The 2006 Man Booker Prize WINNER!

October 14th, 2006

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction represents the very best in contemporary fiction (from the UK, Ireland, and the Commonwealth). One of the world’s most prestigious awards, and one of incomparable influence, it continues to be the pinnacle of ambition for every fiction writer. It has the power to transform the fortunes of authors, and even publishers. In 2004, not only did Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty reach the bestseller lists, but previous winners The Life of Pi (2002) and Vernon God Little (2003) were also amongst the bestselling books of the year. Congratulations to last year's winner John Banville for his novel The Sea.

The winner receives £50,000 with a guaranteed increase in sales and recognition worldwide.

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
The Complete 2006 Nominee List

M

October 10th, 2006

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0022100/

MA simple, haunting phrase whistled off-screen tells us that a young girl will be killed. "Who is the murderer?" pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann. In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller.

There are so many cinematic gems from the first half of the 20th century that are hidden under piles of dust. It is unfortunate that many have been largely forgotten. The good news is that I do not foresee the same fate for M. Filmed in 1931, M still entertains and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats generations later. The elaborate steps through which good guys and bad guys alike must keep watch for the man who has already killed 8 children was thoroughly engaging. And the irony of crooks bringing a criminal to justice was beautiful.

I grew up with Peter Lorre being nothing more than an occasional guest spot in a Looney Tunes Cartoon. I had no idea who this man was with these signature puppy-dog eyes and this voice you wouldn't let read to your kids at night. I had no idea he made movies until I was older. I began to see his name associated with certain movies that were well before my time. I heard stories and read snippets about him that praised his body of work. Before M I had seen him support such great leads as Humphrey Bogart and Daffy Duck. It wasn't until M that I experienced first hand how good Peter Lorre was. He spends most of the movie nearly silent. I was nearly confused by why his name was so prominently displayed on the DVD, though he had such a quiet role. And then the movie began to draw to a close and as it did its pace quickened and Peter Lorre came out of his shell.

I really enjoyed M.

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Waiting...

October 9th, 2006

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0348333/

Waiting...Always remember the cardinal rule of eating out: Never mess with people who handle your food! Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder), Anna Faris (the Scary Movie series) and Justin Long (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) star in this hilarious comedy about the band of mischievous waiters, waitresses and cooks just waiting to show guests how extraordinary the service at ShenaniganZ restaurant can be.

I sat down to watch this movie with friends a few months ago and only made it through the first 30 minutes before I fell asleep. It was not the movie's fault, I was grossly sleep deprived at the time. It is hard to imagine that I was able to fall asleep considering how hard I laughed through the first 30 minutes. All I can say for sure is that I had to see the rest if the beginning was that funny.

I've now seen the entire movie and it was funny. I laughed hard and often. I don't recommend the movie to you if you fell in with those who criticized Napoleon Dynamite for its lack of plot. You would be similarly disappointed with Waiting. Sure there is a moral dilemma in which one waiter is entrenched, but the rest of the movie is just about daily shenanigans of a few angsty employees of the food industry.

If you are naive enough to believe that restaurant dining is 100% clean and healthy, you may want to avoid seeing Waiting as it is an over-the-top portrayal of how sometimes a disgruntled server and/or cook will take a few inappopriate measures to get even with an annoying customer.

Ryan Reynolds gives a solid performance that, while not his best, goes to great strides to typecast him as the nearly past his prime big man on campus; a part he played perfectly in Van Wilder.

This will never be listed in the annals of great comedies, but it certainly was good for a few laughs. I am glad I finally got around to seeing the whole thing.

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My first encounter with the Zodiac.

October 8th, 2006

I have never dealt much with the planets and the alignments of the moon. I know that it is big business the world over but it hasn't made its way into my home yet. I have finally had my first encounter with someone who took it at least somewhat seriously.

She wasn't what I would expect from a stereotypical aspect. She did not have long wavy hair, she did not move her arms in wide sweeping motions as she spoke, and she did not dress entirely in purple. What she did do was comment on, in her case, punctuality.

She was seated next to Nick and I while she waited for her friends. She told us that she hates when people are late though she is actually chronically tardy. This was not a double standard to her, since she informed us that she is a Taurus. She correctly assumed that our blank stares were an invitation for elaboration. Tauruses (Taurii?) are always late, she told us matter of factly.

Her sister is a Taurus. But she's always early. Now I'm really confused.

I don't understand it. I don't think I will ever understand it. And that is just fine by me.

The good news is that she bought me a beer. Which is also just fine by me.

October 7th, 2006
Joe Versus the VolcanoPatricia: My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.

New Found Glory - Too Good To Be

October 6th, 2006

New Found Glory - Too Good To Be

New Found Glory, the pop-punk band from Florida, has released a new album. Each album seems to be a bit slower than the last, but that is not to say they are not as good as the ones that came before. A definite highlight from the new album, Coming Home, is Too Good To Be. The song is more of a ballad than most of the songs they have released and I love it. Really the only thing that links this song to New Found Glory is Jordan's voice. You could easily mistake this song for a different band; it would definitely appeal to a broader audience. It quickly made the short list of songs I cannot stop playing right now.

Top 5 Movies: Adapted from Stephen King writings.

October 5th, 2006

October 4th, 2006
The Killers - Sam's Town - Sam's TownBut I know that I can make it. As long as somebody takes me home, every now and then...

"I'm not gonna lie..."

October 4th, 2006

Have you ever stopped to consider how much of a jerk this guy is? The "I'm not gonna lie" guy. Many in my peer group/age bracket have uttered this stupid phrase at least once. We use it as a dramatic conversational device to isolate and thus emphasize what will ultimately be a simple and meaningless comment. Granted, I have used it with a relative frequency and I'm not gonna lie, I find it to be surprisingly effective in certain situations. But do you know anyone who really says it ALL THE TIME? Has it ever made you wonder about all of the things he lies about? You know when he isn't lying because he tells you he isn't before he delivers a nugget of truth, but what about all of the other times?

Think about it.

East Coast Road Trip Part IV - All Good Things Must Come To An End

October 3rd, 2006

Cont'd from East Coast Road Trip Part III - One for the Books "Down the Shore"

We woke up Sunday morning in Manasquan after little rest. While we began to lay out our day, we headed back to the beach for more boardwalk food. The chicken fingers were even better the second time around. The plan, when we left Michigan a few days before, was to leave the shore and head to our Nation's Capital. Defeated thoughts began to poison our minds. "Go home early," they said. "You've seen enough people and been to enough places already."

We had both taken Monday off work and to have that day at home to recuperate would have been a blessing. But wait. What's that I hear?

No good stories come from going home early.

As if a switch had been flipped, thoughts of home vanished. Thoughts of doing what we had set out to do energized us. Our time there would be short, but we would get to see some friends that we do not see at any regular intervals. We were going to D.C. And after stopping for a full tank of gas, two WaWa raspberry iced teas and a bag of Reese's Pieces we were on our way.

My friend Stephanie had planned our night. We were to head out for a drink and then to the restaurant for dinner. We missed the window of time she reserved to grab a drink by the water (someplace) but made it in time to put on big boy pants and head out to an incredible Italian dinner at Filomena Ristorante (located in Georgetown); the three of us and Josh's friend Brooke. The food and the company were great.

After dinner we said goodnight to the Brooke and Stephanie and met up with Josh's friend "Walt" and followed him back to his place where we would crash after staying up most of the night testing each other's affinity for movies.

Monday did not hold much excitement at the onset of our day. We grabbed some food with "Walt" and his brother before returning to the open road. Eight hours (I think was the drive time) ahead of us and no day to recover when we got home. We both had to be at work the next day. A feeling of impending doom spread over my car.

When we drove out of Michigan on Wednesday we had hopes and expectations of a great trip ahead. The return trip promised only heavy eyelids at work for the next few days. We needed something. We needed a beacon in the night. I don't remember which of us was responsible, so I'll give Josh the credit for making the suggestion. Half kidding he reminds me that we would pass right by Detroit on our way back home...more specifically we would pass Mexicantown. We shared a few laughs about going out with a bang and even our reservations with getting home that much later. But what's another hour at that point? And with that, we now had a late dinner at Xochimilco to make us excited to get back into Michigan.

This was the least exciting leg of our trip. I have no good stories to share from D.C., but I could not leave the trip recap unfinished. We had a lot of fun in D.C. as well as on the entire trip. It was a great time and I can't wait to do it again soon.

Number of consecutive days eating chicken fingers ends at: 5.