Monday, June 30, 2008

Good weekend

Why do the weekends always go by too quickly? I saw 2 movies: one was horrible and one was genius.

Friday night Dave and I watched Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Hated it. It was our last night this week without the kids, so we wanted to watch a movie. We wanted something funny and this piece of crap was available at the library. I figured, hey, it's Will Ferrell, it must be funny. It was just plain stupid.

Saturday night was family movie night. All four of us went to see WALL-E. Loved it, loved it, loved it. (The only bad thing was the family with the unruly kids in the theater. Ugh.) WALL-E himself is so adorable. This movie even makes cockroaches seem adorable. Then again, these are the same people who made me fall in love with a rat in Ratatouille. There is a strong environmental message here, but it is second to the plot -- as opposed to that horrible Happy Feet movie.

Disney/Pixar has got a tremendous hit on its hands. Don't walk -- RUN -- to the theaters for this movie. There's something in it for everyone and a little something special for Mac users.....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Charles Schulz

Do you readers have a problem with Charles Schulz? You know, no one is forcing you to read this blog.

For your convenience, I have listed several other blogs on the right hand side. Perhaps you will find something of interest there....

The Closer - Pilot

So we watched the pilot episode of "The Closer" last night.

First off, and this probably goes without saying; watching TV shows on DVD is great. You don't even have to skip over the commercials, because they aren't there! Secondly, getting TV shows on DVD from the library is also great, since my library doesn't charge for movies. (My previous library did, but it was only a dollar. Hm. That would make an interesting library-related post.)

Third, I just want to state for the record that, in general, I am not a big fan of police/investigation/mystery solving type shows.

I thought the show was pretty good. I know I have no way of proving it, but I did figure out what happened VERY early on in the show. It took me a little bit to figure out how all the characters fit together, which was a little distracting, but what do you expect for a pilot episode.

I think the most interesting thing about the show was watching Brenda interrogate the suspect and get a confession, which, I guess, is sort of the premise. She's the one who can close the deal. When you've got some nincompoop cops who can't get a conviction because of technicalities, she comes in and gets the job done.

I thought it was a little gory. That may sound odd coming from someone who is a fan of House, but the little medical clips on House are usually computer generated things, not murder-related.

I'm not sure how I feel about Brenda's obsession with sweets. What is that supposed to be? It made me hungry watching the show so I baked brownies last night and ate one for breakfast this morning. (I also made this cookie-dough-like topping for the brownies which Dave didn't like, so I only put it on my brownie. And now I've got a bowl of this stuff that tastes just like cookie dough, but without the eggs. I could just sit and eat the whole thing. I've got to get rid of it!)

Overall, I give the pilot episode of "The Closer" a C. It's not within my genre of shows I really enjoy, but it's unfair to judge a whole series based on just the pilot. So I will continue to watch the other episodes, to give it a fair shot.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Closer

Just got season one of The Closer on DVD today. No, I didn't buy it. That's what public libraries are for.

So now I have something to watch on TV tonight instead of just playing My Sims.

The kids are still in Michigan until Saturday. We are actually thinking about going out to the movies Friday night. Maybe we'll see Wall-E. Maybe we'll see Get Smart. Or else maybe we'll just get another movie from the red box.... What's a good movie out there right now??

For your pleasure....

Garfield minus Garfield

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One year ago today

I wrote this blog entry.

Happiness is....

Finding change in the pocket of your jacket. (Now I can get a Diet Coke in the afternoon if I need one.)

Half price margarita and 99 cent taco night.

Seeing that the August newsletter has written itself.

Getting a huge jump on September promotions.

When your boss likes your writing style!

Technical difficulties getting resolved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Red box video rental

This weekend we tried something new. We rented a movie from a redbox. I think it's pretty cool. You just pick the title you want, swipe your credit card, and voila! out pops your movie. For security reasons, they have you enter the zip code of the billing address of the credit card.

The only thing I was slightly concerned about was I didn't know when it had to be returned. But after just looking at their website now, it says there aren't any late fees.

When I first saw the redboxes start to appear in stores, I thought it was a great idea. Why in the world couldn't libraries be doing this? It really makes video rental so easy!

I have actually suggested at my library that we get a redbox. My suggestion met with a lot of resistance. (no surprise there) Partly because we don't charge at my library to check out a DVD and partly because it was seen as a commercial venue.

Well, what if we partnered with redbox? We could either: a) ask them for a reduced price or b) the library could pay a fixed fee every month so that patrons could borrow DVDs for free or c) what if the library provided the content (the DVDs) and the redbox was merely a system for distribution?

One immediate problem: our library cards do not have a magnetic strip. But they do have barcodes. What if redbox could prototype a machine that had a barcode scanner to read the library barcode, then the person could enter their PIN and then borrow movies for free?

Ultimately, trying to force the redbox into a library model would be difficult at best, depending on how willing they are to work with the library. That's why I say, just put the redbox in the library and let the chips fall where they may. You say you don't want to wait for the library copy of Cloverfield to become available? For just a buck, you can take it home tonight.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Expanding my vocabulary

These words may already in your vocabulary, but they are new to me.

Bromance. Watching the Top Chef "reunion" introduced me to this term. The male chefs of season four really did seem to bond. If memory serves me (and it doesn't serve me as well as it used to) the chefs really did not form such close friendships. At least the guys didn't. They all hated each other and the girls got along. But season four was different. I think the guys got along and the girls didn't really like each other much.

I always enjoy the reunion show. I have to agree with the viewers who thought the language was terrible. Chef Tom hit the nail on the head when he suggested the chefs ask "is this how I want people to see me?"

Staycation. Two people used this word in a conversation with me yesterday at two different times. Both were referring to the fact that high gas prices would prevent them from taking any kind of driving vacation this summer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I wonder if we would get more people to participate in summer reading if we took this approach?

Back to important stuff

Top Chef Finale!

Last night I re-watched the Top Chef finale so that I could do a recap here.

The Good: Overall, I was pleased with the outcome. How could I not be pleased that Stephanie won? She's a Chicago girl and I was rooting for her from the beginning. I still remember her first quick fire and her hands shaking so badly she could hardly hold a spoon steady.

But she really showed that she is a "Top Chef". She just cooked good food and did it well without a lot of fanfare and hoopla. I think she had a lot of grace and was one of the most likable chefs on the show this season.

The Bad: Speaking of chefs I like, my heart did break a little bit for Richard. He, too, was a class act from start to finish. He obviously had talent. You knew that from the start. I wish he had had a little better showing in his final meal, but that's why he didn't win.

The Ugly: I'll admit it. Lisa had me worried. I really thought she had a chance at winning in the finale. The panel seemed to really love all her dishes but the beef. But thank heaven common sense finally prevailed! I hated that it was so close; I really wanted her to fail miserably. I don't think it was fair that someone who was on the bottom so much during the entire season should end up in the final. But, life's not fair and, in the end, she didn't win anyway.

Hey, who ended up being voted "fan favorite"? I can't find it on that horrible website. Well, according to the website, the Top Chef crew is coming through Chicago September 3-4. Since there's no RSS feed about it, I guess I'll have to use the old fashioned method of keeping informed by checking their website every day. Grr.

It was another fun season. I'm sad that it's over. Since Top Chef was always my summer show, I feel like I've got nothing to watch this summer (unless I get some DVDs of The Closer from the library). That's okay, I was planning on replaying The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess now that we've got the new DLP projector. I also plan on making Pro level in Wii tennis.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The movie of my life, part II

I couldn't resist doing this little experiment again, this time on my PC at work. This time the soundtrack to the movie of my life is:

Opening Credits: "There is a louder shout to come" by Matt Redman. That's right, it's only the beginning...

Waking Up: "Avalon" as performed by Harry Connick, Jr. Nice piano piece. I'm not much for talking or anything else in the morning.

First Day at School: "Sk8er Boi" by Avril Lavigne. I wonder if I'm supposed to be the one who said "see ya later boy" or the one who ended up with the skater boy.

Falling in Love: "Come by me" by Harry Connick, Jr. Your wish is my command, Harry.

Fight Song: "I just can't wait to be king" as performed by Aaron Carter. This is still my fight song today!

Breaking Up: "Hero's dream" by Jim Brickman. I guess it's sort of contemplative. Good after a breakup.

Prom: "Rise up" by Third Day. A better prom theme than "We're all in this together".

Life's Ok: "Honor to us all" from Mulan soundtrack. Maybe someday I will grow up and save China from the Huns!

Mental Breakdown: "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns. If we all really contemplated, deep down, the fact that God loves us so much to make the ultimate sacrifice, it might lead you to a breakdown of sorts.

Driving: "Basin Street Blues" as performed by Harry Connick, Jr. Good driving music if you're in Louisiana I guess.

Flashback: "Diwali" as performed by Michael Scott in The Office. Yes, I have the Diwali song from The Office on my PC. You got a problem with that?

Getting Back Together: "How's your head?" by Third Day. Song about a long distance relationship. I was never good at them.

Wedding: "When you wish upon a star" as performed by *Nsync. Hey, I like the Nsync version. It's really pretty.

Birth of Child: "When you wish upon a star" (instrumental) performed by Jim Brickman. Awesome! Double jeopardy!

Final Battle: Billy Brown by Third Day. "It ain't easy being a star, It ain't easy to be who you are
It ain't easy but you're going far, Well, you say there's nothing to it, But somebody's gotta do it, boy". Yeah that's me!

Death Scene: "Something there" from Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Hm, this seems a little out of place....

Funeral Song: "Tunnel" by Third Day. I guess this will be more comfort to those at my funeral who are devastated to see me go on before them.

End Credits: "Saved" by Third Day. "I'm saved by the blood of the Lamb" that sums it up nicely. Not by works, but by His mercy. Hallelujah!

Monday, June 16, 2008

If your life was a movie

Holy web 2.0, I've been tagged! I'll try this at home, where I can only claim that a small percentage of the music that's available to me was uploaded by me.

Here's how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...
7. Include commentary

Opening Credits: "Voices Carry" by Til Tuesday. Guess I'm a child of the 80's.

Waking Up: "Here I am" by Michael W. Smith. Not a bad start.

First Day at School: "Stay Free" by the Clash. That's right -- you can't tame me!

Falling in Love: "21 things I want in a lover" by Alanis Morissette. I don't think I even know the words to this one!

Fight Song: "Let love rule" by Lenny Kravitz. (I don't even know this song, but I guess I can claim to be a lover, not a fighter!)

Breaking Up: "Hey you" by Pink Floyd. Ah, the Floyd always makes for a good breakup song.

Prom: "Rock me tonite" by Billy Squier. Yes, the year would have been 1986, except I didn't go to prom.

Life's Ok: "O Tannenbaum" performed by Colin Bailey. From a Charlie Brown Christmas. Awesome!

Mental Breakdown: "Fearless" by Cyndi Lauper. Yeah, I can't let fear rule my life.

Driving: "Only the Young" by Journey. Put the top down and crank it up!

Flashback: "My Love" by Paul McCartney. Hmmm.....

Getting Back Together: "Take a bow" by Madonna. "I've always been in love with you...." good line.

Wedding: "Knockin on heaven's door" by Eric Clapton. Appropo I guess....

Birth of Child: "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang. That works, but what the heck is this song doing in my music library???

Final Battle: "Low Rider" by War. Cool song. Again, I didn't know this was in my library.

Death Scene: "Shoot to thrill" by ACDC. Wow, I must go out in a blaze of glory!

Funeral Song: "If God will send His angels" by U2. I expect there to be LOTS of crying at my funeral.

End Credits: "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" by Tom Lehrer. Really. I love it!

An interesting experiement. I might have to try this again on my PC at work where the music has been much more hand chosen by me.

The only sad thing is I don't really know any bloggers to tag. So the meme ends here, I guess. Enjoy!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Catching up

We're back from Disneyworld and really hit the ground running. The trip was awesome and completely exhausting. We flew in Friday night and Saturday morning I was up and off to the library's booth at the local community Expo event. It wasn't even a very good Expo. Crowds were light all day and the weather was less than ideal.

I don't think I'll give as detailed of a Disney report as we were there for a whole week. It would take me a month to post everything! For me, the highlights were:
  • Michelle getting a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios (I may have to do a blog entry on this ride alone. It was so fun!)
  • Seeing the opening show at the Magic Kingdom then getting Dream Fastpasses for the day
  • My brother in law being an extra in the Indiana Jones show
  • The divers at the Coral Reef restaurant putting up a personalized message for our nieces
  • Michelle and I staying late at EPCOT to ride Soarin' two extra times
  • Dave being "that guy" in the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
  • Having a group picture of all eight of us in front of Cinderella's castle with Michelle and Natalie holding Tinkerbell in the palm of their hands
While the weather was very hot and humid, the crowds weren't as bad as I was expecting. In fact, the lunch crowds were much lighter than they have been during other visits. Interesting.

The only real downside to the whole trip was that my father had open heart surgery while we were on vacation. He was going in for tests and they wanted to operate right away. He's doing fine, but recovery is slow. He's still in the hospital. Hopefully he can go home later this week.

We did not watch the season finale of Lost until last night. I dozed off during the middle so I'm going to have to watch it again. I think I missed something with Sawyer sacrificing himself. Anyway, it's a big mysterious ending of course and I'm still confused, though maybe not as confused as before.

Naturally, I'm disappointed that Lisa is going to be on the final Top Chef. I'm trying not to be concerned since she's always, always, always on the bottom. It's just not possible that she should end up as the winner. I am getting frustrated that I can't find information about the final show. Is the finale this Wednesday or next? They usually do a reunion show the week before the finale. But the DVR for this week's episode has no description and doesn't have a schedule posted either. Grrrrrr