Monday, October 31, 2005

Too Nice For Monday; Dog Snuggles; Mistress CC

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

What a waste of a really nice day. Seriously, it's got to be about the perfect weather outside right now. We have sunny skies. Warm, not hot. Nice breeze but not a wind. Very nice for doing something outside. I know it won't last because I've seen the weather reports but it sure is nice to look at while it lasts :-)

Will I go out there and enjoy it? Well no, not really. I mean, yes, I've been out already with the dogs and we took our usual, long route. Later today I'll take them out again and we'll take the same long route but that's about all I have planned for outside. Too much stuff to do inside.

On the plus side, I am able to open up the apartment so I do get to enjoy it a little bit. And from time to time, while waiting for files to upload or sheets to dry, I can go outside and sit a bit in the wind with the dogs.


Speaking of dogs, Katya felt like snuggling today. This is unusual for her. She likes to stretch out and take up as much of the bed as possible. And she never seems to be able to lay in one position long enough for good snuggling. But this morning, I wake up and she's just like a stuffed animal; a large, furry, snoring stuffed animal :-)


CC's playing dress-up today at work. Yes, it's time for the annual Halloween costume day. All across America you see clowns walking though parking lots and vampires driving down the highway. As if we needed more weirdness in the morning :-)

CC's dressed as a vampire . . . sort of. We were doing the fangs this morning and unfortunately she didn't get them in in time for the glue stuff to hold. It dried too quick. SO I suggested denture adhesive. She looks at me and without even saying, "honey?" I went and got dressed. Off I go to the drug store. Got back and we both tried fangs and fixadent. Didn't work though, darn it. That left CC a bit disappointed but you know what? She looks super anyway :-)

I told her, "being a vampire is like 90% mental" :-) And when you think about it, it is. Let's face it, in vampire movies, most of the time the vampire only shows fangs right before it bites someone.

She went to work sans fangs and not nearly as upset as she had been. Her costume provoked a few looks but not as much as last year's. I think it's probably because she's wearing a more NORMAL costume that you'd see on Halloween. Last year was just one HUGE stroke of luck. She went as Sadako, the girl from the Japanese version of The Ring. This was right after The Grudge played in theaters so the whole evil-Japanese-spirit thing was still fresh on people's minds.

I told her later that she looks almost like a gothic dominatrix. Maybe we could just make a slight adjustment to the costume and make it work. All she needs is a riding crop and some handcuffs and she's all set :-)

Have a happy Halloween!


Friday, October 28, 2005

The End of Summer; Halloween; Slow Days; Getting My Hour Back

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

Well it's now official: summer is over. I know, you're all looking at me like I'm crazy, but for me, summer doesn't really end until after The World Series. The October Classic is sort of a lingering thread of summer no matter what the weather is like outside.

It was a pretty good series this year . . . unless you were a Houston fan, of course :-) Hell I'm a Yankees fan and I enjoyed it. Yes, my team got their clocks cleaned earlier than I'd hoped but taht sort of thing happens. Besides, I'm also a Dallas Cowboys fan so I'm used to inconsistant performances by sports stars :-)

But now the series is over. No more baseball until spring. The great convergance of professional sports is now complete. All that remains are football, basketball and hockey. Actually down here you can pretty much count out hockey too. Now that the NHL has signed their contract with Outdoor Life Channel the only games I ever get are the Nashville games. I'd much rather see the east coast teams or maybe Chicago.

Time to put up the ball and glove, hang the baseball team hats in the rack and dig out the Spurs hats to replace them.

Maybe next year the Yankees will be in the series again. And maybe A-Rod won't choke. We'll see :-)


Halloween is right around the corner and I must say it is wonderful to see actual horror movies playing both on TV and in the movies again. For the past several years it seems like no one wanted to bother with Halloween. Kids here don't even really trick or treat very much. Yes, I can understand we're in the Bible belt, and the Baptist bible belt at that. Those folks seem to think just about everything leads to devil worship. But that doesn't explain the absence of horror movies on TV and in the theaters.

This year it's been noticably different. Now it seems like several channels are actually going out of their way to show horror films and that's just great. That's how it should be. When you get to Halloween, the last few days right before it, you should be able to turn on your TV and pick a channel and find something freaky, and I don't mean on CNN or FOX :-)

Well let's face it, the news is scary enough. This time of year I want to see some good escapism horror. People getting eaten by giant animals or being posessed by ghosts or chased by some crazy guy carrying lawn tools. That's what this season is all about :-)

Just remember what happens next. In 4 days the stores will have taken down every last bit of Halloween merchandise and you KNOW what they're going to fill it with. That's right, the two months of Christmas are coming. So let's enjoy the harmless frights while we can :-)


Last few days have been slow around here. Ever since I got that frame up things have been going rather well. Not that I'm against things going well mind you, but when things go well I don't have much to blog about. No, that's not true. When things go well, I only have POSITIVE things to blog about and let's face it, I make MUCH better jokes about the negative and stupid things people do :-)

So if the blog entries get short for a while (yeah right like that's going to happen) or if they stop for a few days (possible) that just means things are going well and the result would be a BORING blog entry and who wants to read that? They're already long, I don't want them to be dull too :-)


And finally, this weekend we all get our hour back. That's right, the hour that those viscious bastards in the government stole from us back in the spring is being given back. So let's all do something fun for that hour. I don't care what it is, just take an hour on Sunday and do something fun. Play a game or watch a movie (a really short movie) or hell, do what I like to do, sleep :-) Just so long as you don't waste that hour by doing something stupid like work. Don't give them jerks in the government the satisfaction of using your hard-earned hour by working. I mean it, I'll be checking up on you. There will be a quiz aftewards :-)

Have fun!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Hate Waiting Rooms; Night Games; Framed Part 2

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I hate waiting rooms. I think most people hate them in fact. That's something you never hear anyone say at a party.

"I just LOVE waiting rooms! I sometimes actually go to the doctor's office or the Department of Motor Vehicles JUST so I can sit in hard chairs and read old magazines."

Ok, maybe if that person had a LOT to drink? No, I'm pretty sure you'd actually pass out before it came to that.

I figure doctors' waiting rooms are the worst. That includes emergency rooms and minor medical clinics too but excludes psychiatrist offices.

The problem with a doctor's waiting room isn't so much the old, boring magazines. The real problem is the other people waiting. Think about this the next time you're at the clinic: What do you really know about the person sitting across from you? Hell for all you know they could have the plague! You're sitting there, with your book, waiting, and the person in the next seat is paler than the bad tile on the floor, they're shivering and yet also sweating buckets. THEN, just to make you even more paranoid, they sneeze.

And then there's the faker. You've seen this person I'm sure. This person is always ahead of you of course, so as to make you wait even LONGER. The faker is the person with unlimited insurance coverage and REALLY low self esteem. So low in fact that they'll fake injuries just for the attention. True story, I saw this myself the other day waiting for CC. There's a woman waiting to see a doctor. She's wearing just one shoe. Supposedly, the other foot is injured. Only problem is, she can't seem to remember which leg she's supposed to limp with. She gets up and limps over to the counter, then going back to her chair she limps using the OTHER leg. At one point she's standing on one foot . . . the BAD one.

Now, I excluded psychiatric visits from the normal waiting rooms because that's just fun. Admit it, you sit there with the other people. Same bad magazines. Same bad chairs. The difference is, it's a hell of a lot more fun trying to figure out what's wrong with people. Even harder, you have to figure out who's actually there to SEE the doctor because some of the people are just family or friends.

So, who's there to see the shrink? Is it the obviously augmented blond? Maybe she's really a psychopathic serial killer who picks up men at stripper bars. Or maybe it's that quiet little guy over there in the corner. Maybe he thinks he's Marilyn Monroe or Napoleon. See what I mean? That's a LOT more fun than worrying that you're going to go home with even MORE illnesses than you started with :-)


You know, I bet Major League Baseball is re-thinking their call to start last night's game so late. You'd think they'd have learned from the mistakes of football. If you start a game at 8 pm it's going to drag on into the wee hours of the morning. The NFL once tried starting games at 7 or 7:30 and miracle of miracles, they were over at a decent hour! Oh sure the people on the West Coast complained about the game being half over when they got home, but the rest of us actually got to see the end of it for a change.

Baseball games are even more dangerous. There's no tie in baseball. You play until the game is over and that could be a pretty damn long time. Remember that Houston game that ran 18 innings? That's enough for a double-header. And then there was last night's marathon game. I suppose it makes perfect sense that the first ever World Series game held in Texas was also the longest one. Everything's bigger in Texas right?

I shared a theory of mine with CC during that game. She woke up for no apparent reason right as the 9th inning was ending. Anyway, my theory about exra inning baseball is this: Fans are fine for 3 more innings. After that, their energy drops off quickly. I was watching the crowds during last night's game and it fit quite well. Innings 10-12, the crowd was on their feet a LOT. They were cheering, shouting, all the things they'd been doing the rest of the game. Come inning 13, everyone's sitting back down. People are yawning. Hell the PLAYERS were yawning.

Game finally ended some time after 1 am. I'm sure there are quite a few frustrated Houston fans. Suddenly their baseball team is playing just like their football team. For that matter, you could say the Astros are playing like ALL of the previous football teams in Houston. They're quite well known for choking when it comes to the playoffs. Maybe there's something in the water down there :-)


The frame is done, FINALLY. Put the last touches on it this morning. I actually had it up yesterday but the top part shifted a bit when I nailed it in leaving pretty big gaps at each end. It was easy to adjust that. Just took a few smacks with the hammer and all done. Here's the end result:

Not bad eh?


Just a friendly reminder that it's fall. Last year around this time we were in the mountains in Gatlinburg. Looked a bit like this:

Sure would be nice to be there now, just relaxing and enjoying the view :-)


Monday, October 24, 2005

The Cold, Asian Wife Run; I Should Have Known

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

I saw something REALLY funny this morning. It's the sort of thing you see that's just proof there are certain universals in the world.

I was up on the balcony outside painting the wood for the picture frame (see last blog entry) According to the weather reports, it was about 52 at the time with a wind chill of 44. That's cold no matter how you look at it.

So there I am, painting away and over the rail I see a man and his wife (a Japanese couple that lives on the first floor) walking arm and arm towards the parking lot, talking. It's the sort of thing some couples do. CC and I do it all the time, especially outside and in malls. Anyway, they get maybe, say 3 or 4 parking spaces into the parking lot and a gust of wind blows. In one fluid movement the wife unthreads her arm from her husband, turns and does what I like to call the Cold Asian Wife Run. She heads right back across the parking lot to their apartment, husband shaking his head a little as he follows.

I've seen that run before. CC does it quite often in the fall and winter. Arms down at the sides, shoulders tensed up, head down but not all the way, nose crinkled up.

CC's not the only one I've seen do it though. I've also seen it in a few Japanese movies and a few Chinese movies. So what I'm thinking is that it's not just a Filipino thing, which was my first theory. It's got to be some sort of Asian thing. Right now I have it just limited to wives because everyone I've seen perform this little run has been married. Maybe women run different when they're single.

'Tis the season. Keep an eye out for it. You'll probably see it too :-)


What was I thinking? I had TWO "should have know" moments, both sports related. The first one was during the last two minutes of the Cowboys game. Once again they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. All they had to do was get the ball down into field goal range. They had two time outs, they had fairly decent field position but what happens? Guys from Seattle bust through the line and chase Bledsow. He throws into DOUBLE coverage, UNDER throws it and it's intercepted.

So then I'm thinking well, they're still a long way out. There's only a few seconds left on the clock. Overtime. Still have a chance. Or DO we? Damn that kicker. No, I shouldn't be hard on Seattle, they were just doing what they get paid to do. Guy nails a 50 freakin yard field goal. No time left on the clock. Game over. Seattle wins.

To recap, in the last two minutes of the game, Dallas goes from being up by 7 to losing by 3.

The other "should have known" you probably already guessed. That's right, I didn't bother to watch the end of game 2 of the World Series even though I KNOW better than to turn off a baseball game that soon. Hell I even blogged about it last week when the Cardinals homered in the 9th to force another game. But did I listen to my own advice? Oh hell no, I turned that game off because the Astros were so far ahead and Chicago wasn't playing that well. Figured they were going to tie the series up at 1 a piece.

Should have known better.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Was FRAMED: Murphy's Law From Turtle To Crane

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

It has NOT been the best of weekends. Oh don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of weekends that were worse and I was probably warned that a bad moon was rising but that's hardly any consolation when you're having a bad weekend.

Saturday was when the warning came I think. CC and I were heading over to the Farmer's Market to do some shopping when she happened to notice there was a turtle trying to cross the road. She told me we had to go help it before it got squished so I turned around and she got out and put him in the grass. See? Good deed for the day right? No, actually that was probably a warning. Turtle crosses road, that means "Hope you got your shell on cause you're gonna need it."

CC got the letter from INS that she'd been worried about. Prepare to roll your eyes. INS pretty much wants a fresh, updated copy of EVERYTHING. Keep in mind that if they'd actually moved on this thing when they were supposed to, all the paperwork would have been accurate but now, over a year later, everything moved to California, they want us to re-submit all the forms and supporting documentation that we already sent in. Oh yes, it's the start of a great weekend :-)

Saturday night, or rather very EARLY Sunday morning I'm back in the bathroom sick again. I have NO idea what it was. CC said I was sweating pretty bad, which I sort of remember. What I remember most was the abdominal cramps. It was like someone hit me in the gut or something. The weird thing is that I was fine after an hour or so. You probably never would have known anything was wrong. See? Right there, another sign :-)

Well today I finally got a chance to work on that frame for the Japanese print over the fireplace. Oh MAN did Murphy's Law kick in. Seriously, if it could have gone wrong, it did. Well no, actually the cutting of the wood went just fine. So did the painting. The problems started when I attempted to join the wood together. I had picked up some corner pieces, little L's with screws, to do the job only to find out that the screws were too big. If I put them in, they split the wood. Ok, scratch idea # 1.

Next idea was to use some nails and corner brackets but, again, same problem. Then I tried to just nail it together the old fashioned way. Same problem. Well no, not quite. I had nails that WOULD go in without splitting the frame but they weren't long enough to hold the thing together.

At that point I just stopped to think about it.

A little while later, we decided to approach the problem from a different angle. I cheated it :-)

Yes, it's true, I cheated the frame. Instead of making a proper picture frame what I'm doing is pretty much nailing the whole thing to the wall. It works like this. I mount the plexiglass to the wall the same way you'd mount a mirror. Behind that is the print. Now all I have to do is nail the wood over the plexiglass. Ok, granted the thing is fixed. It's not going to be moving any time soon and it'll be a chore to change the picture if we decide to go with something else. But it'll be up, and it'll look good and that's what we're aiming for right now :-)

Things have started to settle down now. I think maybe the worst is over. We were out walking the dogs and a crane flew over us. How weird is that? A crane. Not a goose. We saw a definite long, pointy bill. And just one. No other birds were even in the area. I figure, ok, turtle tells me to duck in the shell, crane is telling me it's ok to fly now. Let's hope so cause I'm not really in the mood for more examples of Murphy's Law :-)

Actually I may have been wrong about the crane. I just tried to publish this blog entry and it froze up. Then again, I was able to retrieve it this time. Better not take any chances.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Bunny Discovers Corona With Lime; My Man Murakami; What The Hell's Wrong With People?

Currently Reading: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

CC had an office party last night. One of the guys is leaving so they threw him a party over at a pub up the road from the office. Not a bad place actually. It was fairly well-lit which is a pleasant change over most sports bars where they keep the lights down low so you don't notice just how much your draft beer is watered down and just how nasty those nachos look.

After polishing off our fair share of food, CC decided she wanted a beer. She drinks, well I'm not really sure what to call it. It's light beer, that's for sure. This stuff is like, FEATHER-light beer. You've probably seen it. Aspen Edge is one version. Michelobe has one too. It's low carb, low everything sort of beer. I mentioned, while we were playing pool, that her beer is a bit watered down. She didn't really know what I meant so I explained that, compared to normal beer, light beer and feather-light beer tastes like you just poured water in real beer.

I decided, at that point, that I'd have a beer myself. I don't drink very often and when I do, I don't drink much. But given that we were in a pub, the placed smelled of stale smoke and nachos, I dunno, it just seemed right. So, what did I order? Well they're not going to have Lone Star in Memphis (and I probably wouldn't order it anyway). I'd seen some of the other guys order and it brought back memories. Corona, with lime :-) Hadn't had one of those since college so that's what I ordered.

Took my bottle, pushed my slice of lime through the neck (with CC's help, it was stubborn) and had a drink. Naturally CC wanted to try it too and she really liked it. Keep in mind though, by this time she's had probably half a beer so she's feeling good :-) The whole discussion about watered down beer never came up again. She just kept taking swigs of my beer saying how the lime makes it not taste like beer. I dunno, tasted like beer to me :-)

Oh yes, that wasn't a cheap shot about her having half a beer. She really can't hold her beer very well. Since she doesn't drink and never has, it doesn't take much for her to get a decent buzz, even on a full stomach. Fortunaty, she has me and I don't let her drink so much that she ends up falling-down drunk or that she'll get a hangover. That's what bear's are for :-)


Now, a word or two about my man Murakami. He's one of the best damn writers out there these days. Better still, he's alive :-) This is a big selling point for me because most of the books I read tend to be by dead people. That makes it REALLY frustrating when you finish reading everything the author wrote. It's the end, nothing more to follow. Damn annoying.

One of the other things I like about Murakami is that his books don't suffer when you re-read them. With some stories, if you go back and read them again, you notice things that you probably shouldn't have. Maybe it's a plot hole, or maybe reality gets stretched a little bit too far. You may not have noticed it the first time you read it through because you were so engrossed by the plot or the characters. But knowing where the story is going, you're more observant the second time around. In the case of Murakami's books, it's a GOOD thing to notice the background. Every time you read one of his books you end up picking up on something different.

Anyway, it's not the sort of stuff everybody likes but if you're out at the bookstore and you're needing something to read and you want to try something REALLY different, head on over to Fiction and Literature and browse through the books by Haruki Murakami. He's got several, including two books of short stories and one no-fiction about the Tokyo Subway Gas Attack.


What the hell is wrong with people? No seriously, I wanna know. Those of you out there who have something wrong with you, you know who you are :-) What the hell's wrong with you?

I was over at the Fox Sports website earlier. It's a HUGE weekend in sports you see, and I wanted to read over the latest news. One of the things they have there is a little poll. Today's question asked what you were most looking forward to this weekend. Among the choices were The World Series, Texas vs Texas Tech, etc. Do you know what was in the top slot? The answer most people chose was the start of SOCCER PLAYOFFS!

What the hell is WRONG with you people? Soccer playoffs? Metric football? Am I suddenly in Europe? Did reality shift? Metric football playoffs over The WORLD FREAKIN SERIES???

You folks out there better be drunk and were voting for soccer as a joke or I swear I'm gonna come down there and smack the lot of ya :-)


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Quick Read

Just Finished Reading: The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

I don't think I've done that since college. Just finished a book in 2 days. Well no, that's not entirely true. There was a stretch a while back when I actually made it through a book in one DAY but it wasn't a particularly difficult book and I finished it so quick more because I wanted closure on the story (which was pretty weak).

This was no great feat. The Colorado Kid isn't a very long book. At 178 pages, it's really more of a novella. But it sure does hold your attention if you like reading mysteries.

I started reading it last night. Had more than half of it read by the time I went to bed. I probably would have stayed up and finshed it but it was getting pretty late and it's never a good idea to read mysteries when you're tired. You miss things and that can make solving the mystery impossible.

I finished it a few minutes ago. It's a great read, even if it is a short one. It's the sort of thing I wish King would do more often. There are no monsters in this one, no ghosts, no aliens. So if you like that aspect of Stephen King stories, it'd be better to just leave this one on the shelf. But if you like a good mystery, and you don't require your novels to be a certain length, pick it up.

Now, if you want to know the ending, you'll have to highlight the big empty space. I'll tell you all about it, but I'm going to color the text white so it won't show up unless you want it to. To read the rest, just use your mouse, hold down the left button and drag the cursor over the next section.

The book starts off pretty simple. You've got two old newspaper men and their intern finishing off lunch. They just had a meeting with a reporter from the Boston Globe who's looking for "unsolved mysteries" in the area. This leads to a long conversation regarding a mysery the two old men DIDN'T tell the reporter. It's the mystery of the Colorado kid.

I'd LOVE to tell you who done it but I can't. In fact, no one can. It's one of the things I kinda like about the story. There's no ending. They never solved it. Dead guy is found on a beach. Lots of little clues but none of them lead anywhere. It's a year and a half before they even ID him and that raises more questions than it answers. Even after you find out who this guy was you never find out enough to figure out what happened.

King, himself says in the afterward that you could come up with a dozen different possible ways end the story. Some would be good, some would be bad. He left it open anyway because, as he sees it, solving the mystery isn't the big deal. The big deal is the mystery itself and the characters trying to uncover it. And he's right. When you read a mystery novel, after the first few plot twists, you don't really care about the actual solution. You care more about the detective or the doctor or the reporter trying to REACH the solution. Besides, let's face it, we've all read mysteries that left us a bit underwhelmed when we got to the last page.

So there you go, my take on The Colorado Kid. Your choice to read or not the same way it's your choice to read my thoughts on it :-)


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What's Wrong With Kong; Astro-NOTS

Just Finished Reading: King Kong by Marian C. Cooper

Ok, one of the big movies slated to come out this Christmas is the SECOND remake of King Kong. The original featured those really bad "cutting edge" special effects. It's the kind of movie you watch in the middle of the night, chuckling to yourself, wondering how in the hell something that fake-looking could scare anyone.

The first remake improved on the special effects, have to give them credit for that, but the plot was so screwed up it ended up being just stupid. They tried to throw in all sorts of little messages and warnings about the environment and something to do with oil consumption. And don't get me started about the acting. At least the ape looked a little better.

Now we've got the second remake and judging by the little brief trailers and pictures that are making the rounds on the Internet, it's going to LOOK fabulous. That ape is pretty damn scary looking and Jack Black and Naomi Watts seem about as perfectly cast as you can get. Still, all that aside, there are some serious problems with the whole King Kong idea that Peter Jackson would be wise to deal with in his film.

These first three actually came from an episode of Robot Chicken on Cartoon Network. It's a claymation show done in little clips that parody other shows and movies. Runs at 10:30 cst Sunday nights and again on Thursday.

1. Ok, the natives have that big wall to keep their village safe from Kong and the other critters. They make regular sacrifices to him. Ok so far. But why did they make the damn gate big enough for him to get through? He's got no REASON to come into the village, why not just keep the gate small enough for people?

2. He's an ape for crying out loud. They make a HUGE point in the book and in the movies about how he likes to climb things. Do you honestly think he can't just climb OVER the wall?

3. You know there can't be just ONE giant ape out there. They don't live forever you know. The only way this works is if there's a FAMILY of giant apes. Better still SEVERAL families of giant apes so they can breed between families and last longer.

(here are some I thought of while reading the book)

4. When they capture Kong, they use three gas bombs. Throw bomb, bomb breaks, gas puts Kong to sleep for 6 hours or so. Works great. So how come no one had any gas bombs on hand when they were showing him off in New York? Seems to me that'd be a pretty elementary precaution, just in case.

5. How'd he manage to break out of those chains so damn easy? The Broadway show takes place MONTHS after his original capture. They had to drag his big ape butt onto the boat, carry him half-way around the globe, build a cage, put him in it, get the cage to a theater and on stage. All this time he was chained up and those chains held just fine.

--Ah BUT--

6. you say that it was the flashbulbs from the cameras that got him all worked up and that's what allowed him to break free. He was so worked up into a fury. Ok, fine, in that case A. Do you expect me to believe, seriously, that NO ONE photographed him at all, ever, in the entire time between capture and exhibition? And B. You think he wasn't pretty damn pissed off when he woke up on the boat? Or when he woke up in the cage? No fury there?

7. Earlier in the story, while they're on the island trying to track him down, they get off a few shots on Kong. The bullets don't do a damn thing other than piss him off a little. Given that this takes place in the 1930's, you have to remember that the guns they put on air planes aren't all that powerful. They're really just mounted versions of the guns people are carrying around or have on tripods. So . . . if the guns they use on Kong on the island don't work, if the bullets seem to just bounce off and maybe sting a little bit, why all of a sudden are these bi-planes able to mow him down on the Empire State Building? And why weren't the cops able to do any injury to him while he was getting there?

8. Seriously, are we supposed to believe that buildings in NYC are built SO well, or were anyway, that they took almost no damage when this HUGE ape goes climbing? I think a few of them should have fallen down. Certainly when he's on the rooftops, jumping from building to building, ONE of them would have given way and he'd fall straight through. He's a freakin HUGE MONKEY!

9. He got hit by a bus. A bus. Who is driving this thing? This guy has got to be the WORST bus driver in the history of busses. Think about it. You're cruising around the theater district, following your normal route when suddenly this giant ape just APPEARS out of nowhere? He's been throwing cars around and smashing things in general and this bus driver fails to even SEE him? If that guy survived the crash, I think he ought to get his walking papers or at the very least, an eye exam.

10. And this is really important. Who cleaned all that mess up? And what a HUGE mess it would be too. First you got all the monkey blood splatter up on the Empire State Building. This is the 1930's we're talking about. They can't just send up a helicopter with a high pressure hose. You've got Kong blood oozing down the side of the building at its highest point right? And all that fur too. Must be giant ape fur all over NYC. And then there's the point of impact. Monkey falls . . . a LONG way down. SPLAT! Somebody's got to clean it up right? Hmm, and now that I think about it, I don't recall anyone saying anything about monkey poo. Even on the island, no monkey poo. Lots of references to things eaten. And lots of references to Kong flinging stuff. So why no mention of the universal monkey motion of poo flinging?

You know, now that I think about it, maybe I'm not in such a big hurry to see the new King Kong afterall :-)


Ok, somebody has to say it. The Astros once again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! You check out the morning paper or read about it online, they don't paint nearly as bad a picture. The Astros were ONE OUT away from going to the World Series. Oh no, it was worse. They were ONE STRIKE away from going to the World Series. How demoralizing was that? It's right there, in your grasp. All you need is just one more strike or a wimpy grounder or a pop-up. But no, the pitcher sends a fast one within range of the bat and BAM! Now we go back to St. Louis.

Just goes to prove what the FOX commercials have been saying all along: You can't script October.


Monday, October 17, 2005

The Bears Are Back in Town; Show Dogs; Baseball; The Fireplace

Currently Reading: King Kong by Merian C. Cooper

Guess who just got back today! Ok not really, but that's how the song starts. Yes, it's true, I'm finally back after a longer than expected absence. I lost my broadband connection last week and was stuck with dial up for almost three days. Yes, I know that hardly counts as a hardship but loading today's Internet pages on a dial up connection takes FOREVER. What happened to clean coding? What happened to graphics optimization? Now everyone's into big, fancy Flash pages that take 20 minutes to load and run streaming video and audio that slows your computer down to a crawl unless you have the latest graphics cards and a fast processor to handle it all. But I digress :-)


If you haven't already done it, check out CC's blog for the latest on what happened over the weekend at the dog show. She's got some great pictures, including a little bit of costume play with the dogs. I was really surprised they put up with it. They're not known for letting us do cute things to them. Usually when you try and put something like that on them, even something as simple as a neckerchief, they run and hide or they try and shake it off. Not this time though. I guess they like being fussed over now.

Anyway, the dog show was great! I was torn beetween taking mine or leaving them home. On the one hand it's a good way to get the dogs used to being around other dogs. That would make it easier to walk them on a daily basis because they'd be less inclined to get all jumpy every time they see something with 4 legs. On the other hand, it means I can't pet all the OTHER dogs there because that would make mine SUPER jealous. I decided to leave them at home.

Honestly, it would have been a LOT of work to keep Katya calm enough to handle the dog show. She'd start off REALLY jumpy, wanting to go run and play with every dog she came near, then eventually she'd lull us into a false sense of security and calm down. But that would last only until she saw something like . . . the dog races. She'd see the other dogs running through their course and she'd want to chase them and she'd start barking and so forth. No, it'd be WAY too much work if I took her with me.


Almost time for the World Series! One thing I really like about post-season baseball is that they really don't mess around. Their games come right on top of each other. None of this "off day" business or taking time to recover between playoff series. No, they play until it's over and the only time they take a day off is when they need to travel to the other team's ballpark. Of course, sometimes that really makes it hard on a particular team. Take the Angels for example. They had a stretch there where they played 3 games in 3 nights in 3 different time zones. They played the Yankees in NY, then at home. Having won that game and the series, they were due the next night in Chicago to play the White Sox.

And next week it'll all be over. Our yearly 4 sport crossover will be finished, down to three. And that's pretty cool too. The finals of baseball will last only the one week. No stretching it out so you can maximize TV money. Gotta love that :-)

Oh yes, lest I forget, be sure to insert a rant about really weird umpire calls during some of those playoff games and also another rant about Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. The best player in baseball? Best at choking maybe. Don't get me started or I'll never get this blog entry finished :-)


We've finally settled on a design for the fireplace. You may recall that CC and I were going back and forth on what to hang over the fireplace. We had a Van Gogh print at first, then a Mucha. Now we're going with something a little different.

I came across a replica samurai sword while I was out the other day. Really nice looking thing. Always wanted one and it was affordable so I picked it up. CC saw it and thought it would be great on the mantle so that's where we put it, along with a few other Asian items. Problem is, it doesn't match the Mucha print.

I went online and looked for something that would go better. Found this one:

It's called The Great Wave and it's by Katsushika Hokusai. This print is HUGE. It's 60 X 40 which makes it about a perfect fit for over the fireplace. The only problem is that no one really makes a frame for something that big. You have to have that done custom. That's expensive. REALLY expensive. So it looks like my weekend project will be building a frame for this picture. It's not that hard. Just need some wood and paint, a little plexiglass, no problem. I'll try and get a picture of it once it's done.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Boys of Summer on Vacation; Slow Motion; 2046

Just Finished Reading: Shadow Of The Giant by Orson Scott Card

And then there were 4 and damnit, my boys aren't one of em. Well, they put up a good fight. They weren't the top seed going into the playoffs anyway so I suppose they got about as far as most people really expected (except for the guys who said the Angels didn't have enough good pitchers).

Naturally the talk now is what they're going to do in the off season. They've been on vacation now for less than 24 hours and already the big talk is who is going to be traded and who is available as a free agent. I guess when you have a $203 million payroll you open yourself up to that sort of talk.

It makes sense, don't get me wrong. Once you're done for the season, your next step is to go over what happened and see who's producing and who isn't and make your best plans for the next season. I just wish they'd knock off all this talk about personnel changes until AFTER the World Series. Same goes with the other sports. I hate it when all the talk in the NFL during the playoffs centers around what teams who are OUT of the playoffs are going to do. When you get this close to the finals, I want to be able to focus on the teams LEFT in the series.

Which brings up the next obvious question for me, Who am I going to support now? Can't say I much care for the Angels. I watched all 5 games, seen their team win and lose. Just don't much care for them. There's really nothing about them that interests me. So for the American League I think I'll go with the White Sox. And in the National League, that's a tougher call. On the one hand all you hear about here in Memphis is the Cardinals. Our minor league team is a Cardinals feeder. On the other hand, Being from Texas I had a steady diet of the Astros while I was growing up and, come on, how can you not like the Roger Clemens story? The guy is 42 and still a starting pitcher in the majors. Guess I'll back the Astros.


I'm running slow today. Something happened to the cable connection. I have NO idea what the problem is. My hardware is working fine but the modem isn't getting any signal from the line. Had to call customer service and put in a tech call. I hate doing that. Nothing they can do remote. They have to send someone out to check the line. That means tomorrow will be lost, waiting for the cable guy.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the damn thing will be working by then. Whatever the problem is it might just be a temporary thing. We'll see. Until then I feel like I'm blogging in slow motion :-)


One last thing, there's a great Chinese movie that just started playing in wide release called 2046. If you get a chance, go and see it. It's a beautifully shot film. Not an action movie so don't go in expecting to see Crouching Tiger.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

So Co...Co...Cold II; Well Fair; New Fish

Currently Reading: Shadow Of The Giant by Orson Scott Card

Alright, let's not carried away with this business about it being cold. In fact, it's really not very cold at all. It is cold enough for a light jacket or maybe a sweatshirt, which is great because I have a lot of comfy jackets and sweatshirts. But it's not cold. Cool, yes, but not cold.

There's one exception to that though. My wife, for some strange reason, has been opening up the apartment at 5 in the morning. There's nothing unusual about her being awake that early but you would think, for someone who gets cold so easy, she'd avoid doing things like that.

This morning, and the morning before that, I woke up and it felt like it was FREEZING. She'd opened up the back door and the windows and there was a fairly steady breeze blowing through. When you've been sleeping all night and the bed is nice and comfy and warm, even COOL weather feels frigid.

I checked when I got out of bed, it was maybe 60-65 degrees inside. Yes, that's chilly, enough for a jacket or sweater, but not nearly as cold as it felt.

Last night, I got smart. It gets into the low 50's maybe upper 40's at night now, which is certainly cold, but it's not really cold enough to turn on the heater yet because it doesn't STAY that cold for long. By mid-morning we're in the upper 60's. So instead of turning on the heater I put the electric blanket on the bed. Oooooooo is that ever great! You climb into bed and instead of cold sheets you get a nice, warm, soft blanket. So very relaxing. Better still you don't wake up shivering because your wife decided to air out the apartment :-)

The only real drawback is that it's DAMN hard to get out of bed in the morning. Just too comfortable. It's so comfortable even the dogs fight over who gets to sleep on the bed. They both love to stretch out and be lazy :-)


Went to a really big craft fair today. You may recall that CC got day passes from work so we only had to pay for parking (which wasn't much). The funny part was that we didn't really spend much time looking at the crafts. Yes, we did manage to walk through it once but we weren't paying much attention. There were a few booths we stopped to check out but mostly we just wandered around.

We were there for quite a while though. They had a stage set up. Not long after we arrived, they had Scottish dancers. Well CC just HAD to go see THAT. You should have seen her. She was practically dragging me over there she was in such a hurry. If I had let go of her hand she'd have broken out in a run. They were pretty cool to watch.

After the dancers there was a swing band that set up and played for an hour. Funny thing, one of the trumpet players is in the band at church. I didn't figure that out right away of course. I saw him as they were setting up and I KNEW I'd seen him from somewhere but I couldn't place the face. Figured it out eventually though.

We also ate :-) Crafts fair and how do we spend our time? Watching live music/dance and eating :-) CC had Mexican. I had Greek. Good food but a bit over-priced. I pretty much expect that at those sorts of events though.


There is a new resident in the fish tank today. Still have the gourami known simply as Mr. Fish (if I name them, they die). I've been having a problem with algae lately though. Hell almost every surface in the tank has some green on it. So today Mr. Fish was joined by Mr. Janitor. That's right, I picked up a . . . well an algae eater. You know, them freaky looking sucker fish with the long name I can never spell properly but starts with a P. I'm not even going to attempt it. You know the fish I'm talking about.

He's doing his job. Already I'm noticing some breaks in the green. He must figure this new tank he landed in is an all-you-can-eat buffet. :-)


If you noticed that tonight's entry was a little less fluid than usual, blame the sinus meds. Cold front came in, kicked up lots of dust and stuff, nose got plugged, had to take something. I waited until after the fair of course but the result is that I'm a little foggy-headed. Sorry about that. You still get all the information of course, you just don't get all of my fabulous, fluid prose. And no modestly either ;-)


Friday, October 07, 2005

CC's Day Off; Weekend Preview

Currently Reading: Shadow Of The Giant by Orson Scott Card

The phrase for today is: And it's still only FRIDAY!

CC took the day off today. She had been thinking about it for a while and when the chance opened up, I pushed for her to do it. Up until Wednesday she wasn't sure but she was surprised to meet NO resistance to the idea when she asked for it. I wasn't surprised. Those folks there at the office know just how hard she works and so they had no problem giving her a break.

What took a little more convincing was getting her to use her day spa gift certificate today. Her birthday, WAY back in February, my mother got CC a gift certificate at Germantown Day Spa for a wrap, massage and facial. CC had been saving it for she "really needed it." Oh she's needed it for a while, she just kept thinking she'd save it for when she really needed it even MORE :-)

Wednesday I talked her into making the reservation and this afternoon I took her over there. Oh she came back one happy camper :-) I'm not going into detail about her visit, or at least what she told me. That's an entry for her blog. You'll have to wait for her to post it over there.

She was there for about 2 hours which gave me a chance to do some running around. I didn't really have any place to run around TO so I just hit the usual haunts. Played some video games over at Best Buy (totally suck at Mario baseball on Nintendo Gamecube but did surprisingly well as The Ultimate Spiderman on PS2). Then I checked out the lastest releases over at the book store. By the time I was done it was time to pick CC up.

I will say this, she was VERY happy with the service at the day spa :-)


We don't have much coming up this weekend so I'm not sure if I'll have anything to blog about. One of the women at CC's office gave us two all-day passes at this big crafts fair that's running this week. So either Saturday or Sunday we'll head over there and see what they've got to offer. There was an article in the paper about it yesterday, it's a HUGE deal. Lots of vendors selling all sorts of things. Maybe we'll pick up something, maybe not. But since we got a free pass, seems silly not to at least go and look. Besides, ever since the lastest cold front came through the weather here has been WONDERFUL!

Whichever day we DON'T go to the crafts fair we're heading over to the parents' house. My mother's been doing some more cleaning and has a box of linens for us. Of course, we also still have one whole closet left to pack up. It's a spare closet, really, but like all closets it attracts a HUGE amount of stuff. We've also got come heavier coats stored over there that I need to bring back. So it looks like I'll be doing a bit of packing and carrying boxes this weekend. Just as well though. The bat cave has been needing some attention lately anyway. It's not nearly cluttered enough :-)


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sleepless Nights; Sports Theories; So Co..Co..Cold

Currently Reading: Shadow Of The Giant by Orson Scott Card

I really hate not being able to sleep. Doesn't matter why I can't sleep, it's the fact that I'm not sleeping that really bugs me. Yeah sure, maybe I have a sore shoulder one night and it keeps me awake. It's not the shoulder that bothers me, it's that it keeps me awake.

Now, when I know what's keeping me awake, it's annoying, as I've said, but when I can't sleep for no apparent reason, that's MUCH worse. Take last night for example. CC was up a little late working on a project for work and I was watching both her and the baseball games. At about 10 we were both yawning, probably feeding off each other. She finally finished and went to bed and I went with her because I always do. I stay there until she falls asleep because she rests better that way.

Anyway, at 10:30 I'm reasonably sleepy, just like any other night. I stay awake long enough to watch the end of the baseball game then head for bed. at 12:30 I'm awake and getting annoyed. I figure, maybe I just have to go to the bathroom or something and I can't get comfortable until I do that. Fine, trip to the bathroom, done. 1:00 comes and goes. 1:30 comes and goes and the only thing I'm getting is an occasional dozing. 2:00 comes around and I'm REALLY getting frustrated. I got back up and went into the living room to watch TV. Just my luck, last night was "sucky programming after midnight" and no one sent me the memo.

FINALLY, after an hour of jumping from one bad program to another I went back to bed at 3 and stayed there until 9:30 or so, at which point Katya was on the bed being rather insistant that I take them out for their morning walk NOW! I'll spare you the details. Trust me, you do NOT want to know.


Let's talk baseball. No, don't go running away, baseball is gooooooooood. Baseball is your ffffrrriiiieeeennnnddddd. Actually I was thinking more in terms of sports in general but baseball happens to be the key in this little story.

I have a new theory about which teams win or lose in any given sport in any given series. That theory is a simple one: I can only ever have one team doing well at a time. Let me give you some examples here. I back the Dallas Cowboys in football, the San Antonio Spurs in basketball and the NY Yankees in baseball. Cubs too but they usually don't factor into this.

Right now we have a multiple sport crossover. Hockey has just started up. Basketball is going into pre-season. Football is chugging along. Baseball is wrapping up. Notice what's going on here and what usually happens each season. Dallas is starting off slow yet again. The Spurs will do the same. Why? Because the Yankees are in the playoffs. Once baseball season is over or if the Yankees lose, the Spurs and Cowboys will be able to win. Simple. Only one team does well at a time.

Carry it back to last season. Dallas? Sucked. The Yankees? Played well but lost out to the BoSox in the playoffs. Spurs? Won the whole damn thing and took home the trophy. The only time any combination of these teams did well together was when I WASN'T a fan.


What's the deal with these rumors about Brett Favre going to the Jets? Yeah, wishfull thinking to say the least. Neither team could afford a trade like that. Sure the Jets need a quarterback and yes, the Packers need...well everything BUT a quarterback, but a trade like that just can't be done in the NFL these days.

Besides, Brett needs to follow through with the tradition regarding really great QB's. He needs to have a great, high peak then finish on a completely sucky team. Look back at those Hall of Fame guys and you'll see what I mean. All the really great, legendary quarterbacks pretty much had to be dragged out of the game kicking and screaming.

Yes, you can always say there was John Elway. But he's the exception, not the rule. Think of Aikmen, Marino, Kelly, Young, Bradshaw, etc.


Fall is upon us. No, really, it is this time. I think. Well maybe. All I know is that when I look at the forecast for the next few days it says we won't be warmer than 70. Time to turn off that AC and remember where I packed the sweatshirts. :-)


Monday, October 03, 2005

The View From The Sofa

Currently Reading: Shadow Of The Giant by Orson Scott Card

I didn't exactly have the best weekend. Saturday I woke up feeling pretty bad. Felt a bit bloated, tired, weak. My stomach was cramping up in waves and when it took a break, those cramps moved around to my back instead. Pretty uncomfortable to say the least.

Naturally in that state I really couldn't eat anything. I did manage two pieces of toast and some tea but that was all I could handle. Spent the morning on the sofa.

Some time in the afternoon, maybe around 1 or so, what little I'd had to eat and drink started to re-appear and NOT in a good way. For those of you who aren't good with euphamisms, that means I was throwing up :-) Spent a good part of the afternoon in the bathroom.

That began a pattern for me. I'd nap/doze on the sofa for an hour or so, then it was back to the bathroom. Felt awful.

8 PM rolls around and CC heads off to bed. She didn't fall asleep at first of course. She was watching TV for a while. I refused to move though. I knew what sort of night I was in for and I certainly didn't want to spread the misery. No reason why we should both have to suffer through it. Spent the night on the sofa.

At around 9 or so I instigated what I like to call The Manila Plan. This is basically how I get over jet lag. My reasoning was that this stomach virus or flu or whatever it was was quite a bit like having the severe jet lag that comes when you fly to Asia. So, first thing I did was I made my way over to the desk and took my medication. Always have to start there. It's usually the first thing people forget to do when they get ill. But you know, no matter how sick you are, if you're supposed to take something on a daily basis, you really need to keep doing that. It'll just make things worse otherwise.

Next step is fluids. In this case, Gatorade. I cannot emphasize this enough, you MUST drink Gatorade. It'll get you through. See, it's got those extra calories in it. Yes, it's got the vitamins and minerals and whatever, that's all very nice, but unlike water, Gatorade will give you a little bit of energy. And since your odds of keeping Gatorade down are about the same as keeping water down, you might as well drink something that's going to boost your energy.

Step three, bread. Bread comes in only when you get to the point where you can keep solids down. The beauty of bread is that it's so damn bland. Just normal, white bread. Soaks up everything and gives you even MORE energy. And after a the bread, you can start adding things to it like . . . cheese. Now you're talking dairy, now you're talking heavy calories. Still bland though so you can usually keep it down. Great stuff there.

So, how did I spend my Saturday night? Well, I woke up almost every hour. Sometimes I'd sleep a little longer, sometimes a little less but about every hour. Wake up, pee, drink Gatorade, sleep. Over and over again. Each time I'm able to drink a little more Gatorade and each time I'm able to sit up a little bit longer. You have to sit up for a while because when you spend the whole day in bed, your butt and back get a bit sore :-)

The tide turned in my favor around 3 or so. After my 3 am bathroom trip and Gatorade moment I slept a full TWO hours instead. Oh yes, things got better from then on. Next thing you know it's 7 am and I'm having toast and tea. Then it's 11 am and I'm sitting at the desk, reading e-mail while having a cheese sandwich.

Full recovery didn't actually occur until around 5 pm Sunday. Took the dogs out for their walk along with CC and I had most of my energy back. And now, it's Monday morning and apart from that weird, drained feeling you get after being sick, I'm back to normal.


In other news . . .

My wife rocks. Poor thing, it was her first relatively stress-free weekend and how does she spend it? Watching over the dying man on the sofa. I felt bad about that and still do. I'll have to find a way to make up for it. Not that we had anything planned for Saturday but just about ANYTHING would have been better than sitting around the apartment with me sick.


Bonus books! We were out walking the dogs Sunday morning and came back via the route next to the dumpster. It's sort of a community hub really. It's the only place in the complex where EVERYONE goes eventually.

Someone was moving out or got evicted. It happens. The maintenance guys were removing what was left in the apartment and what they usually do, they leave usable stuff next to the dumpster instead of tossing it inside. I've seen all sorts of stuff stacked up there over the past few months. Usually people leave lamps or old electronics. Yesterday though, a near complete set of Harry Potter books, most of them hardback. Talk about a good deal. I flipped through them, nothing wrong with these books. Even the covers were clean. They were stacked along with some other books, Anne of Green Gables, something else. Now, I've been meaning to flesh out my Potter collection. I have books 3 and 6. I've read the whole series but 3 and 6 are the only ones I'd actually bought myself. The others I borrowed. So now I have the whole set, 1-6 :-)

Oh yes, the rest of the books were picked up by other residents before noon. They didn't last very long at all.


My parents are moving . . . eventually. Yeah, I know, that's hardly a prediction right? But this is what I'm told. I got an e-mail from my mother this morning saying that she and my father have decided that in 2 years or so they're planning to move out of their current house and into something a little smaller. They've really got more room than they need now that CC and I aren't living there anymore.

Where are they moving to? They don't really know yet. Plenty of subdivisions around. Hell where they move to might not even exist at the moment. Might just be in the planning stages in some developers office. We'll find out soon enough.

The real bummer of all this is that now I'm going to have to clean out the damn attic. Like most people, we piled up a LOT of stuff in the attic. Can't stay there. It's got to come down and the stuff that's mine (and a lot of it is mine) is going to have to move. Guess I'll have to free up some space in the bat cave :-)