The ongoing prattlings of a lifelong geek and his random luck with love, work, children and rediscovering himself.
All the hype about this being Will Smith's best role ever, a tear jerker, etc, really didn't become apparent to me. It was "good".
If it was based on reality as it claimed to be, it just wasn't produced well, because it was just one huge downer through the entire movie, and the triumphant ending was really anticlimactic (to me). A couple of knock-knock jokes, Smith walking through a crowd of people shorter than him, and we're done. Yay (er, yawn).
It was okay... you can say "good". It wasn't great.
M.K. was working, of course (she "invited me" to come to opening night). She's a really special lady... who has a boyfriend. (sigh) Hence, she and I have not gone out (otherwise I'm sure we would have -- we've already exchanged phone numbers and talked on the phone, but that was it once news of the boyfriend came out). I've "noticed" her for a couple years now at (the old) Takeya. I will not be one to interfere with another person's relationship (this happened one time in my life, under very different circumstances involving a woman married to this day to a cheating lying bastard of a husband) so that's that. She and I are friends and nothing will come of it unless she becomes available, and I know about it... although... she did try to get me drunk last night by giving me a flask of Sake. Hah!!! I am unclear if she knows the mild physical contact we seem to consistently have every time I see her, which I never see her perform with others at work, is having this effect on me. But I'm pretty naive when it comes to women, so...
I'm a fool. Yeah.
I had hoped that Cheryl and I might have a possible future as more than friends, but as she stated multiple times, she is too busy (owning a successful software business, being a single parent, etc). She is so ambitious. I really hope she ends up where she wants to be. I had hoped it might be with me. (shrug)
So at the moment, it appears I'm still 100% available, a little sad, and confused as to what I should do next. This is probably a major factor in my previous post regarding my lethargic Christmas activities this year (lack of shopping, blah blah blah).
Add to that the fact that the kids' have had to endure their mother being remarried this week (I get my last name back!!), each one with their own way of reacting to it (as usual), and I guess it's just a really weird season for me. My mother, of COURSE, tries to get me to "admit" that I am having "trouble" with the re-marriage of Jamie Quick (formerly Malena, formerly Lienberger), so I just let her think what she wants (there's no use trying to change her mind).
So it's 3:30am, I'm sitting naked at my computer desk (TMI? Sorry) typing this entry, because I can't get to sleep. I'm not interested in doing anything. Maybe I should grab my laptop and go to Denny's, sit alone, browse the web, or (hah) play a full blown game of Age of Empires III there. THAT'D get some funny looks. :-)
There are times I wish I were able to just go out and have random sex, but the truth is, in MY CIRCLE of influence, I only truly know of one person who does this, and she's freshly re-married now and is the DEFINITE exception to the people I normally congregate with. (I'm finding that I really do miss the variety of physical contact methods I enjoyed during my marriage -- I'm trying to word that so that if my kids read this, I don't completely alienate them by grossing them out) I used to try and convince myself that I was the oddball (being faithful), but I know I'm not. And I'm glad that I'm just like (most) everyone else in my small circle of friends. Faithful, god-fearing, and full of my own brand of Love that will most likely blow the socks off of whomever I end up with. I keep pleasant memories of (yes...) certain events with Jamie in my mind because it actually feeds my good-feelings, remembering things personal, family, sexual or just plain silly in the past. I really, REALLY look forward to having that again with someone I can give my all to. Again.
I've really been turned off by this Christmas season. I kept thinking about making cookies again for co-workers as I did last year (huge but fun ordeal) and never did. I did actually buy a nice used item for David and Keith at work which hopefully they're using. But in reality, I've not sent one card and am finding it near impossible to get motivated to try and do any more purchasing.
I did buy wireless network cards for the kids four computers, so that the cable across the entrance area can be removed, and if their computers ever move, they just need to be plugged in, not wired for 'net. That will be nice... once I get up and actually put the cards in (today, I'd like to believe).
Amanda took her written driver's permit test, but had a problem and will need to take it again. I'm not so concerned about that as I am about the fact that for the first time, she could not hide from me the fact I've know for years -- she should be wearing glasses. She is far too vain, unfortunately, and will not wear them ("I'll buy contacts, I won't wear glasses"). We live in reality where contacts cost a LOT more than a pair of glasses to buy and maintain. However, barely passing the vision test, only by squinting and opening each eye over and over, was not a good sign. We'll be discussing this soon when I can get time to take all four kids for a non-annual eye exam. Anthony needs new glasses to break, anyway.
I've been taking the opportunity this past couple of weeks to play Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the XBox 360, and handily beat it on Normal, while I currently make my way through Hard. Check the achievements on our Live account.
(sigh) Hopefully by Christmas I will have gotten a few more purchases done, but...
It sounds pretty amazing (involving the nervous system, and mice being injected with a drug and being "healed" overnight). Apparently there are some similarities between Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis (scary thought there) as well.
Hopefully this is something that can be reproduced in humans, and brought to market, "within years" and not decades...
I can't be the one to deal with this person, and both HR and my "manager" refuse to deal with it.
One woman I know from long ago, who suddenly became someone of interest. I approached her about this, and was immediately told no way -- she lives 2700 miles away in any case; I'm a glutton for pain, I guess.
One woman I also know from long ago, who is simply a fond memory at this point. Another member of the human race determined to fight out a marriage where the partner is a cheating, lying bastard, mostly because she is afraid of the image it will produce of her and her family, in my not-humble opinion; also the one and only married woman ever I have even considered having a relationship with "because of her circumstances".
One woman who I have never met, know nothing about, who was suddenly put on a phone with me by a friend who I'm quite unhappy with. Some "friend".
One woman who I will never meet, in an attempt by my mother to get me "out and about". Typical "mother".
One woman I've wanted to get together with since my divorce, who I waited two years to approach (for myself, mainly). She's been "too busy" for me, and I've tried to be patient, but I think it may be time to move on.
And now, one woman I've been up close and personal with in minor ways over the past 3 years, who I'd now really like to date. In fact, I told her this, asked her if she would like to, and she said yes, swapping phone numbers with me and briefly discussing schedules (I know here only through her place of business so far).
I'd like to believe I'm on the road to some one-on-one happiness in all of this...
I did find myself getting ready to leave twice during the movie, because I believed it was about over, then realized "oh, it's... still going" but that's not really a bad thing. It just meant it felt like a complete story, and then there was MORE to tell.
I was a little scared that it might be taking one of the really bad elements of the one Bond that was starring some gentleman I don't remember (his only Bond movie) in regards to the "relationship" he was in... but no. It ended up a cliffhanger movie, where you "must see" the next one, like a serial novel, to figure out more of what's going to happen to this "brand new double-oh agent".
The opening action sequence was by far the most amazing one in a Bond movie ever, by virtue of sheer human horsepower and (I'm sure) film editing. It makes you want to train for the Olympic gymnastics team.
I look forward to the sequel.
This free utility lets me convert my VOBs into multiple other formats (in my case, I chose WMV for various reasons) after a little bit of time spent converting and measuring to verify integrity of the video.
I still have no clue (not DVDx's fault) why when I want something to be in the same aspect ratio as it originated in, I have to falsify the destination resolution. Mental note to myself and all - when converting a 720x480 VOB to a similarly 3:2, or 1.5:1 ration WMV, I ended up using a ratio of 1.7666:1, for which I'm not clear why, yet, nor why multiple softwares state that you have to "figure this out" - why isn't it constant? It's all digital...). Specifically, in my case, so far I'm using 848x480 as the output resolution, at Full Zoom (i.e., none) to get a great file that matches the 720x480 aspect ratio. Really bizarre stuff, in my opinion. Maybe one day I'll spend the time to figure it out...
In any case, DVDx can be found via this website, or on SourceForge where it is hosted.
Doing housework for one afternoon does not fix the problem.
Discussing and working out the issues is the solution.
I refuse to allow my household to drown in anarchy. There will be a resolution to this, and it will BEGIN immediately, or else I will have to pursue "my own solutions", and frankly, I can't think of any good ones on my own. If you (my children) do not want to be part of the solution, I will be left to my own ideas.
At the moment, this is my current thought on what I think we should do. We live on a corner lot, so the rest of the property would look odd if I fenced in a portion. I'd love to fence in the entire yard minus the front, but two issues stop me from pursuing that actively (what the neighborhood bylaws may say about such things, since we're on a corner, and how much it would cost).
If you have ideas, feel free to share them. Rumble is a miniature dachshund so he doesn't require a tall fence necessarily, either...
20 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION TIME!
So I'm literally walking out the door in a few minutes to get on a flight (leaving out of Daytona, thank God) to California. I'll be visiting friends, in-laws, and attending reunions for Calvary Road Christian Academy and Duarte High School - class of 1986 (I graduated from CRCA, but attended DHS for almost 3 years, and consider it my true alma mater).
I look forward to visiting with Marty, John, Dan, Clay, Debbie, Jessica, my mother-in-law Cathy and whoever else I run into. I plan to take pictures galore!
As with most people at most reunions I assume, this will be the first time in 20 years I will have seen the vast majority of these high school friends and acquaintances. I'm sure it will be a real eye-opener.
I plan on staying offline (for the whole trip if I can manage it).
My kids will be spending time with their nana and papa, as well as the normal school activities and work (Chik-fil-A and McDonald's). I will miss them terribly, but hopefully will have enough to do with friends that it won't be a big obsession.
So... I'm off! Later days...
My daughter was in an automobile accident yesterday. She called me, crying, and let me know that she was okay and that she had to be picked up because she was under age. I had to be the in-control father, asking the right questions, walking out of work to travel 20 miles to get back near home and find her with her friend (the driver) and the friend's father finishing up with the police.
She bruised slightly, and sore, and probably a little spooked since she's on the verge of being an on-her-own driver soon as well. But she's fine it seems.
I'm very thankful no one was hurt, but it still spooks me at 3:45am in the morning the next day. I could have lost 25% of the most important people in my life yesterday.
I love you guys. And yes, posting embarassing pics of you like that are one of the ways I show it...
Welcome back to the New Universe!
Coming this December, from Marvel Comics. 'nuff said.
I talk with my father about diagnosing the problem. After a brief discussion, I decide to handle it through warranty, since the water heater is so "young".
I call Flower Power and Light to see if they perhaps have the ON CALL service activated (this service gives me $10 a month and allows THEM to shut down that device on a limited schedule "as needed" - this service has not been activated in over a year based on previous discussions with them). They assure me that if the green light is flashing, "power is flowing to the device". Okay...
I neglect to call Whirlpool on Friday. So the weekend goes by without hot water.
I contact Whirlpool from my cell phone during my lunch break Monday. After about 10 minutes, I find out that I need to TEST THE UNIT MYSELF using a multimeter/voltage detector with instructions from them. I mention that I'm not an electrician and that despite my aptitude, I would prefer to have a qualified repairman handle this. They insist that I can do it, or I may have the unit professionally repaired and send them the bill -- they will reimburse me.
Later that night (at 6:28pm EST) I call Whirlpool back and am put on "hold" for a technician to help me use the voltage detector I have just purchased to test the unit. Every five minutes, I am put back to one of the non-techs who assures me "you did not lose your place in the queue, we just check to make sure you haven't hung up yet" and then I'm back on hold. This happens repeatedly until 7:02pm EST when I am forwarded THIS time to VOICE MAIL -- after HOURS voice mail. So now I've been left high and dry. And pissed.
Today, I decide it's not worth waiting for. I contact Roto Rooter, who comes out in a timely manner, and tests the unit. Lo and behold, THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE UNIT. There is NO POWER COMING FROM THE ON CALL BOX (i.e., no power from FPL).
I contact FPL again, who asks me "did you reset the breaker", to which I politely reply "yes, that is why there is a blinking green light on the ON CALL box." "The light is ON?! Wow, then it works and there is power to your water heater." I explain to him that the $99 payment I had just made 20 minutes earlier to Roto Rooter tells me there is NO power coming to the water heater. He assigns someone to come to my home. The next gentleman to call is the en route repairman. He asks me (sigh) "did you reset the breaker" (note that this is about the sixth time in two days I've been asked this question) to which I reply, very flatly, "yes.. and the green light is on at the ON CALL box." He seems dumbfounded by this.
The repairman shows up a half hour later and goes to work. He discovers that, lo and behold, there is a BURNT OUT WIRE in the junction box between the ON CALL BOX and the WATER HEATER (this junction is an FPL-territory item). So, yes Virginia, you CAN have a working ON CALL box with NO POWER being delivered to your appliance!!
So now... I'm out $99 for a house visit, I'm sure Whirlpool is unwilling to pay it since their unit was never at fault apparently, and I have to find a way to convince FPL that THEY owe me this money.
Oh, and $4 + tax for a voltage tester.
Happy Tuesday, everyone.
It had this habit of showing worst-case-ever scenarios in regards to snake bites, such as biting in the EYE, biting in the MOUTH, biting on the, er, breast, and biting (engulfing?) the, er... well, I felt sorry for the guy, let's say.
It was more funny than anything. Worthy of a cheap matinee-showing (we went during full price hours; we were bored). Samuel Jackson was verrrrry funny. I now see why so many TV shows and internet sites do parodies of one of Jackson's last quotes about "getting these blankety-blank snakes of the blankety-blank plane". ;-)
I also discovered that, when attempting to start a relationship with someone, it's troublesome if you, yourself, are a very busy person, but moreso when the person in question is about twice as busy as you are. It causes for a lot of... frustration (and you can read into that comment any way you want). Perhaps it will work out, perhaps I will need to move on. I don't want to move on, but... *sigh* We'll see.
Right now, I've got the SCHS Band Football Program in full production (waiting on a lot of materials which is beginning to scare me as far as deadlines are concerned, but shhh, don't tell the Band, because per the norm, I will get it done) and I recently went out with a really great lady who I've known for a while but never [had the bawls] to ask out. I'm hopeful on that front (she's great!).
The kids are back in school. My tickets to my 20th high school reunions are purchased (for the primary reunion, the plane, the hotel and the car). I get to meet with friends and classmates from both of my high schools (Duarte High and Calvary Road Christian Academy). My computer desk is organized again (we'll see how long that lasts). The dog and cats are happier than they've been in a long time. I finally got two trees that were badly damaged during hurricanes in recent years taken down (lots more firewood, which is also nift). I've had a number of odd employment items come up lately which blew me away (including a position which involved becoming the COO of a company, which I literally walked away from). I've become addicted to Tijuana Flats restaurant -- hot sauce bar = good! I really want "Guitar Hero" for the XBox/Xbox360 (but they don't MAKE it for the XB/XB360 yet), but there are THREE new DDRs coming out in time for Christmas, which rocks.
Did I mention I went out with a really great lady recently..? Who happens to be of like mind as far as technology is concerned? Yeah...
I think that's enough for this forced-blast catchup. No mustard, no onions, just catchup. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Russell T Davies and company have done a FANTASTIC JOB with this latest reinvention of the famed British series! I'm glad the SciFi Channel brings The Doctor's latest adventures to America (mere months after it aires in the UK). The finale ("Doomsday") was awesome, as usual. I'm more glad, however, that BitTorrent exists.
GENERAL: I have a lot of updates to post (movies seen, events attended, things done, thoughts briefly lost) so there will be a number of posts here very soon. I've been extremely busy with work and life and have been negligent in my "oh so important" postings here. I will catchup, however. I was going to back-date them, but I think that defeats the purpose of a proper journal (or blog, depending on your temporal reference) so I will not.
[[[ SPOILER ALERT ]]] Might as well get that out of the way now.
I'll start with a "rating" of sorts: I give this movie "4 out of 5 stars". It's a fun movie, with a lot of great special effects, with a decent storyline (not stellar).
Now, on with the nitpicking.
Number one: Superman has a son. This just drips with WRONG-NESS. I mean, there is no explanation, there is no discussion with how Lois Lane ever got pregnant. Those who know that this movie is an "almost sequel" to Superman II (and that Superman III and IV never happened now) will remember that Kal-El and Lois are intimate when he gives up his power to be human. Then, he regains his power to battle General Zod and company. So "obviously", this must be how she got pregnant. As well, the fact that he used "Krypton oogie boogie" to make her FORGET about Clark being Superman must ALSO be part of the equation. But, there is no mention of Lois' long term fiance not being the biological father, and frankly, I'm mystified why this was done. I think it was a DUMB move and took away from the movie and leaves open some horrible storylines if they choose to continue the new series-arc. At the very least, there should have been a brief moment with Lois and Superman discussing this and, perhaps, him restoring her memories (yes, even of the knowledge that he is also Clark Kent). THAT would have made it ALMOST PERFECT, but someone dropped the ball in a major way.
Now that that's done:
I'm glad to see they did not get Kal-El new or modified powers. I was unhappy, however, with the blatant regurgitated quotes and obvious mechanisms from the original Richard Donner Superman movies. Lex quoting things from the first two movies. Lex having a female counterpart who was literally a modernized version of Ms. Teschmacher (whiny about Supes getting hurt, fawning over Supes, treating Lex like he's her husband of 20 years, ad nauseum).
I thought the advertising and in-movie references to Superman as the equivelent of Jesus from the bible to be borderline sacrilege. So much so that I'd be willing to bet good Baptist preachers around the US will be telling people that this is now what their kids need to be seeing, equating a movie actor to Jesus, etc... (and for the most part, they'd be right).
I felt Lex's sojourn into the Fortress of Solitude was also poorly done. He truly acted as if, though he'd been there before, he had no useful knowledge of the fortress in general. This was probably a creative decision by Brian Singer for some stupid reason unknown to me.
Now, despite all my negativity, I did enjoy the movie! I though the new actor playing Superman did an above average job. I was a little disturbed by one part of his "Clark Kent" disguise -- his EYES. When you see the movie, watch his eyes when he's Clark and when he's Supes. His eyeballs get HUGE and almost come out of their sockets at some points!! It's actually comical.
The basic storyline was very good -- taking the original Lex's obsession with real estate to a new level.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I just had a hard time swallowing that they were taking so much creative license versus the original two movies that this is supposedly a "modernized sequel" to. It's certainly better than a Richard Pryor movie (*cough* Superman III *cough*)...
Go see it. It's a lot of fun, and I found nothing I would need to hide from even a little kid.
Things to look forward to: The beginning sequence of Kal-El's trip to where Krypton used to be (what drew him away from Earth in the first place, which in the MOVIE is reduced to a one-screen three-sentence quote).
Superman is back!!
My kids and I took my parents to see this production as an Anniversary/Father's Day gift. It was worth it!
Ignoring any religious concerns, I sat and took in the production openly. I had only seen pieces of the video production many years ago, so I was basically seeing this for the first time.
The visuals were good, though I found the excess framework onstage that allowed lighting personnel (in robes) to get above everyone very obtrusive. I'm quite positive it shouldn't have been necessary to have so much excess non-production-appropriate hardware all over the stage. This stood out like a sore thumb throughout the production.
Once I got past that and concentrated on the performances, though, I definitely enjoyed the show. The actual play itself had some odd pieces that were not clear (I believe that it assumed everyone know some basic facts about Jesus' life from the bible, instead of explaining things to those who would have no clue) but when taken in the context of "this would have been Jesus' life if he'd existed in the seventies", it rang true in many ways. I'm sure this production over the years has earned the scorn of most religious leaders. In truth, it seemed to me that this should have been titled "Judas Iscariot Betrays The Savior" given the fact that Judas appeared (to me) to be the true star of the show.
From a religious perspective, I thought the portrayal of Mary Magdalene was actually VERY good, especially once her song was performed. Being a "woman of the night", trying to show Jesus affection, and singing how she didn't know how to do it properly accentuated other facets of the show, such as the comradery of the Apostles with Jesus and each other, and the three "beings" who continually tempted/seduced Judas, as well as the other relationships you see during this nearly two hour play.
The sick and infirmed demanding Jesus' attention and other such side-pieces were very interesting interpretations of Biblical facts. Overall, the play was an enjoyable production. I'm sure that those who refuse to suspend ingrained religious beliefs would find the production, perhaps, intolerable. I took it as the work it was meant to be, and then evaluated it afterward based on my own upbringing and found it "good". I'm glad to have shared it with my kids.
See it in a matinee. It's funny. Even when the theater has to stop the film three times to fix it. (Port Orange Six = bad) But then again, free movie passes = good. :-)
I sit at my computer in my "pajamas" typing this after reviewing a remix of Hyperactive by Thomas Dolby that I acquired last night and ponder the day's events.
My oldest daughter will come home from work at 12:10pm and quickly change, so we can then pickup my parents at 12:30pm and travel to the News-Journal Center Theater in Daytona Beach and see Jesus Christ Superstar on stage (our subscription starts today for the summer session, and it just so happens that the dates I was able to work the tickets out for included this production on Father's Day - no relevance, it just happened that way).
We'll then go to an early dinner (I'm thinking Fazoli's right now for simplicity, but am not sure yet; my dad may have a "want" that we'll have to address).
Then we'll come back home so my oldest can go back to work.
Suddenly, three of my four children have jobs, which is absolutely, completely, totaly awesome for them and for me. My youngest is enjoying day camp at the Port Orange Parks and Recreation Department (where they go out a different event each day, such as DeLeon Springs, Islands Of Adventure and Skating - I envy him!). To be truthful, that's probably the biggest father's day gift I could receive today -- that the four kids are moving forward, socially and economically. I have two who are also going to be driving on their own pretty soon (one with permit who just needed her own money to show she could take care of the insurance and gas, and another who is just the opposite - she needs to get a permit and then her license). It's sobering to me that they are, indeed, becoming more independent, spending hours (nay, entire days) away from home with friends many days.. but it's jus a part of life.
I plan on taking two (if not all three) of the older children to get their own checking accounts VERY soon (I'm guessing I will be co-signing all of these based on information I have so far, which bugs me, but again, it's part of life) so they can start managing their money on their own (to date, there has been a checking account that their allowance was deposited to, and their paychecks as well, and they had access to a Visa/Debit card with "KIDS" permanent-markered on it, so they could access their money under my supervision). Now they'll be on their own with only my guidance and occasional scrutiny of how they're handling things. My only real concern is a minimum balance and learning to keep their check ledger up-to-date -- I'm sure I'll use an Excel file as I do for all such things personally now -- paper ledgers are so 80's. ;-)
It's truly an exciting and sobering time in my own life, watching the kids get more and more independent. I've already dealt with "co-ed sleep overs", the first boyfriend, the stupid-decision of jumping on someone's hood and then paying for it, the attitudes (ah, the ongoing battle) and had several (but not all of my) sex talks with them in various ways (in my typical, subersive way, many times hiding it behind a friendly chat about this or that). Some of them will read this and begin wondering what exactly I mean. (shrug) I hide very little from them, only the tiny shards of a personal life that I've had post-divorce are really hidden from them -- such personal adventures are limited to really one short event in California last year that rejuvenated me in some ways and kind of made me "distant" in others.
So Father's Day to me this year is a mixed bag. My parents have their tumultuous relationship per the norm (but stick to it to this very day, instead of giving up on it), my former wife is (I assume) enjoying life living with her latest boyfriend (at least it's post-marriage this time) and my kids are moving along in life towards that great adventure called independence. I continue to give thought towards some post-college, no-children avenues I may take. Nothing concrete yet. I'm totally open, and anything I plan could change in a heartbeat. I really do still "want" more children, though it's just "if my partner wanted them also" idea at this point. No big deal either way. I've got the Mighty Four, and they're awesome. I love kids. They make the joylessness of things I used to love doing, but now must do, much more bearable. I've even considered the growing numbers of young and teenaged kids that are pawns of the foster care system... who don't have a real home where they can rely on going every day. That saddens me greatly. A kid should have one home and one family to go to, even after they move on with life. I've been lucky enough to have that when it was needed. My kids will always have that through me.
And then there's grandkids. They could be here a lot sooner than later.
Anyway. Those are my thoughts on Father's Day this year. The important things to me, the "father". The "dad". The big mean ogre. The guy who takes all these pictures and authors DVDs for the band. The man who loves kids.
So, to all you fathers out there, Happy Father's Day. Do what YOU want to do today and enjoy.
If you happen to be a DHS 1986 Alumni, visit www.Duarte1986.net for information.
Being that I am a huge comic book collector since the age of 10, I have a lot of feelings for the treatment of characters I've watched for (oh lord..) 28 years now. I will say in a nutshell that this movie was EXCELLENT. Now for the details...
Jean Grey's return was a given (and all over the commercials on TV) so that is not a big deal. The "death" of Scott Summers and Charles Xavier were a bit of a surprise, that's a certainty. Furthermore, the Professor USING the catatonic body shown at the beginning of the movie to save himself was also a shock (anyone who has seen the movie and has no clue what I'm talking about - SHAME ON YOU for leaving before the credits were done - that'll teach you!!). This is an obvious setup for future movies, if needed (and it will, since this movie made $44 million on it's FIRST DAY, setting itself up to make new records, possibly even rivaling the top opening of SW3:ROTS). Funny, though, that they're ripping off a Doctor Doom trick from the classic John Byrne days of the Fantastic Four to "save Charles" (for reference, issues of the Fantastic Four where Dr. Doom is coercing Terrax to fight the FF and the Silver Surfer, and Dr. Doom is destroyed, but transfers his mind into a nearby body before perishing).
The Beast: I enjoyed him, once he was in action. I don't think they could have done much better than Kelsey Grammer. I was more impressed with him in action, though.
Wolverine: Well, they've certainly turned up the healing factor on him, eh? It's been shown in the two previous films working "very quickly", but to have him losing sections of his flesh and body and they grow back instantly as he's losing OTHER sections of his flesh and body was a bit much for me. Creative license went a bit too far in my book.
Magneto and Xavier: The de-aging performed on them for the "first meeting with Jean Grey" was impressive. Very subtle but very well done. Magneto, however, was COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER at the end after he lost his powers! "What have I done?" was just WRONG, especially when used in the context it was meant (not that he lost his powers, but that he had unleashed Phoenix). It was quite dumb.
Storm: Whoa! Kick some arse, Ororo!!
(lack of) Sentinels: The snippet they spread across the 'net and TV a couple weeks before the movie of an obvious confrontation with a Sentinel had me expecting some awesome 50' robot action! But alas, it was just a quick Danger Room segment (though it was a COOL segment). ;-)
Moira McTaggert: I would have preferred someone true to the character (Scottish sounding, not English sounding).
Morlocks (for lack of a better term): I admire the length they went to have so many mutants in the film (though in truth, it was more for cannon-fodder than anything). Either I missed it, or Callisto did not have a very big part in this.
IceMan and Pyro: GREAT fight, and even GREATER outcome for the finally iced-up IceMan!
Jean Grey/Phoenix: Interesting scaling-down of the Phoenix entity itself, yet at the same time... the fact that she "can do anything" in Magneto's words was interesting. (a) I assume she is not going to stay dead, and (b) that means any dead person or destroyed item is up for grabs for future movies. A Light Phoenix (or should I say Green?) from the classic X-Men days would be awesome (or, a cocoon at the bottom of the bay, found with Jean's real body, a la John Byrne's reinvention of Jean Grey when X-Factor was first introduced all those years ago in the comic books).
Mystique: I'm at a loss to think about why someone decided she would simply turn on Magneto. I know he dumped her after the "change", but this still seemed out of character. It was more likely that she would go off on a vendetta to get her powers back then backstab the Brotherhood, IMHO.
I'm probably missing a few things, but all in all, this was a GREAT movie. I will probably go see it again in a matinee (perhaps today).
I definitely recommend this movie to all.
I cannot support a site that is so overrun with with horrible grammar and 11-year-old speech patterns. It's a truly sad site (but caught me for a couple months with their Slashdot-ish article mechanism and occasional tidbit of "cool news").
Long live Slashdot!
The Spruce Creek High School band banquet went fairly well. The sound system, once again was a joke. Now, before anyone who was there ASSUMES I'm talking about a later incident, I'm referring to the fact that in the back half of the room, you could not understand what most people were saying at the podium. It was ridiculous! Speakers everywhere, and because of a combination of echoing and the fact that no one anticipated that people in the back MIGHT ACTUALLY TALK during the ENTIRE ceremony made for horrible acoustic (stupid freshmen, sheesh). My daughters and I had to restrain ourselves from REALLY hauling off and verbally beating the "kids" around us. Next year, NO SITTING with the abandoned freshmen! Good lord...
Now, the "later incident". I produced the Year-End DVD as well as the Senior Farewell DVD (order them now). I spent about 60+ hours on both, as I did every single step of the process (except recording the audio "will and testaments" which Shawn McKaig did -- unfortunately the recordings were ONLY on the LEFT CHANNEL and mostly too long, so I ended up doing a ton of alterations on them anyway, but I chalk that up to being "part of the job").
About 45 minutes or less of the 2.5 hour year-end DVD was played during dinner (which was expected, though I had hoped it would play with sound-turned-off the rest of the night; oh well). If the DVD sells well, I'm sure everyone will get to see the "whole thing" eventually.
But the "incident" in question was this: The staff at the Daytona 500 Club facility had the cables from the DVD player plugged incorrectly into their sound system!! Oh.. my.. word. I wanted to strangle someone when the Senior Farewell video started playing, while my 28 minute remix of "The Best Of Times" (yes, 28 minutes..) played LOUDLY with the speeches by Mr. McKaig! You could not understand him at all. I wanted to leave and never show my face again, but instead, marched into the control room, started poking around cables and controls (it was pretty simple - DVD player, DVD volume and master volume on the receiver; no equalizer, no nothing; really "advanced"). As I then stood at the door between control room and banquet hall and signalled for the 500 Club worker to do this-and-that, suddenly (several minutes later) the sound came out PERFECTLY. If I understood what he told me correctly (because at this point I was not going to go near the equipment for fear of uncontrollable destructive tendancies) the LEFT and RIGHT outputs from the DVD player were plugged into one INPUT (correct) and one OUTPUT (incorrect) on the sound system! WHAT THE HECK! Do they never USE the DVD player?? Do they REWIRE IT OCCASIONALLY?? (it was built into a standard networking rack mount, so I doubt this) ARE THEY REALLY THAT POORLY EDUCATED ON "output plugs into input"?!
So, the second half of the video actually had SPEECHES with light background music, instead of loud music and some words being muttered incoherently. I still wanted to just leave at that point, but RELIEF had taken over and made me semi-comfortable. Seeing a few teary eyes (which was the desired effect) in the audience at that point made it all worth while (hopefully everyone understood that it was NOT the video that was at fault, but the building were were in, and it's staff...).
So.. that is the recap of this year's band banquets at the Middle and High Schools.
Next up: I'm part of the band board now at the high school ("officially", as I've been the official photographer for a year know according to Andrew Kidd) as the Football Program person (which means I develop and prepare the literal "program", a large printed booklet of ads and pictures, which is sold at the SCHS football games). That means (oh yeah!) we can sit at reserved band board seating at the banquet next year! (how sad that this is what I'm now anticipating as a "perk"...). The noise from the FRESHMEN aside, it was still a good two evenings. I did not take anywhere near the number of pictures I would take at most events, but they are online as of today.
Extra note: THANK YOU Andrew Angelo and the rest of the officers for DEGUNKIFYING MY SON! Lord only knows he (and they all) needed it! Long live the Gunkies!!
This comes directly from Bungie's website today. There's also a video...
A funny quote: "We declare it the best kept secret ever."
I've begun work on the latest website I'm hosting - CreekBandAlumni.Org.
We watched, with great anticipation, the new full two-minute trailer to Superman Returns yesterday.. and I am very pleased with what I saw overall. I think as long as you can suspend disbelief ("Superman III and IV never happened... Superman III and IV never happened... there was no Richard Pryor...there was no Nuclear Clone Man... Superman III and IV never happened...") then you will enjoy this movie. It looks extremely nice (visually). I can't wait to see more of Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. The full trailer (not the short teaser that was out for a while) is here.
Also saw a clip from X-Men III, where Colossus and Wolverine do a fastball-special (sort of..) and Wolvie rips the head off of a Sentinel. I'm still mixed about this movie, since it's combining too many elements. I still would have preferred a fairly faithful retelling of the original Dark Phoenix saga circa John Byrne. Oh well.
I have orders coming in left and right for the Year End and Senior DVDs (as well as more for the Peach Bowl disc) I am producing for Spruce Creek High. Apparently people enjoy my work (and I'm cheap, so...). Order yours here by printing the order form.
Tonight, we shop: Clothes. I.. can't seem to get excited about that, but it's a necessity.
Pepsi and Coke apparently are voluntarily PULLING OUT of public and private schools. So now, kids will have to choose a drink that's NOT purely tooth rotting. Imagine that.
How sad it is that the soda vendors themselves did this, and not our government or our school systems ("because they needed the revenues") (sic).
1.36 petabytes anyone? Sheesh!
I've collected comic books since around 1979. I freely admit that because it's not only cool, it's a major investment for either me, or one day my children. I loved to draw in my spare time -- I never really thought I was that good. At one point, a friend and I toyed with making a comic company (never anything serious) which was called "R&M Comics" (Rigali and Malena, our italian/sicilian last names), a few pieces of the artwork from which has survived (you can see a few pieces of it if you are a member of RoosterTeeth.Com -- look for AMMalena there -- or by visiting my website).
In any case, with the creation of the Peach Bowl DVD that many of the band students purchased (which was basically an archive of all their adventures in Georgia last December, set to music), I got the itch back.
Now, after having been dubbed the band's official photographer, having been nominated to the board as the Football Program handler (i.e., I get to create the advertising program that is passed out at football games next year), I am now making two more DVDs -- the Year-End DVD (covering the different bands' and color guard's events over the school year) as well as the Senior Farewall DVD (which based on the current product, I think may actually pull a tear or two out of some graduates).
I'm totally into this.. like, massively, insanely, absolutely loving it. It gives my mind something to do instead of wasting time doing NOTHING productive on the computer, and allows me to exercise my creative muscles quite a bit. If I had a partner in life at the moment, I'd have already bought a digital video camera so that the two of us could be recording events from two angles (alas, that will not happen any time soon, I believe). So currently, I do all capturing (both video and still with my 8MP Sony DSC-F828 camera w/6GB of storage). Who knows. This could even be the beginning of an eventual career change. (?)
The one thing that's been a thorn so far: remixing music -- or more specifically, having to remix the same song now four times due to changes in the Senior Video. What a pain... but the end result is still awesome. :-)
It was barely worth it. All the reviews are true. It's a truly malformed story, where Sharon Stone (who I now call Madonna of the Movies - I never realized how raunchy she was) actually makes her role in the first movie look like a PG rated endeavor. If I had to hear here refer to a certain sexual function ONE more time, I think I would have screamed right there in the theater, embarassing myself in front of the other three movie-goers that were there.
What a waste of money it was. An expected "surprise reversal of events" at the very end was not enough to make this thing truly worth going to, in my opinion.
People who are in the same room, sending emails to each other, and occasionally replying verbally with very vague comments, making those around them wonder who or what they're talking about. It's very rude.
I've caught myself doing this on rare occasions, and am making a stand to not do it anymore so I can continue to be a good example to my employees and co-workers.
The kids are all in bed (the night did not end well between us). I am trying to get pictures scanned for a year-end DVD (for the graduating seniors at Spruce Creek High School) that I'm authoring, and am having a hard time getting motivated to get the tedious part done (the scanning). Work seems to be very slowly getting less and less attractive for various reasons (not even the ones that most I work with would think). I bought a router to replace the faulty old one... and I hate it. Three completely different females in, and not in, my life, are all driving me insane (and I'm quite sure they do not know it). And I. Am frankly. Depressed.
I started, then the next day deleted, a separate journal from this one "elsewhere" on the web recently. The purpose, I told myself, was to have an anonymous outlet for myself. As honest as I am here, I can't fool myself into thinking I'm being 100% honest. My kids read this. Certain co-workers read this. Women-of-note are (I assume) occasionally reading this. I sometimes really hate having been raised with "Baptist sensibilities" and the bizarre fill of self-imposed limitations that I currently "enjoy". I could really take a lesson from some of those closest to me (but apparently I refuse to).
This entry is obviously both POINTLESS and SCATTERBRAINED. I should delete it, but then it would defeat the purpose of TRYING to be open and honest.
I sometimes want to SPOIL my children.
Other times, I would like to FIND A NEW JOB.
These are incompatible.
I sometimes wish my wife were still around.
Other times, I wish that Bright Eyes would get a clue.
Both of these stem from "adult loneliness".
I sometimes think that I would rather just disappear from existence.
Other times, I feel the need to plan seventeen events for the family.
This is just another in a 38-year series of events showing that I am a man of extremes, who finds it hard to find a middle ground on much of anything.
I consider myself to be an anomaly in many ways, mainly due to my computer-geek status. I started with computers at the age of 9 (now 38) and even now, I find that all of these "computer literate children" we're raising really aren't as literate as I imagined they would be 20-30 years later. They are able to use a computer much more than my own counterparts back in junior high and high school did, but there are still not that many who above a "computer user" level as far as I can see. The ratio of geeks-to-normals did not seem to change in the last 30 years by very much.
Now, I have watched my kids progress "online" and create their internet "identities" (as much as they change on a weekly basis, that is) and I'm really concerned, for the first time ever, about how much information people put online about themselves. In fact, I'm convinced that there are quite a few predators who are scouring the Profiles of teen and pre-teen users of such services as ICQ, AIM/AOL, MySpace, MSN, Xanga, and many others... keeping a database of information they put together about these kids, so they can use it for their own personal (probably perverted) reasons.
As an example, I will use a very close relative of mine.
Based on the "Online Surveys" that this relative takes and posts into her profile on MySpace, you would literally be able to take her identity, get any and all records about her from any institution (posing as one of her parents if needed), and even stalk her despite the fact that you may come from somewhere two thousands miles away. Compiling information about various users of these social-networking engines is quite easy, and some of the info even comes from their friends profiles! Once again, since I am an anomaly, I happen to know these things, am able to watch these things, and even do some things to help (though not much, short of getting this relative offline) because of the type of person I am ... someone who looks at computers from the view of a programmer, technician, network administrator, power-user and, of course, parent.
There are times I envy the "normal person", who can use their computer and be amazed at the wonderful things it does (instead of constantly dissecting the mechanisms that make them work), but when it comes down to it, I'm very thankful that I have a step up on the vast majority of the population. But.. I fear for those of you who are the "normal people". You have no clue, or think "I make them do this or that to be safe". You aren't safe. Neither are your kids (or mine, for that matter).
When a teenager answers and posts an online survey that tells personal information, then another, and another... before you know it, you have five to twenty surveys, over a course of hours, days or possibly weeks, which literally define your child. Pictures, personal information, geographic references, mannerisms, where they go during the week, what they like to do, what attracts them... it's all there. And most of these kids are like you or your kids. They're "normal people".
And out there, they run into the deviants who may have the skills to track, find, rape, kill or otherwise destroy the lives of these "normal kids".
For this reason, I still think a "license" (just like your driver's license) should be required to use the Internet. Freedom of access is one thing; taking responsibility for your actions online is another. IP spoofing and blocking should not be allowed. You should pass a basic skills test before using the internet. There should be a centralized database (just like DNS) where your license information is kept and a federal-level government entity would maintain the entries in your country of citizenship. That entity would be part of the worldwide Internet Policing entity, and would be allowed access to your records.
This is a very unpopular stance to take (especially in my circle of peers) but I don't know of a better way. If the internet is to remain 100% free and clear, then I should be given the same open and free capability to seek revenge on any person who causes harm to any member of my family if they used any information from the internet to do so. That seems only fair... (sounds a lot like the 'old west', eh?) It seems logical that this will never happen, so I think Internet Licensing should begin as quickly as possible. And, if a country does not setup their local agency to pe part of the Worldwide Internet Police (WIP), then they should be removed from the network as a whole. If that means there is an open, unrestricted Internet where you take responsibility for yourself (and your kids), and a secure, policed Internet where companies, parents and individuals are held responsible for their actions, great!
After spending over two hours trying to figure out why the router was apparently not taking the new firmware properly, and/or not doing what I was telling it to do (route webcam traffic to THIS machine, route web and ftp traffic to THAT server, block websites with THESE keywords in their domain name, etc), I finally got things where they appeared to be working "enough" to make those websites I host "happy".
Unfortunately, my webcam, of all things, would not work "outside of my own computer" (no one could view it remotely). I checked (many MANY times) the settings on the router, and they were (and are) correct. It would not work (still won't to this very moment) but it's very low priority.
Then during the testing of the webcam, I found that my kids four computers were not able to access ANYTHING via the network (not even the server). On a normal day, knowing that they are all on one hub (I'm cheap in that regards, but they'll never know that the hub is the slowest part of our house's network.. oh wait, they read this..) that the problem would likely be wiring related. But given that the ROUTER had just been reconfigured and fixed, my mindset was "okay, there is something software-based that is wrong..." and so, for three days, I thought about it, tried a few things, never ever looking at the top right corner LED which was dark.. the one that links that hub to the main switch. Apparently the cable I buried underground to the garage, shielded in a plastic tube, is bad (I verified the cables on both sides of that equation are fine). Really dumb, since the symptoms were pretty clear -- all computers off of THAT HUB were not seeing anything!
(sigh) Anyway, it was nice to get that done. But, how often do you have:
- a router
- a physical cable
- and a webcam
The conspiracy theorist in me thinks the following:
The cable went bad. That cable leads to the router/switch, so...
The router got scrambled brains from the bad cable (crossed wires, etc), but...
The webcam is still a mystery. I can access it locally from the host computer (http://localhost:8080) but if I try to visit it from any other computer (using the proper domain reference or even the local IP from another local computer) it times out. I'd swear there is a firewall blocking the port to my webcam (but there is not; not Windows Firewall, not Norton..). It's frustrating, but nice to have all working (EXCEPT the webcam).
It was not heavy with the comic-book-ish traits you might be used to in most comic-adaptations. It offered a lot of background story (which made the movie feel much longer than 130 minutes) but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will probably take my kids to go see it. Natalie Portman played her part well in this alternate-reality, England-meets-1984 fantasy. I recommend it.
Then there was the flood. That's a story for another time. In sadder news... our cat Boomer seems to have disappeared in the final 2 hours of the barbecue.
SPRUCE CREEK STRING ORCHESTRA
Judge 1 = SUPERIOR
Judge 2 = SUPERIOR
Judge 3 = SUPERIOR
Sight-Reading Judge = SUPERIOR
SPRUCE CREEK SYMPHONIC BAND
Judge 1 = SUPERIOR
Judge 2 = SUPERIOR
Judge 3 = SUPERIOR
Sight-reading Judge = SUPERIOR
SPRUCE CREEK CONCERT BAND
Judge 1 = SUPERIOR
Judge 2 = EXCELLENT
Judge 3 = EXCELLENT
Sight-reading Judge = SUPERIOR
I can personally attest to the fact that the Symphonic Band's sight reading skills made me green with envy. I was never that good at sight reading (I don't think?!). Incredible.
I may or may not post it online; I'm not sure yet. It "might offend" one particular person... but then again, it's my poem, so likely I will do so.
My younger daughter got me an AWESOME DVD, too -- the 1968 release of The Producers -- which I plan on watching this week. ;-) Gnarly.
The boys are both going to Nana and Papa's house now to spend some time with them... something about a fence... so now it's just me and the girls. I was going to go to MegaCon in Orlando, but today's events did not interest me as much as yesterday's would have, so "oh well".
The following events are in no particular order (either by date or importance).
I've been remodeling Malena.Net with formalized stylesheets (partly because I wanted to, partly for the practice in using Stylesheets). Let me know what you think. This also includes some new content, other content also being migrated to the new layout (especially the new ABOUT US page).
The kids and I went to see "Much Ado About Nothing", performed in classic Shakespearean format (with dialogue only slightly modernized). This was a treat! The actors, performing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University did an excellent job, and drew the audience into the play constantly. I'm very glad to have been able to experience this.
Friday afternoon, at the company I work for where I serve as the Data Processing Manager, two members of my department were let go suddenly and without warning. I also now answer to my "latest manager" (I've been there for 8.5 years, so it's just another in the string for me). The latest scheme is to encapsulate the DP, Panel and Tables departments into one umbrella, to help better serve clients, which (the plan) can only be a good thing but (the execution) we'll see. I've seen a lot of ideas come and go, and I've presented mine through the "proper channels" over the years, but apparently my ideas are only good enough for "within my department" at this time. I remain cautiously optimistic that this will settle and we'll adjust to the now smaller staff.
I have continued to speak with Jessica in California via IM, email and occasional phone calls since our July 2005 trip. There isn't much to say other than we're friends. I wish for more (and I think she does, too) but I never fooled myself into having a long-distance relationship after my escapades with her last year (then returning home, 2700 miles away). (sigh) There is one other who I care for very deeply, who is not appropriate for me since she is married (despite the fact that she is married to the male-version of my ex-wife). I don't date barely at all (actual dates attended can be counted on one hand, and they've all been with Jessica 2.7k miles away in a 10 day period). That's probably pretty obvious to those who are not "dating inhibited" like myself. Either way, I keep my priorities in line... that means, raising my children first. If it just so happens that I can fit in a relationship without disrupting that, I certainly look forward to it.
My tax return turned out insanely good for me this year (I tried to work out a deal with the below-mentioned ex-wife, where we both would have ended up with more money in each of our pockets, but that did not pan out for really stupid reasons) I decided, after talking with the Mighty Four, to buy a barbecue grill -- a really big barbecue grill -- so that we can have more cookouts over the summer. I have a verbal "guarantee of use" from them by way of having friends over to the house (especially during the summer), so I think it is a good investment (and is nowhere near as expensive as it would be if I were not getting it at Sam's Club).
I decided to take a look at my ex-wife's MySpace today, and noted her latest "falling in love" entry (the last time I looked, which was on another service I believe, there were near-identical entries about various other men she's dated during and after our marriage). Hopefully she may settle down and live life with one man and be faithful to that man. She deserves happiness, no less than any other person. She and I are not what I'd call "friends", unfortunately. I like to believe it's all her fault, but I know better -- it's a two-sided coin of which I'm one side of. If she reads this, she'll probably be upset with my verbage, but I tire of walking on eggshells in that last part of my former life, so I'm just calling it like I see it. Sometimes she needs a healthy dose of reality.
My parents refinanced their house and have been using the money to make home improvements (I think that's what the boys went to go work on today, possibly?). That's cool.
The kids and I want to go to Japan as our all-out-family-trip before they start post-high-school endeavors (college, armed forces, work, etc). I have done almost no leg-work on this other than money that is being set aside for this purpose, so I need to get started.
I have another DVD to produce for the Spruce Creek High School Band year-end event. After becoming the "official photographer" (in the words of the band director, Mr. Kidd) and then producing a DVD of the band's Peach Bowl trip in 2005, I've begun work (barely, so far) on the end-of-year DVD. If memory serves, it will be played at the banquet in May as well as being sold to those who want a copy.
I am now both the host and webmaster for the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Port Orange, Florida. That's nifty, and is loosely associated with the kids' high school band program as well.
I think that's about it for now. *whew!* Till next time...
- Anthony -
Greetings from the creator of ROM the spaceknight. FYI ROM will be ressurected soon. Note that the official website ROMthespaceknight.com will also launch in about a month.
This is certainly interesting news. Since I host and own the site "romspaceknight.com", and am an avid fan of the comic (not really the toy, since it was a flop) I'm VERY cautious about this. Assuming it is true, I am weary to think what "they" are going to do to a well-written history of a great Character and Supporting Cast (in truth, I think it's safe to assume they are going to start fresh, since their current site (stonefoundationentertainment.com) makes it sound like Marvel has been removed from the equation, and Marvel owns the rights to most of the "true ROM myth" - the character itself was the only thing owned by Parker Brothers, now Hasbro. The troubling part is, their site claims something that is not accurate:
- Rights re-acquired from Parker and Marvel. Discussions in progress for the return of ROM.
Marvel has had no say in the status of ROM for many MANY years now. Referencing Parker Brothers is also odd, since it's actually Hasbro that would be dealt with in this matter.
The domain in question that has hosted very VERY vague information about ROM for a while now is administered by a "Brian McCoy", so we'll see what happens. The above mentioned domain for the "new ROM" is administered by a "Brian Harris". In any case, this is certainly interesting news. I'm just not very comfortable with the prospect of someone who developed a flopped-toy developing a comic book from the toy they made over 25 years ago. I'd like to have a positive perspective on this, but I'm definitely in a "wait and see" pattern right now.
More interesting is the fact that they are referencing Parker Brothers instead of Hasbro. Add to that the fact that I personally attempted twice to obtain the rights to ROM to further his history myself, and my most recent attempt (in 2005) yielded this official response from Hasbro directly:
- Hi Anthony,
Thank you for your email. We appreciate your interest in our company.
We regret to advise that Hasbro, Inc. is not selling rights to any games or products, which are active or inactive.
If you have specific questions regarding this product, please provide them and we will try to have them answered. Please keep in mind that this product has been discontinued for quite some time and the information may not be available.
We appreciate your understanding.
Obviously things can change over time, but again... I remain... "hopeful" but cautious.
Now, they are performing at the brand new News-Journal Center on Beach Street.
Let's just hope they work out the technical glitches before my summer subscription kicks in for five more plays, because we saw BATB on the second night it opened at the new NJ-Center, and it was... so-so.
Curtains catching on each other, fireworks going off and smoke billowing around the upper atmosphere for 20 minutes, air conditioning that turned on and off sporadically during the performance, and worst of all, the music-to-singing volume ratio was horribly out of balance. At first, I thought my own hearing was to blame, but then I noted two different couples within seats of my position commenting on that very problem during the intermission! The orchestra drowned out the verbal portion of the play at every turn. One slightly laughable situation (which the actor, James Haase playing Gaston, handled quite well) was when Gaston's armband got caught on Le Fou's (played by Mark Catlett) shirt button after Gaston lifted him up and then brought him down. James very quickly tried to get the armband removed from his partner's shirt, then immediately gave up and slid his arm OUT of the trapped costume piece... the result being that Le Fou sang for the next two minutes with an armband hanging from his chest (which eventually fell off and disappeared during the next scene via a set change).
We "enjoyed" the play, but in truth, it was very troubled -- and I'm sure they'll work these things out. Well, I hope they work these things out.
This movie was about on par with the first. There was more "background story" (or should I say, a more convenient background story) told, and better effects. It balanced out in the end. There was a lot more "flesh" than I would have dreamed (based on the first one), which was a little unnerving with my sons there to see it with me, but life goes on. It had some Blade-esque moments (especially the ending outcome) but that was fine. Speaking of fine... Kate Beckinsale. Wow. :-)
This movie was a very dazzling special effects effort, with the daylight-based CGI and near-flawless integration of live and computerized characters (plus characters which were half-each).
It's definitely a kids' story, but was worth seeing at full movie price, in my book. I liked it better than King Kong, that's for sure.
I speak, of course, of the Straight White Average Man (or SWAM, for short). (1/24/06 - updated this since I had the words as "SAWM" instead - Tony=dumb)
With so many special programs made for every other specialty group (sexuality-based, race- and ethnicity-based, gender-based and more), why am *I* being overlooked? Perhaps I need to design a "Masculinist" website.. or better yet, the official "SWAM" site! (rofl)
(before anyone gets into a tizzy, I am making light of the fact that there are so many programs aimed at so many specifically-targeted groups in the United States, it makes the average white Joe like me feel... inconsequential, sometimes -- effectively making us a minority in our own sense) (I am not a racist, or similarly derogatory group-name for the others mentioned herein, by ANY stretch of the imagination)
On a good day, I have three of them "happy". On a bad day.. well..
I've decided to set my foot down about the whole "social netorking" scene. For those not well versed in such matters, that means I will be restricting (perhaps blocking, long term) access to such sites as MySpace and LiveJournal (and a variety of others which they may know about already).
Back when I found it necessary to track a former family member's movements on the home computers, it was very enlightening (and eventually brought about the end of a very long, very poorly ended relationship). Now, I find myself setting up plans to do the same thing with my children. I've teetered back and forth on this issue for what seems like years, and I've finally decided that part of parenting is not just trusting and allowing kids space, but also CHECKING UP on them and HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE (or educating them, depending on the circumstance).
I'm a computer geek, born and raised and lived these 37 years. I'm one of (I consider) very few who truly understand the workings of what's currently known as "the Internet", and I find every single day that my kids really have VERY little clue about things. They're wise (to a degree) and have a great deal of intelligence, but they have very little EXPERIENCE (something life brings). Even in day-to-day life it surprises me what I assume my kids' know, only to find out they have no clue (from simple things like what certain words mean, to the complexities of a relationship where there is a love for someone that a person should never be near ever again). I try to be the thoughtful father and educate them on the things that will get them through life, but being alone and taking care of all four of them gets to be overwhelming. They only see a dad who is grumpy a lot of the time, who seems to fly off the handle about the "small things", and who they solely rely upon for their well-being.
A friend of mine says I just need to "get laid". Another says I need to stay busy... and to both, I agree to some extent. However, I am not partial to casual sex, or even encounters with someone other than a lifelong partner. I stay busy as much as I can, though most of it is high-school related (i.e., involves my children) so the things I keep busy with keep my in close proximity to the kids constantly. I don't know how to alleviate this. I'd love to wake up next to a special woman in the morning; I'd like to get back into some of my old hobbies more seriously; I'd love to see my kids BUSY with things, but they, too, find themselves stuck "with me" most of the time.
My oldest daughter should be driving errands for the family by now, but is not. Why? From my perspective, she doesn't want to earn money, therefore earning the right to drive. From hers, she probably thinks at various times of the week that I either hate her or that I don't care to see her drive.
My second daughter should be doing a lot more with her ambitions and drive, but is not. Why? I fear it is family issues pulling her down, plus a sweet-n-sour relationship with her sister, who I know she happens to love very much (but her sister is very hard to show love to sometimes).
My boys both should be ten times more active than they are. Why aren't they? I am constantly battling them over the "small things" such as how to complete a task (chore or otherwise), and to be responsible for things that are under their care (animals, property, etc). So, I end up giving them grief, restricting their freetime, taking away privilidges, and generally making their life post-divorce that much more unpleasant.
And me? I just exist most of the time. My job is a good diversion (and keeps me valuable there), but outside my job, I only really have high-school related activities. I keep telling myself that's more than enough to keep me busy, but then when I have to deal with diverse parents of other children, a few of which I *really* can't appreciate much, it becomes hard.. and my pre-marriage, quiet, seemingly aloof self comes out. I frequently have daydreams of stepping up and giving a few "adults" a piece or seven of my mind, especially in regards to the ongoing "demand for respect" they have from the high-school students while they have ABSOLUTELY NO RESPECT for the students themselves (this is an assanine concept). Since doing this would make my children's lives miserable within the Music program and at High School in general, I don't do it. I try to educate my kids about people who demand respect and give none -- as if they are God's gift to whatever they are participating in and that "we" are lucky to have "them" around. What a crock. I sometimes think that having self-esteem is a BAD idea, depending on who you are.
Frankly, none of this really matters, because it will be read by my kids, it will be read by two or three friends, and possibly a member of the aforementioned "adult group", and no one will care.
So the hell with all of it.
Now that TWO of my children have iPods, I find it VERY frustrating that they do not support Firewire on a Windows machine. That's just.. . I just wasted $18 on a returned Firewire PCI card for Amanda's computer so she could use Firewire instead of USB via a hub. (sigh) What is that.. a "perk" reserved for the tiny masses that use Macintosh still?? *phbtbtbtbt*
(if anyone knows a hack that allows use of Firewire for file transfers via Windows onto an iPod, let me know)
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These awards included:
- Grand Champion - Jazz Band Competition
- 1st Place (Gold) - Twelve O'Clock Jazz Band
- 1st Place (Gold) - Eleven O'Clock Jazz Band
- 1st Place (Gold) - Color Guard
- 2nd Place (Gold) - Symphonic Band
- 2nd Place (Gold) - Concert Band
- 2nd Place (Gold) - Parade Competition
Gold is applied to awards with extremely high levels of distinction.