"I seek you", ICQ!

October 12th, 2004

ICQWhatever happened to the good old days when people you knew were still on ICQ? For whatever reason, I have never adopted the heartwarming feelings for AIM that I have for ICQ. ICQ set the standard for stand alone chat clients and gets no recognition for it. The problem is that so many people subscribed to AOL and then ported their screnname(s) to AIM that ICQ just got crowded out. It was never about AIM bring a better chat client, it was simply the one that the most people used, therefore the one that is now synonymous with real time online chat. I long for days gone by when people I new still used ICQ and I could hear "Uh oh" when I had messages or those got awful typewriter sounds as I typed my replies.

I do not even know if ICQ v. 4 (current version) is anything like it was, or if it has been commercialized by parent company AOL. I would hope that they have been able to maintain the quality as their functionality was bought and mimicked in AIM.

I'm looking for friends on ICQ so I have a reason to put down the AIM!

NFL week 5.

October 12th, 2004

This week's post...unfortunately...needs to start with mention of the New England Patriots setting the NFL record with 19 straight victories. Now, this is a HUGE accomplishment, but I am not sure getting the record breaking victory over a team most high school junior varsities could at least compete with is much of an acheivement. That is not meant to detract from the record itself which does include many impressive victories...including a Super Bowl. And at 19 in a row they show no signs of ending the streak. One thing that I can say about only this team is that no matter who they are playing, no matter who is on the field, beware of the big play. Tom Brady has so much time to throw the ball and does so with such precision that a deep ball is never out of the realm of possibility. I am not a Patriots fan, but there is no denying they are impressive.

There were some big wins for struggling franchises this week. 49ers and Bucs gutting out a pair of games that I'm sure showed a glimmer of hope to...someone.

A big congratulations to the Detroit Lions for not only ending their NFL record road losing streak this year, but even turning it into a 2 game road winning streak. They looked impressive against the then undefeated Atlanta Falcons. With your two star receivers nursing injuries from the sidelines, do you have enough in the tank to top the 1-4 Packers come Sunday afternoon?

The Houston Texans, though not beating every team they play, are shaping up to be the real deal. David Carr certainly has matured into his starting role and is leading his team to be a force in this league. It will be exciting to see what they can accomplish. I will root for the Texans (though never over the Lions).

Almost Famous

October 12th, 2004

Link: http://www.almost-famous.com/index_main.html

Almost FamousCameron Crowe's first film since his Academy Award nominated hit Jerry Maguire captures a pivotol time in the history of rock and roll. Set in 1973, it chronicles the funny and often poignant coming of age of 15-year-old William (Patrick Fugit), an unabashed music fan who is inspired by the seminal bands of the time.

When his love of music lands him an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to interview the up-and-coming band Stillwater--fronted by lead guitar Russell (Billy Crudup) and lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee)--William embarks on an eye-opening journey with the band, despite the objections of his protective morhter (Frances McDormmand). With the help of the lovely "band aid" Penny lane (Kate Hudson), William finds himself in a circle. But as he becomes less an observer and more a participant in the band's dynamics, the fledgling reporter loses the objectivity to tell his story honestly, and learns a life-changing lesson about the importance of family-the ones we inherit, and the ones we create.

Brilliantly written, Almost Famous is a feel good movie you can sink your teeth into. From the incredible soundtrack to the all-star cast, the movie is enjoyable from every perspective. If you are a movie watcher who likes to enjoy film as entertainment, but also as a form of art, you may enjoy the scene on the tour bus as Elton John's Tiny Dancer plays. Moments like that can be very powerful in a movie in which it is not necessarily expected. I am not generally a Philip Seymour Hoffman fan, but his role as mentor to young William was a great role. He summed up life towards the end of the movie, "The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."

Check out this movie. This is one of the good ones.

| Amazon |

October 10th, 2004

Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.

Shark Tale

October 9th, 2004

Went to see Shark Tale this afternoon as a means of killing time between a wedding and its reception. I was not thrilled by Dreamworks' work on this one. There were some absolutely hilarious parts, but there were also too many slow moments to carry the movie. The kids in the theater seemed to love the movie, maybe my expectations were too high. I do doubt that was the case though as I went into it pretty indifferent as I couldn't tell if it looked good or not from the previews. Big names in the case doing the voice overs, though you will not even know it is them until they run the end credits. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and a few others sounded nothing like they do normally. The movie was fun, there is no denying that fact, but I will not rush out to buy the DVD.

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October 9th, 2004

So I am still pretty much on the fence about this movie as to whether to list it as a "Watch" or "Don't Watch." The premise of this movie is that Julianne Moore believes she had a son and that someone is trying to erase him from her memory. She fights whatever may be causing the lapsing of what she feels are memories of her boy. Very interesting plot, though I feel they could have done more with it. I am not happy with the execution of the story, but I cannot tell you that I was not scared. The movie was definitely scary, though more so in a startling fashion than in a suspenseful one. There was one part of the movie that is a guaranteed jump out of your seat moment. It happens as you can feel something is about to happen, though you are not quite positive as to what, and then that something happens. It is so rare to find a good scary movie, they are so hard to pull off. Worth seeing once, though you will not be in any rush to see it a second time.

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October 8th, 2004

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

NFL Week 4.

October 8th, 2004

I don't care what you say, I'm switching gears this week. We're now in the "who cares about the offense" mode. Some of the most exciting players in the league are on the other side of the ball and no one ever talks about these guys. Fantasy sports have blown up in the past few years and are still becoming increasingly popular (and profitable). It is due to this that people are now concerned so predominantly with the players that fill their positions in the league. It's nice to see that some leagues have adopted the draft of individual defensive players and not the defense as a whole, but it is not enough. I will right the universal imbalance today by making my week 5 post as a tribute to the defense. You're welcome.

The best highlights for me are the big hits. Sure the tough grabs are nice, but there is something to be said for a linebacker filling a hole or a safety coming on a blitz and blindsiding a quarterback. No, I am not a violent person, so knock that off...

Adam Archaletta and Aeneas Williams make for a crazy defensive backfield in St. Louis. If you've ever seen the workout program that Archaletta uses, you see why he's nuts...despite looking like he's 14. Williams is one of the best the game has seen and continues to defy his age.

Champ Bailey, I think, has sufficiently proven that he was the headliner in the trade with Denver. He has great field presence and flies around the field. Not often will you see a player smart enough to attack Mike Alstott's legs and steer far clear of those shoulder pads. John Lynch offers plenty of help to Bailey as well and is one of the best hitters in the league.

While on the subject of the Tampa Bay Bucceneers, Derrick Brooks has remained a staple in a defense that has to hold together a fallen program. Simeon Rice is one of the most exciting defensive lineman and fills out yet another lineman/linebacker duo.

I'll throw another out there, also: Zach Thomas and his brother in law Jason Taylor. Thomas is extremely undersized and yet is still a force which opponents avoid. Taylor brings life and excitement to a city where if it doesn't come from the defense, it's not coming.

The entire Eagles defense is a force to be reckoned with. If only Jevon Kearse was healthy his entire career (though he arguably wouldn't be in Philly if that were the case)...this guy can play. Sure, they don't call him "the freak" for nothin'.

Ok, fine, I won't leave Ray Lewis out of this post. How could I? Well, I would have done it just to be difficult, but I'll find another way. How about when I throw this out there: put this guy in at fullback! I know this is a defensive post (*rant), but who would be a better lead blocker than this guy. Maybe even hand him the ball on a play or two. He knows how to hit the holes, he does it on the other side of the ball. We all know he can hit. I guess we'll see if that ever comes to fruition, but for now it seems we will have to settle for him as simply the quintessential defensive player.

No this is not a complete list of the defensive players worth watching in the league. Yes there are plenty more. No, with Dre Bly hurt, none of them are Lions.

Some actual recap of the week, Emmitt Smith threw a touchdown. Hell has frozen over. Injuries continue to plague the league, things could get interesting as we see backup QB v. backup QB in the Super Bowl. Onterrio Smith is finally suspended (4 games) for substance abuse. Brett Favre got hurt, but is ok to play, and Clinton Portis owes me a 35 point week in week 5.

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King

October 7th, 2004

Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0451210859/petespage01?dev-t=mason-wrapper%26camp=2025%26link_code=xm2

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three - Stephen KingStephen King returns to the Dark Tower in this second mesmerizing volume in his epic series. Roland of Gilead has mysteriously stepped through a doorway in time that takes him to 1980s America, where he joins forces with the defiant Eddie Dean and courageous Odetta Holmes. A savage struggle has begun in which underworld evil and otherworldly enemies conspire to bring an end to Roland's desperate search for the Dark Tower. Masterfully weaving dark fantasy and icy realism, The Drawing of the Three compulsively propels readers toward the next chapter. Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is unlike anything you've ever read. Here is Stephen King's most visionary piece of storytelling, a magical mix of fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.

I wasn't so hooked after reading the first book in this now seven (7) book series, The Gunslinger, but that has now changed. I'm aware of what cult classics The Dark Tower books have become and I was curious to check it out. Guided by Tolkien, King writes his fantasy series and I need to find out how it all ends. Suspense, Mystery, Fantasy, Horror: All genres in which you could place these books. My only Stephen King experience is through these first two books of this series, though rest assured I will now read more of his work (starting with books 3-7!!). He writes in such a way that is so easy to follow. He writes these books like I would think the same words. They are very easy and fun to read.

| Forum |The Dark Tower Series: |
The Gunslinger
The Drawing of the Three
The Waste Lands
Wizard and Glass
Wolves of the Calla
Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower

Art of Living.

October 4th, 2004

Again bored by Sunday night football, I turned to Bravo and caught an episode of Inside the Actors Studio; James Lipton's guest was John Travolta. As this was the first time I've seen the show, I cannot speak to the frequency of good guests, but Travolta blew me away. John TravoltaHe was remarkably down to Earth and just seemed to be a normal guy (no, I do not often get this impression when I see celebrities give interviews). He told many stories of how different people had influenced him and helped him along his career and you could see that he took every opportunity he had to do the same for others. He was very sincere in his responses to questions from the audience. He was more than just honest; you could tell that he was not regurgitating stories as answers, he was custom fitting his answers, tailoring them in the best way possible to help the person who asked. You could not only see and hear, but feel that he was not only telling the audience what he thought on the subject, but also was telling them in a way that he hoped the information will one day be useful. He knows he has the influence and uses it to make a positive impact. He even took the time at the end to dance with a young woman from the audience (Pulp Fiction style). Ok, it's hard to describe, but hopefully I have not confused you too badly.

The highlight of the interview (and main point of this post) was a story involving Nicolas Cage. Travolta was asked if he remembered a story in which he helped Nic with his perspective on life. I apologize as I do not remember the terminology exactly, but his point to Cage was simply the "Art of Living." It was a message that helps you to enjoy the simple things, the subtleties, even the finer points of life. Travolta says that growing up he always did things differently from his friends. He often would find himself in a little French restaurant where for $5 he could get a glass of wine and a small meal instead of the diner down the street where he would get a burger and fries for the same amount. He would spend the same amount of money to see a foreign film as his friends would an American one. He did these things because they made him feel as though he had done more. To him that money was well spent. He was able to walk away from the main stream and find experience in new things. He cited this story as something that had helped shape him as a person, and it is definitely something that shapes me. I could not relate better to any story told.

There is no lecture for the end of this post. That is not my intention. The reason I decided to post this topic was to serve as a reminder to those who used to live this way and a suggestion to those who never have. I will not try to talk anyone into trying to "live" a little, if that is not what they want to do, but I do suggest it to everybody.