Thursday, July 28, 2005

County Fair

We went to the Madison County Fair last week. The clouds were threatening rain, but we decided to go and hope for the best. The "best" was that we got some food and managed to find a picnic table under a tent at which to sit before the rain started pouring.

Corn Dogs, Hot Dogs, Pork Chop Sandwiches, curly fries, Corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake, cotton candy; oh, and I think that Christy and Hannah may have eaten something, too, though it's hard to be sure.

So, when the time came to go get the strawberry shortcake, I asked, "How many?" The reply from Christy, "Three." Simple enough, right? So I dashed out in a moderate rain and got three strawberry shortcakes with the works and brought them back in a box lid. Christy's eyes got wide and she says, "I meant three spoons!" -- Oops. To be fair, there was some mention before I left to retrieve the strawberry shortcake about spoons, and it may have been in close proximity to my question, "How many?" but I didn't believe that there was any reason to ask how many spoons to get. Anyway, Christy and Hannah shared one (one shortcake, not one spoon, wiseguy), and while I still maintain that I could have polished off the other two myself, Christy encouraged me to find somebody else to give the "extra" one to. There was a family sitting at our table that had two teen-ish boys who happily took the "extra" one and shared it amongst themselves.

Once the rain quit, Christy and Hannah still had time to go on one ride. "The Bear Affair" appeared to be one of the only rides that we thought Hannah could handle with seats that weren't drenched from the heavy rain.
Here's a picture:

Bear Affair

Even besides the food and the ride, Hannah made out pretty well. The boys who got the "extra" strawberry shortcake had won a stuffed clownfish at a carnival game that they decided to give to Hannah. Also, out of the clear blue cloudy gray sky, some girl came up to Hannah and asked her if she wanted a a goldfish.

Introducing: Hannah's first pet: "Jaws"
Jaws

Perhaps, you'll be happy to know that over a week later, Jaws is still alive and -- um -- swimming! We have gotten several suggestions about how to "accidentally" kill a goldfish. Some people are just sick! Though, if anybody has any suggestions on how to "accidentally" kill a cat, send them my way! (Note to self: Send e-mail to Haloscan to prepare them for the deluge of comments I'm about to recieve on this post.)

If we ever take a vacation, we might need to take up the services of this local boy who has been advertising his new pet sitting business (this struck me as funny -- he seems to be going after a very niche market):

Jesse's Pet Watch


Films Recently Watched:

Double Feature:
The Next Karate Kid (1994) dir. by Christopher Cain
Million Dollar Baby (2004) dir. by Clint Eastwood

Well, I was going to do this clever "compare & contrast" segment about Million Dollar Baby and The Next Karate Kid, but apart from the obvious fighting sports theme and the presence of Hilary Swank, there are few comparisons to be made, just lots of contrast.

Really though, Million Dollar Baby packed such a punch (so to speak) that I couldn't bring myself to be "clever" about it.

If you haven't seen Million Dollar Baby, I highly recommend it.

Fellow HTF member, Haggai, says this:
Time after time, scene after scene, Clint knows what we want, and then he makes us wait for it, and then he hits us with it at precisely the right moment.

That's a good summation of Eastwood's skill as a director.

I, Robot (2004) dir. by Alex Proyas

The Final Countdown (1980) dir. by Don Taylor
An interesting fantasy concept: A modern-day aircraft carrier encounters an electrical storm which throws the ship and its crew back in time to December 6, 1941, just hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Do they take action and prevent the events of that fateful day, or by their inaction, hopefully avoid the Grandfather Paradox? Though, I would have liked to have seen more discussion of "what if" scenarios, starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen, this is a decent sci-fi/fantasy/war film.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) dir. by Alfred Hitchcock
No, this isn't the latest Hollywood summer blockbuster. This is completely unrelated to the new Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie action flick, though the premise of the 2005 film is much closer to your typical Hitchcock film than the 1941 film is. Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a straight-ahead screwball comedy starring the original "screwball" herself, Carole Lombard. No murder, no mystery, no "wrong man," no trains.

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) dir. by Robert Altman
Again, of the older (1965) and newer (2004) versions of this film, the older is clearly the better film. Good performances by Jimmy Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine and several other cast members. Though the basic plot in both films plays out very similarly, Altman uses several quieter moments for character development that is unfortunately absent from the 2004 re-make. I enjoyed the 1965 version better even though I saw the newer version first and, thus, was not surprised by the "twist" while watching the older version.

Sunset Blvd. (1950) dir. by Billy Wilder
It's astonishing that this film and All About Eve were released the same year. I've never seen the academy award winning performance by Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday, but I know now that I must. If it is honestly better than Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd., it simply must be an amazing performance! More probably though, the vote in this category was split three ways and the likely 4th place finisher ended up winning! (Update: I did find "Born Yesterday" at the library, but haven't watched it yet. Stay Tuned!)

Empire of the Sun (1987) dir. by Steven Spielberg
This is one that you can watch over and over and see new things every time.
Perhaps I didn't state it clearly enough here from my first viewing: "Watch this film!" It is most definitely worth your time.

Again, I will refer you to the thread at the Home Theater Forum, EMPIRE OF THE SUN -- Steven Spielberg's Overlooked, Misunderstood Masterwork.

The following is a quote from Ernest Rister, the gentleman who began the discussion at HTF:

It is said that there are two types of media -- lean-forward media and lean-back media. Lean-forward media asks you to particiapte, to do your own work, to sort things out. Lean back media does all the work for you, the film acts upon you, as opposed to you injecting yourself into the film. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a lean-back movie. E.T. is a lean-back movie. Jaws is a lean-back movie. Even The Color Purple is a lean-back film.

Empire of the Sun is a lean-forward film, but because Spielberg had created so many masterful films in the classic Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, John Ford, and Walt Disney mold, this is what people expected from him. Empire of the Sun was something completely new from Steven Spielberg - a film that worked on multiple levels of reality, with one informing the other. Audiences and critics did not know what to make of it.


The French Connection (1971) dir. by William Friedkin
Check off another AMPAS "Best Picture" winner for me. The French Connection also won for leading actor (Gene Hackman), director, film editing, and adapted screenplay.

Taking on the drug culture head-on; dirty cops; the large-scale car chase; these elements may have been progressive at the time, but have since become such an integral part of American films that they appear clich├ęd looking back now. Of course, that isn't the fault of the original, but it definitely shows its age.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Anybody want a Star Wars bootleg??

Here at Bootleg Central, we take seriously our responsibility to bring you the best of what bootleg films have to offer!

Now available,
Star war: The backstroke of the west

Cee teh adventureres of Ratio Tile and Smelly Boy as they cut the big up rough now and battle thes troopseses of the big. Be prepored to rethin all you thot was true when you noed the real reezons why Smelly Boy was made by the Presbyterian Church! Can Smelly Boy make his dreamses come true and garantee the safety of his love, his cuckoldry, or is he just a Lier with strong and big wish powers? Find out for yourself by calling 1-800-BOOTLEG and ordering Star war: The backstroke of the west!!!

NOTE: the linked page above does contain a few vulgar words in the mis-translated subtitles. You've beened warned and have no excuse to later say, "Do not want."

Coming Soon:
Vietnamese and my confectionary storage facility
Counter-Attacking of the geologic change's
Mr. Smith and his cuckoldry
Good elephant's disheveled hair
The strongs big of frightening territories
and the ever-popular,
All your base are belong to us / Somebody set up us the bomb (2-pack)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scotty, Beam us up!

Star Trek's "Scotty," James Doohan, dies at 85.

James Doohan -- 1920-2005
1920-2005


If you're paying attention at all 'round here, you know that if I had to choose between Star Wars and Star Trek, I'd easily choose Star Wars, but I have to acknowledge the passing of Mr. Doohan, who, in addition to being part of the original Star Trek cast, also was wounded storming Normandy on D-Day.

R.I.P., Mr. Scott.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Transformers - July 4, 2007

In hopes of not being scooped again by Pat or Prink, I'm reporting this news received from Comic Con in San Diego (via Google News via Slashdot via Yahoo News).

Live-action Tranformers film less than two years away

A couple of months ago, Pat put up a post that Michael Bay was considering this, but now it's official.

Here is my comment from Pat's post:
Anybody who's wondering about the viability of a "live-action" Transformers movie needs to check this!

Ignore the Saturday Night Fever dance moves, the CGI here is pretty good! Very few, if any, cheats on the physics, too. I wouldn't mind watching 90 minutes of a live-action Transformers movie that looked like this. Imagine a Matrix Reloaded Freeway chase where the cars ARE the characters.

I'm not saying that it can't be done poorly, especially by Michael Bay, but I am saying that it could be very, VERY cool.

Click on the link from my comment and it takes you to a short car commercial that uses the type of visual effects that Hollywood is best at. Definitely a lot of potential there.



Films Recently Watched:

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) dir. by Joel Schumacher.
I got this DVD when it came out a few months ago, but finally watched it with Christy. She really liked it! I've been humming showtunes ever since I saw it again!

All About Eve (1950) dir. by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The Terminal (2004) dir. by Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks does a good job, as always.
After seeing Minority Report, I mentioned I was looking forward to seeing War of the Worlds. That was intended to be a compliment. After seeing The Terminal, I really want to see War of the Worlds; and that isn't.

Garden State (2004) dir. by Zach Braff

It Happened One Night (1934) dir. by Frank Capra

Jaws (1975) dir. by Steven Spielberg
This is just a lot of fun to watch. Lots of thrills. Perfect pacing, a wonderful John Williams score, and that captivating speech by Robert Shaw about the U.S.S. Indianapolis. The new 30th Anniversary Edition DVD looks and sounds great. The 2 hour documentary, The Making of Jaws, is also exellent. Made for the Jaws laserdisc (and edited to 59 minutes for the 25th Anniversary DVD), this documentary goes into multiple aspects of the film from the adaptations of the best-selling novel, to casting, to the rigors of shooting a film on the ocean where everything is moving, to the happy accident that they couldn't usually get the mechanical shark to work. Interviews with Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Sheider and the author of the original novel and screenplay, Peter Benchley.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Non-Stop

We've had one of those non-stop sequence of days that, though you're tired from it by the end (let's be honest, you're tired from it by the middle if you weren't before it began), you wouldn't go back and do it any differently, even if you could.

The events, themselves, didn't begin until last Saturday (6/25), but we spent much of the prior week preparing for said events. Besides your standard cooking, cleaning, lawn mowing, etc., one of my big projects was the car port. You see, my clunker of a car has had a bad-and-getting-worse-oil-leak for a number of years. I typically park said clunker in the car port on the end of our garage. So, over the course of the the five years we've lived in our current house, I've managed to create a pretty decent oil spill (think Valdez minus dead seals). Well, we knew that Saturday and Sunday were going to be hot, so we thought we could probably use the shade provided by our car port, but we didn't want to have people (and especially kids) stepping in or even having to dodge the spill, so, after trying a couple of homemade remedies, I got some oil stain remover from Lowe's which, after some additional scrubbing, did the trick!

Saturday:
In attendance:
Ryan and Cari
Even though they weren't able to come Sunday with everybody else, we had a great evening with Ryan and Cari. We had a few of the menu items for Sunday with them and were able to test a few things on them. I don't think they minded being guinea pigs. I got my shish-ka-bob technique down and we made certain that we had plenty of toppings for ice cream sundaes. We had a blast with Ryan and Cari.

Sunday:
In attendance:
Randy and family
Pat and family
Tim and family (who, thanks to the gathering, now has a blog of his own . . . kind of)
Everybody who came Sunday has kids (or kid, at least) All the kids had a good time together.

The Hannon FamilyThe Cox FamilyThe Nardoni FamilyThe Stockwell Family

Despite the fact that we were getting together because of campmeeting, actually, none of us ended up going either night. Shame!

Sunday night, after everybody left and we got things mostly cleaned up and put away, it occurred to us that our weekend was over and we both had to go back to work in the morning! Good Grief!

A big thanks to my wife, Christy for not only allowing a bunch of my college buddies to come over, but for volunteering to host two nights in a row!

Monday:
After work Monday, we grabbed something to eat and went to another party that was being held at our church for some friends who were in town briefly after being out of the country for a while. It was great to have a chance ot catch up with our friends and hear about what they've been doing and what the future holds for them. After playing a version of "Duck, Duck, Goose" with the kids who were there where everybody ran around a circle when "Goose" was called and then lifting every kid there high enough to touch the basketball net, I was tired.

Tuesday:
Tuesday was the end of the line for concurrent parties. Isabel, a friend of Hannah's, was having a party celebrating the 6th anniversary of the day on which she was born, so we made a quick shopping trip for a birthday present and then a brief stop at Isabel's house for opening presents, and then cake and ice cream.

Wednesday:
Wednesday, we were able to catch our breath a little, though we did make 3+ gallons of punch for a party at my work on Thursday.

Thursday:
Thursday, I helped with a going-away party at work for a friend from work. Served aforementioned punch, etc.

Saturday:
Saturday, we went to Symphony on the Prairie which is the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's Summer Series at Conner Prairie. It was a perfect night for this outdoor event. Too perfect, I'm afraid. By the time we got there, the place was already packed! I've been to at least a half dozen of these and I've never seen the place anywhere near that full. The orchestra's band shell sits at the bottom of a large hill where the audience is allowed to sit, picnic, etc. Well, had we been a group of only two, we might have found a spot to squeeze into, but with some friends from our Church, we were a group of eight and there was simply no way. We ended up over the hill (literally) where we couldn't even see the orchestra. We were able to hear the music, but we mostly just chatted together. My apologies to any who were in ear-shot of our chatting during the concert, but really, those who was close enough to hear us were over the hill, too and couldn't see the orchestra either, so the dirty looks were really unwarranted. On the plus side for the night, we did have a really good view of the fireworks following the concert and we were pretty close to the Howitzer Artillery Cannons that they use to add some Oomph to the cannon shots during the finale of the 1812 orchestra!

Howitzer Muzzle Blast

Sunday:
Our church had an outdoor service Sunday morning after which we headed to my cousin's house near Crawfordsville for the Stockwell family 4th of July get-together. Swimming, basketball, good food, fireworks. I've always looked forward to these 4th of July family gatherings. Ever since I was a kid, these were always memory makers for me. I hope that they will continue to be the same for Hannah.

Infinity

r

Monday:
For the holiday, we managed to get Hannah down for an early nap after which we loaded up the bikes and went to a local park for a bike ride, picnic, and playing on the playground.

If they haven't figured it out already, regular readers of my little corner of the web will know how busy we've been when I say this: I haven't watched a single movie in over two weeks. I don't have any updates to the Films Recently Watched portion of my sidebar!

Friday, July 01, 2005

New Pictures!!

Well, I think I solved my computer problem where I couldn't upload pictures from my camera to the computer to be able to work with them. I'm not entirely sure what the problem was, but it's working again, so here are a few pictures that I took in May and June, 2005.

First, a few of my favorite Hannah pictures of late. Sorry to our Moms for not getting some of these up sooner.
[click on any picture to enlarge it]

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Next, back in May, we had a pretty good lightning storm. I've always been facinated by lightning storms. As a kid, my room had a balcony where I would often go sit late at night and watch the coming storm. These were such peaceful times. I'm still amazed by these displays and I tried to get a few lightning pictures. I had to take several thousand pictures (thank you Canon for giving the S1 IS a continuous shooting mode!) to get a handful of shots that actually had lightning in them. I don't recommend this method, however. I had a great time shooting the pictures, but sorting them out was a task, to be sure! Here's the cream of the crop:
[Please, click on these as the thumbs don't do them justice]

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I hope to get some news of recent events up sometime next week.

Until then...