Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Movie Archive

Total Films Watched in 2006: (161)

New (106) [noted with *]
Re-watched (55)

[Navigation Note: Each title here will take you to my blog post where the film was mentioned. Within the blog post, the film's title is linked to the imdb entry for that particular film.]

[FYI: this list goes from the end of the year 2006 (at the top) to the beginning of the year (at the bottom)]

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) *
The Nativity Story (2006) *
Band of Brothers (2001)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Cars (2006)
End of the Spear (2005) *
V for Vendetta (2005) *
The Interpreter (2005) *
The Island (2005) *
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) *
Snatch (2000) *
Fame (1980) *
Panic Room (2002)
Hulk (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
A Fish Called Wanda (1989) *
Raging Bull (1980) *
Sergeant York (1941) *
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2004)
Crash (2004)
Adaptation (2002) *
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Back to the Future (1985)
Cast Away (2000)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Contact (1997)
Zardoz (1974) *
Cimarron (1931) *
Frances (1982) *
The Great Escape (1963) *
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Jerk (1979) *
The Hidden Fortress (1958) *
American Beauty (1999)
Moulin Rouge (2001)
My Friend Flicka (1943) *
Garden State (2004)
Beyond the Gates of Spendor (2002) *
Mogambo (1953) *
The Dirty Dozen (1967) *
Snakes on a Plane (2006) *
The Family Stone (2005)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) *
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) *
The Family Stone (2005) *
Underworld (2003) *
Mighty Joe Young (1949) *
The Squid and the Whale (2005) *
Toy Story (1995)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) *
Zatôichi (2003) *
Fever Pitch (2005) *
Midnight Cowboy (1969) *
Cars (2006)
Downfall (2004) *
Superman Returns (2006) *
Minority Report (2002)
Stalag 17 (1953) *
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) *
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Sin City (2005)
Cars (2006) *
A Prairie Home Companion (2006) *
Karate Kid III (1989)
Karate Kid II (1986)
Man on Fire (2004) *
Saboteur (1942) *
The Trouble With Harry (1955) *
The Birds (1963) *
Vertigo (1958) *
Blade Runner (1982)
Bill Cosby: Himself (1984)
Pride & Prejudice (2005) *
Eraserhead (1977) *
Brokeback Mountain (2005) *
Serenity (2005) *
Bruce Almighty (2003) *
Howl's Moving Castle (2004) *
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) *
LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
LOTR: The Two Towers (2002)
LOTR: The Return of the King (2003)
Chicken Little (2005) *
Bringing Up Baby (1938) *
A Lot Like Love (2005) *
The Unsaid (2001) *
Hoodwinked (2006)
The Towering Inferno (1974)
Billy Graham: God's Ambassador (2006) *
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Kingdom of Heaven (2005) *
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Veronica Guerin (2003) *
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) *
Wild Strawberries (1957) *
Mississippi Burning (1988) *
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003) *
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) *
The Wild Bunch (1969) *
Sabrina (1954) *
Enchanted April (1992) *
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman Returns (1992)
Phone Booth (2002) *
Beau Geste (1939) *
Elizabethtown (2005) *
Seven Years in Tibet (1997) *
A Man Called Peter (1955) *
Mona Lisa Smile (2003) *
Lost Horizon (1937) *
Ice Princess (2005) *
Heaven Can Wait (1943) *
Envy (2004) *
Traffic (2000)
West Side Story (1961)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Batman (1989)
Murderball (2005) *
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
Walk the Line (2005) *
12 Angry Men (1957)
Giant (1956) *
East of Eden (1955) *
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) *
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) *
The Seventh Seal (1957) *
Sense and Sensibility (1995) *
Top Hat (1935) *
The Fly (1986) *
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Batman Begins (2005)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) *
The Polar Express (2004)
The Philadelphia Story (1940) *
Toy Story 2 (1999)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Cold Mountain (2004) *
First Blood (1982)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) *
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) *
Ed Wood (1994) *
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Chinatown (1974) *
On the Waterfront (1954) *
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
King Kong (2005)
Hoodwinked (2005) *
Rashômon (1950) *
Daredevil (2003) *
Elektra (2005) *
Goodfellas (1990) *
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) *
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
A Clockwork Orange (1971) *
A Place in the Sun (1951) *
Double Indemnity (1944) *
The Spiral Staircase (1946) *
King Kong (1933) *

Thursday, December 28, 2006

SPC - Red - #4

OK -- I'm shamelessly using this post to show off my newborn son, Harrison, to my SPC friends.

As you can see, he IS wearing red, and I AM in the picture (that's my arm on the bottom left and my fingers on the bottom right).

Harrison was born 12-21 and he and Mommy are both doing great. We're quite the proud parents.

For those interested, go to my main page for more news and pictures of my Boy.

Finally, at year's end -- thanks to all you SPC folks for your comments and support each and every week. SPC is a unique and eclectic community here on the world-wide-web and I'm grateful for it and its participants.

Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

O Holy Zombie

And now, for some non-baby related, but valuable, nonetheless, information:

Undoubtedly, you've already heard what has got to be simply the worst recording of "O Holy Night" EVER.

If you haven't, here's your chance:

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you haven't heard it -- see above.

If you have, here is a flash version of the song with some animated video, courtesy of "Just Add Zombies."

via the sneeze:

Click here!

Films Recently Watched:

We actually managed to get to the theater a couple of times before Harrison arrived:

The Nativity Story (2006) dir. by Catherine Hardwicke
We enjoyed this. Not too many surprises, here, but well done, overall. There is some wonderful photography in this. This was definitely a good way to get our Christmas season started.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) dir. by Gabriele Muccino
Based on a true story, this is a touching story. Will Smith really does a good job in this, as does his son.

I also got a craving to re-watch HBO's excellent mini-series,
Band of Brothers (2001) Produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg ; dir. by Various
If you've never seen this, you simply must. This is excellent film-making. For local folks, I'd happily loan it, just let me know if you're interested.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) dir. by George Seaton
Besides The Nativity Story, this one may have been the only 'Christmas movie' I got around to watching this year. It's not that I didn't want to get through some of the other Holiday classics, but time just didn't allow. Christy had never seen this from beginning to end until this time, so we watched this one together. Of those classics, this is worthy of being on the short list. It absolutely retains its rewatchability, year after year.

Cars (2006) dir. by John Lasseter & Joe Ranft

End of the Spear (2005) dir. by Jim Hanon
I was hoping for more from this. If I were you, I would pass on this and just watch the documentary, Beyond the Gates of Splendor. It tells the story better than this re-creation of these historical events.

V for Vendetta (2005) dir. by James McTeigue
Again, I was hoping for more from this. I'd heard really good things and watched it with far too high expectations. It was well-done, but not life-changing.


Home, Sweet HomeWe arrived home from the hospital early this afternoon. We are grateful to Christy's mom, Carol who came from Michigan to help with Harrison and ended up taking care of Hannah while we were at the hospital, too. We sure missed Hannah while we were away from her. She was able to come to the hospital a couple of times, but it's great to be home with the whole family.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's a boy!

Harrison William Stockwell arrived December 21, 2006 (that's 12-21 -- a palindromic birthday!!) at 10:22am.

Mother and Baby are doing fine.

Harrison was 8lb 12oz in weight and 20 inches in length.

I'll get a few pictures up here as soon as I'm able. Check back there for additional details in the coming days.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Photo Friday - 'Ambushed'

I didn't get anything up again last week for "Fresh." Wow -- some odd themes recently over at Photo Friday. I wasn't sure about this week either ('Ambushed'), until I remembered I had this one that might work:


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

For Posterity...

As you may have noticed from my sidebar, I love movies. All kinds of movies. But if I had to choose one piece of film to have with me on a deserted island, this video would at least be on the short list.

My Dad taped this little bit of goodness off of a television program over 10 years ago. It may have been the Montreal Comedy Festival, but I wouldn't swear to it. Regardless, I got a copy of it to take with me to college and I've got to tell you, it was a real blessing. Just about any time I, or one of my friends was feeling down a bit, we'd just put this on and enjoy.

His name is Peter Gaulke and he's bizarre, funny and just plain weird at times, but he helped a few of us through college.

Ryan Prinkey was kind enough a couple of months ago to provide two links to a couple of Peter Gaulke stand-up bits that are available on youtube. According to his IMDb profile, he has done and still does a bit of writing for television and movies -- other than that, he's relatively obscure, which just makes it even funnier!

For posterity, I've transcribed the video word for word in its entirety. The full version can be found HERE. Below are a few excerpts:


Oh thank you -- MORE!
Oh thank you
Oh thank you
One more time, for me!
Oh thank you
Oh thank you
[begins playing with pants]
Oh thank you
Oh, yes!
Oh thank you
Oh, I'm very popular here tonight
[continues playing with pants]
It's very nice to be here this evening
I'm very proud to be here; very honored
I'm very proud and honored
I'm very excited
'Excited' is the word I'm looking for -- I'm very excited.
I Love You
You know how much fun it is doing this in front of a lot of people? Ha-Ha!
You're standing on the corner; you see some old guys pants doing this; he's
not even touching them? Whoa!
Dog pops his head up? Woof!
Pants are a a man's best friend

My name's Peter Gaulke, and I'm popular!

I'm very popular -- because -- I love music,
I once played in a five-piece rock band.
We weren't very good, though, because we all played bass.
We had a tambourine player for a while, we were kickin' ass!
He left an all-tambourine band -- they suck!
We were the best
[imitates playing bass]
Bip - BipBip - BipBipBipBip - Bip - Bip - Bip
Hit it Bob! [continues bass playing]
Bip - BipBip - Bip

[Checks belt] I put it on '4'

The most defenseless animal in the world would have to be a jellyfish --- on
dry land -- with a stick in him,
How many have ever been to the beach and seen jellyfish just lying there?
Just big hunks of jelly.
Just running up the beach with those big tree-trunk legs -- just snort,

No -- they don't have legs -- they have little faces, though
You ever lift up that jelly? Just -- HEY!!
No -- I just made that up. That'd be great if they did, though -- little
moustache -- WHY NOT!

I think when God made jellyfish, He just went Achoo! [imitates sneezing on
[imitates flinging hands] There goes a jellyfish right there.
There goes another one -- I like that -- I made that - I make everything
around here, as a matter of fact.

He makes everything
He made my Dad --
What a mess!

Actually, my Dad taught me -- Magic! Oooooh!
[unbuttons two top buttons of shirt to reveal chest and raises collar]
[pulls small towel from prop-bag]
That's right, magic: one of the most important things you can ever learn
[pulls pants up -- higher than normal]
[puts towel in front of pants, then reveals that pants have dropped to normal
[gives 'astounded' look]
No -- OK, settle down -- OK, back to your seats, OK, that's it, OK, settle
down, now
My Dad's favorite magic trick:
[imitates magic show music and theatrics]
[raises towel in front of extended arm]
[towel drops to reveal missing arm (obviously pulled inside
Hey!!! [astounded by 'missing' arm] [Bows to cheers]
Thank you!
Oh thank you!
Oh thank you!
I'm very popular here tonight

I'm very popular in Peru
In Peru, they consider me -- a genius
In Guatemala, reactions are rather mixed
But in Peru, they say the Guatemalans don't know what they're talking about.
In Peru, they always say, "Peter Gaulke es grande pendejo" -- Mr. Big Popular!
Because "grande" means 'Big' -- So "pendejo" must mean 'Popular!'
Oh thank you!

You know -- the reason I think I am so popular is - because -- I fear nothing
I once went skydiving
It was great! [pulls chair over]
They took me up in the airplane, preparing for my jump -- about 60,000 feet
[seemingly reacting to a scoff from audience]
That too high??
I was in the Space Shuttle! They loved me up there!
On reentry, my pants burst into flame the heat was so
the time I hit the ground, all that was left of me was my finger
[wiggles finger and looks longingly at it]
Boy, those were the days.
It was great
[positions himself over a chair to simulate free-falling]
I was falling faster than normal because I had a chair strapped to my chest
I knew it was really gonna hurt when I landed too, because I noticed the chair
was missing those little rubber feet on the bottoms of the legs.
[stands back
Actually, my parachute didn't even open -- but I was OK!
Because I landed right here [indicates shoulder/neck area, and shows
'bouncing' on that area]
See that spring action? That saved my life -- very grateful for that.

Actually, my one ambition in life is to live forever. Ya know what? So far --
So good! Yeah!
Thank you -- 100% success rate.

Actually, the one thing I've noticed that different between us and
Actually, there are a lot of differences -- like, thousands of them -- pretty
much blows my whole theory.
The one I'VE noticed -- is that animals don't care how they look.
You know, like we get a little piece of food stuck in our teeth - it's like -
You know, nobody ever tells you have food in your teeth, either
Half of you probably have food in your teeth right now.
friends are going -- "Don't tell them -- make them smile -- Yuk-Yuk-Yuk"
You ever get a big hunk of meat rammed in there? [points at teeth] -- just a
big hunk of beef just packed right in there - just - pork fat hanging off
right there - big pork rib bone hanging up right here [simulates feeling
curved bone sticking from teeth] Where? Here? Here? Oh no! Rib
I had a sunflower seed - just rammed right in there - big fat one - just
honkin' bang - nobody told me it was there for like a month - just rammed
right in there
I had a big sprout coming out of it, too - right here - big sunflower right on
the end of that thing -- In the morning that thing had turned toward the sun
and just twist my neck around. Very annoying.
[simulates twisting and popping neck w/ loud cracking sound]
[imitates having a hurt neck]
No -- it's just this [shows noise-maker in hand used to make cracking sound in
Boy -- that would hurt though if that was my neck! Ha!
Big bone popping out -- what the hell? Hang a hat on that thing - WHY NOT!
Oh thank you

I've been working out -- I don't know if you can tell
[begins showing off Adam's apple] I want this to get that big

Actually, I can eat anything and not gain weight -- thank you
See, what I do is: before I eat a really huge meal, I just swallow a Hefty
trashcan liner - when I'm through eating, I just yank that thing out of there
-- You can't gain weight like that -- I'm a GENIUS!!

OK - let's start snapping those fingers now

[sets brisk tempo - snapping]
Come on, let's go
Here we go
Come on, everybody
Come on, way in the back there.
Hit It!
[music begins at slower tempo]
[stops and adjusts to music]
Sorry [continues snapping]
To the music, now - come on, everybody - yeah
I wrote this song [simple boogie-woogie piano bass line]
It goes on like this for an hour and a half
It's beautiful
OK - here we go -- ready? -- Everybody! [instructing - continues snapping with
arms in funny position]
Yeah - come on - let's go - just like this - come on everybody [audience
follows instructions]
OK - ready? Here we go now [instructing - snapping in funnier position]
Yeah! [a few audience members continue following instructions]
Look - they're doing it -- they're stupid! Look!
[instructs to one section] Yeah, just you guys, do this! [pokes self in eye]

continues and picks up tempo]
[turns away from audience -- slips trousers down below waist, nearly to bottom
of extra-long shirt, giving the
of a very long torso and short legs]
[begins to dance to music]
Hi! I'm Torso-Man!!


Again, the above bits are only excerpts from the whole. Click HERE for more.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

SPC - Red - #1

Well, even though I ridiculed some who chose to sit out of the 'imperfection' theme in October, I then turned around and sat out the November theme, 'glam.' All I'm going to say is that an imperfection that I failed to mention in October is hypocrisy.

Regardless, November's 'glam' theme is finally over and December's theme, just in time for the Christmas holiday, is "RED RED RED."

Speaking of the Christmas holiday, sometime between now and then (hopefully), my wife, Christy, and I will experience the birth of our second child. Since the event is likely to be close to the 25th, we figured that between the Holiday-Visitors and New-Baby-Visitors, we will likely have some company along the way. Besides the unexpected visitors, Christy's mom will probably come from Michigan to stay for a little while to help out with the new baby, plus, Christy's Brother and his family are flying in from California on the evening of Christmas and will be staying here (on and off) for a few weeks. We've been doing what we can to prepare for these various visits. We've been doing various redecorating, reorganizing, cleaning, painting, installing, etc. Besides that, we had most of our Christmas shopping done before December arrived!

We received a gift certificate from a good friend to My Girlfriend's Kitchen as a Christmas gift. If you're not familiar with the concept (trust me, I wasn't), you choose 12 (or 6) meals from their menu for the month, then you go and prepare the meals using ingredients they make available, already cut, chopped, etc. using their utensils and they do the cleaning for you. You leave with your meals in baggies or pans, ready to freeze.

Christy went in November with her friend who gave her the gift certificate. We decided we would go ahead and do December too so that we would have some ready-to-make meals when baby arrives or for when we have company. This past Saturday, I went with Christy and we made our December meals together. Detailed instructions are provided at each station where each meal is assembled. Don't like an ingredient? Leave it out. Add a bit extra of something else you do like. In just a little over two hours, we had prepared our 12 meals, some split into half for smaller portions, all ready to freeze, thaw overnight, cook (again, detailed instructions are provided for preparation at home) and eat. We had a good time preparing everything together. I had a good time even though they spelled my name wrong:

More SPC here

Friday, December 01, 2006

Decisions, Decisions...

Check out my friend Randy's revival of a clever game he started a while back: This or That

As he says,

Two choices. Zero context. Infinite fun!

Don't forget to check back daily there!

This or That

Photo Friday - Stillness

Didn't get anything at all up for last week's theme, 'immature.' So there!

Finally, I'm back today with 'stillness.'

I believe I'll be participating in Self Portrait Challenge in December again, too, as time allows. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Photo Friday - 'Evil' - plus a few updates

A couple of tough themes for me at Photo Friday ('Gross' last week and 'Evil' this -- the first one I've missed, I believe, since I started). For what it's worth, I'm not actually submitting this image (right) to the weekly contest (since it's clearly not a photograph taken by me), but I thought I'd go ahead and post it here, especially in light of the news story I heard yesterday morning listing C. Montgomery Burns (a/k/a 'Mr. Burns' from The Simpsons) as one of the richest fictional characters ever (second only to Oliver 'Daddy' Warbucks). An interesting list this 'Forbes Fictional Fifteen.' Other interesting characters included on the list are:
Jed Clampett (of the Beverly Hillbillies)
Mr. Monopoly
Mario (of Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, etc.)
and, my personal favorite:
Prince Abakaliki of Nigeria (of e-mail scam infamy)
(Click the link above for the full list)

One of my favorite 'Mr. Burns' moments doesn't really involve Mr. Burns at all, but rather, Homer pretending to be Mr. Burns. As usual, Homer fails miserably:

Homer:(affecting accent) "Hello, my name is Mr. Burns. I believe you have a letter for me."
Postal Worker: "Okay, Mr. Burns, uh, what's your first name?"
Homer: "...I don't know."
[click for audio link]

'Santa Claus' was #1 last year, but dropped entirely from the list this year, apparently because enough readers questioned his status as a 'fictional' character. Go figure! I mean, I enjoy Miracle on 34th Street (1947) as much as the next guy, but let's face facts!

While we're mingling real with fiction, anyway, here's another news story that caught my eye:
Manila stops real version of 'Snakes on a Plane'. Just when you thought SoaP news was done!

In other news, the November theme over at Self Portrait Challenge is 'Glam' and I've got nothin'! The gals over there (and a few guys, too) are doing a great job with the theme though, so check them out even though I'm not participating this month.

Films Recently Watched:

The Interpreter (2005) dir. by Sydney Pollack
In the bonus features on this DVD, Sydney Pollack does one of the best explanations of the widescreen vs. pan-n-scan issue that I've seen. It's great to see a director so passionate about the issue, showing the pan-n-scan framing, and saying to the audience, "this is not what I wanted you to see." He intended the widescreen framing and composed his shots based on that framing. I highly recommend the featurette. Oh, the movie was pretty good, too!

(Here's a youtube link to the widescreen vs. pan-n-scan featurette mentioned above.)

The Island (2005) dir. by Michael Bay

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) dir. by Guy Ritchie
Snatch (2000) dir. by Guy Ritchie
Hilarious! Not sure how I missed both of these for this long.

Fame (1980) dir. by Alan Parker
This was so different than I remember (re-mem-ba; re-mem-ba; re-mem-ba....oh, sorry about that). I think I probably mix memories of the subsequent television show with the film, though, it is entirely possible that I'd actually never seen the film at all. The film leaves LOT of loose threads hanging -- and not in the good, 'make-you-think' way. It's an ensemble cast and I think they just try to take on too many of the characters' back stories for a 2-hour film. At the end, it feels like it should have been about an hour longer, but that a lot of that extra footage hit the cutting room floor. Perhaps the television show resolves some of these plot lines. I can't remember (re-mem-ba; re-mem-ba; re-mem-ba -- FAME!!)

Happy Thanksgiving/Black Friday!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photo Friday - 'Gross'

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To prove to the opossum that it could be done!

If you really want to see it bigger, clicking on it will show a larger version, but I really can't recommend it.

'cause it's 'gross' -- that's why!

If you enjoy the larger version, you might also enjoy some of the other entries in this week's 'gross' theme over at Photo Friday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hannah's Day as a Flower Girl

This past weekend, Hannah was the flower girl in the wedding of a good friend from church.

Hannah had been pretty excited about the whole ordeal. Dress shopping, shoe shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping. Hannah is all-girl, so anything involving pretty dresses and fancy decorations, etc. is right up her alley.

We actually kept her home from daycare Thursday and Friday because she seemed to be coming down with some cold symptoms and we wanted her to get some rest so that she would be ready for the rehearsal Friday night and the wedding Saturday night.

She did well at the rehearsal. She got the idea of walking down the aisle alone and then leaving with the ring bearer, who was a couple years older than Hannah and had been a ring bearer before (he seemed less than enthused to be there).

Despite the rehearsal and all the excitement, you just never know how a four-year-old girl is going to react when they're faced with the task of walking, alone, down an aisle with a couple hundred people watching her. But she did it like a pro. She marched right down the aisle and hit her mark on the stage. And she sat there for a relatively long wedding ceremony, about 45 minutes. She fidgeted a bit now and then, but that's to be expected, I guess. At one point, despite my efforts to hide, she found me in the crowd and waved. I tried to hide again, but she just kept waving. So, I waved back, and that seemed to satisfy her. I was a little concerned that since she knew where I was that she then had the option of coming to me, but she never did. Her bouquet was what mainly kept her occupied, though. It had been dropped earlier in the day and some of the flowers had popped out of it. During the ceremony, she was continually picking up the ones that had fallen out and putting them back in, which caused others to fall out, and so on. She took her place in the recessional and then in the receiving line where, I'm quite certain, she ate up all the attention lavished upon her. Some people asked me with what we bribed her to get her to sit still for the whole ceremony. God's honest truth is that we just didn't. I'm not sure that they believed me -- heck, I barely believe me! But believe this: we are very proud of how well she did.

Hannah did well with the wedding photographer, but I guess she always does for 'professional' photographers -- not so much for me, though. It was funny - for the wedding photographer, she would do exactly as told -- put your arm like this, chin down, smile, etc. -- For me, she typically did exactly the opposite of what I was asking. I don't often ask her to pose for pictures as it's not really my style. Despite her best efforts, I did manage to get a few good shots of her big day. Here's a sampling of the best I got:
(click on any picture to see a larger size)

At the reception, she was 'announced' as part of the wedding party. She came in, ate some of her food and then after the first few slow dances were over and the upbeat music started, she found her way to the dance floor was stayed there for the duration of the night. Even when she was the only one on the dance floor she was out there dancing and watching her dress sway back and forth, but most of the time there were others out there having a good time and enjoying Hannah, too. The bridesmaids were really great with her - dancing with her and holding her occasionally. There weren't many kids there, but Hannah eventually managed to find a friend who was smaller than she.

She had rested earlier in the day for a bit, but hadn't really gotten a good nap like we wanted for her, but despite that, she was out there until nearly eleven o'clock before she admitted being exhausted. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

There's no doubt, it was a great day for her and for us.

Finally, one of my favorite pictures of the day -- and it doesn't even have Hannah in it! I kind of got lucky with this panning shot at 1/4 second exposure, but I really liked how it captured the Bride and her Father walking down the aisle:

Films Recently Watched:

Sergeant York (1941) dir. by Howard Hawks

Raging Bull (1980) dir. by Martin Scorsese

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) dir. by Charles Crichton

Million Dollar Baby (2004) dir. by Clint Eastwood

Hulk (2003) dir. by Ang Lee

Panic Room (2002) dir. by David Fincher

Photo Friday - 'Light'

A pretty wide-open theme at Photo Friday this week ('Light'), so I'm posting one of my personal favorites (and currently my most 'interesting' photo on my Flickr photostream:

At the Twilight's Last Gleaming...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Photo Friday - 'Accidental'


My take on Photo Friday's theme, 'Accidental.'

In music notation, an accidental is a mark intended to raise or lower a pitch from what would be otherwise applicable based on the key signature.

It was the first thing I thought of, so I went with it!

Good Weekend, Everybody!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

SPC - 'imperfection' #4


This month, we SPC contributors have been taking a look at our imperfections.

So far, I’ve intentionally stayed on the surface; sticking with a few physical imperfections. Last week, I even said, “so what” about these surface imperfections.

My true imperfections, though, do not lie on the surface of my skin. They are in my heart and my mind:


These, among others, I’m afraid, are my true imperfections: In a single word -- Sin.

I believe that sin separates me from God, but that forgiveness can be found at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Imperfect but Forgiven


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Contests and other updates

As you may have noticed, I've been enjoying participating in a few photography challenges recently. For the most part, I've been doing these for the fun of it and to attempt to hone my own skills, but it is nice to be recognized occasionally and get some feedback.

Several of my Self Portrait Challenge contributions have been selected by contributors there for their main site, but dozens of contributions are usually chosen for each monthly theme.

Photo Friday is pretty competitive with hundreds of entries every week. Six 'Noteworthy' entries are chosen for each weekly theme based on votes from users and visitors, but there seem to be a few recognizable names there who are featured pretty regularly. I still enjoy the opportunity to find a picture that fits the theme each week.

Speaking of Photo Friday, The theme this week is: 'innocence.'

I've chosen this recent picture of Hannah to submit:

portrait - Hannah

The reason I took this picture was because one of the groups in which I participate over at Flickr is called, "Masters of Photography." They had a contest for the month of September and the theme was, "Portraits with Bokeh." "Bokeh," for those that don't know, (I didn't either until I had to figure it out for this contest) is a term referring to the blurry portions of a photograph. Now, some of you may be thinking, "my Uncle Henry must be a master of Bokeh, 'cause all of his pictures are blurred beyond recognition!" But bokeh, as it is usually used, specifically refers to an aesthetically pleasing use of blur in photos. For a portrait, it is often quite nice because it allows you to include some background elements, but separates your subject from the background by focusing sharply on the subject and letting the background go blurry. I won't go into technical detail about how to accomplish this effect here, but there's a reasonably understandable article over at Wikipedia for those who would like more information, or feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment.

Anyway, I was pleased with how the picture turned out and what's more, my submission was selected as the winner of that contest. I am proud to have been selected and because you won't be reading anything about it in your local or national news, I'm sharing it with you here! There is now a small mention of it at the Masters of Photography Hall of Fame that should remain there indefinitely.

Coloring Contest EntryWhile I'm tooting my own horn anyway, I'll also mention about another recent contest of which I was chosen as winner. This was a slightly different kind of contest. Christy's work had their annual Fall party at a local Pumpkin Patch and this year, one of the activities was a coloring contest. So Christy brought home the pictures, I got out my box of crayons that I had from college (yeah, that's right -- it was therapeutic!) and Hannah and I worked on each of our pictures together. I blew those little kids away! They never stood a chance in the contest! -- No, really there were several different age groups. My entry won in the adult group. What I don't know - is whether or not I was the only entrant. :-)

Films Recently Watched:
The Great Escape (1963) dir. by John Sturges

Frances (1982) dir. by Graeme Clifford
An amazing performance by Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer. Interesting look at treatment of mental illness in the 1940s.

Cimarron (1931) dir. by Wesley Ruggles
Among the first films to receive "Best Picture" Oscar. This story reminded me a bit of another Best Picture winner: Forrest Gump, believe it or not. A fictional man living the only life he knows how in a turbulent time in the history of our nation. In Cimarron, it is Yancey Cravat in the 1890s through the turn of the century and even through the 1920s. We see the Oklahoma land rush, the settlement and development of a small town, Osage. Religion, politics, media -- this covers it all. An epic.

Zardoz (1974) dir. by John Boorman
Sean Connery running around is a red loincloth and matching suspenders is NOT the weirdest part of this movie. That should tell you something.

Contact (1997) dir. by Robert Zemeckis
After watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, recently, I got the urge to watch this, one of my all-time favorites. Both try to deal in 'reality' to show how we might actually respond to contact from 'benign' aliens. Contact's dealing with ideas of faith is really well done in my opinion. Jodie Foster's last speech when facing the government review astounded me the first time I heard it and it still rings true every time I watch it:
I... had an experience... I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever...A vision of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone! I wish... I... could share that... I wish, that everybody, if only for one... moment, could feel... that awe, and humility, and hope. But... That continues to be my wish.

Forrest Gump (1994) dir. by Robert Zemeckis
I mentioned this in my thoughts about Cimarron. I got to thinking about Forrest Gump, so I decided to go ahead and watch it. And that's all I have to say about that. :-)

Cast Away (2000) dir. by Robert Zemeckis
So Contact and Forrest Gump got me on a Robert Zemeckis kick, so I watched this one too.

Back to the Future (1985) dir. by Robert Zemeckis
And finally, you can't get on a Zemeckis kick and not watch BTTF!

The Little Mermaid (1989) dir. by Ron Clements and John Musker
Hannah had been looking forward to this one for a while. She liked it, but there were several parts with the Sea Witch that were a little too scary for her.

Adaptation (2002) dir. by Spike Jonze
This is an awesome movie! I really liked it. Unfortunately, it is nearly indescribable. Just watch it and let me know, the we can talk about it. Oh, and for those who believe that Nicolas Cage is a one-trick-pony and only 'plays' himself in his haven't seen Nicolas Cage act until you've seen this film. He plays two roles (twin brothers) in Adaptation, and it's really like he's two totally different people. Excellent, all around.

Crash (2004) dir. by Paul Haggis
Most recent film to receive "Best Picture" Oscar.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2004) dir. by Peter Weir
Just finished this one tonight while finishing up this post. I was watching it on the PC -- it really needs to be watched on a big screen with a big sound system. Good movie, regardless.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SPC - 'imperfection' #3

Week #3 of 'imperfections' at Self Portrait Challenge.

This month's theme has been a bit of a 'challenge' for me (go figure). It's not that I don't have imperfections (I've got plenty), but this challenge has forced me to look at and visualize these imperfections in a way that is mostly foreign to me. I don't usually obsess about my physical imperfections, so being 'forced' to inspect them has been an interesting exercise. I found myself thinking that the exercise should somehow be leading me to care about these imperfections in some profound way, but I just don't. Yeah, I bite my nails; yeah, I'm getting a few gray hairs; yeah, my teeth aren't perfectly straight. So what??

Not all, however, share my disregard for such flaws. I've noticed at the main SPC site, several who have found alternate routes this month.

For those who have tendencies to focus on their physical imperfections anyway, I can see how this month's challenge could be difficult (especially considering that it is quite similar to the 'all of me' challenge from February of this year, as several have pointed out). I applaud those who have chosen not to sit out from this challenge, but rather, to fly in the face of it, free and unhindered by their flaws. Some have been quite creative with the theme, playing along, but still avoiding a scrutinous examination of specific problems. Others have even been more direct in their opposition and chosen to show their most flattering self portraits.

I say, "Bravo" to all SPC'ers who are participating this month, regardless of your path.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

SPC - 'imperfection' #2

Going Gray
SPC Imperfections 2 - going gray
Not too bad, but it's there. It doesn't concern me much. I've always hoped that I would be one who would roll with the punches of aging.

Actually, my one goal in life is to live forever -- ya know what?

So far, so good! Yeah!
(credit to comedian Peter Gaulke)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Photo Friday - 'Thin'

O Say, Can You See???

Long-time readers have seen a version of this picture before.

This time, I'm posting a slightly edited version of it for Photo Friday's theme, 'Thin.'

I'm not sure which is thinner, this flag, or my patience with people who choose to fly these colors in this manner.

Monday, October 02, 2006

SPC - 'imperfection' #1

The theme for October (is it October already?) at Self Portrait Challenge is 'imperfection.'

In their words:

Look beyond the surface of your life, dig into your imperfect self and reveal it to us. I want to see the down and dirty you, the messy, gross and ugly you, the side of yourself that you always try to hide, give us some insight into your dreadful secrets. This can be your physical self or your personal space or within your wider life. Be not afraid!

Well despite their orders, I am a bit afraid, not that I make any claim on perfection, but I generally don't try to bring attention to those items that I consider imperfections, either. Well here goes...


I bite my fingernails. There, I said it. I do it without thinking about it. It's not only when I'm nervous, either, it's just about any time I don't have anything else to do with my hands, I guess. And it's not just casual nailbiting either. It's bite-them-to-the-quick-until-they-hurt-and-bleed nailbiting. I have for as long as I can remember. I don't know why.

My Mom would constantly get after me about it, but it made little difference. My wife is the only one who's managed some success in this area. She has offered to trim and file my nails many times. A couple of times, I have stopped for a few weeks at a time and Christy has dutifully cared for my nails as long as they last, but inevitibly, old habits return and her services are no longer needed.

I realize that it's unsanitary, uncouth, and generally gross. Heck; the few brief times I have had fingernails, I've even noticed that they come in handy from time to time. But I can't quit!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

SPC - 'with someone' #4

Well, I've covered my closest family:
Self Portrait w/ ChristyWeek 1: Christy, My Wife

Self Portrait w/ HannahWeek 2: Hannah, My Daughter


Family PortraitWeek 3: The rest of my immediate family

So, this final week of Self Portrait Challenge's theme, 'with someone,' I thought I'd post a picture with friends, instead:
Self-Portrait with Friends
We had spent the majority of this particular night mourning the untimely loss of a good friend. We decided to go out afterwards for a bite to eat and to decompress. More on the details of that evening HERE.

When I set the timer on the camera to get this shot, all three of the other guys were on their cell phones. Now, to be fair, they were all checking in with their wives and families, but seeing as I don't even carry a mobile phone, I thought it might make a funny picture.