November 14th, 2004

Friends long absent are coming back to you.

The Polar Express

November 14th, 2004

From the first preview I saw for The Polar Express I have been on the fence over whether or not I wanted to see it. Regardless of what I had decided, I saw it today.

There is not much to report about this movie. That is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, I feel. The message of the movie was very good. It was an important one: belief in the Christmas spirit is what counts most. And that belief can be expanded beyond the holidays. The main character, a young boy, is a subscriber to the "seeing is believing" philosophy. His voyage on the Polar Express is to attempt to show him that sometimes you do not need to see to believe.

So there is the message. I do not feel as though I am divulging confidential material reserved for the few who've seen the movie.

What I did not like is that I felt as though there was too much built into the story to kill time. I like the idea behind the movie, I like the message they were trying to get across, I just think they used too much filler to get from start to finish.

I enjoy Christmas movies. It's always nice to see one to get you first into the holiday spirit. I am now into the holiday spirit thanks to The Polar Express. It is a good movie. I recommend you check it out.

The Barbarian Invasions

November 13th, 2004

Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001XAPWE/petespage01

The Barbarian InvasionsAcademy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, The Barbarian Invasions is a provocative look at the many ties that bind a group of friends and lovers! It's not easy for a narrow-minded professor to reconcile with his equally stubborn son. But soon, father and son find themselves gathering with their wide and colorful circle of family and friends to confront their differences, confess their secrets and celebrate life! Winner of the Best Actress and Best Screenplay awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, this outstanding motion pictures has been hailed by critics everywhere as one of the year's best!

Since hearing about this film even prior to the Academy Awards, I have greatly anticipated seeing it. To no one's fault but my own, I let an incredible amount of time lapse before I finally got around to see The Barbarian Invasions.

Let me begin by telling you that whatever expectations you have going into this movie re: plot will be misleading. This is a very unique plot line that mixes a variety of stories with which we are familiar. The movie I would most equate it to is The Big Chill, though it didn't have nearly as good of a soundtrack.

This movie is truly an invasion on the comfort we take in blissful ignorance to many harsh realities of life with which we rarely come in contact. That complicated sentence could be explained in the following way: There are many tragedies in life that we do not deal with on a day to day basis. The Barbarian Invasions tells us not to forget that these situations arise.

An incredibly moving film that tugs hard at the strings we've hung in our hearts for family and friends. I challenge you to not take a moment and think of how lucky you are to have whomever is close in your life.

This was not the movie I had expected. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Regardless, The Barbarian Invasions was a very good movie. I gladly recommend it.

Buy The Barbarian Invasions $23.99
Buy The Big Chill $7.99
Buy The Big Chill Soundtrack $13.98

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Kyle.

November 12th, 2004

Kyle @ Stonehenge

Whereabouts of Kyle were unknown until moments ago. Last seen bolting from his grandmother's house in Dallas, Texas, Kyle has apparently been spotted at England's marvel, Stonehenge.

Reports show this international lady killer thought it was a good idea yesterday to refer to himself as someone's "manfriend" in conversation to his "uber-religous" grandmother.

Sources close to the action remember feeling great apprehension towards supporting Kyle in his choice of wording to grandmother.

Kyle thought the comment would hit for sure. Turns out he was incorrect and is on his own with this one. Good luck buddy. Maybe you should stick to volunteering at churches for linen cleaning services.

Grandmother could not be reached for comment.

NFL Week 9.

November 12th, 2004

Ok, so it's been an interesting week. I may or may not have forgotten to get this post in this week, but regardless here it is.

To be honest I would have never forgotten to write this up had there been more exciting football this past weekend. What does that say when all professional football begins to bore you?

Bills winning games. Chiefs losing games. This season is still yet to right itself. There is something terribly wrong with the league.

One thing that is right with the world is the giant killers in Pittsburgh. Here is a worthless stat: I believe the Steelers are the only team in the history of the NFL to beat two undefeated opponents consecutively. They are probably the only team in history to ever PLAY two undefeated teams consecutively. But that is not meant to detract from the fact that this team gets it done. Give Roethlisberger his due, but he's not the star of this team. They are a well oiled machine that simply outperforms teams week after week. Do I think they have the staying power to make it to the bowl? I will be so bold to say that they do. Is my prediction that we will see the Pittsburgh Steelers represent the AFC in the Super Bowl? No, but that is not to say they are some incredibly overrated team that has no business being there. That make any sense?

There were big games from Jake "the snake" Plummer and Shaun Alexander who each lifted their teams to big wins in week 9.

Bigger numbers from Daunte Culpepper (we see a pattern developing here?) could have spelled 'W' for the Vikes. Though this was the first Monday Night game with some excitement to it. It did come down to a Vanderjagt field goal, though overtime could have spelled victory for me in my fantasy league.

Look out sports world, get ready for that team from San Diego to charge onto the scene. This team is quietly dominating teams on their schedule this season. It may appear that Drew Brees has hit his stride as leader of this ball club. Couple him with the most proficient back in the league over the past few seasons. This could equate to some excitement in San Diego.

Thanks for showing up to the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

Arby's

November 11th, 2004

Arby'sSo the perk of being unable to drive due to the "suspicious" looking ankle that I have is that my dad brings me lunch. So yesterday he brought me Arby's. 5 Regular Roast Beef sandwiches for $5.95. Today he calls and says, "You want Arby's again today?" Now who in their right mind would turn down an offer like that? For those of you playing at home, the correct answer is: No one.

5 for $5.95. What a glorious deal. Does it get any better than that? Well...besides 5 Beef and Cheddars for $5?

Maybe I should get hurt more often if it means there is a huge influx of Arby's sandwiches.

Shame this Arby's does not have the help yourself bowl of mints!

Ouch

November 10th, 2004

I went to the gym after work yesterday to play basketball. That is nothing new. I hurt myself playing basketball yesterday afternoon. That, also, is nothing new. "Why," you ask, "would anyone hurt them self playing basketball?" Well, I have to admit I was a bit curious. I decided to conduct a case study as to just how perpendicular to the floor I could get my foot. It was a pretty basic experiment. All I needed was one loose ball as it bounced off the rim and one misplaced foot from another player. The difficult measure was timing. I had to chase the ball at the precise moment so as to land on the other guy's foot at the right spot to allow for maximum rolling of the ankle. I learned a few very valuable pieces of information in this process.

1. My foot, when placed properly, is capable of the 90 degree angles to be exactly perpendicular to the ground.
2. When my foot hits that point of perpendicularity I feel a small pop above my ankle.
3. Ouch.

Through many previous encounters with doctors, my faith in the medical profession is somewhat in the red. Last night however, I did some soul searching. I thought about all of those pay checks I have opened and the dirty looks I shoot at the check where it shows my insurance deduction. If I pay for it, why not use it? Right? I'm learning.

So the woman who admitted me to the emergency room last night took off my shoe to see what was wrong. I having been around my fair share of ankle injuries in my day knew better than to take the shoe off prior to proper care. She takes one look at my ankle and she said that it certainly looked "suspicious." Great word, don't get me wrong. I just don't think suspicious is a word I want used to describe my injury, especially by a member of the hospital staff.

Signs were posted all over the x-ray receiving room that told me that I should tell the technician if there was a potential health risk by having the x-rays. So I did as the signs told and said to the technician as he wheeled me down the hall to the machine, "I should tell you, I may be pregnant."
"That is fine, I'll just prepare the 20 forms for you to sign."
"It might almost be worth it just to see the face of whomever will process the paperwork."
He got a kick out of that. So did I. Hospitals are such downers. Those people need to laugh more.

So I had my picture taken and he told me that it would be a few minutes while he developed the film. He came back to me a short time later to take me across the hall and I had the realization that the solution in which he developed my x-rays smells surprisingly similar to cigarette smoke. I never would have guessed that.

Consider now that I am sitting on a hospital bed waiting to see a doctor. While there I sit quietly reading my book, the doctor is at the next bed stitching up an elderly woman's head. She apparently requires a hearing aid and must have been rushed out of the house without it on her way to get the blood gushing out of her forehead cleaned up. So this doctor is yelling everything to her. I was fine with this. He isn't bothering me I thought. Then he tells her that he is going to give her a shot to numb her head so he can make with the stitches. Post shot he yelled to her that he was glad she wasn't in any pain as he tried real hard to get the nerve in her head with the needle. I'm glad she had no pain, I just wish I was less grossed out by the whole conversation I had no choice but to listen to. Sorry, I digress.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, cue the doctor...

"There are varying degrees of ankle sprains. First, second and third degree sprains are for differing severity; third being the worst.
"From the swelling we can see that you have a third degree ankle sprain."
Dramatic pause. My doctor must be an aspiring actor. Oh yes, there's more.
"You didn't break [the ankle], per se."
(Imagine the look of shock on my face at being the first person to kind of break a bone...though not really break the bone...and all of this just a short time after speculation that I may have been pregnant.)
"There is a sizeable piece that chipped off the bone, though it did not do so without help. There are three ligaments that run over the ankle bone. One of your ligaments pulled away from the bone and took with it that chip."
(This would explain the lovely pop I felt in my ankle at the point of injury.)
"We can also see a chip on the inside of your ankle beneath the bone that may or may not have occurred during this same injury. We have no way of knowing that."

He then advised me to see an Orthopedist in case further care was necessary. I am in a "half cast" for what should only be a few days then I'll have an air cast for 6 weeks or so.

Now, the short version for those of you who are attention deprived:
I went to play ball. I rolled my ankle. It hurts enough for me to go to the hospital. Doctor said I have a third degree ankle sprain and there is kinda sorta some ligament damage as well as a bone chip. I'm on crutches, though only for a short time. At least that is what they told me.

November 9th, 2004

You will be free of the heavy burdens you have been carrying.

Team America: World Police.

November 8th, 2004

Team America: World PoliceThe next big screen installment from Matt Stone and Trey Parker (those who bring you South Park) is Team America: World Police. This movie, acted entirely by marionette puppets, satires the current political system in the United States and offers somewhat of a perspective on how we are viewed by the rest of the world.

If you are going to see this movie, and I recommend that you do, please please please understand that it is all in fun. This is a comedy. These are jokes. Do not get offended. Also, understand that if you are going to take your child(ren) to this movie, be sure you check with your wife. There was a man, woman, and little girl (probably around 14) who got up and left the theater some 30 minutes into the movie.

That out of the way, this movie was hilarious. I do not want to ruin anything for those of you who have not seen the movie yet or take my site above a PG rating, so I'll not go into any great depth. I will however tell you that the plot is weak, the "action" is terrible and the writing was absolute comedy gold. I was not expecting to see the next Pianist, so I was not offended by the explicit language/actions in the movie.

I laughed. I laughed a lot. You will laugh, too.

Pop Goes the Weasel - James Patterson

November 7th, 2004

Pop Goes the Weasel - James PattersonDETECTIVE ALEX CROSS is back--and he's in love. But his happiness is threatened by a series of chilling murders in Washington, D.C., murders with a pattern so twisted, it leaves investigators reeling. Cross's ingenious pursuit of the killer produces a suspect--a British diplomat named Geoffrey Shafer. But proving that Shafer is the murderer becomes a potentially deadly task. As the diplomat engages in a brilliant series of surprising countermoves, in and out of the courtroom, Alex and his fiancee become hopelessly entangled with the most memorable nemesis Alex Cross has ever faced.

Pop Goes the Weasel reveals James Patterson at the peak of his power, with his most dynamic and powerful psychological thriller to date. Here is a chilling villain no reader will forget, a love story of great tenderness, and a plot of relentless suspense and heart-pounding pace. To read Pop Goes the Weasel is to discover why James Patterson is one of the greatest suspense writers of our time.

Pop Goes the Weasel is another reason why James Patterson is one of my absolute favorite authors. He does not disappoint. I have enjoyed every book of his that I have read, and I gravitate towards the Alex Cross novels first. I am through 5 of the now 10 book series. Pop Goes the Weasel is the fifth and book 10, London Bridges, is in stores now.

In this novel, Patterson tells of how Cross faces off not only against some of the most brilliant criminal minds, but also against the government. The short chapters helped this book along as it was not the most action packed of the series, though it was no less suspenseful. As you would hope with any book, this one was hard to put down; especially at the end. There was some conflict involving Alex's love interest in this book and my only complaint was how it was resolved. Patterson chose the logical choice for resolution, so I do not fault him. I cannot say any more without sitting you down and explaining the whole thing and ruining the ending. You're gonna have to read it for yourself.

Read this book. Read this series. Read this author.

| Forum | The Alex Cross series:
Along Came a Spider $7.99
Kiss the Girls $7.99
Jack & Jill $7.99
Cat & Mouse $7.99
Pop Goes the Weasel $7.99
Roses are Red $7.99
Violets are Blue $7.99
Four Blind Mice $7.99
Big Bad Wolf $19.01
London Bridges $16.77