Monday, May 31, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow

So we went to The Day After Tomorrow on Saturday. All I can say is wow. I expected special effects to beat the band and the random destruction of both east and west coast cities. But what I didn't expect was to actually care about the characters. Nor did I expect to think about it much longer than 5 minutes after I left the movie theater. But I did care about the characters and I have found myself thinking back on it several times in the last couple of days. While it wasn't the most intelligent summer blockbuster to ever be made, it is a lot better than the mediocre reviews it's getting might indicate.

Sure, the science is totally whacked. This kind of scenario could never happen in the time frame that is set up in the movie. But what did reviewers expect? Did they expect this to happen slowly over the course of 20 years and by the end of the movie all the characters that we were introduced to hadn't aged at all or were played by other actors? It was the fact that it did come on so fast and that it was a life or death type thing that drove the human element of the story. It was so nice to see that the story of the people being affected by the storm was not ignored.

It was also great to see that they didn't blow all their great special effects shots in the first 20 minutes of the movie. I mean, hell, the famous frozen New York City scene didn't even show up until at least an hour into the movie--and it was probably later than that. Heck, it took a long time for the storm to even affect NYC. I thought for certain that would be the first thing to happen. But thankfully, it wasn't. The pacing was, if not perfect, pretty damn good for a summer effects picture.

But according to Wendy, Jake Gyllenhaal has lost all his indie movie cred now that he's been in a big summer movie like The Day After Tomorrow.

So it's Memorial Day and I work in an hour. Still getting used to the schedule and I'm kinda irritated about not really having a day off this week because my day off will be Friday and we'll be flying to Arizona that day. It'll be okay though. I'm going to try to walk to work today because it's a totally beautiful day out and I'm wondering if I could do that and drive less. Plus that'd be a way to get some much needed exercise in my life. So who knows. We'll manage, as we always do.

Oh, and here's one more cool link. I'm not sure how this works, but it's a blog that's blogging 1,000,000 love songs. Take a look. This week's are pretty interesting. If what they've done so far is any indication, at 30 songs per week, it'll only take 641 years to finish. Guess they better get crackin'!

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Average Everyday Sane Psycho...

Yeah, the Liz Phair song "Extraordinary" is stuck in my head today. Funny how it ended up on the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy soundtrack CD, but I suppose if you listen to the lyrics closely, it fits in pretty well. Heck it was probably used in one of the episodes and that was the only inclusion criteria that it had. I haven't bought that CD and I think I probably won't because I just don't know what kind of shelf-life it might have. It could easily be one of those things that you buy and listen to a lot initially and then you never listen to it again.

So here I sit listening to some bonus tracks from Fleetwood Mac's Say You Will CD (which is a CD that has really grown on me a lot) and it's been a pretty good day overall. We're going to The Day After Tomorrow at 4:30 today with Jeff and Wendy while my folks babysit so it'll be nice to get away for a while. I'm reading some of the reviews of The Day After Tomorrow on Rotten Tomatoes and it's making me wonder what some of these reviewers were expecting. I mean--it's a freaking disaster movie! I don't think anyone is going to this movie expecting fine cinema. It's a Roland Emmerich picture, for God's sake!

Back later with my impressions on the movie

Thursday, May 27, 2004 - Foxlife - Fox411 - Madonna Tour: Does She Need the Cash?

Of course, I would expect nothing less from crappy old Fox News. - Foxlife - Fox411 - Madonna Tour: Does She Need the Cash?

And here's another article I found interesting this morning. It's about blogging. It's not very nice.

Must work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Today was another day off and my back hurt like hell for reasons unbeknownst to anyone. It's right between my shoulder blades and from the way I feel it in my arm muscles I'd swear it was cardiac pain only there's none of that crushing chest pain as if an elephant were sitting on your chest thing going on so I'm thinking it's just stress coming out in a really bizarre way. We went to Blank Park Zoo which wasn't anywhere near as big as I was expecting it to be, but it was still a decent zoo. Most zoos just kind of depress me anyway because it seems like every single animal is endangered. It made me sick to think that there are only 300 Siberian tigers left in the wild. That's just insane! I wonder what it's like in Africa where elephants used to roam free about the plains but now I imagine theres all sorts of habitat encroachment and other such stuff. Don't misunderstand me, I'm no expert on endangered species or wildlife preservation or anything like that. But it just made me kind of sad to see a lion sitting in a cage in Des Moines, IA.

But the giraffes were really cool--they were the only animal that we took more than a cursory glance at. I'm afraid zoos just don't do for me what they did for me when I was a kid. Heidi pointed out to me that zoos really are for kids anyway but that didn't really help too much. Plus it doesn't help that Heidi doesn't have much of an attention span for zoos either. And then there's Anna--the one minute attention span wonder. Well, she is two, so that's not exactly something to be worried about.

All in all a good day. Stopped and saw Jeff on the way home which was fun as always. It's so nice to come back to Ames and be able to call it home. Wendy's going to be coming up this weekend and we're going to take advantage of my parents as babysitters so that we can all trek out to see The Day After Tomorrow which looks pretty decent. On Sunday, we're headed back down to Des Moines for the Iowa Renaissance Faire which we went to a couple years ago and had a great time. Good thing I went to their web site--otherwise I would have likely ended up at Water Works Park!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Re-Invention Tour kicks off

Tonight was the first night of Madonna's Re-Invention Tour--and from the pictures I've seen on the web, it's going to be pretty spectacular. For one, just get a load of this track listing:

The Beast Within
Nobody Knows Me
American Life
Express Yourself
Burning Up
Material Girl
Hanky Panky
Deeper and Deeper
Die Another Day
Bedtime Story
Nothing Fails
Don't Tell Me
Like A Prayer
Mother and Father
Into the Groove
Papa Don't Preach
Crazy For You

Some very odd choices, but nothing as odd as "Mer Girl" from the Drowned World Tour. There's still talk of "Love Profusion" alternating with "Crazy For You" depending upon which concert your at, but it's just so good to see Madonna embracing her past a little bit rather than trying to run away from it as quickly as she possibly can.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The blog roll is back!

After much tinkering with the html code in the new Blogger templates, I have finally resurrected the Blog Roll. There are two new additions--one is The Amazon Iowan which is written by my wife. It's a lot more political than mine--I can't even really remember the last time I waxed political here, but she's mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. The other blog I added is my friend Ian's blog. Not updated nearly enough, but he's busy because he has a toddler and just graduated from college, but the world would do well to hear more of what he has to say. Smart man, that Ian.

Tonight is the last evening that I have to work for a week, which is nice because I'm getting a bit tired of them, as I imagine Heidi and Anna are as well. I'll be off work on Wednesday so I'm looking forward to sleeping in and spending the day doing what I damn well please.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Another day off...

...but then I have to work the weekend. And weekend evenings no less. 12PM-10:30PM. It might be a long shift, but it'll be okay.

Anna's in the living room right now watching Toy Story for the millionth time in 3 days, but this time she's watching it from behind her eyelids. That's good--she really needed to sleep. I think later today we're going to plan to go out and see Shrek 2 even though I really didn't like the first Shrek all that much. Too many fart jokes, which are the bottom of the barrel as far as humor goes. But I suppose that appeals to every 8 year old boy in the world and I'm not exactly the target audience for a movie like Shrek 2 anyway.

This day hasn't exactly been what I thought it would be, mostly because I got up a lot earlier than I wanted to thanks to some as-yet-unidentified noise that sounded like a cross between a wood-chipper and a lawn mower. It woke Anna up so consequently there was no more sleeping after about 7:30 this morning. Heidi wrote most of the morning which is good. Anna and I watched Finding Nemo and she got her bath and I eventually got my shower at about 10:30 or so. I'm thinking that later this afternoon before we go to the movie I might start making a new CD or something. There's all sorts of songs that are out right now (and oldies from my past, of course) that are potentials to make the cut. I was listening to this Loretta Lynn song last night on Rhapsody called "Mad Mrs. Leroy Brown" which just cracks me up. I was thinking about going out and buying the new George Michael CD Patience but I just don't know that it's good enough as an album to merit purchasing the whole thing. Rather buy a few of the good songs on iTunes and go from there. Same thing with the new Alanis Morissette CD So Called Chaos. Should just take about 5 bucks and go down to the computer downstairs and buy them on iTunes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So the toilets backed up today for no apparent reason and we had to call Roto-Rooter to unclog the whole mess. And for all the mess that it was, it could have been a whole heck of a lot worse. It wasn't a bad day off, and all that went wrong was softened by the fact that I have another day off on Thursday. However, that means I have to work the weekend. This isn't all bad as I really need to figure out how to work the weekend routine but that'll all come in time. I'm feeling pretty good about my job right now--like I really fit in well and that's a good feeling. I don't have this terrible sense of impending doom when I go in to work like I did at first. That was mostly a function of being so unsure of myself and not knowing what I was doing and never knowing what each day will bring. But now I'm a little more sure of myself and I don't feel quite as green as I did when I started. I still don't know what each day will bring, but I feel like I could work there a hundred years and still feel that way.

I'm listening to this bootleg Madonna remix that I downloaded probably in the Audiogalaxy days. It's called the Erotic Bedtime Mega Mix (Love Zone)--whatever that means! It's mostly a mix of ballads from the Erotica/Bedtime Stories era, but also throws in "Crazy For You" and "The Look Of Love" + others for good measure. It's 26 minutes long, so it's probably the only thing I'll listen to tonight while I blog.

I gave up on The Corrections--I just couldn't take it any more. As I was telling Kevin, I would have probably enjoyed it a lot more 10 years ago when I was in my John Irving phase, but I just couldn't handle how pretentious it was. The characters inspired irritation rather than sympathy and I just didn't care what was going to happen to any of them. As far as I was concerned they all deserved whatever they had coming to them. It wasn't even that engagingly written. Too much hype and too much press for a book that really wasn't all that good to start with. He probably gained more noteriety from being an Oprah Book Club selection (only to spurn it, which probably gave him even more good publicity.) I have a feeling that book won't really be remembered 50 years from now.

So instead, I picked up an old Jay McInerney novel that's been in my possession for about 10 years but has just never been read. It's called Brightness Falls and it isn't too bad. I'm convinced that McInerney had only one really good novel in him (that being Bright Lights, Big City--which is one of my all time favorite books) but this one's not half bad. I haven't quite figured out where the story's going yet, but it takes place in 1987 in New York, so it'll at least appeal to me on that level.

And while I was surfing for links on Jay McInerney, I found this one from The Guardian where he describes his 9/11 experience.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Troy--so disappointing

We went to Troy last Saturday night in Carroll. We left Anna with my folks for a few hours and even though we'd heard bad reviews for the movie, we went thinking that surely it couldn't be that bad. And it wasn't. But it was what it wasn't that made me so frustrated with it. Yeah, the thousand ships CGI shot was cool and it was sort of pseudo-Gladiator in a lot of respects. But there were so many things wrong with the movie.

The biggest problem was the casting of Brad Pitt as Achilles. His character was so damn annoying that I almost applauded when he died (sorry if that's a spoiler--but doesn't everyone know that?) He was more like a California surfer dude rather than an ancient mythic Greek hero. Also, the CG was pretty shoddy, perhaps moreso because it comes so quickly after The Lord of the Rings. Even the Trojan Horse was a little bit of a let down, but at least it made structural sense. The only real building materials they would have had would have been the wood from the boats, so it couldn't hope to look like a lot of the popular art depicting the Trojan Horse. (like this or this.)

There's a picture of the Trojan Horse from the movie on the movie's web site if you want to compare (I can't manage to link directly to it.)

Man, I hope the summer movie season gets better! And quick!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

13 Going On 30

Heidi, Anna & I all ventured out to the movie tonight--13 Going on 30. It was a great little flick and it completely removed the bad taste from my mouth that Van Helsing left. I'm such a sucker for those happy endings. It always renews my faith in the human race when I see movies like that, even though I realize it's just a movie and not really based in reality. People aren't as beautiful in real life as they are in the movie and things don't always end happily in real life like you can almost always count on in romantic comedies. It's kind of like no one would be for want of love or friendship if everyone in an internet chat room were Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks.

I had a really good day off today. Incredibly productive--got the new e-mails set up, got a whole slew of phone calls made and my dad and I even finished fixing the garage door (it works again! Yay!) I think I'm going to like having days during the week off even if it does mean working on the weekend. It was kind of an un-day all day today and I keep thinking that it's Sunday night and that I need to get the trash together. But no--it's Thursday and tomorrow's Friday but Friday doesn't really mean what it usually does. And that's okay.

Well, I best be getting to bed. Morning will come all too soon and I was up way too late last night.

Jamie Cullum

I'm listening to this new CD by Jamie Cullum (via Rhapsody) tonight as I heard that he was this up and coming jazz artist from the U.K. and plus when we were going to Iowa City tonight, we heard a blurb on NPR about him and the CD called Twentysomething. I'm not entirely sure what I think of it. It seems like it's a little overdone, which is really too bad for a debut album. I know that it was a huge hit in the U.K., but I just don't see it doing much here. It's jazz vocal in only the most abstract way. In fact, it's annoying me so much I think I'm going to have to turn it off. That's too dang bad, really becaus I had heard a lot of good things about it. Guess my jazz vocal heart really does belong to Diana Krall. And the more I listen to her new CD, the more I like it.

The awards banquet that I went to tonight in IC was fun although I think Anna had the longest attention span of any of us, and given the fact that she's two years old, that's really saying something. It was good to see John again and it wasn't at all like visiting with an old boss but instead it was like seeing an old friend. Come to find out as well that my stupid Yahoo! e-mail address doesn't seem to be working. Dawn's been trying to e-mail me and John can't get anything to go through unless he replies to something I've already sent. Stupid Yahoo.

I also talked with Kevin tonight on my cell phone. After finding out that my e-mail was so screwed up, I wanted to get back in touch with him in case he thought I'd fallen off the planet. It was fun to chat again--but then again it usually is.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Preceptors of the Year

John and I are the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy's Preceptors of the Year. It's something that we joked about ever since we started taking students--but now we actually are. I guess having a kick-ass rotation site actually paid off. So I'm going down to Iowa City tonight after work to go to a banquent at the Holiday Inn to be recognized. That should be fun although with the price of gas I'm not sure that it'll be cost effective. It'll be fun to see John again--at least I hope I he's coming. He didn't really say in his e-mail, but I presume that he'll be there. It'll be a little bit awkward if it's just me and a whole bunch of people that I don't know.

I'm reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen right now. It's interesting and Irving-esque in a lot of ways, especially in the fact that he has about 10 million things going on at once and has sexually dysfunctional characters. It's kind of off to a slow start though. It's infinitely better than Cold Mountain was, although I suspect that my disinterest in Cold Mountain might have more to do with my mood rather than it's failings as a book. I'm falling for the whole Borders advertising campaign and their "summer reading list" and it's making me want to go read all the titles on their list. (Sadly, I can't find a trace of it online and when I Google "summer reading list" I get stuff for high schools which I suppose wouldn't be all bad, but just not what I'm after at this point.) So I'm going to try to set time aside each day for reading and see how many books I can read this summer.

And thankfully, our DSL seems to be working this morning after working sporadically last night. You never realize how much you depend on that until you don't have it.

I'm eager for tomorrow and being off work even though it means working the weekend. It'll be okay. I'm really doing well at my job even though there are things that show up daily that I have no idea how to deal with them. Fortunately (or unfortunately--I'm not sure which) it seems like most of the other pharmacists have those days too. So we keep on muddling through. And today's a 7-3:30 shift anyway so the day will zip by. We hope. *crosses fingers*

Monday, May 10, 2004

Brand Spanking New Blogger

The newly relaunched Blogger looks great and it now has a ton of new blog templates. Amazingly enough, I found one that I like. Now I just have to figure out if I can upload pictures and then I'm set.

I've been meaning to post for a long time but I just haven't had the chance. And now I'm supposed to go upstairs and watch a show with Heidi, so I won't be writing for long. One thing I will say: I was at Borders yesterday and I saw that May was "Bluegrass Month" or something and it had a CD by Rascal Flatts in that section. I was all geared up to listen to them on Rhapsody, and when I finally did this morning, imagine my disappointment to find out that they're pretty much new country. Bluegrass, yeah right!

But speaking of country songs, I have to admit that that Gretchen Wilson song "Redneck Woman" is pretty cute. It's totally cheeseball and really appeals to the lowest common denominator, but it's fun to see someone having fun with their music again.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A couple things:

1) Watched Big Fish the other night and for all the hype that it got, I don't think that it really lived up to it. Ewan McGregor was good (as always) but a little too Forrest Gumpy and it's always a plus when he keeps his pants on in a movie. It was very much a Tim Burton movie in lots of ways with touches of Sleepy Hollow and even Danny DeVito practically reprising his role as Penguin from Batman Returns. Worth a watch but I'm just not sure I ever need to see it again, which was kind of depressing because I was hoping for so much more.

2) I'm reading this book called Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. It was mentioned on a listserv that I'm on, but Heidi picked it up at Borders independent of that and it just makes you want to be mad at somebody somewhere because I can't believe people have to live like this. Basically, the author (who is a Ph.D.) goes undercover to see what it's like to work in what would typically be termed "low-end jobs" that pay a "living wage." She quickly finds out how much living can actually occur on a living wage--and it ain't much. Heidi finished it a few days ago and she just couldn't put it down. She compared it to a train wreck--something that you don't really want to see but can't help but keep watching. It's really sad and it's really not a piece of leftist propaganda because she is very disappointed with Democrats for not doing anything about this when it's supposed to be "their" issue. (She did all her research in the late 90s during the waning days of the Clinton administration.) An interesting read.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Muddling through

Tuesday is done and man I feel like I've been through the ringer already. But the good thing is that Heidi completely finished painting my office today and even got it all set up. I guess she thinks that since she can't help me much with how I'm feeling about all the change in my life she can at least help me get some place nice to be when I'm at home. And really, it is great. I feel a little bit like it's my dorm room or something.

I'm listening to Dave Matthews tonight which is kind of fun because I don't really know many of his songs, but they're good background music. I'm trying to find a replacement for Claire, and I think I might have found someone. Now I just have to figure out how I'm ever going to get an appointment. I'm feeling really bad about taking all the time off work that I am. I mean, I have to go to Ryan's wedding but did I really need to go to Madonna? How am I going to swing it as I know for a fact that I won't have enough vacation time accrued by the time I need to take that trip. I know that it'll just work out and that worrying about it will accomplish only ulcers, but it's still hard. I still feel like a big dork at work despite all evidence to the contrary. There are times I wish I were back in the comfortable confines of my job in Washington, but I know that's not an option. There are so many things that are right about Ames that make it worth uprooting ourselves from something that was "comfortable." It really is amazing when you think about it--how quickly we uprooted ourselves from all that we knew to move to a city where we really didn't know anyone to a job that was a huge change from what I had. But things are working out. Anna has a little buddy a couple houses down and we're working on trying to get a babysitter lined up in case Heidi and I ever decide to have a life again.

It's times like these that I really feel like my depression is an unfair burden. I get mad because days like today were days where when I left in the morning to go to work I was as disabled by my depression as people who suffer from migraines or chronic back pain or anything else like that. But I didn't have the option of calling in sick just because I wasn't able to "pull myself together." So what do you do? You pull yourself together as best you can and get through the day. I remember Rick H. telling me something like that in regard to high school classes once--"those are the classes where you just sit in your chair and wait for the period to be over." I don't count minutes or anything like that at work so I suppose that doesn't really apply. But I guess I'm feeling a lot like if it weren't for Heidi no one would be interested in what's going on in my life, which I know is patently false, but it's hard to tell your brain things like that when you're feeling like I've been feeling these days. I know this is intensely personal and that I'm probably crazy for posting it in a blog, but what the heck? I'm trying to be more myself and I have to say that I'm more myself than I have been ever in my life, but I was much more comfortable in my Washington skin than I am in my Ames skin, but I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that I knew exactly how to react to people and situations in Washington, whereas here I'm still learning.

I think that depression is one of the reasons that I can listen to Dave Matthews. Knowing that he went through depression too and what with him being a public figure and all it had to take guts to admit that on the pages of Rolling Stone or whatever. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but you know.

Monday, May 03, 2004

A new week

Can't blog much this morning as I forgot to get the trash out last night and I'll need to do that before I go to work. I am so freaking tired but what the heck--I'll go to work anyway. I painted this weekend and put iTunes on random while I did it and boy, did I get a motley assortment of music. For example--I was listening to a really funky mix of "Sign O The Times" by Prince and suddenly, Dolly Parton was singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." The other really odd transition started with the song "On The Line" by NSync, which was followed by "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Julie Andrews before morphing into a dance remix (bootleg obviously) of Fleetwood Mac's "Sara." Perhaps the funniest thing about it all was that I had a cloth tarp down over the computer so I couldn't skip past songs. I heard songs that I haven't heard in eons. It was kind of fun.

So we'll see how the week goes. I'm sleep deprived because Anna woke up in the middle of the night and didn't seem to see the importance of going back to sleep.