Thursday, August 01, 2013

And I'm back at Blogger

And I'm apparently coming back. Just tried to log into my Wordpress account and they have gone all pay for a host and upload. None of that! So I'm coming back.

Now we'll see if we actually blog or not... 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm moving on...

As many regular readers now (if there is any still out there), I'm not writing much. So, in an effort to try and get excited about blogging again, I'm moving my site. Here is the new address:

Come on over and check it out!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wicked Bag

I really want to win this bag!!! Simply fabulous!!! Be a great place for my camera!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Remember me?/Summer Reading

Well, I was just cruising the internet super highway and realized that I have blogged since January. Not bad. I took a six month hiatus.

So I figure I'll share my reading list for the summer. As the end of school quickly approaches, it's time to get those books ready to go.

Now, this isn't necessarily the order in which they are being read, just the order they are coming out of the box that stores the books. Here we go:

1. Forever Peace- Joe Haldeman; the follow up to one of my faves, Forever War.
2. The Crucible- Arthur Miller; something about McCarthyism...
3. Flowers for Algernon- Daniel Keyes; always looking for books to read with my classes.
4. Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson; another classic I have yet to read.
5. A Farewell to Arms- Ernest Hemingway; my co-worker says Hemingway is a must.
6. 12 Angry Men- Reginald Rose; I want to see how angry they really are...
7. Night- Elie Wiesel; I just finished Maus I & II with the kids so I want to see if I can add this book to the Holocaust arsenal.
8. The Codex- Douglas Preston; I also want to read the new Pendergast novel.
9. Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi; graphic novels are a must. Going to read this in English.
10. Pride of Baghdad- Brian K. Vaughn; I've been trying to get up the emotional courage to read this one.

I'm currently reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but the zombies might not be enough of a draw to keep going. Boring...

If you have any suggestions, make sure you either post them or email me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Dinner Store

Hey, Jess and I are going here tonight for something really different to do. We got a Half-Off Dining gift certificate from WVII (This channel is sooo horrible. No link), so we figured we would give it try.

This should be really fun! Cooking but not using any of my own resources or materials. Nice!

Update: So we had our first Dinner Store meal last night which was Sweet Potato Burritos. Now, this sounds like an odd thing to put in a burrito, but it was amazing! So yummy!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Animal Weirdness

I bet there is a lobsterman Down East that would love to get a hold on this bad boy:

NEW YORK - A 140-year-old lobster that was destined to adorn a dinner plate is back in the ocean after a seafood restaurant in New York City granted him a reprieve.

The 20-pound crustacean, named George, was returned to the wild Saturday in a rocky cove in Kennebunkport, Maine, less than a mile from the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush.

I bet there is some serious meat in those claws!!! George lives to scavange the bottom of the sea for dead things again another day...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Marley & Me

Hello!!! I live!!! Jess and I just got back from seeing Marley & Me and then going to Scott and Esther's for homemade pizza.

Scott and Esther were actually supposed to go to the movie with us, but it was sold out when they got there only 15 minutes after we bought tickets. Who knew that a 3:00 show on a Thursday would sell out. Combine school vacation with people looking for something to do when it is 9ยบ outside and I guess you get a sold out film on a Thursday.

And I have to say this was a great movie. Jess has been reading the book, so she had a pretty good idea what the movie was going to be about, but leave it to Hollywood to mislead the rest of the population that was ignorant about this film to make it look like a light-hearted comedy, which is wasn't. Oh sure it had some funny parts that we laughed at, but there were some heavy topics, one being, lookout, spoiler alert, the dog dying at the end of the film.

Now, we being adults of relatively sound mind, could handle that. We knew it was coming, you knew it had to be. Or at least, I would have thought so. But to the dozens of 10 year old and under kids at the film with their clueless parents, apparently the obvious was lost on them. Or they believed the trailer that this was going to be a comedy with a crazy dog and a crazy owner doing crazy things. Sure, those elements were there, but that was not what the movie was about. I certainly wouldn't have taken my kid to see this. But, I actually knew what the story was about.

Owen Wilson did a great job bringing the character of John Grogan to life on the big screen, and while I usually can't stand Jennifer Aniston (I think I've seen every episode of Friends. At least twice...), she brought believable emotion to the character of Grogan's wife on the big screen and actually did some acting for a change.

This is a great film for the husbands/boyfriends to take their lady too. Of course, I was choked up for the last 25 minutes of the movie, so make sure you bring some tissues. Because if I cried, you know she will.

And the preview for Bride Wars looked awesome!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Movie time!!!

With all we have going on (a long story), we've had the luxury to squeeze some movies into our hectic schedule. (Wait, isn't there always time for movies...)

So up first we have, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Now, I've been a Hellboy fan from way back, so I was really excited when the first movie came out. Even though they put a "2" in the title, I knew Hellboy the Second was gonna be amazing. I was not disappointed.

Penned by HB creator Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro, they did not disappoint. Mix Hellboy mythology with Del Toro's visionary weirdness, and you got Hellboy right out of the comics. I felt that this film was even truer to the pages of Hellboy and his Weird Tales than the first.

This time around HB and the crew are defending the world from the Elf Prince that wants war between the Underworld and Humans even though the humans don't have a clue, as always. The Golden Army is amazing!!! This time around Johann Krauss, the ectoplasmic guy from the B.P.R.D., joins the fray. And he was a great choice even though not a personal fave. He adds some great comic relief.

And the duet in the middle of the film is a classic...

Great flick that is Hellboy meets Pan's Labyrinth. Worth seeing on the big screen!!!

Now, on to the view on the little screen. Wednesday night brought the season one finale of Burn Notice! This is a well written, nicely produced show with great action and intrigue. But of course the real reason to check this show out is: Bruce Campbell!!! And if you read this and say, "Who is Bruce Campbell?", I question your right to live...

Tonight's feature was Penelope, starring Christina Ricci, James MacAvoy and Reese Witherspoon. This is a wonderful movie where fantasy meets love story.

Penelope is born cursed and has a nose like a pig. It is supposed that a fellow well-to-do "Blue Blood" will break the curse, so a myriad of suitors are passed before her so she can marry and break the curse. Well, things don't go as planned...

Christina Ricci is always outstanding and James MacAvoy is quickly becoming a fave! This is a must to add to the library.

But tomorrow brings "The Dark Knight"...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Need some relief...

...from $4.00 a gallon for fuel. This could be it ladies and gentlemen. I only have three words for ya:

Drill, baby, drill!

To be eco-friendly, with the money I save at the pump, I'll buy a solar panel or two to put on the house to save on electricity use.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A few little jems

Wow, time flies when you have no interest in posting, and honestly, I really haven't had any. But, I rotate hobbies every three or four months, so blogging is somewhat back on the menu. For now at least.

So, the Wife and I went to a thrift store by the name of Hands of Hope, a non-profit organization that uses its store to fund raise for food, clothing and programs to help the needy and disadvantaged.

Well, with most thrift stores, it can be hit or miss with what you find. Yesterday was a good day...

Much to the Wife's chagrin, I'm drawn to books like a moth to the ever-destructive flame, so as I walked in the HOH store for the first time I immediately started searching for the used books. A hidden jem may be amongst the flotsam. But, lo and behold, I not only found one, I found three...

The first of these wonderful little treasures is the classic, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Now, I have never read this book, but the guy I teach with reads this book with his English class, and some kids really enjoyed it. Which is something because most of our kids are real big reading fans. So, I'll be reading this one over the summer to see how I can torture next year's kids with it.

Next up is a fun one. Michael Crichton's The Lost World. You have to love dinosaurs roaming the Earth and eating people for food and fun!

And last of all the tragic true life tale of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster as lived by author Jon Krakauer called Into Thin Air. I've already read this one, but this book is so well written and such a compelling tale that I have to read it again.

So, what do think I paid for these three literary delights? $10? $5? $2.5o? Oh no, I paid a whopping $1.50. Oh yeah...

Plus I got a nice looking short sleeve shirt for $2. So there!

Now to go put on my new shirt and read a good book...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man Review

I got a chance to get into Iron Man on Thursday night. And all I have to say about this movie is, "WOW!"

I have to confess, with all the hype and previews of Marvel Comic's latest film project, I was a little nervous. Were we getting all the good shots in the trailers? Is Robert Downey Jr. going to be as witty as is being proclaimed? Is Jon Favreau really the guy to make a film about our favorite adventuring gazillionare? Can there be a good movie with Gwenyth Paltrow? The resounding answer to these questions is YES!

Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark, an extremely rich inventor that has made his money from making things that go, "boom". He is captured by insurgents and to escape, Iron Man is born. Downey Jr. does an amazing job. Quick, witty and sarcastic, he embodies everything that the Tony Stark I know from the comics I read of long ago is, including being a womanizer and Alcoholic. He is perfect for the part.

And Jon Favreau has put to rest any talk that he isn't an action movie guy. This film was beautifully done with great looks and smart scenes. The CGI for this movie, done by Lucasfilm, was seamless, just like seeing Iron Man walk up to you and I in downtown Bangor. The guys who wrote the film wove an intriguing tale that holds you from start to finish. Having to draw from years of history, they did a wonderful job taking you on a journey that shows who Tony Stark is, how he becomes IM, his experimentation with the suit, and then battling the bad guy in a tour de force ending.

Oh, and make sure you stick around after the credits for a little special treat!

Great movie and well worth the price of admission. Several times. Buying the comic tie-in. Getting some toys...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome to the Jon Krakauer Double Feature

Well, since I'm not playing Tribal Wars and am currently not mudding our new drywall, I've got a couple of minutes so I'll update my recent reading list.

The author of late: Jon Krakauer.

First up, Into the Wild, the tragic story of Chris McCandless. It is said that some march to the beat of a different drummer. McCandless certainly did, but his drummer led him to an untimely death in the Alaskan wilderness.

Krakauer recounts a moving tale of self discovery as Chris McCandless throws off the shackles of modern convention and common sense to wander about the country and live off the land, taking the name "Alex Supertramp". For the most part a great story.

Until the part where very ill prepared he heads to the wilds of Alaska with few supplies and equipment where he ultimately looses his life.

It is not very often that I have to look up words in a book. Being a sort of a word smith, I love words. I regularly pick up a dictionary and just start looking at words. So I was actually very pleased that I had to break out the Oxford and look some unfamiliar ones up. Krakauer sprinkles some big ones throughout his stories, but that goes perfectly with his style, which is very readable, even personal. It's like Jon is sitting across the table from you telling you a story.

The author also does a great job diverting from Chris' story by giving us a brief history of other people that have disappeared into the wild, and even I think appropriately recounts his tale of man versus wild that occurred during his youth when he attempts a solo climb of the Devil's Thumb in Alaska.

This is a very well written book with a very compelling story. It does get a little dry occasionally, but definitely a must read. And if you want to watch the movie, read the book first.

Now up in the second feature, Into Thin Air. This is Jon Krakauer's personal account of the Mount Everest disaster of 1996. Of the two books, which I think are both amazing, this was my favorite.

Krakauer is sent to write a story about Everest, of which a briefer account was featured in Outside magazine. Here is a link to the story.

This one was a page turner as Krakauer weaves a suspenseful and deeply personal tale about the climbers on his team, the professionals guiding them, and how Everest is a cruel and unpredictable creature. Some may pass and stand upon the ceiling of the Earth. Some are denied and sometimes with a high price. At the very least oxygen deprivation, which renders you mentally and physically incapacitated. Some loose limbs to exposure. Some loose their life.

I would highly recommend both of these books. These were both a departure from my regular reading, which is often light and fluffy or tales of fantasy and adventure. These are both the kind of book that you go to your local bookstore and pay full price they are that good. But if you can get them at a discount...

Up next: Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I want to see if he really has his main characters, who I've heard a children, trying to kill God so they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Vantage Point

I just got back from seeing this movie with my father-in-law. Our jaws dropped in awe at the beginning of the movie, and we were continually kept on the edge of our seats throughout the rest of the film.

Vantage Point, starring some very big names such as Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, Dennis Quaid and William Hurt, is a film about 8 different vantage points when the American president gets assassinated during a summit in Spain.

This is a very smartly written film, because just as soon as someone's "vantage point" is over, they take you back and you view the same events from the eyes of a different person. Now, some people I talked to didn't like the film, but it is not your typical thriller, and the method used for telling the story is very unique and interesting. Plus, there was enough pulse-pounding action to keep you glued to the screen.

Great movie. Might have to buy this one. 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An all consuming time waster...

Wow, it has been a month since my last post. Oops. Sorry all. But, here is my excuse: Tribal Wars.

One of the most ridiculously simple games, but boy, for those of us with some compulsive behavior, not good. Just ask my wife! One of my villages below. I have eight.

So, realizing I am completely addicted to this browser-based game, I am going to slowly reintroduce some other things I enjoy.

Like blogging...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The name game...

Well, apparently the girls are playing some sort of lame game where they come up with things that go with the letters in their middle names.

So I'm gonna play...

J- Jovial: that's me in a nutshell. In a good mood at least 75% of the time and always looking to have a good time, whether I have to create it or just enhance it.

O- Oh-so-awe-inspiring: I think that says it all.

H- High-Maintenance: I know, I know. Strange for a man but not unheard of. That is why my wife is such a gift from God. To have the grace to deal with me on a day to day basis for the rest of her life...

N- Naughty: I can be ill-behaved at times. Muhahahahaha!

Tag, somebody else has to join the game now. So there.

Homemade Mac 'N' Cheese...

Jess and I just put the finishing touches on our very first, homemade Mac 'N' Cheese. We usually rely on Velveeta for the Mac stuff...

So after watching a special on The Phantom Gourmet about comfort foods, featuring Mac 'N' Cheese, I decided it was time for a shot at making the homemade stuff.

So, I turned to Alton Brown of "Good Eats" to get a good Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Prep was really easy and straight forward and it is in the oven as I type. And dang, it looks good...

Update: Alright, here are the awesome pics of our most excellent creation! Alton Brown, here's to you!!!

Look at this golden brown goodness...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Lunar Eclipse

So, we went out last night to attempt to get a couple of pictures of the Lunar Eclipse with the new camera (Canon Rebel XTI). We didn't have a clue what we were doing, but I think the pics came out pretty good considering.

We went up to the golf course to limit the amount of light pollution (ack, living in the city...) that we had to fight with. And it was a wonderfully cool, clear night so the viewing was spectacular.

Of course, you would think after living in Maine all our lives we would be prepared for the temperatures and conditions of such. No, we weren't.

Jess wore her Crocs and a light fleece, so she was freezing. She got snow in here Crocs, which added to her freezing. At least she had a scarf in the car and I had a pair of uber-mittens in there.

I was a little more prepared, but dang, it was still really cold. But the cold makes viewing the celestial delights even better.

We'll be ready for the next eclipse in 2010...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Knight Rider

Knight Rider is back, but is it better? Getting an update with a new car and new actors, the cheese grating is still high with this one and the only thing that saved the 2 hour "movie" premiere was the brand-spankin'-new Ford Shelby GT500 KR Mustang. Highlight of the whole show.

Now, let us hearken back a couple of decades to the original show. Still, despite or in spite of the Hoff, the acting was nothing to write home about, but how cool was it that the car talked and did all those really cool things that K.I.T.T. did.

Well, nothing changes in 2008. The car was cooler than ever though, being able to camouflage itself as any Ford Mustang Product, heal itself with nan0-technology, and go insanely fast. Val Kilmer was also a highlight as K.I.T.T., giving the car a great personality touch.

As for the rest of it, I don't have any desire to IMDB all the names that are in this. Just know that some of the leads get an upgrade from soap stars to NBC stars.

Now, time for the real rant here, and that is about NBC. What is up with all the commercials? Are you guys so desperate to sell air time that you stretch a show that might be an hour and fifteen minutes at best into a two hour extravaganza by having 45 minutes of commercials? Five minutes of show, seven minutes of ads.

And NBC did this during American Gladiators as well. How irritating...

As for Knight Rider, I give it a three out of ten.

Hopefully it will get better. But the car is really cool...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rock on Loser! I mean Rock of Love...

While I was working out this afternoon getting abused by the treadmill, I was watching this horrible show called "Rock of Love 2", starring Bret Michaels of the 80's hairband, Poison.

Remember them? "Every Rose Has Its Thorns". Yeah, that's what I thought. So anyway, this show is essentially about 20 girls trying to hook up a washed up rock star and win his love. And the girls sometimes have to do some demeaning things to do it.

I know this is a random rant, but this show drives me nuts. I try to look away, but it is just like a train wreck. You keep looking back to see how bad the carnage is...

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I am a very fortunate man, with a wonderful wife. She got me onto a VIP list which got me into a free midnight showing of "Cloverfield" on Thursday. And for an old guy like me, that was really late. But, oh, it was worth it.

The J.J. Abrams produced film is probably one of the most unique films I have ever seen. Part "Blair Witch Project", part "Godzilla", part "Aliens", this is a short but sweet thrill ride.

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of movie this is. Is it a monster movie or a love story. I'm tending toward a love story that just happens to feature a large sea creature that finds itself in New York with time on its hands. And a need for destruction.

The film centers around our main character Rob, who has taken a VP job in Japan. What follows is his buddy Hud with a handy cam filming his going away party, getting all his well-wishing friends on tape. Then all of a sudden, all hell breaks loose, starting with head of Lady Liberty landing in the street outside Rob's apartment building.

Just like most of J.J. Abrams projects, you are left with more questions than answers. Why is the creature destroying mid-town Manhattan? We don't know. It just is. And that is okay. Rob finds his motivation and drive for the film as he and his friends try to survive the onslaught in Mid-Town, and reach his romantic interest Beth who is trapped in her apartment across town.

The monster is well, just amazing. Director Matt Reeves and the writing crew do an amazing job at teasing us with the creature, because you never really get a good glimpse of it, just quick shots as it takes out a building or it gets bombed. Adding to the mayhem are German Shepard sized parasites that live on the creature. As the beast exits the sea, these spider-like bugs take a bite out of Manhattan as well. Mix all these elements together and you get some very intense scenes. The subway scene was my fave.

A word of warning though, if you have any kind of motion sickness at all, you might want to take your Dramamine before you go. Rarely do you get a still shot with this movie. Sure this movie is professionally done, but the vantage point is a man carrying a video camera. I have no motion issues at all, and even my stomach dropped a couple of times. I also found sitting leaning to the left at about a 30 degree angle with my head resting on my hand helped...

This is a novel film that is worth watching more than once. I can't wait to go see it again.

A Weekend Away

I'm currently blogging from The Country Inn in beautiful Camden, Maine.

Located just over an hour from our beloved mini-metropolis of Bangor, Camden is a mix of working harbor and a ritzy retreat.

The Missus and I have traveled down here with some friends to attend out annual marriage retreat. This years theme: Joined at the Heart.

Updates will be coming throughout the weekend. Last night we had a first session, which was sort of an ice breaker to meet the new couples attending for the first time (most of us have been attending the weekend for anywhere from 3 years to 8) and for our inspirational leaders to lay out the schedule of the weekend for us.

Up today: Breakfast, a session, lunch, a completely free afternoon and then "date night". Oh yeah...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tastes Like Chicken

Hillsong- Saviour King

It is rare when you find an album that not only inspires your own personal worship time, but can be easily translated into a congregational singing experience, but Hillsong has delivered another standout. This is one of the best Praise and Worship albums I have come across.

While the songs are strong scripturally, they are simple enough to learn and sing along with, whether by yourself or in a group. "You Are My Strength", "Lord of Lords" and "Saviour King" are three highlights that I have already pulled the music from CCLI to add to our song book at church.

Darlene Zschech and her group do an amazing job blending the Hillsong youth sound with the regular Hillsong sonics to produce an album that is going to have wide reaching appeal with youth as well as those of us who are a little, well, "seasoned".

I've ordered the DVD of the concert where this album is recorded. So I'll follow up with a review of that when I get it.

This is an amazing album that anyone will find accessible, whether you are communing with God during a quiet time or during congregational worship at church. A must for any worship leader.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Biggest Hockey Mass Fight Jan 08, 2008

Wow, apparently Russian skaters do know how to fight.

Now, let's have a little more of this in our American hockey arenas...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Let it Snow...

We have gotten WAY too much snow this year so far, roughly around 40 inches in December. Now, living in Maine most would say, "That doesn't seem to bad considering where you live."

Yeah right! We haven't had this much snow all winter let alone in one month like this for years.

So, in light of all the white stuff and all the crappy winter related stuff that has happened so far (I got the Uncle Kurt's plow truck stuck in a ditch...), here are some pictures that I took during our weekend out on the hill.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

I know, the holidays are just about over, but the time is always right for some great sounding a Capella, even if it is the "12 Days of Christmas".

Thanks to Cindy Campbell of Q106.5 FM for the link.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tastes Like Chicken


Upon leaving work today, by buddy Dave comes up to me and says, "Merry Christmas" and hands me the new book by Max Lucado called 3:16: The Numbers of Hope.

The title and book are on the following scripture, John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

I almost hate to admit this but, I have never read a Max Lucado book. However, I am excited to delve into this one. This scripture alone is enough to fill anyone with hope. Even though too many have had it crammed down their throats but crazy evangelists, fanatics and those people that go to sporting events with the homemade sign that says "John 3:16". There are so many out there that give Christ a bad representation. But that is for another post.

Personally, this is one of my favorite scriptures that I find truly remarkable. But speaking contextually, I really think any "3:16" reference should be followed up by John 3:17:

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

God sent Jesus into the world to save us, not condemn us. Unfortunately, too many non-Christians see and here the condemnation aspect from other Christians rather than the love. It is truly awe inspiring that God loves us so much and yearns for a relationship with us so much that he would send his only son to be the sacrifice for us so that we can reconnect with our creator. Wow.

I'm eager to see what Max Lucado has to say on this topic.

14 Years...

Today, Jess and I celebrate 14 years of dating/marriage. We just passed the 7 1/2 marriage mark, leaving you to do the math for the rest of our relationship.

On December 21, we started going out. Of course, this was after being turned down for a first date (Can you believe it?). I asked her to go to a hockey game. The second date was obviously more successful...

So to celebrate this week, we went to a hockey game on Tuesday night. The Portland Pirates played a game at Alfond Arena. Great time but wow, the Pirates were awful. Good thing I had great company.

Tonight, we went to Starbuck's on a "Hot Chocolate Date".

Now, when we were first going out we were in college and didn't have a lot of money (wait, we still don't have a lot of money), so we went on Hot Chocolate dates to McDonald's. We decided after 14 years we could upgrade a little.

However, it is roughly 7:00 P.M. and Jess is about to doze off. And I don't think I am too far behind her.

We're getting old(er)...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tastes Like Chicken

I'm guessing Peter's tree is looking a bit like this with his small child's decorating sense.