Friday, September 08, 2006

Beethoven, Symphony #7, Poco sostenuto - vivace

Happy Friday to one and all!!!

What a day! I got to work this morning to find out that I had an 8:00 a.m. meeting which included a 10:00 deadline to compile all the information from said meeting and send to somebody else. Yeah, the problem was that it took me longer than an hour to compile all the data, so the person who needed it after me didn't get until 15 minutes before his meeting. I felt bad, but it wasn't my fault. They need to stop scheduling 8:00 a.m. meeting at 8:00 the night before. The turnaround time in this place is ridiculous. "Here's a massive project, but I need to have it back in an hour." Yeah, right.

I've been a complete slacker this week exercise-wise. Tuesday I had to get to the post office as I had books to mail to IL, DVDs to return to my buddy Woof (who occasionally comments) and CDs to The Netherlands because apparently the new Bob Dylan is so special you can't buy in Canada or Europe.

Wednesday was the baseball game (synopsis below) and then I had dinner plans with a dear friend back downtown. And yesterday I felt like sitting outside since it was lovely and there shall be so few days of sitting outside in the sun left here in the Mitten State.

The baseball game Wednesday was interesting – as was the weather. At game time, it was 82˚F (27.8˚C) within an hour it had dropped to 71˚F (21.6˚C) and then the rains came. The weather forecasters were right, for once, with their prediction of Isolated Thunderstorms. My brother works in a high-rise in Dearborn from which he can see downtown Detroit. He said it was sunny in Dearborn, but he could tell it was pouring downtown. The rains held off until the bottom of the 8th Inning when the Tigers got a rally going and tied the game up at 4 apiece with zero out. Jim Leyland, manager, decided to have Kevin Hooper (yeah, I had never heard of him either) for Dimitri Young (Love you, DY and miss you). This caused the Mariners to get all stupid and decide to change pitchers. Now, mind you, I understand (although I'm not a big fan of) the whole changing pitchers late in the game to get the match-up you want (leftie vs rightie – or whatver), but for Pete's sake, this kid had yet to bat in the major league and they have to change their pitcher for him? But first the trainer had to come out and assess the current pitcher and then the manager had to come out and discuss it all with the entire infield, and then when the Ump (who gave them way more time than normally allowed) started to stroll out to the mound, they decided to call in somebody from the bullpen. He jogged in, and then had to warm up (and all this time it's raining, just not too hard yet). He pitched to Kevin, Kevin bunted, advancing the runners, while he got tagged at 1st. Next batter was Magglio. I think they pitched to him and he swung at the first pitch and popped up. Sean Casey (newly acquired first baseman from Pittsburgh) was next in the batting order. But the Mariners decided that they needed to fiddle-fart around some more, so out comes the pitching coach. And then out comes the manager, and then goes out the call to the bullpen. And that point it was raining damn hard, and the grounds crew started putting out the tarp.

3.5 hours later (the second rain delay in a row for the Tigers/Mariners), they re-start the game but the momentum of that inning is long gone, just like the Mariners wanted and the Tigers lose to the last place Mariners. No, I didn't stay. I had dinner plans that night, and it was obvious it was going to be LONG delay. This all means that before yesterday's game against the Twins, the Tigers were four games up on the Twins (4½ on the White Sox) and we were facing a four games series against the Twins. Thankfully, Justin Verlander, our rookie sensation pitcher, did his thing and we ended up winning the game, so now we're five up on the Twins with three more games to play against them. I hope they can keep it up!!!

Now on to the monthly excitement of what books I read and movies I watched back in August:

Books:

The Unfair Advantage by Mark Donohue with Paul Van Valkenburgh (325 pages)
I had started this book in July, but it was a bit dense with engineering terms, so it took me a little time to get through it. I loved it, although unless you're an automotive engineer or a rabid race fan, it probably won't appeal to you.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (656 pages)
A friend from SF had recommended this book years ago, but I hadn't gotten around to picking it up. Then I saw somebody else recommend it to Kristin when she was requesting book suggestions last year. Kristin read it and recommended it in her diary. I figured I was destined to read it when it showed up in the box of books returned to me from Schprockie. He told me it was mine to keep or do whatever with it. I quite liked Kavalier & Clay and would definitely recommend it. I'm not even into cartoon/graphic novel history or anything like that. It's simply a well-written, well-thought out story that makes you think. Warning: It made me cry.

Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer (304 pages)
After the behemoth that was Kavalier & Clay I wanted something short and not too involved. And what better for that than a "Young Adult" book. I've read all of Mr. Colfer's Artemis Fowl books which I quite liked. Half Moon Investigations was as good as the Artemis Fowl books – well written, funny, and just plain fun. I definitely recommend this as well as the Artemis Fowl collection.

Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship by John Gray, Ph.D. (400 pages)
I actually found this book quite helpful, although I figured it was just going to be another "How To Get A Man" book which I find singularly annoying as they mostly tell women not to be themselves. This book actually explained how men think and essentially why. It was kind of a "Men for Dummies" book.

Puck is a Four Letter Word by Frank Orr (278 pages)
This book was hilarious and gave what I think is a fairly accurate portrayal of the trials and tribulations of free agency & expansion teams despite the fact that it was a straight up novel. The amazing thing I thought was that it was written in the early 80s, but pretty well predicted the Rangers Stanley Cup win and the lockout (although the timing was reversed). If you like hockey even a little bit I would recommend this book.

Movies:

High Sierra (TCM) – 92% approval rating - It was Bogart and film noir. What else do I need to say?

Chicago (G) – This has an 88% approval rating at rottentomatoes.com, but I'm afraid that I don't agree with that at all. I would put this on my list of movies I never need to see again, ever. I thought Renee Zellweger was terrible and couldn't dance to save her life. I didn't think the damn thing was ever going to end.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (TCM) – 100% approval rating - I had seen this years and years and years ago, but didn't really remember much beyond the bandito saying "Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinking badges." I had watched it the first time because I had read the book by B Traven. It's an interesting study on greed and how it affects people. I definitely recommend this.

A Very Long Engagement (N) – 78% approval rating – Not only was the engagement very long, so too was the movie. I actually liked it, although it was a bit interminable. Lead character was played by Audrey Tautou of Amelie fame, but this movie takes place during and after WWI, so she plays a different type character. It actually reminded me of The Story of Qiu Ju in how determined she was.

Leon, the Professional (N) – 81% approval rating – This movie was a tad bit violent, but good. It was Natalie Portman's film debut and she was very very good, I thought. It also has Gary Oldman doing his usual excellent job playing someone "icky." I don't really appreciate violent movies, but I quite liked this one.

Kate & Leopold (K) – 48% approval rating – Yup, the critics hated this, but I love this movie. I've watched it a number of times – mostly when I need a Hugh Jackman fix – and I still like it. It's your basic romantic comedy with some time travel thrown in. What can I say, it worked for me.

La Femme Nikita (N) – 85% approval rating – I remember my friends all watching this movie when it came out, but I somehow missed it. Again, a bit violent, but a good movie and you actually end up caring about the female assassin. It's in French, so as long as that doesn't bother you, I say go for it.

9½ Weeks (N) – 59% approval rating – I remember my parents went and saw this movie when it came out at the recommendation of one of the FF's co-workers. The FF was appalled at the sex scenes and absolutely hated the movie. I don't remember Mom having an opinion. I thought it was a tad overdone and didn't see why Kim Basinger's character went along with Mickey Rourke's character. I'm glad I saw it because I can now make up my own mind about it, but it wasn't all that good.

Paradise Road (K) – 53% approval rating – I liked this movie, but I have a tendency to appreciate true stories that celebrate the spirit of people and the indomitableness of said spirit. I didn't read the reviews so I don't know why the critics didn't like it, but I did. And that's all that matters, to me, at least!

Tonight is opening night of the DSO. My favorite conductor (after Neemi Jarvi, of course), Peter Oundjian is conducting Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" with piano soloist Lang Lang and Beethoven's Symphony #7. I'm sure it's going to be incredible. I have no idea what they're playing next week, because I only care that I'm finally going to see Sir Neville Mariner conduct! I think I've heard his name my entire life, so that'll be pretty freaking exciting. Ah, my classical music geekness rears its ugly head!!!

I hope you all have a good weekend and please keep your fingers crossed that the rain stays away for once over the weekend!

TTFN!

7 Comments:

At Saturday, 09 September, 2006, Blogger MW said...

Kat: I have a tendency to appreciate true stories that celebrate the spirit of people and the indomitableness of said spirit.

Exactly my sentiments.

If you liked "Paradise Road," I think you will really like the book "Guerrilla Wife" by Louis Reid-Spencer (1945). It is also a true story, written by the main character in the book. It is one of my very favorite non-fiction books. It will be hard to find. You may have to get it via inter-library loan, but it is worth it.

 
At Monday, 11 September, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

MW - Not that hard to find:

http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm

 
At Monday, 11 September, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

I really loved the Professional. Portman was just fabulous. So fabulous that it launched her career. As of yet she hasn't topped that performance.

I'll have to try out Eoin Colfer.

 
At Tuesday, 12 September, 2006, Blogger Sal said...

Did you at least like the music from Chicago? I loved it, cos "he had it comin'" As Fox Mulder said "women are from mars, men have a penis"

 
At Tuesday, 12 September, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

The music is why I loved Chicago. And as Renee Zellweger isn't much of a singer, I can sing with her! My sister-in-law said she sounded like me at karaoke! Nor sure if that was good or not...

I love Gary Oldman. He's so good at being bad and I always like the bad guy.

 
At Tuesday, 12 September, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

Wow, that was a super long one. LOL I've never seen Chicago and have no desire whatsoever. I'm glad one person I've read has said they wouldn't see it again.

 
At Tuesday, 12 September, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

Scott - I did too. Although I didn't really expect to.

Sal - I think I'd like to see it live. I was so annoyed by Zeta-Jones, Gere & Zellweger that I was just waiting for it to be over. Any singing was just making my pain last longer.

Heather - I did like "And all that jazz." Gary Oldman is so cool.

Beth - Glad to be off assistance!

 

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