Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Party Time!!

On Hannah's anniversary of the day on which she was born, Christy and I each took the afternoon off from work and went to Hannah's daycare to have a small party there with her classmates. We packed (and I mean packed) a piñata full of treats and toys to have the kids break open. Unfortunately, these new piñatas have ribbons attached to a trapdoor which, when pulled, releases the contents, so I did not get to witness (or assist) a bunch of 4-year-olds beating and decapitating that little goody, Dora the Explorer.

After cupcakes & Capri-Suns with her class, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese's. Hannah was allowed to take a friend with her this time. Sophie was the lucky friend selected to go along.

As you can see, the girls had a great time! Ever since then, every time Sophie sees Christy, she asks if she can come home with us!

The following weekend, we had family and friends over for another celebration at our house. Here are a couple of pictures from that:

Thanks to all the family and friends who came to celebrate with us!

Films Recently Seen:

12 Angry Men (1957) dir. by Sidney Lumet

James Dean would have been 75 this year.
Christy and I watched his three major films:
Giant (1956) dir. by George Stevens
East of Eden (1955) dir. by Elia Kazan
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) dir. by Nicholas Ray
My favorite of these was Rebel, followed closely by Giant. Eden was OK and I liked some of what Kazan did with the film. I can see the tragedy of the loss of James Dean. He really was a promising actor. Would have been interesting to see what he would have accomplished had he lived.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Currently listening to...

Batman: Original Motion Picture Score -- Danny ElfmanThis is absolutely one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever! I owned the cassette tape recording once upon a time, but have never owned it on CD until now. This was a present from Christy for Valentine's Day, and boy, do I love it (and her!).

When Tim Burton's Batman came out in 1989, it seemed that everybody my age was obsessed with the merchandise for this film more than the film itself (remember the Batman T-Shirt craze?). If any of them happened to be talking about music related to the film, it was probably the songs that Prince composed for the movie, some of which appear in the film, but many that are only heard on the 'pop' soundtrack. Meanwhile, I was listening to the Danny Elfman orchestral score for the film and loving it!

I seem to remember that my church's preacher at the time had a CD of this that was in a round tin case (he called it the Bat-Tin). Seems like he offered to sell it to me at one point, but I didn't buy it. Now, I kind of wish I would have 'cause I can't find anything about it now. It was either exceptionally rare, or I'm nutty. (note to self: turn comments off on this post).

Currently laughing at...

The Dairy Queen commercial with the panicky fire-breathing dude. Have you seen it? Is it even new?


Friday, February 24, 2006

A New Car!!

cue "Price Is Right" music --

Ta Da Daa - Da Da Daa

That's a "new" car - new to me, that is....

music winds down, and stops. -- cricket chirps --

I've not been in the habit of "naming" my cars like I've sometimes known others to do. But this one might just be worthy of a name, but I want you to help me. Submit your -- um -- submissions -- either using the comments below or e-mail me. I'll announce the entirely arbitrary winner here!

To help, here are pictures of each:

Old & Busted
Old & Busted...

The New Hotness
The New Hotness.


By the way, anybody interested in buying a slightly used car? This little number has served various members of my family for over 15 years!


  • Radiating heat -- who wants a pesky fan blowing hot air on their feet anyway?
  • Dangling muffler -- you want others to not only see you coming , but hear you as well.
  • Nearly a quarter-of-a-million miles -- the mystique of wondering just how far it will go before it lets go is nearly addicting!
  • Automatic oil changes -- no need to visit your local jiffy-lube, just add a couple of quarts of the cheapest motor oil you can find and wait until it drips out the bottom of the engine -- repeat.
  • Crooked front bumper complete with mis-aligned headlights -- a convenient cover for nighttime highway deer shinin' -- yee haw!!
  • Hanging headliner decorated/shredded by random alley cat -- the foam that flakes off also adds a stylish splash of yellow to your head and shoulders!
  • Infinite trashcan -- sick of squeezing all your trash into those tiny little ashtrays in your car? Just throw your trash anywhere! the passenger side floormat area was my personal favorite, though the entire backseat is also available for those larger trash items -- also works for spare change!
  • Excellent gas milage* -- and getting better every time pieces of the car fall off from wrecks and rust! Less weight = better gas milage -- am I right, or am I right?
  • Speaking of right, the left turn signal works great! -- and let me tell you, it's amazing how many places you can get making only left turns! If the occasional need arises for a right turn, you get a healthy dose of fresh air when you put your window down to signal your turn manually, plus, people think you're quite friendly waving at them!

    *gas milage claims have not been independently varified, your milage may vary, some exclusions apply, void in Indiana and every other state

    Films Recently Seen:

    Batman Begins (2005) dir. by Christopher Nolan

    The Maltese Falcon (1941) dir. by John Huston

    The Fly (1986) dir. by David Cronenberg

    Top Hat (1935) dir. by Mark Sandrich (This guy's name woudl make Scooby-Doo hungry!)

    Sense and Sensibility (1995) dir. by Ang Lee
    Director Ang Lee has done films with amazing variety. He first came to my attention with his wire-fu epic, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Next, a comic-book superhero film Hulk complete with comic book style frames on screen (sheer genius, in my opinion). Having enjoyed both of these, when Lee again came to the forefront with his controversial, critically acclaimed, now oscar-nominated film, Brokeback Mountain, Lee's look at the American Western, I looked back and was surprised to see Sense and Sensibility, a costume drama/period film adapting an English literary classic among his directorial credits as well. I figured that Christy would enjoy watching this with me too, so we did. It was very well done. Emma Thompson acts in the film along with Kate Winslett and Hugh Grant, but Emma Thompson also wrote the adapted screenplay and won the Oscar for it in 1996. I've never read Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, but I could still appreciate Thompson's adaptation. She helps the viewer to understand the culture in both obvious and subtle ways. I've tried to watch A&E's Pride & Prejudice (another Austen novel/film adaptation) starring Colin Firth and got bogged down in it partly due to some of the complexities of the era and writing style. These issues are also present in Sense and Sensibility, but the skill of Emma Thompson and Ang Lee triumph here.

    The Seventh Seal (1957) dir. by Ingmar Bergman

    Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) dir. by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
  • Monday, February 06, 2006


    I was recently asked, "Did you see there is a new Enya CD out?" My response:

    I was out last night (that would have been Thursday last) at Lowe's,
    Wal-Mart, and Target looking for a toothbrush holder to replace the one that I
    broke yesterday morning. (This will be the opening sentence of my
    auto-biography, though it has nothing to do with my anger issues).

    When I was at Wal-Mart, I had to check the $5.50 DVD bin, which is
    now a rack, instead -- nearby, I noticed "new music" and thought I saw something
    from Enya, but didn't pick it up, even to look at it.

    As luck would
    have it, I was listening to some old Enya yesterday. That's a

    By the way, I never did find my toothbrush
    holder. I thought I was going crazy! Every place had fancy themed
    toothbrush holder that had a matching trashcan, shower curtain, soapdish, etc.
    but I never found just a plain-old-stick-it-to-your-wall toothbrush holder.

    BTW -- I'm totally blogging this! I don't know, I just like
    the sound of it -- BANG!!


    Toothbrush holder update: We did find one over the weekend at Meijer that should work. Thanks for asking.

    Films Recently Watched:

    Ed Wood (1994) dir. by Tim Burton
    A relatively obscure film by Burton, one that I'd never seen before.

    While it is true that no one else could have made this film the way Burton did, I'll go a step further and say that no one else in their right mind would have made this film at all. Fortunately, not many people have ever accused Tim Burton of being in his right mind, which is something he has in common with the wild character whose name graces the title of the film, Edward D. Wood, Jr. In Ed Wood, we see the how's and why's of some of the absolute worst movies of all time. Understand that this is not a documentary, but it plays like one at times. Quite entertaining.

    Johhny Depp plays Ed Wood and is magnificent here, as usual. I was also particularly impressed with Martin Landau playing a wonderful, Boris-Karlov-hating, Bela Lugosi. The film also stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Bill Murray, and last, but not least, George 'The Animal' Steele! How this one slipped under my radar all these years is beyond me, but I'm happy to have seen it now.

    The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) dir. by Tay Garnett
    This caught my eye because the novel on which the film is based was written by James M. Cain, who also wrote the novel, Double Indemnity, which was made into a film by the same name that has become a recent favorite of mine. As is often the case, I was expecting to be blown away but was disappointed.

    Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) dir. by Frank Lloyd
    Years ahead of its time. Well done.

    First Blood (1982) dir. by Ted Kotcheff

    Cold Mountain (2003) dir. by Anthony Minghella
    I made Christy promise that she would watch the first 10 minutes of this with me. She was hooked. Wonderful camera work throughout. Solid performances from Jude Law, Renée Zellweger, and Nicole Kidman. Good story. Good film.

    The Matrix Reloaded (2003) dir. by Andy & Larry Wachowski
    The Matrix Revolutions (2003) dir. by Andy & Larry Wachowski
    Removed from the hype/disappointment of their initial release, these movies stand up, in my opinion. As individual films, they still don't match the first film in the Matrix series, but they aren't as bad as many would like to believe they are.

    Toy Story 2 (1999) dir. by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich

    The Philadelphia Story (1940) dir. by George Cukor

    The Polar Express (2004) dir. by Robert Zemekis

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) dir. by Richard Brooks

    Quote of the week:
    Never judge a book by its movie. – J. W. Eagan