Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas

Well, the holidays have been busy so far as expected. My wife and I have been busy baking and attending parties. Like most men (I guess), my hobbies or at least enjoyable activities rotate, so blogging has been light.

I have been being a chess geek again, devoting hours of study to the game, for what reason I really don’t know. Maybe because I simply enjoy the game and intricacies of it. I downloaded a new program that will rate your play. I didn’t do too well, but there is always room for improvement. Right?

I have also been restoring some family photos in PhotoShop. Easy stuff like taking out scratches and flaws in the photo. The new thing I am trying is hand coloring black and white photos, adding just a touch of color here and there. I’ll post some of the stuff after Christmas.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and will start writing again after the new year.

Kong Rules the Weekend Box Office

But he didn’t crush it as Hollywood would have hoped. Opening at $50.15 million, it fell short of the hoped for $60 million. The reviews haven’t been that kind to Jackson’s LOTRs follow up. It seems the film is more stunning visually than having a stunning story.

We’ll see if this really is the case. My wife and I are going on Friday, so I’ll judge for myself. I’m going to Kong to get visually wowed. Story is in second place for this one.

The Chronicles of Narnia had a strong second week, bringing in $31 million, making the total for the film $112 million so far. Encouraging not necessarily for Hollywood, but good for us Narnia-lovers.


I’ve been meaning to get to this review, but with the holidays approaching, well, you know busy this time of year is.

Dark Horse Comics
unites two of my all time faves in writer Paul Jenkins and Artist Huberto Ramos. Jenkins and Ramos worked on the now defunct Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man and the current Spectacular Spider-Man (I stopped buying this title after Ramos moved on).

Revalations is the story of Charlie Northern, ace detective for Scotland Yard. An old friend, Cardinal Marcel LeClair, approaches Charlie to investigate the death of Father William Richleau. Richleau plummets from an open window to his death. In his hand, he holds a coin, and from the darkness emerges a man spewing Latin looking to stab the already dead priest.

Charlie decides to help his old friend and has his investigation interfered with at every turn by the bad guy in the story, Toscianni. It seems that Toscianni is the head of some secret society that is up to no good.

With the recent onset of movies dealing with Catholicism and secret societies ( e.g. The DaVinci Code), the setting for this story is not the hook for me. As previously mentioned, Jenkins is a great writer and Ramos an incredible artist. It is about the characters rather than the topic. Sure, it’s a good murder mystery, but the story is what grabs you. Nothern is having a “crisis of faith”. He doesn’t believe in God anymore or the Catholic Church. His friend, a Father in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church, comes to him for help. Northern comes to Marcel’s aid not because of the church, but their friendship. And it is no wonder that Charlie has some issues. A serial rapist killed his mother and father.

Jenkins wit is outstanding. Northern is not only a skeptical conspiracy theorist, but a merciless wiseacre. Great storytelling.

The art is awesome. I will admit, the middle-aged lead character looks a lot like Peter Parker, but that doesn’t detract from the story or the illustrations, at least for me. That is why I like Ramos. It is the way he draws his characters. He has a very cartoony style. No realism here.

This story is definitely a mature title. The language is at times very rough, and the scenes depicted within this book are often gruesome or adult in nature.

Still, overall it is a great story and a great work of art. There are two issues left in the series, and it will be interesting to see how Jenkins wraps this one up.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I went and saw Narnia on opening night, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The screenplay was true to the story. The beginning of the movie was awesome and gave us a visual on why the kids were getting out of London during the war.

The casting was perfect, and the kids that played Lucy and Edmund played their characters wonderfully. Liam Neeson was an excellent choice for the voice of Aslan, and showed a perfect blend of compassion and fierceness.

The CGI was amazing in this film. I thoroughly enjoyed the look they achieved with Mr. Tumnus legs and walk. Aslan was awesome, as well as the myriad of creatures that were created for the film. The minitaur was large and fierce, as I had pictured him, and the centaurs were amazing as well.

Tilda Swinton was amazing and perfect for the role. I'm glad they decided to cast her. Nicole Kidman’s name was thrown around for a while to play the White Witch, but in my opinion would have been completely wrong for the part. Swinton on the other hand was wickedly evil as “Gabriel” in Constantine, and I would bet her performance there helped her get the role.

Now as far as the allegorical Christ story is concerned, it wasn’t overdone in the movie, so those who don’t agree with that particular way of thinking would still have enjoyed that part of the story. C.S. Lewis did not write the story as an allegory though. But, you certainly can see the parallels between the characters in the story, particularly Aslan and Christ. Both suffered, died, and resurrected bringing hope to the hopeless. I wept as Aslan was beat by Jadis’ minions, as she cut his beautiful mane and as he died. I was moved again as Lucy and Susan mourn the fallen Aslan, and as the mice free his bonds and the stone table is broken and Aslan rises again.

No matter your reason for seeing this film, it is beautifully done and will hopefully lead to a complete set of Narnia movies. A must see on the big screen and worth the full price of admission.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

King Kong First Look

Here is a first look at Peter Jackson’s new masterpiece, King Kong, opening December 14th.

Will it rival the Lord of the Rings? Heck, no! Will it be an amazing film? You Betcha!!!!

Kong is definitely a heavyweight, coming in at around three hours. Back is the missing spider scene cut from Cooper and Scoedsack’s original film. Most obvious is the fact that Kong is going to be a very different creature than the 1933 version. The undisputed King of Skull Island is going to be a battered, bruised, slightly pudgy denizen that has proved his mettle due to the years of battles with the T-Rex and the other inhabitants of the island, leading to his scarred and rough appearance.

Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody make sense. Jack Black, not so much. However, I really think Black is going to give us an amazing performance. The fact that Peter Jackson was borderline “stalking” him proves that he had faith in Black’s ability to be right for this film.

This is going to be awesome. Narnia and Kong back to back. What a Christmas it will be!!!!!

Boneheaded Bruins…

Well, the Boston Bruins have gone and done something stupid in trading away star center Joe Thorton.

He was their best player, and has been a leader on the team for years. Moreover, he has played his entire career in Boston and is 11th in the league in scoring. That should mean that your job is secure.

Barry Melrose, ESPN Hockey commentator and former NHL player, seems to think that this should be a wakeup call to Thorton, because with his size, toughness, and skill should have led them further in the playoffs by now, maybe even to a Stanley Cup. San Jose will be a fresh start and a chance to prove he’s not just an under-achiever. Uh huh. Thorton can’t carry the whole team on his back.

Thorton didn’t even know he was getting traded. He got a call unexpectedly after dinner. Mike O’Connell must be feeling the heat and knows that his career in Boston is just about over, so he pulls a stunt like this to drop some salary and maybe pick up some mediocre players to get them by until they can pick up a halfway decent player. Oh, by the way, Coach Mike Sullivan is no prize either. Rumor has it that both O’Connell and Sullivan’s jobs are on the chopping block.

Too bad they didn’t fire them and keep Thorton. Guess my Bruin’s days are over.

I just dug my old San Jose Sharks jersey out of the closet. I guess there was a reason.

Alias gets the Axe

Entering Season 5 with Alias star Jennifer Garner pregnant and desirous of a big movie career, a lackluster script, the departure of two agents, the replacement of said agents with two non-compelling characters and a long winter break due to the previously mentioned pregnancy, it is no wonder that Alias got the axe.

Declining ratings didn’t help either. On any given Thursday, I would watch Smallville and tape Alias.

It was a good run. Alias will forever live on in syndication and on DVD. Seasons one and two were outstanding.

Here is an interview with Garner on the demise of Alias and Sydney Bristow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scary Moment for Red Wings and Fans

Detroit Red Wings defensemen Jiri Fischer had a seizure early in Monday’s game against the Nashville Predators and had to have CPR and be auto-defibbed. The game was halted and is to be made up at a later date.

The Cars Rise Again

Apparently, the Cars will rise again after their 1988 break up with Todd Rundgren as their frontman. Ric Ocasek is nowhere in sight, nor does he want anything to do with the reunion. Ben Orr died in 2000 from cancer. They are planning a tour and possible album.

I’ll check it out. I have quite a few Cars tunes on the computer and enjoy them immensely. I have to admit, “Drive” is my fave. A new album would be fun.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I went and saw the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series on Friday night, and I was not disappointed. Although some have pointed out that this film is a bridge to upcoming events, it still dazzled me enough to make this my favorite HP movie to date.

Gone are the house elves (Dobby is a funny little thing though) and Hermoine’s S.P.E.W. This movie highlights the angst of teenagerhood (all those hormones and complex relationships) and the Triwizard Tournament. Every five years the three big wizarding schools, Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts, get together for a little friendly competition. Each school has their own champion that competes. Somehow, Harry’s name is put into the Goblet of Fire. No one under 17 is allowed to enter. Harry is three years too young. Evil is afoot, but once the Goblet selects your name, there is no turning back. So Harry, along with Cedric Diggory, compete for Hogwarts.

Most of you who read the book know how this movie ends, so I won’t give it away for the non-readers. Mike Newell does an amazing job creating a dark, action packed, visually enticing film. The CGI characters are seamlessly integrated with the live action characters, kicking the digital revolution up a notch. The dragons are nothing short of astounding and the underwater challenge was very creative. The final challenge left me a little flat, hoping for a little more time in the maze, but knowing that the third challenge is only a stepping stone to the final grievous act, I think the writer/director did a great job getting us ready for it.

As I mentioned earlier, gone are the house elves who are key to part of the main story and the side story, so writer Steve Kloves does an excellent job rearranging the characters and events to accommodate their absence. Never read the series but enjoy the movies, what you don’t know, you won’t miss. Great script.

My only complaint is the relative absence of Rita Skeeter, unregistered animagus and scourge of Hermione Granger. Hermione shines in the book as she takes Skeeter down a whole bunch of pegs by uncovering the secret of her sneaky information gathering for her scandalous articles. Skeeter was only in a few scenes in the movie. I wish they had done more with her character and story. However, when you pare down a 734-page book to a 2-½ movie, something has to go.

The Goblet of Fire does carry a PG-13 rating and I think it if fully warranted. There are some frightening images and situations that younger children will definitely find disturbing.

Worth the full price of admission. I can’t wait to go again and spend my hard earned dollars.

Winter Movie Guide

MSNBC’s Winter Movie Guide. Plently of flicks to choose from, but here are the three that will be getting my hard earned dollars:

Aeon Flux- Cult MTV favorite starring Charlize Therron. My wife is excited to see it because it looks like Charlize kicks some major back-side.

King Kong- Peter Jackson and our favorite 800 lb. Gorilla with a crush. What else is there to know about this one. Look for Jack Black to actually be pretty good in this one.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis made for the big screen. I get goosebumps watching the trailers. It is a relatively short book, so I hope there ins’t much poetic liscense taken with this film. Is it a Christian allegory? Oh yeah, but there should be a great film here for everyone. Shrek director Andrew Adamson should make this film a visual delight. Will it rival The Lord of the Rings? Probably not, but this fantasy fave will be amazing on the big screen and a franchise Disney can build on should the film be a success, which it looks like it will.

The Intel iBook Cometh

According to Think Secret, Apple is planning to have the new Intel-based iBooks ready to roll by the Macworld Expo in January, 2006.

No price is yet available, but the speculation is that they will possibly cost $200 less then currently priced models.

Better start counting up my loose change...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Desperate Housewives Resident Evicted

Page Kennedy, who played the shady, cellar dweller on DH, has been kicked off the show due to “improper conduct”. ABC is tight lipped on the cause of dismissal, and Kennedy nor his agent have been available for comment. Apparently, Kennedy’s release was not due to improper conduct with anyone in the cast.

So, I guess he wasn’t kicked off the show for hitting on Eva Longoria or something like that.

The role will be recast as soon as possible.

Monday, October 31, 2005

You're doing what?!?!

My wife has been passively watching the Gilmore Girls over the last couple of seasons. I would usually find something else to do. Well, with the new season she has been recording and watching it. So have I, passively.

The unthinkable has happened. Someone my wife works with let her borrow Seasons 1 & 2 of the GG. I resisted at first, but I’ve been sucked in. I spent the weekend on a Gilmore Girls marathon. We watched almost the entire first season, and I loved every minute of it.

Now, before you think I must be having an estrogen flair up, I find the dynamic between the characters great. The dialog is smart and witty; the interactions between Rori and Lorelai leave me exhausted it is so rapid fire. The strained family relationships remind many of us all too much of real life, therefore we can sympathize when Emily and Lorelai get into a scrap. It’s about life in a small town.

I had to kicking and screaming, or else I wouldn’t be fulfilling my manly duties. But, I am so glad I went.

We’re almost ready for Season 2!

Narnia First Look

Newsweek has a first look at what might well be the movie of the year (at least for me), The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I know where I’ll be on December 9th.

She really does love me!!!!

My wife bought me a Darth Tater!!!!!!!

Now to find a place of prominence to display my new gift in the office…

Tempus Fugit

I want to apologize for the lack of posting of late. But, and as it has been said before by many, life is busy. Of course, this isn’t helping.

I hope to post at least a couple times a week. This is the goal.

This doesn’t help either.

My Top 25 Books List

if Time can come up with their top 100 picks, why can’t I formulate a list? I just finished reading Lord of the Flies from the Top 100 list, so I thought I would compile my own list. Here we go.

My criteria is not based upon “a classic” status, how well it is written, or format, but solely on whether I enjoy the book enough to reread it. The books making my list are usually read yearly or at least often enough for me to own a copy, and not just borrow it from the library or someone I know. These are in no particular order, just know that Tolkien and Rowling are read more than the others are.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Necroscope Series (Necroscope, Necroscope II: Vamphyri!, Necroscope III: The Source, Necroscope IV: Deadspeak, Necroscope V: Deadspawn) by Brian Lumley
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Gotham by Gaslight by Mike Mignola
Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Stand by Steven King

Update: Add Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs to the list. Great book by who I would consider an under-appreciated author.

TV’s Top 10 Scariest Characters


1. Charles Montgomery Burns, “The Simpsons”
2. Eric Cartman, “South Park”
3. Arvin Sloan, “Alias”
4. John Locke, “Lost”
5. T-Bag, “Prison Break”
6. Emily Gilmore, “Gilmore Girls”
7. The monkey in Chris Griffin's closet, ‘Family Guy’
8. Silvio Dante, ‘The Sopranos’
9. Mandy, ‘24’
10. The entire supporting cast of ‘Desperate Housewives’

There you have it, and I agree with every one of them. Emily Gilmore scares the pants off me, too! Burns is definitely creepy. Sloan is the epitome of evil. Locke isn’t quite right. T- Bag sounds like a real nice guy. And everyone living around our four heroines has some skeletons in their closets, if not still living in them.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Top 100 Book List

Time compiles their list of the top 100 books since 1923. I have only read a few, namely The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Lord of the Rings, but there seems like there are a few missing that I would have had on my list.

Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers is a classic (forget the lame movie of the same title). So isn’t Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.

However, Time had their criteria for picking, so it’s beyond me.

Oh, I did read Catcher in the Rye, too.

No others though. Maybe I need to read more.

Update: Upon closer inspection of the list, I was surprised and impressed to see that a graphic novel (comic) made the list. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen made the list. I have started reading this, but haven't gotten far yet. I just finished reading Jeph Loeb/Tim Sales' Batman: A Long Halloween. More on this later.

Something to look forward to

Steven Spielberg and EA Games are joining up to develop three new video games. There is no word on what types of games they will be, but I’m sure we can assume that they are going to be good.

Desperate Housewives

MSNBC’s wrap up of the latest episode about the happenings on Wisteria Lane.

Bree is so blindly gullible it is pathetic.

Makes for good TV, though.

Get Lost

Great article summing up the newest happenings on Lost this season. The new stuff is all here.

Who will be the next Bond?

There has been quite a lot of speculation about who the next Bond will be. My vote was for Hugh Jackman (X-2), but it looks like it is going to be Daniel Craig getting the nod. I’m not crazy about this choice, but I’ll go see the next Bond film anyway.

It’s Bond. How can they go wrong?

About Time

Fox finally cancelled The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie.

Unfortunately, 20th Century Fox, who owns the rights to the show, are shopping around for a new network. They think it is a “valuable” franchise.


iPod Video?

Apple does it again. The newest addition to the iPod family will now play video. Miss an episode of Lost? Download it to your computer and then sync it with your video-playing iPod. Genius on Apple’s part.

Now, I just bought a Mini a few months ago, so no new pod for me. But, I can now download my favorite TV episodes (Desperate Housewives and Lost) to watch.

When talking with someone at work this morning, the comment was made, “Why would you want to watch a video on a 2 ½” screen?”

Simply because you can. It is the digital revolution. Let’s embrace it.

TV Guide’s BBD

I got my first issue of the new format TV Guide, and it is awesome! A new size, new features, more photos and a streamlined new TV listings guide.

TV’s coolest magazine just got a lot cooler.

Friday, October 07, 2005

CSI: New York- Grand Murder at Central Station

Well, the mystery is over, and the CSI leaving New York is Aiden. Fired for tampering with evidence. I was so hoping that it would be Danny Messer.

Obviously, I am disappointed that it wasn't Messer, but am also let down by how the Aiden character leaves the show. No tragic murder, shoot out or anything dramatic. Being ticked about Regina getting raped a second time by her previous attacker, she can find no evidence to convinct the guy, so she toys with the idea of planting evidence. Bad idea.

Mac, well, was Mac, but Aiden simply apologizes as she is fired. That's it. No tears. No plea for a second chance. No nothing. It left me feeling kinda flat. So was her acting.

So, now that I am stuck with Danny, the rest of the show was great. Murder at Grand Central and the rooftop case were both good story lines. I am really enjoying Doctor Hawkes being in the field.

Update: Just found an interview with Vanessa Ferlito on why she left CSI: NY.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sweet Serenity

I caught a late night showing of Serenity last night, and me being one who usually doesn't go out late, it was so worth it.

I have to say that "Serenity" is the best movie I have seen this year (Sorry, Batman). Matt Roush over at TV Guide thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but thinks Whedon's storytelling is better showcased on the small screen (Link via Whedonesque). I disagree.

Whedon's unique Western/Sci-Fi blend was amazing on the big screen. While I enjoyed watching the "Firefly" series, the movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Now, some have said that there is no appeal for anyone that was not a fan of the show. Here again I disagree. Whedon's script gives first timers plenty of background so they are up to speed on what has transpired. But, I have to say, that as a fan of the show, I was way more invested in the characters, actually cared what happened to them, then a first time viewer might be.

The cast, which included everyone from the TV series, was amazing. The transition from the small screen to the big screen was seamless. Once again, Whedon went against the norm casting all the actors from the TV show, no big names, just good actors. Summer Glau, who plays the troubled teen River Tam, was the focal point of the story, and was awesome in action. The few glimpses of killer instinct we saw in the "Firefly" series really comes to life in this film. At one point she clears out a bar, and even puts Jayne (Adam Baldwin), the resident tough guy aboard Serenity, down for the count several times.

Visually, the film was stunning. Everything about it was awesome. The space scenes were epic. The fight scenes were intense and well choreographed. The acting was great and Whedon infused plenty of humor into a very serious story. There were even a few surprises which I won't elaborate on here so as not to spoil the film for any fans out there that haven't seen it yet. Definitely some surprises.

Joss Whedon is a genius, and I look forward to more adventures with the crew of the Serenity, whether it be on TV or at the Theater.

Worth the full price of admission.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

iTunes Rankings

My buddy Peter over at Slublog found an interesting little tidbit over at the "The Corner": listing your top 5 most played songs in iTunes. And on my Mac the winner is: Big & Rich. They get the top five songs.

1- Rollin'
2- Wild West Show
3- Real World
4- Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)
5- Drinkin' 'Bout You

Now you have to understand, I am not a country music fan. Actually, I really can't stand the stuff. But, Big & Rich are just so unique. They blend country with rock and believe it or not, rap, for a musical journey unlike any other. The harmonies that these guys sing are unbelievable. It's like nothing I have ever heard, therefore getting a lot of play and the top five spots.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Smallville's Aquaman-Alan Ritchson

Freshly scanned from the newest issue of TV Guide. A first look at Aquaman, played by Alan Ritchson (American Idol).

Looks like they did a good job casting this one. Arthur Curry, aka, Aquaman, makes his Smallville debut October 20th.

Supernatural-Dead in the Water

This show continues to impress me. It’s just downright creepy. Well written scripts and some decent acting helps this show shine. The effects are nothing to sneeze at either. Sometimes with a TV show they can be cheesy, but not so here. Last week’s episode, Wendigo, was just down right cool. Not all hairy like Marvel’s, but a skinny, drawn human that has eaten way too much of his kin.

I look forward to this one each week. I don’t know what kind of viewership its getting, but I hope it is enough to keep it on the air.

Suspense at its best.

Desperate Housewives- Season Premiere

The kickoff of Season Two did not dissappoint, as 28 million other viewers thought.

Rex is dead, Lynette is back to work, Bree is OCD to the extreme even at her husband’s funeral, Gabby and Carlos actually come to the conclusion that “they really aren’t good people”, the new neighbors have someone held hostage in their basement, and Mike and Susan are off again when she learns that Zach might be his son.

Personally, I am kinda getting tired of the Mike/Susan on again off again thing. Either get it done or split them up for good.

Looks like this is shaping up to be an excellent sophomore season for the girls of Wisteria Lane.

Monday, September 19, 2005


I taped Threshold on Friday night, thinking I'd watch it, and if it was okay I would catch it in reruns next summer.

Not so. It was so good that I will add it to the already packed TV schedule. Sure, it is just another show about aliens, but the effects were well done, and the characters are likeable enough to care about. There was a scene where the cockroaches aboard the U.S. research vessel were scurring about making the alien pattern that was burned into the ship's radar. A dream sequence gave us a brief glance at the aliens themselves.

Very cool and worth a peek this week.

Friday nights at 9:00 right before another CBS favorite, Numb3rs.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jeph Loeb on Superman Returns

Here is a brief interview with the quitessential Superman writer, Jeph Loeb, with his thoughts on the upcoming "Superman Returns". Link via the Superman Hompage.

What do you think about “Superman Returns”?

JL: I think it's fantastic. The more I hear about it, the more excited I get.
But, I have to be honest -- I don't know how anybody can give you a REAL
assessment of the film before it's come out! I've seen little bits and pieces--
I believe in Singer and his passion. Bring the movie on!

(About Brandon Routh’s costume in “Superman Returns”) What do you think of it?

JL: It's different. But then again Tim Sale's Superman is different from Ed McGuinness' Superman which is vastly different from Alex Ross' Superman. And I love all three versions of the character. That's the power of an icon -- that you can tweak here and there. So, his "S" is smaller and the colors are darker -- you have to remember that at one time it was going to be a black trench coat and Nick Cage!

Smallville’s Al Gough Interview

TV Guide Insider features an interview with "Smallville" Executive Producer, Al Gough.

There will be more guest appearances on "Smallville" in an attempt to bolster ratings in the Thursday night slot. In addition to Tom Wopat and James Marsters, Carrie Fisher will make an appearance. All should be great additions to the show.

Also, watch for Aquaman to surface this season as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What to watch this Fall at the theater

Great roundup of the Fall movies at MSNBC. For the full run down, read the article. Here are the ones that I am going to shell out the big bucks to see.

A History of Violence- Loosely based on a DC comic, so you know I'll see it. Viggo Mortenson, Ed Harris and William Hurt also add to its viewability.

Serenity- Joss Whedon's Sci-Fi/Western masterpiece. I watched the entire DVD collection and was left wanting more. Now I'll get it on the big screen.

Doom- I've owned a Doom game or two. Video game movies usually stink at the theater, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will make it watchable.

Chicken Little
- I'll go see this one, if only to see if Disney can pull off a CGI feature without Pixar.

Walk the Line- A film about Johnny Cash, "The Man in Black"? I'll be there.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Harry Potter Book 4. Even with an aging Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, this will be one not to miss. Thankfully some of the side stories were taken out of the film to keep it to a viewable time limit. No Hermione and S.P.E.W. trying to save House Elves. Good.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More Fall TV Previews

Want to know what is going to happen on your favorite TV show when it returns this fall? MSNBC has a good round up, but beware, spoilers abound. If you want to be surprised (and how many of us really do want to be surprised?), stop reading now. I'm just gonna hit the highlights. If you want all the dirt, read the whole thing.

Desperate Housewives: Make no mistake or hold out any hope, Rex is dead. Bree wrangles with her mother-in-law (Shirley Knight) over funeral arrangements.

Lost: Everyone on the raft survives, we find out what is in the hatch (and the producers are sure people aren't going to like it), two new characters are added to a desert island (Michelle Rodriguez and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and we are supposed to find out why the plane crashed by the end of season two. Should be a wild ride. And a good one.

Alias: I'm pegging this one as the disappointment of the season. Producers say this probably be the last season. Jen is going to be in every episode, which will probably result in a long break mid-season for maternity leave. And if the horrible writing of season three didn't kill it, scheduling the show to play on Thursday night will. There is only one reigning king on Thursday, and it isn't going to be Alias.

Smallville: Smallville is usually pretty guarded when it comes to giving away any spoilers about an upcoming season, but here are a few things to look forward to. James Marsters of "Buffy" (Spike) fame comes on board as Braniac. That should be way cool. Ex-Duke Tom Wopat makes an appearance, and the show is currently negotiating to bring former Superman Dean Cain onboard. Still the super hero show to watch.

Other shows the article covers are Boston Legal, Veronica Mars, House, That 70's Show, and a few others. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Superman Returns

Newsweek online has an article on the upcoming triumphant (hopefully) return of Superman to the big screen. Bryan Singer (X-Men) is directing the Man of Steel, so this should be a good one.

It's only taken 11 years and multiple directors and writers. Here is a pic to tide you over.

I personally would like to see an ultra-buff, pumped up Supes, but I think Routh is going to do a good job portraying the Man of Tomorrow. No Ed McGuiness physique here.

Word of the Day: Farrago

farrago \fuh-RAH-go; fuh-RAY-go\, noun;
plural farragoes:

A confused mixture; an assortment; a medley.

Ivan Illich writes "a farrago of sub-Marxist cliches, false analogies, non sequiturs, false or bent facts and weird prophesies."
--"The Paul Johnson Enemies List," New York Times, September 18, 1977

Roy Hattersley will upset much of Scotland by calling Walter Scott's lvanhoe "a farrago of historical nonsense combined with maudlin romance."
--"Literary classics panned by critics," Independent, January 18, 1999

From the moment the story of the Countess of Wessex and the Sheikh of Wapping broke, there has been a farrago of rumour, speculation and fantasy of which virtually every newspaper should be ashamed.
--Roy Greenslade, "A sting in the tale," The Guardian, April 9, 2001

Farrago comes from the Latin farrago, "a mixed fodder for cattle," hence "a medley, a hodgepodge," from far, a kind of grain.

This Day in History

This Day in History: September 7, 2005

Courtesy of the NY Times’ On this Day:

1533 England's Queen Elizabeth I was born in Greenwich.

1822 Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.

1901 The Peace of Beijing ended the Boxer Rebellion in China.

1927 TV pioneer Philo T. Farnsworth succeeded in transmitting an image through purely electronic means by using a device called an image dissector.

1936 Rock musician Buddy Holly was born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas.

1963 The Pro Football Hall of Fame was dedicated in Canton, Ohio.

1969 Senate Republican leader Everett M. Dirksen died at age 73.

1977 The Panama Canal treaties, calling for the U.S. to turn over control of the waterway to Panama, were signed in Washington.

1977 Convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy was released after serving more than four years in prison.

1979 The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) made its cable TV debut.

1986 Desmond Tutu was installed as the first black to lead the Anglican Church in southern Africa.

1990 Kimberly Bergalis of Fort Pierce, Fla., came forward to identify herself as the young woman who had been infected with AIDS, apparently by her late dentist. Bergalis died the following year.

1996 Rapper Tupac Shakur was shot on the Las Vegas Strip; he died six days later.

1997 Former Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko died in exile in Morocco at age 66.

1998 St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire equaled Roger Maris' single-season home run record as he hit No. 61 in a game against the Chicago Cubs.

2003 Yasser Arafat tapped the Palestinian parliament speaker, Ahmed Qureia, to take over as prime minister following the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fall TV Premiere Dates

I was about to begin the laborious task of looking through all the listings to find out when all my favorite shows start, but TV Guide has saved me the trouble. Here is a link to their premiere guide and here is the list itself:

Sunday, August 28
9 pm | Rome (HBO)

Monday, August 29
8 pm | Prison Break (Fox)

Thursday, September 8
8 pm | The O.C. (Fox)
9 pm | Reunion (Fox)

Friday, September 9
8 pm | WWE Smackdown (UPN)

Saturday, September 10
8 pm | Cops (Fox)
9 pm | America's Most Wanted (Fox)

Sunday, September 11
8 pm | The Simpsons (Fox)
8:30 pm | The War at Home (Fox)
9 pm | Family Guy (Fox)
9:30 pm | American Dad (Fox)

Monday, September 12
8 pm | Wife Swap (ABC)

Tuesday, September 13
8 pm | The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Bones (Fox)
Gilmore Girls (WB)
9 pm | House (Fox)
Supernatural (WB)

Wednesday, September 14
9 pm | Head Cases (Fox)

Thursday, September 15
8 pm | Survivor: Guatemala (CBS)

Friday, September 16
8 pm | What I Like About You (WB)
8:30 pm | Twins (WB)
9 pm | Reba (WB)
Threshold (CBS)
9:30 pm | Living With Fran (WB)

Saturday, September 17
11 pm | MADtv (Fox)

Sunday, September 18
7:30 pm | King of the Hill (Fox)

Monday, September 19
8 pm | Arrested Development (Fox)
The King of Queens (CBS)
One on One (UPN)
7th Heaven (WB)
Surface (NBC)
8:30 pm | All of Us (UPN)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Kitchen Confidential (Fox)
9 pm | Girlfriends (UPN)
Just Legal (WB)
Las Vegas (NBC)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)
9:30 pm | Half & Half (UPN)
Out of Practice (CBS)
10 pm | CSI: Miami (CBS)
Medium (NBC)

Tuesday, September 20
8 pm | According to Jim (ABC)
9 pm | My Name Is Earl (NBC)
9:30 pm | The Office (NBC)
10 pm | Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Nip/Tuck (FX)

Wednesday, September 21
8 pm | America's Next Top Model (UPN)
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (NBC)
Still Standing (CBS)
8:30 pm | Yes, Dear (CBS)
9 pm | E-Ring (NBC)
Lost (ABC)
10 pm | CSI: NY (CBS)
Invasion (ABC)
Law & Order (NBC)

Thursday, September 22
8 pm | Everybody Hates Chris (UPN)
Joey (NBC)
8:30 pm | Eve (UPN)
9 pm | The Apprentice (NBC)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Cuts (UPN)
9:30 pm | Love, Inc. (UPN)
10 pm | Criminal Minds (CBS)

Friday, September 23
8 pm | The Bernie Mac Show (Fox)
Dateline NBC (NBC)
Ghost Whisperer (CBS)
Supernanny (ABC)
8:30 pm | Malcolm in the Middle (Fox)
9 pm | Hope & Faith (ABC)
Killer Instinct (Fox)
Three Wishes (NBC)
10 pm | Inconceivable (NBC)
Numbers (CBS)

Saturday, September 24
8 pm | NBC Movie (NBC)
10 pm | 48 Hours Mystery (CBS)

Sunday, September 25
7 pm | Dateline NBC (NBC)
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)
60 Minutes (CBS)
8 pm | Charmed (WB)
Cold Case (CBS)
The West Wing (NBC)
9 pm | Blue Collar TV (WB)
CBS Sunday Movie: Martha Behind Bars (CBS)
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC)
10 pm | Crossing Jordan (NBC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
10:30 pm | Extras (HBO)

Tuesday, September 27
9 pm | The Amazing Race: Family Edition (CBS)
Commander in Chief (ABC)
Sex, Love & Secrets (UPN)
10 pm | Boston Legal (ABC)

Wednesday, September 28
8 pm | George Lopez (ABC)
9 pm | Veronica Mars (UPN)

Thursday, September 29
8 pm | Alias (ABC)
Smallville (WB)
8:30 pm | Will & Grace (NBC)
9 pm | Everwood (WB)
Night Stalker (ABC)
10 pm | Without a Trace (CBS)

Sunday, October 2
7 pm | America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

Tuesday, October 4
8:30 pm | Rodney (ABC)
10 pm | Close to Home (CBS)

Wednesday, October 5
8 pm | One Tree Hill (WB)
8:30 pm | Freddie (ABC)
9 pm | Related (WB)

Friday, October 7
9:30 pm | Hot Properties (ABC)

Wednesday, November 2
8 pm | That '70s Show (Fox)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Cry Out To Jesus

In response to the disaster that has struck the Gulf States, Third Day has released the song "Cry Out To Jesus" earlier than anticipated in an attempt to give people stength and hope during this time of suffering. The song is available to download free from the group's website. Very timely and appropriate.

The lyrics:

Cry Out To Jesus

Words by Mac Powell / Music by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

When your lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who struggles with being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

(c) 2005 Consuming Fire Music / ASCAP. All rights administered by EMI
CMG Publishing. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Third Day also links to World Vision, a Christian organization collecting donations to aid the residents of Hurricane Katrina.

You can donate to the Red Cross here.

Friday, August 26, 2005


My wife and I just finished watching the 14 episode DVD set for Firefly. I know I am a little behind, but why was this show taken off TV?

Joss Whedon is a genius, and probably the public at large wasn't ready for a show this innovative that blended seamlessly the Old West and sci-fi.

Of course, due to the fans outrage at their new favorite show being canceled, Firefly has become huge, and that leads us to the big screen debut of "Serenity". My wife and I are very excited for September 30th to roll around.

We were kinda bummed that it was over when we got to the last episode. It just leaves you wanting more. We had a vested interest in the characters, and River's story was just getting good. Great writing by all involved.

Words, words, words...

Double dip for your vocabulary today. First from Dictionary.com:

\bag-uh-TEL\, noun:

1. A trifle; a thing of little or no importance.
2. A short, light musical or literary piece.
3. A game played with a cue and balls on an oblong table having cups or arches at one end.

Don't worry about that, a mere bagatelle, old boy!
--Eric Ellis, "Error Message," Time, February 10, 2000

You know how it often happens; these strifes and disputes frequently originate from a mere bagatelle.
--Alessandro Manzoni, I Promessi Sposi

Excepting the regulars, the troops were raw as were likewise most of their officers; and this march of twenty-seven miles, which a year later would have been considered a bagatelle, was now a mighty undertaking.
--James Ford Rhodes, History of the Civil War

So if you eat at his restaurant every day -- off the menu, of course -- and slosh the grub down with a 1966 Chateau Margaux (£800-£1,000 a bottle in a restaurant), even a Ritz bill will seem a mere bagatelle.
--"Do you take cash?" The Guardian, December 23, 1999

The second morsel to add to your vocabulary comes from The Word Spy:

ghost sign
n. The remnant of a vintage advertisement painted on the side of a building.

Example Citation:

The early billboards could be found on barns and brick walls, in popular alleyways and warehouses across the country from about the 1890s until the television age. . . . As time marched on, old buildings were torn down or the old signs were painted over. Yet a few remain, their lead lettering often serving as the sole reminder of the product or service they sold. Some are visible only after a rain, prompting the nickname "ghost signs."
—Kaitlin Gurney, "Sign, sealed, delivered," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), October 1, 1999

Earliest Citation:
According to the [Society for Commercial Archeology], a sign may fall into several categories. It may be a landmark (at least 20 years old and of special significance because of its design, size or configuration). Or it could be historic (theater marquees, neon letters and wood signs whose craftsmanship and construction materials speak of earlier eras). Or it may be a "ghost sign" — a faded, painted sign, at least 50 years old, on an exterior building wall heralding an obsolete product, an outdated trademark or a clue to the history of the building's occupancy. These signs often reappear after a rainstorm or following the demolition of a neighboring building.
—Beth Sherman, "Design Notes," Newsday, June 1, 1989

Now you are equiped. Go. Turn loose your new words on the world!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fall TV Preview Schedules

I'm almost quivering with excitement at the prospect of another new season of TV, some new, some old, that is going to keep my butt glued to the couch and all calorie burning at bay.

Now, I'll only be covering ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and WB because those are the channels I get.

First off will be the alphabet network. Here is a link to their fall lineup.

Shows here that I am excited about are old favorites from last season. Lost, Alias, Exteme Makeover: Home Edition and Desperate Housewives are on definitely on the VCR recording list. Lost is going to be phenomenal and a must see, while it will be interesting to see how Alias deals with Baby Affleck. I'll check out Invasion, but that might have to wait until next summer and reruns.

CBS is going to be a hot commodity once again this season. The three CSI mega-hits return, along with Numb3rs, Survivor and Two and a Half Men. New shows that I'll watch are Close to Home, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and How I Met Your Mother with Neil Patrick Harris (our beloved "Doogie" Howser).

Fox doesn't hold much allure, but my buddy Peter has turned me on to House and Bones looks promising.

NBC was a no-show for me last season, but they have a couple of shows worth checking out. My Name is Earl could be really funny, and Surface looks like good creepy fun.

I know I'll take some crap because I just can't get into Law and Order, but I've tried, and I just can't watch them. I'm not saying they are not good, but just not my thing. CSI will remain my procedural drama of choice.

Finally we hit the WB. Returning fave Smallville will be a staple, especially with James Marsters ("Spike") of Buffy fame making a run on the show as "Braniac". The only new show that I am really excited about watching is Supernatural. Of all the new spooky shows that are cropping up this year, Supernatural is going to be the clear winner for me. The show evokes memories of the old Phantasm II movie.

There you have it. The Fall preview. There is so much TV here that I might not see the light of day this fall.

Work, TV. Work, TV. Work, TV.

I see an unfortunate pattern developing here.

Yet another cat picture

Leo, our 15 year old cat, has at least found one useful thing about having a vivacious kitten around.

When Tut stops moving he can use him as a pillow.

Oral Hygiene

Tut, even at his young age, realizes the importance of keeping his teeth clean.

And no, I'm not using the toothbrush anymore.

The Word of the Day for August 25

peccadillo \peck-uh-DIL-oh\, noun:
A slight offense; a petty fault.

No peccadillo is too trivial: we learn that the mogul once blew his top because his laundry came back starched ("'Fluff and fold!' he screamed").
--Eric P. Nash, "High Concept," New York Times, May 10, 1998

And besides, "what do they say? 'Don't judge lest you be judged.' Everybody has their peccadilloes."
-- "Tyson has a friend in his corner," Irish Times, October 21,1999

Child of a dominant mother, victim of a guilt-ridden conscience, [St. Augustine] wrote bewilderingly haunted 'Confessions,' in which infantile peccadilloes like stealing apples and adolescent fumblings with instinctive sexuality are bewailed with all the anguish of a frustrated perfectionist.
--Geoffrey Parker, "True Believers," New York Times, June 29, 1997

Friday, August 19, 2005

Word of the Day for Friday, August 19

Today's Word of the Day from dictionary.com:

ephemeral \ih-FEM-er-ul\, adjective:
1. Beginning and ending in a day; existing only, or no longer than, a day; as, an ephemeral flower.
2. Short-lived; existing or continuing for a short time only.

In the 1980s, Lt. Col. Oliver North unwittingly proved that e-mail, so apparently ephemeral, is harder to expunge than paper documents comfortingly run through a shredder.
--Amy Harmon, "E-Mail Is Treacherous. So Why Do We Keep Trusting It?" New York Times, March 26, 2000

In "Mississippi Mermaid," the planter character played by Belmondo, a fellow who has sought a safe, permanent love, is liberated when he chooses to follow the ephemeral.
--Vincent Canby, "Truffaut's Clear-Eyed Quest." New York Times, September 14, 1975

Rather, we must separate what is ephemeral... from the things that are of lasting importance.
--Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Top 10 Fall Movies

Seeing that there weren't many Summer movies that I was excited about, Entertainment Weekly has listed the top 10 for Fall they're excited about.

Not neccesarily my list, but there are a few highlights. Here is the list:

10. Flightplan
9. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
8. Walk the Line
7. Jarhead
6. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
5. Elizabethtown
4. Get Rich or Die Tryin'
3. Rent
2. V for Vendetta
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Only three from the list are going to be opening nighters for me. The rest are rentals if that.

Walk the Line is going to be awesome. I was dumbstruck to see Joaquin Phoenix playing a very believable Johnny Cash in the trailer. Did I mention I love Johnny Cash? Can't wait for this one.

V for Vendetta should be a hit. Come on! It's based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), plus its got Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith of Matrix fame). It has to be better than Sin City...

Of course, Harry Potter is going to be the biggest movie of the Fall. Purist might not like this one because they are cutting out some of the side stories, such as Hermione and house elves' rights. Personally I always found the whole S.P.E.W. thing a bit tedious to read anyway.

There we have it.

Now we just have to wait till Winter for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It will be here before we know it.

iPod Kitty

I know there has been a lot of pictures of the new cat, so here is another one.

Tut chillin' with the pod. I think he's listening to Big & Rich.

I'm probably going to hate mail from P.E.T.A saying I'm abusing my cat...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bertuzzi Reinstated

Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks has been reinstated and Gary Bettman once again proves how much of a bonehead he really is:

``I anticipate that there will be those who will say that Mr. Bertuzzi's 17-month suspension is inadequate,'' Bettman said in a statement. ``I disagree.''

Bertuzzi should have been banned from the NHL, if not every other hockey league in the world, and thrown in jail. If you and I had done the same heinous act as Bertuzzi we'd be getting three square meals a day and an hour of exercise out in the yard.

So why isn't he?

Terry Frei points out the real lesson here and it is hopefully one that is learned and enforced in the "new" NHL:

So the issue becomes: Will the NHL learn anything from this? The most underplayed aspect in all of this was the league fining the Canucks, serving notice that it is the organization's -- from the GM on down -- responsibility to head off this kind of stupidity. You don't encourage it with either implied support or overt directives. If you do, you'll pay.

We shall see.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Record Companies Just Don't Get It

This article was mind-boggling to me, especially in this, the day of digital music. CD companies, such as Sony BMG, are selling CDs that don't let you import them into iTunes or your iPod.

So why buy them?

I am part of the iPod community, and honestly, I'm not going to buy a CD I can't import into my pod. I actually bought a Chris Tomlin CD while I was at a concert, but the first thing I did when I got home was to import it into iTunes, then to my iPod. I wouldn't have bought it if that wasn't an option.

Actually, I don't even really buy CDs anymore. I just get stuff from the iTunes music store. In this digital world, why do I want a bunch of discs cluttering up my house? Lyrics are available everywhere online, and when you download the album cover comes with the album. When I download from the Apple store, I'm getting what I really want, which is the music, devoid of all the extraneous packaging.

The record companies need to wake up and stop alienating its customers. Stop all these ridiculous attempts to stem "piracy". Get the deal done with Apple and just offer everything through iTunes.

From now on I won't buy another CD. If I can't get it from Apple, I guess I don't need to listen to it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Character to Appear on Lost

Not much on this one, but some news it better than no news.

A new character will appear on "Lost" this fall. Emeka is the name of the newbie to the island, and ABC says that the reason he is there and what he wants will be revealed early on in the season.

Season two of "Lost" begins on September 21.

Like I said, better than nothing...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I just finished reading the last page. What a masterpiece!!! I can't wait to read it again. J.K. Rowling has nailed it this time with her storytelling!!!

I am not going to tell you too much about the book in fear of giving too much away. No spoilers here! You just need to read it. Harry, Ron, Hermione and all the gang are back for another year of adventure at Hogwart's. Malfoy is up to no good, worse than usual. And way in over his head. Has Draco become a Death Eater in the wake of his father's incarceration? Read the book and find out.

The only two things I will tell you are that we find out who the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince" is and what part he plays in our tale. The other is that a regular character dies in this one, killed by a treacherous follower of Lord Voldemort. I have already heard grumblings about how people don't like Rowling killing off this character. Personally, I think it was a necessary evil to progress the story. Sure I wept when this person was killed, but it needed to be done.

Excellent book. If you haven't read it yet, read it. If you have never read any of the Harry Potter series, do it. The first book isn't that good because it was "Americanized" for us, but from the second book on Rowling's writing just gets better. We witness the characters as they grow up and as the story darkens due to the threat of impending doom because of the overwhelming evil that is Lord Voldemort.

Hold on, the seventh and perhaps final book in the Harry Potter series is going to be a thrill ride.

And not to be missed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Still Here

Life has been extremely hectic for the last six weeks. Everytime I think I have a minute to sit down and rant wildly, something comes up.

I am going on a little mini-vacation starting tomorrow afternoon. Back to Peaks-Kenny for a weekend of camping. I've got the guitar, dry wood, the new Harry Potter book, and stuff for tasty hot smores!!!!!

I just had another doctor's appointment for my diabetes. I have lost a total of 38lbs and have gotten my A1C down to 6.9. The goal was to drop it below 7.0. So since March 16th I have gone from a 9.0 on the scale (which is REALLY BAD) down to a 6.9. I am the talk of the doctor's office. I now don't have to go back for another appointment for six months.

Now I just have to keep this up for the rest of my life.

We also have a new addition to the family that is keeping us busy. No, not a new baby. We have a 10 week old kitten named Tut.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Miller Welding Orange County Chopper

The Miller Bike was on display at a local welding shop. I went over to get some pix and oogle at the bike. You can see pro photos of the bike at OCCs website, but I thought it would be fun to have some of my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Could the NHL Lockout really be over?

Apparently, the NHL and the Players' Union have come to an agreement in principle, and should be voted into place next week.

Here are a couple of big things from the agreement.

The expected salary cap likely will have a ceiling of $39 million and a minimum around $22 million.

Player salaries will not exceed 54 percent of league-wide revenues, expected to be around $1.8 billion. Players will also put money into escrow, and after each season that will be used to balance out the set percentage based on actual revenues.

We'll see how that all works out. The players can't be happy about the salary cap situation, even though I think it is a great idea.

The big test though is if fans come back to the sport. The NHL was hemorraging money before the lockout and had a pathetic number of viewers for the televised games. I personally can't wait for the puck to hit the ice, but that is purely out of love of the game.

I stuck with them during the first strike and I'll watch come fall.

But many won't.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fantastic Four at Spotlight Cinemas

I plan on going to see the Fantastic Four tomorrow. I hope I'm not disappointed. When I was a young lad of 8 or 10 I bought my first FF comic and I was hooked. This movie could be a complete bomb.

Nothing against Michael Chiklis, but the Thing looks horried. They should of went motion capture and green screened Ben Grimm like they did for Gollum and the Hulk. We'll see how it goes.

As my friend Peter has said, no more Hoyt's (it's actually Northeast Theaters, but Hoyt's is how it started out and is what we have always called it) for me. The last box office hike has put the nail in the proverbial coffin.

I am going to drive the extra couple of miles up Stillwater Avernue and go to Spotlight Cinemas.

River City Cinemas

I just got back from viewing the Marx Brothers', "A Night at the Opera" downtown at Pickering Square. There had to be between 300 and 400 people there to see the film. It was a lot of fun.

River City Cinema is putting on films free to the public over the next six weeks. This summer's theme is "Smiles on a Summer Night".

Upcoming films include, "Modern Times", "His Girl Friday", "The Trouble with Harry", "Sleepers" and "Young Frankenstein".

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do, grab a lawn chair and head for downtown Bangor.

The movies start at about Sundown.

Peaks-Kenny State Park

Hopefully, this is the first in a series as my wife and I travel around the beautiful state of Maine.

Over the Fourth we spent several days at Peaks-Kenny State Park. Peaks is located in Dover-Foxcroft, which is about 45 minutes from Bangor up Route 15. It's a straight shot, so you can't get lost. Once in Dover there are plenty
of signs to point you to the park.

Here is the park entrace road. Plenty of opportunities here to see Deer as you are driving in or out of the park. Pretty much the only thing here is wildlife and trees. If you are heavily dependant on civilization, maybe not the place for you.

The campsites are very nice. The park crew goes in after a site is vacated and rakes it, smoothing it out for the next camper.

Inevitably when my wife and I go camping it rains, and this weekend was no exception. We erected this tarp to keep everyone dry. Always take extra tarps with you when you camp. You never know when you are going to need one.

Hint. If you see someone leaves the campsite next to you (obviously after they have packed up and there is no doubt their camping experience is over) and they leave some wood behind, grab it! The rangers will take it back to the station and then charge someone else the $4.oo for an armload of wood that has already been paid for.

Lovely nature shot taken by my wife while she and the girls were at the beach one afternoon.

My one and only shot at communing with nature...

Any camping trip (or any other trip for that matter) is not complete with a voyage in from the wilderness to get an ice cream at Butterfield's. Tons of homemade flavors to choose from. There is even something there for the health conscious.

Here is a shot of the beach. During the day there is a life guard on duty. You can get into just the beach area for the day, but it costs $4.00 a person. Obviously if you are camping there is not additional fee.

My feeble attempt at an Ansel Adams type shot. I used my Kodak digital camera set to sepia. This is Sebec Lake. I believe the peak in the background it Borestone. It is about a 45 minute drive to climb Borestone. Plan on making a day out of it. Our group had originally talked about climbing it, but decided we didn't want to spend a whole day. Maybe next time.

This was a very enjoyable trip. If you want a great place to camp, definitely check out Peaks-Kenny.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blogger Images

I've been trying to get my Peaks-Kenny pics uploaded, but Blogger only seems to accept them from me after a certain time at night. I don't know if this is their busiest time of day (4:00 PM Eastern), but the photos just don't seem to upload.

I'll try to get the Peaks pictures up by this weekend if nothing else.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sebec Lake

After being away from the computer for so long, I was very excited to see the new feature that Blogger has added. You can now upload images. Nice. Had to give it a test run.

This is a picture of Sebec Lake I took this morning. A nice grassy area leads down into some sand and then a designated swimming area.

Lack of Posting

I want to apologize for my lack of new posts. I started my summer work schedule last week, so I don't have a lot of extra time. Factoring in church, music practice, our new men mentoring men group and friends, this leaves little time for the blog.

We just recently returned from a long weekend at Peaks Kenney State Park in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine on beautiful Sebec Lake.

I hope to have pictures up from our weekend tomorrow.

Hopefully, the goal is to post about the various places that my wife and I go to this summer in our scenic state. This is a lofty goal, but we'll see how it turns out.

Trips planned for this summer include a trip to Greenville to check out Moosehead Lake and a wrecked B-52, a day in the "Downeast" area of our state which includes Eastport, Cutler and Machias, Bird's Acre in Ellsworth, and maybe some pics from our very own beloved Bangor.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder #1

All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #1
Originally uploaded by SBloods.

This is one I am really looking forward to. I don't really enjoy Miller's art (gasps everywhere) but his storytelling is great. Jim Lee's art on the other hand just floors me.

On sale July 13.

Hellboy: The Island

Finally, an all new Hellboy story from Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Comics. Hellboy: The Island is due to hit stores today.

From Dark Horse:

After more than two years at the bottom of the sea, Hellboy washes up on an island full of sunken ships where he is tempted by singing dead men and stupidly ignores good advice from an ancient enemy. This tale of gods and monsters offers the first revelations about one (or more) of the great secrets of Hellboy's world.

Award-winning creator Mike Mignola presents the long-awaited sequel to 2001's
The Third Wish, and the first Hellboy series since the character was pushed into the mainstream by 2004's hit film.

I'll let you know how this one is as soon as I get my hands on it. Probably tomorrow. You can get a preview at the link above. This looks promising.

Oceanic Flight 815

The latest issue of TV Guide features a snippet about the new website for the ABC show "Lost". The site looks like a seating chart for an actual flight. You can click on various seats and get info on some of the passengers of the doomed flight Oceanic Air flight 815.

Here is the real cool part, though. If you click on the following numbers in this order (Hurley's winning lottery number and the number also etched into the bunker) you'll get to see a preview of next season.

4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Joss Whedon's Firefly Comic "Serenity"

TV Guide is reporting that in addition to both a new Spike and a new Angel comic series being released this summer, Dark Horse Comics is going to be releasing a three-part series called "Serenity" written to bridge the gap between the now defunct Sci-Fi Cowboy show "Firefly" and the self-titled movie directed by Whedon and set for release on September 30.

Here is the press release from Dark Horse.

Even though Whedon is not actually penning the comics, he is keeping a close eye on the writers.

Time will tell, but this looks like it will be a good one.

Update: While browsing TV Guide Online I found the blurb on Whedon's comics that was in the publication as well as an interview with our favorite Slayer creator.

Read it here.

A happy ending to what could have been a tragic tale

A boy missing in the montains of Utah for four days has been found alive and in good condition.

A Franchise Saved: Batman Begins

Warner Brothers has saved its Batman movie franchise with the latest film which is a dark romp through the corrupt underbelly of Gotham City and reveals the origins of the city's greatest hero.

Bruce Wayne, having seen his parents murdered, sets out to learn how to make those that prey upon the fearful afraid and to seek justice for all the injustice that has been wrought in his beloved Gotham and his life. This takes young Bruce Wayne to the far reaches of the world and the underworld. After a stint in prison, Wayne ends up under the tutelage of Ra's Al Ghul, master assassin. Bruce here learns what he needs to know to fight the corrupt in Gotham and his alter ego, Batman is born.

Awesome movie. This completely makes up for the last three Batman flops ("Batman Returns", "Batman Forever" and "Batman & Robin"). A very dark film, which is the way it is supposed to be. Of all the superhero stories, Batman's is supposed to be dark and gritty. Christian Bale nails his character and is a very believable Batman and Bruce Wayne. The cast, which is laden with big names, shines in this one. Liam Neeson is perfect for Ra's. Morgan Freeman is great as Mr. Fox, Wayne's tech guru. Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow is amazing. Michael Caine is great as Alfred, Bruce's always faithful butler and mentor. The whole cast puts forth a very spirited performance. Well almost everyone.

The only weak spot in this movie is Katie Holmes. Her performance was flat and uninspired. Almost anybody could have put in a better showing. But this is the only ding in Batman's armor.

Worth the full price of admission and then some. I'll probably see it again next week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Widget Madness

More on the fabulous advent of Widgets in Tiger.

I am currently listening to "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden, and the lyrics magically appear before me using this widget (my Hula Girl is also waving at me). There are a couple of other lyrics widgets, but I haven't tried them yet. I'll let you know how they work.

Update: This lyrics widget works a hundred times better than the one mentioned above. This one updates immediately. The other you needed to refresh manually. pearLyrics is the way to go.

Mr. & Mrs Smith

I have been really busy lately, but wanted to get a short blurb up about this movie.

Don't listen to the critics that poo-hooed this film claiming that it was unbelievable or that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had no chemistry. They were wrong on both accounts.

It is an action film, so why would you think it has to have a "believability" factor? It doesn't. Guns are blazing and the action is intense. The chase scene on the highway rocked! That is all this film needs to have.

Brad and Angelina? Red hot! I could care a less about any off-screen romance. They nailed it in the movie.

Can't wait to see it again!!!!

Worth the full price of admission.

Batman Quiz

Seeing that "Batman Begins" starts today, I figured that this quiz would be good prep for the resurrection of the Batman film franchise. I'll be seeing the film tomorrow night.

I only scored a 92. I missed the question about the film the Waynes had just attended when they were attacked.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Wonderful World of Widgets

I just loaded Mac OS 10.4 Tiger on my computer, and boy is it sweet! I haven't been this excited to work on my computer in a long time. I am currently posting this from the DashBlog widget in the Dashboard. A little screen that I can type into and then push post. Amazing. No more starting up a browser to blog. Just click on the Dashboard and go!

If you have a Mac and haven't gone to 10.4 yet. Do it!!!! Awesome!

More to come later.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Intel Inside

That is the new sticker that is going to be on all new Apple computers probably by next year. Apple has dumped IBM and the PowerPC chip for Intel’s processor.

This will hopefully mean a wider variety of affordable Macs for the masses. I am eyeing a Powerbook myself, and would welcome a price cut.

But I am not sure how I feel about the switch. Once it has taken place, the Windows operating system could then be loaded on a Mac without an emulator. Apple is not going to sell Windows software, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run it on your new PowerMac.

It seems to me that the Mac experience won’t be the same.

But on the flipside, I remember reading something about CHRP, which is Common Hardware Reference Platform. It basically meant that there wasn’t going to be “Macs” and “PeeCees” per say, but rather a “computer” that all software was designed to run on.

Sounds like Apple is taking the first step to achieve this.

Survivors in the back of the plane?

At least that seems to be a theory with the addition of Michelle Rodriguez to the cast of “Lost”.

We'll see.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What was Robby Gordon thinking?

Apparently not much. Robby Gordon tries to backtrack after saying that Danica Patrick had an unfair advantage because she only weighs 100 pounds. Less weight, faster car.


While this is true, he made a couple of mistakes. First, never comment on a woman’s weight. Second, the weight difference didn’t keep Dan Wheldon from winning the race did it?

Think before you speak boys.

And maybe you should drop a couple of pounds before the next race.

In addition, I found this great commentary about Gordon’s Whine of the Week:

Such a person is race NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who decided that Danica Patrick, the first woman ever to lead an Indy 500 and the eventual fourth-place finisher Sunday, has an unfair advantage over the men in the field: At 100 pounds, she’s too light.

“The lighter the car, the faster it goes,” Gordon said. “Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.

“I won’t race against her until the IRL does something to take that advantage away.”

Funny, but Gordon never complained about male drivers who are 40 or 50 pounds lighter than he is. And we don’t remember him complaining about previous female drivers who entered the race but didn’t have the equipment or perhaps the talent to win.

But along comes a woman who can flat-out drive with a team that’s won the race before and a great car, and suddenly Gordon has a problem.

We’ll leave it to our readers, some of whom wrote as soon as they read Gordon’s comments, to put him in his place — which, some think, is in a Weight Watchers meeting.

Casey in Dallas wrote: This is undoubtedly one of the most puerile comments from a sports figure that I've ever read. It's like a football team saying "it's not fair" that the opposing team's front line weighs more than theirs, or a basketball player whining that someone is taller than he. Is it an advantage? Probably. An unfair advantage? No way.

And, from Josh: As far as “Flesh Gordon” and his childish whimpering — if he lost his pot belly and the meat between his ears, he, too, would be faster on the track and on all the intelligence tests he surely must have flunked....

Thanks, Josh and Casey. All we can add is that we expect Gordon to issue a statement saying the reason Patrick lost is because she had to stop six times during the race to ask for directions.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I went and saw DreamWorks new animated feature Madagascar last weekend. I was not disappointed.

Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have lived a life of ease as the stars of the Central Park Zoo. At least until Marty has a mid-life crisis and gets all the animals at the zoo deported (actually sent back to the wild, much to the joy of the wildlife activists) and our quartet ends up on the island of Madagascar where the group finds out what it is really like to be in the "wild" and what real frienship is, especially when Marty looks like a good rump roast to Alex.

This was a good movie. Thankfully, Ben Stiller doesn't sound much like himself, or else the movie would have been unwatchable for me. The rest of the cast rounds out a very funny group. Schwimmer was great portraying a hypochondriac. The monkeys were an absolute riot and King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) steals the show. The Penguins added a perfect touch as the Antartica Mafia. Chris Rock shines.

Like most of the Dreamworks animated flicks, there is enough to keep the kids entertained, and enough pop culture/adult humor to entertain the rest of us. The film was funny, but seemed to drag in a couple of spots and really seemed like it should have been funnier throughout. Yet, the animation alone is worth the price of admission.

This movie is a fun little romp and worth seeing on the big screen.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Go Speed Racer

Danica Patrick, an Indy Car driver, was the first woman to lead a lap at the Indianapolis 500 and finished fourth, giving the strongest showing of any woman who has raced at Indy.

You go girl!!! I meant to watch the race but was at a family function.

Congratulations to Danica and her team!!

So, where are all the women Nascar drivers?

I am sure there are some talented women drivers out there, but it seems like a big team like Roush or Hendick Motorsports would have to pick her up so she could compete and then they would have to back her with some serious cash like the big boys get.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Star Wars Episode I: Revenge of the Sith Review

I went opening night to the theater here in Bangor to see ROTS. None of that midnight showing stuff for me though, I’m getting to old for that.

As the end credits started to roll my initial reaction was: I’m not loving this movie.

But, the reason for this was multi-faceted. It was the last movie in the series, so there was some emotions about that. Face it, many of us have grown up with Star Wars, so there is definitely some sadness about the end of the films. The movie is also very fast paced, unlike the first two episodes. There is a lot to take in, and I am going to go again next week and might even update this post.

So, after some reflection, I have to say the movie was awesome. The bar was set pretty low because of Episodes I and II, so III was phenomenal in comparison. Lucas saves the prequel series with this one and does do a nice job tying the two series together.

The storyline is simple: we watch the decline of Anakin into darkness, that being turning to the Dark Side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader. Along the way, he does some very despicable stuff.

I found quite a bit to like about this film. General Grievous was a great character. He paces and coughs like someone who is very old and has some health issues, but he fights like a madman. In addition, the fact he has four arms and wields the lightsabers of fallen Jedi in each one is cool. The battle between he and Obi-Wan was amazing.

The most improved acting award would go to Hayden Christensen. The onscreen chemistry between he and Natalie Portman was vastly improved, as was his interaction with Ewan McGregor. The acting is still pretty stilted, but that is not the highlight of this film. I seem to remember that Mark Hamill’s acting in Return of the Jedi was pretty stiff too. The most moving scene is at the end of the epic battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. McGregor nails it. I was almost in tears.

I was disappointed by the miniscule role the Wookies had in the movie. A trivial side note at best, even though they come to Yoda’s defense. They could have been left out altogether and no one would have missed them.

As Lucas and moviemakers as a whole move toward digital effects and characters, Yoda was a highlight. Our favorite digitized green Jedi Master moved and emoted as if he was real. The showdown between Palpatine and Yoda gets a thumbs up.

Overall, I would say this is “the” movie of the summer, maybe the year. Lucas does a good job tying up the loose ends and completing his masterpiece. Star Wars fan or not, this is a must. It is rated PG-13, so keep the kids at home.