that I am. Here goes...

If the only way to save a person who has become a half vampire is by killing the head vampire, then why don't vampire sects incorporate themselves so that the next in charge can easily move up to the head vampire role in the organization? Hear me out.

Think about the problems that could be avoided.

  • A new head vampire comes in after being named previously by the current head vampire (CEO and president). This underling (or current VP) would already be well trained in what needs to be done thus making the transition that much easier.
  • There is now an incentive program in place for all other underling vampires to want to distinguish themselves within the organization... the promise of promotion and possibly running the whole clan someday.
  • Wouldn't it be easier to charm your prey if you're wearing an Armani suit and have a snazzy business card? Think Patrick Bateman with fangs.
  • No underling vampires would ever have to die as a result of some potentially stupid move made by the CEO that risks his life. The CEO dies, everyone else just moves up a notch in the corporate structure.
  • No half vampires could ever be lost to humanity thus assuring the organization of lifelong corporate loyalty.
  • It would be so much easier to hide your questionable actions underneath a corporate veil. Just look at Enron. Yes, they were caught, but they were stupid. Play it smart, and you'll glide to victory.
  • If multiple sects incorporate, annual conferences can be held to share hunting and feeding techniques, discuss cultural and regional employment differences, network, etc.
  • Corporate mergers would be a good thing and you'll never have to worry about Congress trying to apply antitrust laws to the situation... Senators are typically lushes, so their blood will go down like a nice Merlot.
  • If incorporated, these sects could seek outside funding to make their jobs that much easier. If you can have the company pay for your transportation, think about how much energy you save by not having to transform into a bat and fly yourself to your victim's location. Fly there first class and rent a hot sports car. Travel in style, baby. Save that energy so you can hunt a bit more. Or use it to protect yourself from a stake-wielding lynch mob.
  • Lastly, since corporations have limited liability, if one vampire in the sect does something stupid, the remainder of the vampires cannot be held accountable for these actions by any amount more than their initial investment in the corporation. In this lawsuit-happy world, this is a definite bonus.

Bruce Springsteen's "Murder Incorporated" can now be looked at in a whole new light, can't it?

I think I've got the workings of a good Hollywood script here.

I told you I was in a weird mood.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004: I was listening to the news this morning and they brought up the topic of religious groups and how they now, after supporting Bush through his campaign, are expecting him to pay up by helping push through their personal social agenda for the U.S.

Now, is anyone else out there, aside from me, scared by this prospect? I'm not saying that Bush is likely to do this. Don't take this as a Bush attack as it is not. It is an attack against religious conservativism (is that a word?). I suddenly have visions of the religious right pushing for a Roe v. Wade overthrow, a ban on gay marriage including a Constitutional amendment, an outright ban on abortion, prayer reintroduced in schools, and the FCC running even more amok than they already have been since "Nipplegate."

What ever happened to separation of church and state, huh?

I see scary religious people in power...

Sunday, 7 November 2004: And we follow up our movie extravaganza with our first official Enron Day! Woo hoo! Today was the day that we broke out the shredders and just had a field day on a bunch of old, out-of-date, or otherwise unnecessary paperwork. Heck, we started to get into such a groove that we almost considered shredding the Sunday Tribune just for kicks.

We started with an old shredder that we've had a few years. However, after an hour of straight service, it burned out. That's when we broke out the heavy-duty mofo that my parents picked up for us. Despite having to turn it off at occasional intervals to let it rest, it did its duty.

And apparently, we weren't the only ones cleaning house as the pair of dumpsters at our apartment complex were full by the end of the day despite being emptied just this past Friday. That's a lot of crap. 

Oldies: Sunday, October 31 - Saturday, November 6, 2004...

Saturday, 6 November 2004: This weekend has proven to be a lot of fun for Katie and me. For the first time in God-only-knows how long, we had a movie extravaganza. Yep, it feels like we've been spending more time in theaters than out of them. And, the shocking thing is that all three movies that we've seen have all been really good.

If you have the time, we both recommend The Incredibles (it's a Pixar so it's a natch for a recommendation), The Polar Express, and After the Sunset. We enjoyed them all.

Thursday, 4 November 2004: I don't see too much potential for Patriot Act conflict from this one as it wasn't designed by me nor is it even a U.S. publication. God bless the Daily Mirror. You gotta love this cover...

Wednesday, 3 November 2004: Well, I hope all you Junior Bushies are happy. He won. I'm sure you're all just jumping up and down in your Underoos.

I can say this much, at least John Kerry was noble in his concession speech to Dubya. Plus, I can say that Barack Obama won the Senate seat here in Illinois which will hopefully send that carpetbagging SOB, Alan Keyes, back "home" to Maryland. As Jon Stewart said last night in his coverage of the election on "The Daily Show", Illinois has made the right choice by electing Obama overwhelmingly. But this still means that nearly 20% of the people in Illinois sit around wearing tin foil hats and diapers. That made me laugh to no end.

Oh, and being the creative sort that I am, I created a post-election lawn sign for all of my fellow Kerry-ites who are in mourning...

On second thought...

I was going to post it here, but you never know what will happen with a Bush-run FBI and CIA. I'd rather play it safe. You never know what new codicil will be added to the Patriot Act next (the Patriot Act frightens me — I see guilty un-American people).

Wanna see it? Email me.

Tuesday, 2 November 2004: Did you all vote? You better have. I did. Gotta keep Keyes as far away from the Senate as possible.

So far, the counts claim that the youth vote is exactly the same this year as it was four years ago. So much for energizing the younguns out there. I'm really and truly disgusted by the fact that so many young people don't vote. Why? Why are they so apathetic? Registration is easy. Voting is even easier. And you can't say that your vote doesn't matter. In 2000, it mattered. So far today, it definitely matters.

Sunday, 31 October 2004: I am going to link a video on this entry. It's a pretty freaky video, but I'm not sure if the link will work as it didn't work in one other site that I tried to link it. So bear with me. It also needs a little set up.

A German car manufacturer was filming a commercial for a car. Typical stuff... lush greenery, winding roads, soft music. You know what I'm talking about. Well, what the filmmakers weren't expecting was to capture the image of a child's ghost on film.

Yep, as the car is winding through, you can see the ghostly image of a child running through the bottom right portion of the screen. It's pretty weird.

I know you may be skeptical, but this is pretty convincing footage. It made me believe. Well, not that I need much convincing considering I strongly believe in ghosts to begin with. But this is definitely something special.

It would seem that the crew making this commercial thought so, too. They were so freaked out by the whole deal that, even after spending money to finish the commercial, they begged the auto manufacturer not to use it. They even worked overtime hours free of charge to create a whole other commercial just to complete their end of the contract and keep the original from ever airing. Apparently, one of them swiped a copy and posted it on the Web.

If you listen closely, you can even hear some rather ghostly sounds, so make sure your soundcard is working properly. Some poor quality soundcards may have trouble picking up the signal so you might have to crank it a little bit. When you launch this video, you'll see the car pass under a tree (as per the camera's perspective) and then it will pass behind a pretty dense treestand. Once it gets past the trees, you will see the ghost in the bottom right as I mentioned above. So pay careful attention.

Here's the link... http://www.spitcircle.com/content/videos/k-fee.mpg

Note: if the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting the address into your browser's address line. If that doesn't work, e-mail me and I'll post a copy of the video on the site that you can link directly to. I'd like to avoid the latter option as it would take up server space and bandwidth, but if need be, I will. This video is that good.

Oldies: Sunday, October 24 - Saturday, October 30, 2004...

Saturday, 30 October 2004: Sometimes the youth of today just disappoint me so. I was driving around today running some errands and I saw some kids doing kick flips with their skateboards. I have always liked skateboarders. It was something I always wanted to try to become but never had the coordination, threshold for pain, nor the suicidial tendencies required to perform these stunts.

So I was watching them a little bit as I passed. And then I saw it, all these kids were talking on cellphones while practicing their stunts.

Oh man. How discouraging. Even the former anti-establishment known as skating has gone yuppie.

Wednesday, 27 October 2004: The Boston Red Sox have just defied 86 years of bad luck and won the World Series. By a sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals, no less.

I know that I desperately wanted it to happen, but did I truly think it would? Well, yeah. The Sox were on fire. Did I think it would happen in a sweep? Not really. Not even as much as I wanted it to happen that way did I think it actually would. This is just incredible and I'm so happy for all Boston fans. They deserve it so much.

I like the picture at right. I was telling my wife last night how I have always loved that the first two people who you see celebrating a World Series or playoff win are the pitcher and the catcher. And it's almost always the catcher with all his heavy equipment jumping up into the pitcher's tired arms. Like the poor pitcher hasn't endured enough already, here's a 225 pound man laden with catcher's gear jumping into your arms. Heh heh, hope your shoulders survive, sucker.

Just bear in mind that you will no longer have the curse to blame for any streaks of bad luck you might have in the future. Nyah nyah.

So, is it the Cubbies' turn now?

Oh, and here's one more image for you. As a note, I own the same exact hat. Twins Enterprises Boston Red Sox Franchise fitted cap (I lovingly call them "rag" hats).

Tuesday, 26 October 2004: Just as a follow up to my Thursday post, here's a picture of that house with the stop light in the yard. It's one of those "you've got to see it to believe it" sorts of situations.

Sorry about the glare over the top of the house. That's what happens when you take the picture through the window of your car. But you get the point of what I'm talking about regarding the light. I just wish it was lit for the photo.

Monday, 25 October 2004: I like these kinds of e-mails.

After signing up with Netflix this past March at a cost of $19.95 per month, sometime over the summer, all us subscribers were hit with the news that the service would be upping the charge to $21.99 a month. That was fine to me because I was still saving money overall from going to Schlockbuster.

Today, however, I opened my e-mail to discover that Netflix sent notice they would be dropping their monthly cost to $17.99. Yes! I can definitely handle that. Take it and run.

Oldies: Sunday, October 17 - Saturday, October 23, 2004...

Thursday, 21 October 2004: To be filed under "something you don't see everyday"...

I was coming back to work today from my lunch break at Subway and I saw something quite odd in the side yard of one of the houses near the university. It was a stop light. Yep, a good old three-light jobber on a 10-foot metal post looming over the yard. It was just like what you might see on the corner of an intersection, but there were no roads. It was just... sitting there. It looked like a basketball hoop should have been attached to it. I have no idea if it was operable or not, but I would assume that it would be capable of working or there would be no real purpose to having such a unique, er, "lawn decoration." Or maybe it's just there to make people look on in wonderment. Much like what I was doing. Who knows?

Some people have garden gnomes. Some have pink flamingos. This family has... a stop light.

Uh, yeah... okay.

And since we're on the subject of odd sights, I shall leave you now with another little oddity that a friend at originaltrilogy.com provided to me (thanks, Reg!).

I truly don't think any other words are necessary.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004: I think I now know what it will take to make a team that I am rooting for win. I must be absolutely negative about their chances. I have to publicly declare that this team's chances are nil.

It worked for the Boston Red Sox.

After that horrific game three, at which point the New York Yankees moved up three games to zero in the NLCS, I said that it's all over for the Red Sox. I said we may as well chalk up another World Series win for the Yankees.

What happens?

I'll tell you what happened. David Ortiz happened, that's what.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Red Sox became the first team in professional baseball history to come back and win the next four games and take a playoff series after being on the verge of elimination. Wow. And they were incredible games as well. Katie and I watched a lot of it, even those two extra-innings performances. Baseball hasn't been any better in recent years. Here I was saying that it seemed as though the Sox just didn't want it enough. That certainly came back to bite me in the ass, didn't it?

Okay, here and now... the Cubs are gonna finish in the cellar next season. Got that? They have no hope whatsoever of going anywhere.

Tuesday, 19 October 2004: I was watching Today this morning and they were talking about the flu vaccine shortage here in the States. And it's amazing the lengths some people will go to get their vaccination. There have been lines the likes of which you don't even see for concerts or celebrity meetings. People have stolen cases of vaccine. And, some people are going to Canada to get vaccinated.

You see, Canada was smart. They were buying flu vaccine from companies in Britain and France while the U.S. was buying only from Britain. When over half of the Brit supply went bad, we were screwed. Canada, on the other hand, has a surplus. And they will part with it for a price. One place, right across the lake from Buffalo, is charging CAD $50 per vaccination (approximately US $40 after conversion) and all the profit goes directly to their clinic as they purchased the vaccine themselves. No insurance, for obvious reasons. Dems is smart Canucks, ain't dey?

I can just see a reprisal of "Blame Canada!" coming, can't you?

Monday, 18 October 2004: I have already finished one class for this semester. Yep, rather short, wasn't it? Only an eight-week course for my Business Law.

I'm not sure how I feel about the eight-week course format. And what sucks is that the MBA program is thinking of fully adopting this format throughout all courses. However, I only get to take courses for free up to 9 or 10 credit hours (after that point, I have passed into a netherworld that the IRS will tax me on — grad school is a fringe benefit to the IRS). That means I can only take three classes per year and will either have to find some BS undergraduate course outside the program to take or spend the time not taking a course. Man, that sucks.

Sunday, 17 October 2004: I was finally able to see the new Soldier Field today, both from the outside and the inside. Katie and I went to the Bears game against the Washington Redskins with her brother, Scott; his girlfriend, Liz; our friend, Tim (who got us the tickets); among others.

Okay, despite the pitiful 13-10 loss the Bears incurred, it was still a pretty fun day. The Stadium is massive and so odd looking from the outside. But, once inside, it's rather pretty to put it nicely. None of the forced blending of architectural styles like when you first see it from the outside.

I took plenty of pictures and will post a new album a little later on.

The day came to a rather bad close when we came back to our vehicles at the Pace bus stop in Schaumburg (we took a bus to Soldier from outside Woodfield Mall for $5 roundtrip). Scott's front driver-side window was bashed in. Nothing was stolen or damaged other than the window so it was likely to have just been some drunken idiot. But it sucks all the same.

Oldies: Sunday, October 10 - Saturday, October 16, 2004...

Wednesday, 13 October 2004: Yes, today is the day. Katie's and my third year anniversary. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.

If you were to have said to me back in 1997 or early 1998, before I met Katie, that I would be on my third anniversary only six or seven years down the road, I would have seen to it that you were locked up in a nice padded room. But alas, the unthinkable happened. Somebody loves me for who I am and I love her and I couldn't imagine being happier.

And, as promised some time ago, here is a picture of both of us with our new "looks". Mine is a bit more pronounced considering the lack of lip fuzz. Katie was trying out a new hairstyle here where it's turned out. So now you all can finally see us both.

Happy anniversary, hon. I love you.

Tuesday, 12 October 2004: If the first radio release is any indication, the new U2 album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," is gonna be a good one. I am digging the song "Vertigo" in ways that I haven't dug a U2 song in quite a while.

And, to boot, I love the "Vertigo" iPod video commercial. Have any of you seen it? I'm not sure how long it's been out now, but I just saw it tonight for the first time either during Scrubs or NYPD Blue. I'm not sure which it was. It's just like all the past iPod and iTunes commercials with the silhouetted characters against bright monochromatic backgrounds. This time around, though, they've stepped up the highlighting of features on the silhouettes so you can clearly see the four bandmembers from U2. I think my favorite part of the video comes when, after the first time that Bono utters "Hello hello," drummer Larry Mullen Jr. looks at the camera and mouths "Hola." Don't ask me why, but I just love that bit.

If you have iTunes, you can view the extended cut of the commercial and it is very cool.

Monday, 11 October 2004: I stayed home today for no other reason than to start burning off some of the vacation days I have to take before the end of the calendar year. It was nice because, on Mondays, Katie doesn't have to go in to work until 1 p.m. So we were able to spend the morning together.

One thing we did, that is part of her normal routine, is watch some of Oprah. I'm not a big Oprah fan. Yes, I've been to a couple tapings of her show some years back, but she's really lost her luster. I'm actually a bit tired of her. And I think she realizes that many people do think that about her.

Today's show was the mass baby shower down at Fort Campbell, KY (that's Kentucky... get your mind out of the gutter), at which she gave away tens of thousands of dollars in free baby stuff to the 160 or so soon-to-be moms on the base. Nice gesture? No doubt. A pathetic attempt at grabbing ratings? Again, no doubt.

I think it's pretty obvious that Oprah's feeling the strain from some upstart daytime talk shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and this, in my mind, is why she keeps pulling these pathetic ratings stunts. First she gives away a new car to each member of her studio audience. Now she pulls this. What's next? Nobody knows and that's why this is such an effective ratings grab. Everyone wants to know what will happen next and they tune it (or try to get tickets to be in the studio audience if they're smart). Instant ratings bonanza.

Is Oprah really being a great person? No, not really, in my humble opinion. All this stuff was donated by the manufacturer for Oprah to just dish out. Yes, it's great that Oprah has the clout to be able to do this sort of thing and it only helps those she gives the items to (unless they are being served up with a $7,000 tax bill by the IRS like all those people who got the car). But to say that Oprah is some spectacular person because of these stunts is going a bit far. Praise the manufacturers of the products, praise the promotions department at Harpo Studios. Oprah is just in it for the ratings and, subsequently, the money.

Sunday, 10 October 2004: I am still slightly in shock that Christopher Reeve has died. Superman is not allowed to be defeated. Especially when he has gone through as much in his real life as Reeve did. Anybody who can emotionally overcome his accident and subsequent suicidal feelings to become one of the biggest advocates for spinal cord and stem cell research should be allowed to continue his work for as long as it takes and, at the very least, be allowed to see some of his tireless work come to fruition in the form of a cure.

Rest in peace, Christopher Reeve. You will always be the one and only Superman to me.

Oldies: Sunday, October 3 - Saturday, October 9, 2004...

Thursday, 7 October 2004: Either kids and teens are becoming masters of the art of B.S. (and I don't mean Bachelor of Science here) or there are just some severely naive parents out there. Get a load of this...

I was reading an article in the Kane County Chronicle today entitled "A $5,564 shocker" right on the front page. It concerns a 17-year-old girl from Batavia and her mother who were shocked to receive cellphone bills from a two-month period totalling, yes, $5,564. These bills were assessed in late 2003 and early 2004 because the daughter had been using the cellphone to call her boyfriend in Germany who is a U.S. soldier (he's now in Iraq).

What kills me is that the mom isn't mad at the daughter (she was grounded for a month and must repay her mom), but she is more mad at the cellphone company for a few reasons.

  1. The cellphone company did not warn the family about overseas calls
  2. The company was unable to tell them the total of the bill until the billing cycle ended
  3. The company refused to give them more than a single billing cycle to make the payment
  4. The company threatened to use a collection agency if they did not pay in full
  5. The company refused to give them a break because the calls were to a serviceman

Yes, there is some good reason to be angry with the cellphone company. I wholeheartedly agree with #1, 2, and 3 above. I think cellular carriers need to figure out a system where billing can be determined in the middle of a cycle (especially in cases of unauthorized use — someone using without permission like this instance, a stolen cellphone, or a cloned cellular identity). It should be no more than a matter of reprogramming just a little bit so your computer system can read files in the middle of a cycle. Hell, if a regular phone company can do it, why not a cellular company?

The only reason they discovered this is because the daughter was also using the landline phone to call him and, when those calls racked up, AT&T shut down their phone service until they were able to speak directly to one of the homeowners. The parents became suspicious and tried to check their cellphone bills as well (why #2 above is a concern).

However, I'm still miffed about the mom's disavowal of her daughter's own responsibility in the matter. The girl is 17 for God's sake! The quote from the mom was, "Now I know that these kids had no idea what kid [sic] of bill they were creating. They were just being young and naive, just assuming they could talk on the phone like they did at home."

What, you regularly have to dial in intercontinental access codes when you make calls at home? That's part of your "just like at home" phone-use routine?

Or, how about this gem from mom, "My husband and I knew nothing about these calls in the middle of the night." Now, I could argue that the daughter was trying to hide her calls by making them in the middle of the night, but that is negated by time zone differences. Germany is, I believe, eight hours ahead of the Central Time Zone. She's just calling when it's a reasonable hour in Germany. Yet, wouldn't a parent be suspicious if their daughter was up that late on a phone? Cellphone reception, especially overseas, would be spotty and I can't imagine that whispering would work well. Wouldn't you ask a question or two about what was going on? Or wouldn't you want to know, after having a full charge on your phone the night before, why the battery meter now reads a lot lower?

Younger people are more aware of technology than older people, for the most part. I'm amazed by some of the computer work I've seen from 12 year olds. Kids' and teens' levels of tech savvy never ceases to impress me.

Even I knew better than to try to make long-distance phone calls without permission from my parents from about the age of 6. If the girl did not know any better, I would say that's the parents' fault.

My advice, put a lock on the phone. An access code for anything that is not local (landlines can do this) and a password on your cellphone would work wonders.

I'm ranting. I'm sorry.

Soapbox dismounted.

Wednesday, 6 October 2004: My money says the FCC is quaking in their boots right about now.

Howard Stern has signed a deal to take his talk show to Sirius Satellite Radio. Why? Because he will be able to truly speak his mind as Sirius (and other satellite radio providers like XM) are not censored at all. Yikes, now that is a scary thought. We all thought Stern was off color as it was. I can't imagine what he's gonna be like now.

The deal was for five years and $500 million. DANG! That's a ton of dough for anyone, even an athlete, and it's being paid to an on-air personality.

My question is, where is Sirius getting the money? They don't have sponsors as satellite radio is supposed to be commercial free. Yes, there is a subscriber fee. But, in the five years that Sirius has been around (yes, that number struck me as odd, too), they have yet to make a profit considering their subscriber base is only 600,000 strong. Analysts say that just to come close to turning even a tiny profit, Sirius would need at least 1.3 million subscribers. What happens if the listener base doesn't make the switch to Sirius like the execs are hoping? Sure, some will. But will it be enough? And what happens if they don't and Sirius goes under?

Oh, the possibilities.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004: Ask and ye shall receive.

One of the most oft-requested (read: two people have e-mailed me) additions to this site is a page that cross lists some of my movie reviews by my rating. Some people have asked to be able to see what movies have been ranked by yours truly as the creme de la creme. Well, now you have it. The Best of the Best page is now up and lists all the movies in my Movie Critique that have received four-and-a-half and five star ratings.

Just a note, the page only lists the movies by title, not by review. Just click on the title to read the review.

I've been contemplating a Worst of the Worst page as well, but that's another project, another day. We shall see.

Don't say I never did anything for all of you.

Monday, 4 October 2004: I am having a really tough time dealing with the fact that we are already in October. This year has just been unreal in terms of how fast it has passed by. Hell, we're already starting up week 5 of the NFL season and the regular season for baseball is done and gone (as are the Cubs' chances). It's just sick how quickly it has all gone by.

I would also like to wish a farewell to Chip Caray, one of the Cubs principle broadcasters. He is leaving Chicago to join his dad, Skip, as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. I wish him well and will miss his voice as I watch the Cubs play.

Sunday, 3 October 2004: I hate when this kind of crap is pulled. Today, the Sunday sale ads came out and everybody is advertising the DVD release of special and limited editions of Shawshank Redemption and The Untouchables. Both have already been released in regular editions and I own both. Studios do this all the time. Heck, some movies out there, like Army of Darkness, have three or four versions available on DVD.

Usually, I refuse to buy into these special editions once I already own a copy, but Shawshank Redemption is my all-time favorite movie and I am pretty sure I would actually watch the bonus features and listen to the commentary unlike all my other DVD sets. You see, I'm not a big fan of many of the extras that are available on DVDs. Save for deleted scenes, alternate endings, and blooper/gag reels, I just don't like to watch the additional garbage. There's just not enough time in the day. Shawshank, on the other hand...