Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The movie was terrible. Not The Singing Detective terrible, but terrible nonetheless. Sure, the acting by Paul Giamatti was, as always, spot on. However, the movie was useless except for one minor 2-minute scene between Giamatti and Virginia Madsen where they are talking about what got them into wine (this presents another one of my problems with the movie - I loathe wine). But this conversation between the two is so good that it almost makes the rest of the movie worth it.
Who am I kidding? There was no WAY that made the movie worth it.
I'm really pulling for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I hope it wins everything.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band & the Harlem Children's Choir
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
Santa Baby - Kylie Minogue
I Want a Hippopottamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey
Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer - Elmo & Patsy
Baby, It's Cold Outside - Zooey Deschanel in Elf
Tender Tennessee Christmas - Alabama
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings - Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
When the River Meets the Sea - John Denver & the Muppets
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
I love this time of year. There are two stations in KC that play Christmas music 24-7 from Thanksgiving on. HOWEVER, there are some major offenders during that time as listed in the above list. As much as I like the Beatles, the two songs listed above are two of the most annoying songs that get played during this season. You would think that I wouldn't think of stepping on more classic rockers' toes, but the Boss's rendition of Santa Claus is Comin' is so awful that I refuse to listen to it all the way through. I just can't stand it. And why would you mess with Madonna? I know that Madonna was not the first to record Santa Baby, but it's tons better than Kylie's weak rendition of it. But truthfully, there are no worse songs during Christmas than the Hippo song and Grandma Got Run Over... Musically, they are grating - like fingernails on a chalkboard. Lyrically, they are just as bad.
If you haven't seen Elf, I highly suggest seeing it this season. It's just a good holiday movie. Funny and sweet and features Zooey Deschanel singing the best version I've ever heard of "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Just remember: "The best way to bring Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." I grew up on the Alabama Chrismas CASSETTE. I think we might have even worn it out. "Tender Tennessee Christmas" is the song that I remember more than any. And I don't even like country. OK, so I know that the BNL/Sarah song is a recent recording, but those dang Canadians blend their voices so well on this song that it has to be on the list. Another album that we grew up on was John Denver & the Muppets Christmas Together. I think they even had a TV special. I love all the songs on this CD (yeah, I bought this one), but this one is my favorite. Frank. Christmas. Have Yourself a Merry One. Enough said.
Not an obnoxious amount of it (especially lately), but I have my shows that I like. So, in this guy's opinion, the following characters are my favorite of the last 10 years, listed in descending order by their greatness.
Lowell Mather - "Wings" - Lowell, the mechanic on this show about a small East Coast commuter airport was a big-hearted lunkhead who was always good for several laughs per episode. He was, by far, the best part of that show. Thomas Haden Church is now up for a Golden Globe for his role in Sideways. He's certainly come a long way.
Communicator Harry Solomon - "3rd Rock from the Sun" - I took some warming up to French Stewart. At first, I didn't realize what a comedic genius he was until I saw the movie Love Stinks. I gained a greater appreciation for his 3rd Rock character after I realized that he was not in fact, ANYTHING like his character on the show. The more I watched 3rd Rock, the more I liked it, but only because of Harry. As the family's only communication to the Big Giant Head, it was always great to see him go into Communicator mode.
John "JD" Dorian - "Scrubs" - A relatively recent series, "Scrubs" has quickly become a favorite of mine. After missing most of the first season, I now rarely miss an episode. Zach Braff's JD is my favorite character because he is such a real character. His internal monologues are reminiscent of "Ally McBeal" and his insecurities and quirks are what make his character great. Plus, his ongoing feud with Janitor calls to mind Jerry v. Newman. No reason for their animosity toward each other, but brilliant nonetheless. And anyone who has ever looked up to someone can understand his adoration of Dr. Cox despite Cox's constant torment of him.
Julian Sark - "Alias" - If Sark were more of a main character, he'd probably be higher on this list, but for a young show, this is one of the reasons that "Alias" has such a huge cult following (and is ultimately one of the best, if not THE best, shows on television). Sark is the ultimate bad guy. Dry, charismatic, good looking, and...British. What makes Sark amazing is that he is played by a guy from OREGON named David Anders. That's right. Oregon. It was good to see him in the forefront of the action in Season Three, but he will likely take a backseat this upcoming season (less than a month away!) with the addition of The Sister.
John Cage - "Ally McBeal" - I got into this show really late, but there has only been one wackier, more nuanced character in the last ten years of TV (see below). Cage, played brilliantly by Peter MacNichol was a brilliant legal mind, severely hampered by his eccentricities. The way his nose whistled was my favorite.
Joey Tribbiani - "Friends" - Sentimental, sure. But I love Joey. Matt LeBlanc was smart to sign up to play him in his own show because he doesn't really have any other characters (see: any of his movies). Secretly, I was so glad. "Friends" needed to end, but I was going to miss it a lot and "Joey" at least has him. I imagine that if it lives (and there's a good chance it won't), that we'll see reunions with the other friends somewhere down the road. I can only hope.
Cosmo Kramer - "Seinfeld" - The craziest, most eccentric, most interesting, and most funny character in possibly the entire history of television. Most people probably couldn't even give you the full name of the man who played him (see here), but EVERYONE knows Kramer. The things that he did and the ideas he came up with were so off-the-wall that you wondered where people came up with them (the "Bro", the shower food disposal, tanning with butter). I know this isn't very original, but he was the reason that show was great. With only the other 3 characters, that show isn't half as good.
Marshall Flinkman - "Alias" - I imagine that the producers of "Alias" were pretty pleased with themselves when they realized what an amazing casting job they had done when they put in Kevin Weisman as the geeky Q type character to Sydney Bristow's Bond. I know I was happy when they started including him in every show. He is the perfect amount of comic relief to a show that without it, is just a really really good drama. Marshall makes "Alias" the greatest show on television because he provides the balance that it needs to keep from taking itself too seriously. Rock on.
Jack McFarland & Karen Walker - "Will & Grace" - There is a strong following of this show out there that think that the producers got it wrong. It should be called "Jack & Karen". While I love Debra Messing and Eric McCormack as the star-crossed friends, they are just too boring. Megan Mullaly and Sean Hayes are what make this show and if "Sex and the City" had not been on the last 6 years, Mullaly would have racked up several Supporting Actress Emmys by now. I grouped them together because...well, they go together.
Chandler Bing - "Friends" - I imagine that it would have been easy for the other characters of "Friends" to get irritated with Matthew Perry. For the first several years of the show (if not for the entire length of it), Chandler got all of the funny lines and all of the best one-liners. His character was just FUNNY...gay, cross-dressing father who sings burlesque; sleazy romance-book-writing mother with a penchant for younger men. (One of my favorite lines of all-time from Ross: "Tonight did you wear a black cocktail dress and invite me up to your room?" "No" "Then you are NEITHER of your parents.") When Chandler and Monica hooked up, you half-expected him to blow it (and he almost did), but Chandler was the great sarcastic everyman...the guy who thought of all the lines that everyone wished that they could deliver on cue. ("Guess what!" "The fifth Dentist caved and now they all recommend Trident?") I think my favorite thing about "Friends" though, was Chandler and Joey's friendship. I could relate to it (especially the foosball playing). While I truly miss my Thursday friends, I'll always have the seasons on DVD to remember them by.
inspired by this article.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
We hosted the finals at our house last night. I started the night tied for 3rd and felt good, considering we had 18 people playing and I was on my home field.
And I was the first out.
And I ended up in 6th.
Marginal hands killed me. Pay to see a flop, then don't catch anything. I think that I might have taken down one big pot all night...the rest of them I ended up folding to other people because my cards were just THAT BAD.
Oh well. Our weekly poker game is pretty cheap entertainment. Good times.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
As a reminder, my birthday is 2 days before Christmas. Just in case you want to get me anything.
Here are things of interest on my list:
Apple iMac G5 and Apple iBook
Apple is really going after the home market. These are really really affordable home-use computers that are completely customizable to the power that you want. What is particularly interesting is that there are folks who want the portability of a laptop so they immediately look at the PowerBook, but what is interesting is that Apple has now positioned their pricing so that you can buy a 17" powerbook for the same price that you can get BOTH a 17" iMac and a 12" iBook, giving you both the stability of a desktop at home (and a nice one at that, with the G5 technology) as well as the portability of a nice little 12" iBook G4.
Some Spectacular DVDs
Rounders: Collector's Edition
Family Guy: Seasons 1,2,3
Billy Madison / Happy Gilmore 2-pack (does it get more genius than putting these two together?)
U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Zero 7: When it Falls
The Urge: Too Much Stereo (the only album of theirs that I don't have...)
Frank Sinatra Christmas
Doyle Brunson's Super System
Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle
Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
I would also like the following, but they can't really be categorized...
Nice Playing Cards
Scene It DVD Game
Trivial Pursuit DVD Pop Culture Game
Macromedia Studio MX 2004 for Mac
Remote for my Digital Camera
I know it seems like a lot, internet, but if you buy from my Amazon wish list, you can have it sent right to me.
Christmas is fun. Alli and I got all our shopping done last Monday...all we have left to buy for is each other. I'm excited.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
My brother brings a friend of his to all of our games and thus far, he hadn't been to impressive. I think he took some umbrage with the fact that I called him "dead money". Well, Chris, dead money you are no longer. Here's the hand:
My hand: J-8 offsuit
My stack: about 1/3 his
The flop: J, 7, 6 rainbow
4th St.: King
At this point is where I went all-in. Chris checked to me and I read him correctly that he did not have the King. Going all-in, I represented it, but he read me correctly and knew I didn't have it either. He had the stack to call (although it was a large call) and he did.
He out-kicked me with his queen. I only had about 10 outs, an 8 to win or a 7 or 6 to split the pot.
River: Nothing. Goodnight Shane.
Stayed and dealt. I was happy to see my brother go out next...that helped me immensely in the Tournament. I was also pleased that "Dead Money" won.
Nice work, Chris.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
I realize the desire to be "politically correct" but is there anyone who doesn't consider it a Christmas party? It's the Christmas season, everyone in the country still gets Christmas Day off as a holiday (except the geniuses that work at movie theaters).
Just call it a Christmas party.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
I do, however, try to keep a consistent schedule of how I celebrate this time of year. All while I was growing up, my family never set up our tree before Thanksgiving (a tradition I had to break this year because of the busyness of this particular season). The day after Turkey Day (or Leftover Turkey Day), we would drag the artificial pine out of storage and decorate it, signifying the beginning of the holiday season in our household.
Each year, it seems like people are celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier. This October, I was at Target picking something up (I don’t remember what, but it could have been ANYTHING…you can get EVERYTHING at Target) and I saw – right next to the Halloween stuff – Christmas stuff.
That’s a little ridiculous.
I know that these companies are trying to make a buck and all, but it seems like eventually, we’ll start celebrating only 2 holidays…Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Those are the two largest money-makers for retailers. Those will be the holidays that they force us to celebrate.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
My wife and her many talents.
The way my dog looks when he wakes up from a nap.
My job. (How many people can say THAT?)
Snow and cold weather (Seriously…I love the wintertime).
Freedom, as defended by the brave members of our military.
Steak burritos with green-tomatillo and medium salsa, topped with cheese and guacamole.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I am blessed in so many ways, too numerous to mention here. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Apollo 13...great movie.
Forrest Gump...great movie.
Toy Story...fantastic movie.
Heck, I even liked all 25 of his romantic comedies with Meg Ryan (save Joe vs. the Volcano, of course).
I think it was around Cast Away that I started to get sick of him. It's not even his fault. The media destroyed Tom Hanks. All of the accolades showered upon him, all the Oscar talk for that movie and it ended up being a big disappointment.
One of the major appeals of Tom Hanks during the 1990's was his charm and his seeming ability to stay clear of the normal Hollywood garbage. He seemed...not ABOVE it, but just...not worried by it. Over the past several years, he has seemingly become more and more snarky...more snooty.
And then there's this.
One of the most successful books of the past couple years and he will be playing the main character in Ron Howard's movie adaptation. To be honest, I'm really disappointed. Robert Langdon is more of an Indiana Jones-type character, less sensitive, more rugged. While I read the book (after tearing through Angels & Demons), I certainly did not picture Forrest Gump as the protagonist.
Not only that, but it also creates the unlikeliness of us seeing Angels & Demons come to the silver screen, which (in my not-so-humble opinion) is a superior story. The Da Vinci Code is the sexier pick because of its implications, but story-wise A&D is better.
The box office draw of the book is going to be large enough that you don't really need the mega-star to draw the audience. I would much rather see them go out on a limb and pick someone who will portray the character. We have past examples to draw from: The Firm, The Pelican Brief...heck...just about ANY wildly popular John Grisham novel (except Runaway Jury...that was good). What I'm trying to say is that when you cast a large actor in a role that has been defined in the minds of the readers who read the book, oftentimes, their personality overshadows the characterization that the author attempted to develop in the book.
If they had to have a star, they at least could have selected one who fit the role a bit better. Take your pick:
...and that's just to name a few...
Friday, November 12, 2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Honorable Mention: The Notebook, The Incredibles
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Honorable Mention: Brad Pitt, Troy; James Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ; Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Honorable Mention: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ
Jared and Jerusha Hess, Napolean Dynamite
Honorable Mentions: Before Sunset, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Saved!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
James Garner, The Notebook
Honorable Mention: Jamie Foxx, Collateral
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Dakota Fanning, Man on Fire
Honorable Mention: Raquel Castro, Jersey Girl
BEST ANIMATED MOVIE:
There are a bunch of movies that are either out now, or coming out that I really want to see and that I think can be really good. I'm really psyched to see Alexander. Ocean's Twelve looks good. I still really want to see Ray. I heard that Jamie Foxx's performance is spectacular.
Past that...I can't really think of anything...
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I started feeling a little icky yesterday at work. By the end of the day, my neck was achy and my throat hurt. We rented a movie on the way home from work and crawled into bed for the night. Exciting, I know.
To make things worse, the movie we rented was absolute crap. I'm not even going to name it...it was THAT BAD. We turned it off about 15 minutes in and just watched Lost instead.
I woke up today feeling better, but certainly not tip-top.
I rarely get sick, usually about once per year, around this time. Usually, it's worse. I don't know what's up with me this time. Alli was sick last week, so that may have something to do with it, but my immune system is pretty good. The dog woke me up at 3:30 in the morning barking at nothing again.
Not only that, but I drank coffee today (OK...it wasn't really coffee, but Quik Trip French Vanilla cappuccino...hardly coffee...I hate coffee). Just wanted something warm since the temperature today compared to yesterday is about 20 degrees lower. I love cold weather, but it came as a bit of a shock to the system.
Monday, November 08, 2004
I expect that the reaction across the board on the conservative side would have been the same as I just described.
However, as the aftermath of the election moves forward, it is painfully obvious that the liberals aren't happy. Michael Moore has already claimed he will be impeached and not only that, he has posted a map of North America that divides us into two areas - The United States of Canada (all of Canada and the states that voted for Kerry) and Jesus Land (the people who decided the election).
It's funny how liberals stand on the Constitution, but when they lose, they cry like babies and say "the Christians did it!!!" even though discrimination because of religious beliefs is outlawed in just about every place I know.
These so-called "intellectuals" are quick to blame believers for their loss, but guess what...of the 6 billion people on the planet...98% of them believe in a power greater than themselves.
The liberal blogosphere is up in arms following their devastating losses. Across the web, you'll find people who are claiming they are going to spend the next 4 years in Canada, and crying their little eyes out because John Kerry failed to EVER connect with the American public.
If you are a liberal who is looking for some shred of a reason as to why you lost, but don't have any faith in anyone providing logical explanations, check out this one, provided by your haven of liberalism and left-wing thought, the New York Times.
Not that it is any surprise. Kerry has the charisma of a wet blanket. John Edwards - his "charismatic" running mate too often came across as a whiny little baby, pleading with the seasoned politicians to "let him play too". This was blatantly evident in his debate with Dick Cheney. And I don't even like Dick Cheney.
Here's what I have to say to the liberal crybabies who don't think that they can handle another 4 years of Bush:
All of you claim that you're going to do it, just like a bunch of actors claimed that they would move to France if Bush won (*cough cough* Alec Baldwin *cough cough*) and have yet to do so. Just like the rest of the party, they don't have the spine to actually do what they say they are going to do. Liberals do not follow through...what a surprise!!!
My prediction is that out of the thousands of people who claimed they would "leave the country if Bush gets re-elected", maybe 2 will actually leave for 4 years.
I only wish the rest would quit complaining and do the same.
Pixar has done it again. I don't know what it is that they put in the water out at Pixar, but their atmosphere for creativity must be spectacular. I can only imagine that with Steve Jobs as one of the owners, the working environment is pretty cool.
I read that Kevin Smith (a huge superhero fan in his own right) is calling it the best superhero movie ever. While I don't know if I would go that far, it was...well...INCREDIBLE. The voices for the characters were perfect, particularly personified by Smith's buddy Jason Lee as Syndrome, the bad guy in this 1st Incredibles movie (I'm saying first because there is no doubt they'll make another one).
It's not just the voices and dialogue that make this movie genius. It's the concepts and ideas behind the characters and their situations. Some of the things that happen are so out there (in that normal people wouldn't think of them), but they seem so natural, woven into the fabric of the movie so seamlessly that you can't but admire John Lasseter and the folks out there in California for the brilliance they have brought to the field of animated movies.
5 out of 5 stars!
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
I'm going to do something that I didn't think I would do.
I'm going to applaud John Kerry.
Kerry did something I NEVER would have expected him to do and that was to concede Ohio without all the provisional ballots counted. It certainly seemed that way conisdering John Edwards spoke earlier ("we will fight for every vote"). What that makes me believe is that the Kerry camp did not want to risk more embarrassment because it is possible that the gap could have widened even more. I'm just speculating, though.
The economy is going to continue to improve (see the stock market reaction to Bush's win) and, hopefully we'll see Bush's promise to reform the tax code.
I'm relieved. I was nervous as to what might happen with Kerry as President. At least now, we know what to expect...
I love where I live, Kansas City. I think it is a terrific town with terrific people, great food, strong sports teams, and lots to do. The Country Club Plaza is one of the premier shopping attractions in the country. Kauffman Stadium (where the Royals play) and Arrowhead Stadium (where the Chiefs play) still are amazing facilities, despite being built together in the [late ‘60s – early ‘70s] …whenever. If Question 1 (Bi-State II Tax) passes, we will cement their place in the city for 25 years to come.
I’ve spent the last few days in this toilet called New Orleans, or as many like to call it “The Big Easy”. I like to call it “The Big Smelly” because that it is exactly what it is – a giant cesspool of trash and nastiness. Part of this is due to the fact that it sits well below sea level, protected mostly by levees from the Gulf and the Mississippi River. That’s why the city was so threatened by the hurricanes that pounded the South this summer – once the water would have come over the levees, it would have had nowhere to go, but straight into the city. That’s why all of the cemeteries in the city are above ground…they can’t dig. Same reason that there are not basements in Florida.
What's worse...it's been raining here since Monday, so the humidity and garbage have festered and combined together to coat everything with a thin layer of stank.
Good food, though. Excellent meal at 201. Steak something on lobster/potato somethings with wilted spinach something (much better than it sounds).
I was right.
However, this morning, we seem much closer to a decision than we did 4 years ago at this time. With Ohio called for the President, he only needs one of 4 outstanding states to get over the 270 electoral college votes. Not only that, but the President has won the first complete majority of the vote since 1988. Up almost 4 million votes nationwide, I predict that we'll see this thing over by the end of the day.
Kerry will likely concede today around 10am. The Bush campaign is declaring victory. One thing is for sure. Over 117 million people in the US voted this year, more than any other election. That is a good thing. I applaud all of the voter registration drives that have gone on this election.
And I have to say, I am breathing easier this morning than I was yesterday. Exit polls (which are crap, by the way) indicated a big win for Kerry. My opinion on that? Another way the liberal media was attempting to take over this election.
But this is America. Anything can happen. We'll watch and see.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Funny parts. Written by Tina Fey, so it was a little different than most of the normal high school movies. Alli said it was a lot like Heathers (which I never saw), so I'll take her word for it. It certainly was not as good as Can't Hardly Wait or American Pie, the best high school movies of the past 10 years (Dazed and Confused would make the list were it not made in 1993).
Thursday, October 28, 2004
What's the deal? Why does every soda company feel they need to add some sort of gimmick to sell more? Someone brought some to work today and they let me have a swig. You know what it tasted like? Dr. Pepper. No different.
I mean, if you are going to create something like this, at least make it noticably different than the original, wouldn't you think?
I haven't had a soda in a long time, though, particularly a Dr. Pepper, so I may not be able to tell the difference, but just a snap judgement...it doesn't taste different.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
There are 2 major drawbacks about this:
- I don't have the fundage (nor the need) that necessitates me buying all of the fun gadgets that I want. So I must be very VERY picky when selecting gadgets.
- New gadgets are often outdated within 6 months, just when you get used to your gadget. Case in point, my 20gb iPod. Now, I have a 1st generation iPod, which I absolutely love. I love All Things Apple these days and the iPod is really what rocks most. That being said, they just released this tasty treat - the iPod Photo - a full-color iPod in 40gb and 60gb versions that allows you to store your photos (really cool when you add the media reader that Belkin makes for it).
Monday, October 25, 2004
So today, Alli and I went to the Election Office and cast our votes. Presidentially...it doesn't matter too much. Kansas has been decided for a long while (I think I read somewhere that KS has not gone Democratic in 50-some years), but the races for Senate and Congress are very close and we also had a vote to cast regarding a bi-state tax that would bring in money for the arts, as well as for improvements to Kaufmann and Arrowhead Stadiums. Not that those sports arenas really need the money, but the arts does here in Kansas City so I decided to go ahead and vote yes on Question 1.
If you need some help getting in the mood to vote, I suggest you check this out. It's not JibJab, but it's pretty funny.
I beg of you. Please vote next Tuesday. If you don't know who to vote for, my suggestion is to vote for Bush. Just vote though. Or Puff Daddy will come and get you.
We watched Super-Size Me last night. I had talked to a couple of people that had seen it who were thoroughly disgusted. I kind of rolled my eyes and thought to myself...everyone knows McDonald's is bad...I don't need a movie to tell me that. After watching Morgan Spurlock's experiment on himself, I never even want another McGriddle (and if you know me, that's something...the McGriddle is easily the best sandwich ever created by McDonald's).
There were a lot of things that were great about this movie...things that make you think. What I didn't realize was how good of shape Spurlock was in before he started. This guy is 6'2", 185 lbs. with about 11% body fat. That's really good.
And McDonald's wreaked havoc on his body. The doctors he employed during the process were funny because they were blown away at the amount of damage that it did to him. His cholesterol jumped from 165 to 225 in about a week. His liver became completely toxic. He got depressed and had a bunch of other awful things.
It's gross, but also funny and well done. I highly recommend to anyone...those with weight problems (like me) and those without.
Friday, October 22, 2004
They were a long time ago. However, one of the things that I don't remember is having conferences once per quarter. Yesterday, while I was slaving away, destroying my back, there were all these neighborhood kids, running around, playing hide-and-go-seek.
Now I'm not mad at these kids by any means...enjoy your youth, I say!
BUT, I remember thinking yesterday that my sister-in-law, who is a teacher (and an amazing one at that), has conferences and in-service days a lot. There's nothing really to this, I'm just a bit jealous. A few days off here and there would have been fun.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
This is what I did on my day off today. I moved dirt. A lot of it. My day consisted of a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and some dirt.
It was made even more fun by the constant drizzle that we've had in KC for the past several days. Good times. Makes moving dirt lots easier when it turns into mud. Not slick at all.
At least I had my iPod to keep me company on this dreary day. It made that hard work a lot easier. But I'll tell you what...my back...didn't really appreciate the whole "hard work" thing.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
3-3 San Diego
1-4 Kansas City
I'm at a loss.
This year was supposed to be our shining shot at the Super Bowl. Now, we are just wondering if we are ever going to win another game. A .500 record would be decent after the start we've had and the schedule we have ahead of us. If you consider that now 4-2 Jacksonville was supposed to be the easy part, it may be a particularly long season.
That's not to say I'm going to give up hope just yet. 12-4 would be a good record, but we would have to win out against some extrememly formidable opponents. I just don't see it happening. Maybe 10-6 is more reachable. That still would mean us going 9-2 the rest of the way.
Possible? Sure, anything's possible.
Probable? Not so much.
What's so difficult is how we have lost our games. It's not just one thing. The overall effort seems flawed. Sure, our defense stinks to high heaven and Dexter McLeon is about as effective a corner as I am, but the offense that has led the league the last 2 years in total offense has been ineffective at times when it is most needed.
Yes, it has been a tough year for Kansas City sports teams. The Royals disappointed us. The Chiefs have been less-than-stellar. Who are we to root for?
At least college basketball season starts soon. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!
Thursday, October 14, 2004
So you can understand my surprise when I looked at CNN.com this morning. I don't think all of the people polled watched the whole debate. Bush really came on toward the end, hit his stride and laid the Texas Smackdown to the "More Liberal Senator from Massachusetts".
I particularly liked this part:
"I want to remind people listening tonight that a plan is not a litany of complaints, and a plan is not to lay out programs that you can't pay for.
He just said he wants everybody to be able to buy in to the same plan that senators and congressmen get. That costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up, like the senator suggested, [it] would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years.
It's an empty promise. It's called bait and switch."
That was my favorite. I'm so sick and tired of Kerry saying, "I have a plan," and then saying "go to my web site" when he knows damn well that most of us are too freaking lazy to go to our computer and look up his lousy plans.
2 nights ago: Steak Fajita burrito, with green tomatillo and cheese
last night: chicken burrito bol, no beans, green tomatillo, medium corn salsa, cheese, guacamole
I love burritos.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
After listening to a few of the tracks that they have put out, I have to say that I am completely blown away. Shatner is at the top of his game with his lyrical stylings and the arrangements (the work of my man Folds) are fantastic. The music is really what shines here...Shatner is really more of a sideshow. He enlists the help of everyone from indie songstress Aimee Mann ("That's Me Trying") to country star Brad Paisley (my favorite, "Real) to rocker Henry Rollins (the hilarious scream-fest "I Can't Get Behind That").
I was forwarded a link to the songs from someone and was hesitant, considering I had purchased 1998's Fear of Pop, Vol. 1 which first teamed up Folds and Shatner. I was not very impressed with that one. After hearing these tunes, I may have to get it back out and give it another shot.
Of particular note, is "Real" with Brad Paisley. I'm not a big country fan, but the song is perfect. The lyrics are personal to Shatner and the melody mixes perfectly with Paisley's chorus. If you're going to download one song...that's the one I would suggest. Then "That's Me Trying".
On another note, my brother hooked up a blog. Check it out.
I played volleyball Monday night with my friends. We all have been playing together competitively since we were in 7th grade. It's been a while since I've played at such a high level, and it was a blast. But MAN, am I paying for it today.
Worked out last night to hopefully get some of the kinks out, but I'm sore in places where I didn't know I could be sore (my arches? are you kidding me?) I'm hoping that my body recovers by tomorrow when we are scheduled to play again. You might ask why I would do this to my body?
Because it's fun.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Friday night we had a surprise birthday party for one of my best friends, which ended up not being a surprise because my friend...the one who is always late...was on time...and we were all late. It was still fun. Played poker until 3:30 (that's when I left...talked to them later and they played until 6:15).
Church meeting on Saturday morning (came EARLY), and then a shower for some friends, then picked up Alli at the airport. Instead of taking her home, we ended up driving her mom back to her house because she now has pneumonia unfortunately. Her body seemingly shut down after she knew her dad was OK.
Got home last night, watched some more of Alias: Season Three and went to bed early.
Can I just say...I'm so glad that Alli made it home.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Problem is, my car is parked way over there, and I'm in here. It's pouring, like it has been all day and I really want some Chipotle, but this genius didn't wear shoes (flip-flops, while awesome, don't get much traction or support when running in the rain).
So, I'm here listening to the sound of the rain as it pounds on the ceiling of the makeshift office (which is actually a warehouse) that has become the home to our design and marketing team. I like it. Very industrial and tons of space. The rain is loud, but I really like to hear it...what a great sound!
As he types his message complaining about the rain, he realizes that sitting by the door across from him is his umbrella that he brought in this morning.
He smacks his forehead and rushes off for some tasty Chipotle goodness...
Let me know what you think of the design. Blogger doesn't give you huge amounts of customization and once I move to a hosted service, I'll likely use Moveable Type, but for now...this was relatively painless and FREE.
I tried to make my changes without a little help from my friends (could you imagine if the Beatles would have called their song that?), but at 1:00am I stopped being effective. Kevin at graphicPUSH helped me find a little div that was hanging out in the middle of my code.
I feel better because it finally feels a little more like my own site...my banner, my background, my color scheme. I also would be remiss if I didn't thank Douglas Bowman at Stopdesign for the initial template.
Let me know what you think of it....
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I'm pretty excited about it.
Check it out here.
Talking about politics can be funny, even when it isn't intended...
What's particularly ridiculous is that this guy deleted my comments that further reinforced my position on the issue...making him look even more silly. Trying to control the flow of information just like the liberal media likes to.
It's sad really.
In hold'em, how do you handle it when a person gets knocked out that was supposed to be one of the blinds? This has happened to us at least 5 times in our regular game and we can never figure out the correct way to do it. I've scoured the interweb for info on it, but found nothing (I was really surprised)...
Can someone help me out???
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
There's an absence that just makes me feel "off" and I can't really explain it (maybe those out there who are married can help me explain it better. I'm going to try and go to bed now.
Dick Cheney is a sweetheart. OK...maybe not so much, but I thought that "Grumpy and Mean" was a really inappropriate way to describe the way that he acted in tonight's vice presidential debate. But that's exactly how the Kerry-Edwards campaign manager classified him. Cheney was seemingly on the defensive all night (Edwards mentioned Halliburton after less than 20 minutes of actual debate). The truth about Cheney's Halliburton ties (which really absolve him of any implications that Kerry and Edwards would like to pin on him).
It was a pretty spirited debate. Prior to the debate, I thought that Cheney would stomp Edwards, given his lack of experience, but I forgot that Edwards used to be a trial lawyer and he did a great job. It was a relatively even debate. One thing that stood out was that Cheney finally brought John Kerry's 20 year record to the forefront...and it's lousy. I thought that the data that he had on Edwards missing all his votes was really funny too. Still, Cheney is a stain on the Bush administration. What I wouldn't give for a Bush-McCain ticket this year...
(I keep trying to finish this post, but Austin Powers 2 is on and now I'm watching an old Saturday Night Live and they are doing the Jimmy Fallon/Horatio Sanz "Leather Man" skit...so funny, but Jimmy Fallon canNOT do a single sketch without laughing... "CHOO CHOO! AAIIIIIEEEEEE!!!")
I call this debate for Bush-MCCAIN!!! Because for some reason, John Kerry's record in the Senate is only being examined on talk radio and in the blogosphere...not necessarily in the mainstream media (surprise...surprise....).
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I tried to find a flight that would have left Kansas City late last night to arrive in Cleveland. Both of these cities are decent-sized cities, but for some reason, neither of them is really on the radar in the world of domestic travel. The latest flight out of Kansas City to Cleveland was on Continental and left at 7:30pm. Would have worked OK if Alli's mom could have driven down from Iowa in time to make the flight, but that wasn't going to work, so we tried to search for the earliest flight we could.
Midwest Airlines (the best commercial airline I know of) had a flight that left in the 5:00 hour, but connected through Milwaukee and had a plane switch. They still would not have arrived before noon. The flight we eventually settled on was a Southwest flight that left at 6:55am and made one stop (no plane change) in St. Louise. In Cleveland by 10:30 this morning. Still not making it in time to see Grandpa prior to his 11:00am surgery, unfortunately.
They say that competition is good for the airline industry. In most economic cases, it's very good. But the options for flying are not nearly what they used to be. And sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, and Expedia really don't give more options to the last minute traveler who is looking to get to a certain place and fast. Airlines used to offer emergency fares for things of this nature, but even those are gone. Some might attribute the struggles of the airline industry to 9/11, but I think that the problems are much deeper than that. Union control of workers and the greediness of executives have all contributed to the failure of the airline industry to serve the best interests of Joe Consumer.
I don't have any suggestions for reform...I just think it's unfortunate.
Not only that, but I won our weekly poker game and now sit firmly in 2nd place in the Johnson County Tournament of Champions standings. Felt good. Played well. Got decent cards. Knocked my brother out, which is always fun. 2 out of 3 weeks, my buddy Mike and I have gone head-to-head in the finals. He won the first one, I won the 2nd. Seemingly one of us gets knocked out by the other every week. Last night wasn't the first time we've gone head-to-head and I doubt it will be the last.
About the "mostly a good night"...
Yesterday afternoon, my wife called me and told me that her grandfather was going to be having surgery today in Ohio to repair a valve that was keeping oxygen from his heart. So the end of the day was spent trying to find a flight for her and her mom that would get out yesterday or early today. We found a flight that left this AM and we got up at 4am to get to the airport and see them off. Just a minor contributor to the tiredness I would have felt anyway...I feel distracted and it's not even 8 in the morning yet.
But hey...what are you going to do?
Monday, October 04, 2004
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- Peanut M&Ms
- Starburst (or is it Starbursts?)
- Sweettarts Jelly Beans (these are a rarity...usually only coming out for Easter, but they are genius)
It's been a while since Alli and I have had a weekend to ourselves. It was a really busy summer and it seemed like we were always doing something. This weekend, we were fortunate enough to not have anything on the docket, so we did woke up early-ish and made some awesome french toast, complete with Vanilla Almond Special K baked into it. It was [COUSIN EDDIE] "gooooo-oooood."
After that, we sat on the couch and watched Alias ALL DAY LONG. We had 2 discs of season 2 to finish and we had bought season 3 a while back and we were anxious to watch it. During the year, it was disappointing to watch because it was a new episode here, a rerun there, a missed week here...it felt disjointed. BUT, we got three discs into season 3, and I have to say...totally better than I remembered it. I'm holding out hope that I was disappointed with last season only because it was so disjointed, not because the story was all that bad. So far, my assessment is holding up, but time will tell.
We also saw Shark Tale on Sunday. I don't know if I was in a bad mood or what, but the movie was really disappointing. Not really funny, not a great story. As far as animated fish movies go...Finding Nemo was exponentially better. That's not just my opinion. Alli, my brother, Jake...we all agreed...disappointing movie.
This is my dog Dreyfuss. I know I know. Cutest dog ever. He's a complete mutt...mom was part-Husky, dad was...well...we don't know for sure. Vet said maybe a lab or Great Dane. He's gray, but really doesn't have much hair because he has color dilutional alopecia.
I'm going to post pictures when there are pictures to post.
Friday, October 01, 2004
I just got Panther and iLife '04 for the PowerMac G4 that my brother was kind enough to donate to me. As I was sitting here surfing, I stared into the pile of empty boxes that sits in the recliner in my office and wondered to myself, Is it really that difficult to put all of the stuff into a smaller box?
I can't figure it out. Apple can fit an entire computer into this, but for some reason, they can't manage to make a piece of software that fits in something smaller than a Volkswagen.
People might argue that the documentation won't fit. For the money that they spend on these expensive booklets, they could include an extra (much smaller) disc that contains a massive PDF of all of their manuals, documentation, warranties, etc.
You might ask me, "why is it, Shane, that you keep all of these boxes that you so despise?" And that would be a good question, one that really has no answer. You never know when you'll need them I guess. Plus, I always know where to look for the serial numbers. Maybe I should throw them away...
But they're so pretty...
- There are too many choices. How is one to differentiate?
- IE is built in and isn't completely horrible. Why hassle with switching?
- I don't like ads, but I also don't want to pay for my browser (see: Opera).
- Did I mention that I'm lazy? If not, I'm lazy.
- I have having to move bookmarks, cookies, etc.
Well, Mozilla's new preview release of Firefox 1.0...it works. And, it's totally sweet. Not only is it fast and does it have tabbed browsing (which is awesome...totally new to me...like I said...IE guy), but it also has a built in RSS Feed parser so you can subscribe to sites that have an RSS feed and read them without actually going to the site, which is, by definition, awesome. You can browse the headlines of your favorite blogs, news sites, etc. and pick and choose the actual stories you want to read (not that you would skim on this site, considering it is totally sweet).
Not only that, but it will also import all of your existing IE data, including your bookmarks and all of your cookies and stuff, which is great, overcoming the above listed #4 and #5.
That being said...if you are in an office environment like me, IE has engorged itself so much into so many things that it becomes really difficult to permanently make the switch. But I'm trying...
First, you start with a shell or a bowl. Lately, I've been eating it in a bowl...less carbs and less calories. Then you add some of the scrumptious rice that could be described as manna from heaven, a hint of lime and cilantro accents the ricey goodness. Sometimes I feel like peppers and onions, others I don't, and other times, I'll have a splash of their pinto beans.
Next, the good stuff...steak that has been marinated in some spicy concoction that only a true genius could have created. The secret is next...the green tomatillo sauce. It's like the shirt says..."Shhhh...don't tell anyone about the green tomatillo salsa..." You almost feel like you're getting away with something...it's that good. Top it off with some cheese and guacamole and you are good to go.
Sure, it's about 800 calories, but it's totally worth it for 2 reasons:
- You get a ton of food.
- It has healthy stuff in it so it can't be that bad.
Both sides are now currently in spin-mode, trying to claim that they won last night's debate. At the time, I thought that there were certainly areas where both candidates succeeded, and areas where both fell short. Kerry didn't have a good answer for his ever-changing positions, but Bush didn't use his best soundbyte more than once ("September 10 mentality").
Kerry surprised me on some of his knowledge of foreign policy, particularly with North Korea. However, his continued belief that our "allies" (the ones that he believes are allies - France, Germany, etc.) will just fall into line once he gets elected is not only overly optimistic, it's downright stupid. Both Chirac and Schroeder have openly announced that even if Kerry is elected, they will not enter into the ground fighting in Iraq. Kerry believes that he can just wave his magic wand and they'll change their mind.
The reason that France and Germany didn't go into Iraq was because both were receiving oil kickbacks from Saddam in exchange for weapons parts that they were providing.
Bush, unfortunately, at times came across like his 2000 opponent, visibly upset by certain points that Kerry made. He got flustered at times and he does not communicate nearly as well when he is flustered. I would have liked to see him push Kerry more on his plan for Iraq. Kerry very obviously doesn't have a definitive one. A while back I heard that he was planning to increase our military enrollment by 30,000 troops in the next year. Did he say how? Not so much. He just said he would increase enrollment...where from? Thin air, I guess...
Seeing as this is my first post, I thought I would tell you a bit about myself.
I'm Shane. I'm from Kansas. I do not live on a farm. I live in the metropolitan Kansas City area where I am a graphic designer for a software company. My wife and I have been married for 4 years and live in a house with our dog, Dreyfuss.
I've lived in the Kansas City area nearly all my life, save a few years when I lived in Iowa while I went to school at the glorious Graceland College (now University) in the booming metropolis of Lamoni. While there, I engaged in the normal, college-like activities, I played volleyball, worked at a pizza place, wrote for the newspaper - The Tower - and met my wife.
Things I like:
- hanging with my wife and dog
- music (I really really like my iPod + iTunes)
- chipotle burritos
- the TV show "Alias" - the best show EVER
- apple computers
- most EA Sports video games for PS2
- poker (only recently really, but I like it a lot)
- reading (but only sometimes)
- Mountain Dew (most forms, though I have yet to try the new black kind)
- The Chiefs
- people who drive with their lights on during the day
- temperatures over 85 degrees
- people who don't vote because "one vote doesn't make a difference"
- pants other than jeans
- old navy t-shirts (they are too short for my long torso)
- the general refusal of PC users to accept the Firewire interface, favoring USB (for some god-forsaken reason) over it